Dr. Bob's minions tire away endlessly to help the good Doctor in the name of science,
but with what little downtime they get they would like to share with you fine people!
So this week’s article, keeping with the theme with the 3 articles I’ve done in the past, is about the games of Resident Evil. Which of course were made into eventually six increasingly horrid live-action movies that have nothing to do with the games themselves other than liberally inserting names of characters attached to people that literally have nothing to do with the game characters, and departing from the overall game story, bad as it is.
So the first game came out in the early days of the original Playstation, telling a story about a mysterious mansion that housed zombies, zombie dogs, zombie monsters, and various other zombies. Taking from almost every piece of zombie fiction ever created, and containing a style of gameplay that hadn’t been done before, a mix of action and adventure games, the game was a hit. The game could be played as one of two characters, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, each with different advantages or disadvantages. Jill is “The master of unlocking”, Chris can’t play the piano, etc. They adventure through the mansion, eventually uncovering giant company conspiracies and betrayal from within, one of the most awkward control schemes ever devised and a bunch of very weird ways to unlock doors. In the end the mansion explodes, and everyone is happy, until…
Resident Evil 2! Still on the PS1, two new characters are introduced, Claire Redfield (Chris’s brother!) and Leon Kennedy, a rookie cop on his first day as a police officer. The nearby city to the mansion, Raccoon City, is the scene of the game, so instead of a mansion and a few connected areas, here we have a whole city to play with. However, for most of the game you’re running around a police station, then some sewers. You still have the same enemies from the first game, zombies and so on, but this time they’re joined by Mr. X, an upgraded version of the first game’s end boss that you run into several times. Instead of just general character differences, the game is completely different depending on which character you play as, and it’s recommended you play as one and then once done switch to the other. Same kind of gameplay, just expanded.
For actual city gameplay, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis came out at around the same time as the Dreamcast’s Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Nemesis returned to Jill, trapped in Raccoon City during the zombie outbreak. The evil corporation Umbrella, tired of Jill’s organization STARS interfering in their plans, releases a super-monster, the Nemesis, specifically programmed to come after her and only her. And it does. For the first time just leaving a screen doesn’t make you safe, instead the Nemesis will follow you around, and also has a one shot kill. So he’s a bit scary. Making things worse is that the Government has decided that Raccoon City should be nuked to contain the outbreak.
Meanwhile, in Code Veronica, Claire has embarked on her own quest to destroy Umbrella, infiltrating a building, getting caught, and thrown in jail on a remote island which, surprise surprise! Has a zombie problem. As they were developed at the same time by different teams, CV didn’t take much from 3. There isn’t enemies that chase you from place to place, and some of the improvements to the controls don’t come over. During her stay on the island, she encounters a Leonardo DiCaprio lookalike, a cross dressing pair of twins, and more enemies with stretchy arms. Towards the end of the game, Claire is sidelined in favor of the return of Chris Redfield, which kinda soured me on it. Claire was the hero of the game, Chris just showed up and followed in her footsteps. For him to come in and take charge and be responsible for fighting the end boss felt wrong.
That wraps up the first era of Resident Evil from the Playstation 1 and the Dreamcast. Starting with 4 onward things changed, and I’ll be back to share!
Previously on Minion Musings...