Real World article
(Written from a Production point of view)
Leon kick

Leon executing a round house-kick in the Gamecube version of Resident Evil 4.

Melee Combat is a mechanic introduced in Resident Evil Outbreak, involving close -quarters-combat, often with no firearm involvement as means of offense or defense. It later evolved into context-sensitive attacks that can be performed against enemies in Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6, Umbrella Chronicles, Darkside Chronicles, Mercenaries 3DRevelations, and Revelations 2. More often than not, melee attacks provide players with certain tactical advantage; invulnerability frames, crowd control, direct damage, and most importantly, ammo conservation.

Outbreak saga iterations

Melee combat in Outbreak series are often very weak thus ill-advised as means of offense. Instead it is often used to create a minimal but often times crucial seconds-worth of opening/ opportunities where other players or characters to assume other tasks or break down most non-key-specific locked doors. Nevertheless, while it is ill advised as a manner of offense, advanced players can utilize it to its fullest potential in most scenarios to gain the no weapon bonus achievement.

Post-Outbreak iterations

Melee attacks in post-Outbreak games can be performed by first shooting an enemy in specific body part, such as the limbs or face, and then pressing the corresponding button prompt displayed on-screen while the enemy is stunned. Unlike melee combat system pioneered in Outbreak series, in Resident Evil 4 and later titles, melee combat often deal devastating damage that rivals or surpasses even the strongest firearms while providing players invulnerability frames, making them a viable play style not just for ammo conservation sake but also for creating further strategical opportunities.

Not too dissimilar to Outbreak games, downed enemies can be finished off with a stomp input. Should players align their player characters to face enemy heads, they can often finish said enemies off should no further mutations occur. Otherwise, stomps in post-Outbreak titles deal considerable damage to downed enemies.


Prior to the Outbreak saga, almost every Resident Evil game features the knife as a last ditch melee weapon to use. While it is ill advised to engage in melee combat in these games due to the underwhelming damage output it has, it can be very deadly in the hands of the more patient and expert players, providing them means of clearing pathways while conserving ammunition. 

Pre-Outbreak series, some players purposefully knock zombie crowds down and let some of them grab onto their player character to execute a stomp finisher in order to save ammunition at the cost of some of their health while clearing a path. This was no longer necessary after Outbreak series' inception as stomps can now be performed manually without the need of purposefully sacrificing some health in the process. 

Resident Evil Outbreak

In Resident Evil Outbreak (ergo its sequel; File#2), unarmed melee attacks can be triggered at will by having no weapons equipped and utilizing any of the assigned combat inputs. More often than not, this involves characters performing a short distance shoulder tackle which deals minimal damage but is capable of stunning or staggering weaker enemies, providing other players/ AI partner npcs some breathing room if needed be.

Some characters such as Kevin and George have special mechanics where they can perform variations of the standard melee attack; Kevin having a strong kick assigned as his special which keeps himself away from potential enemy grabs but leaves himself open to retaliation should he misses, whereas George can delay and charge his tackle for an even stronger knock back effect that is capable of sending zombies flying back as well as negating incoming damage should it be performed at the right moment.

All unarmed offensive melee maneuvers are often used to break open non-password-specific locked doors.

Other characters such as Jim, Alyssa, Cindy, and Yoko are instead given evasive maneuvers that can be used to negate incoming damage completely if performed at the right moment. Similarly, Mark is given a defensive move where he can block incoming damage to mitigate it, giving players using him the opportunity to directly retaliate afterwards (though this does not negate the chance of enemies bleeding Mark characters thus still a risky maneuver).

David has a unique melee mechanic where he can chain knife attacks successively if each strike is timed correctly, providing players means to make knife combat a viable offensive strategy. More often than not, successfully executing the full knife combo will stagger zombies to a downed state, open for stomps or further knife assault. In similar albeit contrasting manner, Mark is capable of charging his melee attacks to deal substantial damage in a single hit, often sending weaker enemies flying or knocking down tougher enemies such as hunters at the cost of breaking an equipped melee weapon slightly faster.

All characters gain similar gimmick to that of David's knife combo in file#2, instead this time it can be performed with any melee weapon. This however, will leave characters breathless for a short while after performing chained melee strikes, thus vulnerable.

