Resident evil

Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

Genre: Survival horror

Release date: March 22 1996

Console: Playstation


Resident evil defines the gaming term survival horror. Before resident evil there were only a handful of survival horror games available, alone in the dark probably being the strongest survival horror title. But resident evil takes the genre, and really creates a survival horror game, if you compare resident evil to alone in the dark you will see just how much capcom poured into it. The first resident evil is going to scare anyone who plays it, if you really want a game to scare the pants off you then look no further. So what made resident evil so scary? What made it the best survival horror game? And will it still give you a scare today?……..well lets find out!


Racoon city: a fictional small city in America nestled in the Arklay mountains. Just recently there have been bizarre incidents accruing near the outskirts of the city. Reports of weird murders taking place, victims were apparently eaten…… The racoon city police special task force S.T.A.R.S (special tactics and rescue squad) bravo team are sent to investigate the area of which most of the murders have been taking place. Eventually contact is lost with the bravo team members, so the alpha team are sent in to look for the bravo members. Alpha team land and find the bravo team chopper has crashed. The alpha team members search the crash site for any survivors, but all they find is a severed hand! Before they can even get round this horror, and whose hand it is, they are suddenly attacked by ferocious dogs! But there is something about these dogs, something, not normal...

Alpha team rush as quick as they can back to their chopper. As this happens one of their own team members is killed by these hell hounds! And just to make matters even worse, the pilot Brad Vickers takes off without the other team members on board! Alpha team’s situation isn’t good, however the leader of the Alpha team, Captain Albert Wesker knows that there is an old mansion near by, and decides that their best choice is to take cover and seek cover in the mansion is their best choice. The alpha team members run towards the old mansion whilst shooting blindly behind them hoping that a stray bullet will hit one of the hounds. Eventually the team members make it to the mansion, barely escaping from the dogs. Once in the mansion the team believes they are safe and decide to stay. However this isn’t no ordinary mansion, as alpha team soon discovers. There are much worse things than hungry dogs which roam here…….


In resident evil you play as either 2 characters; Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine. There are a few differences between them: Chris can take more damage and has better fire power against enemies. Jill on the other hand is the easiest character; since she can carry more items, she starts off with a handgun not just a knife like Chris, and she is given a lock pick at the start of her adventure, so she doesn’t have to go round finding little keys like Chris has to. So in simple terms easy mode: Jill and hard mode: Chris. Now I always play as Jill (she is my favourite resi character) so when I do this review I will be referring to the events Jill has to deal with. The game play game is basically exactly the same, it’s just different events occur depending what character you choose.

In Jill’s storyline once the team make it in the mansion they notice that Chris is missing. The three team members have a quick look around the big lobby area, but Chris is nowhere to be found. Jill and her other alpha team mate Barry Burton; decide to look round for Chris in the mansion. Captain Albert Wesker decides to stay in the lobby area and secure it, and once they find Chris or any clues of his whereabouts to report back to him. This is where the game starts.

The control in resident evil feels different to other games, you use the D pad or the control stick to move your character, holding the square button makes your character run and if you are armed with any weapon, you hold the R1 button down to take aim and the X button to fire. Once you have a feel for the controls, you will no doubt notice the camera angles. Instead of having a camera which follows your character around, there is a different camera angle for each sort of area you enter. At first you may find it strange and reading this you may find it off putting, but, it adds tension, and anxiety to the game. You will soon learn to live with the camera angles and appreciate what it adds to the game (in most cases). Remember this isn’t an action game, but a survival horror one. Most of the time in resident evil you will be searching for certain items or keys to reach further into the mansion. However it’s not just the STARS team members in this mansion. You will encounter all sorts of mutants and creatures, just how did they get this way, and what created them? Well progressing further in the mansion will answer those questions. In resident evil ammo for your weapons are hard to come by, so shooting every enemy you encounter may not be the best solution, sometimes just out running it will do. However remember it will still be alive when you come back if you decided to leg it first time around!

Everything about resident evil creates tension and fear, the camera angles, the sound of your boots hitting the ground as you run, and how you can hear the different "crys" or "moans" of the different hideous creatures shuffling around. The music creates such a scary atmosphere, it really is bone chilling! Every aspect about this game is designed to scare you, or at least put you on edge. Yes you may be reading this thinking all I have to do is find keys, documents and other items whilst most likely, avoiding creatures because I don’t have enough ammo, and yes that basically is the plan. But that's the point of this title: Resident evil was invented to give something new for gamers to play, not just the same old pick up a gun and shoot anything that moves. Even in today's gaming library, most games can’t produce the fear that resi games seem to have (especially the old titles), and for these reasons it almost seems like a unique game, especially back in 1996.

How it plays now

You may take one look at the original resident evil now and think that time has'nt been kind to it. The graphics aren't too good especially by today’s standards; in fact they're quite bad: They're very blocky and almost look like polygon characters. But apart from that, and the speech, which has got be said, is just awful! This game plays extremely well; no one has come close to topping the survival genre like capcom have. The game will still scare you stupid; it will still create tension even though the graphics are bad. But graphics aren’t everything in video games and resident evil proves this extremely well. The game may seem pretty hard by today’s standards (especially when starting off as Chris!) But the game still works, because capcom have even remade the game with better graphics for the Nintendo gamecube. It just goes to show you cannot beat good game play. If you have never played a resident evil title before, it may take you a while to get used to the controls, and the fact you don’t have much ammo to use. But I guarantee you won’t find another game that creates such a scary atmosphere that this classic gem does.

Overall score

As I keep mentioning resident evil is a diamond of a game. It took gaming in another direction, capcom didn’t just decide to make games everyone else was making, they wanted to make something different, something that wasn’t really done in gaming before. And they achieved it. Resident evil is without a doubt one of the most inspirational and influential video games of all times. It has a massive fan base and continues to grow. It’s just a question of did they ever top this master piece……well.... that’s for another review!



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