Developer and Publisher: Capcom

Take Their Heads Off With One Bullet


Monday, January 23, 2006
Approx. 10 pm

Richard: "There is evil near. I can sense it by music."

Zombie: "Grunt!"

Richard: "Asshole."

Randy: "So what government branch are you with? The RPD?"

Richard: "Oh, it's Raccoon Police Department."

Randy: "The.. .what?"

Richard: "Raccoon City, it's where the first 2 games take place."

Randy: "Uhh…." *laugh*

*Richard's guy blows a zombie's head off*

Andy: "That looked pretty cool in zoom."

Randy: "Are you ready to start talking Richard?"

Richard: "Yeah."

Andy: "First go meet the dominatrix."

Richard: "I can sort of talk about it and play. One of the things I hate-"

Randy: "Let me intro it. So I'm here with Richard and Andy, and Richard is going to review Resident Evil 4 for the GameCube for me, but I am going to interview him to get the information out of him. Richard can you quickly tell us why it is that I have to interview you to get this review out of you, just for the record?"

Richard: "I'm a man of action, not of the written word. If there were 27 keys on the Playstation controller, maybe I could write-"

Andy: "Watch out for that tripwire."


Andy: "Watch out for that dynamite trap."


Randy: "I like that it took 2 dynamite explosions at point blank range to make him limp a little bit. Did the dynamite hurt your tummy?"

Richard: "So what do you want to know Randy or should I just start talking?"

Randy: "Just start talking."

Richard: "First of all, I think it's a great game. I enjoyed playing all the way through it."

Randy: "How many hours would you say you logged? What's your estimate?"

Richard: "It was a while ago… Maybe a good 15-20."

Randy: "When is the last time you played the GameCube version?"

Richard: "I guess it was before I started the business, right?"

*Richard's guy frees another guy from a wardrobe*

Randy: "Who is the sexy Texan?… I mean Spaniard!"

*Richard's guy rips off the duct tape from the other guy's mouth*

Spaniard: "Ow. A little rough, don't you think?"

Richard: "Watch, typical, you know, male relationships in video games."

Richard's guy: "You're not like them?"

Spaniard: "No. You?"

These Zombies Don't Rely On Being Dead First

Richard: "Okay, the zombies in this? I don't know what they are. They're not dead."

Randy: "They're not the undead?"

Richard: "They're semi-dead."

Randy: "It's like 28 Days Later style?"

*In a cutscene Richard's guy kicks an enemy in the chest but gets hurled back*

Randy: "Okay, question: Don't you have an assault rifle?"

Richard: "Yes."

Randy: "Then why did you choose to kick that tall Russian man?"

Richard: "I guess he hit the A button when he got too close."

Randy: "That was foolish of him. He should have asked your opinion."

Richard: "I would have used the grenade."

Randy: "So let's just say you played it a lot."

Richard: "Yes, I played it a lot, and I beat it."

*Richard's guy dodges an axe swing when Richard pushes the controller buttons depicted on screen*

Richard: "Those things, whatever they are called, are pretty cool in this."

Randy: "The little mini-games where you have to push a specific button?"

Richard: "Yeah, they're pretty simple and they usually give you enough time and if you ever die that's usually a save point anyway."

Randy: "So you get to do it again?"

Richard: "Yeah."

Randy: "So basically you have to push a specific button, but if you don't, you get to push it again?"

Richard: "Yes. But the thing is you don't get hung up-"

*A video phone cutscene starts*

Richard: "Alright, here's… I'd like to talk about this."

Randy: "Okay, go."

Richard's guy: "Sorry I didn't call sooner, but I was a bit tied up."

Randy: "That's witty!"

Girl on the other end of the video phone: "You're okay, right?"

Richard's guy: "I'm fine."

Richard: "These cutscenes are the most fucking boring things I've ever encountered."

Randy: "They are very Metal Gear Solid. It's strictly talking heads."

Richard: "There is as much chemistry in these characters acting with each other as... I don't know... people on a bad blind date or something. There's no point to even have any of that."

Randy: "Maybe I'll try to edit that metaphor-"

Richard: "This guy's cool! You never would expect to run into Cobra Commander selling arms. I guess after Cobra failed…"

Cobra Commander: "I've got something that mought interest ya, heh heh."

Randy (Cobra Commander voice): "Cobra's been liquidated, I've got lots of weaponry for you!"

Cobra Commander: "What are ya bouyin'? What are ya sellin'? What are ya bouyin'?"

Randy: "Cobra Commander is from Australia."

Cobra Commander: "Nought enough cash! Nought enough cash! Nought enough- nought enough- nought-nought e- nought-nought enough cash!"

Richard: "And yes, you can do this…"

*Richard's guy guns Cobra Commander down*

Richard: "Then he's not there to sell you things anymore. He'll reappear, or I guess his brother or something."

Randy: "Why doesn't he turn into a zombie?"

Richard: "Because these zombies don't rely on being dead first."

Randy: "Yeah."

There Is Nothing More Cathartic Than Blowing Off Three Zombies' Heads With One Shotgun

*Richard's guy shoots a barrel*

Randy: "So you shoot barrels."

Richard: "Yup."

Randy: "Okay, well... What is this game.. about?"

Richard: "Game about? Survival horror. Well, no. The president's daughter ends up in... I don't know where… that's something that I thought was really weird is this is either Spain, Hungaria, Greece... I don't really know where they're going with the accents. I'm pretty sure it's Spanish, though, isn't it, that's they're speaking? That guy was definitely supposed to be Spanish."

Randy: "The rest of it is a little ambiguous. It kind of feels like upstate New York."

*Richard's guy shoots some zombies*

Richard: "I will honestly say that the urban environment ones are much more my preference."

Randy: "These guys are all from Ewok village?"

Andy: "UTINI!! UTINI!!"

