Thunderbolt logo

Resident Evil: Survivor

Resident Evil games are known for their amazing polygonal graphics, excellent cinematic (if badly acted) cut scenes, and their ability to spook the player. Survivor fails on all accounts, but still manages to bring a mildly entertaining game to the table.

This game looks horrid, there can be no doubt of that. Even the cut scenes feature characters that look like they are from a first generation PlayStation game — jagged edged and flat paneled polygons abound.

There isn’t anything too scary about this game either, despite the Survivor subtitle’s attempt to indicate otherwise. I had hoped for a little more terror to be hanging about, since this is the first and only Resident Evil game to use a first person shooter engine. That’s right: Survivor attempts to be Doom meets Resident Evil.

The Gun Con peripheral is actually supported rather nicely, but if you are stuck using the Dual Shock pad in its place, you won’t be too disappointed, as its control scheme is equally competent.

The basic premise behind the action in Survivor goes like this: years ago, a disaster struck Raccoon City and an uncontrollable outbreak of the something called the T-Virus, transformed the city into a zombie-ridden death trap. The company behind the virus’ creation, Umbrella Incorporated, was forced to wipe out the city to stop the outbreak from spreading. Looks like they didn’t get it all…

As per the Resident Evil Modus Operandi, in unraveling the mystery, you will be called upon to solve some extremely simple puzzles (e.g.: there is a manhole cover, use the crowbar to gain access), and peruse the usual glut of diary entries left carelessly behind on the owners’ desks. But Survivor feels decidedly more mindless than previous installments, and that’s saying a lot.

The music is compelling enough, and it helps the frail plot along surprisingly well. It encourages your feeling of paranoia, and adds a potent sense of immediacy to your mission. Indeed, everyone is out to get you: the kindly folks at Umbrella in their SWAT team gear and the zombies alike, working together to see you dead. All you can do to see yourself through is to keep moving constantly, taking out the weaker foes with your handgun — which has unlimited ammunition — bringing the shotgun and more powerful weapons like it to bear on the stronger foes and bosses.

Again, because the foes are drawn rather badly, much of the intended fear factor is diffused. There won’t be a whole lot of Resident Evil 2 type shocks along the way as a result. But Survivor isn’t the worst rental choice — a lot of fun can be had by running down zombie-infested corridors in the first person, unloading bullets into all manner of kitsch-inspired characters. You can’t save your game, so you’ll need about two and a half hours set aside to finish the bloodletting, from beginning to end and you’ll probably clear it the first or second time you play it. Predictably, Capcom has included various replay incentives; there are secrets to be uncovered that will require revisiting the game numerous times. Unfortunately, you probably won’t.

4 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in September 2003.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.