Gaming Greats – Resident Evil (1996)

Sony PlayStation’s most realistic and immersive game since its release. Resident Evil created the survival horror genre with this third-person classic

The Sony PlayStation was merely a grey box with a shiny spinning heart before Capcom’s Resident Evil turned it into a source of dread for many a late-night gamer.

Despite Resident Evil selling over 6.4 million copies, even this wasn’t enough to avert the death of the Dreamcast. But death isn’t all bad as the undead hoards proved in the genre-defining, third-person survival horror that featured real-life video footage in the cut scenes.

Anyone who has played Resident Evil will remember encountering the first graphically ground-breaking zombie, hunched over a body, making visceral eating noises before turning to reveal a bloodied mouth on its dead face. Luckily you could pause straight after the cut-scene to go and change your underwear, before returning to take him on with just a knife (if you chose to literally man-up and play as Chris on the more challenging setting).

After a session of this solid eight-hour single player classic, the palm sweats began and made gripping the controller a challenge. That, coupled with ammo and health pack rationing, meant the likes of the Hunters – quick, hard–to-kill-easy-to-be-killed-by green beasts – had you groping for the light switch in the late night hours. No? Just me?

The devil is in the detail, so the saying goes. Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami took this literally. Attention to details like the sound feet make walking from carpet to wood helped make this the most realistic game to grace a console in 1996. Add a few zombie dogs smashing through windows when you least expect it and you’d be forgiven for playing the game in short, heart-friendly sessions.

Of course that depended on you finding ink and a typewriter in order to save, adding even more tension to any potentially fatal encounter. They just don’t make them like that anymore.


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