For the next few weeks, The 405 will be taking a look at one of gaming's most iconic survival horror franchises - Resident Evil. Each week, one of our writers will revisiting one of Capcom's zombie slaying classics as we build up to the release of Resident Evil 6.

My first encounter with Resident Evil Code: Veronica was on the original Sega Dreamcast release. Gamers such as myself were already spoilt with the graphical capability the console could muster via titles titles such as Sonic Adventure and Shenmue. However, there weren’t many horror titles utilizing the new tech (save for the campy Blue Stinger) and I was eager to see how a horror title would fare in this new generation of gaming.

PhotobucketWhen the opening cutscene for Resident Evil Code: Veronicafirst flashed on my TV screen for the first time, the pre-rendered CGI blew me away - I felt like I was watching a movie rather than a video game. As the gameplay commenced, I was welcomed by smoothly textured 3D characters and hauntingly dark environments. For the first time, things actually felt “dark” and “scary”. Fixed camera angles were maintained, however at key points moved along with your character to give a movie-like neo-noir horror feel.

Upon encountering the zombie infested graveyard sequence in the opener, I was thoroughly freaked out. For the first time playing a Resident Evil game, I felt actually frightened. The previous Resident Evil games had mass loads of tension and atmosphere, however the survival aspect was forced upon the player from the get-go with this title, unlike the other games in the series (EDS NOTE: Except Resident Evil 2, which starts on the desolated streets of Racoon City with the player surrounded by zombies).

There was no respite as I progressed; the game offered little ammunition or weaponry and the amount of enemies seemed to multiply as I trudged forward. I remember thinking the difficulty felt unfair at first, however I soon came to realize that this game handed you weapons only to delay enemies, not clear a path - true survival horror mechanics at their best.

I remember the game feeling huge. It shipped on two discs and it was split into 3 main chapters, taking place in two prime locations. This massive diversification in environment had never been seen in a Resident Evil title before – from a prison, to an old haunted-style mansion (which harks back to RE1), a military bunker, an underwater facility, dungeons and a secret Umbrella facility located in Antarctica.

PhotobucketThe set pieces/cutscenes were fantastic, and the boss fights are still so memorable. My favorite moment till this day is fighting the tyrant in the cargo hold of an airplane mid-flight (another sequence foreshadowed in Resident Evil 5, when Chris and Sheeva fight Wesker).

The game was re-released 11 years later as a HD re-master for PSN and Xbox Live. I decided to replay through the game and see how I felt about it now compared to my initial reaction, all those years ago. I maintain that the difficulty is still a major factor in this game. I believe that it does have balance, however for a first time player, it is completely unforgiving if you're not used to the tank like controls or survival horror aspect of ammunition conservation. Having said that, the pacing in which you gain items is relative to your level of exploration. Of course, this comes with the danger that your character could bump into enemies that deplete your health supplies and ammunition, thereby making certain exploration opportunities completely pointless.

I would say that the graphics are probably the game's weakest point now. There's a charm somewhat to the older titles in the game’s series which, ironically, do bring a greater depth and sense of dread and atmosphere – the effect is similar to looking at a timeless old painting or an old silent movie, adding much more tension and than modern, bombastic, over-budget titles try to achieve.

The pacing in the first half of the game felt more solid than the second. The character switch from Claire Redfield to Chris Redfield doesn't feel that solid. Chris’s part in the story felt a bit tagged on and wasn’t as satisfying as Claire’s. The same sentiment can be felt for the Antarctic sequence. I guess if you look back and think about the real world logistics of the story and the facility layouts that you're navigating, the game is really supremely ridiculous (EDS NOTE - the dead are coming back to life, and the LOGISTICS are what you find ridiculous???). But then, it’s Resident Evil. Anything goes! I still love seeing Wesker’s Matrix-like superman abilities in this game. Absolutely hilarious! Combined with his performance, it makes you feel like you're watching a campy play in which any second Patrick Stewart will grace the stage and have a verbose shouting match with Wesker before they unsheathe rapiers upon each other – totally could work …ok, maybe a mutated zombie Patrick Stewart would fit better.

PhotobucketI still consider Resident Evil 2 to be the pinnacle of the gaming series, mainly because of pacing and the initial “wow” factor. I think Resident Evil Code: Veronica was very indicative of things to come, in how we as gamers would gauge games in relation to their evolution and focus on graphics over gameplay – the effect of which is that graphics aren’t really a massive factor in how people enjoy a video game, or what makes a timeless classic. I have more of hankering to play a videogame that technically looks worse than Code: Veronica, and that speaks volumes. In saying that, I do feel that the game was one of the rare few gemss that added a graphical upgrade without impacting the integrity of original gameplay, story and overall structure.

PhotobucketWe also have to remember this is the last Resident Evil game in the series that uses the original control structure and camera angles – its still sadly missed by many fans, myself included. The controls have of course improved over time in certain areas, but the original atmosphere of the previous games is sadly missing now.

In saying that, I still hate Steve Burnside.