Surviving in Racoon City — An Analysis of Code Veronica

I commented in the last text that the next game to be analyzed would be RE 3, but before that, we will make a small travel to Europe, to catch up with the investigation of a recent acquaintance.

Three months after the viral outbreak in Raccoon City, and with information gained in RE 2 story, Claire Redfield travels to Paris in search of her missing brother, Chris Redfield. There, she investigates a European subsidiary of Umbrella Corporation and ends up being arrested and sent to Rockford Island, a distant and dangerous location controlled by the company.

And this is the plot of Code Veronica, one of the most beloved sequels in the entire franchise, originally released in 2000 for the Dreamcast, introducing the series, once and for all, in the world of 128 bits.

Even featuring graphic improvements, new settings, and the return of iconic characters, the game sold few copies in its early release years. Because of this, it was re-released, in an updated version, years later for the PlayStation 2 and Game Cube.

Now that you know a little more about the game premise, let’s get to the facts. I did not intend to play it, my experiences with RE 0 and RE were not the best and nothing made me think that this would change with Code Veronica, especially because even in its updated versions, the gameplay is, unfortunately, the same. However, everyone speaks very well of CV (let’s call it like this for now on), especially about its history and relevance to the franchise, so I decided to give it a try.

With that in mind, I downloaded the famous PCX2, I decided not to buy the PlayStation 4 version, since it was extremely expensive for a game released 21 years ago that I would only play once in a lifetime, and set out for this new adventure. So, without further ado, I present to you my first impressions and comments on Resident Evil: Code Veronica.

Plot

Following what was said earlier, Claire is sent to Rockfort Island and, after a few hours of imprisonment, is released by Rodrigo Juan, one of the prison jailers who, for pure pity, gives the girl a chance to escape the place which, surprisingly, was also infested by an T-vírus outbreak.

At first, Steve presents himself as a very irritating character, he does nothing to help Claire to escape, but as the campaign progresses, a good relationship is built between the two.

Amid a completely devastated and zombie-filled place, Claire encounters Steve Burnside, an immature boy who was also arrested and had to spent months in jail over the actions of his father, a low-ranking Umbrella researcher who was caught trading data on the company’s pharmaceutical research.

From there both begin a difficult journey to escape the island, an adventure that will involve a new type of virus, the T-Veronica, and a new group of antagonists, the twin's Alexia Ashford and Alfred Ashford, members of a very powerful and influential aristocratic family. The new virus is the centerpiece of this new campaign since it was developed by Alexia itself and has some unique specificities that obviously aroused the interest of Umbrella Corp.

Gameplay

Playing CV right after RE 2 Remake was obviously a bad decision, it was obvious that the controls, graphics, and even the gameplay would be much less enjoyable, given that the game was released more than 20 years ago. However, apart from the initial impact, I can state that the experience was not as bad as I imagined.

The old graphics, both of the pre-rendered scenes and the gameplay itself, gives the game a charm, which contributes in a somewhat strange way to the climate of terror. And the gameplay encompasses the best and worst aspects of the RE saga; the camera is, again, fixed and the movement is quite similar to that of its predecessors, somewhat rigid, with new small problems derived from the character’s rotating animations and controls (possibly caused by the emulator).

The systems are already known to fans, such as medicinal herbs, limited inventory, low ammo, chests, weapon upgrades, save rooms, and others, are also present in this game. The differential here is the presence of new weapons such as the crossbow, the MR7, a rifle that allows the player to aim at certain enemies, and the Linear Launcher, an experimental weapon designed to eliminate biological weapons.

The enemies are also basically the same, zombies, mutant dogs, giant spiders, bats, and some other few variations, such as Bandersnatch, a humanoid creature that manages to stretch its only arm to attack and move through the scenery, and Gulp Worm, a giant worm created from the junction of a worm’s gene with the T-virus.

Nosferatu was one of the first guinea pigs of T-Veronica, its mutation, the result of years of viral action, made him very similar to an insect, aggressive and full of paws scattered throughout his body

Different from these, the bosses are full of novelties, here we have the Albinoid, a creature with electrical powers created from the salamanders DNA; Nosferatu, a man infected by T-Veronica and Alexia herself, who after fifteen years of virus adaptation, has developed some extremely dangerous abilities, such as flammable blood, tentacles, and the control of creatures very similar to ants — the game also has another rather memorable boss, but I will avoid further comments because its appearance is one of the biggest plot surprises.

Ambiance

I usually put this item between the gameplay, but I feel like the game asks for separate comments. CV has two main scenarios, Rockfort Island and umbrella’s base in Antarctica, and because of this, I believe that Capcom has managed to focus its efforts on creating an environment rich in detail and very well crafted.

Each corner of each room tells a little more about these places history, the prison cells are completely abandoned because of the mass escapes, the cemetery tombs are overturned, the laboratories are empty, with some scattered documents and corpses of scientists. Everything here is assembled so that the player feels even more immersed in the game.

Another element that also contributes to this immersion is the aesthetic change that the game has adopted. The story is set, mostly, in Europe, so the developers tried to bring some of the fundamental elements of the region to the buildings and scenery, a good example can be seen in the Ashford family castle, quite inspired by the verticality and ornamentation of the common Gothic constructions during the low Middle Ages.

The research base in Antarctica is also not left behind, even with somewhat smaller buildings compared to those of the island, and with only internal areas, it is still able to inform the player much of what happened there while creating great tension and a slightly claustrophobic feeling. A highlight here goes to the replica of the main hall of the Spencer mansion, the main setting of the first game, which we found in the final moments of this sequence — it was a pleasant surprise to see those staircases once again, especially because they were placed in a completely new context.

Also, all of these scenarios are explored twice throughout the game, once with Claire and once with Chris. In this way the player can trace different routes during the two parts of the campaign (yes, the campaign is divided into two segments) exploring previously locked rooms, bringing to each new location a novelty.

Final Considerations

Even after 21 years, CV still manages to stay on the same level as the great games of nowadays, of course, its graphics are quite dated and its gameplay is often strange, but I believe that these are the charms of the old games.

In my view the game still presents some of the same problems as its predecessors, the backtracking is huge and we return the slow and tiring loading screens. Also, we have some unprecedented complications, since by placing the player in the shoes of two characters in sequence, without informing him exactly the time of the change, the game denies us access to certain areas. For example, I faced Nosferatu with the fire extinguisher in Claire’s inventory and because of this, Chris had no way to use it to access certain area where there were some important items.

Another complaint goes to the final fight against Alexia, which may well be summed up in one word: “terrible”

In addition to these, I also felt the battles against bosses quite unbalanced, in moments I was able to finish certain fights in a few minutes, while in others I needed more than 15 attempts to succeed. I had the impression that the game does not indicate to the player that such a confrontation is close, so we cannot prepare ourselves in the best way, especially if the player is playing everything for the first time, as was my case.

Speaking like this it may seem that the final impression is quite negative, but even with all these problems I felt that CV is one of the most fun games in the franchise and I finally understood why it is so praised by much of the community — its plot is considerably different, introducing us to a new virus and new and detestable villains, besides being quite engaging and interesting, exploring characters that were somewhat ignored in previous games, especially Wesker and Chris.

I hope that one day Capcom decides that it wants to earn even more money and finally announces a worthy remake for this title.

Did you like the article? Do you have any opinions about the game? So be sure to share them with me here in the comments.

[Images used in this article were taken from Google]

Hi, I’m a Brazilian Journalist and History Student. I decided to make this my space to write about video games, great stories, and, maybe, other things.

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