*Editor’s Note: With the launch of the highly anticipated Resident Evil 7, we decided to take a look back into the legendary horror videogame franchise. Take a walk down nostalgia lane with us as we recount the memorable (and not so memorable) titles that make up the vaunted series. This is a primer for our RE7 review where we will give you the bro-down on our impressions of both the normal and VR versions of the game. Spoiler… it’s terrifying!
Survival Horror begins here! Pretty much, at least. These games have terrified players since well before the zombie lit craze. Capcom always loves milking their franchises, so there are at least two tons of games in the series. There’s also a film series so bad it’s a #Biohazard, novels so gross you’ll vomit green acid, and comics so unread you’d swear they were a memo left in an unlucky researcher’s desk. Let’s take a look at the main video game entries:
RE1 – Literally the worst voice acting in the world. Just awful. Crazy mansion and even a laboratory! Try not to get slashed to pieces by the hunters (spoiler, sorry). Trust me: play as Jill.
RE2- Best game EVAR. Two characters and two scenarios, a souped up second virus, urban settings, and public transportation. Good cut scenes, and surprisingly Asian features on the Anglo leads.
RE3 – Fan fiction plus status effect grenades! Jill Valentine channels Wonder Woman and escapes Raccoon City while dealing with a stalker that won’t quit. There are a whole bunch of tedious puzzles. There are different paths to take, but all lead to the same ending.
Code: Veronica – Back story! One path that alternates between Chris and Claire Redfield in their respective second appearances. More cheesy dialogue. A lengthy story, a hive mind, and a few extras.
RE 0 – Stop! Prequel time! Leeches infect everyone. It also intersects with the Spencer mansion, though, as with other games in the series, the layout of this mansion which is supposedly the same is different. Skinny girl teams up with convict guy to solve 2-person puzzles. Sometimes you run into a ginger zombie, but you can #KillItWithFire.
RE4 – Button prompts! Spanish farmers! And parasites! Leon Kennedy is back, and he is a boss! There’s some weird mysticism, but it all ties together with the plot and things don’t go all Silent Hill. You can also pay to upgrade weapons for the first time in the series. The extras are actually fun in this one! Exclamation points!
RE5 – 2-player co-op! Africans, no more typewriters (auto-save and stages instead), and global threats! Get ready to sell a whole lot of blood diamonds (and topazes, and rubies, and emeralds, as well as gold statues and trinkets). Use the money to upgrade dozens of weapons. Online gaming is alright if you need a partner, and the extras are nice. #ShevaKaminiSomaKandarkram
RE6 – Moar FPS, less horror. 3 intertwining 2-player stories (that makes 6 characters for you mathematicians) and endless cut scenes. Not as good as advertised, but Chris and Leon butt heads, which makes your inner fangirl squeal. #NoHomo
The other games under the #Umbrella are quite different stylistically. The Umbrella Chronicles are closer to “House of the Dead” than other RE games, and the Outbreak games are an early attempt at internet gaming (read: not good). The main entries are further defined by PUZZLES! Love ’em or leave ’em.
The doors always have weird symbols on them and you have to find keys or work gadgets and doo-hickeys to advance the undead-shooting plot. Lying around are science reports about all the disturbing creatures you’ll run into, so pay attention for weak points (see, studying really does pay!). These main entries are all about that explorer life, even if you can’t run and shoot simultaneously.
Resident Evil is full of all kinds of freaky stuff (your mom would be proud). Dogs, sharks, plants, monkeys, spiders, crabs, and other unclassifiable monsters wait for you around every corner. Zombie AIDS is a hazard to be avoided; smoke the green herb, or combine it with a red herb first to really get your fix. Or use a first aid spray and tell those split ends and severed arteries to calm down. Almost as addictive is each game’s unique replayability and unlockable weapons; the gonzo style of the ridiculous monsters stands out once you’ve gotten to know the games.
The aesthetic is part neo-Gothic, part post-apocalyptic; it’s like “The Raven” on T-Virus (speaking of which, don’t trust the crows). The metal guitar, eerie chamber music, or dead silence accompany you on your journeys. More important are the unsettling sound effects, which are more uncomfortable than a prostate exam from a Tyrant. Fixed camera angles hit the mark more often than not, at least more accurately than that stupid bowgun Claire drags around.
The rest of the gaming and zombie world have caught up to Resident Evil, but it is still at the top of the list for all things survival horror. Get ready to go Miles Davis, because you just might pee your pants. #BillyMadison #ThatVeronicaVirus
Now prepare your body for Resident Evil 7!