The Rube’s Review: Resident Evil (Capcom 1996)
When I was in my 20’s I was lucky enough to work at We B’ Toys. The Rube started as a bag boy, then cashier, and worked his way to Security Manager… not a Security Guard, but in charge of all the high priced items (baby strollers, musical keyboards, and video games).
One day, while putting away a new shipment of Virtual Boys, I received our pre-release pack of Sunday newspaper flyers stating that the company was going to do summer trade-ins for video games on this new(ish) game console called, Playstation. The Rube was excited, not only that I received this advanced information from the “Toy Gods” from Mt. Olympus, but that the mighty lawyers at the above mentioned company forgot to include how many games could be redeemed at one time or that current employees should have been excluded.
Gifted with the knowledge of this future sale and basic understanding of legal loopholes, I set myself across the land to find the cheapest games to trade in. Once again I thanked the “Toy Gods” for letting me find a video rental store in the middle of nowhere that had an endless supply of Shaq-Fu for $1 apiece. It was a mighty bus trip (two transfers) but one week later, the Rube was the proud owner of a Playstation for the low LOW price of $40 (by turning in 40 copies of the “Worst Video Game Known to Man”). Why did this Nintendo kid go through all of this trouble? For one simple reason: to play a new game called Resident Evil.
Back in the 90’s there was no such thing as a survival horror genre. Yeah, there were some “blood and guts” games out there (Elvira Mistress of the Dark for the Amiga Computer was my favorite) but nothing like this. First of all, Resident Evil had a live action opening which was rarely seen on a home console. Even though it’s a little cheesy, this opening clearly showed what the Playstation could do and it did a good job pumping you up.
Not only that, the opening quickly explained that your goal was to find out what happened to Barry and escape this “Haunted Mansion.” It also made the player immediately feel that they were participating in a interactive movie, especially when you get a jolt of adrenalin coming across your first zombie and getting spastic with your controller as you aim and shoot. Man, that was some scary shit back then.
Other than getting the chance to shoot zombies in the face, I really like all of the puzzles that you need to solve to progress throughout the game. Since I LOVE puzzles of any fashion, not to mention being a big fan of Scooby Doo, I always enjoyed figuring out where to put that extra shield crest or the challenge of mixing the chemicals to make the plant toxin. Also, what makes Resident Evil so much fun is when you figure out that the mansion is only the tip of the iceberg. You playing area is HUGE, including multiple mansion levels, gardens, labs, and is jam-packed full of nasties around every corner, ready to take your head off!
I would play Resident Evil for hours and beating the game multiple times a day. Sometimes I would play as Chris Redfield, but I always found the game more enjoyable as Jill Valentine. Other than getting a gun and having more inventory room, I tend to side with a female character. I think it has something to do with watching Laurie Strode in the (original) Halloween movies turning from victim to empowered superhero.
Anyways, with every replay I would try my best to prefect the exploding zombie headshot. I would dodge as many killer dobermans and giant tarantulas as I could to conserve my ammo so I could go all baddass apeshit on the harder villains like Hunters and that giant “attic cobra” that takes nine million hits to make it run away like a little bitch – fuck I hated that thing!
Other than that god damn cobra, the only other thing that I do truly loathe in this game is the hunt for the typewriter ribbons and trying to figure out a good time to use them. Sometimes it’s a life or death choice if you want to save after each event, which might eat up all of your ribbons, or waiting it out and hoping that you don’t get killed before you decide to save again or eventually run into another typewriter.
As actual gameplay goes, it’s something to get used to but after an hour or so you’re fine with the Alfred Hitchcock camera angles and it gets pretty easy to maneuver around and aim/shoot your enemies. On a personal note, it’s a lot of fun to finally play a game without a colorfully cute and redundant Mario-themed tutorial showing you how to work the controls. The whole object of Resident Evil is to have fun and explore… and also shoot zombies in the face. The music is scary as hell as you listen for that next groan denoting that there’s a hidden zombie in that room. It’s essentially like you’re playing a horror movie that unfolds as you go, a lot of fun just to watch, especially in the dark.
The only unfortunate thing about Resident Evil is trying to find a copy to play. Right now your only options are finding a copy for the original Playstation, Sega Saturn (yeah, good luck with that), finding a rare (and AWESOME) copy on Nintendo DS (Resident Evil: Dead Silence), or playing the revamped version for Nintendo Gamecube, which is Wii compatible. The Gamecube version is a lot of fun, but even with it’s additions to storyline, harder gameplay, and improved graphics it’s just not the same as playing the original. If you want to play the game that started it all, dust off your old Playstation, turn off the lights, and prepare to be scared.
UPDATE: Resident Evil will be included in the upcoming Resident Evil 6 Anthology Set for PS3, available 10/2/12.
Also be sure to check out the rest of the Resident Evil Series.
Resident Evil 0: Gamecube, Wii
Resident Evil 1: PS1, Sega Saturn, DS (RE Dead Silence), Gamecube (New Version), PS3 ( RE 6 Anthology Set)
Resident Evil 2: PS1, Gamecube, PS3 ( RE 6 Anthology Set)
Resident Evil 3 Nemesis: PS1, PS3 ( RE 6 Anthology Set)
Resident Evil Code Name Veronica X: Dreamcast, PS2 (RE Essentials), Gamecube, Xbox 360 (RE 6 Archives Set), PS3 (RE 6 Anthology Set)
Resident Evil 4: Gamecube, Wii, PS2, Xbox 360 (RE 6 Archives Set), PS3 ( RE 6 Anthology Set)
Resident Evil 5: Xbox 360 (Regular or RE 6 Archive Set), PS3
Resident Evil Raccoon City: Xbox 360, PS3
Resident Evil 6: Xbox 360 (Regular or RE 6 Archive Set), PS3 (Regular or RE 6 Anthology Set)
Other RE Titles:
RE Survivor: PS1
RE Outbreak: PS2
RE Outbreak file #2: PS2
RE Dead Aim: PS2
RE The Umbrella Chronicles: Wii
RE The Darkside Chronicles: Wii
RE Gaiden (Japan Import): GBC
RE Dead Silence: DS (same as RE 1, with new features/puzzles mode)
RE Revelations: 3DS
RE Mercenaries: 3DS