Richard: "With the gameplay I hate how turning and looking is really slow. It's faster to not aim your gun."

Randy: "Is it a core game skill? How important is turning to your success in the game?"

Richard: "Learning how to do the quick turn is pretty damn handy, because you can never tell and they always seem to appear behind you."

Randy: "Do you think they cheat or is it all fully simulated?"

Richard: "I feel like… I like that zombies dodge in this, and if they die with an explosion in their hand, they blow up."

*A zombie hits Richard's guy in the head*

Randy: "Whoa! So that guy hit you with a pitchfork, but you're feeling okay. Well.. you're holding your stomach."

Richard: "I'm pretty sure I played through on the hard level last time, so... I mean, I really appreciated the difficulty of the game, you know because I've played lots of games so a lot of times they're really way too easy."

*Richard's guy picks up half of a hexagonal emblem*

Randy: "Does Daddy Warbucks have the other half?"

Richard: "God, I just don't know what I'm going to do with that. Maybe if there was another half.. and.. a door, maybe… I can't play and talk."

*Richard's guy climbs a ladder then turns and kicks it to the ground*

Richard: "Like that, very cool. And then they'll set it back up."

Randy: "How are they going to set it back up if you keep blowing their heads off?"

Richard: "All right, all right: Big Problem. Where is the shut off the music?"

Andy: "Audio settings?"

Richard: "Admittedly I do like the music, but I want to be able to shut it off."

Randy: "Because you want to play MC Lyte while you're blowing up zombies."

Richard: "No it's more like… these zombies make noise when they walk around, so it doesn't allow me to have-"

Randy: "So it breaks your immersion and you can't hear them coming?"

Richard: "Or it's like.. If they're trying to get that mood of fear… honestly, silence is scarier. Look at my favorite, Fatal Frame. It's a really quiet game."

Randy: "What was the scariest moment in this game?"

Richard: "I feel like there was some moment that scared the pants off of me. Something jumped out…"

Randy: "Did it take your pants off? You said you had no pants on."

*Richard's guy kills more zombies*

Richard: "This is mainly something specifically for the Resident Evil games. There is nothing more cathartic than blowing off three zombies' heads with one shotgun. You know your value. Did you see that? Did you see them dodge? That's awesome."

Randy: "Because you're aiming at their heads and they don't want their heads blown off."

Richard: "Right."

Randy: "Zombies are more like us than we choose to believe."

*Richard's guy dies.*

Richard: "Zombies with grenades? I mean, I like to shoot zombies with grenades, but it's still kind of weird that they have grenades. Where do they have the wherewithal?"

Randy: "You said they weren't real zombies."

Richard: "Yeah, I guess it's the whole thing of what is realism versus what is enjoyable."

Randy: "So what is this game really about? Not the story, but the game experience?"

Richard: "It's about getting from here to there and surviving."

Andy: "Saving the president's daughter."

Richard: "Ooh, ooh! The saving the president's daughter part of it was really cool. When you find her, she's following you and one of your buttons says 'wait here' or 'hide'. So having played already four of these games I know how to run, keep my back to a wall, this that and this, but when there's that added element of a totally unarmed person that you need to get through it all, it's cool because you look at a situation and think 'okay, I can hide her over here, I can keep an eye on her but see where they're coming.' And, you know, you do a few things where you jump and combine… not combine like Voltron or anything, but… you sorta work together."

Andy: "Voltron-esque."

Randy: "There's not even any robot lions from what I saw. I think Richard is making stuff up."

It Was Difficult But I Never Got Hung Up

Richard: "I mean it's really great, and not that I know it, but I'd almost feel like the creative team of it all, the concept team, is sort of doing the Resident Evil thing again and again and again, but the quality of it makes it okay. You know what I mean? It's really fun. And there's certain things like other games that I do play that have this similar whatever it's called when you're right behind the person and you're moving and you know…"

Randy: "Over the shoulder third person camera?"

Richard: "Right, for example let's say Tenchu. Tenchu after playing that game, I had the full range of movement, like: Duck! Roll over here! It's the same on the Playstation because originally I would have thought it was more this *shakes the GameCube controller* because it has less buttons here to interact with, but I feel like the character is so stiff. Once I put my gun up, I'm like […]. Well, if I was standing really somewhere, I could be like [..] really fucking easy and look around."

Andy: "Just remember the tape can't hear your head movements."

Richard: "Right. 'Head moving' "

Andy: "Richard's head is moving now. Now he's drinking."

Actually Caught Sleeping At 2:30 a.m. This Past Summer. Photo By Rob.

Richard: "The dialog and cutscenes are totally skippable. All the written stuff in it which I usually read through every time, I was just like whatever."

Randy: "So you weren't impressed by the story in this game very much?"

Richard: "But I'm not really impressed by almost any stories in video games."

Randy: "Okay, so what happens besides combat in this game? What do you do that seems like a meaningful interaction besides combat?"

Richard: …

Randy: "Like, we just saw a really interesting and rich and varied experience where you were in some environment shooting zombies, but what else is there besides that?"

Richard: "To a certain degree there were a bunch of newer challenges, like avoiding bear traps or exploding wires, that you can shoot pigeons or the crows."

Randy: "Simple interactions, are they within a combat context or are they outside combat?"

Richard: "They are pretty much outside of combat, because they don't pose a threat to you unless you… I definitely have a love and preference.. I think you've talked to me about it before, I can't remember the name you used for it, but the games where the outcome has multiple directions based on your actions. This is still A to B to C to D, but it still has that whole thing of like.. I love in this game, the difficulty of managing your inventory, your bullets, that's pretty decent. I didn't really like not being able to switch weapons without going into, I felt I did a lot of going into my inventory that broke the action up that was not necessary or enjoyable."

