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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: 25 years of Resident Evil

25 years young (pic: Capcom)

Readers celebrate the 25th anniversary of Resident Evil with fond memories of the world’s favourite survival horror.

It may be hard to believe but Resident Evil celebrated its 25th birthday on Monday and so we wanted to know what you think of the franchise and which is your favourite entry. Why do you think the series has lasted so long and what do you hope for its future?

Everyone seemed very positive about the series in general, although it was no surprise to find the favourites were Resident Evil 4 and the recent remake of 2. Plenty are looking forward to Village as well though, with most satisfied that Capcom are doing a good job manging the series.

Child’s play
Many memories of Resi but I’ll go with the first one! Myself and my older brother got a PS1 for Xmas 1996 and a few days later, whilst he was at a football match, I was in town with my mum and picked up Resident Evil in HMV (remember buying games from them?!). We’d heard about it in a magazine and being only nine at the time I convinced my mum to buy it.

I played it while my brother was still out and I remember the scene where you see the first zombie and it comes into the dining room and was captivated by it! This lasted five more minutes until the infamous dog through the window scene at which point it was game over. I was terrified, turned the game off instantly and wouldn’t touch it again until my brother came home!

I’ve played them all since, with 4 and the 1 and 2 remakes big highlights. Only recently completed 7, after stopping two hours in years ago, as I’ve really been getting back into gaming during lockdown. I loved it, especially the first half in the house (the story drops a bit after this in my opinion) and now cannot wait for Village as I’ve pre-ordered it following the Maiden demo. Roll on 7th May!

Spanish chainsaw massacre
Resident Evil 4 is my favourite, although I generally prefer the murderous puzzle box of the earlier (and latest) instalments. There’s been a bit of a reappraisal of Resident Evil 4, with new players finding the game has aged a bit due to its clunky controls. I can understand, but what I don’t get is when people say it isn’t scary, because to me it’s terrifying, albeit in a different way.

I defy anyone to play an early section in the village, you know the one if you’ve played it, without your heart in your mouth. The thrumming soundtrack and angry villagers screaming at you in an alien language is genuinely unnerving. And what’s that noise in the distance? It sounds like a chainsaw, but nah, it couldn’t be, could it?

Everything but the movies
Has any serious gamer not got good and bad memories of Resident Evil?

It’s a series that is responsible for legitimising the genre of survival horror and having more holes in its plot than the Swiss cheese of some of its dialogue.

The PS1 original is quite ludicrous these days, due to its appalling FMV and daft script, but then came Resident Evil 2 and everything changed, before the ball once again got dropped with Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

The games that sealed its reputation in the modern day for me, and I suspect, for many others though were Code: Veronica X and the wonderful Resident Evil 4. Number 4 is still regarded as one of the best games ever made and its gameplay stands up even today. So much so, it’s sequels couldn’t live up to its legacy and we had to wait years for real worthy successors to its crown with 7 and Resident Evil 2 on the next gen systems.

I played Resident Evil 4 on its original GameCube release, and the Wii version, and I wait to see if Capcom will ever give it the Resident Evil 2 treatment that it so richly deserves on future systems. It surely wouldn’t be hard to do with the game engine already created?

Also, I don’t mind a bit of cheese in the games either, but the worst memories are reserved for those movie abominations. Every single movie is inferior to every Resident Evil game and I would erase them from existence. It’s almost as if they watched the intro to the original game and aimed that low for seven films!

Paul Anderson, the writer/director, seems to want nothing more than to be a modern and respected Uwe Boll, and the whole Alice storyline is not just silly but boring too. Having said that, has there ever been a video game movie that did justice to the original material?

So, Carry on Capcom, anyone?

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

Happy accident
I love Resident Evil. It’s had some bad games, sure, but I think for a series this old it’s actually done really well and that only Resident Evil 6 is completely irredeemable. (Resident Evil 5 isn’t great but it does have some good scenes and it’s fun in co-op.) I’ve also enjoyed the Revelations games, again in co-op, and the lightgun games… really most of the series to be honest.

I was not happy about the first person view in Resident Evil 7 but in the end I think it was a useful change of pace and the game itself was still very clearly Resident Evil (and the DLC was all surprisingly good). Village already seems to be in a good place with giant vampire lady hamming it up and the Maiden demo being properly scary.

