The Need to Feed

by Emma Roberts

The Need to Feed

A tribute to the evil residents of our game consoles.
By Emma Roberts

You’re creeping through a dark, damp alleyway, trying hard to keep your cool and not drop your weapon. Your pulse raises, as you pray they won’t see you. But you know they will. You hear a sinister noise coming from the shadows and you know it’s already too late. Fight or flee?

Welcome to the terrifying delight, which is the world of Resident Evil.

With Resident Evil five just lurking around the menacing corner, it’s time to reload your shotguns and gather grenades; this time it really will be survival of the fittest.

I’m sure most of you will be all to aware of the nightmares which are the Resident Evil games but for those who aren’t Zombie savvy, prepare to find out about a world of uncountable grotesque horrors. Believe me after reading this, you’ll either jump at the chance to play Resident Evil five, or just jump behind your sofa.

Known in Japan as Biohazard, Resident Evil first stumbled into our living rooms in 1996 and introduced us to a world of nail-hard puzzles, menacing enemies and lots of Zombies. More Zombies than you could shake a shotgun at.

The original Resident Evil focused on two characters, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield who are members of an organisation called STARS and they get sent to Racoon City to investigate some acts of cannibalism (so far, so gory). When they get there, some team members go missing so Jill and Chris are forced to seek refuge in a creepy mansion that was apparently decorated by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen.

This is later referred to as the Mansion Incident. A gruesome tale soon unfolds and the main characters soon realise that the residents of the mansion aren’t too friendly; you could even say the residents are evil.

After avoiding being Zombie ready-meals several times, it is soon revealed that an evil corporation is behind it all. No it isn’t Mc Donalds, but a company called Umbrella are responsible for creating the T-Virus, which basically turns people into the rabid, hungry, undead.

This disturbing plot unravels throughout the game series, and the second helping of Resident Evil focuses more on the events of Racoon City. This time you play as Claire Redfield, who is trying to find her brother Chris (of Resident Evil one fame.) You can also play as badass cop Leon Kennedy who later returns for some more fun in Resident Evil four.

Both the first and second games were widely acclaimed for their original game-play, deep story lines and chilling musical scores. But this was only the beginning of the Resident Evil legacy, which would soon become one of the most famous game series’ of all time.

Just like the monsters in the game, the series began to grow and evolve with Resident Evil Three: Nemesis revealing more horrific creations of the Umbrella corporation. The spotlight is swung back on Jill Valentine as she attempts to escape Racoon City after she manages to flee from the mansion in the first game.

Resident Evil Three put some extra spice into the resident recipe, as Jill is constantly hunted by a new nasty called the Tyrant. Unlike the slow moving and highly stupid Zombies of the previous two games, Tyrant moved quickly and players had to think of new strategies to avoid their impending doom. This idea of quicker and more ruthless enemies was rejuvenated in resident evil four but more on that later.

The fate of Racoon city was also decided in the third game, as after hearing about the T-Virus, the US president decides to blow up the entire area (surprise, surprise.) Out of sight out of mind, however Umbrella had other plans up their devious sleeves.

The destruction of the Resident Evil playing field of Racoon city was deemed to be a bold move by developers. But as the plot progressed, the fourth game in the series, Code Veronica, takes the player to Rockfort island which is handily owned by the Umbrella Corporation and also thriving with the T-Virus. Claire Redfield takes centre stage after being captured by Umbrella and she attempts to escape the Island, along side her fellow inmate Steve Burnside.

Despite the fact it wasn’t set in Racoon city, Code Veronica was still received very well by Resi fans. Yet, it was also clear that the series was in need of a shake up, as even though it was set in a different location, it was still effectively the same game as its predecessors.

Perhaps not knowing where to take the tale next, Capcom decided to bring it back to the old school and set the next game before the Mansion Incident. This time, Resident Evil Zero focused on other members of the STARS team, as they investigate the mansion for the first time. The game was praised for filling holes in the plot and adding an extra layer to the resident evil universe. Yet, the gameplay still remained unchanged. Fans were thirsty for something new.

Their wish was granted in 2005 with the release of Resident Evil Four. Say bye-bye to sluggish moving Zombies and say hello to Satanic, crazed, European villagers. Yes, the nasties in Resident Evil four were people. Very fast, violent and bloodthirsty people. The new age of terror had finally arrived.

After the US government cunningly worked out that the Umbrella corporation was behind the T-Virus, the company went bankrupt and sadly had to discontinue making their Zombie product. Meanwhile, the badass cop who I mentioned earlier, Leon Kennedy, is recruited by the government’s secret service. He is sent on a mission to recover the President’s kidnapped daughter, who is believed to be in Europe. Thinking he had left the life of horror behind, Leon is most surprised to be greeted by a hoard of unruly villagers, who apparently aren’t too thrilled with his visit.

It soon unfolds that the villagers, like umbrella, are also keen virus creators and they deviously plan to infect the president’s daughter with one and send her back to America. After ploughing through hundreds of ferocious villagers Leon eventually rescues the girl and retrieves a sample of the virus. Only for it to be stolen from him.. and the path that leads to the newest Resident Evil is carved.

Resident Evil Four was a huge hit, not only did it successfully evolve the series, it also attracted a whole new audience to the resident evil universe. The gameplay was fast-paced and action based, a welcome change from the slower styles of the other games.

And so, it is just a matter of waiting before Resident Evil five is safely inserted into our consoles. But what can we expect? Well, due to the immense success of Resident Evil Four, the same gameplay style will be used, but this time it will be set in Africa. The story is based on former Zombie killer, Chris Redfield and what happened to him after the Mansion Incident. With the story being written by the guys behind the first game, die hard resi fans can expect the plot to intertwine with the whole umbrella legacy.

The Resident Evil galaxy is ever expanding and evolving. The game series has proved to be the most terrifying and yet one of the most enjoyable of all time. Feature films have also been released as well as several game spin-offs, such as Umbrella Chronicles on the Wii.

If you haven’t delved into the darkness that is Resident Evil, what are you waiting for? Unless you’re too scared of-course. In which case, I hear that Wii Cheerleading is coming out soon, that might be more to your taste. For the rest of us, Friday the 13th, the day when Resident evil 5 is unleashed, can’t come any sooner.