Randy: "You seem to go to the inventory/pause screen an awful lot, which in a game about fluid combat with zombies-"

Richard: "Exactly. And I'd love to see the little on-screen map function, those are so fucking handy. You have to go over to inventory and then switch over to map."

Randy: "So what's the most entertaining aspect of the game? What made you play the whole thing, why was it fun?"

Richard: "It's the challenge of it, I'd have to say."

Randy: "The challenge? So if someone said 'build a house with some bricks' you'd be like 'that sounds challenging, I'm going to do that', even though it's not a video game?"

Richard: "What does that have to do with anything?"

Randy: "Challenging things aren't necessarily fun."

Richard: "That's true. Well, I guess.. the action is… the inventory.. inventory is fun!"

Andy: "Combing herbs to make a super potion is kind of neat. Is that new to this game?"

Richard: "No that was always there. They did get rid of the poison aspect, which is great."

Randy: "So you're carrying a shotgun and an assault rifle and a pistol and a submachine gun in your briefcase?"

Richard: "Yes."

Randy: "Plus some herbs and grenades?"

Richard: "Yes."

Randy: "And that's your briefcase?"

Richard: "Yes."

Randy: "But in the real game, we don't see you carrying a briefcase."

Richard: "That's true."

Randy: "How do you feel about that?"

Richard: "It'd be interesting to see someone actually represent on your physical person what you're carrying. You could still carry all that. It's not ridiculous. You couldn't get it out quickly in the middle of combat."

Randy: "But when it's in a briefcase, it's easy to get out. Is it ever a pain in the ass to juggle the space?"

Richard: "There was a cool thing with treasures, I thought. You can find.. like that's one of them, a cat's eye, and the cat's eye goes to a crown. When you find the crown if you have saved all three of them it's worth a shitload, but you can sell them otherwise for a smaller amount."

Randy: "So you're not just a raccoon cop, you're a treasure hunter?"

Richard: "A gem collector. Truly outrageous."

Randy: "So what made you come back to… what's the fun?"

Richard: "I told you. The catharsis of shooting zombies."

Andy: "That symbol on the flag? Would that tell you where you are if you knew the flags well enough?"

Richard: "No."

*A zombies head explodes*

Randy: "His head a splode."

*Zombies approach*

Richard: "Shit, shit!"

*Goes to inventory screen*

Randy: "Oh, I've got some papers in my briefcase.. just a second, please…"

Richard: "Sometimes the headless guys will still grab you."

Randy: "Really?"

Richard: "Yup. There's a kick function, I'll try and see if I can get it to appear or not…"

Randy: "Like when the guys are strangling you?"

Richard: "No, look, this is weird right? It's not activating, but in theory when you're close enough… but it happens only randomly."

Randy: "So what's frustrating about the game? You mentioned already your limited mobility."

Richard: "Um.. what was frustrating? Hmmm… I don't feel like I actually got that frustrated with the game. The limited mobility was the only thing that frustrated me. I liked that it really had this sense that it was difficult but I never got hung up fighting the same thing again and again and again like happens. Like when the repetition just gets too much."

Like Putting The Square Peg In The Hole

Randy: "Boss monsters. How are they?"

Richard: "Oh, they're awesome, actually."

Randy: "Did you have to do them a bunch of times?"

Richard: "I don't think so. I only remember a few of them. I told you about the one guy whose just a giant mutation, standing like 30' tall, like giant *rawr!* you know? And you start out in this little area where there's like houses and trees and stuff. So knowing these sort of dirty game tricks that you have from playing video games, I'm like oh I'll just go in a corner where he'll be like 'I can't reach you, I'm going to geek out against the wall', and then shoot at him. They totally made it so that… I went and hid next to a building so I could snipe him. He walked up, picked the building up and destroyed it. It was awesome. And then I ran over next to a tree.."

Randy: "Were you still in the building or was it like when the outhouse gets blown away by the hurricane and you're sitting on the toilet?"

Richard: "Yeah, like that. Which is great, because I shouldn't be able to do those stupid tricks anyway."

Randy: "How do you feel about boss monster fights in general in video games?"

Richard: "In general I don't like them because usually it's like some kind of requirement that you're supposed to do them, and a lot of times it's like... I guess a boss is supposed to be a harder challenge in the game, not necessarily like I need to put more bullets into something that shoots fireballs and jumps every third second that I have to avoid."

Randy: "Bosses are really supposed to be employers. And role models."

Richard: "Role models?"

Randy: "In real life."

Richard: "I'm a boss."

Randy: "But you're not a boss monster."

Richard: "Andy have you tried to defeat me?"

Andy: "No it's way too simple. That's not a challenge."

Richard: "But these bosses use a lot of the what you said subgame button pushing or whatever it is, instead of where it's like I need to shoot them… it's like you had to figure it out by looking at it, but it's like… I don't know... they were very dynamic. You saw the fish one, you remember that, right? Where the giant fish is going and the boat has… and you have to figure out how to get your harpoon ready… yeah, they're bosses..."

Randy: "So you have to figure them out, you were saying?"

Richard: "Yeah, well it's like a perfect combo of the boss didn't take too long, it's a puzzle, it's not a puzzle just for the sake of puzzle, where you're like okay do I need to find an object in this room, do I need find a weak spot on the boss, do I just need to sit here and learn his patterns, do I need to run away from him and wait til he does something stupid… like all these certain rote ones that I've seen."

Randy: "So instead of that, what was it?"

Richard: "They were kind of like movies, I guess… they were kind of movie-like and usually it wasn't straight up weaponry that got you out of it."

Randy: "So you felt more like you were part of the experience? And it was less about something arbitrary?"

Richard: "Yeah. A lot of times with bosses I just feel like… this is holding me up from this video game or something."

Randy: "So it's a better integrated experience."

Richard: "Yeah. Mind you I still think Shadow of the Colossus has the best bosses."

