GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween 2013: Resident Evil
Zombies. They're kind of a given for Halloween, aren't they? These undead freaks just fit in perfectly with the creepy themes of one of the year's greatest holidays. So let's take a look at a game that brought zombies full force into the industry, delivering a riveting and intense experience on an older generation of consoles that's yet to be forgotten: Resident Evil. Sure, the latest game may not have been all that good, but this series got off to a great start, introducing new types of gameplay and really putting survival horror on the map.
Oh, and if you missed our inaugural edition of GameZone's 31 Games of Halloween, be sure to check it out. Lone Survivor doesn't quite feature what you'd call zombies, but its infected enemies are certainly close enough, and the game is just unsettling.
Alright, let's jump right into Capcom's first foray into the Resident Evil phenomenon.
Why it stands out
Before Resident Evil launched in 1996 for the original PlayStation and made the term “survival horror” into an official genre, there were a few games that garnered significant attention for their focus on horror. Sweet Home, released on the Famicom in Japan in 1989 and also developed by Capcom, featured item collection and random battles. Depending on how many of the main characters you had at the end of the game, you were treated to one of multiple endings, something that Resident Evil would also incorporate.
Alone in the Dark, which first hit DOS in 1992, is considered the grandfather of survival horror. It was the first 3D entry in the genre, and it focused heavily on mature themes like suicide. The game featured zombies, puzzles, and a huge mansion, three elements that Resident Evil would eventually become known for a few years later.
Despite the fact that Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark were technically two of the first survival horror games to surface, Resident Evil became notorious for bringing the genre into the mainstream on arguably the most popular console at the time, the PSOne. It helped that the game was actually good, too, delivering an exhilarating adventure that often filled players with dread but totally left everyone wanting more and more awesome zombie carnage.
Is it scary?
A number of things help make Resident Evil a scary game. Back in 1996, it wasn't going to give you nightmares based on its visuals, and these days, the game looks fairly dated. It's the various situations you're put in throughout, though, that make this game terrifying.
Simply roaming around an old mansion is creepy enough, but not knowing what's right around the corner can cause massive tension. In addition, despite being armed with several weapons, the scarcity of ammo means you need to make every shot count and conserve as many bullets as possible. The last thing you need is to be cornered while multiple enemies slowly hobble toward you ever so creepily.
The puzzles are also noteworthy, as they force you to think, adding yet another layer to this masterfully crafted game. I mean, it's not enough that you're exploring the dark confines of a mansion, dealing with disgusting enemies, and watching that ammo count. No, you have to be able to get out of precarious situations and continue to progress by actually using your delicious brain to solve puzzles.
Why play it on Halloween?
If you have an appreciation for retro treasures and don't mind a bit of old school gameplay, Resident Evil is a great game to play during the Halloween season. Surprisingly, it's aged quite well. It's exciting to play, and it's really fun to watch in action. It's also a nice way to see what survival horror was all about back in the '90s, making it a trip back in time well worth taking. Of course, if you played and loved it back then, you don't need much convincing.
If you don't want to shell out $150 for the PSOne original, you can always download the game on the PlayStation Network. Successful remakes were also released for the GameCube and DS. On the GameCube, Resident Evil got a major overhaul, with brand new graphics and puzzles. This version would also be ported to the Wii in North America in 2009. The DS version, titled Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, is almost identical to the original, albeit with some touchscreen controls. This version also includes Rebirth Mode, which utilizes the DS features on a much larger scale.
With horror movies, sometimes it's awesome revisiting the classics. The same idea can be applied here, because Resident Evil was and still is a great survival horror game. It sure as hell beats out Resident Evil 6, that's for sure.
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