So, there we have it. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has finally shambled forward into the light after months of rumors, and it’s looking intriguing, to says the least. Deviating off the beaten track as it were, the Slant Six-developed horror romp takes the form of a squad-based shooter, boasting a revamped control scheme, fresh gameplay mechanics, and the ability to put a cap in Leon S. Kennedy’s backside (that’ll teach the floppy-haired hero to prance about doing daft backflips and divulging lame one-liners all the way through Resi 4!) Anyway, more pertinently, Operation Raccoon City offers something old-timers such as myself have been craving for some time — the chance to revisit the doomed streets of Raccoon City in sumptuous HD and combat all those iconic foes.
In fact, it’s the latter that has compelled me to cobble together this very article, namely a list of six classic Resident Evil BOWs (that’s bio-organic weapons, for the uninitiated) that would benefit from a revival appearance in Slant Six’s horror shooter. Zombies have already been confirmed — and frankly, heads would meet the business end of a shotgun had they been omitted — alongside staples such as Lickers and the hulking Mr. X. That still leaves a meaty rabble of slobbering, shambling mutated monstrosities ripe for the picking however, so put your feet up, grab a cuppa, and join PSU as we lift the curtain on our Operation Raccoon City wishlist.
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Green, scaly and tough-as-nails, the Hunters quickly garnered a reputation as one of the most brutal BOWs ever conceived after gamers first heard the ominous clump of their footsteps entering the Spencer Mansion halls in RE1. Boasting a ghastly shriek that could shatter mirrors, Hunters are tenacious terrors that attack with unrivaled precision, utilizing whopping great claws, crippling their quarry by slashing at the lower limbs or hacking heads off in one fell swoop.
Varying incarnations of these beasts were produced — from the aquatic-dwelling Hunter Gamma to the poisonous Sweeper — but it’s the green meanie itself, the Hunter 121, that has instilled itself upon players’ consciousness over the years. Agile, ferocious, and thick-skinned, Hunters can both dish out and take an alarming amount of damage, making them first rate killers — imagine a pack of these critters baring down on your squad in Raccoon’s streets.
Capcom gave arachnophobia suffers even more reason to fear our hairy, eight-legged freaks throughout the Resi series: by blowing them up to the size of cattle. Yep, the Web Spinner has remained a staple BOW of the survival horror series since its inception in the inaugural 1996 classic, and I for one would love to see them back in the spotlight. And what better time to re-introduce them than in Operation Raccoon City? With the town’s myriad of sewer systems and underground tunnels offering ample breeding ground for the creatures, Capcom would be foolish to miss out on the opportunity.
Maybe this time, however, the developers could spruce things up a bit by allowing the hairy critters to actually produce webs, a trait that was conspicuously lacking in their previous incarnations. Similarly to how the giant bat in RE5 would secrete a sticky substance to subdue its prey, the Web Spinner could weave webs to incapacitate victims. Let’s hope the limb-dismembering pleasures of past games makes a return, too — how we relished in laming the poor blighters over the years by blowing off countless legs.
They always say a man’s best friend is his mutt, so it’s only logical the same applies to our rotting counterparts — only this time, the best friend comes in the shape of a rotting, flesh-hungry hound. It’s almost poetic, wouldn’t you say? Indeed, the Cerberus — colloquially named zombie dogs — are yet another bread-and-butter BOW bread for the single purpose of tearing people’s throats out, and one of Umbrella’s most successful rotting sentinels to date. Despite the T-Virus infection causing an advanced state of decay about the host, these perpetually peckish mutts are pretty spry on their feet, and retain their inherent group mentality when pursuing quarry, making them highly efficient hunters.
Sure, they’re pretty weak, but get a pack of these grisly dogs together and even the most battle hardened squaddie will be in for a tough time teaching them how to, shall we say, “stay!” Interestingly, canine foes have remained a bread and butter baddie even after the transition to Plagas-infected foes with RE4, with the most recent offerings featuring a gore-tastic, head-splitting breed. Regardless of which you prefer, I see no reason why Capcom shouldn’t let the dogs out for Operation Raccoon City.
One of the many fresh additions to the scrumptious-looking Resident Evil remake on GameCube, Crimson Heads are fundamentally an extension of the rudimentary, rotting zombies we’ve come to know and fear over the years. However, there’s a fine line between these vicious chaps and your average, lumbering undead. Whereas the run-of-the-mill zombie isn’t exactly quick on its feet, Crimsons — officially labelled V-ACT by Umbrella lab coats — can accelerate to alarming speeds in order to catch their unfortunate victims. Not only that, but they also pack some rather pointy cuticles with which to slice ‘n dice their prey, making them exceedingly dangerous in close quarters. Crimsons only spawn if a regular zombie isn’t dispatched by either decapitation or flame, however.
Furthermore, the metamorphosing process isn’t exactly sharpish, and as a result a significant chunk of the Crimson’s threat boiled down to Resi’s inherent backtracking — whether this would work in a squaddie shooter remains to be seen. I, for one, wouldn’t have a problem elbowing science out of the equation just this once in order to have copious amounts of Crimson’s shoved down our throats. While this may irk some fans, it makes sense from a developer point of view not to have Slant Six worry about fumbling around with old school ritual of dispatching zombies and then have players twiddling their thumbs before the red mist descends, as it were. Plus, this fits in nicely with Operation Raccoon City’s function as an ‘alternate’ take on the existing RE narrative.
The Raccoon City outbreak resulted in a number of ‘accidental’ mutations popping up all over the shop, i.e. those not born out of the Umbrella Corporation’s twisted experiments. The Grave Digger, just one of those mutations, is a poster boy for the T-Virus’s ability to turn even the most innocuous of animals (in this case, your average worm) into fearsome bio-weapons baying for blood. Encountered in RE3: Nemesis, this slithering, salivating beast boasts a thick outer-skin, making it almost impervious to conventional firearms.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Grave Digger — as you might have already realized — excels in burrowing under the soil, and is powerful even to plow through solid concrete, making a great bloody mess in the process. One of these beasts would make an ideal boss battle in Operation Raccoon City, and given its ability to launch surprise attacks, could likely get the drop on your squad before you can formulate an effective counter strategy. And that’s just when you’re facing one of the buggers — imagine a whole contingent of the slimy slug-like monstrosities slithering all over the shop.
Urban legends throughout the years have told of over-sized alligators bunking down in sewer systems throughout major cities in North America. Unfortunately, these bed time tales became a living nightmare for Leon and Claire in Resident Evil 2, where, in the depths of Raccoon’s stinking sewers, the duo came face-to-face with an infected, 20-foot behemoth baying for blood.
While the pair succeeded in blowing the lumbering creature into fleshy chunks with a gas canister (Jaws-style), the Outbreak games proved that these T-Virus-infected dinosaurs were in no danger of extinction. As such, with Operation Raccoon City’s squad-based shenanigans taking place slap bang in the middle of the T-Virus outbreak covered in RE2/3, I see no reason why a couple of these limb-ripping lizards couldn’t be thrown into the mix
What classic foes do you want to see show up in Operation Raccoon City, PSU readers? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.