Resident Evil (バイオハザード, spelled Baiohazādo or simply Biohazard in Japan) is a survival horror game by Capcom and is the first game in the Resident Evil series. It was originally released in 1996 for the PlayStation and has been subsequently ported to the Sega Saturn and PC, then re-released twice on the PlayStation in the form of a Director's Cut. A Game Boy Color version of Resident Evil was planned, but later canceled by Capcom, citing that the port was of poor quality. Capcom later released a new game in the series for the platform titled Resident Evil Gaiden. In 2002, a remake of the game was released for the Nintendo GameCube featuring new graphics and voice acting among other significant changes. A Nintendo DS port of the original, with added modes and the subtitle Deadly Silence, was released in early 2006.
While not the first survival horror game, its success propelled the genre to new heights of popularity and was the first game to coin the term.
Note: While attempts have been made to reconcile plot elements between the 1996 and 2002 versions, there may still be some discrepancies.
|The original game opens on the evening of July 24, 1998 in the fictional Midwestern town of Raccoon City where a number of grisly murders had taken place on the outskirts of town. Victims were attacked in their homes by a group of assailants with evidence of cannibalism. Baffled by the strange nature of the cases, the Raccoon City Police Department sent in the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team. Their mission was to investigate a mysterious mansion out in the woods... A mission they would not return from.
After contact was lost with their compatriots, Alpha Team quickly mobilized to find out what happened. Alpha Team located the downed Bravo Team helicopter, but only one body was found- the pilot Kevin Dooley, dead in the helicopter. The other six members were no where to be found... Alpha Team quickly spread out to look for clues. As the group fanned out, Joseph Frost located a severed hand clutching a pistol. Frost was quickly beset by a pack of Cerberus and fatally mauled. Alpha Team pilot Brad Vickers panicked and flew off, stranding the remaining four members: Captain Wesker, Barry Burton, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine.
With no other options, the group took refuge inside the what they believed to be an abandoned mansion (during the run, Chris Redfield loses his handgun. Players don't begin with it when they play as Chris). Though they find out later in the game that this mansion is in reality the Arklay Research Facility disguised as a mansion and owned by the Spencer Family. Depending on which character the player chooses, one of the four survivors will get separated from the others- Barry if playing as Chris, and Chris if playing as Jill. At this point the player takes control of either Chris or Jill to explore the mansion.
Regardless of who is chosen, the first major discovery is the dead body of Bravo Team member Kenneth J. Sullivan, having been eaten alive by a Zombie. Another member, Forrest Speyer is found- having been wounded and eventually pecked to death by crows. (Speyer will reanimate in the Director's Cut.) The mansion is overrun with vicious monsters- ranging from zombies and zombie dogs, to giant spiders and even hostile plant-like creatures. Scattered documents and computer discs suggested that a series of experiments had been executed on the property by the Umbrella Corporation. The monsters were the results of these experiments, which had exposed humans and various animals to a specially engineered biological agent known as the t-Virus (hence the Japanese title, "Biohazard").
Throughout the game, Jill is aided by the veteran Barry Burton, while Chris works with Bravo Team rookie Rebecca Chambers. The house abounds with strange and deadly puzzles and traps that must be overcome to advance. After navigating a series of tunnels, passageways, and other buildings on the property, Chris/Jill discovered a secret underground laboratory containing detailed records of the Umbrella Corporation's experiments. It's here that Wesker reveals himself as an Umbrella Agent to the player (and their respective partner). He then releases a giant monstrous humanoid called the "Tyrant T-002," (created through prolonged exposure to the t-Virus) but the creature turns on him and impales him with its clawed left hand.
Shortly after Chris/Jill defeat the Tyrant, the wounded Wesker triggers a self-destruct program to ensure an end to the laboratory and the experiments held there. The player at last is able to contact Brad to rescue them, but the Tyrant bursts through the roof of the lab onto the chopper landing pad. Now resistant to bullets, the Tyrant was finally slain when, Brad Vickers, tosses a rocket launcher to the player. With the super powerful weapon, the Tyrant is completely destroyed. Chris/Jill escaped into the chopper before the mansion exploded and the game ends.
