Resident Evil 20 Years

Yes today holds a very special day for gamers that grew up with the Sony Playstation.  Not only would my close friend be 20 years of age today (Happy Birthday old friend!! Yes its on the inter-webs! 🙂 ) but Japan would have a start of a new franchise released on it from Capcom.  Of course the game was Bio Hazard, myself and other Europeans had to wait until August of that year to received our copy of the renamed version of the game, Resident Evil!

bio front

Biohazard and Directors cut Japanese front covers

Now im not going to delve to much into the game because i feel everyone’s familiar with it and many articles have been written since its release. (If not, what have you been playing…go buy a copy of Origins)  So this is just a few paragraphs on how Resident Evil affected me and how it still does 20 years later.  All photographs come from my own private collection which i wish to build on in future years.

bio back

Biohazard and Directors cut Japanese back covers

Practically a day before my 16th birthday i marched down to my local HMV store (sadly gone) as per normal looking for music.  I remember as i got closer to the shop people seemed to be standing outside and slowly moving in through the main doors.  Generally cautious (you’d understand being a 15 year old from were i live) i took a slow walk towards the shop window.  As i got close enough i was instantly drawn towards what had grabbed the attention of the other people around it.  There in huge cardboard cut outs was the figure of a marine (so i thought) holding a rife in a room with horrible looking wallpaper.

bio book

Biohazrd inside case, CD and game manual.  Japanese game manual has so much more art and care taken with it.  Great for the illustrations alone

In between these cardboard cut outs was a CRT (yes i know) playing the Resident Evil demo on the PS1.  Hey this was 1996 and it was only a video game, no need to panic about the zombies!  Reading gaming magazines i was aware of the game a few months before hand but didn’t know the games release date.  Being that magazines were generally released once a month, i use to forget new IPs as it felt kinda odd being introduced to them.  Generally Sega and Nintendo use to release a lot of squeals and the Sony PlayStation was really pumping new IPs out all the time (Looking back, the PS1 was such an important system at the time)

res front

PAL version of Resident Evil and Directors Cut, featuring a demo of RE2

Being amazed at seeing another horror game in this vein since Alone in The Dark, I watched the demo (what looked like real people at the time!!!) and title screen a few times before totally forgetting about looking for music.  Walking into the shop and seeing a queue of people with the game in their hand i picked it up off the shelf and scanned the box.

res back

PAL version of Resident Evil and Directors Cut back of the box.

Giant spiders, spooky mansion, special forces team, survival horror and Zombies was enough for me to purchase the game.  I remember getting home and hearing the title screen voice for the first time “Ressssident Eeeevil”.  Starting the game i was treated to a fantastic intro in which the events of the story was explained up to now.  A full FMV (full motion video…hey it was all the rage at the time right? 🙂 ) of the S.T.A.R.S team that was send in to look for Bravo team just blew me away!  Real actors and actresses!!

IMAG3733.jpg

PAL Resident Evil manual and game disc.  Manuel is very minimal compared to its Japanese counter part

Been thrown into this horror environment and greeted with lets just say questionable voice acting ( Jill….Don’t open that door!) i knew instantly that i was going to fall in love with the game.  What i didn’t expect was that i would be total engrossed for years to come in this survival horror game series that  at this point in the game didn’t seem remotely likely.  It all started the first time you go and investigate the room off the dinning room (is…is that Barry’s blood…lol)  Hello first zombie and boy what an entrance to the game.  I remember actual fear as this thing finished its cut scene and started walking toward me.  The first introduction to the shooting mechanics and low grunts and growls of the zombies.  Using the first weapon and pistol in the game and then upgrading to a shotgun later on made me feel a little safer.  Taking a zombies head off with the shotgun for the first time was and still is to this day a great feeling.  The sound effects and gore was really well done at the time and i remember being amazed with how real it looked.  As i progressed through the game, more powerful weapons would be revealed.  This was a great way of feeling that you progressing in the game.

