Resident Evil is a survival horror game developed by Capcom and first released in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn. A critical and commercial success when released, it paved the way for several sequels spawned across multiple platforms, novelizations and even movies. It also popularized the term "Survival Horror" when Sweet Home invented it.
In 2002, Capcom decided to revamp the original game for the Nintendo GameCube. The GameCube being more powerful than the original PlayStation, the developers at Capcom were able to upgrade the game in such a way that over ''75%'' of the final product was different than the original game.
Overview & Controls
Resident Evil is a classic survival horror game of the era, similar to the Alone in The Dark series, mixing in third-person combat, exploration, and puzzles. Like most survival horror titles, Resident Evil limits the player character's capabilities beyond the norm and ammunition for their firearms is generally scarce, intended to force players to use their supplies wisely and to choose flight rather than fight when possible.
While the game follows a linear pattern of major events, the player is allowed to explore most of the beginning mansion at will. Many of the puzzles and necessary key items required to move on can be solved/collected in any order.
Utilising the notorious ''tank controls'', players move via a third person perspective throughout a number of pre-determined camera angles. Characters also cannot move and fire their weapons at the same time, and instead the character will 'perch' themselves to the ground when aiming.
The story is largely portrayed via in-game cutscenes, however there are also a number of Files (diaries, memos ect.) players can collect. These will often provide additional insight into the goings on across the overall narrative, but some are more vital as they will provide information pertaining to solving puzzles or maybe hinting as to where to go next.
Resident Evil offers up two different characters--Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine--to select from. Each offers up a different take on the same narrative, though what separates them the most is the gameplay implications, as Jill Valentine's version of the game is significantly easier and more accessible than Chris'.
Jill has more inventory space to carry items; she can potentially find an additional weapon exclusive only to her story, being the bazooka; she has with her a lockpick that can open locked drawers and doors that would ordinarily require the Sword Key; and many more such examples. Chris' one primary benefit is that he is somewhat sturdier than Jill and can withstand more damage before succumbing to death.
Each character also has their own unique supporting character that they will often encounter and interact with during the game. Jill Valentine has with her fellow STARS Alpha team member Barry Burton, whereas Chris has the rookie medic of STARS Bravo team, Rebecca Chambers. Both Barry and Rebecca will sometimes have to help the player character from a perilous situation, though Barry will always be an NPC. During Chris' story, however, players may take control of Rebecca Chambers on two separate occasions to help save Chris from dying of poison, and to kill the mutated plant monster Plant 42.
Depending on which character the player chooses, they will either have six (Chris) or eight (Jill) inventory slots in total. Each type of item requires only one slot, however. Besides the character's inventory, there also exist a number of item boxes where players can store unwanted items. Item boxes are often located within save rooms (though not always) and items will persist throughout all item boxes across the game.
All items and weapons can be examined by the player, allowing them to get a closer look and turn the object around. This can sometimes change the properties of certain key items, such as unlocking/opening a key item to reveal another inside, or may at least change the title to reflect the item's true identity.
Health & Herbs/First Aid Sprays
A character's health can be seen via the inventory menu, with an Electrocardiograph Machine showing a character's status. The different statuses are:
- Fine - The character is in good-to-moderate health.
- Caution - The character is roughly at half health.
- Danger - The character is approaching death.
- Poison - The character is poisoned and their health will slowly deplete.
Carrying the tradition set by the original Resident Evil, characters use a small variety of herbs to heal themselves and cure poisons. First Aid Sprays are also available, though they only have the singular purpose of healing the character fully. There exist three herb types, all of which can be combined in some way for different degrees of healing:
- Green Herb - On its own will restore 25% of health.
- Blue Herb - On its own will cure poison, though will not restore any health.
- Red Herb - On its own does nothing.
- Green + Green Herb - Mixed will heal the character by roughly 50% of health.
- Green + Green + Green Herb - Mixed will heal the character completely, though not of any poisons.
- Green + Blue Herb - Mixed will heal the character 25% of health and cure any poison.
- Green + Green + Blue Herb - Mixed will heal the character 50% of health and cure any poison.
- Green + Red Herb - Mixed will heal the character completely, though not of any poisons.
- Green + Red + Blue Herb - Mixed will heal the character completely including poisons.
- Red + Blue Herb - Mixed will do nothing.
Resident Evil requires that players find one of the many typewriters located throughout the environments to save, and must also have at least one ink ribbon item in their character's inventory.