The ending sequence varies depending on choices made by the player as he/she explored the mansion. So long as the player escaped with two teammates, the ending plays out as described above. Rescuing only one or none of your teammates changes the outcome, in particular the fate of the laboratory and the Tyrant.
Unlike subsequent Resident Evil games, the first game had live-action openings and endings. The acting and dialogue in these scenes are often mocked (as is the general dialogue in the series), but some argue that the unrefined, campy and poor execution perfectly fits the mood of a B-grade horror movie, although the majority of the series' fans continue to mock the opening, as it completely off-sets the other-wise horror-driven mood of the game. The opening footage in the western releases was significantly re-cut to exclude most of the gore, (And Chris lighting a cigarette) using alternate footage. Capcom was supposed to include the unadulterated version of the intro in later revisions, but only the PC Version as well as the German and French PAL PlayStation Director's Cuts contain the original FMV.
The gameplay environment consists of polygonal 3D characters placed over pre-rendered 2D backgrounds. As such, the game relies on pre-determined camera angles for view of the action instead of a real-time camera like most games. As a result, the game uses a "tank-like" control scheme where the character controls in a first person manner. Instead of moving the character in the direction the player is pushing, the character moves forwards by pressing up and backwards by pressing down and turns the character on the spot by pushing left or right. Many Resident Evil detractors have criticized this control scheme, claiming it unsuitable for a third-person action game, but many fans have defended it, arguing that it added to the feeling of death and defeat and that a conventional third person control scheme would be infeasible considering the various camera angles.
The player fights against enemies by arming their character with a weapon. The player draws their weapon by holding down the "Weapon Draw" button (usually a shoulder button, such as the R1 button) and pressing "Fire" (or X button) In the attack stance, the player character remains static in one place and can turn their character and/or tilt their weapon up or down. Initially, the only weapons available to the player are a combat knife and a Beretta 92FS, but later in the game, more weapons become accessible to the player such as the Remington M870 and a Colt Python. Ammunition for firearms is limited and it is often recommended that the player save their strongest weapons for boss battles.
The player must survive by fighting against the various monsters that populate the mansion. The most common enemies in the game are zombies, which are slow-moving and easy to outrun, but harder to avoid in tight corners. During later sections of the game, the player must also fight against zombie dogs (known as "Cerberus'"), Hunters, Chimeras and Web Spinners, as well as small enemies such as crows, wasps and adders. The latter three are small and fast, and the player must be careful to conserve ammunition when dealing with these. The player must also fight against bosses such as a giant snake (Yawn), a mutated plant (Plant 42), a giant spider (Black Tiger), a giant shark (Neptune), and the Tyrant T-002.
Health is restored by using first-aid sprays or healing herbs. Of the two, healing Herbs are more common and restore a portion of the player's health, while first-aid sprays are scarcer, but will restore the player's health completely. There are three types of healing herbs available: the green herb (for restoring health), the blue Herb (which cures poison) and the red herb (which can't be used by itself, but will triple the healing power of a green herb when mixed with one). The herbs can be mixed and used in six different combinations.
The player must navigate through the mansion by picking up various keys and items which are pivotal to the game's progress, while solving puzzles along the way. The player has a limited capacity for carrying items and thus, enforcing the need to carry only essential items while still having space for new items. As such, storage boxes are available for the player to store any item for later use.
The player can only save their progress by going to a typewriter and using ink ribbons to save the game. Ink ribbons are available in limited quantity, forcing the player to seriously consider whether they have made enough progress to justify saving the game. This saving method has also been criticized by many, but designer Shinji Mikami defended, arguing that it increases the tension in the game.
There are also various documents available to the player within the mansion which either serve to provide the solutions to certain puzzles, or simply to further divulge the plot.
