Resident Evil: Code Veronica 2012 Review. Enter Alexia and Alfred Ashford In the First Polygonal RE Game (Dreamcast Version Reviewed)

05 Oct

Resident Evil: Code Veronica Title Screenshot Dreamcast (Claire and Chris Redfield)

The title screen for Resident Evil: Code Veronica on the Dreamcast.

My Resident Evil: Code Veronica review will tell you how the game stacks up in 2012. RE: Code Veronica was released in 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast, as the first-ever fully polygonal 3D Resident Evil game.

That means that the levels no longer feature static pre-rendered backgrounds that were made on high-end computers (high-end back in the 90s), and then overlayed with polygonal characters. This time, the backgrounds and levels you explore are all entirely in-engine made. This gives the game a completely different feel than previous games in the series. And allows for panning, zooming, and the ability to see around objects in the environments as all objects, say a sink or a table, curve and look 3D… as they are truly 3D and not just, essentially, 2D “paintings”.

But that doesn’t mean that Resident Evil: Code Veronica escapes the genre conventions laid down in previous games. This game is as conventional as survival horror games come, just like previous games in the series. And features less gameplay additions than Resident Evil 3, thus taking a step backward.

If you’ve read my previous Resident Evil Remake Review, Resident Evil 2 Review or Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Review, or played either of these games, then you’ll know what to expect from how Code Veronica plays.

Genre conventions established in the original Resident Evil ’96 remain unchanged in Code Veronica. These include Door Opening Sequences (originally created to hide loading times, the camera zooms in on the door as it is slowly opened as you move from one room to the next); saving your game by collecting Ink Ribbons and using them at one of the many Typewriter’s scattered across the environments; linked Item Boxes with infinite depth that are used to hold your items, keys and weapons. Items put in one box will mysteriously and inexplicably appear in the next box;

An Inventory system that limits the amount of items you can carry (thus the need for an Item Box), an Inventory system that has you combining Herbs (of Green, Red and Blue variety) to heal yourself and combining ammo with a gun to load the gun from the Inventory Menu (alternatively you can keep shooting until you run out of ammo, at which point another shot will cause your character to load ammo into gun automatically); and of course, “Tank Controls”. This means that up always moves you forward, Back always moves you backward, and right or left slowly rotate your character. This Tank Controls also include a dedicated “Run Button” …. Other conventions exist as well, such as finding scattered “Files” left behind by people that shed light on the story, locations, characters and give further exposition to the player.

Thankfully this game DOES retain the 180 degree Quick Turn introduced in Resident Evil 3 that allows your character to instantly turn around by pressing Back+Run.

In short though, if you hate Resident Evil and can’t stand all of those classic, old-fashioned, Survival Horror conventions as described above, then Resident Evil: Code Veronica will only reinforce those notions, and ensure you never play a classic Resident Evil game again.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica sadly, does not even build upon Resident Evil 3’s additions to defense and offense that made combat more exciting. That game allowed you to dodge attacks by pressing the “Ready Weapon” button (R Button) or A Button (if holding R already) and allowed you to do a sort of “counter attack” against certain enemies if you press the Action Button right as they were about to attack, knocking the zombies down!

RE3 also introduced the ability to go up stairs without having to press the Action Button, in addition to the 180 degree turn. Sadly, none of those additions, outside the 180 turn, made it into Code Veronica. *sad face*

So, Code Veronica is as standard as RE games come. What is new however are more dynamic camera angles (even though they still remain essentially static, for the most part). You will also often encounter fire, spraying water, falling rain, etc. which helps to make some of the environments feel a bit more alive. You will also occasionally encounter barrels that you can blow up, whose explosion will severely damage any nearby zombies, another feature carried over from Resident Evil 3.

Unlike Resident Evil 3 however, which featured a “Choice” system where you had to quickly make a selection that would change the outcome of the game and your immediate future (like whether to jump off a bridge or not), Code Veronica really doesn’t feature ANY gameplay hooks to make things more interesting.

However Resident Evil fans will be excited at the story hooks, the main one of which is the simple fact that the game stars both Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2 AND Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 1. Not only will both of them meet at some point in the game, but both of them are PLAYABLE and TOGETHER for the first time in the series. This alone makes Resident Evil: Code Veronica worth playing for fans of Resident Evil.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica sadly negates this a bit though by introducing us to one of the lamest characters the series has ever seen in Steve Burnside, a whiny, pretty-boy who serves as a love-interest for Claire. Fans who remember how Resident Evil has dealt with love subplots in the past (read: Resident Evil 2), should expect the same type of cringe-worthy dialogue and situations in this game.

It’s not all THAT bad to be honest, but it’s not good either. I guess there wasn’t much else they could do to make things more interesting. And the love subplot gets a lot better the further you get in the game, especially at the end. But Steve is so damn annoying and whiny, I don’t see how anyone… except maybe girls? Could like the guy. He is arguably worse than Carlos in Resident Evil 3, or the President’s daughter in Resident Evil 4.

Even given that fact however, new and interesting characters are definitely, overall, Resident Evil: Code Veronica’s strong suit. In addition to Steve, who is completely new and whom has an interesting and actually quite touching backstory, you come into contact with two very important new characters that are as about as eccentric as they come. They are twins, named Alfred and Alexia Ashford, both of whom are directly tied to the founding of Umbrella.

Throughout the game you will pick up notes and solve puzzles that will further elaborate on the family history of the Ashfords, and even introduce you to the titular “Veronica” character, the first major female in the family line whom the game is ultimately named after.

Although both of the characters themselves are interesting, in particular their twisted and eccentric character attributes. It is the dichotomy between the siblings and their incest-suggested romantic relationship that really shines. And throughout the game raises questions about who exactly they really are and what their relationship really is…

However, offsetting this unique aspect that is quite fun to explore (it’s not every day that you come across two evil, twisted, siblings in love in a videogame, eh) the actual characters themselves, and in particular the dialogue at some sections, is really quite bad. Although a lot more so for Alexia than Alfred. In particular I’m thinking of Alexia, whose laugh at the end is one of the worst lines of dialogue I’ve ever heard in my life. And that part of the game in particular almost feels like it has terrible dialogue ripped straight out of Resident Evil ’96. It’s THAT bad.

Thankfully, these sucky sections are, all-said, short-lived and the dialogue and voice acting throughout the game is fine. It isn’t good. But isn’t bad either. Sadly, Code Veronica still came from a time when voice acting in the game did not have near the pedigree that exists in today’s modern videogames.

Probably the most interesting aspect of Code Veronica, outside of the characters, are the environments you will explore, the enemies you fight, and the puzzles you have to solve.

This is the first game to really introduce more brain-scratching puzzles, ranging from a family succession puzzle to a couple of object-sensitive puzzles (you’ll need to remember a specific object or machine and have to use a specific object on said machine) and a couple of other somewhat difficult puzzles.

Most of these are not brainteasers, but are rather puzzles where you’ll need to open up a different pathway or figure out the proper order. But the game DOES have it’s share of brainteasers tossed in their as well, and they are quite well crafted.

The environments you will explore in this game remain interesting throughout, IMHO. Even if the look of them is not all that interesting. These range from an arctic base covered in snow and ice, to a graveyard and a house that’s on fire in the pouring rain, to a specific room that truly puts the “evil” in Resident Evil and is covered in blood (no spoilers here). You’ll even explore a throwback to the original Resident Evil, in addition to a residence whose hall is filled with a giant, creepy doll hung from the ceiling (and looks more in line with Silent Hill than Resident Evil).

The amount of enemies you fight isn’t necessarily large, but you will fight some that are new and some returning enemies that have been updated, as well as a couple of very interesting boss fights. One of these new enemies is a deadly mutant creature that will remain the bane of your existence (just like the Hunters in Resident Evil 1) and who can hit you with their stretchable limbs from across the room!

Putting a damper on things however is the absolutely horrible level design in Code Veronica. I’m talking about the layout of the environments. This is by far the worst layout (even worse and more confusing than Resident Evil 3’s open city) in any Resident Evil game and the layout is as confusing as can be.

There are several points in previous playthroughs of the game in year’s past, where I outright missed something I should’ve seen. But because I missed it I became “stuck”. And there are many, many of these in Code Veronica. Because the environments are 3D, it makes it easy for you to miss a corner, or miss a direction where you can move in a room that isn’t indicated. For example, if you move to the very corner of the room where Alexander tries to snipe you, you will find that you can move beyond the fire and there’s a small walkway beyond a grate with a ladder that leads down into the lower sections. This is your key to accessing the entire lower sections and can be easily missed.

Another area is in the Arctic Facility, there’s a room where you turn the power on… in addition to a section where you move under and “into” the section below a walkway above, there’s another part where you must essentially walk “forward” or up, where there is a control panel. This is the area that I had completely missed in years passed, and because I never found it I ended up quitting in frustration. I remember I even used a faq to help me. But because I didn’t find this “viewpoint” in this confusing room, I gave up.

As such, pay very very very close attention to where you are going and where you need to go at all times. This is the type of game where you will really strain your brain to try and think of where you have to go, and often times you won’t remember how you go to where you are. Or where that obscure door was (especially once the blue elevator that allows you to travel between three different floors of the Training Center enters the picture).

This time I took those pains, and outside of a few sections where I couldn’t figure out where to go (mentioned above), I didn’t have any major problems. But you’ve been forewarned!

One of the really cool aspects of Code Veronica is how the environments change once gameplay switches to Chris. It will take you quite a long while to reach Chris (in previous years, I NEVER got to him before quitting), but it’s really cool to see the way that they recycled the same environments, yet changed around to create new pathways.

There are also a number of new weapons that you can use in Resident Evil: Code Veronica, including dual guns that allow you to shoot in two directions at once as well as some new ammunition not seen in previous games.

Beating the game gives you some new ways to play the game that was completely unexpected. This was the first time I had EVER beaten Resident Evil: Code Veronica, so I was pleasantly surprised at the new mode that unlocks once you conquer the game. It’s essentially a new take on Mercenaries Mode from Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil 2 (where it was called “Extreme Battle” and only available in later ports of the game for GameCube, PC, Dual Shock PS1 version. And not available in the PS1 original or N64 versions) and a very nice addition.

Like in previous Resident Evil games, you are ranked based on your performance, including the amount of times you died and retried, the amount of times you saved, and the overall time it took you to beat the game. With additional extras unlocked for a better ranking.

For my first time EVER beating Resident Evil: Code Veronica, I got an E Rank, saved 30(!) times, died and restarted 12 times, and it took me a total of 18 hours, 29 minutes, 27 seconds (18:29:30) to beat it!

Overall, Resident Evil: Code Veronica is a good game, but not a great game. I recommend it to Resident Evil fans more than anyone else. If you haven’t played Code Veronica but you have played other games in the series, then definitely track Code Veronica down and give it a shot. It adds a number of interesting new characters, an interesting new storyline, and sheds light on the overall mythos in a number of new ways.

However the gameplay is pretty stale, and it is absolutely nothing to write home about. The fact that the defensive and offensive abilities from Resident Evil 3 are missing is glaring. Thankfully the game has aged well, and doesn’t look that bad graphically.

Overall, I would say that Resident Evil: Code Veronica is arguably the weakest Resident Evil game in the entire series. Especially gameplay wise, it is leagues behind Resident Evil 3. RE3 even features tons and tons more replay value with a boatload of stuff to unlock.

For play order, I would suggest: RE 4, RE Remake, RE 3, RE 0, RE 5, RE 2 and then Resident Evil: Code Veronica (have yet to play RE: Revelations for 3DS). However naturally, you may want to play them in chronological order if you want to digest the story as originally intended, in which case it is RE ’96/RE Remake, RE2, RE3, RE: Code Veronica, RE4, RE5, RE: Revelations, RE6.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica is a game that I had fun with, and it will interest you and grip you from beginning to end. The pacing is pretty great, the environments interest, features good puzzles, introduces lots of new characters and fun situations, and will essentially hold your interest well. Even so, I would not go out of my way to play Code Veronica unless you find yourself really enjoying the Resident Evil titles.

Rating Explanation: 1-4 – Avoid, 5 – Average, 6 – Above Average, 7 – Good, 8 – Great, 9 – Must Play – 10 – Masterpiece!!!

