Monday, 21 April 2014
R is for Resident Evil
Notable Releases: Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Resident Evil 4
Video games have been capitalizing on our fear of things that go bump in the dark for a long time; Haunted House, Sweet Home, and the Alone in the Dark series are just a few classic examples that come to mind. But the term, survival horror, wasn't coined until 1996, when it was used by Capcom to describe the first game in what would become one of the biggest crossover media franchises ever, Resident Evil.
The game was set in and around a secluded mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City, following a virus outbreak that has turned all its inhabitants into zombies. Despite this well-grounded premise, its story drew inspiration from many classic horror films. The game also introduced series mainstays like Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker, police officers who had been sent in to investigate a series of bizarre murders and the disappearance of a prior team.
Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998, and it introduced two main characters, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. The game was noted for being more expansive than the first, the action taking place within and around Raccoon City. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was released in 1999, and it saw the return of Jill Valentine as a main character. It also featured a mini-game called Resident Evil Mercenaries, where players could use other in-game characters in a series of timed challenges.
Several Resident Evil games were released over the next few years, including Resident Evil Code: Veronica for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000, the first game in the main series not to use pre-rendered backgrounds. A remake of the first game was also released in 2002 for the Nintendo GameGube, as well as a prequel titled Resident Evil Zero. It was also around this time that the series began its successful movie crossover.
Resident Evil 4 was released in 2004 for the GameCube, and it marked the most drastic shift in the entire series. It did away with the fixed camera angles of its predecessors, which was replaced by a third-person, over-the-shoulder camera. The game was met with overwhelming praise, which pretty much ensured that the same style and formula was retained for its sequel, Resident Evil 5, which was released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Resident Evil 6 was released in 2012. Its reviews were largely mixed, due to deviations from the survival horror trappings of previous games, and the fact that its three main characters had different play styles that didn't make for a cohesive whole.