I thought I was a Resident Evil pro until I tried the max-difficulty hell mode hidden in RE4’s demo
Game devs always love giving their “very hard” mode some kind of goofy name. You know: “Insanity,” “Nightmare,” “I am Death incarnate!,” “Hell Bastard Apocalypse,” something cute like that. The ultra-difficult “Mad Chainsaw Mode” hidden in the Resident Evil 4 demo (opens in new tab) is one of the first to truly feel like it deserves its epithet, though.
First reported by Eurogamer (opens in new tab), you have a random chance of unlocking the mode each time you start a new run of the demo—it’s unclear if you have to finish it once to unlock the opportunity. Mad Chainsaw Mode ramps up enemy HP, poise, and aggression while also mixing up their placement, and I hear tell that beloved Chainsaw Guy Dr. Salvador (where’d he get his degree, anyway?) is swapped for his crazy-strong Mercenaries Mode alter-ego Giant Chainsaw Man (opens in new tab) during the big dust-up at the end of the demo. But I didn’t make it that far.
I’ve beaten RE4 six or seven times now, some of those on Professional difficulty, and I’ve also five-star sweeped the Mercenaries mode to unlock the game’s ultimate Handcannon weapon. I pretty handily cleared the demo last night and figured “I’m an RE4 pro, I’m ready for this!”
I was not ready for this. At the demo’s very first fight not one, but four premium extra-strength Ganados rushed in to greet me. I wasted all my ammo, knife durability, and only healing spray to not even drop all of them, then promptly Yakety Saxed my way as far as I could until some Castilian bumpkin with a grudge gave me the old Geralt of Rivia (opens in new tab) at the end of a hay fork.
It didn’t even feel like a proper difficulty mode as much as it did a trolling ROM hack, and it was hilarious. For an actual chance of beating the thing, I have to imagine you’d need some combo of the classic PS1 survival horror “just juke them and run past” strat with a thorough mastery of the remake’s new stealth mechanics.
More than anything else though, I think Mad Chainsaw Mode is strong evidence that the RE4 remake’s reinvigorating this classic game in some meaningful ways. It’s surprising and funny and arcadey; it has the madcap cheesy energy of the original but slots perfectly in with the new game’s incredible presentation. The Mad Chainsaw Mode’s popup says it won’t be in the final game when it releases March 24, but I’ll be surprised if there isn’t something like it, at least in the Mercenaries survival mode.