The Save Rooms of Resident Evil are about as iconic as the tank controls, camera angles, and gerbil sandwiches of the series. They exist as a temporary bubble of respite, a warm bed to relax in far away from the dangers and ammo conservation worries of the 'outside world', and the theme music of the Save Room is a strong proponent of what creates the necessary level of comfort within these havens. There have been many times during my first playthrough of many Resident Evil games, especially the earlier ones where I was in my pre-teens, that I would intentionally just hang around, doing nothing at note, listening to the music.
Resident Evil music in general I feel is a little underappreciated, likely due to it being lost under the shadow of Akira Yamaoka's work in the Silent Hill series. As such, I wanted to make a poll to see what is Resident Evil's most popular rendition of its recurring Save Room theme, and to also simply celebrate some pretty good music!
...I also decided to add Dino Crisis 1 & 2 to the list because they themselves have some very evocative Save Room themes of their own, and the original Dino Crisis in particular is essentially a Resident Evil game in all but name only anyway.
No better place than any than to start with the very original! The very first Resident Evil's is certainly a standout at least in part because it's what first begun the trend. Despite that, it still works as a means to soothe and massage the nerves as you tinker about in the item box or choose to save your game. It has a strangely dreamy quality to it and makes me picture someone sort of floating around amidst the clouds. At the same time, there's a slight uneasiness about it as it begins to drop before slowly rising up again, to help remind you that you can't stay in the Save Room forever and you're inevitably going to have steel yourself and head back out into danger.
I fucking love this track, and the actual scene it plays over is definitely one of the game's 'best' as Wesker's true motives and nature are revealed to the cast. Just has such a great classic 'Bad Guy' aesthetic, while also featuring managing to evoke a sort of monstrous quality to it, as if Frankenstein's monster has just awoken, to to help highlight Wesker's madness.
Resident Evil: Director's Cut Dualshock
The Dualshock version of the original Resident Evil is known for its rather eclectic... reimagining of its OST. However its Save Room theme manages to transcend the soundtrack's peculiarities and still turn out surprisingly OK. It sounds a little more melancholic over the original version, leaning even more into the mindset of having a quick breather while knowing all too well that the calming quiet must inevitably come to an end.
While again the Dualshock soundtrack is a hilarious mess, there is another track that I've always liked, specifically for how it sets up Wesker as some sort of hard boiled private investigator from a 90s point & click adventure game.
Resident Evil REmake
A rather safe remixing of the very original's Save Room theme. It sounds a little lighter than the original's and doesn't quite carry the same slightly lingering sense of dread underneath. It's also not quite as surreal and sounds more akin to sitting in a hospital bed on morphine as opposed to floating amongst the clouds after inducing a significant dose of 'green herbs'.
Fun fact! The results screen for Resident Evil 5's Lost in Nightmares DLC features another remixing of the original's Save Room theme, which for myself personally might just be my favourite version.
Resident Evil 2
I bloody love Resident Evil 2's and it very well might be my favourite. As with all Save Room themes it's both relaxing yet reaffirming of the fact that the Save Room is such a welcoming presence specifically because of the world that surrounds it. It captures the more apocalyptic nature of the events of Resident Evil 2 and how the zombie carnage now spreads outside of a single mansion into the entirety of a 'small midwestern town'.
It overall accurately captures a sense of arriving home late from work, exhausted and dishevelled, kicking your feet up, and readying to do it all again the next morning.
I'm throwing this in purely because it's my favourite track in the game's soundtrack, to which I know @pr1mus will agree! Has a great sort of ''What have we done/Playing God/Paying the price for one's mistakes/Evil Science'' air to it that I really like. Weirdly enough this theme is only encountered in a single room, one that you could choose to unlock by scanning your fingerprints as both characters of an A & B Scenarios playthrough. Inside is an SMG, though I've often felt that the location's unique theme music is more fittingly viewed as your reward.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Following pretty closely in its predecessors footsteps, Resident Evil 3's also has an air of apocalyptic dread to it, only it's now been amplified to reflect on the fact that your travels take you throughout much of the destruction in the city itself, as opposed to staying indoors within the just-as-dangerous RPD station.
While not a Save Room theme, and in fact it isn't even encountered in the game proper, this is another track that sounds similarly composed to a Save Room theme of the series that I've always enjoyed. Like with the Save Rooms, this track would result in me hanging in RE3's Options menu for the longest time purely so I could continue to listen to it.
Resident Evil: Code: Veronica
One of the series most popular Save Room themes I believe; it's never resonated quite as highly with me as it has others, but I still enjoy it all the same. This one harkens back to the original's tone, only it doesn't carry the same surrealness and sounds more fairy tale-esque which fits in well with game's story's tone I feel.
Another track I've decided to embed because it's my favourite of the OST. Has an eerie sampling of intrigue and dark fantasy to it and nicely meshes within the creepy everything concerning the preppy Ashford twins Alfred and Alexia.
Resident Evil: Dead Aim
A rather unique take on the Save Room theme, Dead Aim's sounds slightly more sci-fi to the traditionally classical, sometimes gothic, styles of its predecessors. I think it's alright, and that it does a serviceable job in setting the scene of a slowly rocking ship (being the primary location of the game), although its terribly short loop doesn't do it any favours.
Resident Evil Zero
Probably my least favourite of the series' Save Room themes, Zero's just isn't especially distinctive I feel. Like Dead Aim it also has an extremely short loop and barely manages to get off the ground. It sounds a lot more repetitive than the others and the higher pitch of the notes I don't think is quite as relaxing as they intended. It's OK, I guess, and I suppose it's at least indicative of the game as a whole.
Resident Evil 4
As with so many other aspects of the series, Resident Evil 4 marked a pretty drastic turn for the series. While RE4 shed away many of its predecessors hallmarks, it does still at least contain its own Save Theme. It's far from the series best, but I think it does the job well enough. Despite the game's higher focus towards action, the action itself can still be frantic and draining enough that stumbling into a Save Room and being enveloped in the music within still inspires a feeling of relaxation.
Given that Dino Crisis can be aptly summarised as ''Resident Evil with dinosaurs'', it's no surprise that it contains a very Resident Evil-esque Save Room theme! Essentially sounding like a 90s'-future rendition of a Save Room theme, it has a slightly more transparent, almost sterile quality to it, while again carrying the same mix of putting you at ease while subtly reminding you of the horrors that await outside.
Dino Crisis 2
Despite cutting ties with much of the survival horror-ness of its predecessor, this run n gunning arcade-shooter sequel still has its very own Save Room theme. It's only a remix of the originals, however, with a bit of synth and, most distinctively, the iconic slow-moving stampede of the T-Rex. It's a shame they didn't attempt to compose a new theme for what is an otherwise very different game than the original, but I do at least think this is a better rendition than the first Dino Crisis. It sounds even more like it's from the far-flung future and even kinda Mass Effect-y due to the addition of the synth.