Love/Hate: Resident Evil – Code: Veronica X

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! It has been quite a while since the last entry, but I’m finally ready and able to continue the series with Resident Evil – Code: Veronica X! This is another one of those Resident Evil games that I owned and tried to play through several times (my most recent abandoned attempt being back at the start of 2023), but never made it more than an hour in. However, much like REmake, those failed attempts all made this final attempt go much more smoothly – I knew more-or-less what I needed to do at the start of the game, which allowed me to get over the early game hump of not wasting ammo and health. Practice from previous attempts also meant that I didn’t struggle with the tank controls either and acclimated to them very quickly. Having played through the whole thing now, how does Code: Veronica X hold up? Read on to find out…


  • Classic Gameplay – Code: Veronica is the oldest mainline Resident Evil game with no remake, which means that it also has the most “classic” gameplay formula for anyone wanting to play through the story of the series’ main entries. This also means that it’s the only mainline entry where tank controls are mandatory. While this will definitely be a hang-up for some, I had fun acclimating to them and, after a couple short attempts, they finally “clicked” and I had basically no issue with them through the entire experience. It makes me excited to go into the PS1 Resident Evil games and Outbreak now that I’ve got this down pat. Code: Veronica is definitely less polished and refined than REmake, but the classic Resident Evil formula is still executed well and is really fun.
  • Wesker – Albert Wesker was a decent villain in the first Resident Evil game, but he got clowned on by his own monster. The Wesker we know today though? He came into his own in Code: Veronica. This is the first time he really became King Shit as he laughs maniacally and monologues while beating the tar out of Claire and Chris Redfield. He gets some classic lines and cool new powers that helped establish him as the franchise’s greatest villain.
  • Claire – I really like Claire’s character design here, it’s probably my favourite look for her in the whole series. You can really see how her experiences in Raccoon City have jaded her and turned her into a full-on action heroine badass, best exemplified by the Matrix-inspired opening cinematic.
  • The Story – I almost always rag on the stories in Resident Evil games, even in the franchise’s best-regarded games. They just tend to be poorly told, disjointed nonsense when you apply any thought to them, or they have an interesting story happening in the background which the main story barely bumps up against. However, Code: Veronica seems to have struck a good balance between a story that’s relatively simple and straight-forward (escape the prison/Antarctic base), while also weaving the series’ larger lore into the main plot in a way that makes it all more interesting. Towards the end, Code: Veronica turns into a full-on succession war between the Ashfords and Albert Wesker to see who will control the BOW market in the wake of the Raccoon City incident, and seeing that play out in front of us instead of through optional files is pretty exciting to see play out. On top of that, there are a few good, unexpected twists that keep things interesting and a fairly coherent narrative throughout. All-in-all, it makes for a story that is easily one of the most interesting and memorable in the whole franchise.
  • Nosferatu – If we’re being honest, this boss fight is kind of bullshit. The boss has a poison spray attack that is nigh-on unavoidable and very long-ranged attacks that mean you can barely even see the boss before he can damage you, and he can instant-kill you if you’re too close to the edge of the platform. However, I don’t mind too much in the end because Nosferatu has an awesome, exceptionally creepy creature design – easily one of the coolest monsters in the whole franchise. On top of that, the fight has fantastic atmosphere, taking place in a blizzard as you try to find Nosferatu in first-person view and shoot him in his weak point. Even though I kept dying cheaply to this guy, I couldn’t help but have a good time each time I replayed the fight.
  • Checkpoints – Code: Veronica has added a checkpoint system which makes dying against bosses less of a pain in the ass. Instead of being kicked back to the last save room (however long ago that was), most bosses will have a checkpoint sometime before the boss that you can start at, making these showdowns less frustrating. The game also doesn’t kick you back to the main menu every time you die, which makes dying slightly less rage-inducing.