Randy: "It looks like something fits inside this hexagonal indentation. Didn't you just pick up a-"

Richard: "I think I'm going to have to go back to America! If only I had two pieces! But, here is a cool thing about this. You go to your keys and treasures… Actually..."

Randy: "You probably have to combine first."

Richard: "Oh."

Randy: "Because they have these verbs that are part of the metagame screen that they wanted to use in innovative ways, so just putting two halves together to form one and then it's a key that you open a door with."

Richard: "Where is this last zombie that needs to die?"

Randy: "Is that why the music still plays?"

Richard: "Yeah."

Randy: "Can I interest you gentlemen in more blush?"

Andy: "Sure."

Richard: "Nothing compliments a fine survival horror like a good Rosé from southern France!"

Randy: "It's been chilled precisely to thirty-."

Richard: "Now if I remember correctly, I did enjoy this. It won't open, it looks like something fits in here. It goes right to your inventory and right to it, which is great. But now I have to combine. But I kind of appreciated that. Even though it makes the whole point of the puzzle even more ludicrous that it goes automatically to the piece you need, but at this point the evolution of the idea of the puzzles it seems to me that's great because you're just cutting through one step that I have to do."

Randy: "Although many games these days just cut that whole thing entirely, like if you have the right thing your character just uses it at the appropriate times. But how much of this would you say is… you've played the previous Resident Evils, right, many of them if not all of them?"

Richard: "Yup."

Randy: "So how much of the interface and the gameplay design would you say is legacy?"

Richard: "You tell me in a certain way.. didn't the first Resident Evil sort of start this feel of using the hexagonal statue piece to turn the, you know, crank?"

Randy: "It's an interesting question where-"

Richard: "I feel like it really did. I feel like that's the first time I can remember doing it."

Randy: "I mean, there's been adventure games for a long time where arbitrary puzzle pieces open-"

Richard: "Yeah."

Randy: "It's pretty much like toddler games. You know, you've got that big sphere you stick the right shapes in?"

Richard: "Yeah, I mean. Is there anything wrong with that? I can remember when I was younger enjoying that. Is it just not challenging to me?"

Randy: "Here's a question. Why should it be challenging?"

Richard: "It really doesn't seem like it is. Yeah, you're right, it's like putting the square peg in the hole."

Randy: "I have this problem where I have too many apartment keys due to my interesting lifestyle. So I come home, and I can't figure out how to open my door. Which is an interesting challenge, but I don't know if I would make a video game out of that."

Richard: "I guess it's like a challenge has that feel of either you have to look at it like… the games that have word puzzles or stuff I really dig are like riddles? Those are cool. But the games that, I don't know…"

I Can't Say I Ever Really Got Bored Of The Grunts

*exciting music, gunshots, zombie screams*

Randy: "Is this a special challenge?"

Richard: "No."

Randy: "This is just a generic zombie encounter?"

Richard: "Yup."

Randy: "So it seems like the encounter design is pretty good, right? It keeps it kind of fresh and it's varied…"

Richard: "Yeah, I can't say I ever really got bored of the grunts, you know? The grunts stayed quirky.."

Randy: "Do they get more difficult?"

Richard: "They don't. And right now you're looking at me… It's always very different when you've played through."

Randy: "To what extent is conserving your resources part of the game? The first Resident Evil was like, if you shot three bullets into one zombie, that was a stupid move."

Richard: "Yeah, it's like which ones should I run by, and which should I actually fight."

Randy: "You actually ran by enemies?"

Richard: "In this one, not so much."

Randy: "Did the zombies set those bear traps right there?"

Richard: "Yeah, there's definitely a suspension of disbelief in a lot of things. Like, okay: I am the evil zombie mastermind, and I have my city full of zombies. This meddlesome American shows up, and I just by accident have left ammunition all over the place, because my zombies can't fire guns. So all these stockpiles and ammo, I guess I'll just have them hide around the place."

Randy (evil zombie mastermind voice): "Every body, come, take 2 ammo packs and go hide them somewhere!"

Andy: "Also having zombies hanging around all those bear traps. It seems like it would F them as much as it F's you."

Richard: "I'm pretty sure they step in the bear traps. I know they will blow up-"

Randy: "Prove it."

Richard: "All right."

*Richard's guy shoots a bear trap with a gun*

Randy: "Why don't you just prod the bear trap with a stick? That's what bears do. Come on over, zombie!"

Richard: "He's throwing stuff."

Randy: "Where did he get all these scythes? He… he PULLS SCYTHES OUT OF HIS BUTT!"

Richard: "Oh, bear trap doesn't work on zombies."

Randy: "Do you feel gypped?"

Richard: "A little bit."

*Zombie dies, falls over*

Randy: "Oh look he really does have scythes on his butt!"

*Richard's guy shoots a barrel*

Randy: "Why is that barrel glowing? Is it a ghost barrel?"

Richard: "No, that means I found a special heath item."

Randy: "That's where the mastermind told the zombies to hide the health potions? Hide them in the ghost barrels!"

Richard (evil zombie mastermind voice): "Hide them in the barrels and the crates!"

Randy: "He'll never think to look there unless he's ever played a video game! So what's one of the shining moments in this game that you really remember?"

Richard: "All right, you know how monsters progress, right?"

Randy: "Yes, they strive for self-actualization."

Richard: "There was one monster in this that was awesome."

Randy: "A monster that you fought repeatedly?"

Richard: "A different monster class."

Randy: "But not a unique boss monster?"

Richard: "Oh this is cool..."


Richard: "Aw, shoot, I did it again. This one I couldn't figure out until afterwards when Max was playing and we realized this, but if you close this lid first then that pocket watch you shoot wouldn't fall into the messy water…."

Andy: "...and get dirty."

Randy: "Because now it's filthy."

Richard: "Right, and there's no cleaning it."

Andy: "And it's worth less."

