Here I am. Sat comfortably on my sofa within my lounge, playing – for the first time, Resident Evil 7. Of course this isn’t the full game; it’s the demo version released during E3 2016.
Whilst clearly not a true representation of the final product, the demo and recent gameplay trailer has given us an insight as to where the franchise is heading; particularly from a revamped gameplay perspective.
Gone is the industry standard third person over the shoulder camera, along with the fixed camera of earlier entries and in its place a new first person viewpoint; designed to evoke a sense of claustrophobia as you cautiously explore the wonderfully detailed, interactive environments that Resident Evil 7 has to offer.
Also seemingly absent are the previous entries trademark villains, so no Albert Wesker, Zombies, Los Ganados, Majini, Tyrants, mutated guardhouse plants or boulders.
Without listing too many differences as they number quite a few, it’s safe to say that Resident Evil 7 will become a departure of the series norm, a reboot if you will; much like Resident Evil 4 was upon its original release.
If you’ve played the aforementioned demo version; which I highly suggest you should, you’ll know exactly what I’m getting at.
Upon completion of this demo and subsequent watches and rewatches of the Resident Evil 7 trailer, it left me in a state of nostalgia; pining to revisit and replay some of the older entries in the Resident Evil series.
Thus, in this article I’d like to take a look back at some of the truly horrifying, often inadvertently humorous and my favourite moments in Resident Evil history. Yes.. another top 5.
The dog jump scare scene from the original Resident Evil is now itself, intwined in gaming legend.
Whilst not having quite the same effect on the player after all of these years (and repeated playthroughs) that initial feeling of wanting to drop the controller and hide behind the sofa as the aptly named cerberus dog broke through the mansions ground floor window cannot be matched.
It must be said that after clearing the guardhouse area and revisiting the same corridor later on in the game, mutated arachnids now take the place of the zombified dogs; a further surprise to those who thought they’d seen the last of any jump scares.
The Resident Evil: Code Veronica Alexia final boss fight was one of the most frustrating battles in videogames that I’d completed throughout my teenage years.
During the course of this – the blowoff fight to the Code Veronica storyline, the main antagonist Alexia, takes on three seperate forms; turning the fight into a three stage battle.
During the fight Alexia – bless her, will attack in four unique ways. Initially she will look to assault you with whipping tentacles emanating from the base of her body. She’ll throw fire and spit poison. Then finally, she will fill the combat arena with various parasites, which will either attack you outright, or grow into tentacles that will attack you from the ground.
During her final stage – and this was the hard part for me. Following Resident Evil tradition, a rocket launcher (Linear Launcher) would unlock for you to deliver the final blow to her once and for all; completing the game.
The difficulty with section of the battle was that, as the launcher unlocks, Alexia mutates into a flying wasp like creature and begins soaring across the screen at an incredible rate of knots; making targeting her with the launcher an unenviable and frustratingly difficult task.
In addition to this, stress levels are increased as the ever-present traditional Resident Evil game timer – counting down to failure, is constantly ticking away in the background.
The key reason for my favourable memory of this boss battle was that I managed to get my shot on target and send Alexia packing with a literal second to spare – on my seventh attempt.
Whilst not as difficult now due to replaying the game in my twenties and with a noticable gulf in difficulty in comparison to other, more recent end game bosses, my time spent trying to abolish Alexia will always hold fond memories, a sense of anguish and a feeling of true accomplishment.
The entirety of Resident Evil 2. Yes, to be pedantic this isnt a particular gaming moment, but Resident Evil 2 isn’t just a game; it’s an experience.
Besides, it’s ingrained in my gaming memory!
In my opinion almost every aspect of Resident Evil 2 holds up solidly when critiqued – even to today’s standards, failing with only one key aspect; voice acting – a feature that the Resident Evil series as a whole has never portrayed particularly brilliantly throughout its storied history.
I’ll be the first to admit, yes, the constant key/plug/tablet collecting can begin to grate somewhat and graphically the game has dated. But let’s be honest, the design of Raccoon City, the expertly crafted set peices (the initial Licker reveal scene and the mirror smash anyone?) combined with the handling of the characters and intertwining plot threads throughout (covering two separate discs, no less) all meld together to form one of the greatest story driven games of its, or any other generation.
If you haven’t played Leon & Claires original adventure yet, then you really do owe it to yourself to give Resident Evil 2 a playthrough; it’s dead good.
The Nemesis’ introduction and subsequent appearances throughout Resident Evil 3 are the stuff of true bonefide nightmares.
I don’t care what you say, if the constant stalking of Jill Valentine by the seemingly unstoppable and ever-present Nemesis didn’t get your heart beating a flutter, then quite simply you aren’t actually a human being and likely share more in common with a zombie than most.
His initial introduction, murdering the returning Brad Vickers outside the RCPD building was goreish if albeit partly satisfying. However, the satisfaction of watching Brad become dog food soon became a distant memory when you were forced to make a split decision to either fight the Nemesis or run – like a small child.
The next time the Nemesis made an appearance was, for me the most horrifying. Seemingly safe upstairs within the Police Station you hear a window smash in a downstairs hallway. Ignoring it somewhat I trudged back down the stairs to be faced with the creature climbing in through the aforementioned window; making a beeline for me – armed with a rocket launcher.
To this point in my gaming history the only incident that had even come close to causing me to scream like a little girl was the dog jump scare scene in the original Resident Evil.
The Nemesis’ entrance easily surpassed that and caused my heart to race uncontrollably for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, whilst simultaneously letting out a high pitched squeal as he strode towards me.
The Nemesis continues to sporadically stalk Jill throughout the remainder of the games running time, showing up unexpectedly at the most unopportune moments.
Resident Evil 3’s jump scare factor was incredible at the time and the game still makes for a throughly engaging and enjoyable way to spend several hours; even to this day.
Resident Evil 5 – often slated for its run and gun style gameplay, shares more in common with the Gears of War series rather than the original titles.
For me however Resident Evil 5 holds a true place in my heart due to two key factors – co-op gameplay and sheer replayability factor.
To be honest, when sitting through Resident Evil 5 alone, the game can become somewhat of a chore to play. The truly awful AI, uninspiring sense of adventure and lack of engaging story at the root of its problems. However, if you pair Resident Evil 5 with a friend and share the experience through its co-op features, the game evolves into a wonderfuly tense, team focused and throughly enjoyable adventure; especially when playing on its professional difficulty level.
A notable section of the game which outlines the points above involves Chris and Sheva taking refuge in an abandoned shack with a horde of approaching Majini slowly making their way towards your location. Tension sets in as you look board the building up with whatever you can, covering flimsy doors, windows and even ceilings to the best of your ability in order to prevent the horde of enemies from reaching you.
This one set-peice alone highlights the fact that the game is best played with a co-op partner and the unbelievable difference it makes to the game when you do.
The replayability I previously mentioned comes in the form of collectables such as treasures – used as currency to upgrade your weapon loadout; transferable to new game +, replayable chapters, the returning Mercenaries mode, alternative outfits and various DLC.
My time spent with Resident Evil 5 was a highly enjoyable experience overall, due to its terrific co-op mode, countless hours spent with its side missions, Mercenaries mode and its sheer amount of collectibles.
Scary? No. Not at all. But devilishly good fun.
So that’s my list of some of my favourite Resident Evil memories, I have plenty more; some which probably should be on this list. But for now I’ll hand it over to you.
What are your favourite memories, locations, characters or plot points from the last twenty years? Let me know in the comments below.