WARNING: Contains some plotline and game spoilers!
Establishing a kingdom where
Beauty has absolute authority is the dream
Which I must make a reality. – Morpheus D. Duvall
Released in 2003 (Capcom)
Genre: Survival Horror/Light gun shooter
Platform: PlayStation 2
ELSPA rating: 15+ / ESRB rating: M for mature1
1 player; 145KB minimum required to save; optional controller SLEH-00007 (G-con 2 compatible light gun)
This is the third attempt at a Resident Evil light-gun game with Resident evil Survivor being the first attempt on the PlayStation. Capcom have removed the awkward first-person perspective, and revolutionised the control system (Discussed in detail in the gameplay section) creating in my opinion one of the best light gun games out there.
You play mainly as Bruce McGivern (age: 27) who is a covert operator for the anti-Umbrella pursuit investigation team of the United States strategic commander (U.S. STRATCOM). After the incident in Raccoon City (Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3) Umbrella continued to research and produce biological weapons. A lab in Paris was broken into and three T-virus samples were stolen. Shortly after this Morpheus D. Duvall (Age : 32) hijacked the Umbrella cruise liner. Duvall was a recent employee of Umbrella (Working in research and development) until he was dismissed for causing an ‘incident’ in Raccoon city on May 11th 1998 (Not related to the other Resident Evil games). Since then he has harboured a grudge against Umbrella. He is obsessed with beauty and aims to create the perfect society where beauty means power. Bruce has been sent onto the ship to establish the situation. Initially Duvall captures him, but a mysterious woman (Fongling, age : 25) saves Bruce.
Fongling is a covert operator for the safety department of China, and is trying to carry out a similar mission to McGivern. In classic video game style they do not see eye to eye at first, but grow closer with more encounters and it turns into a love story. At several points through the game you can play as Fongling to complete special objectives. It transpires that Duvall is planning to auction off the T-virus to the highest bidder to fund his new ‘empire’ in Africa however after he is injured in the initial stages of the game he injects himself with a virus. The virus with which he injects himself is a cross between the T and G virus. This gives the infected regenerative strength and electrical powers (which he uses to shield himself). Events on board lead to the ship crashing. Bruce and Fongling end up at an Umbrella facility which turns out to house a missile base (Constructed by Duvall) to take his revenge on Umbrella.
As with all Resident Evil climactic scenes you are racing against a missile launch to try and defeat Duvall.
Capcom have removed the awkward first-person perspective, and given you a much easier third-person perspective to move about in. This makes it feel much more like a Resident Evil game. The improved G-con2 light gun has a d-pad on the back (Perfect thumb position) allowing you to control the character as you would normally. By using the A and B buttons you can even walk and strafe around, should you wish to. To enter shooting mode all you have to do is pull the trigger. The camera instantly changes into a first-person perspective allowing you to point and shoot the enemies as you wish. You can even move around in the first-person perspective by holding either A or B buttons. To move back out of the shooting mode simply push up or down on the d-pad and you will re-enter third person perspective. Another excellent function which has been added is the dodge manoeuvre. This is performed by pressing either A or B button when an enemy is about to strike you and is vital from defeating the bosses. These new controls become very instinctive and are much better than the previous systems.
The constrictive view from being in first-person perspective (Shooting mode) has even been improved. Ok, so you can still see only as big as your TV is, but excellent stereo sound allows you to hear which direction the monsters are and if you do not have stereo sound then on-screen indicators show you the direction the sound is coming from. Shooting the enemies ‘yourself’ can be fairly rewarding (Especially when you pull off the perfect head shot with a handgun) and there are a wide variety of enemies for you to shoot at. These range from the traditional zombies and hunters to new creatures such as the Glimmers. The enemies react differently depending on where you shoot them, so shots in the head may kill certain enemies quicker, whilst shots to the legs could slow them down. By the end of the game you have impressive arsenal of weapons these are:
Apart from the light gun Resident Evil Dead Aim plays very much like the other resident evil games. The game is very atmospheric in places with zombies/enemies looming out of the perpetual darkness and muzzle flashes from you gun lighting up their faces for an instant each time you pull the trigger. As usual the music adds a great deal to the game and in true survival horror style there are points where it is better to run from enemies than face them in a fight. As always with Resident Evil ammunition is in short supply (Conservation is vital!) and you can regain health with green herbs, first aid sprays as well as the new ‘herbal medicine’.
The game follows a pattern which is very much: ‘Pick up key A, unlock door A, get key card B … etc.’. The emphasis is taken off solving puzzles and it has to be said that it is fairly linear even for a Resident Evil game, this does not detract from the gameplay in my opinion. I believe that it was a decision made by Capcom to stop the game becoming too complicated and less atmospheric. There is just enough plot to keep you interested, but do not expect great things as my summary above covers most of it. If one thing lets the game down in a big way it is the lack of background reaction to gun shots (except explosive crates). Nothing in the game breaks when you shoot it. Generally you do not notice this, but when you are bored and start firing shots at lights/vases/windows and they stay perfectly intact it can be frustrating.
Overall Dead Aim provides good entertainment as a game in itself and delivers a different kind of light gun action where you have full control over what you want to do. Followers of Resident Evil should love the way it puts you in the game in a unique way! You probably will not enjoy this game however if you are not a fan of the genre, or are looking for a non-stop action game.
1 - Thanks to CrAzE for the ESRB rating!