Resident Evil Code: Veronica, released in Japan as , is the fourth game in Capcom's Resident Evil survival horror series originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. It is notable for being the first Resident Evil title to debut on a non-Sony platform, in contrast to the first three installments, which were originally PlayStation games and then ported to other platforms.
An updated version of the game titled was released for the Dreamcast (Japan only) and PlayStation 2 in 2001. This revision was ported to the Nintendo GameCube in 2003. Code: Veronica X includes updated as well as brand-new cut scenes spliced into the main game along with mild graphical changes.
It was the first game in the series made for a sixth generation console, and also the first core title in the series to use fully polygonal environments instead of the static pre-rendered backgrounds that characterized the previous installments (not counting Resident Evil: Survivor).
Gameplay remained largely unchanged from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (which was developed in tandem with Code: Veronica); features such as explosive oil drums and a 180-degree turn having been carried over to this game. Items from Resident Evil 2, such as upgradeable handgun parts and "side packs" for larger item capacity are included, as well as new weapons such as crossbow arrows mixed with gun powder and anti-BOW rounds for the grenade launcher. A unique feature of Code: Veronica is the inclusion of various dual wielding pistols, allowing the player to target two enemies at the same time. Some of the more subtle improvements in Code: Veronica include the addition of continues, allowing the player to retry a scene after a game over, and the ability to pick and use a healing herb when the character's inventory is full.
As with previous installments, Code: Veronica features two protagonists, Claire Redfield and her brother Chris. Unlike Resident Evil 2, in which the player could choose to start the game with either character, Code: Veronica forces players to take control of Claire for the first half of the game and then start the second half with Chris. All of Claire's weapons and items left in the item box are available for Chris to pick up in his half of the game. In addition, a third character, Steve Burnside, is briefly playable during the game's first half and Claire herself is playable during a short portion of Chris' scenario.
Like previous Resident Evil titles, there are hidden features that are unlocked after meeting certain requirements. After completing the main game, a Battle Game is unlocked in which the player can choose from one of five characters (Chris, Claire with her normal and one secret outfit, and two unlockable characters, Albert Wesker and Steve), travel through a series of rooms, clear each area of monsters and eventually defeat a character-specific boss in the quickest time possible. Both the main game and the Battle Game feature their respective unlockable weapons.
Claire and Steve eventually escape via plane, but Alfred sets it to autopilot and flies both of them to another Umbrella facility in the Antarctic, in hope of freeing his sister from her 15-years-long cryogenic sleep she betook after the injection of the T-Veronica Virus, to counter the flaws of that virus. After another fight with Claire and Steve which ends in the protagonists's escaping the facility via a digger, Alfred limps to Alexia, heavily injured. He witnesses her awakening moments before drawing his last breath. Alexia summons giant tentacles and crashes Claire's and Steve's digger, recapturing both.
Claire's brother Chris arrives on Rockfort after having been contacted by Leon. He learns Claire is long gone and has an encounter with Wesker. Just as his old superior wants to finish him off, Alexia appears on a screen laughing. Stunned by Alexia's being still alive, Wesker changes his mind and resorts to the Antarctic. Chris eventually finds his way there, too, and is reunited with Claire who sets out to find Steve. As she locates him, she discovers Alexia conducted an experiment with him, injecting Steve with the T-Veronica Virus. Steve mutates into a reptilian monster and tries to kill Claire who escapes to a prison cell, where she is attacked by another of Alexia's tentacles. Still in his mutated form, Steve breaks through the bars using his immense strength and rescues Claire. The tentacle drives into his chest and retreats. Steve mutates back to his human form and confesses his love to Claire, dying afterwards.
At the same time, Chris and Wesker confront Alexia. Overwhelmed by her strength, Wesker escapes and leaves Chris to fight her. His victory is only temporary, though, as Alexia resurrects after the battle. Meanwhile, Chris activates the facility's self-destruct system to release all locks, thus freeing Claire from the prison cell. Alexia confronts him a second time, this time leading to her ultimate destruction. Chris runs to the emergency elevator and catches a glimpse of Wesker, whose men also retrieved Steve's body to use him for further experiments, as he is the only subject injected with a sample of the T-Veronica Virus. Chris convinces Wesker to release Claire who then runs to the plane, waiting for her brother. This brings forth the final showdown in which Chris is overwhelmed by Wesker. Both are separated by an explosion. Wesker vows he will satisfy his desire for revenge the next time they meet. Chris reunites with Claire and both set off just as the whole facility blows up. Chris swears to take down Umbrella once and for all.
Code: Veronica is notable for being the only Resident Evil sequel with classic gameplay not to bear a numbered title, despite being promoted as the true sequel to Resident Evil 2. Instead Nemesis, a PlayStation title that originally began development as a side-story rather than a true sequel was given the title Resident Evil 3.
While Production Studio 4 was in charge of the game's artistic direction, the actual development of the game was handled by Nextech Corporation (a subsidiary of Sega at the time), the same company that ported the original Resident Evil to the Sega Saturn. Although, the game was originally marketed as a Dreamcast exclusive during its initial release, the game was ported to the Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube later, in the form of the updated version Code: Veronica X.
There were two versions of the original Dreamcast release in Japan: a standard edition and a limited edition. The limited edition came packaged with a red slipcase and features a different title screen, with Wesker's face visible on the background. The same version of this title screen would be used for Code: Veronica X.
Code: Veronica X is identical to the original in terms of gameplay, but features nine minutes of additional cut scenes spliced into the main game, as well as mild graphical changes on the GameCube version. These new cut scenes consist of a brief confrontation between Claire and Wesker early in the game in which Wesker overpowers Claire, but refrains from killing her in order to use her as a lure for Chris, a redone fight scene between Alexia and Wesker, in which Wesker comes out favorably (as opposed to being overpowered by Alexia as in the original), and an extended ending.
As the title indicates, the documentary serves as a retelling of the events of the first three games, as narrated by Albert Wesker. The documentary serves to explain Wesker's return in Code: Veronica and how he came to be hired by the new organization. In addition, it also reveals that the character was a former lab partner of William Birkin and that he was in league with Ada Wong (an agent of the same organization) during the events of Resident Evil 2.
A non-spoken written sequel to this documentary, titled Wesker's Report II, was released via Capcom's official site (in Japanese and English) to promote the GameCube remake of the original Resident Evil.
There is also a Debriefing report in the Code: Veronica X strategy guide by Prima
As with previous Resident Evil games, a Code: Veronica novelization was written by author S.D. Perry. Although, the novel was first published on December 1, 2001, it is based on the original game and does not take into account the added events introduced in the later version of the game. As with the previous novelizations by Perry, the original character Mr. Trent appears as a mysterious stringpuller behind the plot.
Code: Veronica was also adapted into a manhua by Lee Chung Hing (who also did a similar adaptation of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis), published in Hong Kong during the original game's release. An English version of the comic was published as four collected graphic novels by Wildstorm in North America.