Survival horror games are at their best when they funnel you into confined spaces. This has held true for every game in the Resident Evil series, from the claustrophobic corridors of the original to the darkened, monster-rammed alcoves of the Spencer Estate. The smaller the spaces, the more potent the scares.
So it is that Resident Evil Revelations is set primarily aboard the Queen Zenobia, a cruise ship adrift in the Mediterranean. It's quintessentially a Resident Evil location, a mix of opulent halls, baize-festooned casinos, grimy metallic crew quarters and partially flooded, unlit engine rooms.
The place is filled with locked doors and broken elevators, mutated fish-men and mysterious agents of a terrorist organisation bent on dispersing their T-Abyss virus into the world's oceans.
The plot is sufficiently removed from the rest of the series as to be straightforward enough for the passing Resident Evil fan: while investigating the apparent return of a bio-terrorist group called Veltro, anti-bio-terrorist mercenary Jill Valentine and her partner Parker (a sort of chubby Kurt Russell) board the Zenobia in search of their mysteriously missing ally, Chris Redfield.
Ship Of Ghouls
Of course, all is not as it seems: the boat has become a sort of floating haunted house and Mister Redfield is nowhere to be found. He is, in fact, off elsewhere in the 'European Mountains' with his new partner Jessica (who, given her genuine utterance of "me and my sweet ass are on their way", we can only assume is some sort of a satirical deconstruction of contemporary sexism in gaming).
In these sections, which are more action-focused than those set on the Queen Zenobia, you play as Chris, uncovering plot details and fending off vicious attacks from infected wolves and other Veltro abominations using your broad shoulders and guns.
A few tangential scenes also allow you to play as Parker (who catapults Revelations' kooky, off-the-cuff misogyny to Carry On levels by at one point, blaming Jessica for attracting monsters because she's "such a flirt") prior to his joining the organisation of which Jill and Chris are part.
You'll also play as the inimitable Grinder and Jackass in a few sections, Revelations' cringe-worthy comedy duo. These guys reel off some the game's most wonderfully quotable and questionably translated lines, including one incredible - if sadly unprintable - misunderstanding of a common Brit-phrase.
But for the most part you'll be in the skin-tight, push-up wetsuit of Jill Valentine as she navigates the dusky bilges of the badly lit cruise ship armed with scant ammunition, screaming in fright at every whispering ventilation shaft and darting shadow.
Where Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was, in effect, a sideshow, Resident Evil Revelations is a full and comprehensive Resident Evil adventure, one closer to the series as it appears on consoles than any preceding handheld outings.
The confines of the Queen Zenobia are a throwback to the walled-in atmosphere of the first handful of games, if anything, and while the game does make some concessions to the platform, it's a staggering feat of miniaturisation that Capcom has crammed such a full-featured Resident Evil game on to the 3DS. Those concessions include discrete chapters of plot, each preceded by its own serial-style "Previously on Resident Evil..." voiceover that recaps the events of the previous chapter, which is ideal for a game designed to be picked up and put down as your train journeys and bowel movements dictate. The campaign will take you about 10 hours to complete: another reason it falls in line with the full-fledged Resident Evils of consoles.