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Feature: Staff Memories of the Resident Evil Series

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Thomas Whitehead

My first experience of Resident Evil on a Nintendo console was Resident Evil 2 on the N64, as a spectator. The console belonged to my older brother and, as a young lad who’d visit at his apartment, I used to enjoy watching him play through the story. As a viewing experience, I found it to be a strange mix of wonder and bemusement. I marvelled at the graphics, cut-scenes and moments of game design genius, such as the first scene with a Licker. On the flip side, I found the script hilarious, with the voice acting and writing being so bad that they were funny. Overall, though, I could see that this was a game crafted with great care, and experiencing it as a spectator, rather than a player, meant I could take it in and appreciate its quality.

After the N64 I skipped a console generation, relying on a reasonably kick-ass PC for my gaming fix. Things changed in 2007, when temptation became too strong and I once again leapt into Nintendo gaming with a Wii. After I’d played through the awesome Twilight Princess and Super Mario Galaxy, I began to research the Wii catalogue, hunting out critically acclaimed titles. Resident Evil 4 made its way onto my list, as I read all about this new-ish Resident Evil title that dared to move the series forward into modern gaming trends.

My favourite part of Resident Evil 4 is, pretty much, the whole campaign. A cop-out in a ‘Memories’ article, absolutely, but I genuinely became engrossed and obsessed with the whole game, wondering why the heck I hadn’t bought a GameCube and the original version. The opening scene, right up to the point that the village clears, the camera pans upwards and the title appears, just blew me away. The impact was probably so strong because I was still getting used to pointer controls, had prepped myself by lowering the lights and playing the game at night, and was ready to be impressed. Still, that opening sequence progressed with a perfect flow, sucking me into the experience.

That feeling carried through the whole campaign, all 12 hours or so of it. Every night, after dark, I’d fire the game up and progress a little further, playing around 45 minutes at a time. Why such a short time? Because I’m a wimp and I was scared. Not scared by monsters leaping through windows, but by the environments, sounds, and the many enemies, each with their own quirky mannerisms. Whether it was villagers shouting in a foreign language, the chanting cultists or the snarling of dogs, I always feared the worst. I’d check my ammo every two minutes, then the map to find the next save point, and shut the game off once I’d made it there. The tension was just too much, and the ‘You are Dead’ screen would torment me often.

I played this title every night, in these short spells, until it was beaten. It was compulsive, and I had to have my 45 minute fix of frights. The debate about Resident Evil 4 will rage on until the end of time, in terms of is it a ‘real’ Resident Evil game, or whether it’s a glorified action title. I know which side I’m on, because action titles don’t make me switch off after less than an hour, or give me a confusing mix of anticipation and foreboding as I boot it up. I’ve played Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 on different platforms, but it’s Resident Evil 4 that fills me with fear every year, because I can’t resist replaying it again and again.

Dave Frear

Although I didn't own it myself, I had briefly played the first Resident Evil on Playstation. I was rubbish at it and didn't get very far. Then the sequels came out and it became one of those series I didn't bother with. This was partly because I was busy with other things and partly because I thought if I ever did try out the series, I might as well start with the first game – though I never quite got around to it. When the GameCube remake was announced I saw it as the perfect jumping on point.

The creepy music worked well but so did the quieter moments, eerily silent apart from echoing footsteps, some thunder or a (hopefully very) distant howling

I had seen people playing the PSX original at various points of the game, but when my copy of the remake arrived I couldn't remember any of that and so played through not noticing things that may have been different. Again, I was rubbish at it but persevered because it was a very impressive title. I recall the controls took a bit of getting used to but I got sucked in by the atmosphere: the creepy music worked well but so did the quieter moments, eerily silent apart from echoing footsteps, some thunder or a (hopefully very) distant howling. There could be long moments without a zombie encounter, which added to the shock when one would appear. Of course the biggest scares would often come from how low my ammo was getting. The game also looked great, not just the way things were designed (including some wonderfully horrific monsters) but in the way it was lit: often showing you enough for you to find your way, but not quite enough to feel safe.

I was very impressed with the game but after I finished it other things once again caught my attention, and I didn't play any further instalments of the series until the iOS titles years later. Considering how much I've enjoyed what I've sampled of the series, this really needs to change and now I'm planning on playing through the series-so-far in preparation for Revelations next year.

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User Comments (21)

CorbsAdmin

#1

Corbs said:

I tried the original Resident Evil and just didn't like it. Never played another one after that.

