How can I have a blog primarily about survival horror, and not talk about Resident Evil?
The series that popularized horror games, and gave the genre its name.
It was originally released on the PlayStation on March 22, 1996 in Japan as Biohazard, and as Resident Evil for North America (March 30, 1996) and the PAL regions (August 1, 1996).
Sega Saturn and PC versions were released in 1997.
PlayStation owners got the Director’s Cut that same year, and a Dual Shock edition in 1998.
It was later ported to the Nintendo DS in 2006 with the title Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (Biohazard: Deadly Silence in Japan).
A remake with the same title was also developed for the GameCube that came out in 2002, and it recently got a HD re-release for current consoles and PC.
Each version is distinct from the others.
Firstly, the graphic scenes and Chris lighting a cigarette in the beginning of the game are censored in North America and PAL regions, but they’re uncensored in Japan.
The Director’s Cut was suppose to restore the uncensored scenes.
Instead the scenes were still censored, though it had new features such as a beginner difficulty mode and an advanced mode.
The beginner mode has double the ammunition and ink ribbons.
Advanced mode is a harder difficulty with different camera angles than the original game in addition to items and enemies being rearranged in different locations.
Resident Evil on PC did have the uncensored scenes along with Chris and Jill each getting a new unlockable weapon and more unlockable costumes than the console versions.
The PlayStation Dual Shock version is like the Director’s Cut except it has new music as well as support for analog controls and controller vibration.
The Saturn release replaces an enemy in other versions called the hunter with a new monster known as the tick, you have to fight a second tyrant in the laboratory, and there is also a battle minigame.
Deadly Silence on Nintendo DS features touch screen support, and two modes to play: classic and rebirth.
The classic mode is the original game, and the rebirth mode has more enemies and new puzzles.
The 2002 remake is the game completely recreated from scratch with enhanced graphics, improved voice acting, story additions, changes in puzzles, and much more.
I currently only own the Dual Shock version and the remake.
Along with this post about Resident Evil 1, I’ll be writing about Resident Evil 2, 3, Code Veronica, Zero, REmake, 4, 5, 6, and Revelations.
That’s a lot of Resident Evil.
There are also many spin-offs such as light guns shooters like Resident Evil: Survivor and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, the online games called Resident Evil: Outbreak, and several others.
Right now, I’m focusing on the core series.
As I write this, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is being released in four episodes with one episode per week on PlayStation 3 & 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.
I’ll get the retail release sometime in the near future.
Capcom was the publisher of Biohazard/Resident Evil, and a team within Capcom developed the game.
The development team included Shinji Mikami as director, Kenichi Iwao and Yasuyuki Saga as the story writers, and Masayuki Akahori and Tokuro Fujiwara as producers.
Keiji Inafune (known for his role in the Mega Man series) was a producer for the Dual Shock version.
During the game’s development, the team was influenced by earlier horror games like Sweet Home on the NES (another Capcom title) and Alone in the Dark (1992).
I first saw Resident Evil at a friend’s house when I was around eight or nine years old.
He had a new PlayStation, and a couple other friends and I went to his house to watch him play it because we were still playing our Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles.
He decided to play Resident Evil, and I was so amazed by it.
It was the first time I saw 3D environments in a game.
It was also the first horror game I ever saw especially with a story presentation through dialogue using voice actors and memos.
The item collecting and limited inventory intrigued me as well.
In fact, I think it was the first time I had ever heard of flesh eating monsters known as zombies.
Keep in mind that I was a kid, and I had never seen any films or other media with zombies at that age.
I later got a PlayStation as a Christmas gift, and my friend let me borrow his copy.
I had a hard time figuring out what to do in the game because I had never played anything like it before, and my family didn’t have internet yet.
I couldn’t look up an online guide like nowadays.
One problem is that my friend gave me the game disc in a case without the manual, and it was hard for me to figure out the controls without it.
Unfortunately, my parents saw me playing it, and they thought it was too violent for me.
Thankfully, they didn’t force me to stop playing.
They just wouldn’t buy it for me until I was a few years older.
By then I had a PlayStation 2 on which I would play Resident Evil 1, 2, 3, and Code Veronica for the first time.
I’ve been a fan of the series ever since.
The story takes place in July 1998 in a fictional American town called Raccoon City.
The Raccoon Police Department have been finding murder victims who looked to be cannibalized by a group of people.
There are also reports of people who have disappeared, and monsters that look like dogs.
The RPD charges their special unit Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) to investigate these reports in Raccoon Forest.
S.T.A.R.S. is split into two teams: Alpha and Bravo.
Bravo Team is sent to investigate first, but contact with them is lost.
Alpha Team goes to the forest to search for their teammates, and it doesn’t take long for them to find out why Bravo Team went missing.
The story, characters, and music of Resident Evil are often considered to be similar to B-movie horror.
I think the original soundtrack is very enjoyable.
Some people find the music to be a little creepy, and the save room music is relaxing.
The new music in the Dual Shock edition is not quite as good.