The game gives the player control of S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team members Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine as they search for a way out and attempt to locate the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team. The characters play out similar scenarios but they have different skills. Chris is assisted by Bravo Team medic, Rebecca Chambers (who becomes playable in certain portions of his scenario), while Jill gets help from fellow Alpha team member, Barry Burton. Jill's quest is easier because she has a higher item-carrying capacity (eight compared to Chris' six), can pick simple locks, and has a comparatively stronger team-mate. She also has access to a grenade launcher (Chris has very limited access to a flamethrower) and can complete certain puzzles by herself, while Chris needs Rebecca's help in certain areas. Chris' limitations make his quest arguably more difficult but he has more stamina than Jill, and can therefore sustain greater damage and run faster. He also has better accuracy than Jill, meaning more chances to score headshots and less ammunition spent.
Resident Evil gives players a choice between two playable characters, S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team members Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. The differences between both characters are more than superficial, with differences in abilities, items and even supporting characters, resulting in a slightly different scenario for both characters. Later Resident Evil titles would often follow this tradition of including a male and female lead, although in some, they aren't both available at the start of the game (i.e. Code: Veronica). Notably, Resident Evil Zero has players control both protagonists simultaneously.
- Chris Redfield - One of the protagonists of the game. Chris is much stronger and faster than Jill, making him more resistant to enemy attacks and more possibilities to avoid them, also having greater accuracy being easier to aim in the right places with him (even for new players) using less rounds, but to compensate for this strength, his scenario is made more problematic, especially for the inexperienced. He can only carry six items and starts with only a knife. To make things worse he needs Old Keys to unlock places where Jill can simply use her lock pick. Chris' supporting character is Rebecca. She will not rescue him as much as Barry would for Jill, but she is useful and can heal all Chris' wounds at certain areas of the game. Chris also finds the flamethrower, a weapon exclusive to his scenario.
- Jill Valentine - One of the protagonists of the game. Jill's scenario is the simpler of the two, as she has a higher carrying capacity (eight items simultaneously) and has a lock pick that serves as a substitute for the old keys in Chris' scenario (as well as the Sword Key in the original game). Jill's supporting character is Barry. He wields a powerful .357 Magnum Colt python and is more helpful than Chris' Rebecca, as he eliminates the need for the broken shotgun (as long as the player hasn't picked up the armor key), and assists in fighting several of the bosses. Jill also gets to use a grenade launcher, a weapon exclusive to her scenario and capable of firing several types of rounds. However, these advantages are offset by the fact that she is more vulnerable to enemy attacks than Chris, is less likely escape from them, and (unless an experienced player is playing) will be ``harder´´ to shoot the zombies in the right spots.
The character who is not chosen becomes a prisoner of Wesker until the end of the game. In order to unlock the passage leading to the cell, three MO Disks must be collected by the player and then inserted into terminals (which are apparently modeled off of GameCubes in the remake) located throughout the lab. The cell's door can only be unlocked by activating the self-destruct mechanism or by using Wesker's Master Key. Deciding whether to free them or not affects several of the ending cut-scenes.
- Albert Wesker - Leader of Alpha team and S.T.A.R.S.; Wesker is also a member of Umbrella and plans to dispose of his team-mates and gather data on the Bio-weapons.
- Barry Burton - A S.T.A.R.S. member who assists Jill in her search; Barry is blackmailed into murder and the destruction of evidence by corrupt S.T.A.R.S. leader Albert Wesker. During Chris' storyline, Barry goes missing after the opening cutscene, with Wesker presuming him to be dead. Barry is not seen or mentioned again after that.
- Brad Vickers - Alpha team's Pilot; Brad was a coward who left his team-mates behind after Joseph's death outside the mansion.
- Joseph Frost - Another member of Alpha team; Joseph was attacked and eaten alive by dogs.
- Rebecca Chambers - A S.T.A.R.S. member who assists Chris in his search; Rebecca is one of the survivors of Bravo team, whose disappearance prompted Alpha team's investigation.She is playable in Chris's scenario twice at the most. Rebecca is not seen or mentioned in Jill's storyline.
- Richard Aiken - A Bravo team member who is poisoned by a giant snake known as Yawn; Aiken dies before the serum has a chance to save him.
- Forest Speyer - Another member of Bravo team; Forest was killed by Crows on the balcony of the mansion.
- Kenneth J. Sullivan - Another Bravo team member, Kenneth was decapitated by a Zombie in a hallway branching off from the dining room moments before Alpha team found him.
