Resident Evil Retrospective
Posted on Wednesday, September 12 @ 16:33:17 PST by Daniel Bischoff
We have Resident Evil: Retribution T-Shirts (one of which is signed by the cast!!) up for grabs. Ten lucky commenters that tell us their favorite RE game, movie, or character will receive a PM if they've won!
The Resident Evil series has seen more games and movies in the past 12 years than many franchises see in their entire lifetime. Whether you're talking about zombies, or weird cow people, or crazy-sunglasses wearing traitors, or Chris Redfield's muscles, there are games, games, and more games. Let's start our retrospective with the all those subtitled entries:
2000 - Resident Evil Survivor
Survivor shifted the perspective from third-person to first-person and stuck a big plastic gun peripheral in the fans of survival horror. "What the shit is this?!", they all exclaimed. Then they played the game. "This is the shit!", they exclaimed immediately afterward. Survivor focused on an "amnesiac helicopter crash survivor" named Ark Thompson. In those four words alone, I described to you the insanity of Resident Evil. How could this game be bad?
Ark explores Sheena Island, shoots a lot of zombies, and generally has a crappy time of it before escaping the island just as it explodes. That's too bad. If Ark had died, would it have stopped Capcom from making a bunch of sequels to Survivor? Would it have stopped them from putting Gun in the title so as to drive home the point that you hold a gun while playing this game?
2000 - Resident Evil Code: Veronica
Code: Veronica is notable because it's the first RE game to debut on a system not titled PlayStation. The Dreamcast got the "true" sequel to Resident Evil 2 thanks to Sega executives offering backrubs and birthday party invites in exchange for a key pieces of software for the new console.
Fun Fact: select "Very Easy" when starting a new game and get a Rocket Launcher and an unlimited supply of ink ribbons!
2001 - Resident Evil Gaiden
If you're going to play a Resident Evil game on your Game Boy Color, make sure it's Resident Evil Gaiden…. Well… it's the only one so you kind of have to. Gaiden featured Leon S. Kennedy and Barry Burton in an adventure game that switches to first-person when in combat with the undead.
Wikipedia had this gif that shows the battle system in action. I liked it, but I was like 10 at the time so what the fuck did I know? Way back when, the elitist game press slammed Gaiden for its visuals and save system, but someone has to ask: Did they know they were playing a Game Boy game?
2001 - Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica
I had no idea this game existed. For all intents and purposes, it probably shouldn't exist. Namco and Capcom decided to band together and create a Survivor-style game based on Code: Veronica, so what players got was a light-gun shooter that made no sense in the canon.
Fun Fact *Spoiler Alert*: It had no bearing on canon. At the end of the game, players discover that everything they just did was a dream and Claire was just sleeping off the box of wine she had the night before.
2003 - Resident Evil: Dead Aim
While Capcom had an exclusivity agreement with Nintendo at the time, Dead Aim slipped by as a non-numbered sequel, and therefore not as part of the agreement. There's really nothing notable about the story in this game, despite acting as a precursor for Revelation's trapped-on-a-boat setting and the persistent switching between third-person transversal and first-person shooting.
Dead Aim is among the few original RE games that allows players to move and shoot at the same time, but that didn't stop it from receiving middling review scores. With Resident Evil 4 two years away, it could be said that Dead Aim served as a functional building block for the changes RE4 would bring to the series.
2003 - Resident Evil: Outbreak
Taking RE to the internet was no easy task, but Capcom set about doing so with Outbreak, and in the same year as Dead Aim to boot. Outbreak returns survivors to Raccooon City around the same time as RE2 and RE3, but with an episodic twist to help promote the new gameplay. Once again, I had a lot of fun with Outbreak before being a critic ruined any enjoyment I could find in such things, but the spin-off once again received middling reviews.
In GameRevolution's review, we called Outbreak "so good, it will keep fans playing despite the problems. Unfortunately, the game is too ambitious for its own good and too top-heavy for the system for which it's exclusively designed."
2004 - Resident Evil: Outbreak File #2
More episodic cases, more online multiplayer, more middle-of-the-road review scores. Outbreak File #2 fixed some problems with the original, created some new ones, and generally released to a heavy sigh and a "meh." People were hungry for the next numbered RE sequel at this point, not unlike how the zombies were hungry for brains. Sweet, sweet Jill Valentine brains. *HHHhaaaaauugghhh*
Fun fact: Thanks to Engrish, Linda, as she's known in the US and European versions is called Rinda in the Japanese version.
2007/2009 - Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, The Darkside Chronicles
Not wanting to ignore Nintendo's Wii console, Capcom returned Resident Evil to the depths of light-gun shooter hell with two releases for the Wii Sports machine. Umbrella Chronicles featured sequences from the first three numbered RE games while Darkside Chronicles focused more exclusively on RE2 and Code: Veronica.
Fun fact: Members of the now defunct Capcom Clover Studio (responsible for the likes of Okami and God Hand) assisted development on Umbrella Chronicles.
2012 - Resident Evil: Revelations
Revelations is easily the best reviewed spin-off outside of the numbered RE series, notably because of the way it returns to survival horror roots. Players took control of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield shortly after the government establishes the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) and its mandatory steroid program for all male members. Seriously, Chris Redfield is huge.
Revelations remains one of the better experiences on the 3DS thanks to its high-fidelity visuals and the way the screen size draws players in. Also Jill's butt.
And now let's all go to the movies!
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