Well, if you are already a fan of Resident Evil
, I am preaching to the choir because, not only do you already own Resident Evil Zero
, but you've already beaten the main game, beaten Leech Hunter
and you are working on unlocking the rocket launcher. For those of you who are either new to the series (where have you been?!?) or are maybe on the fence about a new Resident Evil
, let me put your fears to rest. Resident Evil Zero
is a blast.
RE0 is actually the prequel to the survivor horror that started it all, Resident Evil. If you've always wanted to know why the mansion was overrun with zombies in the first place, this is where you need to turn. The storyline reintroduces us to plenty of characters we've seen before in the various Resident Evils and we get to meet some new ones as well. Coincidentally, I highly recommend the Signature Series Brady Games Walkthrough for RE0 as it is chocked full of backstory and detailed info about RE from start to finish, but more on the guide later.
You'll begin the game as Rebecca Chambers, who you may remember from Resident Evil as the girl who really wasn't very good at piano playing. She's an 18 year old medic on the STARS team and she's thrust into this nightmare much like everyone else who's been involved has been - dropped in the middle of hell. As she and her team begin their investigation, they encounter a military prison transport vehicle that has fallen prey to something. Everyone is dead except for the prisoner, one Billy Coen, who has escaped. Rebecca boards a train to investigate and things proceed from there. This all seems pretty typical RE-style gameplay, right? Well, soon Rebecca meets up with Billy and things soon change. After this, you'll be able to play as either Rebecca or Billy, either Team or Solo. You can switch between the two of them on the fly with the push of a button, and you often must do this to solve certain puzzles. How nice it is to be in a room full of zombies where not one, but two guns are blazing! This brings a whole new element of gameplay to the table that hasn't been seen before. Billy is stronger than Rebecca and starts off with a better gun, but Rebecca has a mixing set and can combine herbs for better healing power. You can see how this can come into play with storyline puzzles (one of which actually had me stuck for a while because I used Billy and he couldn't mix the chemicals, while Rebecca was stuck in another part of the level).
While I found this need to switch characters irritating at first, after playing this way for a while, it turned out to be a really neat feature. Another new twist is the fact that the item boxes are no longer in the game. Instead, you can pick up items and drop them wherever you want. You can also look at an item and opt to leave it where it is, but what this does is it makes the item appear on your map so that you can easily find it when you need it. Effective item management is a big part of the strategy in Resident Evil Zero and to help you along with this is the ability to exchange items with your partner. If Rebecca is hurting and Billy is a-ok, Billy can give Rebecca the herb he has stashed. Ammo and key items can also be shared this way. It's a nice feature that adds a lot to the already cool gameplay.
After you beat the main game, there's a mini-game called Leech Hunter that opens up, along with a few new costumes for your characters. It's basically a fetch quest that takes place in several areas of the game and requires you to really monitor your health, ammo and items collected. Sounds like the main game? Well, it's a scaled down version that has Billy and Rebecca each collecting 50 blue or green leech charms. The catch? Billy and Rebecca can only collect charms of the same color, meaning blue for Billy and green for Rebecca. That and they only have 6 slots each and one slot holds 10 leeches. Do the math and this leaves you with only being able to carry a one-slot weapon towards the end and no back-up ammo. Its fun stuff and adds a good bit of extra 'replay' to the game by opening up various special/unlimited weapons when you complete it.