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Resident Evil: Gaiden

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror

Graphics & Sound:

After seeing games such as Perfect Dark and Alone in the Dark on the GBC, I was disappointed with Resident Evil: Gaiden's graphics. This is probably because I've been playing GBA games for over a year now, but Gaiden's graphics are not overly impressive and at times look silly (such as most of the story sequences). As I played through the game, they did begin to grow on me. Like Metal Gear Solid, the game takes place from an overhead perspective. Characters and rooms look good, but come off as rather average when compared to other games on the system. Once zombies attack you, the game enters a first-person combat mode. These are some of the best-looking parts of the game and show where much of the time was spent.

Understandably, the game lacks in the sound department. The groans from the zombies sound great, but other than that, the game is reduced to a few bleeps and some music. The coolest thing about the music is that it changes depending on the situation. As you explore the ship, a subtle tune adds some creep to the atmosphere. This all changes as soon as a zombie attacks and a panicky rock beat kicks in.


One of the hallmarks of a Resident Evil game is the campy storyline. You name the horror movie cliche' and at least one game has used it. Gaiden is no different, and in my opinion takes the crown for campiest RE story ever. As Umbrella Corp continues to manufacture the virus, some ex-S.T.A.R.S and Ex-Umbrella members form a G.I. Joe like group dedicated to stopping Umbrella. Word spreads that Umbrella is transporting a new B.O.W (Bio-Organic Weapon) on a ship called the Starlight, so they send Leon Kennedy to investigate. Obviously, Leon disappears. Not content to do the sane thing and just blow up the ship, Barry Burton is sent to investigate.

This is where my problems with Gaiden begin. Okay, so Barry knows what he's going up against and has all the resources of this group, yet he boards the ship with seven bullets and a knife. Real smart move there, guy. Anyway...

The main game consists of two modes. The first is an exploration mode that takes place from an overhead perspective. This is your standard walking around and solving puzzles. Once you enter combat, the game switches to a first person mode. I hated this part.

As zombies approach you, a little meter appears at the bottom of the screen. If you are able to get the marker to stop on the light parts of the meter, then the attack does little damage. If you can land it on the dark spot, then it's a hit. It's obvious that this was included to lend some sort of tension to the game, but the marker moves a little too fast at times - leading you to waste precious bullets on bad shots.

Another problem facing Gaiden is the lack of enemies. Whereas the other games throw in lickers, dogs, and mutants of all shapes and sizes at you, the enemies in Gaiden are limited to the same two zombies and one boss. This lends a monotonous feeling to the game.


Without question, this is the hardest Resident Evil game I have ever played. First of all, running from a battle is nearly impossible. Walking anywhere near a zombie causes the game to enter combat. Once in combat you can try to run, but this also uses a timed meter, and the 'escape window' is less than generous. The puzzles are still as silly as ever, but seem way too hard. Thankfully, the game's designers had the foresight to highlight special items in order to make them easier to see.

Game Mechanics:

Controls are simple. You run with the D-pad, A is your action button, Start brings up your map, and Select your inventory. The layout has a natural feel to it and should be the least of anyone's worries.

Overall, I had very mixed feelings about Gaiden. Since I am a hardcore Resident Evil fan, I had a hard time not liking the game. However, the lack of that 'true' RE feeling kept the game from being as good as I hoped it would be.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

GameBoy Color/Pocket E.T. Digital Companion GameBoy Color/Pocket Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated