Resident Evil: Code Veronica Review

RE CVResident Evil: Code Veronica (Available on Dreamcast, GameCube, and PlayStation 2)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Dreamcast Version Release Date: February 29th, 2000
PlayStation 2 Version Release Date: August 21st, 2001
GameCube Version Release Date: December 3rd, 2003

ESRB Rating: The ESRB rates Resident Evil: Code Veronica M for mature because of animated violence and blood and gore. As per every entry in the RE series, you can expect tons of zombies, lots of blood, and some truly disturbing scenes. Keep young players very far away from this one.

Plays Like: Code Veronica plays exactly like the Resident Evil trilogy on the original PlayStation. The infamous tank controls are here in their full glory, as are all the classic gameplay mechanics you either love or hate.

Review Basis: For this retro-review I played the original Dreamcast version. If you’re curious how the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions hold up, they’re more or less exactly the same except they feature additional bonus content.

Capcom and SEGA had a great thing going back in the mid-to-late 90s. The SEGA Saturn was a huge success in Japan, and Capcom was making a mint off their arcade-perfect ports of classic titles like X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and Street Fighter Zero 3. It wasn’t too surprising that Capcom announced a brand new and ‘exclusive’ Resident Evil game for SEGA’s upcoming at-the-time Dreamcast hardware. Industry analysts considered this a huge coup for SEGA and it was marketed as the next evolution of the Resident Evil series. Sadly we all know how this story ends. SEGA would exit the hardware business, Code Veronica would be ported to the PS2 where it would go on to sell well over two million units, whereas the Dreamcast original sold just over a million. Eventually there would even be a GameCube port, and just recently Capcom released an HD re-release for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This review is going to look at the version that started it all.

The Great:

The atmosphere still shines through. Code Veronica was the first entry in the Resident Evil series to go “full 3D”. Instead of using pre-rendered backgrounds, everything here is textured polygons, and remarkably the game still looks impressive some 13 years after its original release. It’s a little known fact that SEGA actually helped Capcom make the game a reality on the Dreamcast by aiding in the technical side of development. Resident Evil: Code Veronica remains a moody, atmospheric and chilling videogame that everyone should experience at least once.

From the fog and fire effects, to the intricate details in the buildings and environments, everything feels much more alive than the original RE trilogy on the PS1. Character animations and zombie designs also look superb for such an old game. Coming off the original PlayStation, this was an incredible sight to see, and even today the visual presentation holds up perfectly.

RE CV1The Good:

+ Cheap scares never get old. Having not played Code Veronica in a decade I was surprised just how many times the game made me jump. Sure the scares are all reactive, this isn’t a game that gets in your head and terrorizes you, but the fact I genuinely jumped proves the age-old mechanic continues to work well.

+ The introduction of somewhat logical puzzles. While emblems remains, there are a lot of puzzles that actually make some sort of sense like the obstacle-based puzzles, where you need to move blocks or use a crane to move objects out of the way so you can access a new area. Compared to what came before, this was leagues better.

+ Core gameplay remains exactly the same as the original trilogy. Players solve puzzles, battle the undead, all while trying to escape from a research facility on some remote island. A wide array of weapons are available for players to use, weapon boxes that magically transport your gear to other locations are back, as are the first-aid spray and medical herbs. This is the RE you know and love, but slightly evolved thanks to the power of the Dreamcast.

+ The outstanding audio the series is known for returns. From classical pieces of music to the eery sounds of footsteps somewhere off in the distance, Code Veronica was masterfully crafted and it shows. It does a superb job of creating tension or building players nerves up when they have to traverse a dark and foggy area.

+ This game features one of the more interesting tales in the Resident Evil series, and while it’s goofy, and illogical most of the time, it’s remains enjoyable throughout. Claire Redfield is looking for her brother Chris, and along the way she gets incarcerated, finds out about the history of the T-virus, and eventually her big brother storms in to the rescue.

RE CV2The So-So:

+/- Love ’em or hate ’em Code Veronica uses the infamous tank controls. This means that at no point in the game do you ever feel like you’re 100% in control. I started with the original RE and worked my way through the series, so for me I have no problems with them at all, but I’m sure more of you will despise the controls than like them.

+/- Much more freedom has been offered to the camera system thanks to the removal of pre-rendered backgrounds. The camera as a whole is much more dynamic than ever before. That said, fixed camera angles are still the name of the game here, and as such often times it can be hard to see exactly what is attacking you depending on where you happen to be standing at the time.

The Bad:

– Laughably bad voice acting. Steve in particular sounds complete uninspired. Even as a character he never did anything but annoy me.

RE CV3The Lowdown:

Resident Evil: Code Veronica was a big deal back in 2000, and it remains a really fun survival horror game in 2013. Sure the tank controls might grate on your nerves, and the cheap scares will be old once you’ve experienced them for the first time, but it’s the type of game that you’ll want to return to in years to come just to re-experience everything all over again. I was extremely impressed by just how much fun I had with the game, and it sort of made me sad to think how far off the beaten path Capcom has taken the series today. If you’re looking for something frighting to play this Halloween, Resident Evil: Code Veronica is certainly a game worth digging out your Dreamcast for.

Final Score: 8.5/10

4 thoughts on “Resident Evil: Code Veronica Review”

  1. Good review but I’ll be honest; I only bought this game back for the PS2 because it was packed in with a demo of Devil May Cry. I obviously had to give this game a try since I bought it. I absolutely hated it. It was the first Resident Evil game I decided to tackle and give a serious try….and I got to a point where I was stuck no matter what I did because of a poor choice to save with low supplies. It was confusing, controls were as you said terrible, and too difficult for me. Aside from the visuals, I just couldn’t see what the hype was about…but I guess hardcore RE fans like you do see the appeal. It’s just a terrible game to start the series off with and left a bad taste in my mouth. Luckily, RE4 compensated for that greatly.

    1. Yeah as I said, if you can’t come to terms with the controls the game will be a 0/10 for you no matter what. It’s just one of those things. Most people that started the 32/62-bit era with a Saturn/PS1 grew accustomed to the controls out of necessity. After all every single 3D game used those controls up to the launch of the N64 in 1996. After the N64 hit the scene many 3D games started to incorporate the control schemes we have today, but before that everything from RE to Tomb Raider used the infamous tank controls.

      1. You’re right. It’s not just the controls which bothered me back then with Code Veronica. It’s the game design. It got to a point where I really got frustrated by not knowing where to go. I can’t remember the exact point of where I was stuck, but my frustrations are still so fresh to me because I remember playing a big chunk of it so I was somewhat invested but ultimately I just didn’t have the patience to complete it.

        1. It’s a shame you don’t recall where you got stuck. Something I didn’t mention in the review is the excellent map system, which highlight key areas for you. While playing through the game for this review I actually got stuck a few times, but the map really helped me out.

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