I had no intentions of playing this game at first when it comes to Resident Evil, but as I was branching out in many interests within the gaming world, I changed my mind and decided to give this classic a go.
I think this game was a lot more challenging than the other RE games I have played so far and one thing that makes this game special is its way of storytelling in two different perspectives and directions of the plot.
In Raccoon City, a deadly virus has spread, wreaking havoc and it has been deployed by Umbrella, a pharmaceutical company that creates bioweapons with unknown intentions. Surprise surprise this particular virus turns people and animals into zombies. Some of the most unfortunate undergo grotesque mutations.
Caught in the middle of the epidemic is Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie cop on his way to his first shift, and Claire Redfield, a college student looking for her brother Chris, also a cop at this particular time. They meet and try to uncover the cause of this outbreak and eventually escape and each story takes a different approach.
So why do I say that? Well in the gameplay, when you start a new game you have the option to play as Leon or Claire. I did Leon for my first run and Claire for my second. Completing each story unlocks a 2nd, which is supposed to be more challenging. It doesn’t really matter who you choose since the story will have the same outcome in the end, but I found Leon’s story to have more action and difficulty while Claire’s had some more emotional moments, but I think the weapons you get for her are much more powerful!
It’s the same survival horror aspect, conserve your inventory and whatnot, the puzzles here and there, etc. I also noticed the map has the same feature as Village, fully searched areas are blue, all that jazz. But combat had a significant challenge to it because many zombie enemies don’t stay dead forever. Pop em with some bullets and they’ll fall, but, sometimes after a few minutes or seconds, they rise up again unless that bullet made their head explode!
This is why I had to conserve my ammo and played on assisted difficulty, otherwise, I would just run as much as possible.
Most of the game is spent in the police station but when I made it to the sewers, I found there was a way to return to the station above to pick up some items I missed.
Regarding characters, I like Leon better than Ethan, even though he’s younger he’s obviously got a more mature personality and takes his job seriously albeit not having as much experience as other cops. Claire is a very caring person who looks after others like when she suspects Sherry is in danger she tries to help her immediately.
Sherry is like the girl caught in the middle as both of her parents are involved in the creation of the T-virus that has already spread through the city and the newly developed G-virus. When Chief Irons attempted to keep her locked up in the orphanage, I just wanted to knock his teeth out. He looked like such a stereotypical fat sleazeball of a pedophile and why am I not surprised that he has committed all sorts of crimes but was never charged for them due to his status? That’s something that unfortunately occurs in the real world as well.
I also liked Ada Wong in this game, I thought she was a rather mysterious character who was reluctantly helping Leon until she revealed her true allegiance toward the end of the game. The one thing that I have learned from books and games is that if a character claims to be with the FBI, they really aren’t, they’re actually a serial killer or a mercenary. But I think part of her couldn’t bring herself to betray him completely and leave him to die since she likes him. I thought she died but I was proven wrong and I liked her segment in the story more than Sherry’s, the latter was stressful!
Some of my favourite parts of the game, well one thing that I will definitely talk about is the Tyrant, a.k.a Mr. X who stalks me for the majority of the game, more with Leon than Claire as he continues to stalk the former, with Ada after leaving the station. When he first appeared in the crashed chopper, I immediately ran away and tried to lose him as best I could. Part of me almost knew that he would be appearing in the game soon so in both my runs of Leon and Claire, I tried to cover as much ground of the police station as I could, like grabbing this gear early that I would need for the clock tower. So that way all I had to do was just make for the clock tower and duck in and out of rooms if I had to.
As Leon, I only encountered him once while searching for the electronic parts: in the halls outside the operations room when some zombies got in my way. One time I even heard his theme start playing but I couldn’t even see him when I was leaving the clock tower. That’s what makes him terrifying is that you don’t always know exactly where he is. He could be right behind you or across the main hall. Then again, Lady D is like that as well when she patrols her castle, but she’ll make it utterly palpable that she’s on your tail if the theme is playing.
But with Claire, my run-ins with him were a lot more frequent for some reason. I was listening even more for his footsteps as it seemed no matter where I was, I could always hear him. I went to get the jack from the records room and suddenly he burst in. Then later when I was in the library moving all the shelves so I could make a path to the clock tower and I heard his footsteps with his theme playing. I assume he was just outside in the main hall, but it became quickly evident that I was wrong and he was right in the library, forcing me to flee to the S.T.A.R.S office to lose him. A brilliantly done stalker who is like a secondary antagonist in the game.
And like I said, I enjoyed playing Ada in part of Leon’s campaign. She’s able to hack things to advance forward in her pursuit of Annette Birkin who she believes is responsible for the spread of the virus and her husband. In the blink of an eye, Ada goes from wearing a badass trench coat to a red dress, and I can’t even run in heels like she can. In fact, there was a time when I had to hack one of the vents to create an opening for her to elude Mr. X but I had to circle around him to buy myself time to hack the spots in order to open it!
Sherry’s segment on the other hand had me under stress, it took me nearly half an hour to solve the block puzzle in the room for her to escape and some files I read around the place suggested that the children being kept here were subject tests with Umbrella. Hiding from Irons was a pain in the ass and not exactly a linear process so I actually had to use a guide to keep away from him until he ran to the bathroom so I could grab the key, the rest is a piece of cake, it’s just the matter of running fast and RE games will always have at least a few parts where your only option is to run. Toward the end of the game, I realized how important Sherry was and why her mother felt it was necessary to keep her away.
I also like the relationship between Claire and Sherry when they meet. Claire who is the younger sibling of Chris knows what it’s like to be looked after by someone older than her. Sherry’s mother Annette sounded a lot like she was trying to push her daughter away and warned Claire to stay out of their business but Claire always knew something was up, first when Irons tried to imprison Sherry. It’s like children are caught in the middle of this outbreak and they never asked to be a part of it. Claire holds onto Sherry’s pendant which contains a key to a vaccine to cure the latter of the G-virus before it makes her into something worse. I also like how Claire gave Sherry her jacket, to me that was like a symbol of her way of protecting someone.
Some other children in this game weren’t so lucky as Leon and Ada enter a gun shop, they discover the owner’s daughter is infected and her transformation is imminent. Ada insists they terminate the girl immediately but the father shows a more merciful way of doing the same thing. I understand Ada’s determination to prevent another infected individual from becoming a monster, but the father, he also knew what his daughter had become and wanted to end her suffering his own way, as the parent of any child would in any situation.
Now, because this game’s story has different directions it can go, how do I talk about the antagonist? I want to say it’s William Birkin because we fight him several times and he basically turned against Umbrella when he didn’t get the promotion he wanted and later infected himself with the G-virus. Annette seemed to be incapable of stopping her husband’s rampage and at that point, the damage to the city had already been done as when he escaped into the sewers all mutated, it released the T-virus, or so I believe.
But also Mr. X serves as an antagonist as well like I said earlier because he was one of the many tyrants meant to retrieve the sample from Sherry’s pendant and that’s where Leon and Claire stood in his way in getting Sherry somewhere safe. I want to say that Umbrella itself is the overarching antagonist since they created the viruses in the first place that turned the entire population into mutants that become cannibalistic, they make bioweapons and that seems to be the ongoing theme for this franchise. Seems brief when you read it from me, I know, but sometimes my writing style doesn’t go with this particular section of these reviews I make. Irons is a villain too in a way, it’s like he always was before the events of the game took place too.
So to sum it up, it’s a good game, a different take for me as a new RE fan but it is also considered a classic among long-time fans. It has a unique way of storytelling and something tells me there’s more to it than just what happens in this particular game so it makes me excited to play the third one someday.