Zombies have, in the last decade become rather de-rigueur, in fact you can’t swing a chainsaw without hitting at least another few dozen low budget movies, TV series or video games starring re-animated flesh munching corpses. Much like an undead apocalypse itself, zombie media has hit oversaturation point. I’m sure when influential horror director George Romero first introduced the modern zombie to a horrified audience back in 1968 with the seminal Night Of The Living Dead, he had absolutely no idea that these ghastly ghouls would one day be so over used, that all their dread and terror would give way to a yawn and passive indifference, zombies just aren’t scary anymore… (that said, if I was actually to meet a zombie – I’d be pretty damn terrified! Ooh, ooh, unless it’s a zombified Christina Ricci… I adore Christina Ricci, even if she was a flesh eating, undead, green skinned, puss ridden monster… I’d still adore her! Mmmmm, went a little off topic there… on with the show!)
When Romero’s groundbreaking introduction to the living dead first hit the cinema screen back in the sixties, it was met with revulsion and abhorrence by an audience unfamiliar with such overtly graphic violence.
Romero’s low budget, independent movie was the catalyst of a thousand imitators, some were great (Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie”, Dan O’Bannon’s “Return Of The Living Dead”) but most were awful Z grade rip offs, literally hordes of terribly made and woefully acted low budget cash ins, riding on the back of the movie going publics sudden reverence of all things undead.
It wouldn’t be long before video-game companies decided to take on this burgeoning horror phenomenon with their own interpretations, with the most prolific and famous of the digital dead games beginning in an imposing mansion in the Arklay Mountains, site of the original outbreak of the T-Virus and our initial introduction to S.T.A.R.S and the sinister Umbrella Corporation.
Resident Evil (known as Biohazard in Japan) was first unleashed to video gamers worldwide in 1996, developed by Japanese company Capcom (of Street Fighter fame) and helmed by game design auteur Shinji Mikami. It is one of the original progenitors of survival-horror, a sub genre of gaming that takes cues from horror fiction and focuses on the survival of the main character against overwhelming odds, with limited resources at their disposal.
The first game established many of the ongoing conventions and tropes for the survivalist series, such as the limited inventory system, third person perspective, fixed camera angles for dramatic effect and the iconic typewriter save system.
The game opens with the elite members of S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) responding to the disappearance of fellow team members who lost contact in the remote area on the outskirts of Raccoon City, known as the Arklay Mountains.
Players choose to take control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield at the start of the game, and then, with their chosen avatar, proceed into the mysterious mansion embedded deep within the creepy forests of Arklay Mountains in search of their fellow team-mates.
Graphics are a mix of three dimensional characters set against pre-rendered backdrops, fixed camera angles give the game a rather compelling cinematic feel.
As your chosen avatar explores the mansion they discover documentation in the form of diary entries and audio tapes that provide story beats and exposition, as well as uncovering clues to the various puzzles that need to be undertaken to progress through the mission. The combat takes centre stage through the use of a variety of firearms discovered around the environment, though ammo conservation is important as ammunition is limited.
The inevitable health loss can be counteracted by the use of either first aid sprays or three different types of combinable herbs. The capacity for carrying items on person is also limited, though extraneous items can be kept in an item box for later use. Saving is done through typewriters that are scattered through the mansion, ink ribbons must first be located before saving is possible, and once more these are in limited supply so must be used sparingly.
Player characters will fight through a succession of undead and mutated creatures as they progress, from the humble zombie through, giant spiders and hulking behemoths. Also of note are the multiple endings the game can deliver depending on the actions taken by the player throughout their adventure, giving the game an impulsive replayability.
Capcom’s Resident Evil is a landmark game, it is almost single handedly responsible for the Survival-Horror genre and is one of the longest running video game franchises of all time, with the most recent game “Resident Evil 7″ released to abundant praise from fan and critic alike. Though there have been a couple of missteps (Resident Evil 6 being rather… awful) the majority of titles in the franchise have been absolute gems and are a blast to play (with personal faves being Resi 4 and Code Veronica) The original has seen a remastered overhaul with an upgraded version released on platforms such as Xbox One Playstation 4, and as of this month – Nintendo’s fabulous Switch… which means Zombie blasting on the go! so there’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of zombies, elite swat teams and evil corporations.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to “The Week In Geek,” where we list our favourite comic book, video-game and cult movie news for your perusal and pleasure.
Suicide Squad – Second Trailer Is Mind-Blowingly Amazing…
So who amongst us have seen the astonishing new Suicide Squad movie trailer and not been blown away by its majestically manic and mirthful brilliance. David Ayer’s adaptation of DC Comics’ team of Supervillain badasses is looking utterly fantastic, and its dark tone and gritty violence are countered masterfully by an effervescent and mischievous sense of humour that just oozes from the trailer. This is movie marketing done right, I for one cannot wait for the (too far away) August 2016 release, and (shock/horror!) after watching the trailer for what must be the 100th time, I am almost more excited to see this than the upcoming “Batman v Superman” movie (almost.)
Oh, and Jared Leto’s Joker… will be the definitive version… calling it now.
Amber Heard To Be Crowned “Queen of Atlantis”…
Though unconfirmed by Warner Bros, it seems that actress Amber Heard is in talks to take on the role of Mera, Aquaman’s love interest and eventual Queen of Atlantis. Amber will star opposite Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in the James Wan directed debut of one of DC’s biggest Superheroes. This is yet more sublime casting on behalf of Warner Bros, following hot on the heels of Danish actress Connie Nielsen being cast as Queen Hippolyta in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie. Amber’s Aphrodite like beauty mixed with real acting chops make her the perfect choice for the legendary Atlantis monarch.
