Capcom for years since the 80's have been successfull in giving us classics like the Megaman series, Street Fighter saga and so much more. But their most popular and biggest crowning achievement has to be the Resident Evil Saga.
As a Resident Evil fan/historian, let's all take a look at the history behind the series.
In 1989 in Japan, Capcom released a game based on a Japanese horror movie entitled "Sweet Home" for the Fanicom (Japanese NES) around the same time the movie was released. It was an RPG/survival horror game that established the survival horror genre long before "Alone in The Dark" did in 1992. This game is basically your in a mansion and you had to fight monsters of sorts as you had to get out of their. It was successful for Capcom but too bad it never came to the united states.
In 1995 in Japan as Sony created the shiny new system called Playstation which is similar to other CD systems like the successful Sega CD and the failed CD-i system but only more advanced and at the same time the Sega Saturn system. Capcom wanted to do a remake of "Sweet Home" but decided to do something completely original and different as they made lots of money off from Street Fighter, Darkstalkers and Megaman games at the time as they wanted to tackle on a new franchise.
Shinji Mikami was inspired by old horror films mainly George A. Romero's zombie pictures and Sci-fi horror novels as he came up with an original idea for the game. And that game was called "Biohazard" which would later be known as "Resident Evil" in other countries.
The story of "Resident Evil" is set in July of 1998 in a fictional city called "Raccoon City", bizarre murder cases have been happening especially cannibalism done to a few families. The local STARS alpha-team that consists of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton and Albert Wesker as they are in the outskirts of the city in the mountains searching for the ones who are behind those horrific crimes and to find the missing Bravo-Team members. One of their members named Joseph gets eaten by a pack of mutated killer dogs and the group hides out in a gigantic mansion where one of their members are lost as they all spread separately to find out where they are.
In this game, you control either Chris or Jill as you must look for ammo, health, weapons and all that jazz but the main thing is to find items, keys and clues that can lead to the mystery behind this mansion and the madness going on as you must defend yourself from monsters like zombies, killer crows, mutants and other weird things. The designs for the time are quite good with the 3D polygonal look even on the environments and the soundtrack is chilling and atmospheric as hell which is sooo good and you had to solve puzzles, yet the biggest flaw in the game is the voice acting/dialogue such as "Master of Unlocking" or "You were almost a Jill Sandwich" from Barry which seems laughable now.
On March 23 1996, it was released in the US, Japan and everywhere earning critical acclaim and re-established survival horror. I remembered when i was 13/14 when it came out and looking at the box for it thinking "I outta get this for christmas including the system" and also got myself the limited edition Marvel comic which was cool. I finally did got the system with game that year, i loved it as i got chills from it as it was by far the only scary RE game besides the remake for some reason i never got any scares from the other RE games. But man, did this game delivered or what?
Sega Saturn's version was quite good and enjoyable with an exclusive mini-game plus a couple of Saturn exclusive monsters thrown in that version. The Director's Cut had a few missing elements in it especially a Zombie version of Alpha-Team member Forrest to a very cool "Arrange" version within the game and a Dual-Shock version of the DC which has a different score to it but still great.
Around that same year in major stores in cities, Capcom unleashed the CD soundtrack to the game called "Biohazard Remix" which has all the tracks as you heard in the game. I picked it up back in 97 as it's one of my fave soundtracks ever and my fave tracks is "Deception", "Concealed Passage" and "Sigh of Relief" which is a nice jazzy moody bit of score.
On January of 1998, Capcom unleashed Resident Evil 2 into the public in the US, Japan and eveywhere. The game earned it's praise as one of those being superior to the first game and i agree, it was a landmark game just like the first.
The story is set 2 months after the incident in the mansion as the STARS team has rescued one of the surviving Alpha-team members and told the public about the Umbrella conspiracy behind the incident as the case was closed but the Umbrella Corporation is far from finished. Rookie cop Leon Kennedy and a tough willed yet lovely girl named Claire Redfield have arrived in Raccoon City only to find it has became hell on Earth as the T-virus has been unleashed turning residents into zombies. Both separate their own ways to find ways to survive, find survivors, discover who is behind all this and escape.
In this game much like the first one, you have to explore and find clues, items, weapons, health and whatever you need including solving puzzles. This one introduces "Zapping system" which means the game was on 2-discs that provides the characters in their own scenarios and different telling of their stories including adding an additional villain who is known as Mr. X who is much like a punching house. Some of the controls, voice acting (i thought it was a bit better this time), and puzzles are criticized however but i have no problems with it whatsoever. The graphics are much better this time including the sound, atmosphere and all that, it's a very unique game that remains fresh to this day and still remains a masterpiece. I remembered after playing that sweet demo on the RE Director's Cut i had the coupon for the game and Christmas money saved, i awaited all January for the game and bought it the first day as i played it all day on a sick-day from school.
During the same year as RE 2, Wildstorm released a series of cool comic books which i collected and some merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, a few action figures and even novels which i collected and there was also the sweet soundtrack to the game. RE 2 was also released on Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and in 2003 on Gamecube.
On September 1999, Capcom released Resident Evil 3 into the states, Japan and other countries as it served as a mix of prequel/midquel/sequel to "Resident Evil 2" as the first half takes 24 hours prior to RE 2 as it features Jill Valentine as the hero as well as a newcomer named Carlos who is part of 3 mercenaries that are there to find surviving people and takes place 2 days after on the second half as you must deal with a Terminator-esque tyrant named Nemesis who is out to destroy only STARS members.
In this game the controls are basically the same including the gameplay like the first 2 as the voice acting is a little weak at times but still nice. This one introduces dodging and the quick 180 degree turn and became a mainstay for the saga. The game also has gun ammunition making which you can use different kinds of gun powder to make ammo for stuff like handguns to all the way to grenades for the grenade-launcher. The puzzles are a bit more complex this time yet you got to think, the guns are even bigger and better this time around when they are handy when fighting mutants and the undead plus taking care of that hulking monster.
The game was just as well received and as successful as RE 2 even among fans as it introduced the coolest boss in any RE game so far. I remembered getting this game for christmas at 17 and it has been a true gaming gift for me including Dino Crisis which was another fantastic Capcom game in the RE mode and from the same makers. In fact this game was sooo popular it was the basis for the movie "Resident Evil Apocalypse", the game was released on dreamcast in 2000 as it featured enhanced 3D modeling and extra costumes and a version for the gamecube which was very good with slicker enhanced graphics even on the FMVs.
In 2000, Capcom released "Gun Survivor" for PS1 was released in Japan in January and here in the US on August of that year, it was different than the other RE games at the time considering it was a FPS game as it was like something out of the arcades. The story deals with a pilot who just lost his memory yet finds himself on a private town on Sheena Island where one of the Umbrella factories are as he must battle the undead and mutants whichever stands in his way to get out to get his memory back.
The game isn't as bad as fans or some critics said but it is kind of fun but damned short as well, so it is one of the worst capcom games so far but i kind of liked it as a sort of guilty pleasure.
To be concluded with everything from Code Veronica to RE 5 to all the way to the upcoming new games and stuff.