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1996: Resident Evil Scares Up Success
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 05, 2002   |   Episode 11 (Show Archive)  

The Scoop: For years Capcom looked for a way to match the success of Street Fighter II, after all, it was one of the most revolutionary games in modern history. For too long Capcom seemed to believe the answer was in fighting games, but it ended up being something much, much different, something scary.

Up until Resident Evil hit the scene, there was no console survival horror market. 3D games tended to be exploration and platform jumping experiences, unless, of course they were role playing games. Resident Evil is an adventure game, but that's not it, it offered cinema-style camera angles, a plot right out of a Stephen King book, and lots of scares.

It was Resident Evil's movie like qualities that made it stand out, giving gamers an early glimpse at what the future of video games would hold. Resident Evil sparks emotion, and was able to keep you on the edge as well, if not better, than any recent horror film. Capcom had done it again, created a whole new genre that would spark plenty of rip offs.

The Other Side: To its credit, Alone in the Dark pioneered this genre years before on the P.C. Like Resident Evil, the series featured poor controls, dimly lit locations, and plenty of things that go bump in the night. Capcom's survival horror game even mimics a few of the puzzles found in the Alone in the Dark.

Critics will also point out that Resident Evil is also a linear game with extremely shoddy controls. The game may have been scary, but there would be plenty of times you would die based only on your inability to avoid enemies. And did I mention the voice acting? Of course, this is a minor complaint, and the presentation far outweighed the problems.

The Impact: Eternal Darkness, Fatal Frame, and Silent Hill all owe a lot to Capcom's survival horror series. If Resident Evil hadn't been the success it was, would any of those games ever seen the light of day? And it wasn't just other companies, Capcom was able to milk this genre with a number of big budget games, including Onimusha Warlords, Dino Crisis, and to a lesser extent, Devil May Cry.

This style of gaming has even found its way into the movie theaters. Resident Evil staring model-cum-actress Mila Jovovich (the Fifth Element) tried to bring the excitement of the video game
into the local multiplex. Despite poor reviews, Resident Evil managed to make money, and prove that Paul Anderson (Mortal Kombat) was a director to be reckoned with, when it comes to video game adaptations at least.

Where Are They Now?: Having just released a GameCube prequel and remake of the original, the Resident Evil franchise is alive and well. Capcom plans on releasing a number of Resident Evil sequels next year, including remakes of Nemesis and Resident Evil 2. But it's the announcement of the fourth installment that has most fans excited. Capcom has announced that for the first time ever, Resident Evil will be completely 3D, with a reworked control set up. And if that wasn't enough, Paul Anderson has announced that he will helm a Resident Evil movie sequel.


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