Survival Horror as a genre has grown so much over the years and evolved into long-standing series that many gamers have come to know and love. The genre as a whole has seen franchises such as Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and most recently, F.E.A.R. prosper in a cutthroat market and become staples in the gaming industry.
Though many different series can be credited with establishing the genre, very few have been able to withstand the test of time like Resident Evil. The long-standing and successful series is about to see another chapter introduced into the madness that has defined the Survival Horror genre.
Resident Evil 5’s release is upon us and many fans are clamoring to get their hands on the next iteration into the series. Many will spend countless hours and sleepless nights attempting to get through one of 2009’s biggest titles (and yes you can add much of the TGR staff into that category). Big is putting it mildly; store fronts were loaded at midnight for launch night parties to commemorate one Friday the 13th that couldn’t come fast enough.
How did we get to this point, though? What has made Resident Evil one of the best-selling and most sought after franchises in video games? Can you remember the series and all the games that have made Resident Evil what it is today? Can you remember all of those characters and what made the Umbrella Corporation one of the biggest fictional companies ever to be introduced? We know that remembering every game that made Resident Evil what it is today is difficult, but TGR is here to help. Let’s explore the titles, the memorable characters, and the storylines that have shaped this remarkable series. Let us explore the history of Resident Evil…
Resident Evil (Released: March 30th, 1996) – Platforms: PS1, GC, SS, and PC
The first Resident Evil game was released 13 years ago, and man, has time flown since. The game that was polygonal goodness as the PlayStation hit the market with a bang. The series begins by following the star of the most recent entry into the series, Chris Redfield. The game follows a team into Raccoon City where an unexplained series of attacks, and malicious, even cannibalistic behaviors have been reported. The Alpha team of S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) must attempt to unravel the truth behind this city’s dark secret. After finding safety in a mansion the group explores and finds many zombies and other mutant beings that are out for blood. After finding an underground laboratory and the infamous T-Virus that defined the title, the Umbrella Corporation was exposed. One of the members of your team, Wesker, reveals that he has been working with Umbrella and releases Tyrant, the mutated human with extended exposure to the T-Virus. After defeating the monster and escaping the mansion, the game ended and the Resident Evil legacy was born. The game later saw ports on the Sega Saturn and PC, and also got a very nice remake on the Gamecube.
Resident Evil 2 (Released: November 11, 1998) – Platforms: PS1, DC, N64, GC, and PC
Resident Evil 2 takes place briefly after the events in Resident Evil. Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield are followed into the streets of Raccoon City after reports of the entire city being infected with the T-Virus. After finding who they thought to be lone survivors, Ada Wong and Sherry Birkin, the team fights their way through the city and undergrounds to escape the horror of Raccoon City. After finding Sherry’s mother and crazed father, whose plans to infect Sherry come to life, the team escapes via an underground train after again being attacked by Sherry’s father. Resident Evil 2, labeled one of the series most influential titles and one of the best games of the PlayStation era, was later ported to the PC, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and Nintendo Gamecube.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (Released: November 11th, 1999) – Platforms: PS1, DC, PC, and GC
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis introduced one of the most memorable enemies in video games, the Nemesis. The game follows Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira, a couple of the remaining S.T.A.R.S. agents who are left in the infamous Raccoon City. After they make it through the city, the Umbrella Corporation releases Nemesis, a bio-hazardous creation that has been evolved from the T-Virus to destroy all remaining S.T.A.R.S. agents. The game comes to a climactic ending with the players having a set time to get out of the city before the US Government, who hears of the problems, vows to destroy everything that is Umbrella and Raccoon City with a nuclear warhead. After defeating Nemesis twice, Jill escapes the city and it is blown to pieces. The third game in the series was extremely well received by the Resident Evil following. The game was first released on the PS1, then ported to the Dreamcast, PC, and later the Gamecube.
Resident Evil Survivor (Released: August 31, 2000) – Platforms: PS1 and PC
Survivor was the first game that fell off the beaten path of the traditional Resident Evil series, following a helicopter pilot that had crashed outside Raccoon City, in a small area that housed the remains of the Umbrella Corporation. The pilot, not knowing what is going on or who he is, fights for his survival as well as to uncover the truth of the situation. The first Survivor game was a light gun game, which was a first-person shooter rather than the traditional third-person view that players had come to know. The game was averagely received when released on PS1 and later on PC.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica/Code: Veronica X (Released: August 22nd, 2001) – Platforms: DC, PS2, and GC
Code Veronica takes place about 2 months after the events from Resident Evil 2 and 3, and follows Claire Redfield after being captured by members of Umbrella while searching for her brother Chris in London. The game introduces Steve Burnside, a resident inmate on Rockfort Island where Claire is being held captive. After finding out that Claire was being held, Chris returns to the island to confront both Albert Wesker and Alexia, a helper of Albert and a mutant herself. The two, brother and sister, escape by killing both Albert and Alexia, activating a self-destruct mechanism (sensing a theme?), and escaping before the explosion. Code Veronica was highly praised by the Resident Evil fans and game critics alike. It showed off what a system like the Dreamcast was capable of, and was later ported to the Playstation 2 and Gamecube.
