A Geek Girl’s Obsession
I make frequent references here to my obsession with ‘Resident Evil 4’ on the Wii. I do get distracted by it on a fairly regular basis, and the hours I waste playing it should be put to more a productive use (like writing).
I don’t like all computer games, and ultimately I’m really not very good at them. I have hopeless manual dexterity, slow reflexes and crap aim. So to be anywhere near good at any game, I have to stick at it for a long time. Most of the time I get bored with them and give up. Not so with RE4, and I’ve been trying to work out why this should be the case. It’s not as if I’m a fan of the series – I didn’t get into the other Resident Evil games, even though there is something very therapeutic about a good old zombie bash.
The interactive playability of the Nintendo Wii does lend itself to some engrossing games, but I’ve tried others and I just keep coming back to RE4. I think, for starters, it’s a very user-friendly game. The map you can call up at any time is nice and clear, so you know where you’re going and can’t get lost. You can’t fall off bridges and so on, so when you are trying to get somewhere, you don’t spend a frustrating hour trying to do the same section over and over again because you keep falling off the rock, or failing to grab the pole or whatever, something that happens in other games (Prince of Persia comes to mind) and makes me rapidly lose interest.
The graphics are great, and it’s very atmospheric – creepy villages, eerie castles, gruesome dungeons. There is some semblance of a plot. The character you play is Leon, and his mission is to rescue the President’s daughter Ashley, who’s been kidnapped by a religious cult group. The zombies in the game have been infected by a parasite, something that I think follows on from the earlier Resident Evil games. Though the parasites have evolved here and those infected are not regular zombies – they mutate into tentacled monsters that get tougher as the game progresses. As Leon tries to rescue Ashley (though the mission brief is straightforward, obviously complications arise to make the game more interesting) he learns more about the parasites and the motives of the people behind Ashley’s kidnapping, and also meets a few other characters along the way.
Leon is an interesting character, full of snappy one-liners and wise cracks. And, dare I say it, he’s also very yummy. I know it’s unnatural and wrong to have the hots for a computer construct, but geeky boys got all hormonal over Lara Croft for years – it’s about time geeky girls had a turn.
There are three different levels of difficulty in RE4 – Easy, Normal and Pro. And once you get to the end of the game, you can start again, on a new round, with all the goodies and souped-up weapons you have acquired in the previous round. It’s rather nice to go back to the straightforward low-life-point zombies at the beginning with the Riot Gun and the super-powerful Magnum. I also like knowing what’s coming next. Maybe that relates to being absolutely crap at the game, but I like to know what weapon I need to have to hand to defeat the monster round the next corner.
There are also special weapons you unlock after Round 1, but you need lots of cash to get them. I’ve done the easy level twice, and I’m now just about halfway through the game on Round 2 of ‘normal’. I’ve just acquired enough cash for the Chicago Typewriter (a super-powerful machine gun that never runs out of bullets). Which makes zombie killing a lot easier. But I want to keep going until I can afford the Unlimited Rocket Launcher. That’s the way to make a girl feel invincible…
Yes, my obsession is apparent. But I don’t think the same thing will happen with Resident Evil 5. It’s not available on the Wii, for starters, which will change its interactivity and user friendliness. And there’s no Leon in RE5. A definite disadvantage.