Nintendo DS Review: Resident Evil - Deadly Silence

Memories can be cloudy things. For instance, we look back at the Playstation launch title Battle Arena Toshinden and wonder just what exactly was so special about it or how we found it enjoyable in any form. The answer is we didn't like it; we were blinded by fancy graphics. For Resident Evil though, it was something new, and those cloudy memories are hiding what is an archaic design that shows right through in this DS remake.

Actually, remake isn't the word. We've already played through a truly remade edition on the Gamecube, and for all purposes, that's the definitive version of the original game. This updated port is as unnecessary as they come, and every single thing you hated about the Playstation version is amplified by a 10 year gap that's caused some of the games best aspects to become totally obsolete.

The only real impressive spot for Deadly Silence is the technology. Everything from the videos, pre-rendered backgrounds, to the inane dialogue have been crammed onto a card barley the size of a CDs center hole. It's surprising in its quality too; not sounding overly compressed as to compromise its cheesiness. The barely tweaked graphics take care of some clipping and add a tad more detail.

There are two different versions of the game to play. One is a direct port of the original game. Nothing has been changed or moved. The second is specifically for the DS, and is called Rebirth. That's a marketing team at work, since this reborn version still has the clunky controls, shifting camera, annoying ink ribbon save system, and stiff gunplay.

What are new are puzzles, added ammo, and first person fighting with the knife. Not all the puzzles have been swapped, but many now require the touch screen to be utilized in some way. Likewise, random battles have the player slashing at their screen to push back and hack up zombies. The microphone also sees some brief usage to resuscitate an ally or blow back poison.

Multi-player now plays a role too, though its implementation is suspect. Versus and co-op have players playing their own game on their own console. Even in co-op, you're shooting the zombies on your screen, while they're shooting a completely different one on theirs. Even if you were in the same room at the same time, you'd never even know a friend was present.

It's all slapped together to add some value, and hide the fact that the core gameplay doesn't hold up. It's unbearably difficult to move around, disorienting, and flat out dull for the most part. Unlike something like Mega Man that has aged perfectly and can withstand a remake, the attempts at complexity here are simply laughable. That, and we already saw all of this again on the Gamecube means this mess is a direct cash-in.

(* out of *****)

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