All 8 characters can also perform a quick (albeit still weak) stomp/ kick to downed enemies to finish the off by aiming down nearby a downed hostile; though this will often require multiple execution to finish even the weaker enemies in the Outbreak games. It nevertheless is viable to keep said enemies stunned in place while other characters/ players mind their own business.

Resident Evil 4

In Resident Evil 4, melee attacks can performed against Ganados by pressing the action button after stunning them. The visual reaction is the signal that melee attacks can be used; Ganados can be attacked when they are stunned by being damaged on the head (they hold onto their face in pain), or being shot in the lower leg area (they will fall to their knees). Handguns, the TMP, and well placed knife slashes can achieve these stun set ups. Melee attacks will knock enemies down to the ground, and it will take a few seconds for them to get back up, leaving them open to weapon fire, knife slashing, or running past them. Being grabbed by Ganados and shaking them off will sometimes result in grapple-breaking attacks, which will briefly stun them, but not leave them open to reaction commands.

In the Mercenaries minigame, all characters have their own melee attacks, that can be performed in the same manner. For example, HUNK's head stun melee attack, the Neckbreaker, is the only attack in the game that will instantly kill the target, which even includes more resilient enemies like the Dr. Salvador and the Bella Sisters opponents. Krauser's head stun melee attack consists of two kicks in a row that can hit enemies twice, being the only melee attack that consists in two hits. Krauser also has a unique melee attack that involves using his mutated arm to quickly dispose of enemies in a single shot; however, it's not a reaction command, but rather a special move that can be activated after a certain amount of time.

There are other melee prompts can be used in specific situations against certain enemies. Some of the examples include:

  • Leon can perform a reverse roundhouse kick against Novistadores simply when they walk up to him. Against El Gigantes, after inflicting enough damage, they will knell over in pain and their plaga will expose itself; the player can start a quicktime event to climb onto their back and attack the plaga by repeatedly pressing the assigned button.
  • During Leon's fight against Krauser, while collecting the beast plate and feeling from a chasing Krauser, a series of two to four quicktime events can come up, where Leon can dodge his knife attacks and counterattack with a drop kick.
  • Leon and Ada, during their respective fights with Saddler, will have the chance to stab him in his mouth-eye mutation after stunning him by dealing a certain amount of damage.

Resident Evil 5

A refined Resident Evil 4 melee system is present in Resident Evil 5, which has been heavily expanded. Enemies can still be stunned by taking damage on the head and leg areas, but now can also be stunned by when hit on the arms. Characters will also use a different attack depending on wether they approach the enemy from the front side or back side for arm or leg stuns, resulting in a total of five variations for melee attacks.

Each character has a different set of attacks and with different properties, meaning there is a difference between playing as Chris or Sheva in the main game (other than how she aims left handed). Some moves, such as Sheva's Throat Slit or Chris's Neckbreaker, will instantly kill regular Majinis (Town, Wetlands and Base) and prevent their Plaga from emerging.

It's also possible to perform Chain Melee Attacks with the partner, allowing to unleash powerful finishing moves on enemies. Against regular Majini, stunning them on the arm and using the reaction command will knock them back, but not cause them to fall over; from here the partner can follow up with melee attack, which in turn will prompt for a third and final attack to be used by the first attacker; these finishing moves are far more powerful than any other type of melee attacks. Some enemies, mostly sub-bosses such as Executioner Majini, Chainsaw Majini, Big Man Majini and Gatling Gun Majini, can also be hit with the chained attacks, or in some cases, be hit with a finish move right away. There are two types finishing moves, one done from the front and the other from the back.

Enemies that are knocked down to the ground are left vulnerable for a ground melee attack. These attacks can cause critical damage and instantly kill enemies if the player is standing directly over their head, as opposed to other body parts. However, this will not prevent their Plaga from emerging, so it is advised to take caution when doing so, as some enemies' head can mutate into a Cephalo or other types of Plagas.

There are also the Melee Assists moves, which are done with the Partner Action Button. When the partner is grabbed by an enemy, using the assist button will cause the character to hit the opponent, freeing the partner and leaving the aggressor in a stunned state. After assisting, your partner may use a reaction melee on the now stunned opponent.

If an enemy is stunned by conventional means, both players can hit with melee attack at the same time, if timed correctly. However, this cannot be done if the attack is an execution move, which is done from behind when the enemy is stunned on the legs.