Richard: "And Cobra Commander does not take dirty watches."

Randy: "The Raccoon Police didn't send you with a cleaning kit?"

Richard: "Actually, I don't know why I'm wearing the Raccoon Police thing. I thought I was working for the president. I don't know really know what's going on."

*Richard's guy aims at a bird*

Richard: "This is great, this is one thing I want to say, too."

Randy: "That you like shooting birds?"

Richard: "No you see the stream of my gun? I think it's awesome that it has that little bit of human shake to it."

*Richard's guy's gun arm wavers*

Randy: "Shooting birds is a bitch, huh?"

Andy: "With a pistol? Yeah. Always has been, always will be. Unless you use snake shot. Snake shot won't do shit to a bat, though."

Randy: "What's snake shot?"

Andy: "It's basically shot for a pistol."

Randy: "For a pistol? No way. I didn't know that."

Richard: "Where did I come from?"

Andy: "It won't kill a bat."

Filled With Video Game Stereotypes

Randy: "I have to say I think the art style and direction in this game is astounding. It doesn't look like a GameCube can render this. The interface when you're actually playing is minimal. Like you said it was clumsy, but it doesn't obscure much of the screen, which is nice. It's a fairly immersive interface."

Richard: "Like this one! It's not brilliant, but it's pretty cool."

Randy: "Oh yeah, look at that, you're rotating a sphere."

*Richard's guy rotates a sphere to open a door*

Randy: "How do you feel about cutscenes in general? Do you feel like they should be taken out of video games and replaced with interactive elements?"

Richard: "No, for example, Shadow of The Colossus, and any of the Legacy of Kain / Soul Reaver games… I looked forward to them. They can be done well."

Large Russian man: "Just remember if you become unpleasant to our eyes, you will face severe consequences."

Richard: "I feel like this game is filled with video game stereotypes. Like: I'm Keanu Reeves with blond hair. Like: 'uh, fuck.'"

Randy: "When you're playing the game, what do you have to think about most and manage most? Like as you're playing and focusing on the game, what are you thinking about?"

Richard: "Sex."

Randy: "No, I mean about the game. Hey look, a portrait of Garrett on the wall!"

Richard: "I like the exploration. What's in this corner, what did they design down this hall? What's in the oven?"

Randy: "It's an egg!"

Richard: "Here is a great room if I remember correctly, a filthy bathroom. I love a game where there's a cam for both 'Shake Off' and 'Get Off'."

Randy: "So you're going to get off in the bathroom?"

Richard: "No, you get off on the boat and you shake off in the bathroom. You get to wiggle your knob to shake off."

Andy: "That is brilliant."

Randy: "And here I thought we were going to have at least one video game review without mention of sex. So you manage exploration, you were saying, you think about exploration a lot."

Richard: "I definitely appreciate looking at what they've made. It's a pretty good looking game, it's nicely lit, nice colorations."

Randy: "So presumably that fades from your mind when there's actual fighting to do and not just running around living rooms and kitchens like you're doing now?"

Andy: "What's behind door number 2?"

Randy: "It's the chainsaw guy."

Richard: "This is also a great example of ... not having shotgun shells."

Randy: "How come everyone else's head blows up but the shotgun guy?"

Richard: "He's got a magical bag of armor protection."

Randy: "Bag on his head."

*Richard's guy shoots chainsaw guy in the head again*

Randy: "That guy is terrifying, I have to say."

Richard: "Dude, you didn't see, I don't think, or maybe you probably did see when I unlocked the bonus thing after you beat the game which I think is almost more enjoyable than the game, it's enjoyable in a different way, there's a super chainsaw guy that you run in horror and fear from because he's so evil."

Randy: "You're shooting Amish women."

Richard: "Yeah, z'Ambish."

Randy: "Nice, you shot the thing out of mid-air! Just like in real life."

Richard: "Yeah, a great addition. I guess maybe my complaint with the zombies is that I truly am a fan of zombies. I honestly used to have nightmares about zombies all the time. And so playing these games, where there's that sense of the unending horde of I-don't-give-a-fuck-shoot-me-it-doesn't-matter-"

Randy: "Everyone is a fan of zombies, I think."

Richard: "I think so, but the thing is these are no longer really zombies to me."

Randy: "Yeah, it's a little bit of like when The Force was mitochondria or whatever whatever and, like, Luke's blood-"

Richard: "Give me some shotgun shells!"

Randy: "So when you're actually in the combat what do you think about and manage the most, what is the thing on your mind?"

Richard: "Take… their heads off… with one bullet."

Andy: "That's the general rule for zombies, anyway."

Randy: "Is that a zombie cow? Are you ass-fucking the cow? Oh my god, you're slashing the cow's ass and blood's coming out??"

Andy: "The tail never falls off!"

*Richard shoots the cow*

Randy: "Oh my god! You're an evil man; Vermonters would not approve."

Richard: "Well you know the last time I played through the game I didn't kill any of the animals, but now I decided why not? They're not real."

Randy: "So I think you've really captured the essence of the game right there: shoot the head with one bullet. Would you say that's the defining statement of the game?"

Richard: "I still feel like there's things from other games they could take to make this a hell of a lot better."

Randy: "For example?"

Richard: "Like for example Tenchu… I can't jump. Oh! There's a fence here; I guess I'm fucked."

Randy: "It says 'Jump Over'."

Richard: "Well, not that fence, but like here. I guess there's certain limitation to the world, you have to .. .you know…"

Randy: "But they're very arbitrary. And a lot of the game really presents like a perfectly immersive world… the limitations aren't the limitations you'd expect as a real person, right? But then there are some so it's totally arbitrary? Is there some sort of convention to the game so you know what is a limitation that you're going to be imposed even though it's arbitrary versus ones where you're not?"

Richard: "They at least don't make it look interesting, so you're like how do I get over there?"