  • Graphics – On the one hand, Code: Veronica is a pretty big step up from the PS1 trilogy in terms of its graphical fidelity. Technology had also increased enough where backgrounds were no longer pre-rendered and were now being done in real-time, which means that the camera can also freely move at times and there’s no more “loading stutter” whenever the camera angle shifts. However, this is a bit of a mixed bag for me in the end. For one thing, being a Dreamcast and early PS2 game, Code: Veronica is, graphically, in the transition period between what PS1 games were doing and what PS2 games would end up looking like. As a result, it looks kind of pathetic in comparison to REmake and 0, which came out only 2 years later (or 1 year if you played Code: Veronica on PS2). That’s not really the game’s fault, but what is the game’s fault is that the ability to move the camera isn’t really explored at all. Fixed camera angles were a necessity of PS1 technical limitations and pre-rendered backgrounds, but if you have this world entirely rendered in real-time, there isn’t really much of a reason for this game to continue sticking it fixed camera angles. The camera just kind of works within the general framework of fixed angles, moving on occasion, but then switching angles as needed because that’s the expectation for the series. This makes all the occasions where you get damaged by an enemy your character could see, but you can’t because it’s off-screen, all the more egregious than they were in previous Resident Evil games.
  • Alfred Ashford – Our initial antagonist in the game, Alfred Ashford, is a foppish, annoying, effeminate, borderline-offensive cartoon villain… but I can’t really bring myself to hate him like I do the Leech Controller in Resident Evil 0. I think it’s because it was entirely intentional for him to be eccentric and pathetic, so he ends up being almost endearing as a result. Definitely one of the worst Resident Evil villains, but he’s at a level of derpiness that I could see me really leaning into the character someday.


