I’ve been writing far too many long articles recently. But here we go again.
With the recent ‘RE2 Remake’ having been released and a new ‘Resident Evil’ game tucked just behind the horizon as it can’t decide if it’s going to be another remake or not, the Resident Evil series has been re-booted quite a few times and whilst I enjoy the vast majority of the Resident Evil games, I really wanted to talk about my all time favourite, ‘Resident Evil 4’. After all, ‘Resident Evil 4’ was the game that changed the series and this time, for the better.
I absolutely LOVE ‘Resident Evil 4’. I played it through so many times, I know it from memory. When I had a YouTube channel, the first game that I played through was ‘Resident Evil 4’. I even recorded myself doing a speed-run and I completed it in 2 ½ hours which I think is pretty good. It should still be on YouTube if you want to see me do it, Devinelogic555 Gaming. I think the link to my channel is still on this site… somewhere. It’s there if you want to have a look. If not, doesn’t matter. I haven’t looked at my channel in over a year.
This article will be a bit of history lesson about the development of ‘Resident Evil 4’, a review of the game itself, some insight into the characters and my top gameplay tips to help you survive the nightmare. Although if you’re reading this then you’ve probably played it just as many times as I have.
First, some context.
The year is 1996. ‘Resident Evil’ is released having been developed by Japanese games developer, Capcom and was created and supervised by esteemed director, Shinji Mikami. The original game set the standard for survival horror. Here is the plot.
The S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics and Rescue Squad) are called out to the Arclay Mountains on the outskirts of Raccoon City to find the Bravo team who had lost communication whilst investigating some grisly murders. Alpha Team; Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Barry Burton and Albert Wesker are forced to retreat into the Spencer Mansion and find that the whole place has been overrun by zombies and other mutations that have been created by the Umbrella Corporation who were testing their latest scientific endeavour, the T-Virus.
Long story short, Wesker is a traitor and is ‘killed’ by the ‘Tyrant’. Jill or Chris (depending on who you’re playing as) defeat the Tyrant and escape in a helicopter along with Barry or Rebecca.
Resident Evil 2 rolls around and this time, the game focuses on two new protagonists; Claire Redfield, Chris’s sister who has come to Raccoon City to search for her brother. When she arrives in Raccoon City, she finds the city overrun with zombies and just when she’s cornered, she’s saved by rookie police officer, Leon S. Kennedy.
Long story short, Leon meets Ada Wong who is a secret operative working for a secret organisation to retrieve the G-Virus that was created by Umbrella scientist, William Birkin. Claire meets William’s daughter, Sherry who is infected with the G-Virus by her father. Leon and Claire must find the anti-dote for Sherry and escape the facility and the city.
If the player went through the B-scenario, then they would have met Mr X. I hate Mr X. He’s not so bad in the first ‘RE2’ because you can just run past him and then go through a door and he doesn’t follow you but in the remake, he’s an arse. The point is that the ‘RE2’ B-scenario started the trend of big, indestructible guys following the player for certain sections.
That trend was carried into ‘Resident Evil 3’ which once again follows Jill Valentine as she too tries to escape from the zombie-infested streets of Raccoon City. Unfortunately, Jill is pursued by Nemesis wherever she goes.
Long story short, Jill meets Carlos Olivera and together, they manage to defeat Nemesis and escape Raccoon City before the it is destroyed by the government with a nuclear missile.
Now, all of these games were on the PlayStation and so certain gameplay modes had to be adhered to. All three of the original canon had a fixed camera and a limited inventory so the emphasis was very much on survival. Players had to strategically manage their inventory and even though item boxes were placed all over the environment, the challenge was the difficulty in knowing what was coming. The player had no way of knowing if there was a boss fight coming until they’d wandered into it and since ‘autosaving’ was a thing that hadn’t quite happened yet, the player could only save at typewriters with ‘ink ribbons’ and those were in limited supply.
Picture the scene. You’re playing ‘Resident Evil 2’. A good game, there’s no doubt. However, Leon has a limited inventory and so to save some spaces for the puzzle and healing items, the player has saved their shotgun (the only ‘good’ weapon at that point) and boxed all the ammunition for it since that takes up a space. The Lickers only take 1-2 shells, 3 maximum, to go down so you think you’re safe until you wander innocently into the boiler room and meet a heavily mutated William Birkin. He pounds you into mulch and since there’s no ‘autosaving’, Leon will end up at the last save point. Any progress you’ve made before you met William Birkin (solving puzzles and such) is forgotten and you have to do all that again. It’s not a big deal because storage boxes are usually located with a typewriter so you have a chance to stock up for the match, but deaths damage your final score.
