The History of Resident Evil: The Beginning
- Posted March 17th, 2009 at 13:08 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 19 Comments
“Be smart! Fighting foes isn’t the only way to survive this horror…”
Few videogame franchises can boast at having such a profound impact on the industry as Resident Evil. Although never one to adhere to the concept of modern game design – from the static, pre-rendered backdrops to fidgety, restrictive control mechanics – Capcom’s zombie masterpiece has become synonymous with horror gaming for 13 years, spawning countless spin-offs, side-stories, merchandise and a movie trilogy, calving out a tenaciously loyal fan base in the process. Owning much of its inspiration to legendary film maker George A. Romero, along with early video game horror entries Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark (the latter of which coined the term ‘ambient survival horror’) Resident Evil offered a critical turning point for the ailing brand, propelling the now infamous Survival Horror genre onto the mainstream consciousness and going on to accumulate a staggering 34.5 million sales globally as of February 2008.
With the release of the hotly anticipated Resident Evil 5 this month, and as a fan of the series for over 12 years, I felt obliged on behalf of PSU to take a look back at this venerable franchise from its inception in 1996 through to present day, offering our readers a comprehensive look at each major canonical entry in the series, along with delving into some of the projects that never saw the light of day. With that said, strap on your Shotgun, bag a fresh pack of underwear and fork out a First-Aid Spray as we delve into the History of Resident Evil.
Resident Evil (a.k.a. Biohazard)
Release Date: March 22, 1996 (Japan), March 30, 1996 (North America), August 1, 1996 (Europe)
Platform: Sony PlayStation
Global Sales: 2,750,000
Directed by a then relatively unknown Capcom designer named Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil made its Japanese debut under the name of Biohazard on March 22, 1996 exclusively for Sony’s PlayStation console. Originally conceived as a First Person Shooter, the game’s concept endured several transitions throughout its lengthy development cycle, with early designs toying with the idea of a two-player cooperative mode via link cable. Said Mikami: “I thought about it for the first Resident Evil, but we gave up – technically it wasn’t good enough.” After flirting with these ideas for a while, the young Capcom producer eventually plumped for the single player horror romp we know and love today.
Set in the fictional mid-western town of Raccoon City on July 24, 1998, Resident Evil kicks off following the insertion of the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) Alpha Team in nearby mountainous region of Raccoon Forest, who have been dispatched to locate and rescue the missing Bravo Team. The Bravos had been instructed to conduct a search of the area earlier in the day for missing hikers following an onslaught of several cannibalistic homicides in the region over the past few months. Lead by Captain Albert Wesker, the Alphas (consisting of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, Joseph Frost and Brad Vickers) eventually locate the Bravos' missing chopper, only to find it abandoned with no discernible trace of the team nearby. Upon conducting a search of the area on foot, the team are attacked by a pack of large, dog-like creatures that overwhelm and kill Frost, prompting Vickers to flee the scene, leaving them stranded. Spying a mansion in the middle of the forest, the remaining Alphas leg it through the woods and scramble inside the ominous structure, where the game begins.
Resident Evil offers the quintessential Survival Horror experience – a sublime cohesion of puzzles, combat and exploration, combining intricately designed pre-rendered backdrops with fully 3D rendered characters, creating an (at the time of release) unprecedented level of immersion and fear among players. Taking control of either Redfield or Valentine, player find themselves battling against legions of Biological Weapons including zombies, giant snakes and infected canines as they explore the mansion and its nearby grounds in an attempt to uncover the twisted, malevolent operations of a pharmaceutical giant known as the Umbrella Corporation.
Along the way, players are required to solve a vast array of brain-teasing riddles and puzzles, while carefully managing ... (continued on next page)
- 2:08am EDT - March 17th, 2009
RE 2 was the best, with 2 discs, one for each character. But i did like the nemisis in 3, with the split second decsions you had to make when confronted by him.
- 2:19am EDT - March 17th, 2009
2 was the first one I got to play but my favorite had to be Code Veronica and the gamecube remake of 1. Who am I kidding? I loved all of them! I even order the collector's edition of RE5 that UPS will be delivering in about 4 hours. Yea...
- 2:29am EDT - March 17th, 2009
IGN posted this EXACT same thing 3 weeks ago.
- 3:53am EDT - March 17th, 2009
My favorite is still RE2, thats why i'm still hoping for a remake, it would be pretty cool if capcom released RE1.5 too
- 4:06am EDT - March 17th, 2009
Sadly it looks like Darkside Chronicles is the nearest we'll get to a RE2 remake at present, mate. Agree with you on 1.5, though -- would love to get my hands on that.
Part two will be up tomorrow and part three the day after. Unfortunately I had to leave out the sidegames like Gun Survivor and Outbreak but hopefully you guys enjoyed the stuff about Dash and 1.5, since they are often neglected -- especially the former. ;)
- 4:37am EDT - March 17th, 2009
- 5:08am EDT - March 17th, 2009
Looking foward to part 2. tho nothing new in here for me, being a rather active fan of the RE series, its nice to see such info made easly avaliable for more casual fans tho. As with some of the others i would love to get my hands on RE 1.5 . And this has to be said, the older games rock, the newer stuff (4,5) just arnt the same, no real zombies, no umbrella, change from bairly shoot at all to spend most of your time shooting, capcom has mangled the series. Tho the umbrella chronicals on the Wii was nice.
- 5:24am EDT - March 17th, 2009
I love them all but RE2 was more in depth and having 2 scenarios fighting Mr.X and G-type was awsome
- 5:32am EDT - March 17th, 2009
Awesome article. 2 reasons I love this site so much - the fair and well deserved support for Ps3 and the awesome articles and coverage of games.
1solidsnake | solid1snake67
- 6:14am EDT - March 17th, 2009
yes, re2 was my fav also and the first re game that i played, i still have the same game i bought from the ps1 days.
- 7:09am EDT - March 17th, 2009
The only resident evil I didnt get to play was RE3 (and the wii ones), I really liked RE zero and code veronica XD. RE5 is quite an amazing game but I still dont get bored saying that i miss my zombies, somewhat spooky moments, riddles and puzzles too.
- 7:28am EDT - March 17th, 2009
Correction - you meant precinct in the first part of the article, not prescient.
- 8:04am EDT - March 17th, 2009
my fav RE game is RE 1 directors cut. i loved it coz it was scary, now RE Series is just pure action.
- 8:34am EDT - March 17th, 2009
I could not sleep for 2 weeks after i rented RES 1 it was simply amazing
- 8:41am EDT - March 17th, 2009
the remake of RE: 1 was awesome good call. The one I played the most was RE: 3 though that game was awesome. btw RE: 4 and 5 are cool...........just different.
- 12:02pm EDT - March 17th, 2009
Except PSU has been working on this since last year. =)
- 12:47pm EDT - March 17th, 2009
Awesome stuff. I'm looking forward to the next part!
- 3:40am EDT - March 18th, 2009
Appreciate the feedback guys, cheers -- part two is now up! ;)
- 6:20pm EDT - March 29th, 2009
This is my favorite RE game to date! I loved the mansion, the puzzles, and the second area with the flooded basement was cool! RE2 was almost as classic as the first, but not quite.
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