Resident Evil 20th Anniversary

Resident Evil 20th Anniversary: Looking Back

Ah.. Resident Evil, or Biohazard as it's known in Japan, the godfather of survival horror. Resident Evil has seen many twists over its 20-year life-span, from a highly successful series to spin-offs, movies, and an endless supplies of merchandise. Through buying a GameCube and having a subscription to Official Nintendo Magazine I was 11-years old when I got into gaming. I had had many memories with PlayStation beforehand too but it was only when I got a Wii, I noticed the presence of what would be one of my favorite games ever.

Resident Evil 4 was released in 2004 on the GameCube and in 2007 it was ported to the Wii. I had gotten a 2nd hand copy, from the now missed Gamestation, and I was first introduced to survival horror. I had never played a game quite like it and with the motion controls (open for debate) made for what I consider the most streamlined version of the classic. I found the atmosphere so overwhelming that I had to stop playing, I was genuinely scared every time I heard the dead mechanical beating footsteps of the village folk ominously heading my way.

Eventually, I was drawn back to the game with morbid curiosity, determined to face my fears and uncover what lay hidden further into the game. The chainsaw wielding sack men, the parasite bursting villagers, the creepy chants from the priests to name a few, painted a picture for me. I've always had a love for horror films and seeing different aspects of the genre come to life was exciting! It was unlike any game I had ever played. There's so much I could say about the game but I couldn't do it justice, but it makes me happy every time I replay through Resi 4 and can still have a blast with it years later.

I had moved on after unlocking every character on Mercenaries mode and playing it countless times and went to another shop which sadly isn't around anymore, Chips. I bought the Resident Evil remake on GameCube which I was always aware of but couldn't find a copy; this was before I was internet savvy and able to purchase things online. I had previously read about its tank-like controls, scary Crimson Heads and beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds. I had a knowledge and great respect to the series' characters, despite never playing the games, so I felt more confident when I got into it.

"Two discs? No way!", I thought when I first opened it up, I hadn’t seen a multi-disc game since Final Fantasy VII on the PS1! I felt like this was going to be a massive game that would take ages to beat. But when I started playing, it took me a while to get used to the controls, and being an impatient teen at the time, the novelty started to wear off the more I kept backtracking not knowing what to do next. This isn't to say I didn't like the game, I loved it, I just didn't realize how much of a leap Resident Evil had made to the action-focused gameplay of Resi 4.

I still can't remember to this day, but I eventually stopped playing it, probably due to school or other games I bought which interested me more. Months later, I got back to it. However, I realized a great flaw with its design; you can't leave Resident Evil game for too long or you will forget what you were doing in the first place. I still have fond memories of it don’t get me wrong, how satisfying it was to get a head-shot or unlocking a new section of the Spencer Estate, they were good times. I even dabbled with Code: Veronica X on the PS2 but felt really lost and unsure what to do even in its early stages. It is said that it's early game is harder compared to the later game but I've yet to get back into it. Maybe someday...

Among playing Resi 4 and Remake, I remember seeing the first Resident Evil film and I'll keep it brief since someone I know very much likes it and happens to be working on this website. I bloody hate it. Sure, you could say it stands up as a competent action horror by itself but it's called Resident Evil. I might do a video about why I don't like them as a Resi fan one day but these are just mere opinions.

A few years passed and I've expanded my games collection and overall knowledge for various series’ and one day a friend offered to buy me Resident Evil 5. I wasn't keen at first after hearing about its flawed buddy system and wider criticism but I accepted the offer. He just needed a co-op partner, it turns out… Typical. And so I was player two, having my hand held all the way through the campaign. I eventually grew to like it and wasn't bothered by its emphasis on action or daft plot since I was playing a game with a buddy and we were laughing at its stupidity. I enjoyed playing with him so much, I ended up buying the Gold Edition with all the added DLC to play the extra bits and bobs.

I'm probably the 0.00001% of people who actually likes the Wii and found Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles 2nd hand (every game I bought at the time was 2nd hand come to think of it), and really enjoyed it. This was the game that introduced me to the story lines of 0 and 3, with 2 being used for Darkside Chronicles which I've yet to play. It was an on-rails shooter which was much deeper than your standard arcade. You can upgrade weapons, had branching paths and most importantly, kept most of the assets of the Resi series mixed in with extra zombies and gunfire. I highly recommend it to any fan or anyone who particularly likes on-rail shooters.

So I'll admit, I didn't follow the series too closely, I didn’t play them in order, I didn’t play them all, but its still had an impact on me through enjoying my favorite genre of film in video game form. I remember playing Dead Space 1 and 2 over and over to relive that familiar happiness I had with Resi 4.  I went into a craze of buying PS1 games in the end though, setting out to get the original trilogy and finally play them and It wasn't long before I did.

Many thanks to OctoberHaywire for sharing their experiences with the Resident Evil franchise, on this, Resident Evil’s 20th anniversary.

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