Now I'm going to be totally honest straight from the word go and say that this is the first Resident Evil game that I've played. Don't get me wrong, of course I've known about the series and the phenomenal success it has had over the years it's just that I like to be able to sleep after a long night's gaming and this ain't the type of game to go to bed on, now is it? Anyway a reviewer's job is never done and with all the courage a stiff drink can muster and extra toilet roll in the bathroom I popped the first of the two disks into the GameCube, didn't turn off the lights and sat on the edge of my seat with the gamepad gripped hard as the game began to load.
Let's just say right from the off that RE is without doubt the finest game on the GameCube, for hearing gamers anyway. As we shall see later on there are some major disappointments for the deaf gamer. Anyway disappointments aside the game looks absolutely jaw dropping. You know those console arguments that go on, where the PS2 fan goes 'but look at Gran Turismo' and the XBOX fan goes 'well look at Halo', well from this coming Friday GameCube owners are going to point to RE as their benchmark title and rightly so. The whole thing looks and plays like a movie. Games like this are the reason you handed over your £129.99 for the GameCube on May 3rd 2002. If this game does nothing else, but let's face it, it's going to be huge, it's showed the world what the GameCube can do and that nobody has mastered developing for the machine anywhere near the standard of the Capcom masters.
Of course underneath all the highly polished gloss has to be a good game. The survival horror genre is something of a new label really and to old time gamers like myself this is a horror adventure and a damn good one at that. Playing as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine you are part of the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) Alpha team who have been called in to investigate the Arclay Mountain and Raccoon forest area where a number of people have been reported missing, feared dead. When S.T.A.R.S. arrive at the location they witness the most evil sight with bodies being eaten by what can only be described as a pack of possessed, demonised hounds with flesh hanging from them. The hounds soon turn on the S.T.A.R.S. crew and they are forced to run for cover in a nearby, mysterious, mansion. The only thing is that what is inside the mansion is less preferable than the hounds.
Right, now for the disappointment. There are no subtitles for the cutscenes or character speech. To make this even worse there is no message log that you can access. The only text in the game is when you are interacting with items, reading clues or looking at your inventory. I won't beat around the bush here and simply say that this takes the story out of the game for the deaf gamer as you will miss out on key information. The game is still playable though but it seems strange when you are missing out on all the plot, because it's very good. Please Capcom, subtitle the sequels.
The dedicated deaf gamer will carry on though despite the difficulties. The game offers different difficulty settings, a 60Hz mode, totally different characters to play as which increases the replay value of what is already a good sized game and masses of surprises which, unless you've played the earlier Playstation version of the game or read a walkthrough, will keep you riveted and coming back for more. Even on the easiest setting the game ain't no picnic and with having to find ink ribbons, which are in limited supply, to save your game, it's going to keep you busy for quite a while.
Okay so you've scrolled down to the bottom of the page and seen the score of 6.0/10 and thought what the heck is this reviewer on, giving a masterpiece such as this a ridiculous score of 60%? If I was reviewing this game for a hearing gamer I would find it hard not to give it 10/10 because for a hearing gamer it is magic. However at deaf gamers we are 100% true to deaf gamers and in all honesty the game is crippled by it's lack of subtitles or message logs and deaf gamers are getting a heavily flawed masterpiece which our mark reflects.
Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10 No subtitles make playing Resident Evil far more challenging for a deaf gamer than it ought to be. With no awareness of the plot the whole experience is diluted, as is the masterpiece's gameplay.
Deaf Gamers comment: It is a disaster of epic proportions that Resident Evil is not subtitled. The game is pure brilliance but because of the lack of subtitles deaf gamers can never fully appreciate this.