‘Resident Evil 3’ was released in September of 1999 and just over one year later in October 2000, the PlayStation 2 was released. Also in 1999, ‘Resident Evil’ director Shinji Mikami announced that the next ‘Resident Evil’ sequel was in development and was to be developed for the PlayStation 2.
Then years passed and the game went through quite a few versions. The first was directed by Hideki Kamiya who envisioned an invincible playable character and so the story was written by Resident Evil 2’s writer, Noboru Sugimura. Kamiya was the first to ditch the fixed camera in favour of a more ‘dynamic’ camera system. A team were sent to the UK and Spain to take photographs of Gothic cathedrals, brick and stone to use for texturing their new environments. However, when this idea was presented to their supervisor, Mr Mikami, he felt that the ideas and the world that Kamiya was creating was too far from Resident Evil but convinced Kamiya and his team to make the game independently. Kamiya rewrote the story to remove all the characters and references from the Resident Evil universe, zombies were changed to demons, the combat was re-routed from ‘third person action’ to a more ‘hack and slash’ variety and the main character of ‘Tony’ was changed to ‘Dante’. Kamiya then released his completed game under its new title, ‘Devil May Cry’. After that came a franchise whose universe is just as overblown and ridiculous as ‘Resident Evil’s’ is at this point.
Development began a new cycle at the end of 2001 with the version that became dubbed, ‘the fog version’. This version saw ‘Resident Evil 2’s’ protagonist, Leon Kennedy trying to survive in a castle-like Umbrella HQ in Europe. Along the way, Leon is infected with the ‘Progenitor’ virus and obtains a mystical power in his left hand. This version also saw the return of the classic ‘Resident Evil’ zombies. Ashley was not in this version, but another female character was written into the story.
Around this time, in late 2002, ‘Resident Evil 4’, although initially proposed by Mikami as a title for the PlayStation 2, was announced to be part of ‘The Capcom Five’ which were five games developed by Capcom exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo’s own gaming console made to rival the PlayStation 2, the XBOX and the Sega Dreamcast. All of these games were to be overseen by Shinji Mikami. Three of the Capcom Five; ‘Viewtiful Joe’, ‘Killer 7’ and ‘Resident Evil 4’ would go on to become great successes whilst ‘Dead Phoenix’ was cancelled and ‘P.N.03’ received mixed reviews and was the only game of The Capcom Five to remain a GameCube exclusive.
Capcom’s relationship with Nintendo had been wavering since disc-based gaming had come into fruition with the PlayStation whilst Nintendo remained confident in Cartridge consoles. With technology moving forward, developers rushed to make games for Sony, Capcom included since they made ‘Resident Evil’ for the PlayStation.
Another version of ‘Resident Evil 4’ was brought to E3 2003. This version is probably the most well known of the ‘scrapped editions’ as there is a little bit of gameplay footage wandering around the internet. Same premise as before, Leon is investigating a massive residence with tight corridors and is infected with some kind of virus although this time, the virus causes hallucinations of on monsters, the most recognisable of which (and the very reason this version was so infamous) was a ghostly man with a large hook. This version was known as the ‘Hook-man’ version. Players can already see certain elements of what would become ‘Resident Evil 4’. The ‘over the shoulder’ camera was introduced but this was only implemented whilst Leon was aiming his weapon. At all other times, the standard ‘fixed camera’ was used. Suits of armour were also brought in as enemies. All this sounding familiar?
