Give Me Back My Zombie!

My hero! ♥

I am a zombie fanatic.


I love zombie movies, books, legend and of course zombie games. My fascination with the undead was, in fact, ignited by Resident Evil back in 1996 and since then, I haven’t looked back.

Capcom’s zombie exploits tuned into a part of me that soon craved that feeling of fear and excitement that only survival horror could satisfy and, for many a year, fed that insatiable desire frequently and with a bang.

The sequels and prequels spawned from the original Resident Evil title were (bar a few exceptions) incredible. Resident Evil 3, surprisingly for many, has always been my favourite. I don’t know why but Nemesis, with his scary “STTAAARRSSS” growl and rocket launcher in tow, not only gave me heart attacks while playing, but also kinda made me love him for it. He was Resident Evil incarnate; the mutated biological threat that could show up any time, any place and leave your bloody remains smeared on a darkened alley wall while you were innocently looking for a hexagonal crank… amazing!

By 2002 and with the release of Resident Evil 0 on the Nintendo Game Cube, the franchise was now six years old. Gamers were beginning to tire with the increasingly familiar style of play, although still desperately in love with the series. Enter Resident Evil reborn in an entirely redesigned, rethought out version of the original title for the Game Cube including superior graphics, new puzzles and upgraded weapons and tactics that became a shining beacon that screamed ‘Resident Evil we love you!’ (are you listening, Square Enix, your remade versions of Final Fantasy 7 and 8 are loooong overdue!)

Old to new; the Resident Evil remake was nothing short of masterful!

A part of this overwhelming rehash for Resident Evil was the introduction of the Crimson Head.

*Insert white jacket, spectacle wearing, science Loz*: Also known as V-ACT, the ‘Crimson Head’ hyper-zombies are infected with particular strains of the original T-Virus which continue to mutate the victim after the initial zombification process. The evolution from undead to crimson head can continue even after supposed death from injury, unless the spinal column is severed (through being shot or stabbed in the head) or the body is cremated.

The result of this particular infection while active results in hypertension within the construct of the victim (high blood pressure) giving the body its flushed-red demeanour. Other side effects also include increased strength, agility, aggression towards other life forms and amplified defences against most weapons. In scientific terms: RUN LIKE HELL! Here endeth the zombie lesson.

In short, the Crimson Head zombie was the link between progression of the series through possible viral strains, unknown threats and biological experiments by the Umbrella Corporation while remaining true to the franchise. Imagine my shock when loading up Resident Evil 4 some three years later when I was greeted with the information that Umbrella as we knew it was dead. Bankrupted by a government investigation into the company’s secret activities, all known development of the T-Virus had been disbanded.

Las Plagas? You can Las shove-off!

What the fu–!

The U-turn from the potential direction of the series, to a completely new and unknown biological threat of ‘Las Plagas’, confused and even angered fans. The survival horror aspect of Resident Evil that had engrossed so many had been stripped from its very foundations and replaced by a parasite that didn’t even zombify its victims. Pathetic! Although the game play of both Resident Evil 4 and 5 was enjoyable in its own right and had many interesting features, it undoubtedly sent the franchise in a direction that felt alien to its roots.

No one can deny that the series needed a little shake up, but with such massive potential at its fingertips, the new action styled game play disappointed many who had grown to love the survival horror elements of the game. This tang of regret was only fuelled further in recent years by the release of games such as Left4Dead and even Dead Space; although both different takes on the survival horror genre they undoubtedly showed the gaming world that it was still possible to do new and scary at once when it came to the undead.

After completing Resident Evil 5 and its expansion packs, like many gamers my mind began to wonder if the series could ever return to its style of years gone by after so much had happened and other games had clearly pulled off the transition to next gen style gaming. Would the Las Plagas ever give way to the bounty of horror wealth beneath the surface of the T-Virus that still waited to be uncovered and explored?

A few weeks ago while checking Twitter I noticed that Capcom had officially announced another title in the series. A part of me almost didn’t feel interested until I saw the title – Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City.

Now this is more like it!

Wait a minute, Racoon City? But that’s before Las Plagas, when the streets were lined with zombies wanting to rip off your face and eat your brains; when it was scary and fun! According to the initial information, the game will be a third-person shooter that takes place during the time scale of Resident Evil 2 and Nemesis, from the perspective of two opposing Special Tactics units acting outside the roles of Leon, Claire and Jill from the original games. Most interestingly the events for both teams can affect the known outcome of the previous storylines of older Resident Evil games… if there was ever a chance to rewrite history into how it should have been made, it’s now, gamers!

Until further information is released, your undead correspondent is signing off for now, leaving you with this first taster at what is to come later in 2011. Until next time zombie-lovers.







8 responses to “Give Me Back My Zombie!”

  1. Mark P avatar

    I read an article about the multiplayer aspect in this game – there’s a pretty cool twist to it. Two teams of 4 fight against each other and shambling hordes of zombies. Any wounds you take, cause zombies to be drawn to you – you can effectively use the zombies as a weapon! It sounds fantastic.

  2. Lauren avatar

    Same here Loz, I too love anything zombie related. And with RE 4 and 5 I felt disappointed because they weren’t the traditional zombies we had become accustomed to. So Im liking the looks of the new Resident Evil. Hopefully Capcom will stick with it.

  3. Ironredboy II avatar
    Ironredboy II

    I don’t recall seeing many Zombies in Zuma ;-P ……..

  4. paul avatar

    I think the only way we would get zombies back is if its a non main story Resident Evil, so with Slant6 in charge this could be something very special.

    I must say though, RE4 is one of my fav games ever. I think it’s pretty much perfect. I would happily swap a few damp shamblers for a knife fight with Krauser 😀

  5. Simon avatar

    I’m with Loz – old Resi was the best Resi.

    I’m not too impressed with what I’ve heard about this Operation Raccoon City malarkey – competitive multiplayer has no damn place in a Resident Evil game. I shouldn’t have to be telling the world this.

  6. James avatar

    I like my zombies to be zombies — no viruses, no parasites, no’rage’– just dead men walking. The more you start explaining their origins, the less creepy they become.

  7. paul avatar

    The problem with zombies, and why they were ‘upgraded’, is that they need a very specific approach via game design, character controls, level design etc in order to make them a viable foe. Zombies were only a small part of RE1/RE2. They have become faster, more aggressive, stronger etc for a reason. It was necessary.
    If you look at Zombie films the Zombies arent really a big part of the film, its the dialogue and discourse between the trapped and how they react to the situation which is kind of hard to do in games.
    Zombies are pretty much just a setting, part of the iconography, but it really doesnt feel the same without them.

  8. Arkayla avatar

    I adore the old Resident Evil games, in fact just last week I rebought the GC remake and 0 when I came across them in town. The problems with 4 and 5 were the action shift, ammo was everywhere and they took out any and all horror aspects. I worry about this next game being even less so, there’s not a lot to be scared of if you’ve got stealth camo, a host of automatic weapons and a team of backup. Sure they’re not marketing it as survival horror but thats waht Resi IS (or should be).

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