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Resident Evil (Saturn) artwork

Resident Evil (Saturn) review

"Resident Upheaval"

Resident Evil (PlayStation) image

While Resident Evil was not the first,"Survival Horror," title, its parent company, Capcom, did create the first in the genre, Sweet Home. This was followed by the Infogrames title, Alone in the Dark. Where Sweet Home was more of an rpg, Alone in the Dark started to develop the Survival Horror staples we know today. However, as that series fell away it was Resident Evil that perfected the genre and essentially caused horror gaming to stand out on its own, and not solely as an action or adventure title with horror elements.

Basically, Resident Evil requires you to escape a mansion, and its grounds. Throughout this area though, there are numerous monsters and evil creatures you must kill, or avoid. In fact, evasion is key in this game, as ammunition and health are scarce, especially in the latter portions of the game. Suffice to say, if you kill everything in sight, or if you are careless, and you require health to be restored constantly, you will not proceed in the game. Rookies and those new to the genre will usually have considerable trouble when it comes to these two areas of game play and it’s entirely possible to find yourself at a wall you’re unable to progress past if you’ve been wasteful with your supplies.

You can pick one of two members of S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team, either Jill Valentine (the easier game), or Chris Redfield (the much harder game). Jill cannot take as much punishment as Chris, though she has a better variety of weapons, can carry two more and starts out with more items, and is bailed out by her trust buddy, Barry Burton, quite a bit. Chris is faster, and can take more punishment, however he starts out with just a knife while Jill also had a sidearm, and can only carry six items. Later on in the game you need as much space as you can handle, thus it is easier to utilise Jill. Chris is also helped along by a rookie member of the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team, Rebecca Chambers. Through the mansion and its grounds though, there are also many puzzles to be solved, buttons to be pushed, and items to be collected.

It starts in July, 1998. Raccoon City is overrun with murders, though they are unusual murders, as the victims seem to have been killed from scratches and bites. Furthermore, they have all occurred in and around the Arklay Mountain area. Raccoon City's S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) team has two factions; Alpha, and Bravo. Bravo team has already been sent in the Arklay Mountains, though there has been no response from them, as hope is rapidly fading. The Alpha team is then sent in to try and find out what has happened with Bravo team, and also to continue Bravo team's investigation, as this situation is becoming ever more mysterious.

While the Saturn was capable of producing much better 3D character models (see Fighter 2, Virtua, and Saga, Panzer Dragoon), Resident Evil is by no means an ugly game. Chris, Jill, Wesker, Barry, and Rebecca all look fairly detailed, and not too polygonal. The enemies look a bit more detailed, though aside from the Zombies and Chimeras, nothing will strike fear into you (especially the hunters. There is so much build up to the first scene with the hunters, though when you see the creature for the first time, you cannot help but laugh as it looks like a blocky, homicidal Kermit the Frog). The backgrounds on the house, and the mansion grounds look great, very detailed, and colorful. This game is not as bright as the PSX version, though since this is a, "Survival Horror," title, that could actually be a better thing (this is not to say that the lighting effects are poor, as they are not. The game is simply darker, nothing more).

Resident Evil has always maintained a legacy of being fantastic in the sound department, and the first offering certainly started that trend. The chilling music is everywhere (though when you first encounter the Cerebus {dobermans}, the majority of those who play this game comment that the music and atmosphere freak them out. In reality, the music in this scene is laughable, and is more suited to a fighting game), and even when there is not any music and you think you are safe, you hear footsteps. It installs a constant nagging worry that a zombie, or even worse, that a hunter is around the corner waiting to attack. It’s this wonderful blend of, "less is more," and timing that add so effortlessly to the game’s horror aesthetic.

Resident Evil has spawned endless sequels, a remake, a prequel, novels, films, and countless game spin-offs, it's no wonder this series is still booming to this day. Capcom took a relatively new albeit simple formula, changed it around, and helped re-create a genre that is now one of the most important, popular, and profitable genres in video games today. Even with terribly cheesy, live-action FMV video, mediocre (but laughable) voice acting, and not very scary looking enemies, Resident Evil triumphed, and it continues to triumph to this day.

Project Horror 2016
Project Horror saw one (1) horror review submitted every day through the month of October. This review was part of that effort.


truck_101's avatar
Community review by truck_101 (October 03, 2016)

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