With the release of Resident Evil 6 coming up on October 2nd, I’ve started to play through the series as a way to get caught up with the history and gameplay. As such I’ve decided to do a series of articles that won’t be just explanations of how I play, but parts on the plot, highlights, place in the series and other such topics for a general review. The focus will be on the main games, namely the numbered ones and Code Veronica, and the not spin off rail shooters or the online Outbreak ones. The culmination of this all will be a review of RE6, which looks to be another big departure from establish series gameplay. As a side note, the articles will assume some amount of familiarity with the games discussed

Chronologically the first game in the series, Resident Evil 0 was not released until 2002, the same as year as the remake of the original and well after Code Veronica, as part of the short lived exclusivity agreement with Nintendo. As it could’ve been subtitled ‘Becky’s Big Adventure’ it focuses on Rebecca Chambers, the STARS Bravo Team medic who was previously a minor character in the original. After Bravo Team’s helicopter has to fatefully land in Raccoon Forest, Becky comes across a stopped train whose passengers recently joined the ranks of the undead. It’s here she meets her partner for the game, former Marine Billy Coen, and the train eventually crashes into an abandoned facility, which not-so-coincidentally turns out to have belonged to Umbrella. As the two fight their way through the facility and an underground lab, they encounter the titular zombies, strange leeches as well as giant versions of a centipede and bat. The backstory involves former Umbrella scientist James Marcus, who is largely responsible for the creation of the T Virus. After escaping, Becky heads for the Spencer Estate and Billy goes his own way, disappearing from the series altogether.

Many have found 0’s plot confusing because it contradicts later games at certain points, not to mention that Becky doesn’t bring up her experience later in the original RE to Chris or anyone. This can attributed to the plot originally being a way to set up the then forthcoming RE4, which at first had a radically different storyline, but was later scrapped to make way for the eventual edition that was released. While certain parts of the game, like being able to switch control of both characters and more backstory, are enjoyable, RE0 does become cliched at certain points. Series staples such as block pushing puzzles and the self destruct sequence during the final boss fight have appeared in practically every entry released prior to it, but it does leave out the item storage boxes.

Resident Evil 0 is nevertheless an entertaining game to play with the partner swapping mechanic the main draw to differentiate itself from previous games in the series. Blasting zombies to bits always makes for a good time and Becky gets her turn in a starring role after being relegated to mixing chemicals and spraying Chris with bug spray in the original. There is some disconnect since the game is first in the series time-wise, but fifth in order of release, so playing all the game chronologically there’s a big drop graphics wise when playing the original. Some might find it difficult to go back to the archaic ‘tank’ controls of previous releases. It also doesn’t help that much of the plot was rendered moot by the redesign in the middle of RE4‘s development. Plus there’s something to be said for playing them in the original order to maintain the mystery of the story. Still, I’ll be following a chronological path for continuity’s sake.

Next up is the original, Resident Evil, which will cover its Director’s Cut and remake versions.