In The Mercenaries mini-games, melee kills add five seconds to the timer, which is a crucial part of gameplay in order to achieve higher scores. In The Mercenaries Reunion, melee attacks are much stronger, able to kill almost any regular Majini in a single hit. Additionally, characters have access to Special Melees in Duo Mode depending on who they're paired with:

  • Chris's leg stun melee are different if his partner is Barry or Rebecca.
  • Sheva's ground execution is different if her partner is Josh or Excella.
  • Rebecca's arm stun melee is different if her partner is Excella or Chris.

There are a few example of attacks that aren't physical but are still performed as explained above. For example, Sheva uses her kurki in her execution moves; Rebecca uses flame spray, tear gas, and a taser; Excella uses a lethal injection syringe; and Barry Burton uses his signature magnum to pistol whip or fire a bullet (which doesn't use ammo).

While not part of the regular melee system, Wesker can use his signature high-speed dash in The Mercenaries (at the cost of a small amount of health) at any time. Running through Majinis will deal a small amount of damage and briefly stun them. Wesker can also perform a Special Melee Attack during the dash, called Knee Cannon, which deals large damage, and will usually kill any normal Majini in a single hit, or knock them down.

Characters also have a special type of melee attack to used exclusively against lickers when they are stunned, instantly killing them.

Also, during fights with Wesker, players have access to a unique quicktime event combo if they can stun him.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

Mercenaries 3D - Barry gameplay 1

Barry Burton delivers a devastating kick to a Cultist's head in The Mercenaries 3D.

In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, the attack patterns and Melee Prompts are the same as Resident Evil 5. A few characters have different moves than their Resident Evil 5 counterparts. Notably, the characters are now balanced to an extent, some moves been modified to be more useful and reliable while others have been downgraded to be not as powerful. For example, Rebecca Chambers no longer has her Flame Spray and HUNK loses his neck breaker move (but gains new melee attacks involving concealed blades).

Resident Evil: Revelations

Resident Evil: Revelations only features one melee move for each character, and now the player can charge this melee attack to deal more damage. However, this leaves the player vulnerable to attacks from other enemies or even the targeted enemy should they recover (however the player is still invincible during the execution). Evident from Raid Mode, all melee attacks have the same base damage, only changing if a character has a skill stating their melee does extra damage. Enemies are also much harder to stun compared to the previous games, making Melee Attacks not so reliable as before.

In order to use your melee attack, enemies must be stunned but the method of doing so varies for each enemy. Regular and Pincer Ooze must be damaged in both their arms, Hunters and Farfarellos have to be shot  in the head as they start to dash, Scagdeads and Final Form Abyss simply need to sustain so much damage to be stunned. Scarmigliones and the previously listed can be instantly stunned with a Pulse Grenade, with the exception of Final Form Abyss.

An interesting feature about performing a melee attack in Revelations is that just attempting to do one, even if it fails to connect and regardless the amount of charge it has, will instantly reload your current weapon to its maximum capacity. This can be used strategically by some players who may prefer to melee an enemy in some situations instead of having to wait for the reload animation.

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 has several systems in place for its melee mechanics. Melee attacks include the freely usable commands, all attacks using the Survival knife, Tactical knife, Stun Rod, and Jake's Hand to Hand, reaction moves available on stunned enemies, and counter-attacks. These systems are further affected by variables such as if the player is out of Stamina, what weapon they have equipped, their environment, and what enemy is being attacked.

Melee attacks are affected by associated Skills and add time during The Mercenaries minigame when landing a killing blow with one. All melee attacks now have chance to cause critical damage, and this chance can be further increased by equipping specific skills.

Command attacks

These attacks can be used at any time. Only the first attack of the two-hit combo doesn't cost a block of Stamina. Most of these moves are strong enough to stun (thus opening a chance to Reaction moves) or even kill an opponent.

  • Two-hit combo: By pressing the Melee Button two times, the character will perform a two-hit combo, with the last hit being potentially more powerful and causing more stun, usually stunning weaker enemies and leaving them open to Reaction Attacks. When equipped with a small weapon, characters will use their own unique attack. When equipped with a large weapon, everyone will share a standard combo involving attacking with the weapon. Trying to use melee attacks with the bar depleted will result in a very slow and weak attack, leaving the character vulnerable to the opponents.
  • Backward attack: While facing backward (facing the camera and the player) then pressing the melee button, the character will perform a different attack to hit an enemy behind them.
  • Sprint attack: By sprinting and pressing the Melee Button, the character will perform a dash attack, capable of either stun or launch the enemy (these depends on the character used and the specific enemy). Male characters will use a shoulder ram while female characters launch a flying kick.
  • Slide kick: By sprinting and pressing the dodge button, the character will slide kick that can cause light damage to enemies and possibly stun them. This slide kick can also be used to crash item boxes and may also kill a downed enemy.
  • Dying attack: Press the melee attack while in dying state and the character will kick outward.

