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A Resident Evil Retrospective Part 1: Resident Evil (PS1)
With Resident Evil 6 only a month and a half away, once a week I'm going to be taking a look back at all the main Resident Evil games, leading up to the October 2nd 2012 release of Resident Evil 6. The games I will include in this retrospective will be Resident Evil 1/Directors Cut, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil: Nemesis, Resident Evil Code Veronica, Resident Evil 4, and Resident Evil 5. Now I know some of you may be wondering, "where is Zero?" Well, I honestly don't feel that Zero is a main entry in the series, even if many consider it to be. It was only accessible to people who owned a GameCube, not myself, and even though I've played through the entire game it never felt like a main entry. I wasn't the biggest fan of the story nor Billy. Either way, I've left it off this list and I apologize to anyone who believes it should be on here.
The Resident Evil series is arguably one of the greatest video games series ever, and its influence can be seen, and played in movies and games ever since the release of the first one. In part 1 of the Resident Evil Retrospective I will be focusing on Resident Evil 1/Directors Cut, the game that spawned this massive franchise.
Resident Evil was released on March 22nd 1996, becoming one of the very first games to be dubbed "survival horror", and also one of the first to be rated M-mature by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. The idea for Resident Evil came from one of Capcom's earlier games, Sweet Home, where they borrowed many elements. Originally called BioHazard in Japan, Capcom was forced to change the name for the American release since securing the rights to call the game BioHazard would prove to be almost impossible. Capcom settled on Resident Evil. The release of the American version contained a few changes to the game including an entirely watered down version of the introduction.
The game begins on July 24th 1998, on the outskirts of Raccoon City, following a rash of grisly murders. The S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) Bravo team was sent in to investigate but were not heard from since. Alpha team then gets sent in to try to find out what has happened to Bravo team. Upon arriving they find Bravos helicopter with the corpse of the pilot, Kevin Dooley, inside. After searching the surrounding area Joseph Frost is killed by a pack of zombie-dogs and the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members (Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Barry Burton, and Albert Wesker) head for safety inside the nearby mansion.
Depending on who you decided to play as, the characters that are with you in main hall of the mansion varies. If you play as Jill, the other two members with you are Barry and Wesker. If you play as Chris, the two that are with you are Wesker and Jill. For this, I'll follow Jill's story. Upon hearing a gunshot ring out through the mansion, Jill believes it may be Chris, and her and Barry head out to check on the noise. They head into a dining area where they find blood by a fireplace. After coming face to face with your first zombie, and allowing Barry to blow its head off, you and Barry head back to the main hall to tell Wesker. Upon arriving back at the hall Jill and Barry realize that Wesker is gone, and thus you two decide to split up to cover more ground.
After being scared half to death by dogs jumping through windows, being saved by Barry from becoming a Jill sandwich, and finding Forest Speyer (Bravo Team) pecked to death by crows, you come across an injured Richard Aiken (Bravo Team). Apparently Richard was bitten by a giant Snake, Fawn who you'll have to fight soon, and needs a serum or else the snakes poison will kill him. Jill must head to the medicine room, make Richard the serum and bring it back to him before he dies. If you play as Chris, this is where you will meet Rebecca Chambers (Bravo Team) who is tending to Richard. No matter fast you get the serum to Richard, he always dies. In the Remake, if you are able to get the serum to him fast enough he will survive until later on in the game, where he will be sacrifice himself to save either Chris or Jill. You will then fight and defeat Yawn, for now.
The introduction of a second mansion (Guardhouse), behind the first, brings you deeper into the mystery surrounding the whole situation. It is here where you'll face off against two of games big creatures. In the flooded basement of this Guardhouse is a giant shark, Neptune, who you wont exactly have to fight but will have to survive. After draining the water, killing Neptune and the baby sharks, you head back up into the main part of the Guardhouse and will have to face off against Plant 42. First you make the V-jolt plant poison, which you put on the plants roots to hopefully kill it. After you realize that the poison only weakened it, you have to fight it. Chris fights it alone, while Jill gets aid from Barry and his flamethrower.
After this you make your way back to the first mansion, which has now been taken over by a new creature, the Hunter. They are fast, they can jump and they are hard to kill. This was one of the scariest parts of the entire game. If you play as Chris you are able to save Rebecca before one of the Hunters kill her. After doing what you came back to do in the first mansion you decide to leave it once and for all, heading into the spider, and hunter infested caves.
Down here you encounter Enrico Marini (Bravo) who is injured and begins babbling about a traitor within S.T.A.R.S. planted by the Umbrella Corporation. Before he is able to reveal to you who, he is shot by an unknown person. Down here you are pitted against a Giant Spider, which isn't too difficult to defeat. In the remake, before you are able to escape the caves and head into the last main section of the game, you must fight and defeat Lisa Trevor, a child guinea pig for Umbrella. After fighting, and defeating, Lisa Trevor you escape out of the caves, open up a water fountain, and descend the stairs into the last section of the game. The Laboratory.
Down in the Laboratory, if you play as Chris you will meet up with Rebecca here as well, you finally discover who the traitor is. Albert Wesker. After coming face to face with Wesker, he unleashes the Tyrant, who kills him (or so you think), then goes after Jill or Chris. After knocking out the Tyrant you make your frantic attempt to escape this nightmare. If you're playing as Chris you have to get Jill out of the jail cell, and if you're playing Jill you have to get Chris out of the jail cell. After radioing Brad Vickers, Alpha Teams pilot, you make your way to the heliport, and must face off against the Tyrant again. After fighting Tyrant for a good amount of time Vickers shows up and drops down a rocket launcher which you use to blow up Tyrant, thus defeating the game. If you played as Jill, you Chris and Barry escape on the helicopter, but if you played as Chris then you, Jill and Rebecca escape. In the remake all four of you make it out. As you're flying off, the self-destruct system finishes its countdown and the entire mansion and underground lab explode.
Resident Evil Directors Cut
Resident Evil Directors Cut was released on the Playstation 1 on September 25th 1997. It was released because of a delay in the production of Resident Evil 2. Coupled with Directors Cut was a short demo of Resident Evil 2.
The game with a new arranged mode which allowed for the main characters of the game to wear different outfits. Many items and enemies were placed differently throughout the game, as well as some area containing more enemies than in the original version of the game. the Custom Beretta was a new addition to Directors Cut, which allowed you to shoot much faster than the original Beretta. Also included in the Directors Cut is beginner mode which allows for easier game play.
I have never owned nor played the original version of Resident Evil and have only ever played Directors Cut, which I still own as of today.
Resident Evil Remake
Released on April 30th 2002 for the GameCube, the remake re-imagined the world of the first Resident Evil. The game featured updated graphics, which were some of the best on the GameCube, new voice actors, new areas and rooms, new scenarios, and new creatures. The remake included more Resident Evil history than the original, giving you more of a background to what was going on at the mansion. I borrowed a friends GameCube just to be able to play it and I absolutely loved it. They captured the entire essence of the first Resident Evil while added in new original content. It makes me wish they would remake Resident Evil 2, one of my favorite video games of all time.
Thanks for reading. Look for my Resident Evil Retrospective Part 2: Resident Evil 2 coming next week.