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Feature: Resident Evil's Most Nightmare-Inducing Moments

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Playing from behind the sofa

The Resident Evil franchise has forged a reputation for inducing fear in the bravest of gamers. While the series has flirted with a more action-orientated focus, it's the survival-horror aspects that often stay in the memory. Features Editor Thomas Whitehead and writers/Resident Evil experts Zach Kaplan and Marcel van Duyn have looked back into the past and identified ten scary moments that caused heart-rates to accelerate and sweat to form on brows. Check out our horrifying list below:

Rabid dogs in a hallway, of course — Marcel van Duyn

Anybody who's played even the smallest portion of the original Resident Evil (Only available on Nintendo DS in its non-remake form, as far as Nintendo systems go) should be familiar with what is perhaps the most iconic scare in the entire series. You're all alone after investigating the dining room, and head off into the mansion's east wing. You step into a long, quiet corridor lined with windows and not a living being in sight. But, as you step past the first window, suddenly, a Cerberus, one of the franchise's famous dog zombies, bursts through and starts to give chase. Further down the hall, as you're running from it, another one jumps through another window! For most people, this is the first Resident Evil moment that made them jump, and possibly also the moment that immediately made them fall in love with the series.

Several years later, Capcom managed to scare people with the same room all over again in the GameCube remake of the first game. The game had the same setting and rooms, but with some unexpected twists. In the familiar hallway, expecting dogs, you would instinctively start running the moment you entered, but this time, there were no dogs to be found. Instead, the first window you ran past cracked a little to scare you, and then nothing happened, leaving the room completely empty. But of course they couldn't just let it go that easily, if at any point in your journey you decided to go back through the hallway in the opposite direction, the dogs would pop out and scare you all over again!

This room is safe, nothing in there but some dead zombies... — Zach Kaplan

Zombies are the living dead, as we all know. So, does it make sense that you can kill them just like regular, warm-blooded human beings? Well, not really. That was probably Capcom's thinking when creating the GameCube REmake of the first Resident Evil. Bullets and knives weren't enough – you had to douse the bodies in gasoline and set them on fire. Much more realistic, don't you think? Of course, most of us found out about this the hard way.

Minus the save rooms, you never know when you're really safe in a Resident Evil game. Mirrors lining the hallways and lighting tricks add a sense of tension that this particular iteration really brought to life. But this particular gameplay feature meant that you weren't even safe in rooms you'd already cleared. There's nothing like the shock of entering a room completely unprepared for combat, only to find that you are not alone.

We all remember our first Crimson Head attack. They look meaner, they're more powerful and harder to take down, and worst of all, they run. They run directly at you. And it is terrifying. Better have your shotgun ready.

There's something outside the window — Zach Kaplan

Sound plays a big part in creating the scary atmosphere of a Resident Evil game, and nothing drives that home quite like your first encounter with the Licker in Resident Evil 2. As you head toward a door, you see it quickly scuttle by the window outside.

After facing mostly generic zombie fare, this creature, blood-red and deadly quick, is a shock to the system. And as you freeze in place, wanting to do nothing less than open that door in front of you, you realise that all the music is drained from the game. As you proceed, you've got only the sound of your footsteps to keep you company as well as that of a horrible mysterious dripping. Could it be? Yes... it's blood. Coming down from the ceiling. You look up, and see one of the most memorable images in a Resident Evil game. Tongue out, saliva dripping, horribly moaning, the Licker is there, dropping down from above and into your nightmares.

I hope that's not a two-way mirror... — Thomas Whitehead

Classic B-movie scares were a major part of the early titles in the series, and a scene involving a two-way mirror and a Licker was a classic example in Resident Evil 2. When playing a Resident Evil title many gamers would see a two-way mirror and think, you know what, I'm going to get jumped by a monster at any moment.

It's all in the timing, though. When you go into the room and carefully look around, nothing happens. It's when you're on your way out of the room and about to celebrate escape that a Licker smashes through the glass. One of the most feared enemies in the game, arriving with impeccable timing, caused many dropped controllers and shouted profanities back in the day.

Even walls can't stop him — Marcel van Duyn

Resident Evil 2 featured a "Game B" option, allowing you to play through the second character's side of the story after clearing the first. It allowed you to solve a handful of new puzzles and encounter some enemies, most notably "Mr. X," one of several mass-produced T-103 type Tyrants sent specifically to retrieve a sample of the G-Virus. He appeared many times to pursue you, but the particular moment we found the most memorable happens shortly after visiting the Raccoon Police Department's basement for the first time.

Making your way back to the station's eastern wing to unlock a door with a new key, you solve a puzzle that involves lighting up faucets to make a golden cog drop from a painting. Take two steps toward the cog though, and Mr. X suddenly crashes through the wall you just solved the puzzle on, immediately beginning his signature slow, intimidating walk towards you. You grab the cog and immediately scramble to get out of the room. In the hallway, you think it's safe, but making your way around the room you were just in - surprise! - Mr. X crashes back out through another wall and continues the chase. He popped up throughout the game many times, but actually breaking down walls to get to you was something completely unexpected at the time.

