The Importance of RE Code: Veronica, RE Remake, & RE 0

May 16, 2016 // Tim

The 20th Anniversary of Resident Evil continues this year with part two of my retrospective looking back at the core titles in the franchise. Last time I reflected on the first three classics , and for this second entry I’m examining the other half of the classic formula RE games.

The following three Resident Evil games are all very important entries in the series for their own reasons. RE Code: Veronica introduced players to a fully rendered 3D environment, the RE (Remake) reinvented the terror of the original game to become its own masterpiece, and RE 0 offered more backstory to the infamous Mansion Incident that started it all. Learn more about them below, along with how they impacted my lifelong RE fandom.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica
Year: 2000
Platforms: Dreamcast (Launch), PlayStation 2, GameCube, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Capcom’s survival horror franchise jumped into the next generation of consoles as Claire Redfield infiltrated a Paris Umbrella facility while continuing her search for Chris. The Resident Evil series became known for its jaw-dropping CG cutscenes, and Claire’s explosive European excursion raised the bar. The Dreamcast title was also the first and only in the series to replace its traditionally static backgrounds with fully rendered 3D environments, allowing for more dynamic camerawork. Claire’s eventual reunion with Chris was riddled with challenging, memorable moments. No survivor will forget their first encounter with the stowaway Tyrant and spending every last piece of ammo to defeat it.

Tim’s Take: The return of Claire Redfield was the sole reason I begged for a Dreamcast for Christmas in ’99. To this day Code: Veronica represents what I consider perhaps the most challenging classic RE game. I have vivid memories of barely limping past poisonous Hunters with my health in the red, palms sweating from anticipation. Speaking of your health EKG meter, the screen on the Dreamcast’s Virtual Memory Unit (VMU) offered a novel way to keep track of your status. To me, both chapters of the Redfield family reunion – the prison on Rockfort Island and Umbrella’s Antarctic Base – are equally demanding and unforgettable events in RE history.

Resident Evil (Remake)
Year: 2002
Platforms: GameCube (Launch), Wii, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The original Resident Evil was already considered a classic by 2002, but that didn’t stop Capcom from completely remaking it with improved gameplay and stunning new visuals. The Resident Evil remake faithfully retold the S.T.A.R.S. team’s tragic stay in the Spencer Mansion while introducing players to expansive new areas and scares that toyed with expectations based on the original. The most exciting change involved zombies that, if not destroyed with a headshot or methodically incinerated, would return as faster and deadly Crimson Heads. The Resident Evil remake is still considered one of the greatest horror games of all time, and its legacy continued with last year’s HD remaster featuring modernized controls and a Very Easy Mode that allowed newcomers to test their courage.

Tim’s Take: The Resident Evil remake is not only my favorite Resident Evil game, but my favorite horror game of all time. The graphical leap this title made in only one generation is still mind-boggling, made even more impressive with the recent HD remaster. I’ll never forget walking through the East Wing corridor from the Main Hall, expecting a cerberus to crash through the window, but only to see a glass pane subtly crack. From that moment on I knew that this remake’s mission was not only to refine the 1996 original, but to also use my knowledge of the original against me.

Resident Evil 0
Year: 2002
Platforms: GameCube (Launch), Wii, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Before the Spencer Mansion incident, the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team’s helicopter crash-landed in the forests of Raccoon City. S.T.A.R.S. medic Rebecca Chambers’ story of survival took a surprising turn before she reunited with her team members in the mansion. This prequel recounted Rebecca and mysterious fugitive Billy Coen’s adventures aboard a runaway train teeming with zombies, a decrepit Umbrella Training Facility, and connected with memorable locations from Resident Evil 2. Switching between and controlling both Rebecca and Billy throughout Resident Evil 0 was a rewarding trial, and one we were happy to relive with this year’s HD remaster. The RE 0 remaster came along with the same modernized benefits as the Resident Evil remake, as well as Wesker Mode, which empowered players with potent Prototype Virus powers like super speed and red eyes that unleash powerful energy.

Tim’s Take: I remember daydreaming about what it would be like to venture back out into the Arklay Forest and further investigate what happened to the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team after they crash-landed. Those dreams were answered when Resident Evil 0 released and let me discover the fated Raccoon Police Department (RPD) squad’s tale before the infamous Spencer Mansion incident. I enjoyed being able to set and forget items without the time-and-space-defying item boxes, and managing both Billy and Rebecca was a unique challenge. One of my favorite segments of RE 0 involves venturing into the factory location from RE 2 and seeing what those memorable areas looked like with improved visuals. This only adds more fuel for the flames of my excitement around the confirmed Resident Evil 2 remake.

Next time we’ll look at the rest of the core Resident Evil games as the franchise evolved in new directions and offered players unprecedented new ways to control the action. Also be sure to check out the RE 20th Anniversary developer video interviews with the director of RE 0, Koji Oda , and longtime RE producer, Masachika Kawata .