Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
|Resident Evil – Code: Veronica|
|Platform(s)||Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica[a] is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom and released for the Dreamcast in 2000. It is the fourth major installment in the Resident Evil series and the first to debut outside a Sony PlayStation platform. The story takes place three months after the events of Resident Evil 2 (1998) and the concurrent destruction of Raccoon City as seen in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999). It follows Claire Redfield and her brother Chris Redfield in their efforts to survive a viral outbreak at both a remote prison island in the Southern Ocean and a research facility in Antarctica. The game retains the traditional survival horror controls and gameplay seen in previous series installments; however, unlike the pre-rendered backgrounds of previous games, Code: Veronica utilizes real-time 3D environments and dynamic camera movement.
The roots of Code: Veronica's development can be traced back to an unsuccessful attempt to port Resident Evil 2 to the Sega Saturn. After producer Shinji Mikami and his team learned they would be unable to port the game, they began development on an original game which eventually became Code: Veronica. The game was originally intended to be the true sequel to Resident Evil 2, and is still referred to as such by its creators. The title of "Resident Evil 3" was given to what was originally a spin-off game being developed in tandem for the PlayStation. Claire was designed with a tougher appearance than in Resident Evil 2, with the reason being her past experiences in Raccoon City built her toughness and confidence. Unlike the American horror themes and settings of previous games in the series, Code: Veronica employs a setting in the Southern Ocean and a European gothic horror design. This is achieved through the use of gothic architecture and art in addition to the writing style and story presentation.
Capcom announced Code: Veronica in August 1998 and released it in February 2000 after delays and a reduction in sales expectations due to the struggling Dreamcast platform. Sales were weak compared to series predecessors, but strong compared to other games on the system. The title received critical acclaim and has been considered both among the best Resident Evil games and Dreamcast games of all-time. Capcom released an updated version on PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast titled Code: Veronica X.[b] The revised version included new cutscenes which revealed more details about the story, and it was later ported to the GameCube in addition to other platforms in later years. Code: Veronica was adapted for Capcom's Gun Survivor series with Resident Evil Survivor 2 – Code: Veronica (2002) and also later adapted for Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2009).
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica features traditional survival horror gameplay found in most early Resident Evil games. This includes the series signature controls, interface, puzzles, as well as zombies and monsters to battle. Unlike previous games in the series which used pre-rendered backgrounds, Code: Veronica uses real-time 3D environments. Because of this, the camera is more dynamic than in previous games. The camera will follow, pan, and zoom as the player navigates their character through the environment, similar to Capcom's own Dino Crisis (1999). The story is told through cinematic CGI sequences and in-game cutscenes.
One half of Code: Veronica places the player in control of Claire Redfield while the other half is spent with her brother, Chris. Basic character actions include running, attacking, as well as pushing and climbing objects.:4–5 Items the player collects can be viewed on the status screen. From here, they can be examined to find clues to solve puzzles, and some can also be equipped. Also available in the status screen is a map and file menu. All notes found in the game are saved in game's files and may be essential to solve puzzles. The player can only hold a limited number of items at a given time; other items must be stored in storage boxes located throughout the game.:8–11
The player character may receive damage, which can be healed with restore items. Herbs, which restore character health, can be combined with other types of herbs to become more effective. Too much damage will result in a game over. At this point, the game must be continued from the last save point. A partner's death will also result in a game over. Some weapons are better suited for battling certain enemies, some of which have weaknesses to elements like fire or acid.:12–15 Once the game is beaten once, "Battle Mode" is unlocked. This mode gives the player character infinite ammo and places them in random locations with different enemies.
Three months after escaping from Raccoon City, prior to its eventual destruction, Claire Redfield raids an Umbrella Corporation facility in Paris in search of her brother Chris. Discovered by Umbrella's security forces and eventually captured, Claire is imprisoned on Rockfort Island – a prison complex owned by the corporation, situated in the Southern Ocean. Sometime after her imprisonment, Claire finds herself released by one of the prison staff and discovers that an outbreak of the T-Virus has occurred. In the resulting chaos, she finds herself teaming up with Steve Burnside, another inmate seeking to escape.
In their efforts to explore the island and find the means to leave, the pair finds themselves confronting the island's commander, Alfred Ashford. Both Claire and Steve find him to be mentally unstable as a result of him switching between two personalities - that of himself, and of his twin sister Alexia. Eventually, the pair manages to find a seaplane and use it to escape, only for Alfred to pursue them and switch their plane to autopilot, directing it towards another Umbrella facility in Antarctica. Upon their arrival, the pair finds the facility had suffered an outbreak, and fight their way through the zombies and monsters within to seek a means of escape, battling with Alfred and fatally wounding him. Before he dies, Alfred frees his sister Alexia, who had been in cryogenic sleep within the facility after injecting herself with the T-Veronica virus - an experimental virus the Ashford family had developed 15 years ago. Awakened, Alexia manages to recapture Claire and Steve as they attempt to escape.