So, that version was scrapped and another version involving the classic zombies was scrapped and all this scrapping was very frustrating for the team. Shinji Mikami took over directorial duties and decided that since he didn’t want this game to be ‘more of the same’, he would take a bold new stride in a different direction. In a more ‘action-y’ direction. ‘RE3’ had a more ‘action-y’ focus but the fixed camera made it difficult to be absorbed. It felt like the player was watching the action through a security camera and so Mikami took the camera out of the top corner and fixed it behind the player character’s head. In previous games, if the player wanted to shoot a zombie, all they had to do was aim roughly in the direction of the zombie and that was that. That system was scrapped in favour of giving the player laser sights in their weapons so they could independently aim at whatever they wanted. The inventory system was overhauled giving players an attaché case so they could hold a lot more. Things still got interested when the player had a full inventory, but I’ll tell you something, when I’m playing ‘RE4’ and I pick up an item that sends me to the inventory screen because it’s full then there’s still fun to be had in playing a bit of ‘Attaché Tetris’. Zombies were also changed to feature a new enemy, the ‘Ganados’ who would pose a new set of challenges. The player could still save at typewriters but ink ribbons were a thing of the past and autosaving was brought in and the Umbrella corporation were also taken out of the equation to give the impression that this was a new start for ‘Resident Evil’.
Long story short, Mikami had huge involvement in the final version. And here is the story.
In the six years since the events of ‘RE2 & 3’, Umbrella went bust after the destruction of Raccoon City and Leon Kennedy was been picked up by the military and given special training due to his brief experience in fighting B.O.W.S (Bio-Organic Weapons). He’s now a sexy secret service agent and it’s a good thing that he’s around because just before his appointment to protect the president’s family, the president’s daughter, Ashley, is kidnapped. Leon is dispatched to find her in a bizarre area of Europe where they speak Spanish and still use ‘Pesetas’ as currency.
However when he arrives, he soon realises that absolutely everyone has gone crazy and is trying to kill him but it turns out that they have all been infected by a cult with a parasite called ‘Las Plagas’ which means ‘The Plague’ in Spanish and they are all under the control of the leader of the Los Illuminados (‘The Enlightened Ones’ in Spanish), Osmund Saddler.
However, Leon cannot just sod the whole thing when things get too hairy because both he and Ashley have been infected with the very same parasite with the sole purpose of having Ashley return to the US and then infect the President. It’s a rather elaborate plan that could go wrong at many stages and is a plan that could only have been dreamed up by Capcom.
So, starting out the game, the player must decide which difficulty level they’re playing with. Experienced gamers may want to start on ‘Normal’ difficulty but the less experienced may opt for ‘Easy’ on their first run and then when they come to play ‘Normal’ they will think, ‘I don’t remember playing this section last time’. That’s because whole sections are sealed off on ‘Easy’ mode. It’s mostly in the Castle area where the differences are seen but the bits that come to mind; there’s no need to get the key to open the Castle doors because it’s already unlocked, the ‘wolf maze’ is sealed off and the door you need to get the parts for is already open and the clock tower is sealed off so the little lever that you need to pull is right next to the door. And Leon gets the shotgun right from the start. That’s just a few examples, I might be missing some.
In my most recent playthrough, I opted for ‘Normal’ difficulty and it had been a while since I played ‘RE4’ and so I tried to play the starting section with fresh eyes to see how this game would look to someone who had never played it before. What is instantly apparent is that this is a game that is driven by ideas.
You can tell that during the planning meetings while they were discussing ideas, there were people pitching in, saying things like ‘why don’t we put this here or do this here’. ‘Let’s have a room that’s bathed with lava and have dragons shoot fire at the player’. ‘Let’s have a bit where the player must ride a mine cart whilst enemies drop in’. The ideas are endless, and it makes for an exciting and varied game.
To immediately show the new direction they’ve taken, Leon is soon embroiled in an all-out battle with the villagers and a new enemy that would become a feature in future games, Dr Salvador or ‘The Chainsaw Guy’ as I call him. Leon can’t escape the barrage; all he can do is survive until the bell rings and this was a tense one, even for me whose played this section ten million times.
My top tip is to run straight into the house that triggers the cutscene; move the bookcase in front of the window, quickly grab all the stuff, run upstairs, grab the shotgun, the grenade in the cabinet, the ammo on the bed and then jump out of the window next to the table and the bookcase. You’ll which one it is because there are two villagers banging on it but luckily, they don’t affect Leon’s jumping animation. Once you’ve jumped through, spin round, run to the left of the villagers who were banging on the window and around the wooden balcony they’ve set up. You should now be standing on the roof of the house where you’ll see the gate that leads to the next section. Now stand there and wait for them. I find this is the best strategy because you’re back is covered and if there is too many of them and you’re low on ammo, you can spin round and jump off to search the other houses. It takes ages for them to catch up to you. I’ve not needed to jump off yet because of the ultimate ammo saving technique coupled with the ‘standing on the roof’ strategy. The narrow section forces them all to bunch up tightly so you can just cap to leading villager in the knee and then run up and kick him so they’ll all back away. When ‘Chainsaw Guy’ turns up, just keep ‘head-shotting’ him with shotgun until he goes down.
