The Nostalgic Nerd- Resident Evil (1996)

Welcome to the debut of the Nostalgic Nerd, a nostalgic review of all our favorite, most popular, memorable, and sometimes regrettable games, movies, and/or other nerd media. Looking back into the great chasm of time there are many things that missed their window to be reviewed on the world wide web. While it’s existed since 1991, and has grown rapidly ever since, some of the most popular websites didn’t even exist until the last ten years. As a result many a geeky game or TV show has never had a direct review on websites. Go back through our archive. You’ll find The Legend of Zelda mentioned on a plethora of posts and it has made choice spots on many a list, but there isn’t a straight review. This is our chance to look back and give our opinions on the geek icons of yester-year.

“I hope this isn’t… Chris’s blood,” Said Barry, one of the worst video game voice credits of all time. Resident Evil is a hallmark of survival horror. Originally released on the first generation SONY Playstation in 1996 it immediately changed gaming. You start off with your choice of character’s to play as. Either Chris Redfield, who can carry up to eight items or Jill “The Master of unlocking” Valentine, who because she’s a woman can only carry six items (the game doesn’t say that’s the reason, but we all know that’s what they meant. At the end of the game she is only rewarded 70% of the prizes where Chris can earn the whole enchilada).

After choosing your character you watch one of the cheesiest opening scenes acted out by a half dozen of the worst actors. They run through their bit which explains how monsters of some sort (which comes across like wild dogs) chased them into a mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City.

From here you make your way through the mansion, solving puzzles and unlocking the secret story of Raccoon City and the Umbrella Operation (it all involves manufacturing a virus to create monsters). You fight your way through and eventually save the day.

What makes RE so great, is that it has fixed camera angles and difficult controls that constantly cause you to fumble around awkwardly and die. I remember with the fond nostalgia of a school boy the first time I slayed a zombie. You walk around the corner and find him munching on one of your former teammates. He killed me the first time because it scared the bajeezees out of me, but I eventually got ’em.

The graphics were amazing at the time, and what I have been calling an awkward control scheme was innovative then. The live action cut scenes were unlike anything seen on a console up to that point and the term “survival horror” hadn’t even been coined yet, because as a genre it never really existed before Resident Evil. You can beat the entire game in 2 hours and playing through these days it may seem short and tame. However, in 1996 this game was cooler than The Walking Dead and is probably 90% responsible for the success of SONY in the console market.

Amazing things came out on the ol’ Playstation, but I didn’t even really notice it as a credible console until I first saw Resident Evil. A month later I owned one and I have not been without one since.

 

Sparking a whole genre, several sequels and spin-offs, and a slew of films, Resident Evil is one of the greatest games in history. Despite it’s lackluster graphics and janky controls, the atmosphere, (silly but fun) storyline, and approach reshaped the industry and it’s ripples are still waiting to settle. It may be hard to figure out which way your pushing a crate or figure out what’s around the corner, but that is part of what made it so awesome. The fixed camera angles made you feel like you were playing a movie. The 2 hours it took to beat and the ridiculous story were straight out of b-horror. It is a great game and belongs right next to the works of George Romero in the pages of horror. 5 of 5

 

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About Eric bookout

Writer/Artist for X amount of years. Recently worked with people from IGN on a comic and studied writing under Victor Gischler of Marvel Comics at RSU in Oklahoma more X amount of years ago. Follow me @WerewolfOrigin on twitter
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