Great Old Gaming Gems – Resident Evil

Today on Great Old Gaming Gems we’re taking it back to the opening of an incredibly well known series of games, a game that pretty much single handedly created the survival horror genre, the original Resident Evil on the PS One.

Now I’ll be honest here and say that when this game first came out I missed it. It was actually the not-so-well known Gamecube remake that brought this game to my attention but for the sake of the article I’m referring to the PS One original that I’ve tracked down and replayed.

The PS One was revolutionary in gaming in s0 much that we could have acting with real CD quality audio. In theory this was brilliant and could help to make games in to interactive movies. However with Resident Evil? The script was terrible as was the acting. “Jill, this mansion is dangerous, there are terrible demons… Ouch!” – and yes the actor read the word “ouch” out loud in a candidate for some of the worst voice acting ever. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t actually a criticism as if anything the cheesey awfulness of it somehow managed to add to the charm.

I’m sure everyone is familiar with the basic gameplay, it’s a sneak and shooter,  with the breakthrough gameplay mechanic that ammo was scarce, and it was brown trousers time whenever you heard that first moan or that thud of a hunter coming after you. That thrill of trying to get through that lower hall corridor before those zombie dogs could burst in. All this was combined with some puzzles which, although not exactly fiendish, would certainly give you a few minutes of head scratching.

Whilst undoubtedly a Great Old Gaming Gem this game isn’t without a few issues (we’ll overlook the bad acting). For one thing it felt way too short. If you managed to complete it without a set time you were rewarded with an rocket launcher with infinite ammo. This did add a lot of fun but it took away any challenge on replaying the game. That Gamecube remake I mentioned? Whilst not very well known it doubled the length of the game and, along with better graphics, added much more depth to the story too.

I loved survival horror, struggling to find ammo, my gun being only slightly better than a pea shooter and having to try and avoid a heart attack as a zombie bursts out of what appeared to be a part of the background. This is truly a game that deserves to be played in surround sound at 3am in the pitch black darkness.

It spawned countless sequels, a billion dollar movie franchise, and plenty more besides so it’s well worth checking out the origins of the legend.

Until next time!