My other top-tip for surviving the Village is – GET THE TMP! In a lot of the walkthroughs I’ve seen of this game, the player always hates the TMP but it’s the best gun especially for getting through the Village. If an enemy drops TMP ammo, the least you’ll get is 30 rounds and yes, the TMP is less powerful than the handgun BUT, there are loads of times when you’ll need to shoot treasures off the walls, or the blue medallions in the church, so for that, use the TMP. It’s only one TMP round and those handgun bullets are going to become precious a little later on. The TMP is also handy for El Gigante or the boss fight with Bitores Mendez. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The first big boss fight in the game doesn’t use any ammo at all because it takes place on a boat, in a lake, with a gigantic turd monster. Or rather, ‘Del Lago’ which just means ‘The Lake’. This boss fight is pretty easy, avoid the debris and chuck the harpoons when you get a chance. Every now and again, the Del Lago will disappear and then head straight for you so just chuck harpoons at its mouth and you’re golden.
After the fight, Leon has a little turn where he coughs up blood and then collapses in agony. When he wakes up, he’s contacted by Hunnigan but he doesn’t mention that he’s just coughed up blood and passed out which would be a pretty important thing to bring up. Depending on how you’ve played, Leon could have taken a lot of damage and so if this were reality, he should be concerned about his physical condition. Bear in mind, Leon doesn’t know that he’s infected at this point. But he just brushes it off and moves on with his mission.
I’ve noticed this as well, it could be nothing, but I just thought I’d mention it. It seems that at some point, Leon must have been told in his training that ‘if you can get on your feet, then you’ll be OK’. In every cutscene when Leon is knocked down, it always ends with him standing up. A prime example is after he passes out after the Del Lago fight and he has the nightmare about him becoming less pretty and more veiny, he wakes up on the floor. He gets to his knees and he’s still a little bit in pain but still manages to push himself to his feet.
After that, the next big threat is El Gigante but don’t worry, I have a super strategy for dealing with him. First, keep your distance because he likes to step on you. Next, TMP right to the face or hand-grenades if you’ve got them to spare. The shotgun doesn’t do much since it takes forever to fire and reload so the TMP or grenades is always a positive move. As soon as the parasite comes out, DON’T jump on its back. Instead, get out the sniper rifle and snipe it. This does WAY more damage and instead of going through this cycle three times, you only have to do it twice. Easy peasy. The same method can be used for the El Gigante after the Cabin fight because it keeps the thing away from Ashley. Some people like to go the other way and do the Chainsaw sisters but I really don’t like that bit. It’s doable but it can be very ammo consuming and there’s a big boss fight not long after.
By that time, you’ll have got Ashley with you and a good chunk of this game is an escort quest but it’s the good kind where if things are about to get rough then sometimes there’ll be a bin for her to hide in so Leon can deal with all the people who are trying to kill them. The Cabin Fight is a prime example.
Speaking of, the Cabin fight is another tricky number. It’s difficult to keep your back covered and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. My advice. Push the bookshelves in front of the windows, grab all the stuff downstairs, then run upstairs and grab the stuff up there and then perch yourself on the stairs. Same as the opening battle. All the enemies are packed into one tight space and it’s easy to just blast them back down the stairs. When Luis runs upstairs and they start coming up with ladders, stand opposite the cupboard Ashley is hiding in with your back to the wall and when a ladder comes up, just knock it down and deal with the enemies in the room. Luis will be tossing you ammo anyway so it’s honestly not that bad.
Where this game truly shines is in the boss fights.
The boss fight with Bitores Mendes is a good one and also quite tricky because you have limited space to move around and get a good angle. TMP works well for the first stage. DON’T go onto the higher level. Not yet. First, aim for the spinal cord and if that’s too difficult a shot with him moving around a lot then just blast him in the face. When his lower section falls off, get onto the higher level and switch to the shotgun. He’ll dive up into the rafters and he has to get close to swipe you so when he gets close, blast him with the shotgun. I played this section recently and I only got hit once because I got caught having to reload. Otherwise, this technique worked like a dream.
