Monday, November 21, 2011

games of our lives, part 10: Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Back in 2000, Capcom announced that the latest Resident Evil game would be a Sega Dreamcast exclusive. Being a diehard fangirl, I bought a Dreamcast for the sole purpose of getting my hands on Resident Evil: Code Veronica.

(And by the way, even though that turned out to be a lie and RE:CV did in fact come out for numerous other consoles, I ain't mad because the Dreamcast library features some amazing games. Some of my favorites include frenetic puzzler Chu Chu Rocket, action/sim Shenmue, aforementioned mindfuck Illbleed, virtual pet Seaman, maraca rhythm game Samba de Amigo, and D2, a survival horror game set in the Canadian Rockies that, in my opinion, has one of the best video game endings of all time. D2 is also notable for being released on FOUR discs and featuring full frontal female nudity, a tentacle rape scene, and a vagina-shaped supercomputer that moans when you shoot it, making it only slightly less fucked up than Illbleed. My Dreamcast is one of my most cherished possessions and I haven't regretted its purchase for a second.)

RE:CV opens with a cinema of Claire Redfield, kickass heroine of Resident Evil 2, being uncuffed by a guard. He welcomes her to her new "home" and knocks her out cold with the butt of his gun because he is a prick who doesn't know who he's messing with.

Next, we're treated to a bombdiggety flashback of Claire running through a corridor, glass shattering all around her. She tries her best to escape, but she winds up surrounded by Umbrella's security team. She tricks them into thinking she's surrendering, and just as her gun is about to drop to the ground, she dives for it, shoots some flammable barrels behind the guards, and takes them out. That's right, mofos, recognize!

...except shit. A guard who's tardy to the party (not the same douche who hits her) shows up and takes Claire prisoner. Well, can't blame a girl for trying.

Back to the present. Claire is roused from unconsciousness by explosions, and the guard with a punctuality problem unlocks her cell as an act of mercy. Basically, he tells her that she's fucked. They're on an island, some shit has gone down, and there's no chance she'll escape alive. But Claire is bound and determined to find her older brother Chris, so she leaves the prison in hopes of getting more information.

Well, it turns out that the guard wasn't lying. The island is swarming with all sorts of creatures, including plenty of zombies who want to sink their teeth into Claire's pretty little neck. During her exploration, Claire runs into another survivor named Leonardo diCaprio Steve and the utterly creepy Alfred Ashford, who has a seriously icky obsession with his genius twin sister Alexia. Can Claire survive monsters, psychos, and some truly awful voice acting, find her brother, and make it out alive?

Goddamn, this game is fun. Until Resident Evil 4 came along, it was probably my favorite of the series. The plot gets surprisingly complex, the graphics (for the time) were mindblowing, and it's addictive as hell. The day I got it, I played for nine hours straight, a personal record still undefeated to this day.

As I've mentioned before, Leon Kennedy (of RE2 and 4 fame) is my favorite video game character of all time, but his comrade Claire is a very close second. She's what a video game heroine should be: brave, smart, tough, protective of those who need it, and completely unwilling to take shit from anyone or anything. She does say something pretty politically incorrect in this game (I can't be more specific because it's a COLOSSAL spoiler), but I'm willing to cut her a break this time. Claire's so awesome that I'd name my daughter after her.