Ah, Resident Evil. If you were a gamer in the 90’s or early ’00’s, you likely have some memories of your first Resident Evil game. Mine was Resident Evil: CODE Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.
My parents were strict about game ratings and since I was probably 10 or 11 at the time, they were flat-out against me getting any M rated games. Couple that with the fact that I simply didn’t own a Sony Playstation or N64 and I missed out on the first several Resident Evil games. It wasn’t until I went over to a friend’s place who owned Resident Evil: CODE Veronica that I finally got to experience the horror that only a video game can bring. I played through the first sequence of that game so many times that it is permanently burned into my brain.
I will never forget picking up that green herb, only to have a zombie break through the window as soon as the inventory screen is closed. I loved every moment of it. It also haunted my nightmares for literal years afterwards. I’ve always had a weird relationship with horror…
Anyway, the fact of it was, I was hooked. Tank controls or no, Resident Evil won a permanent place in my psyche from that day onward. I may not have been able to buy the games but books were another story. I bought every novelization out there and, at least to my teenage mind then, they were pretty good! I was engrossed in the story of the evil Umbrella corporation and the T/G viruses. I ate that stuff up! When I later saved up my money to buy a Gamecube, the Resident Evil 1 remake was one of my first purchases and I loved it.
Many these days know Resident Evil in a post-4 world. Resident Evil 4 changed the game, literally and figuratively. I enjoyed 4 a lot but it wasn’t my Resident Evil. Not only because of the gameplay changes but the story felt like a reboot, too. It was a lot of fun but it didn’t have the fear factor that the previous games held. I was never scared in Resident Evil 4. 5 had it’s own issues but by the time 6 came about, I was ready to lay the series to rest for good. Resident Evil was done.
This is why the last few years have made me so happy for the franchise. Resident Evil 7 may not be like the originals but holy crap is it terrifying! Everyone touted 4 as being the new path forward for Resident Evil but that was always a downward spiral. 7 is the way forward! And Resident Evil 2, which just recently came out! I’m so excited to see this series come back in a big way and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
2/23 – Resident Evil
Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.
Today’s game is the survival horror classic, Resident Evil. The original game in the famous franchise, Resident Evil, known as Biohazard in Japan, was developed by Capcom and released on the Sony Playstation in 1996.
Players can choose to play as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield. Each character follows the same general story with a few differences and each with different unique abilities. Jill starts with a lockpick and can carry eight items at a time while Chris is more resistant to damage. Both characters are a member of the STARS team, a special ops police force in the fictional Racoon City. After a number of disturbing murders occur in the nearby Arklay Mountains, the STARS send their Bravo team to investigate but they quickly lose contact with the team. The Alpha team is then sent in, including Jill and Chris, but when the mission goes south, the team is forced into a mysterious mansion. The player must explore the mansion and discover both a way to escape and the truth behind the murders.
Resident Evil’s producer, Tokuro Fujikawa, originally intended to create a remake of his Japanese-exclusive Famicom game, Sweet Home, and commissioned Shinji Mikami to develop it. While Mikami was initially hesitant to make Resident Evil because he hated being scared. Fujikawa pushed him to develop it because he wanted someone who understood what is frightening.
Resident Evil went through a number of redesigns during its development. It was originally intended for the Super Nintendo in 1993 but was later switched to the Sony Playstation. It was also conceived as being a first-person game. Switching to a third person view was a judgment call Fujikawa made late into development. This was done to improve the graphical quality of the game, which the team decided was important to properly scaring players. Pre-rendered backgrounds were used for this same reason, resulting in the fixed camera angles the early entries in the series are famous for. The team also intended co-operative play but wound up removing it for technical reasons.
Resident Evil was critically acclaimed when it released and was the first game to be called a Survival Horror game. It received a number of re-releases on the Playstation including a less censored Directors Cut and a version that supported Dualshock controllers. It was also ported to the Sega Saturn and PC in the next two years. Finally, Resident Evil received remakes on the Nintendo Gamecube and Nintendo DS. The Gamecube remake would become the basis for ports on a large number of modern platforms.
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