Anyway, next is the Castle and I find that throughout the whole of the Castle, there are bits that I don’t want to do. I always end up being fine and sailing through it, but they fill me with such dread. ‘The Water Room’ is a good place to start. Partly because you’ve got Ashley with you and she doesn’t help much. I could’ve played with the Special costume where she’s wearing a suit of armour and enemies can’t carry her away, but I went for the classic costumes to get a more authentic experience. I like that Special costume because Leon looks super-hot as a gangster.
Anyway, my top-tips for dealing with the Water Room is to take out the snipers on the upper left and right balconies because they will hit Ashley even if they didn’t intend to. Once the snipers are gone then keep your sniper rifle out and try to hit as many as you can before they get to you. When they get close, switch to your shotgun but if you did what I always do when I get to the Castle which is get rid of my old shotgun and buy the Riot Gun which doesn’t have many upgrades particularly in capacity, then you’ll find yourself having to reload very quickly, my suggestion would be to switch to the TMP because you should have enough bullets to keep them at bay. Also, it’s very difficult to keep your back covered in the Water Room because it’s a wide-open space to I would suggest backing yourself into a corner. Sounds like a rubbish strategy but you should have enough ammo to deal with anything that comes your way.
After that, it’s not too bad. There is a bit of a tense moment after the crank is raising but just shotgun again. Blast away whoever is in your way because once you get to the crank on the upper level then it’s easy to pick off whoever comes your way.
The next bit where you have to protect Ashley and yourself while she does the cranks can be a bit tricky but it’s OK because if one of them does grab her then they don’t exactly hurry to the door. If you’re in trouble and Ashley has been grabbed, then just make sure you are safe and then snipe the guy that’s taking her.
Another bit that’s quite tricky, the Novistadors. The big, bug things. The shotgun is good, but they have to be in swiping range for it to be effective so if you want long distance and also effective… you guessed it… TMP. It doesn’t take as many shots as you think to deal with them. The invisible ones are a bitch, but the flying ones are way easier because if you hit them while they are flying, they go down in one shot. Believe me, I’ve done it.
The puppy maze. Another cause for concern, but don’t worry. TMP. Or shotgun. But the puppies tend to shrug off the shotgun so the TMP works wonders for this area. If you’re reading this and worried about running out of TMP ammo, I’ve tested all these methods out recently and I haven’t run out of TMP ammo just yet.
Now then. I know some people have struggled in the past with the section not long after where Leon is trapped in a cage with the Garrador. This is what I always do, and it works wonders. Make sure that you’ve saved a hand-grenade for this purpose and equip it before you go into the room. As soon as you go in and the little cutscene starts, skip it, and throw the grenade at the locked door. If you time it right, when it blows, it will blast the lock off the door, and it will stun the Garrador which will give you enough time to kick the door down and escape. It’s very rare that the Garrador will actually follow you out of the cage but you can keep him distracted with shots so he stays in the cage. Also, with Garradors, DON’T THROW FLASH GRENADES! Really don’t because they will temporarily give them their sight back so they will instantly know where you are and that’s what you don’t want.
I know when I was really young, the next bit is the bit that I would ask my brother to do for me. It’s the bit where you have to play as Ashley. Alone. Unarmed. Defenceless. Bollocks to that. Now that I’m older, I know it’s not that bad but again, it’s the survival horror aspect that ‘RE4’ is shining through with this section. The sliding tile puzzle is really easy; just move the middle left piece into the centre and then move the outside blocks around until that all go into place. I know the speedy options to all the puzzles and they’re all in the speed-run that I did.
Just before this section of the Castle (and here we’re getting back to the ‘review’ section of the article) is when Leon is re-united with a figure from his past. When I first played ‘RE4’, I had not played ‘RE2’ and so didn’t understand the reference. It’s Ada Wong. She saves Leon in the Village when he’s being stepped on by Mendez and then she confronts him in the Castle. Ada is now working for Wesker and if you played ‘Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles’ then you’ll know how that came to be but she’s here now for no fathomable reason other than to bring some sexual tension because Ada is the biggest tease in the history of gaming characters. Leon fancies Ada and spends a good chunk of ‘RE2’ defending her and even taking a bullet for her and she just leaves him bleeding on the ground to go and chase Annette Birkin but he’s forgotten all about that. They have a little snog in one of the other scenarios before she ‘dies’ and so Ada is forever Leon’s love interest now. She looks like she couldn’t care less about him but still spends most of ‘Separate Ways’ saving his life behind the scenes and I just want to scream out loud ‘WILL YOU TWO JUST FUCK ALREADY?!’ but no one seems to hear.