- Enrico Marini - Captain of Bravo team; Enrico discovers that a member of Alpha team is a traitor, but is assassinated before confirming who it is.
Most of the other members of S.T.A.R.S. make minor appearances throughout the games, usually as victims of the monsters. In later versions, Forest appears as re-animated corpse, while Richard can survive if given the serum within a certain amount of time.
|Version||Platform||Date of Release||Alterations|
|Resident Evil||PlayStation||March-August, 1996||N/A|
|Resident Evil: Director's Cut||PlayStation||September - December 1997||Various enemy and item locations, Resident Evil 2 Demo, Easy mode|
|Resident Evil: Director's Cut: DualShock Version||PlayStation||1997||DC changes, dubbed intro (Japanese version), gameplay footage of "1.5"|
|Resident Evil||Windows||December 1996 - September '97||Full-colour opening, better graphics, New weapons, New costumes|
|Resident Evil||SEGA Saturn||July - October, 1997||Battle Game minigame, new costumes, new enemies|
|Resident Evil (REmake)||Nintendo GameCube||March - September, 2003||Large overhaul (see here for details)|
|Resident Evil: Deadly Silence||Nintendo DS||January - March, 2006||"Classic mode" (original), "rebirth mode" (REmake), Touch-screen enhancements, More enemies (Rebirth), More puzzles (Rebirth), 180 degree turn (both), First Person "Knife Battle" (Rebirth), Co-op mode (Rebirth)|
|Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil||Wii||December, 2008 - June, '09||REmake alterations; Wii pointer ability|
|Resident Evil HD||PS3,PS4,360,XONE,PC||January 20th, 2015||REmake alterations; Trophies/Achievements,Leader boards,1080P,Different Camera Angles|
|MobyGames|| PS: 92%|
|Allgame|| SS: |
The PlayStation game was a best seller in North America. The game received positive reviews from critics. For example, GameSpot praised the game,while Computer Gaming World gave a more mixed review for the PC version in explaining that they "tried to hate it with its graphic violence, rampant sexism, poor voice acting and use of every horror cliché however...it's actually fun."In total, according to Capcom's Investor Relations website, the original Resident Evil has sold 2,750,000 units. The GameCube remake of Resident Evil sold 1.35 million units in total.GameSpot said this about the remake: "Capcom has nearly perfected its craft and created the best Resident Evil ever". IGN mentioned at the time that the remake was "the prettiest, most atmospheric and all-around scariest game we've ever played". Despite positive success the game has been criticized for it's terrible dialogue and voice acting.
- Main article: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy
A novelization of the game titled Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy Side A, was written by author S.D. Perry as the first book in her series of Resident Evil novels. The novel combines both Jill and Chris' scenarios into one narrative and features all five of the main characters (including Barry and Rebecca).
The book also takes liberty with the original source materials; the most notable difference being the inclusion of an original character named Trent, an insider from Umbrella who provides Jill with information about the Mansion prior to the events of the mansion incident. Since the book was written a few years before the GameCube remake, the novelization omits the presence of Lisa Trevor in the mansion. However, the book does allude to the original version of George Trevor's Journal from The True Story Behind Biohazard, as well as the short story it contained Biohazard: The Beginning, which involved the disappearance of Chris' friend, Billy Rabbitson. Another notable difference in the novels is moving the location of Raccoon City from the Midwest to Pennsylvania, apparently about an hour's drive from New York.
- The inspiration for Resident Evil was the earlier Capcom game Sweet Home. Shinji Mikami was initially commissioned to make a horror game set in a haunted mansion like Sweet Home. In Sweet Home, the characters find a note reading "This is the house where evil resides." However, this was an artistic liberty of the fan translators.
- The idea of using zombies as enemies came from George A. Romero's Dead movie series. Earlier ideas for the game proposed paranormal enemies instead of living creatures. The designers mentioned in an interview that they planned to use the scariest thing imaginable for the game's main enemy, and that was "ourselves."
