It has been literally… some weeks… since I last wrote about Resident Evil 2, but I assure you that there is some method to this madness.
Ok, so “method” is going a bit far. I know that I outwardly present the world with the glossy image that I’m a careful planner and that all my blog posts are poignant and meaningful, but the truth is that mostly I just blurt out whatever is rattling around in my head when I finally sit down to write. This week much of my brain has been thinking about Resident Evil related ‘stuff’.
All this has been brought on by the latest in my occasional streaming events that took place on Tuesday evening. These have involved an increasingly elaborate network of cables being suspended around the lounge in order that I can stream PS1 games from my original hardware. It all started with Resident Evil 2 earlier this year and Tuesday evening’s events mark the third in the series.
… and it is super-excellent to have people along for the ride (it’s like you’re all there with me watching me play and indulging me in my useless trivia), thank-you to everyone who has tuned in (is … is that still the right phrase?)…
Even thought Tuesday evening was spent reliving the Shadow Moses Incident, it got me thinking about which game I’d like to stream next. It’s been a long time since I’ve played the original Resident Evil and I certainly have a hankering for it. It’s a game that I haven’t really played through too many times with total playtime on the REMake (Resident Evil Remake HD remaster… yeah, I know) likely topping that of the original PS1 release. I actually own the Director’s Cut version, but I’ve never played through the game on “Advanced Mode”… which is what makes this edition special, so my current plan is to use that as my next stream material; fresh take on an old classic… or something like that.
From here however my mind began to wander… what exactly was it that made the Director’s Cut different to the original release? and from that meandering Googlehole I found myself searching for the Speedrun rules for Resident Evil 2…
… I thought I could have a go at speedrunning RE2. After all I used to be able to complete a scenario in around an hour and a half, but it turns out that Pal 50Hz speedrunning isn’t a thing because it messes with the ingame timer so I’d need to buy an NTSC version of the game (likely the Japanese release) and a fast disc speed imported PS2 to even be competitive (apparently)… so the whole thing seemed like far too much effort for a late night internet hole whim.
… but getting back to the story
Browsing through the different speedrun categories for the different versions of the game it became apparent that this is a game that’s been released on a healthy number of systems. I kind of assume that most people were like me and associated it with the PS1, but I guess not everyone does, and what’s up with all those versions? Are there any big differences? I know that if I ever snapped and started collecting games I’d probably begin with just accruing the various different versions of this one. So with that in mind and, making sure that I resist the temptation to open eBay and start bidding, here are my top five versions of Resident Evil 2 that I’d like to own (assuming I had the systems to play them on):
5. Biohazard 2: PS1
The Japanese release of Resident Evil 2 apparently has some very minor zombie placement differences (according to the speedrunning community), but I would run straight out and add it to my mythical RE2 collection because of one specific copy of the game. The copy that sat behind the counter at the CEX in Birmingham all throughout the late 90’s. That copy of Biohazard 2 taunted me with its Japanese title, weird triangular warning, and the mystique of it being almost identical to the copy I had at home except with subtitles and unplayable on my system.
… cruel temptress…
4. Resident Evil 2: Game.Com
The Game.Com was a strange system; I don’t even know how to say its name, should it be game dot com? It was a handheld released in 1997 by tiger electronics, a sort of super charged version of those LCD games that they also used to make; the monochrome screen certainly had that vibe. It seemed to market itself as part game console, part personal organiser; and if a calendar functionality wasn’t going to sell it to us 90’s kids then I don’t know what would. More weirdly it also had some type of internet access promising email capability – I don’t even know how that would have worked, I guess you’d have to plug it in to a phone line and pay a … subscription? The system boasted a handful of games amongst which is arguably the most bizarre port of RE2 released. It seems to be a pretty faithful recreation of the game using the limited control and graphics which has the same style of gameplay and many of the key locations. This would be one to own just for the obscurity. (Check out some footage here)
3. Resident Evil 2: Nintendo GameCube
I’ve admitted before that if I ever did jump in to the game/console collecting market a GameCube would be high up that list. Heck, I’ve very nearly sprung for one on impulse when foraging through everyone’s favourite home of unsavoury carpets; CEX. Along with that I would of course have to pick up the GC version of my favourite game. More than that however the GC version is often regarded as one of the best. It has crisp visuals and more refined 3D models than its PS1 counterpart and it’s also the only console disc version of Resident Evil 2 to come on one disc!… and one of those tiny-super-cute-adorable Gamecube discs at that.
2. Resident Evil 2; Dual Shock Edition (PS1)
The Dual-Shock edition of Resident Evil 2 wasn’t ever released in the UK, but I was taunted by it because I had the ‘Prima’ guide (yeah, remember those??) which was technically for the dual shock version. Not that I really ever wanted the vibration or analogue stick control. What I really wanted was “Extreme Battle Mode” which was (for those of you with a Resi vocab) kind of an early version of The Mercenaries minigame…. and for you non-Resi people: a minigame where you had to battle through areas of the game again with a time limit and specific weapon sets. It also featured Ada and Chris as bonus characters which is pretty cool, especially as Chris isn’t even in the main game. Now, I know technically the GC version has Battle mode too, but this is certainly the version that I was aware of as a teenager.
1. Resident Evil 2: N64
The N64 release of Resident Evil 2 tops the charts for versions that I’d like to own and play. First up it’s quite honestly a medical marvel; despite crunching the resolution and sound quality, it does manage to squash all of the cutscenes on to a single cartridge which is astounding considering that original game came of two PS1 discs. This is alongside the complete game with marginally better 3D model presentation (afterall that’s what the N64 did best). The most interesting feature however is a randomiser mode where ingame pickups (well, health, weapons, ammo, not key game items) are all shuffled up. Apparently it can lead to some tense runs where you’re given a load of the wrong type of ammo early on, or end up swimming in health but unable to shoot anything. It’s a version of the game that I’d love to get my hands on!
… and that’s it… I’ve managed to hold your attention through an entire top 5 made up of only one game…