Resident Evil, aka Biohazard has a special place in my heart when it comes to video games and zombies in general. Mostly because of how I first encountered it.
While I was in university I was invited to a party at a friend of a friend’s house. It got late and everyone started passing out in various parts of the house. I’d had a few beers and hadn’t driven there and as it was in another town it looked like I was going to be crashing there pretty soon too. Unfortunately, as often happens in a new place I wasn’t very tired and wandered about this strangers house up into the loft where the TV was left on and all the lights were out. There was a spot on the couch and bodies everywhere. Live ones mind you, just kids from the party who’d passed out.
And there in front of the TV was a Playstation. This was the first generation Playstation mind you and at that time I hand’t had a video game system since the original Atari. I turned it on and sat down to discover the original Resident Evil and nearly shit my pants.
Looking back at it now it’s practically unplayable. The halting awkward inaccurate movement of the characters, the horrible sound quality and the acting! Holy hell, could the voice acting be any worse? I’ve comforted myself over the years by convincing myself of a rumor that at the time the game was produced the sound engineers didn’t think the voices would be clear enough on the game and so had the actors over enunciate everything. I’m not actually sure if that’s true but in this one instance I prefer to be uncharacteristically blissfully ignorant.
Despite all that the game kicked off a frenzy of awesome survival horror games like Silent Hill and loads of forgettable copycats. It went on to become one of the most successful game franchises of all time and is still played by millions of people world wide even sparking a series of movies.
Ok, that’s the legacy but what about the game itself?
The game involves a group of special police officers investigating the disappearance of some of their comrades who were themselves investigating some grizzly murders involving cannibalism on the outskirts of their town, Raccoon City. The group’s helicopter crashes and the game opens with our protagonists being chased from the crash scene by some ravenous dogs. They spy a house, make for it and begin exploring, looking for ammo, people, and whatever else might help them get through this ordeal.
Throughout the game we’re introduced to all sorts of horrible monsters besides the zombie birds and dogs which occasionally burst out when you least expect it. There are mutated frog things and other horrors which were the result of the experiments conducted by the Umbrella corporation. The Umbrella corporation remains the main enemy throughout the entire series in all its forms. This massive pharmaceutical company has a world wide bioweapon network of mad scientists blah blah blah. You get it. They make zombies and monsters and we have to do whatever it takes to stop them.
A few years ago a total rewrite of the game was released on Nintendo