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30/10/2013

Sounds of Escapism: Resident Evil 2

30/10/2013 | By | 6 Comments

Track: Police Station, Main Hall (Extended)

Artist: Masami Ueda, Syun Nishigaki and Shusaku Uchiyama

Game: Resident Evil 2

Platform: PlayStation

Year: 1998

I’m the type of gamer that gets nostalgic about certain games at certain times of year. And if I’m not mistaken, ‘tis the season for playing Resident Evil. 2.

I first experienced Resident Evil 2 during my student years. One of my fellow residents in halls had a PlayStation and one of those makeshift surround sound rigs in his room, with multiple speakers hooked up to a separate amp (this is what we used to do before 5.1 home cinema systems, kids!). It sounded incredible. Space is a premium in student digs, so one of the speakers was actually placed underneath where you were sitting, which gave me one hell of a fright! The footsteps sounded like they were coming directly from us, the zombies sounded nearer, and you felt the gunfire coming up through the floor. In that dark, claustrophobic little room this creepy and deeply atmospheric game left a lasting impression on me.

When I first started writing Sounds of Escapism, it was with the intention of showcasing some of the best music created for, featured in and inspired by videogames. It irritates me that some people may consider music made for games to be “lowbrow”. I like to argue that just as much effort – if not more – goes into scoring a videogame than it does into scoring a film; that film and game soundtracks should at least be considered as equals. I also wanted to evoke memories and inspire discussion among us gamers too, which is why I have included this track. Despite being repetitive and fairly basic in composition, it still doesn’t fail in conjuring up some powerful mental images.

20131029-[SoE]-Resi2Hunk
I ended up getting to know Resident Evil 2 very well indeed, to the point where I could almost play it blindfolded. And if you consider all the horrendous camera angles, blind corners and untimely camera switches in this game, that claim isn’t actually as ridiculous as it sounds. I became so obsessed with it that I decided I had to see the fabled hidden level concerning a minor character in the story who went by the dubious name of Hunk. (As in ‘hunk of meat’? Or simply just a ‘hunky’ character? I never found out, but yuck on both counts!)

My attempt to earn this bonus storyline proved to be a horror story that I’m sure many of you can empathise with.

The only way you unlocked the Hunk campaign was by playing each scenario in under an hour and a half, with no saves and no first-aid sprays, in order to earn an ‘S’ grade. That part wasn’t the problem. The problem was that, when playing on PlayStation, you had to save these completed games and resume play in a specific order on the memory card. Despite meeting all the prerequisites, my hard work was all for nought; something had gone wrong with the save data and the bonus mission remained locked.

That whole frustrating episode meant that it was also the last time I played Resident Evil 2. I was that upset to not have unlocked Hunk’s scenario that I couldn’t face playing the game again. Even so, it was such a huge game for me that this track evokes memories of both the first and the last time I played it, not to mention the fun I had with it in between.

Happy Halloween folks!

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this guys! It marks the first SoE post exclusive to Explosive Alan :)

    Please feel free to share any of your memories of Resident Evil 2 here, I’d love to read them!

    Also, I am wondering if anyone can help solve an age-old mystery of mine concerning RE2. There is this key found in the game that I never found a use for. It was found on the body of the dead Umbrella mercenary guy (possibly even ‘Hunk’ and the same mercenaries who die at the very start of the opening titles of the game) down the dead end passageway to the left just as you leave the police station after the fist time you meet the good Dr. Birkin. You mostly find ammo on this corpse but in one scenario, ‘Claire B’ if memory serves, you find this key. Just what the hell is it for? That question has bugged me for years…

  2. Hmmm, wasn’t that the one that opened the locker containing the machine gun? In a basement in the police station somewhere?

  3. Do you mean the locker where you find the Uzi and the bag which can give you extra space in your inventory? Where you can choose to either take it or leave it for the other character’s corresponding story? Because I don’t remember a locked cabinet in that room. Do you remember picking up that key and backtracking there then? It’s odd because I thought I knew every inch of that game, but I don’t remember having ever found a locker that I couldn’t open.

    Damn it, I must have missed it then. I was hoping it was some kind of famous red herring that I’d somehow never heard about. Or perhaps an item referring to events in that secret 4th Survivor thing :P

  4. I’m pretty sure I spent a solid four hours trying to escape the first 5 minutes of actual game time. I remember it being something like: 1. Playstation logo, 2. title screen, 3. quick story intro, 4. OH MY GOD THERE ARE ZOMBIES EVERYWHERE AND I ONLY HAVE 7 BULLETS!!. Something like that.

    Rarely do games throw you into the fire that quickly.

  5. Yes! It was total trial by fire and such a terrific way to start a game. I do remember getting to the point though where you could run past all of those zombies at the start, never firing a shot so you could steal the alternative costume locker key off poor ol’ Brad!

  6. I never play RE2: Scenario A without getting that Locker Key off Brad.

    If you are super tight, you can time it so Brad lunges at you and falls, allowing you to stomp or punt his head, saving precious bullets. (Not a great way to go after what Nemesis did to him already)

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