Release date: March 22, 1996
After a detour through RE0, here we are at last, Resident Evil, the game that started it all. I have to say that playing the original game more than 15 years later was a weird experience to say the least. Even if by the end I didn’t notice the graphics much, I was worried at first if I would be able to survive a game this pixellated. See, RE was in the very first generation of 3d games and let’s just say the artists were still learning their trade.
Graphics aside, it’s still a great game that’s worth playing if you can get past the archaic save system and item management. Think of it as a quirky charm that adds to the challenge. If you can get past all that, you will be treated to one great piece of gaming history as well as a fun B-movie experience complete with the most awful voice acting you will ever hear.
Another novel feature at the time was the inclusion of two different characters you could play as that would change how the story unfolded. While it wasn’t a completely new idea, it was never used like this before and it turned out to be pretty popular. Jill story was a bit easier to play through but was harder to get the best ending with and Chris play through was harder but getting the best ending was less demanding. I did both play through for this marathon.
It’s a trap!
At its heart, the story behind Resident Evil is simple enough. A team of special ops (STARS) is lured to a mansion to fight off zombies and other mutated monsters so that a certain Albert Wesker can gather data on whether or not zombies can eat humans. Turns out they can. Also, Wesker wants to uses STARS to steal the zombie creating T-Virus from Umbrella and conquer the world with it… or at least that’s what he hints at… we can’t be sure.
In fact, RE is pretty light on the story side. We learn about the T-Virus, Umbrella corporation and zombies and not much more. Wesker is only a run of the mill traitor and not yet the super powered villain he’d become later on. Still, quite a few important staples of the series are established in this game. Namely that Umbrella is evil, that the T-Virus creates all sorts of mutated monsters and that Wesker wants to rule the world.
Also, in Resident Evil fictional world, the events of the first game will be refered on later as the Mansion Incident, the event that marks when the world at large would become aware of the monsters unleashed by Umbrella and when everything went to hell. Finally, most of the cast of the game would become important characters in the rest of the series with Chris, Jill, Rebecca and Wesker all being featured in other games.
In the grand scheme of things RE1 is pretty much the ground zero incident. By itself it may not look like much but it would set in motion everything and ultimately, that’s its real contribution to the series.
Meanwhile in Raccoon City
We established in RE0 that creatures were loose in the woods and RE1 reinforced that notion so this being a horror movie setting did we really think that once the two main labs were destroyed the threat would end? Of course not! Next up is Resident Evil 2 which deals with what happens when zombies stumble into highly populated areas. Stay tuned!