The History of Resident Evil: The Beginning
- Posted March 17th, 2009 at 13:08 EDT by Michael Harradence
(continued from previous page) ...the transition to the final version, Walker ultimately failed to make the cut and was subsequently replaced by Claire Redfield, making 1.5 an all the more intriguing package.
Unlike the first game, 1.5 had both characters starting off in entirely separate locations – Kennedy would find himself on the roof of the Raccoon Police Department (R.P.D.), while Walker would start off at ground level. Regardless, the R.P.D. building represents one of the most significant areas where the game deviated from its successor. Whereas the precinct in the final build was converted from an old museum, 1.5’s cop shop boasted a distinctly modern aesthetic, featuring slick interiors dotted inconspicuously with fax machines, discarded coffee cups and related paraphernalia – a far cry from the final build’s marriage of dusty antiquities and grand halls. A few areas did manage to survive the transition to the retail copy, however, most notably the morgue, the basement weapons storage and the prison cells.
Nonetheless, many of the game’s latter stages – such as the sewer and factory – deviated considerably from their final incarnation in terms of overall layout, with only Birkin’s underground laboratory baring any resemblance to the final copy.
Speaking in a 1996 interview, Capcom’s Noritaka Funamizu commented: “Resident Evil 2 [1.5] is about one and a half times bigger than the original. The room sizes are about the same as before – there are just more of them. And there’s a far greater number of enemies too.”
1.5 also featured a number of familiar faces carried over to the final version, including Chief of Police Brian Irons, the Birkin family, gunshop owner Robert Kendo (a.k.a. John), R.P.D. officer Marvin Branagh and Ada Wong (then known as Linda), However, aside from the Birkin’s, the majority of the supporting cast had substantially different roles than in Resident Evil 2. Kendo, for example, would no longer perish at the hands of zombies at the beginning of the game and instead aided Walker in her quest, alongside Sherry Birkin.
Branagh on the other hand became a vital component in Kennedy’s scenario, and was playable for a short portion of the game, as opposed succumbing to the affects of the T-Virus in the final copy. Meanwhile, the unscrupulous and mentally unstable Chief Irons of Resident Evil 2 assumed a far more hospitable role in 1.5 and is encountered wounded in his office, though much of his involvement in the game remains unknown. Rounding out the prototype version’s cast is Roy, a fellow member of the R.P.D., though little is known as to what role he served in the game.
Elsewhere, aside from the ubiquitous zombie hordes, 1.5 boasted an impressive line-up of twisted monstrosities, including but not limited to zombie dogs, infected crows and giant spiders. More noteworthy, however, are the legions of beasts that failed to make it into the commercial release, including mutated gorillas, a human-arachnid hybrid known as the ‘Man Spider,’ and a slightly different take on the mutated Dr. Birkin.
“In Resident Evil all the zombies moved in the same way and at the same speed. This time each of the zombies has its own pattern, so some will move slowly while others will suddenly pick up pace and start running at you – it’s to keep the player constantly on guard, and accentuate the element of surprise,” noted Funamizu. “But, since we had to reduce the number of polygons allocated to each character almost by half in order to compensate, it’s been quite difficult maintaining the clarify and detail of each of the characters.”
Characters also boasted the ability to equip different types of clothing in order to bolster their defense against enemies, some of which limited or increased the amount of items you were able to carry. More emphasis was placed on depicting the effects of both your characters' and enemy’s attacks than the final version, such as blood splattering on the player’s clothes after blasting an enemy with the Shotgun in close proximity, to tears appearing in both Kennedy and Walker’s outfits after accumulating a certain amount of damage. Furthermore, 1.5 also featured a couple of weapons that failed to make the commercial build, including hand grenades an assortment of automatic ... (continued on next page)