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Resident Evil 4

Preview By: Siou Choy

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Survival Horror
# Of Players: 1
Est. Release: Nov. 9, 2004
Posted: 4-24-04

Hold on to your decaying body parts: Capcom’s about to throw you a curve ball.  As gamers worldwide are well aware, Capcom’s signature survival horror series has become literally synonymous with the living dead, to the point where the mere mention of the Resident Evil series is likely to conjure up images of zombies, zombies, and more zombies.   Strange, then, to discover that the latest installment in the Resident Evil series will not contain zombies.  You heard me right, no zombies.  Before you toss your sweaty GC controller at the wall, though, take a deep breath and keep reading.  While there may be no literal “living dead”, in the finest tradition of Euro-horror, the de facto “zombies” will be present, albeit in somewhat modified form.  In the tradition of Rollin’s Raisins de la Mort or Klimovsky & Naschy’s People Who Own the Dark (not to mention Romero’s domestic classic the Crazies), the “zombified” menace comes in the form of some still living, but somehow entranced villagers.  Trust me, it amounts to the same thing in the end, albeit minus a bit of aesthetic grue.

Also missing in action from this entry in the series is the evil Umbrella Corporation, the clowns who caused all those damn zombie infestations in the first place. Instead, playing as Leon Kennedy (from Resident Evil 2), you’ll have to find the President’s kidnapped daughter.  The game takes place 6 years after the events that took place in Raccoon City, where last we left the erstwhile Kennedy brother.   Your quarry has been spirited away to a mysterious village, whose denizens appear to be “zombified”.  One major difference between the living and undead: in place of the shambling zombies of previous entries, you’ll find the zonked-out villagers to be much smarter, faster, and worse, with the knowledge and ability to brandish weapons against you.  Thankfully for the more liberally inclined among us, you can target specific body parts this time around, allowing you to shoot weapons from their hands or take them down with a well placed shot to the leg.

While I’m not sure how this will affect things aesthetically, backgrounds will no longer sport the gorgeous pre-rendered look of the last few entries.  Instead, everything will take place in real time and in full 3D.  Also altered will be the wacky camera angles and slightly buggy controls that have traditionally frustrated series fans.  Replacing them will be an over-the-shoulder third person view, with Leon remaining on the left side of the screen for most of the game.  For the obsessive purist, the game will be displayed in widescreen.  In perhaps the weirdest of all these apparently dramatic changes, a Shenmue style quick-time “action button” will appear at various junctures of the game, forcing you to perform a particular “pass/fail” action in order to proceed.  The times, they are a’changin

Resident Evil 4 will be released exclusively for the GameCube this fall.

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