Feature: Staff Memories of the Resident Evil Series

Remembering the horror

Marcel van Duyn

Originally having played the first three Resident Evil games on PlayStation, I was immensely excited when Capcom announced they'd be remaking the first game exclusively for Nintendo. Of course, this turned out to be totally worth the hype, as "REmake," in my eyes, was and still is possibly the single greatest remake of a game ever made. The original game, looking back, is really heavy on the cheap B-movie style, especially with its hilariously bad voice acting, but the remake simply made everything beyond amazing. The graphics were unbelievably good and still hold up today because of the super detailed backgrounds, the characters actually had decent, believable voices, and of course, the shock moments were a lot scarier now because everything looked more realistic, some of the more infamous moments even being moved around to fool veteran players. Completely new additions like crimson heads, defence items, the entire Lisa Trevor subplot and a bunch of new rooms were also all great additions that fit really well and made me love the game even more.

After originally being announced for N64, seeing the release of Resident Evil 0 was also great, but it felt a bit lacking to me after the amazing REmake. It had some interesting ideas, like controlling two characters and splitting them up, as well as being able to drop items anywhere you wanted, but most of the time they just proved a hassle. Billy was better with guns and had more health, so there was absolutely no reason to ever use Rebecca (Especially not on hard mode!), and generally, you'd end up dropping all items in a central room somewhere, so they should've just thrown some storage chests in there in order to prevent backtracking to pick up a single key item you suddenly needed. Still, it really wasn't that bad a game and, if you ask me, gets a lot more hate than it deserves. After these two games, I, like many others, hoped for a RE2 remake, but Capcom didn't deliver there, unfortunately. I did end up buying the RE2, 3 and Code Veronica ports on GameCube for a complete collection, but it was still quite disappointing.

Next came RE4, which I had a bit of a different opinion on than most people. It was, undeniably, a fantastic game, but in the end, it just didn't feel like Resident Evil to me. Yeah, it had Leon, Ada, and a bit of Wesker and HUNK, but that was about it, really. No zombies, next to no puzzle solving, seemingly unlimited ammo rather than a fairly limited supply, and the worst of all to me, no fixed camera angles. A lot of people, for some reason, hated them, but I think they were a huge part of what made Resident Evil worthy of the term it originally coined - a "survival horror" game. Not knowing what was around that next corner other than some squishy munching sounds always made moving on to the next camera angle a tense moment, which I never really felt in RE4. There were a few minor creepy moments, but even with the bazillion different cool ways of dying you just felt so overpowered in the game - with multitudes of different upgraded guns, grenades, stacks and stacks of ammo and herbs - nothing really seemed all that threatening.

"REmake," in my eyes, was and still is possibly the single greatest remake of a game ever made

In 2006 there was an great enhanced port of the original PlayStation version of the first RE game on DS. I was honestly surprised that they managed to fit everything in there on a DS card, without cutting corners, and even adding a few cool new features. They even kept the awful real-life intro and outros! Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles on Wii were also quite fun, though the fact that the RE3 levels in Umbrella were all taken from Resident Evil Outbreak File 1 and 2 on PS2 instead of actually remaking locations from RE3 was unforgivable, if you ask me. None of those locations in Outbreak were even visited in RE3, and Nemesis only shows up in one of the three levels!

Since those two, it's been relatively quiet on the Nintendo front with Resident Evil games. I found Mercenaries 3D earlier this year to be quite a fun expansion of the mode found in 4 and 5, but I'm really looking forward to Revelations early next year. From what I played of it last summer, it seems like it's actually going to attempt to return to its horror roots again, with few items, creepy hallways and unexpected scares. Here's hoping!