Actually, there is a line between the two in ‘Resident Evil: Damnation’ where they’re pointing guns at each other and Ada says something like, “When are you and I going to continue from where we left off that night?” and Leon says, “Anytime but now.” Which suggests that the two have done a bit of shagging but then something urgent stopped it.
Can I just mention Ada’s outfit in ‘RE4’ and how it’s the most inappropriate item of clothing for a combat scenario? It’s a floor length, red dress with butterflies and an arse-height split up the side. Honey, you’re just asking for problems with that thing on. How does she climb ladders in it? Her outfit from ‘RE2’ would have been more appropriate. Or even her ‘Assignment Ada’ outfit. That would be ideal. I want that outfit. I’d look hot in that.
…Where was I?
Oh yeah. So, Leon and Ashley are reunited again but she’s soon stolen again, leaving you to deal with the bugs. Top-tip. As soon as the cutscene ends, spin around and run out of the room into the hallway you were just in and then turn left and hop out of the window. The bugs can’t go through that window so you’re safe. Just pick them off.
The Clock Tower is fairly self-explanatory but after that is a room that I think a lot of people struggle with. It’s the room with a tonne of enemies and two Garradors. Here’s what I do. By now, you should have gotten the free rocket launcher and if you’ve got any sense, when you get Ashley back, you should have gotten the free Broken Butterfly from the locked room next to the puppy maze. Take out the rocket launcher and fire at the double doors in between the two Garradors. That instantly kills one, so you only have to deal with that last one and he’s already weakened. It should take one or two shots from the Broken Butterfly to down the other one so all you have to deal with are the enemies left over. Quick and easy.
Next is the fight with the ‘Right Hand’. I actually buy another rocket launcher for this because it’s just easier and I never seem to have a problem with money because I know where all the treasures are. Those struggling for money may want to consider doing the ‘shooting challenges’ through the blue door that’s next to the Merchant because once you complete a row, you get a big cash bonus.
Once the ‘Right Hand’ shows up after you’ve turned the power back on to the lift and done some dodging, ducking and diving, race for the nearest barrel of liquid nitrogen. I may advise making sure that he is actually behind you because I raced for the barrel once, knocked it over and only afterwards did I realise that he wasn’t there. Anyway, once he’s frozen, pull out the rocket launcher and blast him to pieces. You can run around and knock over all the barrels and keep blasting him with the Broken Butterfly or the shotgun (you should get the Striker right before the battle) but I don’t like to fuck around with this guy and waste ammo because coming up next are the continuing series of battle after battle. First, it’s the miners with the chainsaw guy, then it’s the two El Gigantes, then it’s the flying bugs and then to the surface so I really wouldn’t recommend arsing around with the Right Hand. Just fuck him off as quickly as possible.
After that, it’s the underground section and the mine cart but first it’s the chainsaw guys. Yes, that’s GUYS, as in plural. I’m not sure everyone knows that. There’s one chainsaw guy wandering on the top balcony but there’s one down below as well. So, what I do is snipe the chainsaw on the top balcony as well as all his friends that are scattered throughout the maze. I then climb up the ladder to get the key that spawns all the other villagers. Don’t worry because nothing short of shooting the chainsaw guy in the back will trigger him. Once I’ve got the key and the other guys turn up, I instantly jump out of the window that I came up through and take my original sniping position with my back to the wall. If the other chainsaw guy still hasn’t triggered, then you’re free to go and deal with him. That’s what I do anyway.
I don’t know what advice I can give for the mine cart other than staying in the back cart, so they don’t come behind you and only move forward to collect the stuff they’ve dropped. Other than that, it’s fairly self-explanatory. One little thing that I do know is, when Leon jumps out of the cart at the end and pulls himself up, go through the door where the ‘Stone of Sacrifice’ is. Just step into the room and immediately turn left and go to the wall. There should be a prompt for you to pick up something and there is a lot of gold in that area. I promise you, it’s there.
