I'm taking my time with Resident Evil GameCube, mainly because it's so damn delicious to look at. The shadows, the lightning, the swaying grass, the mist rolling in through an open window. Lighting zombie bodies on fire. Thrusting a dagger in their soft skulls. The insane rabid speed of the redhead zombies. I hear that it's selling exceptionally well, which is good because this is a remake well worth playing. And subconsciously, I'm afraid that people will ignore it simply because it is a remake. Happily, this is not the case (which is probably due to a yearning for new Cube games more than anything else,) but let's talk about remakes.
I think they're a great idea. When they are this well done, of course. The first Resident Evil came out ages ago. Probably been five years since I even thought about it. So the idea of "no new plot" is pretty much irrelevant. A beautiful remake like this perfectly recaptures the excitement of playing the game for the first time... something that endless waves of sequels eventually ground down to nothing.
All series titles follow the same route. Great Game #1 is released and everybody loves it. The sequel, Great Game #2, comes out a couple years later and perfects all the problems of #1. Then #3 comes out, and we all start getting tired of it. We hate #4. And if you're not jumping off into a new console generation by this time, you've just seen a series hit the crapper. Tomb Raider. Twisted Metal. Croc.
The RE remake is wonderful because it re-presents the "new" feeling of the first game, while simultaneously hopping into the new tech of the Nintendo GameCube. Double bliss. Plus, I think even the hardest of hardcore RE fans would agree that plotline advancements isn't exactly what you play RE for. R-Virus, T-Virus, it's all the same shit: zombies run amok, with peaks of mutant boss fights. It's the in-game tension that propels the series.
Which more or less raises my next point. Resident Evil is still silly.
For all the re-voicing, re-writing, and re-rendering, RE is still a pretty dopey story with the saddest excuse for a SWAT team ever. So, Team B is missing, Team A enters a mysterious, monster-filled mansion, and the first order of business is to SPLIT UP?!!? And, yeah, the puzzles are *cooler* now, but they're still statue-pushing, color-matching and item-fetching for the most part. But as I said, the Raccoon City plot department isn't your endgoal in playing Resident Evil, any Resident Evil.
Which is why I throw Fatal Frame (PS2) out there as a plot-driven alternative. Spirit-trapping camera notwithstanding, Fatal Frame is never silly. And it's fully 3D, so you can control your camera better, avoiding all those RE magic moments of getting tackled by offscreen zombies.
But the tension, the glorious tension. Both games deliver that, via the soft moaning of a zombie somewhere around the corner or through the mournful cry of a blinded ghost folllowing the sound of your footsteps.