Listing Life Dangerously – The Correct Ranking of Resident Evil Games

Throughout the arse-end of the nineties the Resident Evil games were kind of a big deal. At least, they were to me. The Tomb Raider series was starting to get a bit dull, Metal Gear Solid‘s first sequel was insisting that I sneak about as blonde girl instead of Snake, and I wouldn’t be told how to actually play Final Fantasy properly for at least another decade. In contrast, Resident Evil was knocking it out of the park with every new release.

I'M ONLY TALKING ABOUT THE MAIN GAMES SO SHUT UP
I’M ONLY TALKING ABOUT THE MAIN GAMES SO SHUT UP

Here is the correct ranking of the main Resident Evil games, for your reference. They are listed in ascending order of how readily I would make a baby in them if I could.

6. Resident Evil 6

"RAWK."
“RAWK.”

In the positive column, the plot is an evolving real-time parody of itself, and the voice-acting delivery is so earnestly steely-eyed that nothing else matters beyond seeing what hijinks they come up with next. In the negative column, the parts when Resident Evil 6 makes you play it are bloody horrible.

Best Moment: The part where every vehicle Leon Kennedy enters crashes within 30 seconds.

 

5. Resident Evil 4

"SURPRISE!"
“SURPRISE!”

Resident Evil 4 was, in its day, a very good third-person action game. If you play it now, and can tell the difference between the colours grey and brown, it’s still quite fun. In a silly, drab sort of way. It lit a linear, encounter-driven, quick time event-speckled torch that the likes of Uncharted and Tomb Raider still successfully run with today, but I’ve never really liked it that much. Resident Evil was once the poster boy for survival horror, but the second Resident Evil 4 shed that tradition to critical applause we effectively lost the genre.

Best Moment: This.

 

4. Resident Evil 5

Pictured: Japes.
Pictured: Japes.

Resident Evil 4 with a livelier palette, more interesting battles, the ability to shoot enemies at your feet and co-op play. Admittedly, if you really like grey and brown then you might legitimately prefer Resident Evil 4.

Best Moment: The part where David Bowie has sex with Keanu Reeves and Albert Wesker pops out of one of them.

 

3. Resident Evil

A simpler time, when shadows were simple discs and shoulders and arms were only vague acquaintances.
A simpler time, when shadows were simple discs and shoulders and arms were only vague acquaintances.

Being an adolescent male in 1996 was about pretending to not like the Spice Girls, watching violent movies, and idly thinking about Baywatch. Resident Evil became the fourth thing on that list about midway through the year. It was essentially a video nasty that you could play, and word travelled fast. The word of mouth wasn’t just about the violence though. Playing it for more than ten minutes, its purer merits as a videogame began to shine through the simple gory appeal. Here was something new – a challenging, smart and ambitious new type of game that was proudly adult in content. It preached preservation of ammunition, knowing which battles to avoid and carefully planning the safest routes back and forth across a mansion you’d wish was simply haunted, usually locked into an admittedly glorified scavenger hunt. Orienteering with zombies, if you will.

Sure, Alone In The Dark had done roughly that sort of thing before, but nobody played Alone In The Dark because its graphics made it look like nonsense on a plate.

Pictured: Not sure. Someone's birthday?
Pictured: Not sure. Someone’s birthday?

Best Moment: BAH!

 

2. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

What?
What?

Resident Evil 3 brought some lovely ideas to the table. For example, sometimes it gave you a choice as to whether or not you wanted to stand and fight in a boss encounter, or turn and run. It’s nice to have a choice, no? Also, your character felt a lot more springy and agile – you had a few more options when trying to avoid getting your face eaten. Best of all, the new Mercenaries mode was, to quote Famitsu at the time, “the total shiznit”. Separate to the main campaign, it let you choose a grizzled marine (each had varying weapon loadouts and haircuts) before trying to make it across the zombie-infested city with your face still intact. It was hugely addictive and skilfully designed, just like my willy.

Best Moment: Beating Mercenaries with Nicholai, knifing away like a cheeky little hoodlum.

 

1. Resident Evil 2

"So... how you doin'?"
“So… how you doin’?”

Ask any Resident Evil fan after the first game what they wanted for the sequel, and the exact same words would have passed all their lips: “Do the same thing again, but this time the zombies have infested the whole city. Also, please don’t ever replace the zombies with fast-moving nondescript foreign people that throw pitchforks at you.”

Resident Evil 2 delivered. It was just as linear and confined as its forebear, but expertly tricked your mind into thinking you had a whole city to roam about in. Looking through today’s eyes at the static pre-rendered backgrounds of the destroyed city, it’s surprising just how much cluttered detail there is to them. Particularly those in which everything is reassuringly aflame. When there isn’t any of the charming yet mind-numbingly stupid dialogue piping out of the speakers, it’s striking just how authentically Capcom managed to convey the sense of a fallen city with the technology they had back then. A simple joy rises in my heart when I pick the game back up and ponderously meander through the ravaged streets and shattered buildings of Resident Evil 2, and that joy is an increasingly rare thing.

Especially since the Spice Girls broke up.

Best Moment: People constantly shouting “LEON!”.

You can follow Simon (@MrCuddleswick) on Twitter here and also slowly by car if you want.

Last time on Star Trek: Listing Life Dangerously we learned all about three games I need to stop buying every year…


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