Salazar’s statue section is easy peasy and the tower leading up to the boss fight is also alright. There is a guy launching wooden barrels but just run past the first barrel until you end up on the wooden balcony and you can snipe the guy who’s operating it.
Then it’s Salazar. Luckily, there’s a merchant right before the battle so if you haven’t got one, buy another rocket launcher. You should have collected enough money and treasure to do so. Then, in you go. Once the cutscene is out of the way, and you’re faced with a horrifically mutated Salazar, whip out the Broken Butterfly or the shotgun and aim for the eye of the wiggly thing in front of you. One or two shots should do it and then when Salazar reveals himself, blow him up with the rocket launcher. Quick and easy. Again, he’s a boss that you don’t want to mess around with because he’s got a few bullshit ‘instant kill’ attacks that are primed to piss me off. After that, collect the money that he drops first and the little arena that you’re in has a lot of ammo and health in it, so run around and collect. You should then have enough resources for the Island.
Another top-tip. Depending on what difficulty you’re playing on, I would seriously recommend starting to save your hand grenades at least at the start of the Island. I normally start towards the end of the Castle. Save your hand grenades. I’ll tell you why at the end.
Honestly, I really can’t think of any section in the Island that requires any special tactic. Things like the Bulldozer ride are set pieces, the U3 fight is another. These bits follow a specific path.
One aspect where I can offer some insight is the boss fight with Krauser. At the start when he’s far away, pop at him with the TMP. I’ve found that the weapons that he uses are the ones that he’s weak to. When he gets close… and I know how this sounds… get him with your knife. It’s the same with the fight between Ada and Krauser in Separate Ways. That fight is even harder because of the close quarters but back to Leon. When ever Krauser shows up in close quarters, slash him with the knife and he’ll go away much sooner than if you were using a weapon.
When you get the two insignias and then there’s the last fight with Krauser when he transforms and gets the big ‘shield/knife’ arm. There is a way to knife him, but I found it to be quite tricky. It involves successfully hitting the QTE when Krauser jumps at Leon and then backing him onto the wooden balcony where Leon once was and slashing at his ankles until he goes down to his knees and then slash him a little bit more until the fight is over. I’ve done this once but it took a few tries and if he gets out of that corner then it’s near impossible to get him back in so if you’re not confident with doing that then just go for the traditional method of shooting his feet until he goes to his knees and then slash him with the knife and hitting the QTE’s when he goes for you.
There’s not really anything else except the final battle with Saddler and this is where the hand grenades come in. Hopefully, you should have saved enough to deal with him, and this is what I do. Some might call it cheap, I call it ‘proactive’.
When Saddler transforms, it only takes one grenade to bring him down and allow Leon to go up and stab him in the eye. Guys, rinse and repeat. That’s all. Keep going until Ada chucks you the special rocket launcher (a nice little call back to the end of Leon’s B-scenario). It takes about 8-10 hand-grenades to trigger that cutscene and if it’s done right then you should be able to do it without taking any damage which is always a plus.
So yeah, those are my top-tips for surviving ‘RE4’. If you’ve made it this far… well done. It’s quite a long game and looking back, there’s hardly a point where you stop. Each bit leads on to the next bit and there’s a little something different to deal with. There are some things to contend with such as Ashley’s AI. Most of the time she’s fine, she’ll stay behind Leon and duck when he aims behind her but one thing that happened when I played the game recently was when at the start of the Castle when you have to get the key to open the door to the Castle, I was filtering guys through the door to the courtyard and I like keeping her by my side so a guy doesn’t run past me and grab her. Anyway, this guy came through the door right in front of Leon so I shot him in the head and a parasite came out (the one that can bite your head off if you get too close) so I span around and backed away but Ashley stayed ducked and wouldn’t follow me so the thing killed her. That was annoying.
I like what they did with Leon as well. Paul Mercier did a great job with providing the voice for him and he also provided the voice for the merchant. His performance gave the impression that Leon had come a long way in the six years since ‘RE2’ when he was a young, nervous cop on his first day on the job and was embroiled in a horrible nightmare. In ‘RE4’, he’s done his training and he’s confident in his abilities, he welcomes a challenge and note that he’s never scared throughout the whole game. In all the cutscenes and the radio transmissions, he’s got a line for everything. Some of the line are a bit ‘cringe-worthy’ but Leon sounds so cool when he says them that I can’t hate him for it. It’s as if the events of ‘RE2’ desensitised him to any horrific abomination that will come his way. He’ll just say something that’ll get the player pumped for a battle like when Salazar transforms and a gate falls down behind Leon and whilst most people would be scared shitless, Leon just says “Monsters. Guess after this there’ll be one less to worry about.” Oh Leon, you are pure class. I’m not surprising Ashley’s got a crush on him. He’s delicious and hunky…
… Where was I?
