Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
Resident Evil proved highly influential in the early PlayStation era thanks to its atmospheric pre-rendered graphics and spooky scares. Unfortunately, it was also influential by popularizing the trend of ridiculous, outlandish puzzles that require the most obscure objects to be solved. Ten years and many ports later, the original is back once again with Resident Evil: Deadly Silence. There are some new things here and there, but the DS port still feels a bit stale and dated.
Everything that you remember from the original is here on the DS. The zombie dogs crash through the same windows (I still jumped a little), the voice acting isn’t even worthy of a C-list movie and the writing is equally poor. These aren’t necessarily bad things since it’s all for the sake of campy nostalgia. The two playable characters, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine still obtain top billing as they make their way through the mysterious mansion in slightly different scenarios.
Too Many ResidentsResident Evil: Deadly Silence isn’t the first port/remake of the original. Here’s a brief history of the other cousins in the Resident Evil family.
Resident Evil (PlayStation, 1996): The first incarnation was also ported to the PC and Saturn.
Resident Evil: Director’s Cut (PlayStation, 1997): This updated version featured some new twists in the game, and most important, a demo for Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil Director’s Cut Dual Shock Edition (PlayStation, 1998): Pretty much the same as above except with a new soundtrack and analog stick support.
Resident Evil (Gameboy Color, 2001,): This version was cancelled due to quality issues, and unlike a zombie, it never came back from the dead.
Resident Evil (GameCube, 2002): A full-blown remake with practically everything spruced up. This was extremely well-received.
Exploring the mansion is difficult, and not because of the hordes of zombies and insane crows. The tank-like controls remain unchanged, and using DS directional pad is nowhere near as effective as an analog stick, so dodging enemies is a pain just like it was over ten years ago. Considering all the backtracking that needs to be done, especially since inventory is extremely limited, the poor controls are particularly cumbersome when coupled with the cinematic (yet impractical) camera angles. Fortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed is the sense of dread that pervades throughout the game. Despite the cheesiness, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence still manages to scare now and then, partly due to the excellent music and serviceable graphics.
Playing through the same exact version of the first Resident Evil manages to be a bit of a bore after all these years, but the DS version spices things up with the Rebirth mode. While the storyline, graphics and other things remain the same, this version takes advantage of the DS touchpad. Now all those odd puzzles have been modified to require the stylus, which is much more responsive and enjoyable than the old way of solving them. Occasionally when entering a room, the view switches to first person and a variety of monsters attack. By tapping the touch screen, the character attacks with a knife. At first this action seems out of place in this relatively slow-paced game, but these quick bursts do a great job of making things more exciting. Action junkies will be pleased to know that the Rebirth mode increases the amount of ammo available and also cranks up the number of monsters to be killed.
Another all-new addition is the multiplayer modes. Two to four people can either compete or work cooperatively (assuming they each have Resident Evil: Deadly Silence). There’s set portions of the mansion that can be played through, and while it’s a novel idea, you never actually the see other players on screen. Instead, they are represented by a floating icon. Multiplayer modes are definitely a novel idea, but it just doesn’t work that well.
The new additions to in the DS version are pleasant enough, but it’s not enough to make the game feel new or exciting. It’s unfortunate, because even after all these years, Resident Evil is by no means a bad game even though it’s dated and unintentionally hilarious. Still, there’s nothing funny about shuddering when an amphibious Hunter screeches and leaps through the air. The GameCube and Director’s Cut remakes have already done so much for the series that everything in this package feels just like window dressing. Nostalgia can only do so much, and there just isn’t enough to warrant yet another play through that mansion.