Normal game special! Resident Evil CODE: Veronica’s battle mode

Those of you following me on Twitter or Tumblr may have noticed I’m currently in a bit of a Resident Evil mood this past week or so – what started as just a brainless way to spend a day when I was feeling ill somehow mutated (ha!) into a burning desire to dust off my tank-control cobwebs and once again enter the world of survival horror.

The most recent game to fall under my head-squishing boot was CODE: Veronica (I’m not playing them in any sort of order, which is why I’m now working my way through RE2), which has a really fun battle mode to mess around with once you’ve beaten the main game. This mode’s about as canon as Resident Evil: Gaiden; although CODE: Veronica’s battle mode has the added bonus of actually being an enjoyable experience.

I spent a lot of time with this battle mode back when Dreamcast was new an exciting and the online world was your oyster with nothing more than a trusty 33kbps modem tying up the home phone line, so much so that this bonus game is now embedded in my DNA alongside other useful genetic traits such as the primal need to watch Youtube videos of cats doing stupid things. I thought it’d be a good idea to offer a bit of help for those who wanted to know how to make their way through the hardest battle mode scenario – Wesker’s, so here we are.

Yep, my screenshots this time are actual shots of a screen - sorry!

I don’t think there’s much point in doing a room-by-room walkthrough as that doesn’t really help anyone understand how to play better, so I’m going to give some general points to follow instead -
Point #1: Channel Wesker’s inner Chihuahua – go for the ankles! Always. Even when facing enemies that probably don’t have ankles. Low blows have a wide arc and will hit the same enemy multiple times with a single slash, which is exactly the sort of thing you’re after.

This is exactly how to do it - back against the wall, aiming low and with lots of dead people on the floor!

Point #2: Wesker is a huge knife enthusiast and is keen to prove how powerful his shiny pointy death stick is – even going so far as to prioritise targeting un-knifeable exploding containers. Yep, the programmers couldn’t be bothered to make an exception for Mr. Always-Finds-The-Time-To-Gel-His-Hair-Back, meaning you will have to deal with Wesker auto-aiming at containers even when he’s up to his eyeballs in the undead.

Point#3: Be patient. You automatically get an S rank (or an A – whatever the highest rank is in your version of the game) just for finishing Wesker’s scenario, so don’t be afraid to use healing items or think that you need to rush.

Point#4: Enemies come in three flavours as far as Wesker’s concerned – zombies, not-zombies, and Alexia. Zombies are actually his biggest threat; it’s easy for him to get surrounded and caught in a fatal cycle of neck-biting so the best thing to do is place his back to a wall, make sure his knife swing isn’t going to bounce off the sides and let them come when they’re good and ready. Not-zombies (that is, Hunters and Bandersnatch) should be run at and attacked at close quarters, as their ranged leaps/head grabs are far more dangerous than anything they can do at melee range. Alexia should be dealt with using the Magnum found in the one-armed bandit within the sole optional room – oh and keep your distance, even traitorous eyewear fans die when they’re grabbed by the throat and set on fire.

That’s really all there is to it apart from “grab all the items and kill anything that moves” – which should hopefully be obvious enough anyway. Happy hunting!

(As an apology for covering something that’s not only available in English but also common as muck I promise I’ll make up for it by writing about a super-obscure game next post, OK?)

A Little Look At… Fantastic Danmaku Festival

To a lot of people Touhou is doujin gaming, and Japanese doujin developers, artists and musicians have been keen on producing Reimu & co. games (the Koumajou Densetsu series being a personal favourite), keychains, manga, figures, albums and just about anything else for many years now.

So I’ve always thought it was a little odd that for all the general popularity Touhou has, there’s never been any serious attempts to bring those characters to life outside Japan – until now.


Fantastic Danmaku Festival, to use the game’s English title, is a Touhou-themed shmup straight out of China, which suits me down to the ground. The game released only last month but the developer has already had a couple of patches to iron out a few bugs.

Some Touhou games choose to use the setting and characters, dispensing with the shmup part of ZUN’s original work entirely, but Fantastic Danmaku Festival goes in entirely the opposite direction and is so close to the style of the main Touhou series it could easily pass as the latest entry – the only real difference is that  Starx have someone on their team who can draw (sorry ZUN).

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Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with a Touhou shmup will feel right at home here, with four selectable difficulty levels ranging from the easiest “Enemies might take a quick pot-shot at you” option right through to the appropriately named “Lunatic” setting that’s exactly the sort of deadly light show danmaku fans like to test their reflexes on. Practice mode allows players to push themselves a little further or to try a new technique on a tricky boss without having to go through the entire game first, and limited continues in the main game give players some flexibility to either relax and just enjoy the ride or to see what happens past that all-important first credit. Score-loving gamers will be pleased to know that using a continue adds a single point to the score counter, making it easy to distinguish between 1CC and credit-feeding scores without forcing players down a particular path before they’ve even started the game.

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All in all this is an excellent shmup whether you enjoy Touhou or not, and at the grand old price of free there’s no reason to not pop on over to the official website and try it out for yourself. The only snag is that you’ll need to either use AppLocale or change your PCs regional language settings to simplified Chinese, as attempting to start it under any other settings will cause the game to crash.

Oh and if you do play it let me know – I’d love to know what you think!