One of the two main playable characters, Chris is the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team point-man, and is an exceptionally skilled marksman having won trophies for his skills with handguns. Having also served in the US Air Force before his time with S.T.A.R.S., Chris has some experience with combat. However, none of any such prior encounters could have prepared him for the nightmare he is about to endure.
The second of two main playable characters, Jill is the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team's machinery expert. Couple her expertise handling such tools with her experience as apart of the US Army's Delta Force training program (specialising in bomb disposal) despite only being 23 years old, Jill has managed to gather an already impressive array of skills.
One of the oldest and most experienced S.T.A.R.S. members, Barry is apart of Alpha team and is also the unit's weapons specialist. A close friend to Chris Redfield serving in the same Air Force unit, Barry is the man who managed to persuade him to join S.T.A.R.S. once he left the air force. As a family man with a wife and two daughters, despite Barry's expertise, he is actually a very friendly and trusting individual.
The youngest member of S.T.A.R.S. at only 18, Rebecca is the team's medic assigned to Bravo team. Downtrodden after the majority of her comrades have died, she is now more than ever determined to aid the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members and use her medical abilities to help as much as she can. Outside of such horrific situations, Rebecca is a chirpy and highly motivated individual who is both more mature and capable than her age and rather petite size may suggest.
Alpha team Captain and the founder of the entire S.T.A.R.S. unit, Wesker is a well respected officer of the law and is looked upon with admiration by his fellow S.T.A.R.S. members, such as Chris Redfield in particular.
July 24th, 1998. Raccoon City. There have been several reports of murder within a small town in the midwest. Each victim is attacked by a group, leaving signs of cannibalism. The local law enforcement dispatches S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team to investigate the circumstances. Bravo Team, however, swiftly disappears and it's up to the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team to investigate both the grisly murders and find their missing counterparts.
While flying over a small patch of forest along the outskirts of Raccoon City, Alpha Team spots Bravo Team's helicopter, smoldering on the forest floor. After landing, members of the Alpha Team head out to check the damage while the pilot, Brad Vickers, stays behind. It is quickly discovered that there are no signs of survivors at the crash. Shortly after the investigation starts, a severed hand is found, clutching a handgun. Soon, Alpha Team is ambushed by strange, powerful canine assailants. While fighting them off, Joseph Frost, one of the Alpha Team's members, is taken down and eaten alive. Vickers quickly fires up the helicopter and takes flight, leaving his team members to the horrors below. Chris Redfield spots a large mansion and orders the team to make for the doors.
Alpha Team has been narrowed down to only four members within a large, strange mansion and surrounded by undead dogs outside the large double doors. While taking a status report, the team hears a gun shot from another room. Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, depending which character the player chooses at that point, moves on to check the source. Kenneth Sullivan is discovered overtaken by a zombie as it tears his head off with a vicious, hungered bite. After dispatching the shambling, living carcass, the player character is thrust into a mansion filled with several mind-bending puzzles, a few deadly traps, and dozens upon dozens of zombies with all hope of finding a living being lost.
The mansion, while not completely abandoned, still hosts several files and diaries that catalog the events leading up to the manifestation the Alpha Team has discovered that evening. It is soon realized that the Umbrella Corporation, a powerful bioengineering pharmaceutical company, has taken control of several illegal experiments somewhere within the mansion. The results of which are the walking dead, animals, insects and all other living forms infected by the highly contagious mutagenic biological agent, the T-Virus.
After traversing and solving the secrets of the mansion, Chris and Jill find themselves within an underground laboratory, the source of Umbrella's scientific research. One of the surviving members of Alpha Team, Albert Wesker, reveals himself as a traitor, working for the Umbrella Corporation all along. He then releases Tyrant T-002, one of Umbrella's more clandestine experiments, created with intense exposure to the T-Virus mutigen. The Tyrant soon turns on Wesker and knocks him out cold. Then it's up to Chris and Jill to destroy the monster and evacuate. A self destruct is issued, sounding an alarm through the entire laboratory.
Chris and Jill make their way to the heliport to call for Vickers' chopper. As the helicopter flies into view, the Tyrant tears through the heliport, returning with a vengeance. After a brief battle, the pilot drops a rocket launcher to Chris and Jill, who quickly use it to blow the Tyrant to shreds. The surviving members of Alpha Team (and Rebecca Chambers, the sole survivor of Bravo Team) climb aboard the helicopter before the mansion and laboratory are completely destroyed.
Resident Evil came about at the request of Capcom for Shinji Mikami to develop a game set in a haunted house like their earlier Famicom title, Sweet Home. Due to the popularity of shooters at the time, the original version of the game was in first person. Later, Capcom requested the game have a fixed camera style with a third person perspective like the earlier survival horror game, Alone in the Dark.
