Resident Evil Zero
2002 Capcom

Before the mansionbefore the disaster...evil is born in the form of Resident Evil Zero, the prequel to the original survival horror game Resident Evil. Resident Evil Zero explains the events that lead up to the mansion incident and the origins of the T virus.

Its July 1998, the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team is sent to Raccoon City to investigate a series of bizarre murders. En route to the investigation, the helicopter transporting the team experiences mechanical difficulties and crashes in the forest outside of Raccoon City. The team escapes unscathed, but it discovers an overturned military truck filled with murdered navy officers. Upon further investigation, they discover that the truck was transporting the convict Billy Coen who is charged with multiple murders. Believing Billy is responsible for the deaths of the naval officers, the Bravo Team splits up to apprehend Billy. You follow Rebecca Chambers as she searches for Billy and discovers a nightmare.


  • Prequel to Resident Evil
  • Control two playable characters via Character Swapping
  • Ability to Drop items
  • Adventure that spans two discs
  • Extra feature "Leech Hunter"

Mary Jane Irwin: The door to safety is shut...There is no turning back. Straight from the opening cut scene to the final boss battle, Resident Evil Zero sucks you into the mystery, and in the process sucks you into the game. Maybe its the spooky atmosphere, the groans of zombies in the distance, the feeling of your heart pounding in your chest and breath catching in your throat, the panic when you realize you have no more ammo and the hordes are swarming around you, or it could just be the desire to unravel the next thread in the nightmare. Whether its one of these reasons or all of them, there is just something unexplainable about the Resident Evil Series. As much as you want to, need to, put down the controller for your own sanity, it remains glued in your hands. You need to uncover the truth.

You are entering an insane world Resident Evil Zero touts all the standard RE fare. Basically you try to unravel a mystery by exploring a train, training facility, factory, and a treatment center. During the course of this investigation, youll be forced to solve puzzles and confront several horrors. However, Capcom has added a twist to Resident Evil Zero. Now you are responsible for two lives. When Rebecca finds Billy Coen, the two team up to try to escape the nightmare alive. This means youll encounter puzzles that seem impassable, until you realize that you need to split the two up and have one stand on a switch while the other moves through the door. At other points, youll be forced to explore alone. Because each character has special skills (Rebecca can mix herbs and chemicals, whereas Billy is stronger and has a lighter) several puzzles are character specific and sometimes can be rather frustrating. Luckily, swapping characters is pretty easy. Just tap a button (it varies depending on the controller set up) and you will control the other character while the computer takes over the recently vacated one.

When accessing the inventory, you will be able to swap items between characters if they are close enough to each other. Juggling your inventory is important because each character can only hold a certain number of items. However, Resident Evil Zero finally allows you to drop items instead of having to deposit them in an item box. Also accessed from the inventory screen is a partner menu that allows you to set up how your character responds to situations. You can have them work as a team or investigate alone, and choose whether they will attack or remain idle when assaulted. Beware, it does matter whether the computer controlled character is attacking or idling. Although normally the computer does a good job keeping its character alive, there are certain situations where it doesnt do so well. Allow me to elaborate. I spent at least half the game with so little health that if Billy or Rebecca had so much as stubbed their toe, they would have died. Now when you only have five bullets, and you find yourself in a hallway filled with spiders, your best option is to run away. So, Rebecca (controlled by me) safely runs down the hall and into a safe room. Billy (computer controlled), without my supervision, decided it would be a good idea to stop and attack the spiders with his three shotgun shells. Smart move? Not really, he died, so I died and had to start from my last save. Yes, you need to baby-sit them all the time, because if one character dies its game over.

While on the topic of controlthe controlsare not the best. If anyone has played any Resident Evil game, you know what this means. Basically, moving your character involves some getting used to. It all depends on what direction they are facing. To move the character forward, push up. To move them backwards, push down. This is simple enough, but turning is a pain. Pushing left on the control stick will turn you to the left (vice versa for right), but to actually move in that direction you need to hit forward. I admit it's a bad explanation, but the controls are just awkward. Regardless, they involve some practice because not being able to navigate around a zombie and dying because of it isnt a whole lot of fun. Those of you who are real sticklers for good control might want to avoid this like the plague. It took me about a half hour and a couple deaths to readjust, but trust me, it is possible to adapt. The question some of you may be asking is why this wasnt fixed, since this is a brand new experience. I have no idea. Why Capcom didnt at least give you the option of using Type C control layout from Resident Evil, which is not the best but is easier, is beyond me. Why they didnt get rid of the bad control all together is another big question mark. The only reason I can come up with is that you cant have the first game playing better than its sequels. Just pray Capcom realizes its error and corrects it for Biohazard 4

