Before I even start this post I have to get something out of the way. Here goes:
Yes, the grandfather of survival-horror is going to be mentioned. So before I get another angry phone call (I’m looking at you, brother), I want you all to know I’m going to be talking about not only the original Resident Evil (RE), but also its subsequent sequels and remakes. In fact, this entire blog post is going to be dedicated to this sexy, sexy series.
Let’s do this. And to start things off right, I link you to the scene that will forever be embedded into my brain thanks to it’s amazing dialogue. Without further ado, I present to you, the Jill sandwich.
I will never forget the first time my brother coached me through that scene, guiding me through an ominous room with nothing in it but two doors. One of them lead to a hallway, the other lead to an office where a shotgun hanged from the wall: Which door would you choose?
He told me to quickly pick up the shotgun and head back out to the hallway. So I did, thinking everything would be fine. However, when I stepped back into the double-door room, the fucking doors locked on me and the ceiling was coming down to squish my face in.
God damn you, brosky.
I was but a boy when this first happened, and I already had heavy drawers from trying to survive the zombie infestation in this mansion, so needless to say I was freaking out. I paced my living-room, looking back from the screen to my brother who was cackling madly next to me as he watched my plight.
“What do!?” I screamed.
He responded with something very un-helpful and continued to giggle. In retrospect, I would totally have done the same thing had I been an older brother.
But then the knocking on the door came, and I heard my companion, Barry, on the other side. Quickly I yelled for him to help, and right before the ceiling came down to kill me, bam! He kicked in the door and I was set free.
Then he said the line. The infamous words which I will never, ever forget (and am a little sad about that they changed it in the remake for the Wii). After Barry saves you from certain death in this fuckshithole of a mansion that he himself was just running around murdering the undead in, he pauses to ever so wittily say, “You were almost a Jill sandwich.”
“You’re right,” Jill responds.
My brother burst from mere chuckles to full on side-splitting laughter. High-pitched, he howled and mocked the line over and over. His laughter was contagious, and I couldn’t stop being psyched over such a trivial moment in the game. In fact, my face was pretty much this:
Then of course he took the controller and started playing his save file. (Editors note: He still says that line to me to this day). But I was content at this point to just sit and watch the game unfold. For one, I sucked ass at it when I was a kid, and the other is when your older sibling takes the controller, you’ll never get it back. So I got used to it.
Many years later, when I wasn’t fumbling around with a controller like it was a poisonous salamander and I had the brain capacity to handle my biz straight proper, we would have a marathon of RE goodness.
It’s actually one of, if not the most, fond memory I have of just hanging out with my brother. Not that he’s dead or anything, as he did call to cuss me out for not writing about RE sooner.
So this is for you, brosky. One of my favourite memories of us with a massive pile of junk food, two televisions, three legit and three burned copies of RE 1-3, and a full night with no obligations and nothing to do the next day.
We took televisions from each of our rooms and put them in the living room side-by-side. On the ground sat a modded Playstation and my Playstation 2. Then we pulled up two massive chairs, put a table in between them for our junk food and pop, and popped the game discs in to each of their respective systems.
Naturally, we started with RE1 and would work our way through each of the games until we reached the bitter end.
I’m going to have to admit right now that I only made it through RE1 and one play through of RE2 before slipping into a candy coma. My brother, being the better man, would play through each and every game.
But this would also mark the first time in my life I myself played through RE1 and 2. I knew the stories of each, since my brother is a RE fiend, but I finally got to beat those bitches all by my lonesome.
The games, even as dated as the graphics were when we played them, deserved every bit of praise they received. It was the start of an amazing new genre that is carried on even to this day, albeit more action oriented.
Argue all you want, that game set a creepy mood that was unprecedented at the time of its release. It took you right into the middle of a foreign mansion with limited ammo and direction. The premise is that you, Jill Valentine, as part of S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Squad), head in with your squad to track down another S.T.A.R.S. group that hasn’t reported in. Sub-plot: Your brother, Chris Valentine, is part of the missing group.
Once you get into the mansion, you quickly discover that things are not as they should be. There’s a dead man laying on the ground in front of a fire, and after some quick investigation, you run into your first zombie. This is when all hell breaks loose. Your captain, Wesker, has gone off in his own direction, and your partner, Barry, has done the same. Vie sa vie, you’re on your own with your fingers up your ass to try and discover the source of the zombie outbreak, and to find your brother.
From here on out, it’s true survival-horror. And I loved every bit of it. You run through the mansion and its surrounding areas, solving puzzles and keeping the brain-eating undead mindfucks away from your face.
The deeper you get in the game, the more violent and difficult the monsters become, and the puzzles get harder, but you get more and more weapons to make up for it.
This gameplay style would give birth to many more sequels in its own series, and most importantly it would influence a generation of games and developers which led to brilliant modern games such as Dead Space being created.
Now, I would be at fault in this post if I didn’t mention a major shift in the series which took the “Resident Evil” title, but did a complete 360 in terms of gameplay. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a reminder:
RE4 puts you in the role of Leon Kennedy (from RE2), an agent now working for the U.S. Secret Service in tracking down the president’s daughter, who was kidnapped by insane European cultists.
As fast as a bunny fucks, this game throws you into the hard-hitting, action-oriented, survival-horror mash up that is Resident Evil 4. But don’t think you’ll be able to blaze through this game like it’s Resident Evil 5, because they didn’t depart too far from the “survival” part of the genre. You still have to conserve ammo, solve puzzles and slither your way through this (I don’t care what you say) freaky game.
The camera style has also changed. Instead of going from room to room, where the camera angles are strategically placed by the designers, the player is instead in full control of an over-the-shoulder third-person style view. You should know about this by now, because it’s been mimicked by many games since (that includes you, Fallout 3).
Unlike RE5, which I’ll avoid for the time being, RE4 has genuinely creepy and shocking moments throughout.
However, it should be mentioned that technically in RE4, the enemies aren’t exactly “zombies.” At least not in the classical sense.
This cult, along with (as always) the Umbrella Corporation, discovered a parasite known as the Las Plagas which has been injected into the villagers of the rural town you start off in.
Without getting into too much detail, the game is fucking brilliant. If you haven’t played it and you’re into zombies, hell, if you’re into video games, then give it a shot. There’s no reason not to.
If you’ve played RE5 and thought or heard from someone that RE4 is pretty much the same, punch whoever said that in their fucking face and don’t listen to them anymore. RE5 may share the camera angle, but it doesn’t share the quality and depth of RE4.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed RE5 for its co-op, but other than that I didn’t feel like it was a true RE game. And don’t get me started on how Capcom caved in to the ridiculously claimed “racist” elements. The game is set in Africa folks, there’s going to be black zombies that get shot. You didn’t care for the previous umpteen entries where you could shoot all the white and spaniard people you wanted, so shut the fuck up.
Now that my nerd-rage has passed, let’s wrap this up in a very sexy manner.
Overall, the Resident Evil series has influenced the gaming industry time and time again. It deserves every bit of respect it gets, and if you say otherwise, well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be re-playing some Resident Evil: Code Veronica X.