Mikami originally wanted Resident Evil to be a game about fighting ghosts but he decided to make it into a zombie game instead, thinking it would be much more exhilarating than fighting with evil spirits. For the first six months of development, he worked on the game on his own without anyone's assistance. Mikami managed to increase the workforce by fifteen personnel and from that time on, the team gradually increased in number until, towards the end of development, he had more than fifty people working on the game. Among those people were Hideki Kamiya, Hiroki Kato, Jun Takeuchi, Motoi Fujita, Ippei Masuda, Yasuhiro Anpo, Katsutoshi Karatsuma, Kiyohiko Sakata and Ippo Yamada.
The development was a shaky process and Capcom showed little faith in Mikami's game. Thinking it would not sell well, Capcom decided to cancel the project but Mikami defended it hard until they decided not to. In the end, Resident Evil sold really well and became a household name throughout the western world, much to Mikami's surprise.
During the concept stage of development, Resident Evil was originally intended to be a co-op game, but due to technological constraints it was not possible at the time. Some of the elements that were originally intended for co-op eventually became the zapping system in Resident Evil 2, and to a more advanced extent Resident Evil 0.
The soundtrack, titled Biohazard Original Soundtrack Remix, was composed by Makoto Tomozawa, Akari Kaida, and Masami Ueda, except The Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was released on August 7, 1996.
Total Time: 66:05
- Terror (Darkness Lives) 0:57
- At The Deep Mountains and Dark valleys, the Night Begins 5:02
- The One Who Survives 2:59
- Fatal Bite 0:34
- Wandering About 3:07
- A Testator 0:22
- The Moonlight Sonata 4:25
- Yawn 1:17
- Piece of Mind 2:42
- Dismal Field 1:31
- Ivies Domain 3:22
- Vacant Flat 3:04
- What You Hear Is... 1:52
- Flooded Corridor 3:24
- Plant 42 1:09
- Deception 1:29
- Unexpected Crisis (The Nimble One) 0:44
- Queer Structure 4:11
- Sigh of Relief 1:30
- Narrow and Close 1:14
- Trust or Not 1:05
- Requiem 1:50
- Concealed Passage 1:51
- Black Tiger 1:28
- The Depth (Far from the Sun) 2:03
- Disclosed Secret 0:34
- Concrete Bound 2:15
- Double-Crosser 0:53
- Treat to Awful Fright 1:56
- 10 Minutes until Explosion 1:04
- Finally the Two Met 0:29
- 5 Minutes until Explosion 0:51
- Tyrant 1:39
- Still Dawn 3:12
Total Time: 66:05
The PC version featured the uncensored live-action intro and it was in color instead of black and white. The graphics were much sharper and new outfits for Chris and Jill were added as well. Since it was made for Windows 95, playing it on current operating systems may be difficult due to compatibility issues.
The original Japanese PC version published by NEC in December 1996 supported their PowerVR graphics accelerator card and 800x600 resolution, but this was downgraded to Direct3D and 640x480 resolution in the 1997 Western releases published by Virgin Interactive due to legal issues with NEC.
The Sega Saturn version, released in July 1997, featured an unlockable Battle Game minigame, which later became standard in sequels, as well as special costumes for Chris and Jill.
An updated version of Resident Evil was released on September 1997. It featured Advance mode where it changed camera angles for each area, shuffled enemy and item positions and added new costumes for Chris and Jill.
Dual Shock ver.
The Dual Shock version was an exact same game but featured dual shock support as well as new symphonic soundtrack. The Japanese Dual Shock version featured a bonus disc that contained downloadable save data and footage of the Japanese dubbed version of the opening cutscene and other footage, along with gameplay footage of the cancelled Resident Evil 1.5.
Game Boy Color
A Game Boy Color version was planned but it was cancelled, cited by Capcom to be of poor quality.
A remake of Resident Evil was made in 2002, featuring new graphics, gameplay elements, environments and story details. Shinji Mikami stated that the Gamecube version is 70% different from the original.
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the series, Capcom made a Nintendo DS port titled "Resident Evil: Deadly Silence." It featured Classic Mode, the original game with little enhancements, and a Rebirth Mode, containing more enemies and new puzzle elements that utilized the touch screen capabilities. Multiplayer was also included where up to four players can participate the coorperative mode and the competitive mode.
Resident Evil Director's Cut Dual Shock Ver. was ported to the PlayStation Network in Japan on November 22, 2006 and in the US in 2009. The Director's Cut version was released on EU on March 23, 2011.