Horror games are a genre that have been around for quite a while. Whether it be zombies, slashers, or any other type of horror, I can guarantee you there’s a game about it. Resident Evil, released in 1996 for the PS1, is mainly based on Zombies, and is a very popular series that still has games coming out for it today. How does the original hold up?
The game opens up with a cutscene of characters being chased into a mansion by zombies, and you start there. I personally picked to play as Chris Redfield, so I was alone in the mansion very soon. The gameplay is very dated. First off, there is a very limited inventory for the player to keep items in. Chris only has six slots, and a few are already filled. The goal of the game is to peruse the mansion and find your missing team members. The issue with this is that you are never really told where to go, and you just have to look at every nook and cranny to see what you find. One of the biggest issues I had was the lack of ammunition for weapons. I was using a walkthrough and at many times it told me to just run past zombies, which bothered me as they’d be there when I came back and I had to continuously dodge them. Another issue was the limited saving. To save the game, you will need ink ribbons for a typewriter, which are found in packs of two. These are very rare and if you don’t have any, you can’t save. Finally, the game is just unfairly difficult, with enemies that cheaply attack you and limited healing. The gameplay definitely shows its age, since the later Resident Evil games are more forgiving in all aspects.
The controls of the game will bug you from the start. The game was released for analog control, and the characters move like tanks. Turning is very awkward, and no matter what direction they are facing, up is pressed to go forward. This is really bothersome, as in some tight corridors it’s very difficult to avoid enemies and I found myself being cheaply attacked multiple times. This is a bit understandable, as 3D control at the time was primitive, but playing this game now, even on the Director’s Cut which touts analog control, is super annoying and awkward. The controls of this game have aged horribly.
The graphics are another product of their time, as they use a lot of pre-rendered backgrounds and 3D character models. It’s no surprise that today this looks very ugly and the game definitely is an eyesore to look at, but for the time this was new and exciting. The models may look ugly, but it makes the zombies look scarier, which makes a bad situation better. This game was one of the first on the PS1 to use Full Motion Video, or FMV for short. These cutscenes look better than the actual game and are easily the best looking part of the game. The graphics of the game, sans the FMV cutscenes, are pretty bland and age the game quite a bit.
The music is something that I honestly can’t believe they messed up so bad. I played the Director’s Cut version of the game, which apparently has a different soundtrack than the original, so I’ll be going off the Director’s Cut version. This music is very weird; as a lot of the time it just consists of ugly sound effects with the very rare decent track among the bad. While playing the game while on Skype with a friend, he begged me to turn the volume down during a boss fight, for it was so horrible. The soundtrack to this game was bad when it came out and is bad today.
Resident Evil is a famous series for a reason, as the games are popular and have been since this release, but the game definitely isn’t what it used to be. With horrible controls, flawed gameplay, and music that makes the ears bleed, I definitely won’t be coming back to this game very soon. Resident Evil has not aged well at all.
Next time on Games Growing Up, we’ll be taking a bit of a detour off the usual path of reviews here. What might this mean? Find out next time!