Resident Evil Gaiden (Released: June 6th, 2001) – Platforms: GBC
The first handheld game of the series actually takes you on a boat that had been being searched by Leon Kennedy. Headquarters had lost contact with him and sent in Barry, another agent. The reason that they had sent in agents in the beginning is because they had received word that the Umbrella Corporation had a Bio-Organic Weapon onboard. After getting on the ship and finding the infestation with everyone onboard, Barry finds Leon and wakes him up from his unconscious state. They then find Lucia and take her to rescue. After defeating the BOW, Barry discovers that Lucia harbors a parasite that contains another case of the BOW. The parasite escapes and Barry attempts to again find Leon, which is really the BOW in disguise. He destroys it and finds the real Leon who in the end is bleeding green from his neck. The game was the franchise’s first handheld game and not well received. The game was strictly released on the Gameboy Color.
Resident Evil Zero (Released: November 13th, 2002) – Platforms: GC
Resident Evil Zero is a prologue to the first Resident Evil game and follows Rebecca Chambers, who is a field team medic for the Bravo Team that had been in the mansion in the first game. After finding marine Billy Cohen, the two investigate a stopped train in the middle of the woods only to discover… zombies. After the train goes out of control and they divert it, they explore some underground laboratories belonging to the Umbrella Corporation, where the history of the T-virus is exposed. After a leech attacks the two, and the building self-destruct system (not again!) is set to blow by William Birkin, the two escape and go their separate ways. Rebecca heads to the mansion where the first Resident Evil happened. The game was an exclusive for the Nintendo Gamecube and was well-received by many as a substantial prelude to the first chapter. One interesting piece of information is that in the game Billy Cohen reveals that he, as a Marine, had to shoot and kill innocent people while in Africa due to some faulty information that stemmed back to Umbrella.; might be some information you want to remember while playing Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil: Dead Aim (Released: June 17th, 2003) – Platforms: PS2
This entry into the series was a follow-up to the Survivor series that was mentioned earlier in the article. One of the titles not mentioned was Survivor 2, an arcade remake of Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Dead Aim follows Bruce McGivern, a member of the US government’s Anti-Umbrella team. He is sent aboard the Spenser Rain, an Umbrella Luxury liner that has been occupied by Morpheus Duvall, an ex-employee that had stolen a strain of the T-Virus. In his search for Duval, McGivern discovers that all of the ship’s occupants are now infected and he must defeat them to find Duvall. The game was averagely received much like the rest of the Survivor branch-off, and was another light gun game. It was a PS2 exclusive title.
Resident Evil Outbreak (Released: March 3rd, 2004) – Platforms: PS2
This title was the first in the series to offer online mulitplayer, giving players the chance to control one of eight supporting characters from Resident Evil 3. The game follows the same events as Nemesis by starting just days before the US Government’s plan to blow up Raccoon City. The game has 20 different scenarios that players must play through to unlock various items and costumes. The game was strictly released for the PS2.
Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 (Released: April 26th, 2005) – Platforms: PS2
Basically the same as the first Outbreak, Resident Evil Outbreak File #2, follows characters as they go through more scenarios leading up to the destruction of Raccoon City. The game had some improved modes and scenarios and challenged gamers via a new Nightmare Mode, again built for the online multiplayer. The game had mixed reviews and was received averagely among the gaming community. The game was strictly released for the PS2.
Resident Evil 4 (Released: October 25th, 2005) – Platforms: GC, PS2, and Wii
One of the most influential games in the series, Resident Evil 4 broke the barrier between storytelling and gameplay; both were amazing. The game follows Leon Kennedy into a village in Europe, after the government’s closing of the Umbrella Corporation, to find the President’s daughter, Ashley. She had been kidnapped by a cult called Los Illuminados. The Cult is found to be run by Osmund Saddler, who has used a mind controlling parasite with which he plans to infect Ashley so that she can then infect the entire government. After defeating Saddler and the rest of the village, and removing the parasite from the body of Ashley, Ada Wong, from previous games, helps them escape the town. Ada then holds Leon at gunpoint, steals the parasite vial, and flys away on a helicopter, leaving Leon and Ashley to escape alone. This game received the greatest praise of any Resident Evil game, and is considered by many to be among the best games of all time. It was first released on the Nintendo Gamecube, was ported to the PS2, and later saw a release on the Nintendo Wii to make use of the Wii capabilities.
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (Released: February 7th, 2006) – Platforms: NDS
This port of the original title features no changes other than the touchscreen abilities of the system, and a few added modes. The game was made to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Resident Evil franchise, and was was strictly released for the Nintendo DS.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Released: November 11th, 2007) – Platform: Wii
This light gun game encompasses major events throughout the series and was developed to take advantage of the Nintendo Wii system and its capabilities. The game is not a direct port of any specific game in the series but an amalgam of all of them. The Umbrella Chronicles was the most recent title in the series and was released exclusively for the Nintendo Wii. It was met with more favorable critical reception than other light gun entries in the franchise, but is still considered a lesser branch off of the main series.
Well there you have it, the complete US series, excluding mobile games and arcade ports, which have lead to this, the release of one of the biggest blockbusters of the year… Resident Evil 5. Get ready, because the infected are about to be released again, and as we learned for the 14th time in a series that has grown into a legend, the evil never dies.