Conspiracies, sinister global corporations, viral outbreaks, mutated creatures. The Resident Evil series has it all and more. When Capcom released the original game back in 1996 on the Playstation who would have known the impact it would have; spawning a host of critically acclaimed sequels, live action films, animated films, comics and novels. Resident Evil set the precedent for what we have come to know as survival horror. Now 7 main games, 50 million units and 16 years after the original, the gaming industry fans of the franchise and eagerly await Capcom's latest offering in Resident Evil 6.
While we wait for the new game we're going to reminisce on what made the series so great by taking a look back at the some of the franchises offerings through the years.
The first Resident Evil made its debut on the PlayStation in 1996. When bizarre murders take place on the outskirts of Raccoon City, the police department's Special Tactics and Rescue Service aka S.T.A.R.S are assigned to investigate. Bravo team is sent in to examine a secluded mansion but when contact is lost with them Alpha team has to respond. What was initially a routine investigation into grisly murders soon spirals into a fight for survival as Alpha team discovers that shadowy pharmaceutical organization Umbrella, has been conducting horrific experiments in a bid to create deadly Bioweapons. Zombies, mutated animals and horrifically deformed creatures roam the halls and it's up to S.T.A.R.S members Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine to shoot their way through the horde of undead. Becoming a best seller in North America, Resident Evil defined the survival horror genre and is considered by Games Informer to be ‘one of the most important games of all time’
Memorable moments: One of the early cut scenes in the game: It’s dark, Chris and Jill stand in the halls of the eerily silent mansion. They hear a gunshot from the direction a member of their team ventured off to and go in search only to find a zombie happily chowing down on their fallen comrade.
Notable Baddies: Albert Wesker: The shade wearing S.T.A.R.S member who turns out to be a double agent working for the sinister Umbrella and who will become one of the main villains throughout the whole of the series.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998 on the PlayStation and follows on from the events of the first game. The Umbrella created T-Virus has now been unleashed on the residents of Raccoon City turning them into mindless, flesh eating zombies. Claire Redfield, younger sister to the original RE hero Chris, is searching for her brother who has been missing since the events at the mansion. She is joined by Leon Kennedy; a rookie cop due to start his first day of on the force. Dramatic events bring them together and then rip them apart as they each they each have to take their own dangerous paths, encountering other survivors and being hunted mercilessly by William Birkin, the mutated creator of the G – Virus, a more powerful variation to its T equivalent. RE2 became the fast selling game in North America and is the franchises most successful title on a single platform with IGN and Games Informer still including it in their top 100 games list.
Memorable Moments: Claire and Leon have battled their way through zombies, rabid dogs and grotesque lickers to make it to the water facility. As they wade through the dark, dank water they hear a sound: cue a giant crocodile leaping out of the shadows to crush them in its jaws. In the world of Resident Evil there are no limits to what Umbrella will experiment on and no limits to what will hunt you in the darkness.
Notable Baddies: William Birkin, the main monster of the game and one time Umbrella scientist who created the G-Virus. After Umbrella send an elite team to steal his research, a heavily wounded William injects himself with the virus. Creating a heavily mutated creature intent on impregnating (yes, you read correctly) his daughter Sherry with G-virus spawns. He spends most of the game chasing Claire and Sherry through the ruins of the city while mutating into various more grotesque forms. Come to Daddy? Hmm we think not.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Set just before and parallel to the events in RE2, Resident Evil 3 was released in 1999. Jill Valentine returns as the main playable character as she attempts to flee the zombie infested city. Along her escape she encounters Nemesis, a Tyrant variant, dispatched by Umbrella to wipe out the remaining S.T.A.R.S members and so begins an intense cat and mouse chase as Jill attempts to evade the relentless monster. RE3 while not as successful as its predecessors was critically acclaimed for its storyline and gameplay. The game incorporated a randomization feature with allowed enemies and puzzles to spawn at various places throughout the game, thus adding to the feeling of impending doom as you're chased through abandoned streets all while attempting to avoid and survive every encounter with the unstoppable Nemesis.
Memorable Moments: When Jill waves down a rescue helicopter, only to watch in horror as rocket roars past her straight into what was to be her escape to freedom. As the helicopter goes up in flames and the mangled wreckage crashes to the ground, Jill looks up only to see Nemesis, glaring down at her, rocket launcher in hand.
Notable Baddies: It has to be Nemesis: The rocket launcher wielding, unstoppable powerhouse with a penchant for leather. Nemesis is a hideously disfigured monster; a fusion of tentacles and the semblance of a man who only seems to have one word in his repertoire “S.T.A.R.S.....”
Resident Evil: Code Veronica
RE: Code Veronica is memorable for being the first RE game to debut on a non-Sony platform, released in 2001 on the Dreamcast, Code Veronica centers on Claire Redfield who is still in search for her brother. Upon raiding a European Umbrella facility, Claire is captured and awakens imprisoned on Rockfort Island, which is now in the grip of a T-Virus outbreak. Joining forces with fellow inmate Steve Burnside, they both set off to try and escape the contaminated island, facing zombies and a host of fresh mutated creatures. Along the way they come across the demented Island Commander, Alfred Ashford and discover the secrets behind the origins of the virus and Umbrella. Considered by many as one of the best RE games Code Veronica has sold nearly 3 million copies with an updated version of the game released on the PlayStation 2 and GameCube and more recently digitally on the Xbox marketplace and PlayStation network.