‘RE4’ is a fantastic game and it seemed that the later games, specifically 5 & 6, tried to capitalise on the success by keeping some of the same traits but not realising the little things that made it work.
‘RE5’ brought back Chris Redfield who hadn’t been a playable character since the first game and he’s just depressing and ‘over it’ and tired of fighting monsters which will be how the player will feel after a few hours because they’ll have noticed by then that they’ve seen these monsters in ‘RE4’.
I’m not trying to be mean, but ‘RE5’ was pants. Again, it had some of the traits from ‘RE4’ such as the big battle close to the start of the game, the El Gigante, the chainsaw guys and the QTE’s BUT it brought back the limited inventory which made it difficult for first time players to know when the big fights were coming and it gave you an AI partner for the possibility of playing the whole game Co-op which undermines the whole point of survival horror. ‘RE4’ had an AI partner in Ashley but she was no use in combat and only served to unlock doors and press a few switches. She was there for the story and Leon was on his own for a lot of the game.
‘RE5’ also shot itself in the foot story-wise by killing off Wesker. Wesker was the big baddie, the ultimate challenge, the major threat and the mastermind to all the recent outbreaks. So, if he’s dead, where can the story go from there?
If RE4, 5 & 6 are supposed to be the ‘middle action trilogy’ then ‘RE6’ was the worst. On the surface, it looks like a huge game with four campaigns and seven playable protagonists. Unfortunately, all it’s doing is telling the same story all over again and if you thought Wesker was dead, then all ‘RE6’ confirms is that there’s a million villains with ‘Wesker’ like qualities, in short, causing an outbreak for a stupid reason. Leon’s campaign is begrudgingly the best but it’s a million miles away from ‘RE4’. Chris’s campaign felt more like ‘Call of Duty’ than ‘Resident Evil’ and Jake and Sherry’s campaign kept hopping back and forth between boring and annoying. That campaign also had the trait of a huge, indestructible thing following the player for the whole thing.
‘RE7’ went back to formula and it is really scary… so scary that I don’t want to play it. I know that makes me sound like a massive coward, but I don’t like the idea of not being able to defend myself. I know you get a gun but that doesn’t do anything to the indestructible guy that’s following you. The remake of ‘Resident Evil 2’ had the same problem. I really liked it until Mr X showed up. It wasn’t fun anymore. I want to search the environments in peace without the dread of knowing that one noise will mean that I’ll be followed by a possible ‘instant-kill’.
I know that’s not a popular opinion and sort of ‘defies the point of Resident Evil’ and a lot of fans really liked the newer Resident Evil games and that’s totally cool, but if anything, ‘Resident Evil 4’ proved that ‘action’ is the way to go for this series. It was over the top, it didn’t take itself too seriously, it made all the right moves, it was silly but above all, it was fun.
Let’s have a look at some figures. ‘Resident Evil 4’ was meant to be GameCube exclusive however, two months before the GameCube release, which was scheduled for a January 2005 release, Capcom announced that ‘Resident Evil 4’ would be getting a PlayStation 2 release scheduled for October 2005. This caused a detrimental effect on the GameCube sales with totalled 1.6 Million copies whilst the game sold 2.2 Million copies on the PlayStation 2. The WII Edition sold an additional 1.9 Million. The recent remastering of ‘Resident Evil 4’ for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sold a further 1.4 Million meaning that in total, across all platforms, ‘Resident Evil 4’ has sold 7.3 Million
Currently, ‘Resident Evil 4’ has been released on twelve different platforms ranging from gaming consoles to mobiles phones, not to mention the sheer number of ‘Game of the Year’ awards that were showered over it.
To sum up, ‘Resident Evil 4’ is widely… and consistently… regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time. And you know what? I can’t disagree with that.
But what do you think? What’s your favourite ‘Resident Evil’ game? Leave a comment and lets have a chat.