gamecube

Resident Evil remake on the Nintendo Gamecube.  Fantastic remake

As i progressed further into the game, i soon realised that all them years of playing the Code Masters Dizzy games on my ZX Spectrum would pay off dividends in Resident Evil.  Have to collect items to use in other places with limited inventory slots was one of my masteries (Yeah thanks Treasure Island Dizzy….now what? 30 coins as well …thanks mr ferry man)  Using ink ribbons to save and chests to save and transport items was novel for me at the time but really worked well.  The puzzles although being obscure were not to hard and i never remember trying to find a guide to help me out with these.  I did on the other hand need some help with the mini bosses

gamecube back

Pure Terror Cubed and then some.  Great visuals that look awesome today

Yes that bloody (can i say that?) Snake!  I remember mixing all the green and red herbs i could find together with ammo filling up my inventory slots.  A beginners error i remember making was only realising mixing the red and green herbs together would enable you to fully recover your health.  It took me a while to find the book i had already picked up and read through the notes again.  I also remember ploughing through ammo at a high rate on this boss which brings me to another learning curve.  Another lesson of Resident Evil was to become clear to me.  Save your ammo and use it wisely.  I can thank Resident Evil for teaching me this as i play nearly all games this way now.  Its a pain in modern day gaming when you get to a boss with all your ammo and find heaps of it about for people that haven’t bothered .(personal modern gaming issue alert 🙂 )

origins

Resident Evil Origins contains a remake of Resident Evil Zero and RE1 originally on the Nintendo Game Cube but in HD.  Buy if you dont have already!

Another stand out moment for me was after id reached the outhouse and found Wesker (another team member) for the first time.  When you get back to the house, a short animation plays of something running after you at a high pace.  You hear the door that you just came through slam shut and the clicking of nails on the concrete floor as whatever it is gets nearer.  Of course you cant see the thing, just hear it!!!  Enter the Hunters!  These green son of a b*”!*s were quick, could decapitate you in one hit and mainly scared the hell out of me for a long time.  A great way of raising the game level difficulty in a way that inst obvious to the player.  Thanks Capcom you made me s***! my pants every time i wanted to go into a room in the mansion again 🙂

origin back.JPG

Does what it says on the tin!

I will fondly remember many many other parts of Resident Evil from its eerie themed music, artistic style and puzzles to an introduction into the world of survival horror.  Cut scenes, dogs jumping through winds, spiders, them darn crows and just a world that completely pulled me in and frightened the crap out of me.  Resident Evil  will never be forgotten by me and the impact the game had on me.  Of course it was the start of something big for Capcom and the Sony PlayStation.  Resident Evil went on to release an absolute legendary squeal and many many other games in the series.  Remakes on various platforms and HD version which i am playing to this day.  But for me, the first Resident Evil will always have a special place in my heart.  It started it all and it started my love for survival horror games.  Thanks for all the scares 🙂

Happy Birthday Resident Evil !!!

zom

Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment below.  Please take a look at other articles on VGR2016

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One Comment Add yours

  1. stevenger says:

    Great stuff! Never played the first one, but mentioned elsewhere that Resi 2 is “my” Resi (i.e. the one I’ve played to death). The exact same thought regarding the simple Dizzy-like item-lugging occurred to me when I first played that though. It’s definitely not the complexity of the object interactions or the why-God-why tank controls that draws people to the series, ha!

    You’re spot-on about how it makes us players more stingy with our ammo in other games too, it’s not worth the risk of running out! Games which do a good job of letting you carefully balance your resources without letting you get into unwinnable No Ammo/Healing Potions situations ON YOUR ONE SAVE are always fun. The high visibility of the Resi series definitely popularised that element in other games, even though its always been there. Roguelikes (e.g. NetHack) or roguelike-likes (I’m thinking Spelunky) are great for randomly generating their vital consumables and still making you use them sparingly. Fun with counting AND the living dead!

    Like

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