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Resident Evil Archives Review

Blowing the dust off a horror classic

At times like this it's best not to ask too many questions and just be thankful for what you're given. But one or two refuse to lie down. Like, why have we got another version of Resident Evil on a Wii disc instead of via Virtual Console? And, why hasn't the aiming style of Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition been incorporated? And where's Resident Evil 5? They don't affect the game as such, but those questions hang over this release.

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Resident Evil Archives is the third-party equivalent of a New Play Control! Wii game, yet while the classic game has been reconfigured to work with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, it certainly doesn't take advantage of them.

Essentially this is the GameCube remake of Resident Evil exhumed and rehoused on Wii. That makes Archives a seven-year-old version of a 13-year-old game. Still, when that game is Resident Evil, a suspicious arch of the eyebrow is usually accompanied by a nostalgic smile (quickly followed by a horrified gasp). For newcomers to the series, this is a timely reminder of how it all started.

This is the classic haunted house formula given a zombie twist. A STARS (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) team is sent into a supposedly abandoned mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City, shortly after the outbreak of the horrific T-Virus. As you delve into the mansion you discover it's anything but abandoned. You have a ringside seat to a sometimes stomach-churning freakshow as the ramifications of the dastardly Umbrella Corporation's experiments are revealed.

It's testament to the original game that even now there's a palpable sense of tension. The pace of the game is taught, with jolts delivered after periods of slow-burning suspense, and the pre-rendered backgrounds, deep in shadow, look great even now.

For better or worse, this is stringently faithful to the Cube remake. All the extras that were stuffed into that version are here, including extra rooms, creatures and weapons, like Chris's ability to ram a grenade down a creature's gullet as a last-ditch means of defence.

It also means the control system is just as it was. There was an argument seven years ago that the clunky stop-turn-move scheme added to the tension of the game, that a sense of panic would descend as you scrambled to get out of the way of something nasty. Now that's replaced with frustration. The controls often feel dated and clumsy, and the lack of a point and shoot mechanic is bewildering.

There's no doubting the quality of the game but veterans really won't be getting anything new here, so we can only recommend this to players who have yet to see where it all started. And even they might find the controls long past their sell by date.

Comments

16 comments so far...
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  1. G_R7 Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 15:41

    My GAME store were I work got 2 copies in and we sold both after I talked people who never played this remake the first time around but likes the PS1 verison and the games after.

    However, I won't be getting it. I played the GC verison last year on my Wii and seeing how this has nothing new in it I don't see the point.

  2. GamerKid Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 16:20

    Resi sucks balls including 4 and 5 not even scary

  3. Lanky031 Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 17:16

    If ONM say that its not for veterans, im not gettin it. mite as well just go on ebay and get gamecube version.had before.lost it. wii version doesnt sound too good(controls.) just play gamecube version with gamecube controller. mansion one (this one) is scariest ever resi.crapped self when i was playin it, but was only 4 or 5 :cry:

  4. Lanky031 Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 17:16

    If ONM say that its not for veterans, im not gettin it. mite as well just go on ebay and get gamecube version.had before.lost it. wii version doesnt sound too good(controls.) just play gamecube version with gamecube controller. mansion one (this one) is scariest ever resi.crapped self when i was playin it, but was only 4 or 5 :cry:

  5. Lanky031 Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 17:16

    If ONM say that its not for veterans, im not gettin it. mite as well just go on ebay and get gamecube version.had before.lost it. wii version doesnt sound too good(controls.) just play gamecube version with gamecube controller. mansion one (this one) is scariest ever resi.crapped self when i was playin it, but was only 4 or 5 :cry:

  6. Lanky031 Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 17:16

    If ONM say that its not for veterans, im not gettin it. mite as well just go on ebay and get gamecube version.had before.lost it. wii version doesnt sound too good(controls.) just play gamecube version with gamecube controller. mansion one (this one) is scariest ever resi.crapped self when i was playin it, but was only 4 or 5 :cry:

  7. sedativegod Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 23:10

    nobody can win with you can they?!?!?!?
    you cry about third party companies rehashing their games and just flinging in some motion controls and now because they dont you cry about it now!!!!!
    gah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    considering the remarkably cheap asking price of the game i think its a pretty good deal!

  8. Rudie111 Thursday 2nd Jul 2009 at 07:57

    i played this for the ds and enjoyed that so i don't see the point of getting it on wii. i would rather play re4 again

  9. sedativegod Thursday 2nd Jul 2009 at 09:44

    why is the ds remake so hard to get ahold of?
    is it any good?

  10. Rudie111 Thursday 2nd Jul 2009 at 10:22

    why is the ds remake so hard to get ahold of?
    is it any good?

    yeah pretty enjoyable to be honest, seems to work well with the DS. i guess your bes bet is ebay or second hand from game/gamestation.

  11. YCshinobi Thursday 2nd Jul 2009 at 11:44

    REmake is actually a different RE1 experience to the DS version, which is essentially a port of the PS1 version, new enemies and different puzzles, and many do consider REmake better.

  12. zelda freeeak Thursday 2nd Jul 2009 at 12:42

    wooohooo more zombie shooting :x

  13. sivlock Friday 3rd Jul 2009 at 11:27

    Seems a bit of a cop out, it was good for the Remake on the Gamecube but it's just the same nothing new! Resi Evil 5 has got to come to the Wii if they did 4 that good and firstly for the Gamecube then surely it can be done!

    I've been a fan from the very first ever game and love the series, 4 re-invented it so get 5 onto the Wii!

  14. Gamefreak Sunday 5th Jul 2009 at 09:05

    5 Will never come to the wii. I bought myself an 360 Elite a couple of weeks after it was released and I got a copy with it. Unless they completely downgraded the visuals and took out the online features (I really don't see the wii being able to cope with the online co-op) Then maybe. Because the game as it is, According to the games creator, the title screen wouldn't even be able to run on the Wii's hardware. Though I will probably pick up this (or the gamecube version) as I've never experienced the REmake. I'm a Huge RE fan, and have completed 2, 4, and 5. Never got to the end of 1 and I don't own 3. I reckon they need to bring Leon back in the new RE6, but also release it for the Wii. I mean, I did experience RE4 for the first time on the Wii, and got all of my friends into it. Though when the next Archives is released (Zero), I will probably buy it. Sorry for the tl;dr-ey post.

  15. MrGooseyMoose Sunday 24th Jan 2010 at 13:14

    Puh, better this than Resi 5!! ;)

    Ahem, admittedly its a bit of an annoyance that they didnt add anything to it...but when somethings this good why should it get marked down so badly? If a port's good, it's good - and it's easily better than most wii games that are out. I mean, cmon. How did eledees beat this? Thats just plain crazy talk :P

    IMO this is the best resident evil that's ever been made, and thanks to capcom absoloutely destroying the survival horror genre by replacing them with hollywood blockbusters,(looking at you 4 + 5) i doubt a game of this style will show up again - bar other ports of course. :?

    It's old fashioned, its slow and its clunky. Yet for those reasons it's also claustraphobic, tense and memorable! In the same way that OOT, Sonic 2 and mario 64 are still worthy of high scores (even thought they're OAPs), this relatively recent game is too. People will be hard pushed to find a better horror game on the wii, and for anyone who missed the gamecube one the first time around this is highly recommended!! :D

  16. Hardware128k Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 22:34

    I never had the pleasure of playing this on the GC, only the PS1 original, so for 12 quid it sounds like a good deal. It's a shame there are no wii specific controls but it's still a classic game that deserves a place in my collection!

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