Together Retro Game Club: Resident Evil

tr-resident-evil-header

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This month for Together Retro, roll up your sleeves, blow the dust off your shotgun, and preparing to wade knee-deep through seas of undead hordes as we play the original Resident Evil.

History

In 1989, Capcom released a Japan-only RPG for the Famicom known as Sweet Home. In this game, five people exploring a mansion to photograph frescoes found themselves trapped inside and facing hordes of monsters and ghosts. The game is considered one of the pioneers of the survival horror genre, and though it didn’t make it outside of Japan, it would leave its mark internationally seven years later. Shinji Mikami, at the time a game designer working for Capcom, was commissioned to do a new horror-themed adventure game, similar to Sweet Home. It would be set in a mansion, feature limited supplies and horrific monsters, and even included loading screens of doors opening, just like the room transitions in Sweet Home. This new adventure game was to be called Biohazard in Japan, or Resident Evil throughout the rest of the world.

Legacy

Not only did Resident Evil become one of the biggest adventure series of the 32-bit generation(and continues to be one of the most well known franchises today), it would also bring the fledgling survival horror genre into the limelight. In fact, Resident Evil was the first to call itself survival horror, though games like Sweet Home, Alone in the Dark, and Clock Tower on the Super Famicom would precede it. And for several years afterward, many survival horror titles would be known as “Resident Evil clones,” often due to use of similar storylines, controls, and characters. Resident Evil is also listed as one of the reasons the PlayStation became the dominant console of the 32-bit generation, though it did see a release on the Sega Saturn.

Controls

Unfortunately, the controls have a tendency to make or break Resident Evil for people, primarily due to the “tank” controls used for movement, where up is forward in the direction your character is facing. What follows are the controls for the original PlayStation release of Resident Evil:

  • D-Pad Up – Move forward.
  • D-Pad Left – Turn left.
  • D-Pad Right – Turn right.
  • D-Pad Down – Move backward.
  • Start – Open inventory menu
  • Select – Nothing
  • R1 – Hold to raise and aim weapon
  • Circle – Nothing
  • Square – Hold to run while moving
  • X – Action button, fires weapon when R1 is held
  • Triangle – Cancel, exits menus and files.

Ports

Resident Evil PS1 Cover Resident Evil (PS1, Saturn, PC)
Released on PlayStation, the game also saw ports to the Sega Saturn (featuring many exclusive monsters, costumes, and a new game mode) and the PC (which included new weapons and costumes, as well as a color version of the original Japanese intro).
Resident Evil Directors Cut PS1 Cover Resident Evil: Director’s Cut (PS1)
This version of Resident Evil was released on the PlayStation. It included a new “Arrange Mode” for those who had beaten the game, as well as originally including a demo of Resident Evil 2. New costumes were included, and there is now a chance to get critical hits with weapons. There’s even a beginner mode. The original Japanese intro was meant to be included, though the censored one was put in instead, supposedly on accident. In a bizarre note, the French and German versions of Director’s Cut include the uncensored live action intro. The version available for download on the PlayStation Network is believed to be Director’s Cut.
Resident Evil Dual Shock PS1 Cover Resident Evil: Dual Shock (PS1)
Another version only to be released on the PlayStation, it included the features of Director’s Cut, but with vibration features and support for the DualShock analog sticks. A new soundtrack by Mamoru Samuragouchi was put in. A bonus disc with footage from what was supposed to be Resident Evil 2(now known as Resident Evil 1.5) was included with the Japanese release.
Resident Evil DS Cover Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (DS)
A release for the Nintendo DS, this game was released o commemorate the tenth anniversary of the original release. This version included touch-screen support, a new game mode known as “Rebirth,” which includes more puzzles, usage of the touch screen, and even incorporates the DS microphone, and 4-player multiplayer. Some gameplay changes, such as the quick turn from Resident Evil 3 and the knife button from Resident Evil 4 were added.
Resident Evil Gamecube Cover Resident Evil (Gamecube)
Sharing the same name of the original release, this is the name of the remake for the Nintendo GameCube. Graphics were updated, the controls were largely redesigned, and all manner of new monsters(including the Crimson Head) and locations were included. There’s also plenty of unlockable game modes and costumes, and even a new self-defense item system, for when zombies get too close.
Resident Evil Wii Cover Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil (Wii)
This is the Wii version of the remake of Resident Evil for GameCube. Functionally, there aren’t many differences beyond the name.

Of all of these versions, it is usually best to start with the original game if possible, though if you can’t stand the controls, try out the remake.

Emulation Help

If you need any help with attempting to emulate the game, post your problems in our forums and hopefully we’ll be able to help:

Together Retro Discussion

Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play Resident Evil and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your favorite parts, your successes and your failures!
Resident Evil Discussion

6 Comments

  1. Mostly Artless says:

    JILL SANDWICH!

    Sorry, I just had to do this…

  2. Limewater says:

    [curmudgeon]
    I really don’t think this article gives “Alone in the Dark” enough credit.

    It’s more like, Capcom make “Sweet Home” and then later made an “Alone in the Dark” clone called “Resident Evil”.
    [/curmudgeon]

  3. Ack says:

    Maybe, but while they did borrow a few things from Alone in the Dark, such as the choice of camera angles, Sweet Home was the source of most of the material, and the inspiration for the project. So I thought it was fair to give Sweet Home the top billing, and mention Alone in the Dark as a precursor but not much more.

    Perhaps that’s just me though.

  4. breakwind says:

    I played RE on both the Sega Saturn & Sony PlayStation(Director’s Cut:Dual Shock Version).The former’s controller set-up and graphics left much too be desired.Whereas,the latter sported better graphics,analog/dual shock support,new camera angles and costumes.Creepy creatures and genuine scares notwithstanding,both installments were mared by poor voice-acting and relatively-low replay value.Though the audio effects(least on the PS)were surprizedly well done!Even my family members thought so!

  5. RyaNtheSlayA says:

    Why don’t you have the Saturn version on the list? 🙁

  6. racketboy says:

    Actually, the Saturn version is listed in the section of the original. Ack broke it up by version instead of platform.