Do you remember the first time you came in to contact with the first zombie in Resident Evil on the Playstation 1? Can you hear the squelching sound of flesh being torn from the victim along with the atmospheric music? Now visualise yourself trying to turn Jill or Chris (depending on whom you were playing with) around as quickly as possible to evade suffering the same fate. Resident Evil on the Playstation 1 seemed intensely frightening back in 1996 and it was one of my first experiences with the genre of horror. The echoes of the Mansion and the deadly silence of the some of the rooms had been pitched perfectly in to the Resident Evil experience. Resident Evil wasn’t always about escaping the zombies or mutated zombie dogs but it was about trying to evade the silence and loneliness that consumed the mansion. Finding out what happened to Team Bravo seemed to be the forgotten quest in Resident Evil and what followed turned in to the discovery of the Umbrella Corporation’s experiment’s. We all know the story behind Resident Evil by now. Capcom fronted the legendary Shinji Mikami, acclaimed director of other powerful horror games like The Evil Within, Resident Evil 4 and producer of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3.
Resident Evil on the Playstation 1 was the catalyst for the series; a series which lost its way at times but thanks to the fans, Resident Evil has always thrived across many gaming platforms. Notably with Resident Evil 4. Back tracking slightly, Resident Evil 2 was the direct sequel to the first and was set two months after the horrific events from within the mansion. This time we’re in Racoon City and the game adopts a similar style of exploration, puzzle solving and survival. Whilst Resident Evil 2 packs a solid punch it didn’t invoke as much fear or fright than Resident Evil did. There’s just something about scary mansions that does it! Joking aside, Resident Evil felt claustrophobic compared to the more open streets of Racoon City.
The world of Resident Evil is deep, rich and tangible. As a series, Resident Evil seems to take itself very seriously and I completely appreciate the effort that was woven in to the storylines of the original three games. Herein lays the tangibility. Resident Evil 3 was set twenty four hours before the events of Resident Evil 2. Resident Evil 2 was set two months after the events of Resident Evil. Straight off the bat, this timeline of the games’ stories intrigues me as it’s not a simple lineage like other games. Why is this important? It’s important because I want to know more. I enjoy the complexities in storylines which in turn makes me research the game that little bit further. You may hold a completely different view on this but not me. Additionally, Shinji Mikami and his team must have understood the importance of family and loyalty when it comes to their games. Claire Redfield is one of the main protagonist’s in Resident Evil 2 and is motivated to find out what happened to her brother, Chris Redfield from the story of Resident Evil. The second playable character is Leon S. Kennedy who later returned in Resident Evil 4 to save the president’s daughter. There’s an underlying story in the Resident Evil series and it’s about family and loyalty. How far will you go to save someone you care about? Resident Evil makes the player explore notion without screaming it in our faces like Heavy Rain did. Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.
Resident Evil is often pit against Silent Hill in the discussing The Greatest horror game of the 90s. Silent Hill was released three years after the original Resident Evil but came out at the same time as Resident Evil 3. The burning question is: Did Resident Evil pave the way for the Horror Genre of games (90s and beyond)? My personal belief is a resounding No. The two games have more differences than similarities and it seems easy to compare the two as they were the main horror series of the Playstation 1 era. Shinji Mikami made his feelings clear about Silent Hill in an interview with Wired when discussing his work on The Evil Within:
Silent Hill - not for me... In games in Japan, a typical horror game is something like Clock Tower or Silent Hill but survival horror, the kind of game I like to create, is also entertainment. The horror aspect of the game and the entertainment aspect of the game have to mix together.
The original Resident Evil series certainly seems to be in sync with Shinji Mikami's ethos of blending horror with entertainment whereas Silent Hill is much darker.
Resident Evil - The True Legacy
The true Legacy behind Resident Evil lies in closely woven storylines. The atmosphere, the characters, the script (not forgetting the famous Jill Sandwich quote), the loneliness and the zombies themselves all contributed to the millions of conversations, reviews, videos, Tweets and fan collections of merchandise that continually drove Resident Evil in to Twenty First Century. I'm still enjoying the original game today as well as the 2015 remake on my Playstation 4. I want to hear your thoughts about the legacy that Resident Evil created in 1996; one which I will never forget.
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