The Rambleast Resident Evil Odyssey

To celebrate the release of Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS and, erm, last week’s announcement of the series’ 21st game, Resident Evil 6, here’s one from the archives. I’d rather be celebrating the game’s release by PLAYING it by blogging doesn’t pay that well…or at all…

Let no-one say I’m not dedicated. Sure, I’ve never played as Master Chef in Halo, never splattered a Lotus in Gears Of War or successfully navigated the Animorph as St. Ezio in Assassin’s Creed Part II, but there’s no topping my love for the now six-years-old Resident Evil 4 (aw, bless, he’ll be off to school any day now, or has been there for years already, sure what do I know about the real world?) and as the following entry ought to prove, I am a gaming devotee.

Let’s cast back our minds to earlier last year and the announcement from Capcom that as part of the momentum-gathering bandwagon of re-releasing classic games to backpocket a quick buck or a million their 15th Anniversary celebration of the original game’s 1996 release they’d be porting Resident Evils 4 and Code Veronica for HD re-release in September. After changing my underoos and wet-wiping clean my trusty laptop, greed conquered gratefulness and I began angrily demanding of no actually present person that the Gamecube’s now-classic dolling-up of the original title and its sequel (confusingly, Resident Evil 0) also make the transition from tiny disc (how I miss those impractical little fellows) to tiny (but in terms of digital space, flipping humongous) hard disc. As time wore on I dropped this, figuring that they’d either release them eventually (and the money machine’ll no doubt raise its gleaming chrome bonce at some stage to suggest just that) or they wouldn’t and at least I had arguably my favourite game of all time (hey, top…six at least) to look forward to. I mean, as I’ve mentioned at least a squillion times on Rambleast, I paid £16 just for an outer slipcase for my GC copy of RE4, not to mention upgrading to every new release on release day since that first edition hit shelves back in ’05. The GC version still has the best spine, IMO. I may have drawn the line at buying an iPhone just to play it on, but I think that’s reasonable, right? Oh yeah, also Code Veronica, more on which later, though that experience was so unpleasant I’m not sure my naturally occurring pith (snigger, tee hee) will surface: feel free to nip out for a fag or a Pot Noodle or whatever it is you fancy at that point .

So, I literally began counting the days (not literally) ‘til its late September release and as it approached realised with a tangible sink of the stomach that I had a scant few pounds and less still internet connectivity in our temporary dwelling on Manchester’s wholly frightful Letchworth Street (comedy alternatives: Wretchworth Street, Worthless Street and Inner Rim Of Scumzone Central, er, street) , from which we thankfully eloped to the altogether less despair-inducing West Street in Crewe (in a house of which I can honestly say that of all the houses I’ve lived in is the latest), further delaying the internet connectivity fussle* and prolonging my sadness. Ah, but what if there were an alternative to having no internet connection, such as, just for example, having one? Then I’d be rolling in figurative happiness, yes yes. So, I began scouting. McDonald’s had a free wi-fi connection but no televisions to which I could connect my trusty PS3. A local hotel had a TV but an overly strict internal network that wouldn’t allow the connection. What was I to do? Dare I take advantage of the university’s benevolence and bum their frankly insultingly fast download speeds for a few hours? Sure, seeing as that’s the very thing I did. So, that’s how I bought Resident Evil 4 for the fifth time.

Sorry, I neglected to mention the absolute ball, brain and backache that took shape ‘twixt the notion and that final, celebrated ‘download complete’ notice and celebrate I did , albeit merely with a little yelp and a weak punch to the air, for downloading that game was a labour of love akin to, and I can say this with absolutely no degree of credibility as a vagina-less parent of none, giving birth.

First of all I had to make the decision to take my trusty (trustier than the PS3, even) Humax television with me to the school because there was no way I was going to find one already there, right? Ha. I found SEVEN with compatible scart inlets that would have saved me so much trouble had I thought to take the cable with me when I moved over. Never mind though, eh? My first task as the genius-free idea to embark on this ordeal hit me was to find somewhere to set up. The library was off-limits because it was closing in a couple hours and also was A LIBRARY. Setting up a TV and games console surrounded by the more diligent students (you know, the sort that populate libraries after dark) was clearly not the way forward, and worse yet, the secondmost sensible idea was prohibited thanks to sharing a building (and when I say sharing a building I mean in the same way that shops in the Arndale Centre share a building) with an open night of sorts for warbling ladies and young lads with singer-songwriter (or singer-songcoverer) aspirations. Sigh. Such a bother, them student types. I was left with no alternative (barring the obvious choice of going home a broken man) other than to commandeer a classroom, which I did with no small amount of nervousness and the general shakery that invades your limbs when you know you’re up to something you shouldn’t be. After pulling down the blinds, turning out the lights and actually locking the door, I got to work establishing a workaround for the school’s identity-specific login system which caused the smallest of headaches to park behind my eyes and commandeer my head like a pesky Zord-wrangling Power Ranger for the rest of the evening, but before we get ahead of ourselves let’s take a look at the setup, clever as I was to use the remainder of my phone battery to snap a couple shots:

The whole sorry affair…
The paranoid lunatic’s dream: drawn curtains
Me cheerfully flipping off the door I’d locked moments before

After finding a way to log in to the university’s network on the PS3’s browser (not easy for a mid-level-techie-if-even like myself) I still had a few problems to deal with, including but not limited to and ranging in severity from mild (the buzzing of the projector above me) to worrying (no funds whatsoever in my PS3 account and no credit card or phone credit) to crippling (I was quite the hungryman and slash-deprived for the duration). After figuring out how to shut off the projector at the very real risk of breaking the wealth of equipment it was hooked up to I managed to get some PSN credit online (via the PS3 browser) and I was off. “Remaining time: 2 hours”.