Resident Evil Zero – Remastered…
Following on from last year’s HD remaster of the original Resident Evil, comes the bygone Gamecube classic Resident Evil 0, now in glorious high definition. The “Resi” prequel was the last of the hardcore survival horror entries before Resident Evil 4 brought on a significant change in the much loved series. This version retained the complex puzzles, resource management and fixed camera angles of its forebears that were slowly eroded by the newer games in the franchise (ultimately culminating in the awfulness that is Resident Evil 6!)
Resident Evil 0 is set one day before the famous Arklay mansion incident, as we tag alongside S.T.A.R.S team medic Rebecca Chambers and fugitive Billy Coen as they explore a (zombie infested) runaway train, creepy mansion and an abandoned Umbrella Corporation training facility. An awesome conversion of an absolutely classic game, well worth investing your time and money in.
Why not join us again next time friends, for more “Week In Geek.”
Welcome adventurers, to our review of 2012’s open world RPG Dragon’s Dogma. Your guides on this fantastic journey are; newly arisen hero, Kara and her trusted friend and ally, Koriand’r. Now please allow us to introduce you to our guides on this perilous quest…
Released by Japanese game company – Capcom in 2012, Dragon’s Dogma is an action role-playing game set in the mythical land of Gransys. You play as the Arisen, a hero on a quest to retrieve her heart (literally..not metaphorically!) from an ancient dragon named Grigori, whilst saving the kingdom from the many trials and tribulations that threaten its populace on a daily basis.
First order of the day is character creation, and in this Dogma stands proud above its peers. You have total control over the creation of your Arisen, gender, size and shape, hairstyle and colour, skin and eye colours, plus a myriad of minor adjustments, so that each and every Arisen will look totally unique. Not only do you create your own personal avatar, but also your companion for the adventure ahead.
The one feature of Dogma that most makes it stand out from a crowded RPG genre is the amazing A.I. that your created companion has, starting off as a blank slate, she will gradually gain a unique personality as you play. The way your main character interacts in the game world or deals with the arising situations has a dramatic effect on your chosen companion, plus other players from around the world can hire your ally (Pawns as they are known in Gransys’ lore), and when they return from adventuring in their parallel worlds she (or he) will have accumulated new knowledge and personality traits. I can honestly say that I am blown away by the variety of personalities that a pawn can adopt, you actually end up growing rather attached to your digital compatriot.
Another fantastic option incorporated into the game (fairly unique for consoles at the time) is the ability to take screen captures at any point in play, revolving the in-game camera and zooming in for the perfect action shot was something I found utterly addictive, all the screen grabs accompanying this review are from my own personal Gransys.
A vast scenic and perilous open world is yours to explore, Gransys’ continent takes in expansive sweeping plains, dense forests, broken down keeps and ancient castles, plus plenty of dank and dense dungeons. It’s an interesting hybrid of Japanese and Western style RPG, with open world exploration, a robust and complex fighting system and squad based tactics, plus some elements of an MMO thrown in for good measure, creating a unique experience for the player.
Adding to the replayability of the game are a total of nine different vocations the player character can choose to adopt. Vocations are the classes Dogma players can inherit, beginning with basic; Fighter, Strider, and Mage, later unlocking advanced classes of Warrior, Ranger and Sorceror, and finally the hybrid vocations Mystic Knight, Assassin, and Magic Archer.
Each vocation plays very differently, and has access to its own unique weaponry and armour, plus skill sets and animations change dramatically depending on character class, want to blitz your opponents with multiple whirlwinds or a devastating meteor storm? Sorceror is the class for you, prefer good old fashioned sword and board gameplay? then you need a Fighter or Assassin in your life.
Gransys is a dangerous place, a mammoth amount of varied enemies stand in your way, from the lowly goblin through to massive Wyverns, Drakes, Hydra’s and of course the Dragons of the title. The titular Dragons are the stars of the game with Red Dragon Grigori and the asynchronous online Ur Dragon being stand outs, and they are absolutely massive in stature making for fun though precarious battles.
Dragon’s Dogma has become one of my favourite RPG’s of all time, and I am still playing on a week to week basis, years after after its release. With a fantastic combat engine, myriad customisation options, almost infinite loot system and large and interesting world, let alone its unique online component, Dogma is a game recommended to all fans of fantasy fighting games. Welcome Arisen… your quest awaits.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Fire Spewing Dragons Out Of 5.
It’s time to step cautiously once more into that sinister Raccoon City mansion, as S.T.A.R.S veterans Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield revisit their greatest adventure from the Resident Evil/Biohazard franchise.
That’s right ‘master of unlocking’ fans, the 2002 gamecube remake of the 1996 survival horror classic by Capcom is being remade for current and last gen consoles. The Shinji Mikami helmed zombie blasting spook-fest will be available in early 2015 as a digital download for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PCCD, with all new visuals and 5.1 surround sound, plus the Xbox One, PS4 and PCCD versions will be remastered in glorious 1080p.
The original Resi is by far the the best of the long running game series, though there have been other classic entries in the series..we particularly liked the new direction that Resident Evil 4 took back in 2005, others deserving of mention are Resi 2 and Code Veronica. Though of late Capcom have come under fire for slowly moving Resi away from it’s horror roots and turning the games into more generic third person action-fests, hopefully this release will sell well enough that Capcom can return the series to its survival horror origins.