ARTICLE: Resident Evil: A History

By Fabz_95

Resident Evil 0

Although it’s technically the 5th main resident evil game, story-wise, Resident Evil starts at Resident Evil Zero. It was released on Nov 10th 2001 in NA and was released exclusively for the Gamecube (it was later ported to the Nintendo Wii). The game was set 24 hours before the original game and it follows Rebecca Chambers and her partner Billy Cohen. Although the game used ‘Tank Track’ controls, it introduced a new gameplay element in partner zapping as you could switch between either player at will. The player would have to use Billy’s strength and Rebecca’s ability to mix herbs as well as a new inventory system to get through puzzles and to get through the game. It was also seen as one of the most difficult Resident Evil games. It was also a very good one scoring 83% on Metacritic.

Resident Evil

The actual first game in the series (released in 1996) was Resident Evil on the PS1 and is seen as the best by some fans. The game became known for its terrible voice acting and the fact that it took some of its ideas from an NES horror game, Sweet Home. However, although this means the game isn’t completely unique, it doesn’t take anything away from it as it offered gamers chilling experiences from start to finish. The game was split into two adventures, Chris Redfields one for more experienced gamers whereas Jill Valentines one was slightly easier as she had an expanded inventor and had a lockpick. The game featured puzzles along with killing zombies and was well balanced. The game was remade for the GameCube with better visuals and new zombies. The original game on the PS1 scored 8.2 at Gamespot whereas the Gamecube remake scored 8.9. Please note that there are 7 iterations of the original Resident Evil.

Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2, released in 1998, stuck to the formula of having 2 characters and using tank track controls. It also used pre-rendered scenery. The game was still largely improved as it was set in Racoon City and was much bigger than the original game (it came on 2 discs). The two characters (Claire Redfield and Leon S Kennedy) ran parallel to each other and featured their own boss battles, enemies and puzzles. One character had to fighter off giant alligators and a zombified William Berkin whereas the other character was hunted by Mr. X aka, a man in a trench coat. The visuals in Resident Evil 2 were also improved and there was an extra mode that cleared up plot threads. Unfortunately, the game featured terrible ports to the Dreamcast and PC with a surprisingly well rate port to the N64 version which shares the same metacritic score as the PS1 version.The game scored an 8.9 at GS on the PS1.

Resident Evil 3 Nemesis

With Resident Evil 3 (released in 1999), Capcom decided to set up the 3rd game at the same place and time as the scond game. It took place 4 days after the original RE and you followed Jill Valentine escaping Spencer Mansion ending up in Racoon City. The gameplay was similar to the previous games but featured a new dodge button and featured Jill being hunted down by the Nemesis. The Nemesis stalked you throughout the game and forced boss battles upon you. The reason the game was so scary was that you had to the option to fight the Nemesis and defeat him temporarily for new gun parts, items or weapons or you had an option to avoid him making it a constant struggle for survival never knowing when he would appear.For the first and only time the game featured a choice system which contained 3 different endings based on the users actions. The game was well received and scored an 8.8 at GS.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Resident Evil Code Veronica, perhaps the longest and easiest Resident Evil game was something of a detour for the series. The game was originally released on the Dreamcast in 2000 and was then revamped for the other consoles a year later with new cutscenes and slight graphical improvements. It was also the first Resident Evil game that did not debut on a Sony console and was also the first Resident Evil game released on a 6th generation console. It moved away from Racoon City onto a remote Island, albeit an Island plagued with zombies, hunters and something much more powerful. Although the game used the same Tank-Track controls, Capcom made Code Veronica’s environments real-time which improved the graphics a lot as the graphics were not pre-rendered.

The new and improved graphics also improved the puzzles in the game has players had to explore more thoroughly so that they could solve puzzles and find items. The game also introduced many new characters including the insane Alex Ashford and his sister Alexia and the game also included the long-awaited return of Albert Wesker. He had a new organization behind him, super-human powers and was a huge shock as everyone thought that Wesker was dead. Although Code Veronica was different to previous Resident Evil games, it was still a fantastic game scoring very well with a 9.2 on IGN and a 9.5 on Gamespot.

Resident Evil 4

If you thought that Resident Evil Code veronica was a big change from the Resident Evil formula then you were in for a big shock with Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4 was Capcom’s re-imagining of the Resident Evil series into a game thats eerie, atmospheric and a blast to play all the way through. The game was originally released on the Gamecube in 2005 and was ported to the PS2, PC and Wii later on. The reason that the game was so different was that there was a new camera and there were new controls, there was an other the shoulder view which gave you the opportunity to run around freely and aim weapons precisely. In addition to this, the game was set in Europe and you weren’t fighting Zombies, you were fighting Europeans infected by a virus.

