Resident Evil 0 HD Review

Richard Walker

There are two types of people in this world. Those who acknowledge only the classic fixed camera Resident Evil games of yore, and those who swear by the contemporary, more action-oriented entries in the series. This is of course complete bollocks. If you're a fan of Resident Evil, chances are you've played them all and have strong opinions to share on each.

I for one have grown up with Resident Evil, playing every mainline instalment and a few (though not all) of the spin-offs. I'll always have a soft spot for the PlayStation originals (especially Resident Evil 2), yet Resident Evil Zero was something of a personal favourite upon its initial release for the GameCube back in 2002. But does it fare quite so well almost fourteen years later?

Zombie dogs! RUN! Or, y'know, shoot 'em.

A prequel to the original game, Resident Evil Zero tells the story of S.T.A.R.S. operative Rebecca Chambers and escaped convict Billy Coen, as they battle for survival against a deadly strain of the Progenitor and T-Virus. Along the way, you'll run into hideous parasitic leeches and a menagerie of grotesquely mutated creatures, as always, and have to carefully manage your health and ammo to avoid coming unstuck. Classic Resident Evil.

And as remastering jobs go, Capcom has done a pretty bang-up job on Resident Evil Zero HD, addressing the gripes I had with Resident Evil HD Remaster's murky backgrounds. The lick of digital paint brings the game bang up to date with gorgeously sharp high-def visuals that ensure every gloopy leech, decaying corpse or rusting, decrepit room is dripping with detail. The result is a greater cohesion between character models and the game's fixed perspective backdrops. It looks great.

There are still issues, however, primarily with the fixed camera angles. As the camera switches viewpoints, so too does the direction of control, meaning you'll more often than not find yourself running off the opposite way you intended. This can be especially annoying when you're in a tight spot against one of RE0's abominations, like a Hunter or the ubiquitous stretchy leech man, Dr. Marcus. Still, it's a minor complaint given the overall quality of Resident Evil Zero HD.

Like last year's Resident Evil HD Remaster, RE0 not only benefits from sexy HD visuals, but a new 16:9 ratio and overhauled controls. Capcom has listened to fans and made the default controller layout closer to the original game, but to me, it simply doesn't feel right. Thankfully, there's a variety of alternate controller configurations to choose from, and there's bound to be one that's right for you. I found Type-D the most agreeable, if you're interested. Alternatively, if it's both the new alternate controls and the original tank controls you crave at the same time, then you can enjoy those too as they're mapped to the d-pad. Nice.

Like the first game's Spencer Mansion, you'll find dark secrets and fiendish puzzles to uncover, from the confines of the runaway Ecliptic Express to the inevitable subterranean laboratory nestled beneath Umbrella's eerie training facility. At the core of this Resident Evil is the co-operative interplay between Rebecca and Billy, making for some neat conundrums that involve swapping between characters. These gradually escalate as you progress, and moments where the pair are forced to separate can be genuinely tense, especially when resources prove to be so scarce. That said, character swapping can sometimes be a bit fiddly, although you can move your partner out of the way using the right analogue stick, so it's not all bad.

It's the atmosphere that's the clincher though, with the soundtrack subtly providing just the right amount of creeping tension without drilling into your skull. It makes the encounters with bosses and Dr. Marcus' leech-comprised counterpart all the more frightening as the score ramps up, engendering a real sense of being up against something dangerous and malevolent. Mix together the goosebump inducing audio, the brooding atmosphere and visual design, and Resident Evil Zero proves to be another survival horror masterclass, albeit one not quite as memorable as the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2.

Inventory management still proves rather clunky too, despite the added benefit of being able to drop things on the floor or exchange items with your partner, which invariably means a lot of backtracking when you don't have the requisite tools to progress. It can be frustrating when the realisation hits you that you've left the hookshot (a tool required to climb up to otherwise inaccessible out of reach areas) back in a previous location, meaning an annoying mission to retrace your steps. At least this time around you don't have to swap discs.

Wesker Mode: a new addition for this HD remaster.

Once you're done and dusted with Resident Evil Zero's campaign, you'll unlock Leech Hunter mode, which involves trawling the Umbrella training facility and collecting 50 blue and 50 green leech charms, before hopefully leaving in one piece through the front door. In truth, it's a bit dull and not really a worthwhile substitute for Mercenaries or Raid Mode. Wesker Mode is an odd bonus mode too, allowing you to retread the story as Rebecca and Albert Wesker in Billy's place, with the sneering bad guy able to dash and use his fearsome 'death stare'. It's a nice added extra, if a little redundant.

If the game and its extras don't present enough of a challenge already, then the achievements offer up a selection of objectives that will take some doing, whether it's finishing the game without saving, finishing without using a health item, beating hard difficulty or completing it with an S rank. If you're after the full 1000G, you're going to have your work cut out for you, and you may find yourself having to settle in for more than the one playthrough. As lists go, this is a nice mix of straightforward and hard as nails achievements, with a decent spread.

While aspects of Resident Evil Zero haven't aged particularly well, the game still stands up as a prime slice of survival horror well worth sinking your teeth into. A slightly more accomplished remaster than Resident Evil, Zero still stands up to scrutiny after all this time, and only serves to boost our excitement for the Resident Evil 2 Remake. Bring it.

Resident Evil 0 HD

Capcom proves once again that it's quite good at this remastering lark. Resident Evil Zero HD is a brilliant update of another classic GameCube Resident Evil game for a modern audience that demands to be revisited once more or discovered for the first time. It's scary good.

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The score is suitably ominous and the dialogue is a vintage slice of B-movie style cheese. Brill.


A step up from Capcom's previous Resident Evil remaster job, Zero looks lovely. The CG cut-scenes don't look so hot, though.


It looks like classic Resident Evil and plays like classic Resident Evil. Alternate or tank controls are in, but unfortunately that means the direction switching with a change in camera angles is in too.


Resident Evil Zero is a generously sized game, although like any Resident Evil, you can race through in 3-4 hours if you know exactly where you're going. The extra Leech Hunter and Wesker Mode add some additional replay value.


A fairly tough achievement list that demands finishing the game on hard difficulty, with an S rank, without saving, without using a health item, and so on. Most of the tasks are straightforward, but bagging 100% is a tall order.

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