Some things just do not age well. Ten years ago the rotting corpses, flesh-rending hounds and bloodthirsty plants of Resident Evil managed to squeeze a few jumpy scares out of our throats; today they're so damn tame and ugly that only the heaviest helping of fond memories will keep you from foaming at the mouth in frustration.
So you're trapped in a shabbily run mansion, searching for folks who've likely long been eaten by the mindless, skin-feasting zombies that roam about. There's precious little ammo to feed your trigger happy hands and even fewer ways to restore your health. It's an ominous, claustrophobic environment all right, but holy hell the scariest thing about it is the senile interface.
Whether you choose to play the included classic version or the new touch screen-infused Rebirth mode, the protagonists handle like they're on treads. Thick, clunky, unforgiving treads that are make it tough to out maneuver the usually much more agile monstrosities that are nipping at your heels. Rebirth attempts to fix things by using a quick turnaround move and a more brisk reloading ability, but the problem is running away from whatever it is that wants to munch on your stomach. Not pumping ammo into your pistol.
Rebirth is supposed to enhance the classic game with touch screen and microphone capabilities. Tapping keypads and pulling bloody swords out of doors doesn't feel very enhancing, nor do the enforced random first-person zombie slashfests. In fact, having no choice but to knife down waves of the undead when you're carrying perfectly good pistols, shotguns and freaking bazookas makes no sense.
You can only save with an ink ribbon, and once they're used up, that's it. No more for you. Still interested? Of the two playable characters, one can hold eight items at a time, the other six. Everything else is stored in crates that are peppered throughout the mansion's courtyard, laboratories and dwarfing sub levels. You'll spend a large chunk of the game running between crates, looking for pieces to a nonsense puzzle. Why wouldn't spinning a record cause a giant snake to erupt from the fireplace?
Now that the dreadful main game is out of the way, let's talk multiplayer. At first, the idea of using the same sad control scheme into a co-op or versus zombie hunt seems absurd. True, the control remains flawed, but the RE4-like intensity that is gained bolsters Deadly Silence up in our eyes.
Playing together, you and three friends share the same life bar and try to fight your way out. You also have to allocate vital ammo, keys and herbs between the group or you'll never make it out. The other option is gunning up the versus mode and laying waste to the evil residents. He with the highest body count, wins.
Crippling aspects aside, Deadly Silence is a perfect port of the genre-defining PlayStation game. It may be on a tiny screen, but all the entrail dripping gore and wonderfully atrocious voice acting is intact. For a DS title, it's a technical marvel. Too bad it's a game that Father Time has shredded to bits. Stow the nostalgia, people; this one's for diehard fans and completists only.