Saturday, June 11, 2011

RESIDENT EVIL: DIRECTOR'S CUT



Resident Evil
Developer - Capcom
Publisher - Capcom
Release date – March 22, 1996

Resident Evil, known in Japan as Bio Hazard, is a survival horror video game developed and released by Capcom originally for the PlayStation in 1996, and is the first game in the Resident Evil series.


Story

A series of bizarre murders have occurred on the outskirts of Raccoon City, with signs of cannibalism on the victims' remains. The Raccoon Police Department's Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) are assigned to investigate the murders. S.T.A.R.S. is divided into two teams: Alpha and Bravo. Bravo Team is sent first, but after contact with them is lost, Alpha Team is sent to investigate their disappearance.


Players can choose between the two Alpha Team members Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, each with their own unique differential abilities. Jill has more firepower and possesses a lock-pick that enables her to access areas and items easily, as well as an inventory large enough to hold up to eight items, while Chris has limited firepower but is more durable in terms of taking damage from enemies, and a smaller inventory that can hold only six items.

The game's supporting characters include Barry Burton, Alpha team's weapons expert who provides Jill with additional firepower; Rebecca Chambers, a surviving member of Bravo team who supports Chris with her medical expertise; Albert Wesker, the captain of STARS and leader of Alpha team; and Brad Vickers, the helicopter pilot who sends transmissions to them as he tries to find them in the helicopter.

The other members of STARS include Joseph Frost, the sixth member of Alpha team whose sudden death sets the story into motion, Enrico Marini, the leader of Bravo team who gives the player the game's most critical plot twist, Richard Aiken, who gives the player a radio used to receive Brad's transmissions, Kenneth J. Sullivan, a member of Bravo team killed just after Alpha team arrives, and Forest Speyer, whose corpse is found on the balcony by the player.


The game begins on July 24, 1998. Alpha team locates Bravo Team's helicopter, but there are no signs of survivors; only a severed hand is found. While searching the area for further clues, Alpha Team is attacked by monstrous dogs, one of which kills one of the team's members, Joseph Frost. Alpha's helicopter pilot, Brad, panics and takes off alone. Pursued by the dogs who killed their colleague, Alpha Team is forced to seek refuge within a nearby mansion, which is believed to be abandoned.


Gameplay

The player's character is a member of special law enforcement task force, who is trapped in a mansion populated by dangerous mutated creatures. The objective of the game is to uncover the mystery of the mansion and ultimately escape alive. The game's graphics consist of real-time 3D polygonal characters and objects, superimposed over pre-rendered backdrops with fixed camera angles. The player controls the character by pushing the D-pad or analog stick left or right to rotate the character and then move the character forward or backwards by pushing the d-pad up or down.

To fulfill the game's objective, the player uncovers various documents that provide exposition about the game's narrative, as well as clues that help them solve various puzzles within the mansion. Key items are also available that give the player access to other items or new areas. The player can arm their character with weapons to defend themselves from enemies, although the ammunition available for each firearm is limited and the player must learn to conserve the ammunition they have for situations where they will really need it. To restore the character's health, the player uses first-aid sprays or three types of healing herbs that can be mixed together in different combinations for different healing effects. The carrying capacity of the player is limited depending on the character and items that the player does not wish to carry at the moment can be stored into an item box to be retrieved for later use. To save their progress, the player must pick up an ink ribbon and use it on any of the typewriters scattered through key locations in the game. However, the supply of ink ribbons the player can acquire is limited much like the player's ammo and healing supplies. Players will encounter and fight various infected creatures as flesh-eating zombies, undead dogs, giant spiders, and other monsters.


Each character has four endings, with the outcome being determined on whether they rescued the other two S.T.A.R.S. survivors or not. The character who is not chosen by the player will be imprisoned in a solitary cell in the mansion's underground lab. In order to access the cell, the player must collect a set of MO Discs distributed within the mansion and use them in different decoding devices to unlock the door. To get the best ending, the player must rescue the other protagonist in addition to their assigned partner.


Development

Resident Evil was created by a team of staff members who would later become part of Capcom Production Studio 4. The project's development began in 1993, and the game took three years to develop. The inspiration for Resident Evil was the earlier Capcom horror game Sweet Home (1989). Shinji Mikami was initially commissioned to make a game set in a haunted mansion like Sweet Home, which Resident Evil was originally intended to be a remake of. The project was proposed by Sweet Home creator Tokuro Fujiwara, who was Mikami's mentor and served as the game's producer. Resident Evil was based on Sweet Home's gameplay system, adopting many elements from the game, including the limited item inventory management, the mansion setting, the puzzles, the emphasis on survival, the door loading screen, the use of scattered notes and diary entries as storytelling mechanics, multiple endings depending on how many characters survive, backtracking to previous locations in order to solve puzzles later on, the use of death animations, individual character items such as a lockpick or lighter, restoring health through items scattered across the mansion, the intricate layout of the mansion, and the brutally horrific imagery. Fujiwara said the "basic premise was that I’d be able to do the things that I wasn’t able to include" in Sweet Home, "mainly on the graphics front", and that he was "confident that horror games could become a genre in themselves." He entrusted Mikami, who was initially reluctant because he hated "being scared", with the project, because he "understood what’s frightening.

