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Resident Evil Zero reminiscent of early commute from Portadown

Neil McGreevy

Resident Evil Zero: Remastered (PS4)

By: Capcom

FOR a while in the early noughties, Nintendo's Gamecube was the home of Resident Evil, the purple six-incher hosting the groundbreaking fourth effort along with a scrubbed-up port of the original and the brand-new Zero.

Nowadays, of course, the once-mighty franchise has fallen from grace, with "pretty good" being the best fans can muster for recent efforts, making this remaster a halcyon reminder of what made the zombie-busters so legendary.

Set one day before the events of Resident Evil, Zero follows STARS agent Rebecca Chambers as she investigates strange doings in the Arklay Mountains. Much like the early commute from Portadown, the action kicks off on a speeding train rife with chalk-faced ghouls before players meet up with escaped con Billy Coen and tackle murderous zombies and an opera-singing scientist made of leeches. No, really.

Zero treads in the shadowy footprints of previous zombie thrillers as you creep through gothic hallways, though the gameplay was given a kick through its partner-zapping system, which lets players control Rebecca and Billy simultaneously, switching at will.

In order to progress, you'll need to employ this mechanic to trade items and solve noodle-scratchers. Zero's other novelty is the removal of series bugbear, the item box. Instead, players can drop items at will, returning to pick up as and when needed.

Much like last year's remaster of the original Resident Evil, Zero is based on 2002's Gamecube title, though Capcom have spruced up the assets for a handsome horror that doesn't look out of place on today's rigs. In fact, so sharp is the HD facelift that its in-game visuals actually trump the video sequences, which are still stuck in the early noughties.

New lighting effects and detailed character models jazz up the classy pre-rendered backdrops, though it all still runs at an archaic 30fps. Your lugs are treated to a remaster of the original sound which supports 5.1ch output while an easier analogue scheme is selectable alongside the original's tank controls.

There's plenty of red carpet fan service with extra doodads including bonus costumes (Billy dons Wolf Force garb while Rebecca can be squeezed into a skimpy cheerleader outfit) and a brand-new Wesker Mode.

On completion, players can play again as the series' main villain, who kicks zombie butt and shoots lasers from his eyes. It's genuinely mental and adds to the replay hours in Capcom's latest restoration job, which should tide fans over until the recently announced remake of series pinnacle Resident Evil 2 lands.

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