Randy: "So they put some thought into solving that problem."

Richard: "Maybe, I don't know."

Randy: "Maybe they just designed randomly, they just threw dice."

Richard: "I would love the idea, I'll probably be able to see it in my life, that eventually it will be a fully interactive world that you're playing in. Where like if I were to throw a grenade right there those pillows or whatever would blow up?"

Andy: "Sandbags."

Richard: "Pillows filled with sand."

Randy: "And that would be appealing?"

Richard: "Yeah, I mean I understand…"

Cobra Commander: "I got a selection of GOOD things on sale, stranga!"

Randy: "Good things! Good, good things! So this guy is a profiteer who hides in the secret catacombs in the cathedral infested by zombies? Do we believe in him?"

Andy: "Whoa! Go back one! There! What is that? Striker? It looks like a street sweeper."

Randy: "It looks like a gun to me."

That Sense Of Mastery Over Your World

Richard: "I was telling you about it, but I didn't finish, the one guy who was so cool … end?"

Randy: "What? The cool guy who picked up buildings and trees?"

Richard: "No. The character was like, okay so.. in this game the zombies are infected with the viral mutation thing that is tentacley and evil, you know Lovecraft wannabe combined with biology. So the more advanced monster are all like *bluegh blewegh* you know and their limbs turn to spikes and like… these guys are really freaky and they're really mean and really badass and they kill you they shoot spikes out and they're pretty well scary."

Randy: "These are the tough guys you mentioned?"

Richard: "Yeah, these are the super tough guys, right, and you can shoot the shit out of them and you will eventually kill them, but if you get the infrared scope and you put it on your gun and then you aim through it it switches to infrared and you can see that what it is is in their body there's a thing moving around in it so it's like it's an interactive monster that has a specific target moving in there that you can shoot."

Randy: "That's amazing."

Richard: "And it was like whoaah, that's really cool."

Randy: "So you have this specific vision mode that pinpoints the weakness."

Richard: "It wasn't limited to that's what you have to do, it's like you can do it with one bullet if you know to do this."

Randy: "Very good design."

Andy: "How long did that take you to figure out?"

Richard: "There it is right there, the infrared scope. You'd switch to this scope and there'd be a red dot wriggling around in the monster."

*Richard's guy fights his way through a graveyard*

Zombie: "Arh rarh roh!"

Randy: "My niece says that some times. To what extent do you feel the Japanese culture being a part of this game?"

Richard: "Is this a Japanese oriented game?"

Randy: "It's made by the Japanese."

Richard: "It is? Really?"

Randy: "Yeah, you didn't notice? It's pretty Japan-attuned, I would say."

Richard: "Yeah, I never thought it was. There's a certain amount of Japanese corniness to it, but… is it really? Totally designed?"

Randy: "We can whip out the credits and see how many syllables the names have. *looks through manual* Strangely, the credits aren't in here. How Japanese."

Richard: "That's why you play through the game, that's the goal. Is the credits aren't in there, you don't get to watch the credits until you win the game! I'm sorry to say to the world of game designers that I totally skip the credits and don't give a damn."

Randy: "Yeah. I'm offended right now. You were saying you thought it had to be American in some way?"

Richard: "Yeah, just because there's no translational loss in this."

Randy: "There's no 'Nora has turned to carrots.' or 'A Winner is You!'?"

*Richard's guy shoots a snake which leaves behind a chicken egg*

Randy: "What emotions do you experience when you play this game?"

Richard: "Definitely excitement. And… oh… here we go, one of the best little side things if you pay attention."

Randy: "Yup, yup. What, you can throw grenades at birds?"


Randy: "And they have money. They have treasure chests?"

*the sound of treasure being picked up*

Richard: "You know how…"

Randy: "…birds carry treasure chests."

Richard: "Right. I wish they carried ammo."

Randy: "That's one of the reasons that I'm really jealous of birds."

Andy: "Uh huh."

Richard: "They steal your ducats."

Randy: "My ducats?"

Richard: "Yup."

Randy: "Is that a hip-hop thing?"

Richard: "It is used in that. But Ducats is like an old English word I think for money."

Randy: "Because I think Ice Cube…"

Richard: "I tell a girl in a minute, yo! I drive a bucket."

Randy: "Emotions, emotions!"

Richard: "Um… I think it has a little bit of sense of fear to it."

Randy: "But you don't really feel fear, you just feel excitement?"

Richard: "Yeah."

Randy: "You're not reluctant to enter new areas?"

Richard: "There is caution, yeah."

*Richard's guy runs from a boulder, Indian Jones style*

Randy: "You were making the distinction between fear and something else... caution. That zombie is from the 70s."

Richard: "He totally was really into One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest before he became a zombie. There's this warning system that almost leads to the stealth assassin thing, which I-"

Randy: "Tenchu, you mean?"

Richard: "Okay, I guess I'm quoting another video game, but when you start shooting they notice you. I kind of wish I could just snipe them. I really love sniping because it's a totally different challenge."

Randy: "Snakes jump out of those sometimes?"

Andy: "They hide snakes in boxes?"

Randy: "Yeah. Because, you know, the evil mastermind is like 'All right if we're going to hide all our ammo around in crates and boxes, probably better hide some snakes in some of them, just to keep him on his toes.'"

*frequent gunshots for several seconds*

Randy: "You seem very immersed while you're playing, Richard. What is the emotion you're experiencing right now?"

Richard: "I don't know. It's like a challenge, it's- oo…"

Randy: "Do you feel calm, do you feel fear, do you feel-"

Richard: "Well, no. You kind of have that sense of mastery over your world when you're doing it right. It's control over an uncontrollable situation of zombie attacks."

Randy: "You feel dominant?"

Richard: "Where did he come from?"

Randy: "That was Harrison Ford you just killed!"

Richard: "All right, did you see that? I just did the kick. Randomly becomes an option."