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User Comments (35)

Ren

#1

Ren said:

for sure, it's the dogs through the windows. I think they're the first things you encounter in the 1st game. Or maybe it's that guy turning back at you in the study, that's a pretty iconic moment for the series if not scary.

Morpheel

#2

Morpheel said:

The hands that break through the windows in that corridor in the RE2 police department get me every time. Every time.

And the licker from the mirror too.

Link79

#3

Link79 said:

That part in the hallway of the first RE with the dogs is what made me love this series! Never before that moment had a videogame nearly made me lose bladder control.
I almost threw the controller across the room and flipped over in my chair!
After I regained my composure I said to myself, damn that was awesome!
Been a RE nut ever since!

warioswoods

#4

warioswoods said:

Regarding scariness: an old pal of mine often plays these games in the daytime, and I feel like that's just wasting them. I only put in Resident Evil when I have the time and the right setup ready: no one but me at the house, late at night, every single light turned off.

That means I don't play these games often, but I make sure that they have the full potential to scare me. Anything short of that just feels pointless, particularly playing during the day.

daznsaz

#6

daznsaz said:

sounds daft but it made me jump on re2 in the library to the left of the police station entrance.when you walk on the wooden 2nd floor bit.theres a loud bang as the floor gives way.this game and re4 are the ones ive replayed the most out of all games ive ever had.hope revelations is that replayable.

Ryno

#7

Ryno said:

My first nightmare-inducing moment was when I started Resident Evil 2 (never played the orginal) and was unable to get to the dang police station because I couldn't even figure out the controls! Yes I figured it out after a little practice but until that it gave me nightmares. haha :)

But lets see, some things that stand out that have not been mentioned already...
The Regenerators from RE4. How I hated seeing those guys coming at me! Also wasn't there a a part where you got trapped in a cage in RE4 and got bombarded from all directions in a tight space. That was pretty intense.
I recently played REmake and that shack with the mutated cannibal dude just was disturbing. It like played on this crazy silly fear of mine... I like to hike and I am afraid that one of these days I am going to find some old run down shack with a psycho family of cannibals! To many horror movies haha... :P

daznsaz

#8

daznsaz said:

@9 with the tight space in re4 you maybe mean the lift up to the salazar big boss fight.while your going up they keep jumping in with you.loads of intense moments like that.till you get used to them.

Ryno

#9

Ryno said:

@daznsaz: It wasn't a lift, it was this cage in a room with red carpet I believe and it was around a dinning room or there was a hallway right next where it had painting of a dining table.

warioswoods

#10

warioswoods said:

@daznsaz

He's talking about this cage. (By the way, I now see how easy it would have been if I'd realized sooner that you could break the lock and escape. I just tried to fight everyone before exiting.)

LittleFuryThing

#11

LittleFuryThing said:

The first time a zombie becomes a Crimson Head zombie. I remember that really catching me by surprise.
Nemesis is definitely one of the most threatening enemies. The fact that the save room music, normally quite relaxing, changes to an ominous drone lets you know that he's waiting...to impale your face. :o

Rawk_Hawk

#14

Rawk_Hawk said:

In RE 4 Chapter 5 a burning man charges from an incinerator and tries to grab you. Scared me out of my chair. In the RE Remake when Lisa first arrives and knocks out Jill had my heart racing.

daznsaz

#15

daznsaz said:

i hope they unmask the shop keeper from re4 sometime.they could say he was anyone.you never saw his face really.so could use him in another game

Karakato

#16

Karakato said:

I played the first game, and while I didn't find it nightmare inducing at all, it really gave me alot of tension, anticipating whether or not a zombie might pop out of the next room. The Eerie Music really added to the atmosphere and gave me the chills back then. I'm currently in the police station in RE2, and I really hate those Lickers, especially in the interrogation room.
The only part in Re4 I would consider scary, are the Regenerators/Iron Maidens, the rest of the game is purely shock-value to me, which isn't a bad thing. That Dr. Salvador really caught me off-guard the first time I fought him, I wil never forget that part.

mastermp2

#18

mastermp2 said:

What about Resident Evil 0?

The leech monster scared me a few times. One of the most memorable was in a room, a little after the piano puzzle. In the room you get a tablet of some sort, but while you are exploring the room you hear the door (a metallic one) being hit. When you go out...... BAAAM, the leech monster is there. EPIC

There are also other cool moments in Zero, like the refrigerator in the train, and some other leech monster encounters.

One epic moment in RE 2 that I must mention is in the Game B of Leon (I think). You try to open a door, the door animation starts, but suddenly a zombie appears in from of you.... EPIC

robohobo93

#19

robohobo93 said:

I remember one time playing Deadly Silence- I was near the end and I was moving slowly to avoid something grabbing me from around the corner. I was so concentrated on the game, I forgot I had my phone on vibrate on the back of the couch. It buzzed right next to my head and I dove sideways off of the couch! Boy, was I glad no one was around to see that...