Meanwhile, Chris Redfield arrives on Rockfort Island in search of Claire, after receiving a message from her via Leon S. Kennedy. Upon learning she had left, Chris focuses on determining where and begins searching the island. In the process of doing so, he comes across Albert Wesker, an independent agent since the Spencer mansion incident, who is seeking to retrieve a sample of the T-Veronica virus. After Chris learns of his sister's whereabouts, and Wesker discovers that Alexia is alive and carries what he needs, the two separately find their way to Antarctica. Once there, Chris frees his sister and helps her to search for Steve, only for them to find that he had been experimented with and injected with the T-Veronica virus. After mutating, Steve attempts to kill Claire but fails. Before he dies, he confesses his love for her. Meanwhile, Chris and Wesker confront Alexia. In the resulting conflict, Wesker escapes and manages to retrieve Steve's corpse for further experimentation, while Chris manages to defeat Alexia and escape with his sister before the Arctic facility self-destructs.
With the success of Resident Evil 2 in 1998, Capcom began more Resident Evil projects across multiple consoles. Code: Veronica originated from an unsuccessful attempt to port Resident Evil 2 to the Sega Saturn. After producer Shinji Mikami and his team learned they would be unable to port the game without making a large sacrifice to quality, Mikami was asked by his leadership to create something else for Sega fans, and so development began on an original game. When Mikami asked for more time to develop the game, he was told it would need to have a better technical quality, making Sega's upcoming Dreamcast more appealing. Around the same time, a side-story game for the PlayStation starring Jill Valentine in the events leading up to Resident Evil 2 was being developed. This title was originally intended to be a spin-off with the Dreamcast title to be the true sequel. According to IGN, Sony bartered for limited exclusivity on the "Resident Evil 3" title, and thus the side-story was branded as Resident Evil 3 and the true sequel was labeled a spin-off and later titled Code: Veronica. This notion is conflicted by interviews at the time, as producer Shinji Mikami and Flagship president Yoshiki Okamoto told journalists they wanted to keep the numbered chronology on the PlayStation systems, and give subtitles to Resident Evil games on all other systems. Regardless, the game content remained essentially unchanged.
Code: Veronica's story, setting, and artistic design strayed away from the series standard. While previous games are set in the United States and have a corresponding American feel to them, Code: Veronica is set in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica and carries a European gothic horror inspired design. This is made clear in the environments which feature gothic architecture and art in addition to central European carvings and German-style weaponry. In addition, the gothic feel is emphasized through the story. The horror in Code: Veronica is driven by this story which follows a crazed man and the fate of his noble bloodline. The story is told partly through a lullaby, and this method of storytelling is intended to bring out European operatic undertones. This contrasts to previous games in the series which were driven by the panic elements from American horror films, such as monsters and zombies. With regards to managing the art staff, Mikami split them up depending on their interests. Those interested in guns worked solely on gun designs while those interested in environments were sent to photograph houses and castles for research.
During in-game cutscenes, the polygon count is increased to nearly 2,500 polygons, especially on character faces. Capcom added detail to the zombie enemies unprecedented in the series, such as making their jaws move and eyes twitch. Claire was given a tougher appearance in Code: Veronica than in Resident Evil 2, the reason being her experiences in Resident Evil 2 built her toughness and confidence to handle any situation. This characterization is emphasized by her ability to dual wield sub-machine guns, and also by the opening cinematic which features her in a John Woo-inspired action scene. Mikami described Code: Veronica as 50-60% of his perfect vision for Resident Evil in February 2001, and he cited that future Resident Evil projects may make up the other half.
By the time Resident Evil 3 was released, development on Code: Veronica was nearing completion. Much of Code: Veronica's 70-person development staff was outsourced because Capcom resources had been tied up working on Resident Evil 3. Shinji Mikami and Yoshiki Okamoto's team at Flagship oversaw the game's scenario and direction, while XAX Entertainment assisted with environments and Nextech handled much of the technical development. Capcom Production Studio 4 still handled art direction and character design. By September 1999, Sega was sending some of its own developers to help add final touches to the game. Sega assisted Capcom with the game's programming to help keep a good framerate.
Code: Veronica was confirmed to be in development as early as August 1998. Despite not being a numbered title, they still promoted it as the true sequel to Resident Evil 2. It was officially revealed on October 6, 1998 by Capcom R&D chief Yoshiki Okamoto. Capcom of Japan stated that they were hoping to sell the game to roughly one third of all Dreamcast users, which they estimated would total to around one million copies. In July 1999, Capcom of Japan announced their shipment expectations for the Japanese Dreamcast version were at 400,000 copies. Journalists were skeptical if this was only the initial shipment, or evidence that Capcom overestimated sales of the Dreamcast, given their initial sales estimate was one million. Capcom initially planned to have Code: Veronica released around the same time as Resident Evil 3 and, more importantly, the Dreamcast launch in North America in late 1999. However, delays pushed the project back to early 2000. To make up for the game's absence, Capcom announced they would release a port of Resident Evil 2 for the Dreamcast that December. This release, called Biohazard 2: Value Plus, included a demo for Code: Veronica.
