I’m going through some Resident Evil mania right now, and combined with the impending release of a remastered Resident Evil 0, and the recently announced remake of Resident Evil 2, I am about as happy as a bull in a china shop! Since my mania cannot be contained, I decided to dust off some of my collection and play a few games that I haven’t touched in years. The first game I happened to pop in was Resident Evil: Deadly Silence for the Nintendo DS, released on February 7th, 2006 by Capcom. It took Capcom a decade to port the original Resident Evil onto a handheld system–in my opinion they should have waited a few more years and then ported the GameCube remake to the 3DS instead, but that’s none of my business.
Capcom was nice enough to include two versions of the game to choose from on the tiny DS cartridge. You can choose “Classic Mode,” which is the original story with some tiny changes added to it and which uses the dual screens, or “Rebirth Mode,” which grants you more ammo and ink ribbon saves. Seeing as I had already beaten “Classic Mode” on the PlayStation, I decided to go with “Rebirth Mode” because sometimes you just want to run and gun it. When I first played “Classic Mode,” I had to sneak past zombies and conserve ammo for bosses and the like. I didn’t have to do that in “Rebirth Mode,” which in my opinion made the game a bit more fun and more satisfying to play.
The story hasn’t changed: Capcom kept the canon of the original game intact for this release, so if anyone has been living in a cave for the past twenty years they can still catch up on the story that started it all. In Deadly Silence, you take control of Jill or Chris as you try to survive the horrors of the Spencer Mansion. You have to fight your way through zombies, spiders, dogs, and more terrors as you try to figure out the mystery that the mansion contains. Along the way, you meet more S.T.A.R.S. members, and must save your partner from impending doom. It’s nice to come back to this story every now and then to see where the series came from, and even though the story is a bit tough to follow, it isn’t as difficult as the soap operas Capcom is pumping out now.
Capcom did opt to use the touch screen on the DS for Deadly Silence. They added a few puzzles for you to solve on the touch screen, and implemented a forced first person mode. This forced mode occurs when the player is attacked by zombies, birds, or dogs, and during these sequences you are thrown into first person view and must use your finger or the stylus to defend from their attacks. Keep in mind that there is no warning for these attacks, so keep your stylus in hand just in case you have to go on the defensive. Unfortunately, these encounters feel forced as the developers didn’t fully meld them into the game. Once you’ve fought off a hoard using your finger or your stylus, you must still fight them once you return to third person mode. Thankfully, while you’re still in first person mode, the felled zombies and such drop healing herbs and ammo, which are always useful.
It is nice to be able to play Resident Evil on the run, but there are some better options to do so with at this point. I’d rather experience the story held in this game with the recently released HD version on the PS3 and Xbox 360. If I really wanted to play Resident Evil on the go, I would stick with Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS. Revelations looks and controls better, and had Capcom put a little more effort into Deadly Silence graphically and control-wise, it would have been a stellar edition to the series. For those who have never experienced the first Resident Evil, the HD version is probably your best bet. However, if you are a purist and cannot find a PS1, then Resident Evil: Deadly Silence is the way to go. The scares won’t be as amazing, but they may make you drop your DS nonetheless.