Video Game Thoughts: Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 was a 1996 survival horror game by Capcom that I played on the Nintendo 64. This game started out as a PlayStation exclusive. I was able to play it with my friends. We were teenagers and getting interested in the more mature games. I remember we waited until everyone had gone to bed, then turned off the lights for maximum frights. We pretty much stayed up all night slowly exploring the game. It was fun with friends, but I never got into a game much that I couldn’t play extensively.

Luckily, Resident Evil 2 was released on Nintendo 64 a few years later. The problem had been that the game cartridges didn’t have enough space to store all the graphical files this game needed. The PlayStation, on the other hand, used compact discs for the games. CDs held a lot more than cartridges. I remember Resident Evil 2 had a special 512MB cartridge, which no other game had used. This was close to the 660MB that PlayStation discs could hold. Still, it wasn’t as big. They had to compress the full motion videos and a lot of the background textures and sounds. The game still looked great despite the compression. It was a little more grainy but still looked good.

Before playing Resident Evil 2, all my games were focused on gameplay, not story. All my games had some basic story just to give reason to the actions they had to do, but story was at a minimum. Resident Evil 2 was totally different. The story was the main reason to play. There was a game here, but it was very much like an interactive movie. The player couldn’t change the story, but they were able to play out all the scenes with their own hands. The story itself wasn’t that great looking back. If it were a movie, it would have been a B-movie. For a game though, the story was far and above most others.

In addition to the story, Resident Evil 2 really scratched my exploration itch. I always liked exploring the new worlds in video games. Resident Evil 2 took place in the fictional Raccoon City. I loved clicking the action button everywhere checking for notes or survival equipment. There were maps available in the game. Once I saw the layout, I wanted to see every room and solve every puzzle. I liked the game so much, I kept replaying it until I had memorized everything. I knew where all the items were, what to do in every room, and the answer to every puzzle.

After finishing Resident Evil 2, it gave a letter rating from F to S, with S being a perfect game. This was based mostly on how fast the game was beaten but also depended on things like not saving the game very often and not dying at all. I think my initial rating was around a C. I was eager to try again for a higher rating. I eventually got that S rating. High ratings unlocked cheats like getting a powerful weapon from the start with unlimited ammo. Even better, there were two characters in the story (Leon and Claire) to get S ratings with. The differences between their stories were minimal, but it was still fun to beat the game perfectly with both of them.

Resident Evil 2 really impressed me. After this I went in search of more games like it. There weren’t any others on the Nintendo 64, but the later Nintendo GameCube ended up having a good library, including three new Resident Evil games: Resident Evil (remake), Resident Evil 0, and Resident Evil 4. I was in my “serious” game phase. I still liked the Nintendo games like Mario, but I liked the serious games even more.

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