Resident Evil is about a viral outbreak from a corporation’s screwed up experiments a long with characters like Jill, Chris, Barry, Rebecca, and Wesker.
What’s not to love?
Resident Evil characters are very memorable and loved by fans.
When starting a new game, you’ll choose between two characters: Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield who are members of Alpha Team.
You basically play the same game with each character, but each one has their own attributes that changes certain aspects of gameplay.
For one, Jill has eight inventory slots, and Chris has six slots making item management a little more challenging with him.
Jill can lockpick doors with simple locks whereas Chris must collect extra keys to unlock those same doors.
Both characters get a handgun, shotgun, and magnum revolver at various parts of the game.
Jill gets a bazooka when you find it.
Chris, on the other hand, never gets the bazooka nor does he ever get any other weapon besides the three firearms.
They both get a knife that can be used for combat too, but it’s pretty much useless against enemies.
Sometimes Chris’ game has a few more enemies than Jill’s game.
Later in the game, Chris has to use a flamethrower to unlock a couple doors while Jill never needs a flamethrower or anything else to unlock them.
Chris does seem to be able to take on a little more damage from enemies than Jill.
Despite his health advantage, I would suggest playing Jill first since her game is a little easier than Chris’ game with having the lockpick, bazooka, extra inventory space, etc.
Jill and Chris appear in each other’s games as well.
Whichever character you choose, the character you didn’t pick disappears at the beginning somehow and reappears later.
One character that appears in both games is Albert Wesker, the captain of S.T.A.R.S. and leader of Alpha Team.
Chris and Jill each have their own secondary character, which also creates more differences between their games.
Jill has Barry Burton, another member of Alpha Team.
Chris has Rebecca Chambers, a new member of the Bravo Team.
Barry never appears in Chris’ game, and Rebecca never appears in Jill’s game.
The secondary character helps the main character in some way.
One example with Chris’ game is that there is a puzzle that involves a piano.
Unlike Jill, Chris doesn’t know how to play the piano, and Rebecca must help him to complete the puzzle.
An instance where Barry must help Jill is where the player gets a shotgun from a gun rack that serves as a mechanism to spring a trap in the next area when the shotgun is taken.
If Jill gets the shotgun early in the game then Barry will save her from the trap, and you’ll already have the shotgun without the hassle of getting the broken shotgun to trade with the functional one.
You’ll have no choice but to find the broken shotgun with Chris.
Barry saving Jill also shows a scene where Barry says the funniest and probably most famous line of the entire series, “You were almost a Jill sandwich.”
The voice acting in Resident Evil 1 is legendary for how bad it is.
Some people hate it, and complain about it.
Others like me really enjoy it.
Not only can the bad acting give you good laughs, but it also has its own charm.
You have to remember that this was the mid-90’s, which was before the video game business was the big industry that it is today.
Today, there are celebrity voice actors like Nolan North and Troy Baker that perform their voice work and sometimes motion capture for many video games.
When Resident Evil 1 was made, most video game publishers didn’t have the money to hire talented voice actors.
Something else that some people are not too fond of is the tank controls, and switching camera angles or fixed camera angles as many people call it.
They’re called tank controls because no matter the camera angle, pressing up moves the character forward, down makes the character walk backwards, and so on.
It can be difficult to get used to particularly if you don’t play games with tank controls very often.
I had no problems getting accustomed to them by the time I played all the RE games as a teenager because I had already played the first couple Silent Hill games (which also have tank controls).
I’ve always liked fixed camera angles because they make the game look more cinematic.
The issue that camera angles sometimes pose in Resident Evil is if you’re fighting enemies.
Sometimes you have to walk closer to an enemy to change the camera angle in order to see it, and you end up getting attacked.
If you walk backwards to make more space between you and the enemy, the camera angle will change and you can’t see it.
The good thing is that most versions of RE1 have auto-aiming, which helps when you can’t see exactly where the enemies are at certain camera angles.
Since this game has been released on so many different systems, I will not list the button layout.
I will just say that you have a button that performs all actions such as opening doors and picking up items.
Other buttons are used for running, bringing up the inventory screen, and drawing the equipped weapon (usually a shoulder button).
The action button fires the equipped firearm while the button to draw the weapon is held.
Objects are pushed by facing the object and the direction you want it to go.
Then walk towards the object, and Jill/Chris will automatically push it as long as you hold the up button.
Of course, there are many enemies to fight in the game, but there are other gameplay elements as well.
You collect many items including keys, ammunition, healing items, and other various objects.
You’ll be able to access every room in the game.
Several doors have to be unlocked usually with a key.
Sometimes they have to be unlocked in another way.
There is a lot of puzzle solving to yield important items.
The puzzles are not mind bending, but it will take some effort to solve them if you don’t know the solutions.
One key to beating this game is being able to survive all the way through.
It is survival horror after all.
A tip for new players is to not worry about killing every single enemy.
Sometimes it’s best to avoid them the best you can notably if it’s a room or a hallway that you’ll be in only once.
You’ll definitely want to take out enemies in hallways you’ll be running through often.
