20 Years ago around this time, my life was forever changed. After One Year of owning the first Playstation console, there was this game that not only redefined Survival Horror, but reintroduced the Zombie Sub-genre to the gaming and Movie going public in general.
That Game was Resident Evil!
Inspired by George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead film and a NES game called Sweet Home, Resident Evil is a horror game that encapsulates tactics and supply management as you slowly investigate the mystery involving mass killings within the outskirts of the Raccoon City while fighting for your very survival.
Although the intro cut scene was a bit on the cheesy side, (Can’t say if it was deliberate as paying homage to classic B-Movies, or just plain ridiculous.) I was pumped with excitement when the music cued along with the narrator announcing Protagonists, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers and the enigmatic Albert Wesker that ended with “Resident Evil”!
After the intro, the remaining members of STARS were forced to seek sanctuary within a huge Mansion. This was a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire starting with the player searching the locale only to run into what is one of the first shocking moments of the game.
This had me yelling “What the Fuck” when facing my first Zombie. But that scenario paled compared to other couch cringing moments like the
Dog keeper who had left a very cryptic diary prior to him busting out of a closet with the appetite for human flesh!
May 16th 1998
I heard a researcher who tried to escape from this mansion was shot last night. My entire body feels burning and itchy at night. When I was scratching the swelling on my arms, a lump of rotten flesh dropped off. What the hell is happening to me?
May 19, 1998
Fever gone but itchy. Hungry and eat doggy food. Itchy Itchy Scott came. Ugly face so killed him. Tasty.
throughout the game, you are forced to unlock doors, solve puzzles and even develop a chemical mixture in in order to progress and push on toward the end. I often used the Ink Ribbon save option because this game will try your patience and give you a serious beating if you’re not careful. I once made the mistake of playing the game for 2 hours without saving only to get my head lopped off by this gargantuan amphibian creature called The Hunter!
The set pieces of the game varied as opposed to being stuck in some mansion. From a Graveyard to an underground facility, it was like a journey. The eerie soundtrack and Zombie sound effects was half the highlight of Resident Evil and then there were the creatures themselves.
The game wasn’t restricted to just shuffling Zombies, oh Fuck no.
I found myself going up against giant spiders and snakes, a killer shark, decaying Dobermans, Chimeras and the final boss the big daddy of the all-The Tyrant! After the one of the main characters have been exposed as the instigator of the Arklay incident, my heart raced when fighting off this giant humanoid with claws that will make Freddy Krueger look like he had a manicure.
And just when I thought the game was over when the rescue helicopter approached, the Tyrant returned and pissed as ever! And after 5 minutes of running and dodging his fast attacks, the cowardly pilot, Brad Vickers drops a Rocket launcher and thus began the trope that is a normal staple of the franchise.
Never had I experienced fright and an experience that is on par with many horror movies during that time. Resident Evil was a gamechanger that gave rebirth to the Zombie renaissance. Without Resident Evil, there will be no Walking Dead, Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty Zombies or World War Z.
Happy 20th Anniversary RE. Easter is not the only association with Jesus’ resurrection, the dead that has risen in the world of videogames, is a force to be reckoned with.