History Lessons
Resident Evil 1 for PSX
History Lesson: Resident Evil

In 1996 we were taken to a zombie-plagued mansion with many secrets in [blippr]Resident Evil[/blippr]. After gaining popularity rapidly, ‘[blippr]Resident Evil: Director’s Cut[/blippr]’ was also released a year later to satiate the fan following that had developed in no time at all. Fourteen years today, we continue to love the new characters Capcom brings to us, along with new antagonists and plots derived from the original.

Resident Evil 1 for PSX

The player is able to control either Jill Valentine or her partner Chris Redfield while scavenging through this seemingly ordinary mansion. There are distinct differences between their respective stories and the characters themselves, some being overtly sexist. For example, Jill is not able to tolerate as many hits from enemies as Chris and she is able to carry more items. Other differences include, Jill having a lockpicking ability and starting off with her own pistol. Whereas, Chris has to search for keys in order to unlock doors and has to depend on a minor character to complete a task.

Resident Evil may not have a vast selection of enemies to annihilate with brute force but the player remains wary and apprehensive due to the fixed camera angles which only add to the tension. You can never forecast what can be lurking around the next corner.

The synopsis of Resident Evil is simple enough to follow and may even seem very-much predictable but this does not detract from how enjoyable the game is which can still be appreciated presently despite its flaws; a main one being the unbearable and laughable voice acting.

The first half of the game does not contain much complexity; the player can adjust to the awkward controls as the game progresses and combat can be easily avoided if chosen. After returning back to the central area of the mansion after a brief detour and a meeting with a murderous plant, the player is introduced to the ‘Hunters’, much more lethal and agile than your average lumbering zombies. Hunters can quite efficiently defeat the player by jumping behind and proceeding to use their deadly claws. If the health status happens to be at ‘Cautious’ or lower then the Hunter’s coup de grace (a solitary slash) should be expected and evaded carefully when retreating.

Players can save via various typewriters strategically placed in the game but in order to do this you must acquire ink ribbons which are not abundant. You must then decide if it is appropriate to save now or can this be forestalled. It is likely that not saving will work against you, if you unfortunately did not save your game and met your untimely death then you must load from the last point from which you did save. Having experienced this justified aggravation and frustration, I tried to save after completing any taxing task.

Another feature of Resident Evil worth commenting on are the magical, mystifying storage chests. If at any point of the game the player is struggling to organize their inventory, they can then go to their nearest ‘Save Room’ and be greeted by the calming music upon entering. In these rooms there are no enemies and are usually health items and ammunition scattered around to aid you. The chest itself can hold any unnecessary items which can be accessed later at any other chest too.

Resident Evil can be underestimated greatly. Puzzles cannot be classified as intricate but can be surprisingly challenging if the common sense behind them is not understood. It can be as simple as not examining an item or failing to pay attention to notes. Enemies can also outwit you, bosses are not easy to tackle if not equipped with the suitable weapons and you must frequently think of ways to conserve any of your items. This may mean trying to survive without using your shotgun, unless it’s a boss fight or not allowing to heal yourself only if you are veering towards the ‘Danger’ status. For these very same reasons, Resident Evil is considered the first game to birth the term, ‘survival horror’.

The Resident Evil franchise has transformed over the years and this has been viewed as something positive. Current installments lack elements that their predecessors incorporated to attract more gamers and to put in layman’s terms, to move on from the old and on to the new. Having said this, Resident Evil is far from a perfect game, it can even be described harshly as having an unintelligible, badly executed storyline but what it does competently is to thrill and scare while constantly making you question, ‘What am I going to face next? How much further till salvation?’ Resident Evil was a breakthrough and is to this day to any gamer familiar with to the survival horror genre who can value its contribution to late 1990s gaming, giving it the famous reputation it still retains.


The cover is hilarious. What's up with his eyes? He looks insane! He doesn't look like the kind of guy you'd want to have a shotgun, that's for sure!