Anyone who has played the first Resident Evil (Or Biohazard in Japan) is left wondering about the origin of the Mansion incident. This game will expain it, but still leaves you feeling a bit unsatisfied. The game starts out with the S.T.A.R.S Alpha team having to make an emergency landing in Raccoon Forest. With everyone safe, the team decides to check the area. What they find is a wrecked van with mauled corpses inside. Rebeca Chambers a rookie S.T.A.R.S member(and also the main character) reads scattered files around the van. She suspects that a man named Billy Coen is responsiple for the killings. After a brief talk from the captain Rebecca heads deeper into the forest to investigate.
What she finds is a ominous luxury train sans movement.
The first hour of the story is very good. The concept of a train as the setting of the game is not only original but quite scary. But after a while I start to feel like I'm playing Code Veronica. I will give my reasons below.
(SPOILER) The singing, bug loving, long haired, genetically altered villian. I would have prefered the writer(s) of this game to have created a more original character. But that aside, the villian did fit very well.
The rest of the story went smoothly and is filled with great twist and turns.
Capcom has really learned the art to making moody games. This Resident Evil had graphics that seemed to be from the future. Most high budget games look only half as good. Everything in this game is detailed (even the dust and tiny, tiny bugs) but what really got me was the movement of water and hair. These two effects are executed poorly in other games and really make an impact on the player. Lastly, I have to mention the character designs. Rebecca and Billy look very realistic. At last someone has made better character models than Silent Hill 2.
I personaly wasn't to thrilled about the soundtrack. I think we were all spoiled by the Code Veronica music, and expected better from this game. If it were not for the fantastic sound effects the score would have been lower. While I'm on topic, Zero features extremely realistic sounds. I think I almost flipped out when I heard the rain beating on the windows of the train.
Game Play (18/20)
When I first read about the zapping system I though it would be tedious and lame. Boy was I wrong! Zero features a few much welcomed additions and alterations that the series needed badly. The ability to drop items anywhere, really creates a new feel to the game. The partner zapping system allows you to either use both Billy and Rebecca simultaneously or alone. This made it possible for unfamiliar puzzles and frights.
Replay Value (14/20)
It's really not fair to rate survival horror games in this category due to their finite fun factor. Unless you're a diehard fan, this game will run out of steam as soon as you beat it. But Zero isn't without some replay value. If you beat it within a certain time, you will get a new leach hunter mini-game. This allows you to earn cool items to make the next time you play more interesting.
Overall (81/100) 8.1
Resident Evil Zero is a really fun albeit short game. It's total play time is about 2-3 hours if you're good, and 6+ if you're well.... . I do feel the writer(s) could have put more into the story, but this brings down the game very little. With solid graphics, gutted gameplay, and forboding sound effects, RE Zero is a welcomed addition to you're Game Cube library.