In the final instalment of our Resident Evil 15th anniversary celebrations this week, PSU takes a look at one of the series' most iconic heroes to date - Chris Redfield.
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Floppy-haired hero Leon S. Kennedy may be the poster boy for Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise as far as fresh-faced fans are concerned, but for a 90s kid such as yours truly, it all comes back to one bloke: Chris Redfield. Having the distinction of being the series’ first playable male character, rugged Redfield is as synonymous with the venerable horror series as the zombies and unintentionally hilarious, cheese-tastic dialogue. Along with sultry sidekick Jill Valentine, he’s the nucleus of the Resi cast, and has popped up in playable form in RE1, REmake, RE2 (albeit in the non-canon battle mode), Code: Veronica, Umbrella Chronicles, Darkside Chronicles and RE5. A highly experienced, tough-as-nails ex-military type, Redfield keeps himself in tip-top physical condition, and is proficient in an assortment of weapons systems. Never one to shy away from getting his hands mucky, Redfield tackles any mission with the utmost of professionalism and dedication; essentially, he’s the type of bloke you at your side when the brown stuff hits the fan.
Redfield’s background is about as far removed from bio-weapons and corporate conspiracies as you can get. Growing up with his kid sister, Claire, Redfield joined the United States Air Force fresh out of high school, and eventually garnered a reputation as a highly accomplished pilot and top marksman to boot. Unfortunately, our boyish hero’s consistent squabbling with his superiors – culminating in Redfield disobeying a direct order – resulted in him receiving a dishonourable discharge from the USAF in the mid-90s. Redfield subsequently became a drifter, aimlessly meandering through life with little purpose until he bumped into a chap named Barry Burton.
As it would turn out, Redfield’s chance encounter with the bearded firearms aficionado would turn out to be most auspicious (at least, initially), for it was on Burton’s recommendation that Redfield enlist in the newly established Raccoon City branch of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service – better known as S.T.A.R.S. Indeed, Redfield’s sharp shooting skills and athleticism ensured he was snapped up almost immediately, bagging him a place on the division’s Alpha Team. Needless to say, things were looking pretty cushty for our main man – a new job in a prosperous city and a bunch of new mates to boot. However, unbeknownst to Redfield, the night of July 24th, 1998 would set events in motion that would irrevocably turn our hero's life upside down forever.
Indeed, Redfield would find himself at centre in the battle against the Umbrella Corporation’s unscrupulous activities in bio warfare, beginning with the investigation of the pharmaceutical giant’s research facility in the bowls of the Spencer Mansion. After a T-Virus spill unleashed all manner of mutant monstrosities – including zombies, hulking hunters and giant snakes – Redfield and co battled their way through legions of ghouls, with the night finally ending in the destruction of the crumbling estate. The event, known as the ‘Mansion Incident,’ claimed the lives of many S.T.A.R.S. members and lifted the cloth on Captain Albert Wesker’s dastardly doings as a double-agent for Umbrella. It didn’t end there, though. Redfield ultimately packed his bags and embarked on a personal mission to put a stop to Umbrella’s illegal experiments, narrowly missing out on a full-blown T-Virus outbreak in Raccoon City that resulted in the town’s obliteration at the hands of a government-launched missile. Little did he realise, however, that sister Claire would become embroiled in the struggle against Umbrella after travelling to Raccoon to locate her AWOL brother and landing herself slap bang in the middle of the outbreak
Proving just as adept at overcoming the horrors of Umbrella as her brother, Miss Redfield makes it out of the city alive alongside rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy and a young lass named Sherry, daughter of G-Virus mastermind, William Birkin. Months later, Claire infiltrates Umbrella's Paris laboratory and ends up being caught and later finds herself banged up on Rockfort Island. In an attempt to extricate his sister from Umbrella’s clutches, Chris rocks up at Rockfort and finds himself on a collision course with former boss Albert Wesker, who had seemingly cheated death thanks to the application of an unknown Virus. Chris & Claire ultimately make it out of Umbrella’s Antarctic base, albeit only just as the entire complex is blown sky-high. The new millennium saw Redfield’s continued involvement in various anti-Umbrella activities across the globe, joining fellow partner Jill Valentine in numerous high profile missions including storming Umbrella’s Russian stronghold in 2003 and tracking down company founder Ozwell E. Spencer to his European hideaway in 2006.
The latter ultimately would lead to the supposed death of Valentine at the hands of Wesker, though Redfield (now a beastly, muscle-bound warrior with biceps the size of water melons) would later encounter her on a mission in Africa alongside fellow BSAA compatriot, Sheva Alomar. This sun-baked excursion would ultimately culminate in the death of Wesker, putting a lid on a decade-long rivalry between the pair. Quite where Redfield ends up next remains to be seen, but given past events, I highly doubt he’s about to hand in his badge and live out his remaining days mowing the lawn and growing spuds.