More bullets, better zombies


Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 12:29 a.m.
Zombies amble slowly, moaning in the distance. They shuffle along, or at least they used to.
With zombie movies like "28 Days Later" and the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" creating faster, scarier, more mutated zombies, it's time for the games to follow suit.
And now Resident Evil 4 is here, bringing us the next step in the zombie evolution.
The series has a long history, which includes two blockbuster movies, three video games (Resident Evil 1-3), a prequel (Resident Evil Zero), a multi player version (Resident Evil Outbreak), and numerous remakes and rereleases. Resident Evil has even spawned comic books and novels. More than 24 million copies of the games that have been sold worldwide.
We've even met the current starring character Leon Kennedy before, but not like this. Resident Evil 4 reinvents the Resident Evil series, the horror-gaming genre, and may even spell a revolution in game design.
Resident Evil 4 places you, as Leon Kennedy, in Europe. Leon is a familiar face for Resident Evil fans. He started his first day of work in Raccoon City during the zombie attack in Resident Evil 2. Like his enemies, Leon has an updated look in this game, and he's now a government operative instead of a police officer. At the start of the game, the U.S. government has defeated the evil Umbrella Corporation, and it seems as though the world is healing its wounds from the zombie outbreaks. However, the president's daughter is missing, and Leon has been sent to Spain to search for her.
So far, this sounds like it could be a typical Resident Evil game, but this game is far from typical. As always, the graphics are spectacular, but the game play and the monsters are completely different. Resident Evil 4 offers plenty of bullets, health and other supplies in the game, which is a far cry from the other horror games and games in the series, where you had to run from zombies because you never had enough bullets to fight.
Another radical change comes in the game controls. In previous versions, Resident Evil was purposely difficult to control, which made playing all the more difficult and terrifying. The new controls are smooth and easy, but the game itself isn't.
In order to keep the horror alive, given the abundance of ammunition and the fluid game controls, the monsters are now the source of all fear. The zombies - if they could be called that - are intelligent, fast, and horrifying. They move quickly, they hunt you down when they see or hear you, they'll break through windows and break down doors to get to you. They curse as they run toward you. They can attack with weapons, dynamite or their own two hands if they have to. They can think, but they're not human. Never before have we seen monsters this intelligent, this lifelike, and this driven to kill you.
To avoid these monsters, you'll have to kick down ladders to keep them from climbing after you. You'll push dressers in front of doors to keep them out for just a minute longer. You'll jump out windows and hop fences to try and find a space where you can fight without them swarming over you, and killing you. Video games have never seen monsters this vicious or this smart.
The horror and the difficulty remain, but like the zombies, the story and the game have evolved.
It's only January, and Resident Evil 4 is already in the running for 2005's game of the year.
  • Tomorrow is Female Friday at Gamers Asylum, where girls play free all day. On Saturday, the Warcraft 3: Land of Legends Tournament starts at 8 p.m.
  • Role-playing groups (LARP) play Thursday nights in University of Florida Building 105, second floor, and Friday nights on the ground floor of UF's Matherly Hall.
  • WYSIWYG Gaming is hosting console tournaments all day Saturday and a Diablo 2: Lords of Destruction Tournament next Saturday.
  • Every Saturday at noon, Mega Comics hosts a Magic Card playing tournament.
    Laurie Taylor and Cathlena Anna Martin can be reached at laurie.taylor@gmail.com.
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