Randy: "Now you just killed… the guy who voiced Darth Vadar?"

Richard: "James Earle Jones."

Randy: "Yeah! You just killed him."

*blows off multiple zombies' heads with one shot*

Richard: "That. I'm telling you. Catharsis."

Randy: "So you play this game to feel better about yourself, essentially."

Richard: "No, it's like cleansing a boil. When you perfectly lance it, you know what I mean? That's one shot to the head, right there."

Randy: "You kicked that dude's head plumb off."

Richard: "Only if you shake…"

Randy: "…extra good?"

Richard: "Yup."

It Could Be Story-Driven And This Exciting

Andy: "How does that shotgun hold sixteen shots? I've never seen a shotgun that does that."

Richard: "We have arrived at the first boss. Mysterious things happening in the water…"

Richard's guy (whispering): "Shit"

Randy: "He said shit?"

Richard: "Yeah."

Randy: "It's totally an R-rated movie."

Richard: "It's good. The game gave me a good sense of apprehension. And yet control at the same time."

*stirring music*

Richard (imitating his guy): "Shit. Shit. Shit."

Randy: "Do you believe in the story and the environment or are you just willing to accept it?"

Richard: "I'm willing to accept it."

Randy: "But you're not really immersed?"

Richard: "Well the fact is the story really doesn't matter. I can play through the game, and it doesn't matter what the story was."

Randy: "Why doesn't it matter?"

Richard: "Well, because anything the story provides is not integral to the gameplay, and it's not of any quality, particularly."

Randy: "So they feel pretty separate, and it's kind of a low quality story."

Richard: "Yeah. Well, it kind of is separate."

Randy: "So it's kind of phoned in? It's like answering the phone every time there's a cutscene."

Richard: "Right."

Randy: "Separate experience-"

Richard: "Yeah, totally I just skipped over every cutscene and not read any document-"

Randy: "And that didn't disrupt your play experience at all?"

Richard: "No. It feel to me that they have that there to justify the story as opposed to when it could be story-driven and this exciting, you know what I mean?"

Randy: "They have what there to justify the story?"

Richard: "Well, it's like... um…"

Randy: "What were you saying? What's there to justify the story?"

Richard: "Well, I feel like I could see it like 'what is the story?', so you make a story or some group of people make a story, and then another group of people make the game, and they're irrelevant from each other, I don't know. Okay, first boss."

Randy: "So you feel like they're so separate-"

Richard: "Look there it is! Hit the A button to 'Get Off!'"

Andy: "Why don't you get off on the island?'

Richard: "I'm going to get off when I damn well please."

Randy: "Seems like you should focus on your boating / harpooning experience."

Richard: "Like this is a decent boss."

Andy: "It's an awful big anchor for such a little boat."

Randy: "All the better to get stuck in the boss monster's…"

Richard: "I do need to control it here, try to avoid things for a while, because that happens!"

Randy: "So now you're underwater? That's scary, actually. I feel intimidated. So now you have to hammer the A button to swim back to the boat."

Andy: "Get up, get up!"

*Richard's guy is towed in a boat behind a giant water monster*

Randy: "So is this a zombie too or is it just a really big fish?"

Richard: "He eats zombies, I think."

Andy: "A big catfish."

*Richard's guy falls into the water again*

Richard: "See, now every time this happens, it's harder to get back to the boat."

Randy: "So this is why the A button on my controller isn't working anymore?"

Richard: "Heh."

Randy: "This is kind of like extreme sports meets Blair Witch meets-"

Richard: "Right, I wish I could do tricks with my boat."

Randy: "Harpoon his mouth, Richard!"

*Richard's guy falls in the water again*

Randy: "What are you supposed to do instead of-"

Richard: "I should have been steering."

Randy: "There was one type of guy <mumble> frustrating <mumble>?"

Richard: "Yeah, there was. I can't quite remember it. It was one of those the wall falls on you suddenly and you have to.. do something? Oh Jesus, what is going on?"

Randy: "This boss monster fight is kind of lasting a long time."

*Richard hammers on the A button*

Randy: "And so what was frustrating about that?"

Richard: "It was I was thinking I had to run at the right time, but it was that I had to push some lever."

Randy: "Why was that frustrating?"

Richard: "Because I did it again and again and again and died and died and died."

Randy: "Was it too, like, unforgiving, like, the timing?"

Richard: "No, it was my misperception.."

*Richard hammers on the A button*

Randy: "When you steer the boat, is it opposite steering like when you really steer a boat?"

Richard: "Let's see…. Yeah it is."

Randy: "Cool. But you found that intuitive, because you had to think about it."

Richard: "Yeah, I played enough Vice City."

Randy: "Oh you killed him! Finally! Any opinions on whether harpooning an extremely giant Lock Ness monster would kill it, no matter how many times you harpoon it in the mouth?"

Richard: "I think it would. I think it would actually take less."

Randy: "Fewer harpoons?"

Richard: "Maybe."

Andy: "So why do you actually have to kill that thing?"

Richard: "Because you…"

Randy: "...Science…"

Richard: "…you just run into him."

Totally Derivative Of The Other Four Games That Precede It

Randy: "Okay, so this is an important question, Richard. The award that this game was under consideration for awards both innovation and excellence in video game design. Would you say that this game exhibits more innovation or excellence and to what extent does it exhibit either?"

Richard: "Well it does have both, but I would say more excellence than innovation."

Randy: "What do you mean by that?"

Richard: "Katamari, that's innovation, you know what I mean, like… this is totally derivative of the other four games that precede it. I mean, it's an evolution within itself but it's not an evolution in my opinion in video games."

Randy: "How is it an innovation within itself?'

Richard: "Well if you consider just the world of its… no, it's more like it has innovations within its own structure of the four or five that it's been…"

Randy: "Within the series."

