Formed by Albert Wesker in early 1996, the Special Tactics and Rescue Service was modeled strongly after the Umbrella Corporation's various S.W.A.T. and Biohazard Control Teams -- to whom Wesker himself is living a double life as both an Umbrella researcher and as an officer of the law. Instead of sheer numbers to equate effectiveness, Wesker searched for only the best and the brightest for his team. As superior to Police Chief Brian Irons in Umbrella's hierarchy, it didn't take much convincing at all to begin recruitment for his team within the Raccoon Police Department.
The S.T.A.R.S. became local heroes in no time, called in for only the most dangerous or harrowing assignments. They took in several new members as time passed, but the core group were far more recognizable than the rest. Eventually the organization was split into two teams. Albert Wesker retained command over both of them, while assigning Enrico Marini as the captain of Bravo Team.
Kevin Ryman, an R.P.D. officer from the Outbreak series, also attempted to join S.T.A.R.S. twice but failed each time, allegedly because of his 'happy-go-lucky' nature.
During the Mansion Incident, due to the many B.O.W's littered within, and also down to the actions of team leader Albert Wesker, the S.T.A.R.S. unit suffered incredible damages:
Alpha Team Casualties
- Joseph Frost - Killed by a pack of Cerberus dogs.
- Albert Wesker - ''Killed'' by his own creation, the T-002 Tyrant, by being plunged through his torso with its huge claw. During Jill's story, Wesker could also die by being decapitated by a Chimera B.O.W. The act itself isn't seen, though his corpse can be found near the self-destruct button after Jill has beaten the Tyrant. The decapitation ''death'' was shown only because Capcom didn't originally plan to resurrect Wesker in Code: Veronica; this was eventually deemed his non-canon ''death'' and was scrapped altogether for the remake.
Bravo Team Casualties
- Enrico Marini - Killed by a shot to the heart, inflicted by Albert Wesker.
- Richard Aiken - Depending on choices made through the game, which version of Resident Evil (the original or the remake) is played and which character story the player chose (Chris or Jill), Richard will either be killed by a prolonged exposure to a deadly poison inflicted by a giant snake, eaten whole by the same giant snake, or will dive in front of an infected shark to save Chris Redfield.
- Kenneth J. Sullivan - Killed by a zombie eating through his neck, essentially decapitating him. His last moments as he's attacked by the zombie can be viewed via his squad camera in the remake of the original Resident Evil, should the player collect his video tape and play it in the VCR found in the secret underground Umbrella Laboratory.
- Kevin Dooley - Is presumed to have been killed by a pack of Cerberus dogs since he was found in his helicopter within the forest outside the Mansion, though it was never confirmed.
- Edward Dewey - Killed by a multitude of attacks by Cerberus dogs and zombies. Edward would also eventually reanimate as a zombie.
Brad Vickers, while surviving the Mansion Incident, would also die only three months after by the hands of Nemesis -- a Bio-Organic Weapon that was programmed to hunt down the remaining S.T.A.R.S. operatives. Brad would eventually reanimate as a zombie as shown in Resident Evil 2. Thus after the destruction of Raccoon City, only these few S.T.A.R.S. members remained:
The original Resident Evil and its remake featured a slew of mildly different endings, most of which were dependent on which characters managed to survive. Though long confirmed to be non-canon, certain main characters could also find themselves added to the casualty list depending on which character's story is being played. Brad Vickers is the only character who is assured to survive the Mansion Incident no matter the ending.
Chris Redfield's Story
- Rebecca Chambers - Rebecca, depending on choices made by the player and what version of Resident Evil is played (original or remake), can die by either being mauled by a Hunter or by a straight lunge through her torso afflicted by the T-002 Tyrant.
- Jill Valentine - Jill Valentine can die if the player opts to initiate the self-destruct mechanism within the Underground Umbrella Lab and doesn't save her from her cell, leaving Jill to die in the explosion.
Jill Valentine's Story
- Barry Burton - Barry, depending on choices made by the player and what version of Resident Evil is played (original or remake), can die by either being decapitated by a Hunter, by being smacked off a chasm by Lisa Trevor, by a straight lunge through his torso afflicted by the T-002 Tyrant, or by being found severely wounded--likely the result of Chimera attacks--as Jill makes her way to the Helipad.
- Chris Redfield - Chris Redfield can die if the player opts to initiate the self-destruct mechanism within the Underground Umbrella Lab and doesn't save him from his cell, leaving Chris to die in the explosion.
The S.T.A.R.S. team were the best of the best within the Raccoon Police Force, and were equipped as such with the best firearms the station could provide. Barry Burton, the weapons specialist, also had a deal with the Kendo Brothers who ran their own gun store to further provide custom weaponry for the squad - including the Samurai Edge pistol.
Shotguns and sniper rifles were allocated to specific members who specialised as such, like Forest Speyer who was the primary Marksman for the team. All S.T.A.R.S. members also had a combat knife for close quarter combat. While no member of S.T.A.R.S. was ever shown to use it, a crossbow can be found during Resident Evil 2 in a locker in the S.T.A.R.S. office.
On the defensive side, each member is dressed in cargo pants, military boots, and a custom S.T.A.R.S. jacket to go over a shirt. The color of the jacket varied across the team allowing diversity, giving each member a more unique look for their uniform.
Non-canon outfit appearances
While actual S.T.A.R.S. officers only canonically appear during the earlier games of the series, many of the series stalwarts' outfits are often featured in later games as unlockable costumes.
- Resident Evil 2 -- Leon Scott Kennedy, while was never canonically a STARS member, can wear an unlockable STARS uniform in RE2's N64 port.
- Resident Evil 3 -- One of the five unlockable outfits for protagonist Jill Valentine is her classic STARS uniform from the original Resident Evil, complete with her trademark beret.
- Resident Evil remake -- While all of the characters are of course wearing their canon STARS attire, Chris Redfield can also potentially unlock his other STARS uniform from Resident Evil: Code: Veronica.
- Resident Evil 5 -- For both the main game and the unlockable Mercenaries mode, players can unlock Chris Redfield's classic STARS uniform from the first Resident Evil. Albert Wesker in his classic STARS uniform can also be played as in the Mercenaries mode as well. Eventually, both Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers--while wearing their STARS uniform--were added to the mode as DLC.
- Resident Evil 6 -- For the game's Mercenaries mode, all of the main cast had available a DLC outfit, that was intentionally designed to replicate the now rudimentary graphics of the 90s era of Resident Evil games. Chris Redfield's 'demake' outfit featured him in a STARS uniform, though it was more noticeably blue rather than its trademark green.
- Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D -- Like their appearances in Resident Evil 5, both Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers are featured wearing their STARS uniforms by default.