- The design on the back of Chris' alternate costume is a reference to an album by the rock group Queen entitled "Made in Heaven." Other references to the album appear in Resident Evil 2, Code: Veronica and Resident Evil Zero. In Resident Evil 2, the "Made in Heaven" design is also seen on the back of Claire's vest. In Code: Veronica, the back of Claire's jacket reads "Let Me Live", the third track off "Made in Heaven." In Resident Evil Zero, Billy's tattoo reads "Mother Love", the fourth track off "Made in Heaven."
- In Resident Evil 2, Chris' brown jacket, part of his alternative costume from the first title, is seen hanging above his desk in the S.T.A.R.S. office. Since it is the same office, also appears in Resident Evil 3.
- The "Made in Heaven" design on Chris' jacket and sweater has 20 bombs. The one on Claire's vest only has 16. The style of the image is similar to airplane nose art, popular in World War II, and a reference to Chris' days in the Air Force.
- An early puzzle involves playing a song on the grand piano in the mansion's bar. The composition is Ludwig van Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata."
- The following details are from The True Story Behind Biohazard (1997, Capcom):
- Resident Evil was initially envisioned as a first-person shooter until it was decided that playing from a first-person perspective wasn't scary enough.
- A series of documents, known as the "Trevor's Letters", were proposed for the original game, but not included in the final version due to the fact that they revealed too much of the game's plot too soon. They were later restored in the GameCube remake with a few differences due to the retroactive changes made in the new version.
- Two characters appeared in an early draft of the game's storyline as Jill's and Chris' supporting characters. Gelzer, a muscular Caucasian man with a cybernetic eye who was scheduled to hold an entire roof up at one point of the game, and Dewey, a thin African American man modeled after Eddie Murphy who would've served as the comic relief. In the finished version of the game, these two were replaced by Barry and Rebecca respectively. The name Dewey was then used for an unrelated member of S.T.A.R.S. (Edward Dewey).
- It is likely that the ideas of Gelzer and Dewey were reused in Capcom's later survival horror game "Dino Crisis" which features Gail, and Rick (who is the main source of comic relief in the game) both greatly resemble Gelzer and Dewey in terms of appearance and personality.
- The original Japanese release of the BioHazard was meant to feature Japanese voice acting for its dialog. According to Mikami, the Japanese voice acting was removed from the game as he found the quality of the performances to be unsatisfactory, or in his own words "they were really lame". Remnants of the original Japanese dialogue are found in a CD called Biohazard Symphony Op. 91: Crime and Punishment; Disc 2 has a track called "Character's Voice 3" that contains some snips of the Japanese dialogue. The BioHazard Complete Disc, the disc that came bundled with the Dual Shock ver. of Director's Cut in Japan, also featured the intro and endings from the game in Japanese.#
- The original game was put into the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 for the "Worst Game Dialogue Ever".
- At the beginning of the game, an attempt to go back out the front door starts a FMV showing the player opening the door slowly and a MA-39 Cerberus tries to dash in, but the player successfully closes the door on the enemy's face forcing it to back off.
- Biohazard was meant to be a co-operation adventure, having Chris as a main character and Jill as his support. But due to low RAM of the PlayStation, the idea was dropped and later used in Resident Evil Zero.
- ↑ Resident Evil reviews (PlayStation). MobyGames. Retrieved on 2010-05-27.
- ↑ Resident Evil reviews (PC). MobyGames. Retrieved on 2010-05-27.
- ↑ Resident Evil reviews (SEGA Saturn). Allgame. Retrieved on 2010-05-27.
- ↑ Biohazard: Complete Disc, bundled with Biohazard: Director's Cut - Dual Shock ver.
- ↑ "We also recorded Japanese voices (for the game), not just English ones. They were discarded because they were really lame." (英語だけでなくじつは日本語のボイズ収録も行なった。 カッコ悪かったのでボツに。 Eigo dake de naku jitsu wa nihongo no boisu shūroku mo okonatta. Kakkowarukatta node botsu ni. ), The True Story Behind BIO HAZARD, page 157.
- ↑ Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 Review.
- biohazard official GameCube version website (Japanese)
- Resident Evil official European GameCube version website
- BIOHAZARD: Deadly Silence official website (Japanese)