As for actual moments in the game, the dogs in the first one on the Playstation are definitely one of the biggest scares and though RE 4 is supposed to be less scary, seeing one of those Iron Maidens come from around a filing cabinet scared the living hell out of me! I somehow managed to pause before throwing the controller down, and jumping back from the screen along with my brothers.

MrMagpie

#21

MrMagpie said:

My whole first playthrough of the REmake was horrific. Crimson heads, the dog corridor (being uninitiated I went through it twice), the bit where you are forced to make a blood filled, chained up coffin fall to the ground in the name of getting a key rather than shooting the locks off doors, zombies lunging out of wardrobes...loved it.

thedanman64

#22

thedanman64 said:

The scariest part of the orginal resident evil games was the voice acting. Especially the 'jill sandwich' line, i couldn't sleep for weeks afer that!

WaveyChristmas

#24

WaveyChristmas said:

the people that razz on the voice acting i guarantee weren't around when the original RE hit the scene back on the PSX. Anyways, the original RE is the only scary(or was) RE game in the franchise....When the remake hit the scene, i felt a lot of the scares and what have you were pretty stock....Resident Evil is almost like the Street Fighter of horror. lol

@Mastermp2

Zero definitly had a few great jump scare moments all thanks to the leech monsters of course. There was one moment where i entered a room, it cut to the door scene....then all of the sudden once i was in the room, it showed a leach monster to the side of me with lighting cast over his body....Yet he wasn't in leach form yet and he was doing some disturbing freakish pose as the old Dr.Marcus. it actually startled me! :o

Yet it sucked to see the Failed Tyrant so underused.lol Instead.....we got those heart stopping industructble and fearless....FROGS. :D Worst RE Enemy ever, they did practically nothing...and when they latched on to your leg(if you were billy) he'd almost let off a laugh sound.lol

VincentX

#25

VincentX said:

From the originals RE2 gave me my first real scare, and I only played it through for the first time in 2009. It was the Licker jumping through the interrogation room window. I was just thinking about how even though the game wasn't really scary yet still fun due to the aging graphics...when BAM! Cue scream.
I started playing through RE3 today and Nemesis leaping through a window into the RCPD station definitely made me jump. Oh and just barely dodging a rocket was pretty intense too.

ToxieDogg

#26

ToxieDogg said:

Totally agree with Thomas Whitehead, that licker smashing through the 2 way mirror in Resident Evil 2 completely took me by surprise. Not least of all because if you search the room on the other side of it first, it's completely empty and seemingly safe.

I remember playing it for the first time, late at night in my bedroom on my own with the volume cranked up. Damn near gave me a heart attack, lol

Gohonq

#27

Gohonq said:

Lol the scariest moments for me were for 1 the part with the dogs through the windows... I swear I was very young when I first played that game, and it's stuck with me my entire life XD Also when I first saw a licker... bleh creepy.

It's funny though, my favorite RE is 5 which is the one most people hate lol

MeloMan

#28

MeloMan said:

Nighttime, no lights on in my house, RE2, the Licker and the magic mirror... nuff said. I literally crapped my pants and dropped my controller.

Jashin

#29

Jashin said:

I only played RE4 (in my opinion one of the top five games ever) and the scariest moment was definitely the burning guy who came out of the oven in the last part of the game - I just had not anticipated this.
The most confusing thing was the moving bag in the container right before the ending - does anybody know what this actually ist???

daznsaz

#30

daznsaz said:

^think its a body bag with someone or something wriggling to freak you out a bit

bezerker99

#31

bezerker99 said:

Those zombie dogs that crashed through the hallway window in RE...yeah, I have to admit I jumped.....

/me goes to make a Jill Sammich....

TheGreenSpiny

#32

TheGreenSpiny said:

@33: Yeah those damn dogs got me twice. I first played the REmake back in the cube days, when they don't attack you the first time they enter the room. Then I played Deadly Silence some years later, when the bastards attack you the first time you enter the room. I was searching for the ammo that was under the table in the REmake version and was not expecting the dogs to come crashing through the windows. Brilliant!

Sh00kst3r

#33

Sh00kst3r said:

REGENERATORS. Gah, how I HATED THEM! Especially when you first get that one key card.
You're alone in a room, and you see the card on an operating table. Once you grab it, you hear this weird sound; something breathing fast and choppy-like. You turn around...
BAM- It grabs you, and eats STRAIGHT through your neck.
NEVER have I screamed like that because of a game.

James

#34

James said:

A bit in the REmake where you catch a glimpse of an oncoming zombie in a mirror. Couldn't play it after that.

Dr_Salvador

#35

Dr_Salvador said:

@3 - I feel the same way with the zombie arms and loud noise, also gets me every time!
There is a place in the remake where you have to get past a narrow corridor with a window on the one side. You can´t actually see the window but you see a zombie's shadow because of the moonlight! I really didn't wanted to go past that shadow but I knew had to... I knew that something would happen but I didn't knew when, and when it did happen, BAM it surely got me!

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