You take the role of Leon S Kennedy, is first appearance since Resident Evil 2. You’re being sent to save the President’s daughter from an evil cult with villagers that at first glance, seem to be normal people but are in fact, people infected by the Las Plagas virus. With its brand new camera (bringing you closer to the action), wide range of enemies and by staying quite genuinely gory and scary, Resident Evil 4 was a fantastic game loved by Resident Evil fans and gamers who had never played a Resident Evil game. It will be remembered as one of the all time greats with most players having completed the game multiple times and some going on many different runs (most games can be played with a speed-run whereas Resident Evil 4 had specific runs that players made that only allowed you to play with certain weapons).

The PS2 version was even better than the Gamecube version with brand new modes that Gamecube only owners yearned for. The Wii version, now the definitive version updated the game with fantastic controls and allowed gamers to do it all over again. Review-wise, the game did exceptionally well scoring 96% on the PS2 and GC on metacritic while it scored 91% on the Wii. The game only scored 76% on the PC version but that version is known as being a shoddy port.

Resident Evil 5

Resident evil 5 is the first resident evil to be released on a current generation console. Using an upgraded MT Framework engine, it’s one of the best if not THE best looking game Capcom has released thus far. Using the same template as Re4 for gameplay RE5 was brought to a new setting and ended the S.T.A.R.S and Raccoon city story line once and for all.

Introducing for the third time in an RE game the game was specifically built around the concept of co-operative play. The story focuses on long time RE veteran Chris redfield and new comer Sheva Alomar, as part of the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) they are hunting down a Ricardo Irving ( A bio-terrorist).They soon realize the situation at hand is much bigger and has spun wildly out of control. Confronting old enemies and friends Chris soon realizes he has to take out long time nemesis Albert Wesker (The man behind the events of every main Resident evil title) Resident evil 5 campaign ranged from shanty town’s to derelict caves. Gameplay being the same as 4 hasn’t aged well, with games like dead space showing us a simple tweak like moving while being able to shoot can make a world of difference.

As of June 1st 2009RE 5 has sold around 5 million copies becoming the best selling games in the series. A gold edition was announced in 2009, with two new campaigns Lost in nightmares and Desperate Escape that allegedly equates to a new small game it will be released on 3/9/2010 and will entail the time Chris and Jill spent in the Spencer estate shown in cutscene’s the game as well as The escape of BSAA soldier Josh Stone and Jill Valentine’s escape from the caveside facility. RE has been received well over all with a rating of 86 on metacritic and an 8.5 on Gamespot.

Resident Evil: Spin-Offs

Resident Evil dead aim was the third in a series of light gun games to be released. Released in 2003 Dead aim had you take on the role of Bruce Mcgivern a man who “shoots first and asks questions later”. Mcgivern’s task is to take down Morpheus D. Duvall a psychopathic madman Umbrella employee who was stolen the T-virus hijacks a yacht and infects everyone on board. The gameplay consisted of the third person perspective and the first person perspective. Roaming in a 3rd person perspective like the original games to solve puzzles collect items and move through the game the zombie genocide was switched into a 1st person perspective where you could either use a light gun or controller. Gamespot gave it a 6.4 saying “It’s not the best Resident Evil game, and it isn’t a stellar light-gun game, but Dead Aim creates an interesting, unique hybrid of the two, and that is a commendable feat”. It also has a score of 65 on metacritic.

Resident Evil outbreak was the series first venture into online play,taking place in Raccoon City during the beginning events of RE2. Starring five separate characters each with their own special ability for the first time you had to survive, with fellow friends. Five different scenarios gave survivors a chance to explore raccoon city a bit more than previous titles even returning them to some old haunts, such as the hospital from RE3 and the underground laboratory from RE2. Online play was laggy but when it worked it was great. The game also had long load times and inventory load times unless you had purchased the PS2 hard drive. The game received above average reviews and sold 1.45 million copies.

Scores: X-Play: 2/5, Famitsu: 36/40, GameSpot: 7.2/10, IGN: 7.6/10.

A sequel was also created but due to similar issue’s and the continuation of no voice chat the game received similar reviews to it’s predecessor.

Special Note: Thank you to animal_mother who helped by contributing the Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil Spin-offs section of the piece.