Resident Evil 4

We've done the whole village thing now, and we understand the no-zombie slant, so it's time for Resi 4 to prove that it's more than just a 3D engine and a pile of leaves.

It's been twelve months since we first witnessed, Resi's brave new direction but we'd still only scratched the rustic surface of the game. That was until we got hands-on with the latest demo - now's there are mines, dusty underground tunnels and of course the castle - monks and all.

Shortly after the village has been negotiated, our hero Leon ventures out into the open farmland. It's here he finds the cocky and bearded Louis tied up in a shack. Now, this is a major event for two reasons. Firstly, Louis knows the whereabouts of Ashley Gardner (the missing daughter of the US President), and secondly he's been tied up by the village leader - a nine-foot-tall Rasputin wannabe with a unique arrangement of head hair.

Fortunately, the mac-wearing baldy decides to crush Leon's skull at a later date, leaving the side-parted one to discover a mine situated in huge cavern. It's a clutter of gantries and corrugated roofs that underlines the sheer beauty of the game. And we're not talking ice-cold technical excellence that you might see in Halo - this is a musty, lived-in quality that lends Resi 4 a unique menace. This is a game that can unsettle with its eerie emptiness, can thrill with dynamic action and make you scream for your mother, all within a few minutes. So Capcom really have proved there's life beyond the village - almost more life than you can handle.

Resident Evil 4 will be released for Gamecube in March, with a PS2 version to follow later in the year