It revolutionized an entire industry and it still holds up today.
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Ominous camera angles, complicated puzzles and tank controls make for a terrifying atmosphere with next to no supplies to survive. In fact, most times the greatest tool in the original Resident Evil is your legs to run away. Just as Capcom had designed it.
The legendary franchise starts like most zombie films begin. Headlines shouting, “TERROR”, “CANNIBALISM” and “BIZARRE MURDERS” but what made Resident Evil astounding from the very first moments was that no other game had ever really done that before. Utilizing the PlayStation’s FMV disk readers, they add to the cinematic with a gory and suspenseful film clip, the main characters running for their lives through the woods after being ambushed by zombie dogs (known as Cerebus).
Although released in 1996, the events of Resident Evil take place outside the fictional American Midwest city of Raccoon City during the summer of 1998. After a series of gruesome murders in the surrounding forest and Arklay Mountains, the Raccoon City Police Department sends out two special tactical units to investigate the area. This specialized unit is named S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service).
Raccoon City officials originally sent out a squadrons from S.T.A.R.S. but they have since went dark. So the game picks up on the second team of S.T.A.R.S. Agents to investigate what happened to Alpha team and to also end the threat in the mountains. This is where you begin your journey into the world of survival horror!
You have the option right off the bat to play as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield – two names that have become synonymous with the franchise over the past three decades. Both characters have seen themselves in several more starring roles in the franchise since. I chose Jill this run through mainly because she has a lock pick and supplies are easier to gather with her. Both Jill and Chris’ stories vary but are ultimately pretty similar. With Jill – you barely interact with Wesker at all until the end but you can’t seem to get away from Barry, who accidentally ruins your life and gets you killed about six times throughout the night. Chris deals almost exclusively with Wesker but his storyline also introduces Rebecca Chambers to the franchise.
Advantages of each character is I believe Jill has a lock pick for all simple locks (Chris has to find and collect keys for the locks) and Jill is faster.
Chris can carry more, which is a huge deal considering inventory management can be one of the most difficult aspects of the game and he can take more damage.
The game itself is incredible. Even by today’s standards it still holds up fine. That is, if you can get around the “tank controls”. The version I own is, “Resident Evil: Director’s Cut Greatest Hits” which also the added “advantage” of being able to use the dual shock analog. I use the term advantage extremely loosely in this scenario as you’re still better off with the old-school directional pad to run and evade zombies. The dual shock controls are annoying when you can pretty much only go four directions.
The voice acting is God awful but the fact that there even was voice acting is an achievement for its time. The soundtrack is legendary and the legacy this game left in its wake is second to very few franchises to this day. I highly recommend playing any version of this game you can.
Overall: 91% (GOLD)