Fuck.

Off.

So there I was, with a possibly (as it turned out, not-at-all) worried girlfriend at home wondering why I hadn’t been in contact and absolutely no outlet for time-passage for an unreasonably long time in a room I couldn’t leave and which offered, as is the norm for classrooms, a level of comfort so minimal it could fairly be described as in minus digits. I kicked myself after a half-hour of boredom passed and I realised my PS3 was loaded with decades’ worth of tasty tunes and again after the first half of Mastodon’s latest album that I had a great deal of videos on there as well, so for stress-free portion of the remainder of my stay at casa MMU I enjoyed Dream Theater’s The Spirit Carries On (in which they look for their new drummer – the way I’ve written that it just sounds like he’s hidden from them) and a few of the new Futuramas (enjoyable but still lacking something special). As for the stress-filled portion of the remainder of my stay, read on…

‘TIL HERE! So at about eleven o’clock and with a mere 9% of the download to go I notice a rustling of that distinctive security-guard-bomber-jacket material, followed by a pant-wettingly (I spilled my water, OK?) fretful unlocking of the door I’d so confidently locked hours earlier. “Um, hullo. Are you locking up, of course you are, I’ll just…just, get out of your hair here”. Firstly, I was mumbling and rambling at once, or mrumblang as I now refer to it, and secondly the pair of less-than-bothered looking men were thoroughly, and I mean fucking definitively, hairless. I fumbled with my gear which seemed so much more plentiful as I tried to vamoose gracefully (more failure) only to be asked whether that was my car parked in the disabled spot outside. I mean, it was dark, I didn’t KNOW it was…, alright, fair cop, I without so much as a single consideration thought that no-one disabled would have cause to come to the university that night (yeah…), parked up and doddled on, unaware that I would be both called on it and made to feel a least a little prattish. Turns out they were about to lock up for the night as it was 11 and it occurred to me with a fishy smack in the cheek that the library wasn’t party to some special closing-at-11 priveliges that the rest of the campus wasn’t, excepting one building- “the brock”. If you’re anything like me the name Brock conjures instantly a mental image of the tallest, brownest and apparently blindest of the Pokémon trio and not an all-hours IT lab with free wi-fi throughout the night which, as it transpired, is nearly impossible to find.

I tried just about every building with a light on in the next twenty minutes (including the one for the arts building, in the foyer of which stood a pair of barely noticeable human figures cloaked in the darkness just out of the light and also in actual cloaks. I near died…) before locating the fabled room, unlocked and unlit. As I set up on the floor, ready to complete my download, I was subject to a lesson from Lady Luck, namely that mine had run out owing to the nature of incomplete downloads requiring a total restart. I had come this far, though, and was darned if I was going home without that game, so I started all over again, at least able to communicate this time thanks to the room being full of computers, and the rest of the night went fairly well despite my not finding the light switch for forty minutes and sitting in near-total darkness like a spooky pervert or something. I came home satisfied, installed the game, and ignored it for close to two weeks before finally playing (and savouring with a lover’s attention) it for what has to be the fifteenth time, and that’s just a conservative estimate. I also wrote a blog about it, which is here .

Not content, I returned to the Brock for a second time, this time to take advantage of the discount offer for the just-released Code Veronica which I’d not played since my arrogant, headstrong teens and was semi-confident I could enjoy at the wise old age of 24. Having learned from my mistakes, I departed at a sensible time and headed straight for the presumably empty Brock which was at that time being used (not unreasonably) as a classroom, so I sauntered over to the library-esque ‘student zone’ above the previously forbidden singing area and set up despite the presence of some curious onlookers (please never forget while reading this that I was carrying a TELEVISION around with me) only to find that the Playstation Network (from whence I was to download the title) was offline for maintenance for two hours. Tail between legs I drove home and returned later to the now-actually empty Brock, phone charged and quite prepared for the download, and everything went smoothly until, at 77% completion, half of Crewe lost power.

My scream of anguish was surely only heard by the big fat fly who’d earlier made himself my companion as I began to feel very uncomfortable amidst the darkness, vague distant movements and incessant alarms. Driving home the police presence and lack of traffic lights was fairly unsettling and the whole experience served as a sort of precursor to the (inevitable) zombie apocalypse, the irony of that observation only presenting itself to the ‘duh’ section of my mind moments ago. There was an extremely mild panic on campus (lots of folks outside on their phones) and fire engines whizzing past with a newfound regularity and a creepy, constant cheering that I had no idea as to the origins of given that it sounded recorded, you know, piped in, despite the absolute lack of electricity. Anyhoo, I returned the next night (despite having decided fate was against me EVER legally downloading a Resident Evil title in one session), finished the download and played the game in the next few days, hating the vast majority of it. Was it worth it? My ample posterior, was it worth it…

If you stuck it out, thanks for reading as ever. Keep doing that, keep reading me. Well done. Have something sweet as a reward.

*Re: “fussle”, fairly sure I’ve invented an excellent new word.

For more misappropriated anger at hardly deserving subjects, check out Rambleast at your own risk.

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