Code: Veronica was released in February 2000. Pre-ordered copies came with a unique numbered tag, special red packaging, and a unique title screen. Limited Dreamcast system bundles were also released to commemorate the game's release. The "Claire Version," limited to 1,800 copies, consisted of the Code: Veronica game, a pink system, pink controller, and a VMU. The other bundle, known as the "S.T.A.R.S. Version," has the items except the system is a dark transparent blue and features a "S.T.A.R.S." logo. This bundle was limited to 200 copies. Expecting high demand, Capcom set up a contest for fans to enter to win an opportunity to purchase the systems. A soundtrack was released in February 2000 as well.
Code: Veronica X
Because the Dreamcast had a much smaller user base than PlayStation platforms, Capcom knew the series could not survive on the platform. This led to bringing an extended cut, titled Code: Veronica X in the West and Code: Veronica Kanzenban in Japan, to the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 in 2001. The extended cut was announced in November 2000. It has approximately 10 minutes of new cinematic sequences that reveal more about Wesker's involvement with Umbrella. The rest of the game remains mostly unchanged, although Capcom claimed they made some graphical enhancements. Capcom printed special DVDs of Wesker's Report for the North American PlayStation 2 release. They were sold on Capcom's website and given to customers who purchased the game at specialty retailers such as Electronics Boutique and GameStop.
Code: Veronica X was later released on the GameCube along with several other Resident Evil games. It was included with the Biohazard Collector Box for the GameCube in Japan, a bundle of Resident Evil titles which also included a copy of Wesker's Report. A high-definition remastered version of Code: Veronica X was released in September 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. An emulated version for the PlayStation 3 was released as a PS2 Classic in July 2012 in Japan and in May 2014 in Europe. Another emulated PS2 version was released for the PlayStation 4 in May 2017.
|Reception (Dreamcast version)|
Code: Veronica released to critical acclaim; many critics believed it to be the best entry in the Resident Evil series at the time, and a "must-own" for the Dreamcast. Derek Williams of AllGame called it the best game for the system along with Soul Calibur (1999). A critic from Game Revolution found it to be the best of all the horror games on the Dreamcast, towering the likes of The House of the Dead 2 (1999), Zombie Revenge (1999), and Carrier (2000).
The game's atmosphere and presentation received high praise. Critics at Edge called it "the closest the series has got to emulating a Hollywood action feature". Most reviewers found the graphics as being some of the very best on the Dreamcast and being a testament to the power of its hardware. Along with this, critics pointed out Code: Veronica's use of real-time backgrounds and a dynamic camera as an improvement from the pre-rendered backgrounds of previous series entries. The CGI sequences were also praised, especially the opening cinematic. The use of music and sound was called "top-notch" and "perfect". The story received positive reviews. Maura Sutton of Computer and Video Games praised the adult twist on the narrative. Some critics pointed out that despite improvements, the game is still a Resident Evil title at heart, and therefore inherited the good and bad qualities of previous games. The controls were a negative point of criticism between some reviews.
Reviews for the PlayStation 2 release of Code: Veronica X were mostly positive. Critics shared similar opinions to the Dreamcast reviews, but some complaints were drawn from it being a mostly unmodified port of an 18-month-old Dreamcast game. GameSpot's Joe Fielder pointed out that Sony's Extermination (2001) and Capcom's own Onimusha: Warlords (2001) had been released during this gap with better controls. The GameCube version garnered average reviews, due to its unaltered, ported status. The high definition remaster was released over a decade after the original and was welcomed with mediocre reviews. Critics commonly cited the game's archaic design and controls as making it less appealing compared with contemporary offerings. The remaster did find some positive reception from Game Informer's Tim Turi who found in enjoyment from playing what he called a "challenging classic survival horror game" and "a harrowing but memorable trek through the series' heyday."
Code: Veronica outsold Shenmue (1999) within its first week on shelves in February 2000. In total, the Dreamcast version sold almost 450,000 units in the United States and 1.14 million copies worldwide. The sales were weak compared to series predecessors, but strong compared to other Dreamcast games. The PlayStation 2 version of Code: Veronica X had sold 900,000 copies and earned $27 million in the United States by July 2006, outselling Resident Evil 4. It went on to sell 1.4 million copies worldwide. Next Generation ranked it as the 63rd highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in the United States. Combined console sales of Resident Evil games released in the 2000s reached 3 million units in the United States by July 2006.
The story in Code: Veronica has been adapted into other works. Resident Evil Survivor 2 – Code: Veronica (2002) for PlayStation 2 follows the story of Code: Veronica from a first-person view with light gun shooter style gameplay. Similarly, another light gun game, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2009) was released for the Wii and features sequences set within Code: Veronica along with Resident Evil 2. As with previous Resident Evil titles, the story was adapted into a novel written by S. D. Perry. Also, a mini-series comic was published by DC Comics.
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