Is 1996 sufficiently far back in the cloying sands of time to be dubbed ‘retro?’ For the sake of piss-taking and/or snark-ery, let’s say it is. This was the year, after all, that one of the most influential titles in the gamingsphere emerged, crawling out from hell’s rectum -which had freshly opened in some poor bastard’s kitchen floor, presumably- to introduce us to the notion of ‘survival horror’ as we now know it: Resident Evil.
If we’re being pernickety, such ballaches as Alone in the Dark were already shuffling about, chewing the gonads of passers-by and generally festering half a decade before, but -and we can’t stress this enough- they were massively, monumentally wank. As such, we’ll just email the developers a jpeg of ourselves giving the finger and hasten back to the point.
This inaugural entry finds series stalwarts Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker cruising about the Spencer Mansion, still one of the most foreboding locales in gaming. Though it may look ghastly enough to make us fervently wish to punch our own eyes in the face today (as you’d expect after almost two decades, it’s a veritable saggy-titted, I’ve pissed my blankets again octogenarian in video game years), will you ever forget your first contretemps with the Hunters? Or those bastards dogs suddenly barreling through the window like fetid, furless ballistic missiles full of teeth and fury?
Is that shit in my pants? Yes, yes it is.
The gameplay, while both restrictive and archaic in contemporary terms (Huzzah! I’m about half as agile as Stephen Hawking, and can only fit the bare minimum of items in my pockets at a time! Why in the name of the devil’s foreskin didn’t I borrow MC Hammer’s parachute pants? I could stow a goddamn whole school of blue whales in those) was a revelation at the time. Resident Evil is the very epitome of the term ‘classic,’ and retains its status as an essential experience for any players that have neglected to play through it.
We’ll concede, in 2013 these shenanigans are about as terrifying as a pink-furred kitten with a limp -the kind of pet you might see the cowboy from the Village People taking into a bar named Dudes! Dudes! Dudes!- today, but there is an remarkable, eternal quality to the game that belies this. Its B-movie, camp-tacular sensibilities (watch the hilariously farcical intro movie below, for instance, you’ll shit) and the most hideous voice ‘acting’ in the cosmos – Jill sandwich, master of unlocking and Stop! DON’T OPEN! That DOOR wonderment prevails- has served only to heighten the game’s endearing appeal. Why else would blundering simpleton and appalling-ginger-beard-on-legs Barry Burton be a fan favorite, heedless of the fact that this was his one and only main-series outing?
In summation, we’d venture that Resident Evil is of the caliber of a gamer’s ‘rite of passage’, if you will. The franchise may have bastardized itself with its all-pervading lust for explosions with explosions on/more gunplay than you could brandish your huge, action-credentials wang at in recent iterations, but back when Capcom had their shit together, this was their magnum opus.
It still is.
Source of images: gamefaqs.