Preview: Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (Nintendo DS)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom / Genre: Survival Horror / Release Date: 02-7-06

When you say Resident Evil in the gaming community I think the reactions you get tend to either be a love it or hate it mentality. Indeed, Capcom’s now legendary horror series has always fueled a lot of debate amongst gamers about the merits of the series in comparison to other games in its genre. What cannot be denied; however, is that Resident Evil has become one of the top selling franchises of our era and that it definitely has a fan base that is loyal and borders on rabid. Another fact of the gaming industry is that well known franchises, every now and again, will go for a “cash in” and repackage older games in shameless ways. The real question that we have in front of us right now is whether or not our game in question today is another shameless cash in, or is it a legitimate re-release with enough new features to make gamers throw their hard earned money down on it. Resident Evil: Deadly Silence is the latest remake of the original Resident Evil title that Capcom is sending down the pipe, but what makes this different than the previous rehashes is that this time around Capcom seems to be going for a balanced attack: New features that use the DS technology to it’s fullest along with all the nostalgic gore and voice acting that the original gave to us.

The storyline and graphics of Resident Evil: Deadly Silence have, by and large, remain the same as the original. Fans will be pleased to see that the game has made a very smooth transition to the DS handheld system with very little downgrades in the graphics and feel of the game itself. If anything, from screenshots and other accounts, it seems like Capcom has gone the extra mile to give the zombies, mutant dogs, and other Resident Evil creatures even more detail then in previous incarnations of the game. This will especially be prevalent in the first person aspect of the game. The touch screen really shines in terms of the first person mode of playing. Taking a cue from the smash hit, Resident Evil 4, Deadly Silence will have the knife as a constant in terms of your equipment, which means it will always be at your disposal. In fact the first person mode seems built with using the knife in mind, as you will use your stylus pen and touch screen to “knife battle” with zombies and other nasties throughout the mansion. This seems like a nice touch in terms of using the touch screen technology. However, the use of the touch screen and other features that the DS has at its disposal doesn’t stop there. Capcom has seen to it that DS fans will get as much as they can out of their system for this game play experience.

The touch screen will be vital in completing and surviving the Resident Evil: Deadly Silence experience. Remember a lot of the puzzles and actions required to move to new areas in the original? Well there all here, but now you’ll be completing some of them in a new manner. Turning valves, picking locks, opening chests, arranging objects, and other puzzles will all use the touch screen. It reminds me of the concept behind Trace Memory with the survival horror recipe mixed into it. In addition to that the touch screen will now be the one way you will be able to shake off zombies and enemies should they try to make you their lunch. Using the stylus you scribble back and forth in an attempt to knock them off of you so you can continue to slaughter the undead masses. It should be noted that the top screen is not forgotten in all of this touch screen gushing. Capcom has used the traditional top screen in some new ways. It will primarily be used for a map screen that will show you where you are, at all times. In addition there will also be a full map mode that can be accessed by pausing the game. This should prove to make navigating the large mansion easier and save you time with backtracking through the house. In addition the top screen will also show you what weapons you have and are using, and in multi-player mode it will show you where all characters are as your progress through the level. Finally, before we get to the other aspects of Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, Capcom has let on that even the microphone will be used. Right now the only way we know it can be used is to bring teammates back by mouth to mouth resuscitation, but other uses may be revealed as the game gets closer to sale date.

Multi-player mode is something completely new to this Resident Evil game. Of course we all know Resident Evil has had multi-player experiences by now (most notably in the Outbreak online series), but this promises to be a bit different. The first downside to this mode seems apparent already: every person must own a copy of Resident Evil: Deadly Silence to be able to take part in a multi-player game, and only four people can connect wirelessly at one time. Beyond that, it does seem that the multi-player aspect of Deadly Silence does hold promise. You will either be able to play in a head-to-head style of play or in a cooperative mode. In head to head you won’t be actually going up against other competitors; instead you will be in a battle to complete your level the fastest. You will both have to beat the same enemies, and complete the same puzzles, and the winner will be the one who can do so in the fastest time. As an interesting novelty, slaying certain enemies will result in certain handicaps for your opponent that will enable you to pull ahead. Cooperative mode does not change all that much, with the only major difference being that you will be working for the same goal in the level you’re playing, instead of working against one another.

Resident Evil purists will be delighted that as much as the game play has been revamped to fit the DS, some things remain the same. The cut scenes, which today are pretty much laugh out loud funny, as well as the original cult classic voice acting make a return which should provide some smirks along the Resident Evil: Deadly Silence experience. With a slated February 7h release date (according to we should all be able to see for ourselves just how this latest port plays out. Be sure to stay with Inside Pulse games for all the Resident Evil: Deadly Silence info you need.