Memorable moments: When Steve, injected with the T- Virus by Alexia, mutates to a monstrous, reptilian creature and sets upon the distraught Claire. However upon seeing her attacked by a now altered Alexia, the Steve creature intervenes and is fatally wounded. Transforming back to his human self, his last dying words to Claire is that he loves her. Awww, hankies at hand.
Notable baddies: Alexia Ashford: Twin sister to the slightly demented Alfred and the product of an experiment at the hands of her father, Alexia sought to rule the world and used the T-Virus as a means to do so. Injecting herself first with the virus and then freezing herself. Alexia awakens during the events of Code Veronica. Narcissistic, vengeful and extremely powerful. Alexia mutates into 3 forms, each more dangerous and grotesque, during the final battle and is considered by many as one of the hardest bosses in the RE series.
Resident Evil 4
Released in 2005 on the GameCube this is the game that redefined the series and pushed it into a fresh and innovative direction. Capcom heavily updated the controls and gameplay, giving us an over the shoulder perspective with the camera focused tightly behind the player. This is a game that focused very much on action with puzzle solving, while still present, taking a back seat. Bullets affected the enemies specifically where they are shot and the player was now able to interact with the environment; dodging enemy attacks and jumping through windows. The story line was dramatically altered too. Through an in game intro we discover that after the Raccoon City tragedy, Umbrella has collapsed. We take control of Leon Kennedy, the lovable rookie from RE2. While the floppy fringe remains, gone is the awkward inexperienced cop and in his place is a brooding muscular hero. Impressing us with his acrobatic launches from windows and round house kicks to villager’s faces, Leon is now a hardened government agent and the story revolves around his mission to track down the presidents missing daughter Ashley Graham. He finds himself in Spain with some very hostile locals and is soon immersed in a battle of survival against a cult, led by the insane Lord Saddler who is intent on infecting the President's daughter with Las Plagas; a mind controlling parasite that mutates those it’s infected mentally and physically in horrific and disturbing ways. As Leon battles through the hostile terrain he also comes across old faces and the once forgotten Umbrella rears its head again. Critically acclaimed, RE4 brought new life into the somewhat tired and dated series. The game has sold over 7 million units across all formats making it the bestselling Resident Evil title.
Memorable Moments: The amazing cockney travelling merchant who somehow left the stalls of East London to set up shop around the Plagas infected Spanish town. Tooled up with all manner of weaponry tucked nicely away in his trench coat, you’ll have the phrase ‘What are you buying?’ in your head for weeks.
Notable Baddies: Capcom really upped the ante with the baddies in the game. There were crazed villagers, giant ogres, mutated sea monsters. But our favorite has to be crazed man child Ramon Salazar. Always shrouded by his personal mutated bodyguards the Verdugo, this vertically challenged Castellan antagonizes, imprisons and is generally a pain, throughout the most of the second half of the game.
Resident Evil 5
Released in 2005 on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows the story revolves around original RE hero Chris Redfield who is now a member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. Set five years after the events of RE4, Chris is dispatched to Africa to investigate a terrorist threat with his partner Sheva Alomar. Events quickly spiral out of control when their local contact is executed and the pair are set upon crowds of Plagas infested villagers. It transpires that forces are at work to restart Umbrella’s devastating legacy and the pair soon find themselves in a race against time in a bid to stop old enemy Wesker from releasing a new more powerful Uroboros virus across the globe. RE5 gameplay was very similar to that of RE4, with the player controlling either Chris or Sheva from an over the shoulder perspective. RE5 was innovative in its emphasis on two player gameplay, with the player was now more dependent on a second player or AI. The two player mode in the main story could be played wither online or offline via a split screen. The player and partner now had to work together to perform certain actions, with online players dropping in and out during the game and being separated at points during gameplay making a truly individual and exciting gaming experience. RE5 was generally positively received with many lauding the game for its fast pace and action and stunning graphics.
Memorable Moments: When Chris finally discovers his former partner Jill Valentine’s fate. Controlled by a device imbedded in her chest and under the orders of the ruthless Wesker, Jill relentlessly attacks her friend and one time partner Chris. A battle ensues, with Chris convinced he can save Jill through the removal of the device. He does and as he cradles the wounded and broken Jill in his arms she asks for his forgiveness. While RE excels in action and fantastically shocking moments, it’s the touching human moments that add something special to the series.
Notable Baddies: It’s Wesker again! Our favorite sunglasses wearing baddie. Powered by the Umburos virus with desires for global domination, he mocks, outwits and basically kicks Chris’ ass throughout the majority of the game. Maniacal to the end, even when he is engulfed in hot molten lava he still attempts to be a thorn in Chris’ side by bringing down the chopper he has made his escape in. Going out in a blaze of glory? We think so.
So there you have it! Just a snippet of the amazing delights each game has had to offer. We hope you have enjoyed our little run through and it’s thoroughly put you in the mood for some more zombie infused action with Resident Evil 6.