Richard: "Yeah, but then again I mean like what was it, Resident Evil Nemesis, I think that was still like the best one and... but then again that was six years ago that I played it or so, but it seemed like it was the best one, like it was really hard, really scary."

Randy: "It had… you actually felt fear when you played Nemesis?"

Richard: "Yeah, I think so."

Randy: "As opposed to this one where you just feel-"

Richard: "Well it still was not really, I mean if it was truly fearful, I mean different-"

Randy: "Well, was Fatal Frame fearful?"

Richard: "Yeah, Fatal Frame actually freaked me out, and Silent Hill 2 did as well."

Randy: "But not the Resident Evil series, ever?"

Richard: "Nemesis, maybe a point or two in this one, I can't think of what they were."

Randy: "But this isn't really a fear-"

Richard: "No, I have a control in this one. Fatal Frame, it's like, you have a fucking camera, and that's supposed to stop these things that are sucking your soul out…"

Randy: "Sure."

Richard: "…and it doesn't translate to having a gun, you know, and you're playing a school girl, so it makes sense that you don't have ninja moves."

Randy: "Say as opposed to a Raccoon Cop with a street sweeper."

Richard: "Right, this puts you in the mind of action adventure."

Randy: "Time to dominate, time to defeat my enemies."

Richard: "Yeah."

Like A Good Three Speed Bike

Randy: "So what are its big points of excellent, like what does it do particularly better than some of the other entries in this particular series or video games in general?"

Richard: "Well, first of all it looks beautiful, it looks great. Despite the limitations I feel I have here, it's still really good for those limitations…"

Randy: "What are the limitations you're talking about?"

Richard: "Well, for example, other games I play like Tony Hawk. Tony Hawk is the most extreme example of what this is lacking, or Tenchu is a step down from it, which is every button, every combination of buttons does something, so if you take the time to learn all of those things you learn to interact with your world, with your character to do anything you want, almost."

Randy: "In Tony Hawk you can do anything you want? Like you might be able to-"

Richard: "You can't do anything you want, but you're pretty damn close at this point to doing anything you can image, like the newest one-"

Randy: "So you can like purchase an IRA or build a spaceship and travel to-"

Richard: "No, no, physical interaction."

Randy: "So you can, like… juggle… blimps? What do you mean by-"

Richard: "Physical interaction within the context of the game."

Randy: "Meaning skateboarding."

Richard: "Well, no, like. Yes, in that case skateboarding. In this case, I can't look over there without it being like uuuuggghhh!!"

Randy: "Fails to meet your expectations."

Richard: "But what I'm saying is despite the fact that it doesn't give me a lot of tools to work with, the few that it does are pretty good, and I guess it's like a good three speed bike versus a shitty one. It may not have a lot of it, but it still is pretty good, I grudgingly say. But that's not really excellence."

Randy: "So it's got limited tools, it's a little clunky. But despite those limitations that you mentioned… what were you going to conclude with?"

Richard: "…what?"

Randy: "You were saying that despite the limitations, it still has excellence, I think? So what is its excellence?"

Richard: "Like if you want to consider those limitation, like where it is you... you know it's like someone who is handicapped who manages to do something great that someone else might not be able to do."

Randy: "So you feel like you're a handicapped hero."

Richard: "Well I feel handicapped by this in particular. *waves the Game Cube controller*"

Randy: "So you were saying that despite feeling handicapped by both the limited interactions and mobility in particular, and limited in the real world by the controller interface, the game has moments of excellence. What are those moments? Complete your thought."

Richard: "I feel like I should never leave this reality. I should never have to pause or go to my inventory, it should…"

Randy: "You want seamless immersion."

Richard: "To compare it with …really violent?… in the 80s?…. Grand Theft Auto! In Grand Theft Auto, I can scroll through my weapons, I can reload, I can turn, I can look, I do it all from here, so I never leave this environment, and I feel like that is a standard now."

Randy: "This seems a little retro."

Richard: "Yeah, it seems like with this interaction, this is too little, I mean turn, turn. It's very Ecclesiastes."

Randy: "So you're still not helping me out with the excellence."

Interacting With The System As Much As Possible

Richard: "Okay, how do I get out of this to the main game start place?"

Randy: "You mean main menu?"

Richard: "I'll show you where it feels the most excellent. Did you see the mercenaries? This is like… this is an important part… I unlocked it, and I unlocked all five of the characters. This is like a challenge."

Randy: "Hunk, he's Hunk?"

Richard: "Hold on… I'll show you my favorite level."

Randy: "This is a fiction-free game mode?"

Richard: "Just straight up, the… and this is almost more enjoyable. Like here it is, me against endless enemies on a time limit and there's massive chainsaw dudes in here."

Randy: "So this is boiled down to the essence of the excellence of the game."

Richard: "Yeah, ready, here we go."

*exciting music, gunshots, screaming zombies*

Randy: "I'll say one thing that you are a hunk!"

Andy: "Are you fighting in water world?"

Randy: "Slide down, time for the zipline! I'm surprised they said 'Slide Down' and not just, like, 'Jack Off'."

Richard: "So here is where I'm interacting with the system as much as possible at the highest rate of density."

Randy: "So it's the highest density of systemic game interactions. It's not diluted by the fiction or cutscenes or combining herbs. Is that what you were saying?"

Richard: "Well, they're just going to keep coming and there's no stopping until I run out of ammo or get killed."

Randy: "What I said was way smarter."

*Richard's guy kills hordes of zombies*

Randy: "Those guys really need to rethink their wooden shields. It's just not working."

Richard: "Well they accidentally invested in so much bullets. Here we go, hear him?"

Randy: "I hear a chainsaw!"

Richard: "He's right behind me, and he's really hard to shake, and he jumps ladders."

*Richard's guy dies*

Richard: "And there goes my head."


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All materials copyright 2006, Randy Smith