Reaction attacks

These attacks can be used while the enemy is stunned. Characters will use their own unique attack unless they have a specific weapon equipped or other circumstances are present. All will use one block of stamina and only usable if the player has Stamina.

  • Standard: the character performs a powerful attack against an enemy facing him/her. This attack usually can hit multiple enemies. Characters will stab using the Assault Rifle RN 's bayonet when it is equipped.
  • Throw: A stronger attack than the standard one. Usually can be used if the enemy is stunned by a head shot.
  • Back take-down: if the character attacks the enemy from behind, it will perform a more powerful attack that usually causes head critical. Additionally, if the enemy does not notice the character, the Reaction Attack is available without having to stun the enemy. Characters with the Combat Knife equipped will use it to slit the enemy's throat.
  • Coup de Grace: Very powerful attack. Usable if enemy is dazed. This attack is automatically used against stunned enemies like Bloodshots, Whoppers and Lepotica. These are exceedingly more powerful than simply using a stunned melee prompt, often times beheading thus killing enemies or sending them flying back while dealing very high amounts of damage akin to parries.

Specific position attacks

These attacks will always be available to use even while enemies aren't stunned. All will use one block of stamina and only usable if the player has Stamina.

  • Downed enemy attack: by pressing the Melee Button near a downed enemy, the character will stomp it; if the character's foot hits the enemy's head, it will cause a head critical strike. Depending on the weapon equipped the character will perform a different attack rather than a stomp. Also, players can stomp enemies more than one time, and depending on the player's position to the enemy, hitting the head increases the chance of critical damage. The character will stab the enemy if they have the Assault Rifle RN, Survival Knife, Combat Knife, Stun Rod. If Jake has his Hand-tohand equipped he will pick them up and throw them.
  • Low kick: Used to deal with zombie dog c. It shares the same animation of breaking crates and boxes.

Character attacks

Character have unique animations with some differing properties for certain attacks.

Character Two-hit combo with small weapon Standard light stun melee Back take-down Throw Coup de Grace
Leon Left kick, right kick Roundhouse Bulldog Judo arm throw Back turning kick
Helena Pistol whip, rising kick Low roundhouse Leg sweep then elbow drop Shoulder throw Dropkick
Chris Punch, pistol whip Back turning fist Neck breaker Pick up an throw Straight punch
Piers Front kick, pistol whip Roundhouse Kick to the knee to make enemy kneel, then use his arm to break their neck. Uses his arm to grab enemy neck, turn 180* and throw enemy over his shoulder. Uppercut
Jake Right front kick, left front kick Jumping roundhouse Suplex Spinning DDT Axe kick
Sherry Front kick, pistol whip Roundhouse Sherry will hold enemy's head then make a up-swing jump, when she landed, she smashed the enemy face on the ground, crushing their head. Sherry runs forward to the enemy and climbs onto their chest, kicking out with both feet simultaneously, thus preforming a back flip in the process to send the enemy flying backwards. Sherry will sit on her skees, turn 180* and then deliver a high kick to the enemy.
Ada Pistol whip, kick Fan kick Ada will grab enemy neck by her legs and smash them in the ground. Somersault
Agent Hammer punch: He will rise his fist high, and chop it down to the enemy.

Alternate attacks

Characters now have different reaction moves depending on the enemy and if it is carrying melee weapons or not. For example, using a reaction move against a zombie carrying a weapon, such as a knife or shovel, will cause the character to "steal" the weapon from the zombie and kill it with it; however these weapons cannot be picked up or equipped as regular items. In a similar fashion, some reaction moves will be different depending on the weapon your character is carrying (such as impaling grounded enemies when holding a knife).

These attack will replace the standard melee reaction attacks under certain circumstances.

