Friday, March 23, 2012

Game A2 : Resident Evil 2 - Introduction

To say that Resident Evil for Playstation was a success would be a gross understatement. The game was one heck of a hit and was exactly the next thing Capcom needed to sit its huge popularity on the new born game console. As soon as the first game was released, Shinji Mikami immediately started to produce the sequel. The first draft of this RE2 was to be released less than a year afterwards and took protagonists Leon Kennedy, rookie cop, and Elza Walker, young student, into the mayhem of Raccoon City during the zombie outbreak that followed the events of RE1. It would mainly take part into Raccoon City Police Station, in the same manner as the first game was situated into the mansion.

And the girl wore some kind of orange jumpsuit.
However, Shinji Mikami, seeing the advancement of the game (supposedly 80-90%) basically said "fuck it" (yeah, game producers could do that these days) and decided to start everything from scratch. He said the game was boring as hell, and way too similar to the first one. So, they went on to work for another year, extending the play area to a few other places in Raccoon City, going for a much more cinematic approach, and changing protagonist Elza Walker to the now known Claire Redfield, sister of the first game hero (probably to create another bond with RE1, or just because she wore really short pants). This would lead to the creation of the game we know today.

1998 fashion collection for Raccoon City.
Meanwhile, Capcom went completely nuts over the idea they were not making more money with the Resident Evil franchise, so they went on to release Resident Evil : Director's Cut, Resident Evil : Dual Shock Edition and Resident Evil Blue and Red versions with a new kind of zombie pikachu in them. They pressed every last drop of money they could on the first game waiting to see if Mikami's gamble would pay off.

And paid off it did : Resident Evil 2 was finally released in 1998, becoming one of the biggest successes ever for the company (and when we're talking about Capcom, it means something), the fastest-selling game in the history of the console so far (beating the shit out of Final Fantasy VII record, for example), and one of the most successful games in the franchise so far. It was later rereleased as another Dual Shock version, then ported for Windows 9x, N64, Dreamcast and Gamecube.

It was even "ported" on Tiger Electronics ill-fated handheld, leading to a really weird piece of gaming history that you can witness here. Just look at that! I'd love to try this one someday, I'm really amazed this thing exists...

With all this development time, one would figure they'd think about the art box. They didn't.
One of the major promotion elements of the game was the "zapping system", consisting of two different story lines for our two characters that you could play in any order, and where some actions you could take in your first playthrough would have consequences when you played the other one (such as leaving a useful item for the other guy to get it later). In my memory, it was a nicely done feature. The original game shipped on two CD, one for Leon and one for Claire, and the ending changed depending on who you'd play first.

For the sake of this blog, I'll experiment the two story lines as well, starting with Claire's (ladies first) then switching to Leon, to see if playing it twice in a row still has an interest. I'll be playing on my Gamecube disc inserted in my Wii. I know it's a long shot from the original version, but considering it's supposed to be a perfect emulation of the Playstation version, it won't make a real difference.

Plus, I've already bought the game for my Playstation, then for my Gamecube, so it's absolutely out of the question that I'd buy it a third time on the PSN, even for a mere 6 bucks (yeah, I'm still mad at you, Sony).


  1. I never played part 2. In fact, I think I've only ever played the first one, so this is all new and interesting to me.

    1. Great to hear it! Actually, from my memory, part 2 (along with 4) is really one of the best of the series, we'll see how it holds...