As for weapons, it’s best to use the handgun against zombies and cerberi (virus infected dogs), which will be the first half of the game.
It’s a good idea to save the shotgun for boss fights, and use it in the latter half of the game when you’ll have more encounters with stronger enemies like hunters (or ticks in the Saturn version).
With Jill, you can use the bazooka in boss battles.
Definitely, save the magnum revolver until the last one or two bosses.
Healing Jill and Chris will also be a concern when they take damage.
The inventory screen has their health status.
They have five health states: green fine, yellow caution, orange caution, red danger, and purple poison.
You can heal them with one green herb, which heals a little health.
Mixing two or three green herbs will recovers more health.
The mixture of a green and red herb or using a first aid spray is best when their health status is in danger because they fully recovers health.
The blue herb neutralizes poison.
The save system and item managing are also factors for survival.
You can only save at typewriters, which are located at specific ares in the game usually in the same rooms with item boxes.
You have to have an ink ribbon to save at the typewriter.
You can collect ink ribbons throughout the game, and one ink ribbon is used each time you save.
Item boxes are used for storing items that you don’t need since you have limited inventory slots.
You have to figure out which few items you really need as well as leave open a couple slots for more items you need to pick up.
It seems like most survival horror games in recent years have been doing away with limited manual saving (with no checkpoints) and item management.
I think it’s a shame because without limited saving and item management it can make players less worried about their survival in survival horror games.
At least it does for me.
Now onto replayability.
The game has good replayability, and you can unlock at least a couple extras on each version.
In all versions, players can unlock new costumes for Chris and Jill by achieving the best ending for each one, which is saving both characters in the game (Barry and Chris for Jill’s game, Rebecca and Jill for Chris’ game).
Upon getting the best ending for one character, you’ll get a special key that unlocks a room of new costumes for that character on your next playthrough as along as you save for the next game when prompted.
In Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, you must get the best ending in rebirth mode to unlock costumes.
When playing advanced mode in the PlayStation Director’s Cut, new costumes are already unlocked, and you can access the closet with other costumes using the armor key.
All versions also have the infinite rocket launcher to unlock.
In the PlayStation, Saturn, and Nintendo DS versions, you must complete the game in under three hours to unlock it for the next playthrough.
The rocket launcher in the PC release is available after completing the game without saving.
Like the costumes, you’ll have to beat the game in under three hours with Jill to get the rocket launcher for her, and that same goes for getting it with Chris.
When it comes to unlocking costumes and weapons for Jill and Chris, you must complete the specific goals with that character to make it available for him or her.
Each version also has their own extras.
The PlayStation Director’s Cut has three difficulty options: training, standard, and advanced.
The Dual Shock edition lists them as beginner, original, and arrange.
They’re the same difficulty modes, but the Dual Shock version renames them.
There are no difficulty options in any other releases.
Instead, you choose how difficult the game will be by choosing which character to play with Jill having the easier game, and Chris having the harder game.
After completing advanced mode in the Director’s Cut (or arrange mode in Dual Shock), the unlimited colt python (magnum revolver) will be available in the next game.
The battle mode minigame in the Saturn release is unlocked after beating the game once.
Since the rocket launcher is obtained after beating the game without saving in the PC version, beating the game in under three hours unlocks a new exclusive weapon.
Achieving this with Chris makes the Minimi available for his game, and Jill gets the INGRAM Pistol if you accomplish it with her.
Both have infinite ammo.
Beating the game once in the rebirth mode of Deadly Silence opens the minigame Master of Knifing.
Deadly Silence has a multiplayer feature as well, and each character including Barry, Rebecca, Wesker, etc. can be unlocked by accomplishing a different goal for each.
Resident Evil is a wonderful game.
I still love playing it, and it brings a smile to my face every time I do.
It’s so much fun playing the old Resident Evil games.
I definitely recommend it to anyone.
If you’re a survival horror fan and/or a retro gamer and you’ve never played the original Resident Evil, you are really missing out.
As for price value, that depends on what system you want it for.
If you have a PlayStation 3, you can get it from the PlayStation Store for $9.99.
Beware that it’s the Dual Shock edition despite having the regular Director’s Cut cover picture, and some people don’t care for it since it has new music.
Some fans prefer the original music.
The PlayStation Director’s Cut and the Dual Shock physical release can be found around $10-15.
The original PlayStation version in the jewel case may be closer to $20.
The long box Resident Evil on PlayStation is more expensive.
Maybe $30 on a good day.
The Saturn and PC releases are harder to find unfortunately.
You may be able to find only the disc for the Saturn for $20-30.
I’ve seen it complete with the original case and manual from $40-80.
The PC version is the most difficult to find, and, if you do find it, it may be $30-40.
A copy of Deadly Silence is currently $15 or less.
There are so many options in buying Resident Evil.
I highly recommend buying it for whatever system you want to play it on.
It was a good start of a great series that’s still going today nearly 20 years later.
It was an influence for many video games, and it’s one of the games that made me a huge fan of the survival horror genre.