During the first six months of development, Mikami worked on the game alone, creating concept sketches, designing characters, and writing over 40 pages of script. Several of the Resident Evil mansion's pre-rendered backdrops were inspired by The Overlook Hotel, the setting for 1980 horror film, The Shining. Mikami also cited the 1979 film Zombie as a negative inspiration for the game. The game was initially conceived as a fully 3D first-person take on Sweet Home, with action and shooting mechanics. A first-person prototype was produced, but due to the PlayStation's hardware limitations, Mikami said the original prototype "technically...wasn't good enough." The prototype initially featured a supernatural, psychological Japanese horror style similar to Sweet Home, before opting for a zombie horror style influenced by George Romero films. During production, Mikami discovered Alone in the Dark (1992), which influenced him to adopt a cinematic fixed-view camera system. Mikami said that, if it wasn't for Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil would have had a first-person view instead. Mikami was initially reluctant to adopt Alone in the Dark's fixed-view camera system, saying it "had an effect on immersion, making the player feel a bit more detached", but eventually adopted it because the use of pre-rendered backdrops allowed a higher level of detail than his fully 3D first-person view concept, which "didn't get along so well with the original PlayStation's specs.

In pre-production, other characters were conceived. Dewey, an African-American man, was intended to perform a comic relief role, while Gelzer, a big cyborg, was a typical "strongman" character. Both were later replaced, by Rebecca and Barry, respectively. At this stage of development, a local co-op mode was present, along with different outfits. A prototype made for the 1995 V-Jump Festival presentation in Japan featured real-time weapon changes, with the co-op mode already removed and rudimentary character models and textures. An early 1996 preview in Maximum Console magazine featured a graveyard and a slightly different version of the final boss.

Almost all development was done on Silicon Graphics hardware using the software program Soft Image. The PlayStation was chosen as the lead platform because the development team felt it was the most appropriate for the game in terms of things such as the amount of polygons. The development team had upwards of 80 people towards the end of the game's development.

The live action full motion video sequences were filmed in Japan with a cast of American actors. All Japanese releases contain English voice acting with Japanese captions and text. However, Japanese voice performances were also recorded but were left unused, as Mikami found the quality of the performances inadequate. However, lead programmer Yasuhiro Anpo later said that, due to all of the development staff being Japanese, they were unaware of the "poor localization" that apparently "hindered the realism and immersion of the title" for the international release, which was one of the reasons for the 2002 remake. The original Japanese PlayStation version also features a vocal ending theme, "Yume de Owarasenai..." (夢で終わらせない... "I Won't Let This End as a Dream..."?), performed by Jpop band Fumitaka Fuchigami, that is not in any other versions of the game.

Fujiwara said the game was originally targeted towards a core audience and he only expected it to sell around 200,000 copies, before the game went on to sell millions. Mikami said he was "a little worried about how well a horror game would really sell." Anpo said "no one at the time expected the title to be such a success.


Soundtrack

The soundtrack consists of several Aerosmith songs continuously looped, including "Eat The Rich", "Sweet Emotion", "Toys in the Attic" and "Walk This Way". A Muzak version of "Love in an Elevator" plays in the elevator part of the Amazon Jungle level. The soundtrack was featured in the CD Offer after playing or during attract mode.

The console versions included loops of "Rag Doll" for the attract screen, main menu, and score, "Toys in the Attic" for the Middle East level, and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" for the ending.


English localization


Bio Hazard was renamed for the North America and Europe markets after Chris Kramer, Director of Communications at Capcom, pointed out that it would be impossible to trademark "Biohazard" in the United States. Among others, the 1992 video game Bio-Hazard Battle and the New York alternative metal band Biohazard were already using the name. Capcom therefore ran an internal company contest to find a new name. The name Resident Evil was settled upon since the game takes place in a mansion. Kramer thought the name "was super-cheesy; can't remember what I felt was a better alternative, probably something stupid about zombies – but the rest of the marketing crew loved it and were ultimately able to convince Capcom Japan and Mikami-san that the name fit.

The original PlayStation version of Resident Evil went through several considerable changes between its original Japanese release and its international counterparts. The North American and European versions of the intro were heavily cut from the one featured in the Japanese releases. Shots of mangled corpses, a "Cerberus" zombie dog being shot, and Joseph's death were edited out, as well as scenes featuring the character Chris Redfield smoking a cigarette. Despite these tweaks, the game was ultimately released on the PlayStation as one of the first games to receive the mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

In the game itself, the auto-aiming function was disabled and the numbers of ink ribbons found by the player were reduced. Capcom also planned to eliminate the interconnected nature of item boxes, meaning that items could only be retrieved from the locations where they were originally stored. This change made it in preview copies of the US version, but was removed from the retail release. This particular game mechanic would resurface in its remake as part of an unlockable difficulty setting.

Director's Cut Dual Shock Ver.


A third version for the PlayStation, known as the Dual Shock Ver. and co-produced by Keiji Inafune, was released in August 1998. The Dual Shock Ver., as the title indicates, feature support for the DualShock controller's analog controls and vibration functions, as well as a new symphonic soundtrack, replacing the original soundtrack by Makoto Tomozawa, Koichi Hiroki, and Masami Ueda. The game's symphonic music was officially credited to composer Mamoru Samuragochi, although he would later admit in 2014 that he directed his orchestrator Takashi Niigaki to ghostwrite the new soundtrack, for which Samuragochi took full credit for composition. The PAL release has the original music. The Japanese Dual Shock Ver. came packaged with a bonus disc that contained downloadable save data, footage of the unused Japanese dubbed versions of the live-action cutscenes, along with brief gameplay footage of the canceled original version of Resident Evil 2.

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