  • Steve – Sigh. As soon as I heard this guy’s vocal performance, I knew I was in for a rough ride. Steve sounds like an early 2000s Final Fantasy/shonen anime hero, complete with squeaky, nasally voice, melodramatics, and his obsession with dual-wielding guns at all times. Unfortunately, it’s not just his vocal performance that does him in. The writers clearly want you to like Steve, giving him a very tragic backstory, moments of over-the-top badassery, and forcing a romance between him and Claire. Uuuuunfortunately, this all fails miserably because you can’t take his vocal performance seriously and the writing of the character just doesn’t work. Like, that “romance” between him and Claire? The “build-up” for this romance is him trying to kiss Claire when she’s sleeping, then telling her he loves her when he’s dying. It just doesn’t work and there is little indication that Claire looks at him with anything more than pity. All that said though, Steve makes for a goldmine of memes. Going into a PTSD meltdown because he has to shoot his zombie dad? Hilarious. Being told that “Steve is suffering” as we try to free him from a room full of poison gas? I’m literally on the floor laughing. Steve gets distracted staring at Claire’s ass, causing their getaway vehicle to crash, releasing a cloud of poison gas that Claire gets stuck dealing with? Comedy gold.
  • You Kind of Need a Walkthrough – Code: Veronica is one of those games where you can find yourself screwed over through no fault of your own because of a sudden difficulty spike or completely unpredictable change in the way that the game works, and you just are expected to deal with it. If you’ve already played through the game, this isn’t a big deal, but if you go in completely blind, you might find yourself having to replay massive chunks of the game, if not restarting entirely.
    • The first big instance of this is the Tyrant fight on the plane. It’s a sudden and massive difficulty spike that is beyond anything else you faced in the game to this point (and, arguably, at any other point). This sonofabitch can stun-lock you to get off two colossal hits in succession. Given that it only takes three or four hits from it to die, this is incredibly frustrating. Your goal in this fight is to launch it out of the plane by activating a catapult system to throw a crate into it. Each time this is activated, you need to wait about thirty seconds for it to recharge before you can launch it again, during which time you need to avoid getting hit and launch as much damage as you can at the Tyrant to wear it down enough for the next crate to take it out. This can take anywhere from two to five launches to pull off, and if you used all your grenade launcher or explosive arrow ammo earlier, then sucks to be you. This difficulty spike can straight-up soft-lock you if you didn’t conserve your ammo and healing well enough up to this point.
    • About halfway through the game, you switch from playing as Claire to Chris. Chris has access to Claire’s item box, but I sure hope you weren’t holding onto your best weapons and all your healing items when you were playing as Claire (which is quite likely, because you switch right after the Nosferatu boss fight). Chris can get by without Claire’s best weapons, but it definitely makes playing as him harder than it needs to be, purely because you had no way of knowing that this switch-up was happening.
    • Likewise, later in the game you switch back to Claire, briefly. Once again, you don’t have access to any weapons or items Chris had and, when you switch back to Chris, any items you take with you will be gone for good. This sequence also has a nasty action sequence against mutant-Steve where you die in only two hits, and you’re going to be hit at least two or three times (if not more). Again, I sure hope that you have enough healing items, or you are literally screwed here.
    • On the smaller end of things, there’s a metal detector early in the game where you have to stash all metal objects on you before you can enter. Not only can you easily forget any important items you left here, but there’s a fire extinguisher you’re likely going to put here after using it, which you actually need to bring with you to Antarctica as Chris in order to get the strongest gun in the game and make the final boss fights significantly easier. This one’s kind of easy to miss, but it’s also kind of bullshit that they’d hinge the best endgame weapon on whether you remembered to grab a seemingly-useless key item hours earlier and put it in your item box until it became useful again. The ID Card sure as hell didn’t do anything after its one short usage (in fact, I accidentally mixed it up with the Security Card, so it actually was a pain in my ass that I still had it at the end of the game)…
  • Bandersnatches – These ugly bastards are a pain in the ass. On the one hand, I appreciate that they don’t do much damage to you, but they will constantly attack you from long range, will stagger you with each hit, and are almost-always doing so from off-screen. They’re just a massive pain to deal with every time you see one and are often not worth the ammo and health you’d need to waste to actually kill them.
  • Unmemorable Locales – Compared to the Spencer Mansion and RPD, the locales in Code: Veronica are not particularly memorable. A prison and an Antarctic base should be really cool areas for a Resident Evil game, but the way they have been designed here doesn’t really do the premise justice. I think the main issue is that the Spencer Mansion and RPD have a main, central hub area that all paths branch outward from and then loop back to. In contrast, Rockfort Prison, the Palace, and the Military Training Facility are three separate compounds which you cycle between (and which take about a minute of travel time each time you go to change areas). On top of this, when you play as Chris, a lot of your routes you memorized suddenly change and get blocked off, making it really hard to remember where exactly you need to go to get to a particular destination.
  • Chris – This one is a bit unfortunate. On the one hand, I think that Code: Veronica might be Chris at his most likeable. He’s straight-up the all-American action hero that he should be, actually getting to interact with Claire also makes him the world’s best big brother, and he also gets a personal antagonist in Wesker. Unfortunately, the mid-point twist where you start playing as him and then realize that they’ve transported you back to the prison right after we’d gotten all excited about escaping was not a great decision. It ends up dragging the prison section out for another hour and a half and feels completely superfluous, like they were stalling for time and reusing as many assets as they could. It also rubs me the wrong way that, as soon as Chris shows up, Claire is completely upstaged for the rest of the game. She basically gets turned into a damsel in distress from that point forward and lets Chris do all the work. I remember when Kaya Scodelario said that Claire doesn’t get to do much after Resident Evil 2 and wanted to change that if they made more sequels to Welcome to Raccoon City, to which Resident Evil nerds went “umm, have you not heard of Code: Veronica and Revelations 2?!” To which I can now confidently say: Claire gets shafted halfway through this game and is easily the most superfluous character in Revelations 2. Kaya’s right, and if we do get more movies with her as Claire, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing some changes made.

I’ll be honest, I went into Code: Veronica not expecting to like it too much. It’s one of those games that has been hyped up for me for years by certain people, but I’d also heard other people who said really mixed things about it. As a result, I went in with a more critical bias against it. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really did dig it. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best in the whole franchise by any means, but it is a really fun, solid entry that is well worth playing through when you’re ready to dive into the “classic” Resident Evil entries.

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