Ranked: Resident Evil’s top 10
Resident Evil 7: biohazard is out now and should be scaring the pants off you.
In the meantime, to celebrate the release, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Our top-secret, scientific system has ranked the top 10 Resident Evil games in a list that can’t be disputed…
10. Resident Evil: Deadly Silence – DS – 2006
Released in 2006 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Resident Evil, Deadly Silence (or DS, I see what you did there Capcom) was a re-release for DS.
DS features two modes; Classic and Rebirth. You can probably guess what Classic is, but Rebirth included touch support, modified enemy and item placements, new puzzles and a special knife mode.
The plot, pacing and most of the original gameplay from the 1996 PlayStation release remains in-tact. There are even moments that, thanks to the DS, things are better than ever. For example, after the battle with the giant snake B.O.W. players need to blow into the microphone to perform CPR on a bitten Richard.
Usually, blowing into the DS microphone is an absolute garbage mechanic, but when combined with the B-Grade cheese of Resident Evil, it just works.
If you can find a copy cheap make sure you grab it. It’s the only way you’ll be playing Resident Evil on the go.
9. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles – Wii – 2009
It’s actually pretty surprising that an on-rails, light-gun game set in the Resident Evil universe didn’t happen sooner.
It wasn’t until 2007’s The Umbrella Chronicles that fans got the Time Crisis with zombies treatment. Umbrella Chronicles was great, Darkside Chronicles features a heavier focus on Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield and retelling RE2 and Code Veronica. It tightens up the mechanics and is much scarier.
Darkside Chronicles also ties into Resident Evil 4 and provides context for that title while expanding the RE universe without undoing anything that had been established. For fans, Darkside Chronicles was filled with easter eggs, tidbits and a wealth of material to sink their teeth into.
It was even a good game to play with those new to the franchise. Established storylines were retold on the go and the on-rails gameplay meant that there was no fumbling with tank-controls. Players simply needed to point, shoot and enjoy.
8. Resident Evil 5 – PS3, Xbox 360 – 2009
After the genre-changing, generation defining game that was Resident Evil 4, fans were waiting with bated breath for any news of Resident Evil 5.
Everyone was wondering how on earth Capcom would be able to top Leon’s battles with the Las Plagas. The answer was; they couldn’t.
There’s nothing spectacularly wrong with Resident Evil 5, but it was definitely a step in the wrong direction. Seeing Chris Redfield back in action as some kind of roided up Mercenary was strange as was most of the game taking place during the day.
The partner/co-op mechanic was great when it worked, but when Sheva decided to use your best ammo or herbs unnecessarily it was pretty frustrating. Playing with a friend was the better option, although that also meant that the fear factor was basically zero.
The story was quite decent though and seeing Chris and Wesker face-off is always a good time, but Capcom made a fatal error in killing off its best villain. Wesker’s maniacal plan for global domination and Chris punching a boulder both fall into the “dumb stuff that shouldn’t have happened” category.
All in all, Resident Evil 5 was solid, but a sign of the series going off the rails.
7. Resident Evil Revelations – 3DS – 2012
Resident Evil: Revelations was an excellent return to form for the series, even if it was released (initially) only on 3DS.
Set between RE4 and RE5, Revelations followed Chris and Jill on a mission to save earth’s oceans from a deadly virus. This wasn’t the first time Resident Evil had taken to the high seas, with the Game Boy Colour release Resident Evil Gaiden doing so many years earlier. Gaiden though, was awful and isn’t canon. It’s worth playing for a laugh.
Back to Revelations though, the best bits are undoubtedly Jill’s sections which are pure horror. Chris’s gameplay fares less well as it focuses more on the action that had started to creep in with Resident Evil 4.
The cruise ship is also one of Revelations‘ greatest strengths and works well to scare players. The sequel would be less successful, taking the episodic formula a step further, but Revelations is strong enough to stand on its own.
Re-released for PC, PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360, Revelations is best surprisingly best played on 3DS.
6. Resident Evil 0 – GCN – 2002
Resident Evil 0 was the first title to play with the partner mechanic and was released shortly after the original’s remake on Gamecube.
Focusing on Rebecca Chambers and escaped convict Bily Coen (who is an absolute beast by the way) Zero featured a brand new mansion, more Wesker and Birkin and the terrifying Progenitor Leeches.
Aside from the addition of a second playable character, RE0 did away with item boxes and instead let players drop items and leave them to be picked back up later. This system was interesting. Sometimes it worked, but other times players would need travel huge distances to go back and collect a key item.
Nevertheless, the story of a reanimated James Marcus seeking revenge against Umbrella and the additional information about the history of the T-Virus was compelling. Seeing Wesker and Birkin interacting before the events of RE and RE2 and seeing how the outbreaks in the Mansion and Raccoon City were caused was catnip for fans.
It’s a shame that Billy Coen hasn’t made a reappearance, but we can keep hoping right?
5. Resident Evil: Code Veronica – Dreamcast – 2000
Ahh Dreamcast, your time was over far too quickly, but your legacy lives on.
Before Capcom stunned gamers by making Resident Evil and RE4 exclusive to Gamecube it threw its support behind Sega’s ill-fated console by releasing Resident Evil’s much-anticipated sequel, Code Veronica for it. It would of course make its way to PS2 (and Gamecube) with an X added to the title. Presumably to be seen as more hardcore.
Featuring one of the greatest pre-rendered intros in Resident Evil history (that gun catch) Code Veronica follows Claire’s search for her brother Chris and her imprisonment on Umbrella’s secret prison facility.