That being said, nice Phil, way to work 'distillation' into the piece. :D

baba_944

#2

baba_944 said:

@Corbs me too but now I am getting it for the PC. Hopefully it plays like it's Console Counterpart! And happy Halloween!

NeoShinobi

#3

NeoShinobi said:

RE2 was my first experience with the series, and it was also likely the first M-rated I ever played, I think I was about 10 at the time.

I remember all my friends talking about how freaky the game was, and here I was playing it thinking "ha, this isn't so bad".
And then I had my first encounter with the Lickers and, well... yeah.

Those b******* still creep me out.

Supremeist

#4

Supremeist said:

I've had so many memories playing through the RE5 Campaign with my friend. Lol, and playing The Mercenaries. Other than that, not much.

Ristar42

#5

Ristar42 said:

Ha, first time I played the first was rental from blockbuster too. I knew almost nothing about the game and had just bought a Saturn. The opening seems cheesy now, but looked so cool then.

I remember playing as Chris and meeting the first Zombie - scary stuff! RE2 impressed me too, but the later games never really matched those initial impressions.

Tasuki

#7

Tasuki said:

I played the first one and second one years ago on Playstation and they were ok. What really made me a fan of the series was RE 4 Wii Edition. If you have never played this game or werent a fan of the RE series you should at least check out this one on the Wii.

TheGreenSpiny

#9

TheGreenSpiny said:

Man, the REmake was fantastic game. By far the scariest gaming experience I've ever had. I never realized just how awesome that game was until I played the original game on the DS and that managed to scare me. Capcom was brilliant in how they remixed the REmake for people who had played the original version.

@Chris Ingram: Not sure what you mean by control limitations. The Wii edition play exactly the same except for the pointer controls. (Don't get me wrong the pointer controls are 10x more accurate, but still...

@Phil Reed: I loved your analysis of Lisa Trevor, probably the most horrific part of that game (or at least the Trevor family in general. Poor George!) I loved her boss fights in the Umbrella Chronicals. The way she regenerates her health super fast makes her impossible to kill if you run out of ammo. Wesker's snide comments about her were brilliant too.

Popyman

#10

Popyman said:

I wish there were more Silent Hill games on Nintendo consoles so you guys would talk about that series. :(

Slapshot

#11

Slapshot said:

@TheDarkness The control limitations that I was referring to, is mainly the issue of not being able to move when you go into ADS (Aim Down the Sights) mode. While it is indeed still featured in RE4: Wii Edition, the quick cursor speed and accuracy with the Wiimote alleviated my frustrations I had with the Gamecube version, as you could take down the zombies much faster than when pushing an analogue stick and lining up the shot - which is also the reason that circle strafing is so prevalent in console shooters. :)

SPEtheridge

#14

SPEtheridge said:

Ah all these RE look backs have got me going back through the games love this series, highlights for me are defo the shark tank in RE and the lake in RE4 oh and the cabin in the woods in RE when Lisa enters

warioswoods

#15

warioswoods said:

I'll say this: zombies used to be much more frightening, before this lame obsession with them exploded over the past few years. Often seeing just a single Zombie in the REmake could be a harrowing experience... much like the Lisa Trevor bit that Chicken so eloquently explains above.

Now, pop culture is horribly over-saturated with zombie themes, and they've become little more than fodder for gross brutality and gore. I'd like for the whole zombie-apocalypse fantasy to just go away for a while; it has become tired, boring, and more a matter of mindless violence than fear.

Zach

#16

Zach said:

@vonseux It's October. This is Resident Evil week. Next week is Castlevania week. This has nothing to do with advertising.

Ren

#18

Ren said:

Just started playing the veronica X thing on ps2 and I've never played that one. It feels great to have the old tank controls back and the sound design scares when zombies sneak up. I wish there was a little more of that in RE4; it's a great game but it really doesn't scare like the old style ones do.
So what's the occasion for all the RE stuff? Halloween? I thought the next one isn't out for months yet.

TheGreenSpiny

#19

TheGreenSpiny said:

@11 Slapshot: I think you missed the point here. This is not a shooter, it's survival-horror. The whole point is push your panic buttons by testing your fight or flight response. That's the reason you can't run and shoot in RE games. Take that away and you end up with a pretty generic shooter.

Rawk_Hawk

#21

Rawk_Hawk said:

I remeber the first time I played Resident Evil on the Sega Saturn. I never played anything like it before. Everything about the mansion was so haunting including the ticking clock in the dining hall. This game has always been about atmoshphere.

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