  • Bayonet stab: Replaces the Standard reaction when the Assault Rifle RN is equipped.
  • Weapon-steal: if the enemy is holding a melee weapon or has a weapon stabbed inside them, the character will steal that weapon and kill the enemy with it.
  • Wall smash: if the enemy is close to a wall, the character will slam its head against the wall, causing head critical. Requires enemy to be stunned first.
  • Leg pull: If the player is standing near a ledge and an enemy is on a higher level next to them, the character pulls the enemy's leg forcing them down.
  • Ground smash: If the player is at the ledge of a higher level and the enemy is on a lower level, the character and jump from the ledge and catch the enemy and drive them to the ground.
  • Push: if the enemy is close to a gap in a bridge or building, the character will push them away.
  • Stealth take down: Pressing the melee button while standing against a wall and an unaware patrolling J'avo comes close enough, characters can perform stealth kills.

Stun types

Stunning Zombies, J'avo can require more than one shot in the specific area. However, the system has been refined and further expanded; enemies can be stunned by simply being shot anywhere in their bodies, not requiring specifically to be shot in the head or other weak points, though shooting these have a higher hit-stun rate.

Stun type/level Cause Front position attack Back position attack
Standing light Basic melee command, male characters' dash, sliding, Quick Shots that do not knockdown, some counter attacks Standard Standard
Standing medium Damage to arms or back Standard Back take-down
Standing heavy Turning around attack from males, Flash Grenades, additional stunning attacks during standing stun Coup de Gace Back take-down
Head stun Damage head Throw from front
Coup de Grace from side
Back take-town
Kneeling Damage legs Standard Standard


All will use one block of stamina and only usable if the player has Stamina. During certain enemies' certain attacks, there will be a short period of time before the attack is active in which a "counter-attack" prompt will available to use. These attacks usually involve quickly attacking the enemy back to stop the incoming attack. Counter attacks count both as melee attacks and their sub-category of attacks affected by certain skills.

The standard counter is used against a handful of attacks. While holding small weapons, characters will use their own uniquely animated attack. While holding a big weapon a common one will be used involving smacking the enemy with the weapon. The Combat knife has its own unique animation.

Otherwise, a specific counter used for each of the following:

Enemy Situation Animation
Zombies holding a weapon Zombie attacks using a vertical or horizontal swing Block the attack, take the weapon and attack with it
Zombies, Zombie Dog C, Rasklapanje missing its legs and arms Leaping Step forward and smack downward with weapon
Bloodshot Leaping Characters will flip the creature on its back and stomp its organs
Bloodshot Upper claw
J'avo with knife, stun rod, wrist blade
J'avo with machine gun Grab arm and elbow head
J'avo with sword Sword performance Stab sword through back
Glava-Sluz Spin webs Head lock and break neck
Ruka-Srp Downward arm chop Grab arm, knee elbow, twist it to attack head
Ruka-Hvatanje Short distance arm attack Pull arm and swing around
Ruka-Bedem Shield swing Dodge and jumping rising kick to face
Noga-Trchanje Leap Catch and throw to ground
Noga-Skakanje Backwards kick Grab leg and twist while falling to ground
Noga-Let Thrown to ground
Napad Charging at player Male characters will make the character stops the Napad's charge and cracks its armor and female characters will jumps on the creature's back to avoid damage.
Deborah Although very hard to pull off, players with fast reflexes will be able to counter Deborah's jump-dive attack and incapacitate her.
Simmons mutation 1
Ustanak Rushing

Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 features 3 types of melee moves: stun melee moves, follow-ups, and stealth attacks in addition to standard melee weapon combats.

  • Like Revelations, stun melee moves can only be used when an enemy is stunned. These melee moves can be charged for longer periods of time after being upgraded with BP. Only the main character can do stun melee moves.
  • Follow-ups is used on grounded enemies, initially it can only be done with the support character, but with upgrades, main character can also do follow-ups.
  • Stealth attacks can be done to enemies who are not aware of the character's presence.

In Raid Mode, there are some character skills that involve melee:

  • Gabriel Chavez can use Ground Pounds to damage surrounding enemies.
  • Gina Foley can use Gesticulation to damage enemies with her gesture.
  • Leon can use his Shockwave skill to push enemies away.
  • Pedro Fernandez can use his Drill Charge to run through enemies and deal damage.
  • Leon's Inherent skills; Savor the moment, and Melee Mastery, substantially increases knife damage output and mobility.
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