There is still evil in this place Graphically, Resident Evil Zero is an improvement over the already beautiful REmake. Some may complain about the fact that they are all pre-rendered backgrounds, but everything is beautifully detailed from the floor to the decaying zombies. Capcom even fixed the problem of characters floating over the floor that was present in the original. Now it looks like Billy and Rebecca actually are touching the ground. In fact, the only real graphical hiccup I discovered was that on a couple occasions Billy or Rebecca would step through the stairs. The other classic Resident Evil problem is the cameras. All the camera angles are fixed, so youll find yourself running into enemies, or fighting something blindly. Sometimes this is a serious pain because you cant quite see something and wind up missing an item, or dying, but it does add to the terror of the gamefacing the unknown. It may be a cheap gimmick, but not being able to see what is in front of you does heighten your anxiety. The FMV sequences are done well, and reveal just the right amount of plot. The one gripe is Billys hair just looks really fake. Yes, its a silly thing to complain about, but he has those long locks that seem to have hardened into static dreadlocks (or big pipe cleaners), it just looks weird. The only other real complaint is that sometimes there are awfully long loading periods between FMV and game play. Even when doing a simple action such as opening a door (a short sequence plays showing the door open), there will be a noticeable wait.

Are the faint sounds of footsteps those of survivors? Resident Evil Zero really knows how to enhance the scariness of the game. The musical score is very subliminal. You almost dont notice it except in key moments during boss battles where the tempo and volume increases to induce panic. The rest of the time, the score is kind of a backdrop to keep the mood of the game, but what is more noticeable is the actual sound affects. Your pulse immediately rises when you hear the shuffling of a zombie or its groan. After shooting randomly in the dark, and hearing the gasping wheeze of the zombies last breath, you relax. Then you begin to panic again when you hear the squishy foot steps of a leech zombie, or the skittering of plague carriers. Your footsteps echo in hallways and clang on metal catwalks, doors creak, and crows screech, everything is perfectly represented in an eerie audio package. The Resident Evil Zero team really did an excellent job bringing the world to life.

Its dark and silentbut you can still feel your heartbeat So, is Resident Evil Zero really scary? Yes. But, I didnt feel the scares were as intense as Resident Evil. This could be because the REmake was my first outing with the series so it had a greater impact on my psyche. Resident Evil Zero should be classified more as a survival adventure, because it is scary, but it is more like a rollercoaster ride. There are definitive peaks, and then it kind of tapers off into just being spooky until you hit the next spike. Still, Resident Evil Zero is scary, it creates the right atmosphere with gory detail and sound, and for the full affect play alone at night in the dark. Unfortunately, veterans of the series probably wont find it as frightening as past incarnations.

You must survive to expose this nightmare How did Resident Evil Zero wind up with a nine when there are what some may call inexcusable errors (controls and camera)? Admittedly, these are errors that should have been fixed by the fifth game in the series. But, these flaws are essential to the entire Resident Evil experience. They add to both the fear and frustration, yet they deter few from the game. It only takes a little time to adapt (or readapt) to the controls and the moaning will help you out when you cant see enemies. Sure they may keep some from total immersion, or even trying out the game. But when looking at the entire package, this game was so immersing it caused me several sleepless nights because I couldnt pry my eyes from the screen. Resident Evil Zero is wholeheartedly recommended to anyone who enjoyed the REmake, the series, or who is looking for a scary adventure. If you dont fit any of these categories, I still recommend you at least rent the title. If you are interested in Resident Evil Zero, but have not played Resident Evil, I suggest that you play the original first. I think that to get the full affect of the revelations about the T virus that Resident Evil Zero (which were fewer than I would have liked) brings, you need to experience the mansion incident. This is probably because the game was made after the original (hence the prequel), so it takes into account that most people playing it have already played through the REmake. What are you waiting for? Immerse yourself in the nightmare.