Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
|Resident Evil – Code: Veronica|
North American Dreamcast cover art
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, known in Japan as Biohazard – Code: Veronica,[a] is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom and originally 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 to due 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. Because the Dreamcast had a much smaller user base than the PlayStation 2, Capcom released an updated version for the latter 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 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 give the player character infinite ammo and places them in random locations with different enemies.
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). The game begins with Claire Redfield raiding an Umbrella Corporation facility in Paris in search of her brother, Chris Redfield. She is captured and sent for imprisonment at Rockfort Island, located in the Southern Ocean. She is soon freed from her cell by a security guard in the aftermath of a T-virus outbreak on the island. Claire teams up with inmate Steve Burnside and they begin their escape of the contaminated island. They are confronted early on by the island's commander, Alfred Ashford. He is a highly unstable character who has developed two personalities; himself and his twin sister Alexia Ashford. Meanwhile, Albert Wesker is on a mission of his own to retrieve a sample of the T-Veronica virus developed by Alexia.
Claire and Steve eventually escape the island via plane, but Alfred sets it to autopilot and flies both of them to another Umbrella facility in Antarctica. There, Alfred hopes to free his sister from her 15-year cryogenic sleep she took after the injection of the T-Veronica virus. After another fight with Claire and Steve, Alfred is severely wounded. The protagonists attempt to escape the facility via a bulldozer. Meanwhile, Alfred limps to Alexia. He witnesses her awakening moments before dying. Alexia, cradling her brother's corpse, summons giant tentacles and crashes Claire's and Steve's bulldozer, recapturing them.
Meanwhile, Chris Redfield arrives on Rockfort after having been contacted by Leon S. Kennedy. He soon learns that Claire already escaped the island, and then encounters Wesker and enters a battle with him. Just as Wesker is about to finish Chris off, Alexia appears on a screen, laughing. Stunned by Alexia being alive, Wesker changes his mind and heads out to Antarctica. Chris finds his way there as well and is reunited with Claire, who sets out to find Steve. She discovers that Alexia conducted an experiment on him, injecting him with the T-Veronica virus. Now mutated, Steve tries to kill Claire. He is unsuccessful, mutates back to his human form, confesses his love for Claire, and then dies. Claire, now shocked and saddened by Steve's death, breaks down in tears and is left trapped in a cell.
At the same time, Chris and Wesker confront Alexia. Wesker escapes, leaving Chris who ultimately defeats her. He activates the facility's self-destruct system, which releases the lock on Claire's prison cell. As he tries to escape, Alexia confronts him a second time, now more powerful, but Chris manages to defeat her again. With Alexia dead, Chris runs to the emergency elevator and catches a glimpse of Wesker and his men retrieving Steve's corpse for further experimentation of the T-Veronica virus. Chris and Wesker have one final confrontation which is cut short as the facility begins to fall apart. Chris reunites with Claire and both set off just as the facility explodes. As they fly off, Chris swears they will take down Umbrella.
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. Sony reportedly 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. Despite this, the game content remained essentially unchanged. This notion is conflicted by other 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.
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 features 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 story telling 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.
The polygon count is increased, especially on character faces, during in-game cutscenes to nearly 2,500 polygons. 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 of Code: Veronica was nearing completion. Because Capcom resources were tied up working on Resident Evil 3, much of Code: Veronica's development was outsourced. 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. Around 70 people total worked on Code: Veronica.
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 1 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 1 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 sold almost 450,000 units in the United States. The sales were weak compared to series predecessors, but strong compared to other Dreamcast games.
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, to the PlayStation 2. The extended cut was announced in November 2000 for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. 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.
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. The PlayStation 2 port, with a higher user install base, garnered sales of 710,000 units in the United States. The Dreamcast, PC, and GameCube ports of all versions of Code: Veronica sold over 3.5 million copies combined. Code: Veronica X was re-released for the PlayStation 4 on May 9 2017.
|Reception (Dreamcast version)|
The Dreamcast version of the game garnered critical acclaim: IGN giving it a 9.2/10, GameSpot giving it a 9.5/10, and GamePro giving it a 4.5/5. Edge praised the game's "frenetic" pace and dynamic camera movement, noting that it creates "distinct gameplay consequences." The updated release, Code: Veronica X fared well, garnering a 9.0/10 from GameSpot, and a 4.5/5 from GamePro. The GameCube version garnered average reviews, due to its unaltered, ported status, 5.0/10 and 6.9/10 on IGN and GameSpot, respectively. In Game Informer's "Top 100 Games of All Time", it was ranked as the sixty-ninth best video game. GamesRadar named Code: Veronica the 11th best Dreamcast game of all time, out of a list of 25. ScrewAttack placed Code: Veronica 4th on their list of the Top 10 Dreamcast Games. Video game review show, Classic Game Room, have stated on several occasions, including the original review, that this is their favourite Resident Evil game, and therefore the best.
Game Informer's Tim Turi gave the HD re-release an 8.5/10 and a Silver Award, writing "I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a challenging classic survival horror game. Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD rewards players armed with patience, resourcefulness, and plenty of ink ribbons with a harrowing but memorable trek through the series' heyday." He also praised the HD's "vividly gory" detail. In contrast, IGN's Richard George—while acknowledging that the game was "a step up for the RE franchise"—gave it a 5/10, criticizing "stilted, tank-like controls," "laughable" graphics, and "clearly archaic design".
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has sold 3.7 million copies worldwide with the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and the HD collection combined since 2013.
As with previous Resident Evil games, novelization of Code: Veronica was written by author S. D. Perry. Although the novel was first published on December 1, 2001, it is based on the original game and does not take into account the added events introduced in the later version of the game. As with the previous novelizations by Perry, the original character Mr. Trent appears as a mysterious stringpuller behind the plot.
Code: Veronica was also adapted into a manhua by Lee Chung Hing (who also did a similar adaptation of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis), published in Hong Kong during the original game's release. An English version of the comic was published as four collected graphic novels by DC Comics in North America.
Code: Veronica was adapted into Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica (Bio Hazard Gun Survivor 2 Code: Veronica in Japan), a first-person shooter released in 2001 as a co-production between Namco and Capcom. It is the sequel to the previous game, Resident Evil Survivor. The arcade version runs on the Dreamcast-based NAOMI arcade hardware. Gun Survivor 2 has no bearing on the plot of Code: Veronica and the events of the game are actually depicted as a dream in Claire's mind at the end of the game. A PlayStation 2 version of Gun Survivor 2 was released in Japan and the PAL region, where it utilised the G-Con 2 peripheral. Although often mistaken for a light gun game, the arcade version of the game uses a fixed machine gun that serves as a joystick that can be pushed in four directions and rotated left and right to move the player and rotate the view, as well as to fire the player's weapons. The game runs on a timer that counts down when an area is entered, and if time runs out, the Nemesis from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis will start pursuing the players and attacking them. Only certain arcade machines had 2 player support. The PlayStation 2 version of the game contained a "Dungeon Mode", which is a series of long levels that have to be completed within a 30-minute time limit. Claire Redfield, Steve Burnside, Chris Redfield and Rodrigo Juan Raval are playable in Dungeon Mode.
The Darkside Chronicles
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- Official website (Japanese)
- Official website (Complete Version) (Japanese)
- Official website (GameCube) (Japanese)
- Creature designs at Satoshi Nakai's personal homepage with commentary (Japanese)