When the original Resident Evil game launched on the PlayStation 1 it caused a massive stir â€“ not least because of the billboard advertising campaign with a picture of a bathtub full of blood. With Resident Evil, Capcom tried to create a game that instilled fear and tension into the player, much like a horror film, resulting in the coining of a new genre â€“ survival horror.
Resident Evil spawned a slew of sequels â€“ Resident Evil 2 (more of the same) and Resident Evil 3 (more of the same, but with added annoying Nemesis boss). Resident Evil: Code Veronica debuted on the Dreamcast and although it had very impressive graphics, the gameplay and control method was woefully basic still â€“ in fact it played pretty much like the original game. So, when Resident Evil 4 was announced I was far from excited at the prospect, expecting it to be another linear zombie fest with clunky controls â€“ how wrong I was.
In reality the only tangible link between Resident Evil 4 and the previous games is the main character Leon, absolutely everything else was significantly updated. Resident Evil 4 also proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Nintendo GameCube was not a console just for kids.
First and foremost, the graphics in RE4 were nothing short of stunning, and even though itâ€™s a phrase thatâ€™s very overused in video games, I can only describe the game environment as cinematic. Resident Evil 4 was one of those rare games that really made you feel as if you were playing through a movie, working your way towards a climatic ending that you knew would make all that effort worthwhile.
The main storyline involved you trying to rescue the daughter of the US President - Ashley had been kidnapped and whisked away to a remote European village. Unfortunately, the villagers all seem to be possessed by some kind of demonic force and pretty much all of them want to hack you to pieces with any farming implement to hand.
The lack of zombies in Resident Evil 4 was both surprising and refreshing, while the villagers seemed to posses a scarily efficient amount of artificial intelligence. The result being that you had to pick your battles carefully, what with very limited ammunition for your weapons and no shortage of crazed locals to deal with.
With a totally revamped control method, superb camera work and puzzles that were just hard enough to be challenging, but not tough enough to be frustrating, RE4 had all the bases covered. In fact if it wasnâ€™t for the overly liberal use of boss battles, this would have been the first and only game ever to receive 10/10 on TrustedReviews.
Even with the Xbox 360 on the scene and the impending releases of the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3, Resident Evil 4 still looks as good as it did 18 months ago when I reviewed it. In fact, maybe itâ€™s about time I dug out my GameCube and played it through again.