Resident Evil is only the way it is because in the old days Japanese developers had a lot of trouble with translation and getting decent English-speaking actors. If it was made new today it’d just be grimdark and super serious but even Resident Evil 3 remake, which is probably the least cheesy of the games so far, still isn’t really very serious. It’s not very good either though, so I hope they’ve learnt their lesson with that one when it comes to Resident Evil 4 remake.
The Colt

Bad start
The Resident Evil series passed me by in the ‘90s. My first experience with the series was Operation Raccoon City on the Xbox 360 (less said about that the better). I also played a bit of Resident Evil 5 and therefore I guess I thought the series was a shoot ‘em-up. How wrong I was when I finally played the Resident Evil 2 remake last year. What a game!

Every zombie a series threat, you’ve got Mr X on your back, and you’ve just used your last green herb… welcome to survival horror! Resident Evil 3 remake was pretty decent too – some of the game in fact was seriously good, other bits seemed a little rushed. Resident Evil Village looks awesome so far and is really the only reason I’m wanting a new console this year. I’m still not totally sold on first person though. In my opinion, 7 in first person was bordering on TOO intense at times. Plus, the hands just look weird suspended in motion like that.

My serious respect for anyone playing that game on VR though, although I bet you need therapy now. I’m also really looking forward to the talked about Resident Evil 4 remake too (please keep this in third person!) The tank controls really put me off the original – they are just too frustrating to adapt to. It’s a shame, I really want to finish it but just suck at it! Code: Veronica should be remade too (I thought the controls sucked in Resident Evil 4 but Code: Veronica made me want to smash my TV).

King of cheese
I think Capcom has done a fantastic job keeping Resident Evil relevant for 25 years (can’t believe it’s been that long!). I remember getting into the series with Resident Evil 2 and have loved it ever since. And one thing I definitely feel though, having played the original games at the time they first came out, is that the cheese is absolutely essential to Resident Evil.

It may not have been intended but it’s so much a part of the series that I think one of the main reasons the Resident Evil 3 remake is disappointing is that it completely removes all the cheese. I think Resident Evil 1 remake is still my favourite though. Wesker in that game is just hilarious and I wish Capcom understand that Resi isn’t a serious game it’s goofy and silly and completely scary, and that’s what’s so great about it.

Resident Evil forever
My first memory of Resident Evil was actually via my best friend’s copy on the Sega Saturn.

The game came out in October 1997, not long after we had an obsessed summer of watching Scream at the cinema and then via VHS (oh those where the days!). We were 17 and 18, respectively, and both at college, our love for all things horror was legendary and still is to this day.

So come October half term, and with Halloween approaching, my friend invited me over one afternoon, before he had a shift at work at the local Co-Op. His mum always had the blinds closed in the day, so the lounge downstairs where my mate played his games on the big TV had an eerie dark feel to it anyway, which was just perfect for this type of game.

And what a game it was, the front cover for the Saturn copy just doesn’t do this game justice to what awaits you. I sat down to watch initially and was just blown away at how groundbreaking the game was, I’d never seen anything like this before! My friend let me have a little go after he died, munched by a zombie of course. I just ran around initially, with not a care in the world, using up the precious ammo that you soon realise you’re going to need. I believe I was Jill Valentine, she moved so quick compared to the other character Chris, so she was my go-to gal. Then came the famous moment that we’ll both never forget!

In a game fraught with danger at every turn, and the tension turned up a notch or 20. I took it down to a belly full of laughs, when I casually entered the west wing outer stairway to find seven crows just chilling, minding their own business. Harmless, I thought?!

I took out my gun, stood close and rotated Jill round and round, and begun to fire wildly at them. But little did I know these virus infected crows where aggressive and dangerous, like something out of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds, and I didn’t stand a chance! My mate was laughing his head off, as the ammo ran out and I was pecked to death.

To this day we still reminisce about this moment, back in the good old days of the late 90s.

Since then, I’ve played through every game in the main series, as well as the Revelations titles. Its allure is so enduring and will last forever, and every time I see an abnormally large crow I always have a chuckle to myself!

Happy 25 years Resident Evil xoxo

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@metro.co.uk

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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