Also On
PS2, GameCube, Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade), PS3 (via PlayStation Network) and as part of the Xbox 360 version of Resident Evil 6: Limited Edition. All of these versions are the upgraded “Resident Evil: Code Veronica X” version that features additional cutscenes and a few other changes and additions.
Original Dreamcast Version Release Dates
America: February 29 2000 Europe: May 26 2000 Japan: February 3 2000
PlayStation 2 Version Release Dates
America: August 21 2001 Europe: September 14 2001 Japan: March 22 2001
GameCube Version Release Dates
America: December 3 2003 Europe: March 12 2004 Japan: August 7 2003
Xbox 360 & PS3 Version Release Dates (XBLA, PSN)
America: September 27 2011 Europe: September 27 2011 (28th for PS3 version) Japan: September 8 2011 (as a retail set, not digital)
Xbox 360 Resident Evil 6: Limited Edition Set Release Date
America: October 2 2012 Europe: October 2 2012 Japan: October 2 2012
Survival Horror (Action Adventure)
1 Player
Online Support?
Only in the PS3/Xbox 360 versions which feature a Leaderboard system (originally and exclusively used in the Japanese Dreamcast port of Resident Evil 3)
Dreamcast: 11 Blocks (Maximum), Over 10 Save Files. Must manually save at a Typewriter using an Ink Ribbon.
PS2: ?
GameCube: ?
Xbox 360: ?
PS3: ?
M for Mature (Animated Blood & Gore, Animated Violence)
Dreamcast: 2
PlayStation 2: 1 (two for the version that includes a Devil May Cry demo)
GameCube: 2
Xbox 360 & PS3: Digital
International Ratings
ACB: MA15+?, BBFC: 15, CERO: 18+, PEGI: 18+
Japanese Name: Biohazard: Code Veronica
Downloadable Digital Version Available?
Yes, via Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360 or PlayStation Network on PS3. Of course, you can also find a ROM of Dreamcast versions and play it on your PC via an emulator. No official PC version of Code Veronica exists however.
Special Editions
A special edition of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X for PS2 was released for those who pre-ordered it. Pre-ordering got you an exclusive DVD movie called “Wesker’s Report”. This was available seperately via the official Capcom store as well. In Japan, this pre-order bonus also contained developer interviews called “Director’s Hazard”. These are hard to get your hands on, so here is the Wesker’s Report for your viewing pleasure below (I couldn’t find a translation video of Director’s Hazard on youtube).
Additionally, the first print-run of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X for PS2 contained an extra bonus disc (making it a two-disc set instead of 1-disc) with a playable demo of Devil May Cry. These versions of the game have “Exclusive Bonus – Devil May Cry Demo” on the cover and back cover in a round insignia. Be sure to double check if you are buying your copy used, as many used copies do not include the bonus DMC demo disc.
*SPOILER ALERT* Don’t watch unless you have beaten the game! [Scroll to the bottom to view Wesker’s Report]
Additionally, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD is offered as part of the Resident Evil 6: Limited Edition for Xbox 360, a set that also includes RE4: HD, RE5: Gold, RE6 and the Resident Evil: Degeneration CG movie.
Hiroki Kato
Producer and Resident Evil Creator
Shinji Mikami
Music Composers
Takeshi Miura, Hijiri Anze, Sanae Kasahara
Noboru Sugimura, Hirohisa Soda, Junichi Miyashita, Akira Asaka, Hideyuki Ishizeki, Yasuyuki Suzuki
Country of Origin
Resident Evil 6: Limited Edition for Xbox 360 will cost you $90 MSRP (new). Separately, the Xbox Live Arcade version for RE: Code Veronica X HD for Xbox 360 costs $20. The PlayStation Network version also costs $20 (I assume). Either of these three options is the easiest way to get your hands on the game.

The GameCube version of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X can be played on your Wii (as long as it’s a Wii that’s backwards compatible, pre-2011), but is the hardest re-released classic RE game for GameCube to find of the three (out of RE Remake, RE 2, RE 3, RE 0 and RE4 as well as CV). You can find it on ebay although it’ll cost you a “pretty penny” for a retro game from last generation, running you about $30-$40. You can find the PS2 version of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X for about $5, making it the cheapest way to play the game. You can buy the Dreamcast version online for about $10. These prices are current as of October 5 2012.

*SPOILER ALERT* Don’t watch unless you have beaten the game!

Wesker’s Report Part 1

Wesker’s Report Part 2

More Videogame Reviews:
5. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) [Posted: January 31 2013]
4. Resident Evil: Code Veronica Review (Dreamcast) [Posted: October 5 2012]
3. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS1, GameCube) [Posted: September 18th 2012]
2. Resident Evil 2 (GameCube) [Posted: September 3rd 2012]
1. Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) [Posted: August 14 2012]

Music Album Reviews
9. Between Here & Lost By Love And Death (helmed by Brian “Head” Welch Former Korn Lead Guitarist) [Posted: January 25 2013]
8. I AM By Becoming the Archetype (Posted: September 14th 2012)
7. Find Your Worth Come Home By To Speak of Wolves (Posted: May 25, 2012)
6. Celestial Progression (Remix Album) By Becoming the Archetype (Posted: May 21, 2012)
5 Return to Life By War of Ages (Posted: April 28, 2012)
4. Thousand Foot Krutch – The End Is Where We Begin (Posted: April 20, 2012)
3. KJ-52 – Dangerous (Posted: April 16, 2012)
2. Manafest – Fighter (Posted: April 15, 2012)
1. Demon Hunter – True Defiance (Posted: April 10, 2012)

Gilmore Girls Reviews
4. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 4 – The Deer Hunters
3. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 3 – Kill Me Now
2. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 2 – The Lorelais’ First Day At Chilton Review
1. Gilmore Girls Season One Episode 1 – Pilot Review

Movie Reviews
3. The Amazing Spider-Man [Posted: December 1 2012]
2. Prometheus (Ridley Scott’s Alien Prequel) [Posted On: November 25 2012]
1. Warhorse (By Steven Spielberg) [Posted On: November 11 2012]

* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 0 Part 6
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* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 0 Part 4
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* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Zero Podcast. RE0 Intro (Part 1)
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* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil: Code Veronica Part 2
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* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 3 Podcast Parts 2 And 3
* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil 3 Podcast Part 1
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* ListenToMePlay Resident Evil Remake Podcast – Guest: MyDad

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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Reviews, Video of the Day, Videogames, Videos


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