We have finished with the overview of the original Playstation version of Resident Evil. Let's go to the Director's Cut, released on PSX in September of 1997.
It should be told that this was the first version of Resident Evil that I actually played, so I actually played a "harder" RE than the original. That's how hardcore I am... Anyway, I remember being intrigued by the idea of a video game "director's cut". I knew it was marketing, especially with the eye in the glass jar advertising bit, but it was still a pretty darn brilliant move on Capcom's part. Rerelease the same game, with some minor tweaks and some bonuses, and resell it for a slightly reduced price. Proceed to laugh all the way to the bank! Especially due to the inclusion of an early Resident Evil 2 demo, interest (and high sales) was practically guaranteed.
The story is actually identical, further bringing doubt to the claim that this is a director's cut. The truth of the matter is that the "cut" part was meant to refer to the previously censored introduction cinema being fully restored in full color. This didn't quite happen, and depending on whom you trust, it is possibly several different groups' fault.
RE:Director's Cut features new graphics for several mansion locations, including the second floor hallway and some of the corridors. There are also new camera angles in other parts of the mansion, such as the narrow hallway with tons of pictures leading to the fish tank room. Most of these changes are purely aesthetic, as the player does not face additional obstacles in these areas.
Chris, Jill, and Rebecca all have new default outfits, as well as new secret outfits. Jill Valentine's new alternate outfit is quite yummy, despite how pixelated it looks these days...
The Director's Cut also features a new slightly more powerful handgun from the start, different item placement, more Hunters (!) and a zombified Forest Speyer. I figure if you got this far into the review, these details are not spoilers.
The music is the same, nice atmospheric pieces continue to make the player feel unease and lots of tension.
Gameplay and control is also the same. Seeing a pattern here? Auto aim is not yet included in Resident Evil, so it is fair to say the gameplay is the same.
Challenge takes a bit more time to properly express. I don't know if I would call the Director's Cut more challenging than the original, as the enemies may be more numerous, but careful ammo conservation will still allow you to take them out fairly easily. This new mode does take some slight adjustment for RE veterans as things have been moved around to mess with the player. At least it is not as bad as the Spirit Temple in Ocarina of Time: Master Quest.
Replay value is about the same as the original, with the same unlockable weapons, though you don't need a key to access the new alternate costumes any longer. I am personally glad that the Arrange Mode is available from the start, as that would have been an annoying but automatic increase to DC's replay value. I dislike when games make the player jump through hoops to unlock them if the company advertises it as a prominent reason to buy the game. A recent example of this is Super Smash Brothers Brawl, specifically how dumb it is that Sonic and Solid Snake need to be unlocked.
Overall, the impact of Resident Evil: The Director's Cut has dulled over time. The truth is that besides its main selling point being unfulfilled, people were most interested in it for the Resident Evil 2 Demo, which definitely delivered. I can't say that it is a better game than the original PSX version, just a different one. But for RE completists like me, it is still a must play. Consider that if you decide to pick it up. Or download it if you live in Asia (bring it to the US Playstation store, Sony!)
- Ugly Bob