There she meets the series’ worst character, Steve Burnside, has a run-in with Wesker and meets the mysterious Alfred and Alexia Ashford.
Code Veronica is also notable for being the first mainline title to use fully 3D rendered environments instead of pre-rendered backgrounds. The enemies are some of the most gruesome and disgusting ever and getting to the end and through the base in Antarctica is a true challenge.
Code Veronica is one of the harder RE titles and features Chris Redfield looking like a regular human for the last time, before he started his program of Bull Shark testosterone injections.
4. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – PSX – 1999
The second title to star Jill Valentine and the second to be set within Raccoon City, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was the last Resident Evil to grace the original PlayStation. No, Gun Survivor doesn’t count.
Set both 24 hours before and after Resident Evil 2, Nemesis sees Jill trying to escape a ravaged Racoon City while being stalked by Umbrella’s new B.O.W. Nemesis. Designed to track and kill S.T.A.R.S. members who have evidence of Umbrella’s wrong doing, the Nemesis is an almost unstoppable force.
In a first for the series, the player is never sure if an area is safe or has been ‘cleared’ as the Nemesis can appear at anytime. Choosing to fight the Nemesis in the situations almost always lead to death or at the best; a lot of wasted ammo and herbs.
In some situations, the player would be forced to choose between two actions which could alter the game and plot in subtle ways. Two different endings were available based on how players acted throughout the game.
Nemesis was originally meant to be set on a luxury cruise liner, which would eventually be seen in Revelations and was inspired by The Terminator. Shinja Mikami said he wanted to drive the fear in a new direction and Nemesis allowed him to do so.
I wanted to introduce a new kind of fear into the game, a persistent feeling of paranoia. The Nemesis brings that on in spades. When it disappears after the first confrontation, you live in constant dread of the next attack. The idea is to make you feel like you’re being stalked.
The idea of the Nemesis has been used effectively in many subsequent horror titles such as Outlast, Alien: Isolation and will be seen again in Resident Evil 7.
3. Resident Evil 4 – GCN – 2005
Often hailed as the best Resident Evil, RE4 is very, very good, but according to our super secret scientists, it’s not the absolute best.
After years of teases, rumours and a lengthy development time, players finally got their hands on it in 2005. First discussed in 1999, the very first iteration of RE4 was such a massive departure from the series’ formula that it was released as Devil May Cry.
In 2002, the ‘Fog Version’ showed Leon infiltrating an Umbrealla facility and gradually succumbing to the T-Virus. A second ‘Hook Man Version’ was shown at E3 2003 and again featured Leon becoming infected, but this time he appeared to fight ghosts, haunted suits of armour and other ghost like entities.
Finally, Mikami stepped in and took over development to shepherd RE4 into a new direction.
Set in Spain, Leon must rescue the President’s daughter from a cult and in the process discovers a brand new B.O.W. threat. Some of the planned ideas were included in the finished game; such as Leon becoming infected, but for the most part it was a re-invention of the formula.
Mikami had stated that after playing Resident Evil 0 he realised that the series had lost its ability to scare players and that only once he started playing the new version was he scared again. Even though the game took place on a new continent, with new enemies, Umbrella was still involved and the plot tied into the greater RE universe.
Among RE4‘s implemented changes were the Merchant and his famous catch cry.
2. Resident Evil – PSX & GCN – 1996 & 2002
It could almost go without saying, but Resident Evil is a classic and a masterpiece.
Whether you’re talking about the original or the Gamecube remake, Resident Evil is just great. The simple story of a group of elite police officers trapped in a mansion and separated from their partners is perfect B-Grade horror fodder.
Throw in an evil corporation, double-dealings and blackmail and you’ve got all the makings of a 90’s blockbuster. Sure, the gameplay has aged, but it’s still playable even today. Why else (aside from money of course) would Capcom keep re-releasing it, essentially unchanged?
Resident Evil gave us Chris, Jill, Wesker and Barry. It gave us herbs, item boxes, the T-Virus, the Tyrant and Umbrella. These are cornerstones of gaming culture and it all started with one game in 1996.
The remake is undoubtedly easier to play and includes a few new areas and the terrifying Lisa, but for pure nostalgia you can’t go past the original.
Remember this guy?
How about “The master of unlocking?”, “Jill sandwich” or the first time those dogs jumped through the windows?
There’s a reason Resident Evil is so widely loved and so high up on this list. The only reason it’s not number one is because Capcom perfected the formula with its first sequel.
1. Resident Evil 2 – PSX – 1998
The Licker, William Birkin, Hunk, Raccoon City, Mr X, Claire, Leon, G-Virus. These are what Resident Evil 2 brought to the table.
The opening cinematic is pure cheese. From “That guy’s a maniac! Why’d he bite me?”, to Leon putting a bullet through a zombie’s head and finally to the car crash, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride when you boot it up.
Maintaining the ability to select two separate characters from the original, Resident Evil 2 took it a step further and made Leon and Claire’s stories intertwined. There were repercussions in your second playthrough based on what you did the first time around. If you took the holster as Leon, Claire would be left with the submachine gun and vice versa.
The puzzles in RE2 are somehow even more obtuse than the first title, but that only adds to the overall charm. So much of RE2 plays with what came before, but also expands upon it and truly manages to craft a universe within which we all love to visit.
As the dying police officer says, “There was an…incident…involving. Zombies!” and thank god there was. Where would we be without Resident Evil.
Resident Evil 7: biohazard will be available from January 24, 2017. Look for our review.