The Resident Evil Universe: Games, Movies and More
If you’ve been playing video games for the past 20 years, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Resident Evil. Even if you haven’t the crossover movie series based on the games has turned Resident Evil into a household name. But what is it all about and why are people so obsessed with its storylines and characters?
Essentially, Resident Evil can be summed up in one word: zombies. But there’s more too it than just that. This buyer’s guide will introduce some of the themes and characters and run through everything you need to know about the Resident Evil movies and games.
Zombies and Blood in Resident Evil
Resident Evil was dreamed up by Japanese game designers Shinji Mikami and Tokuro Fujiwara in the mid-1990s for the legendary game manufacturer Capcom. The first instalment in the series actually arrived a few years later in 1996, and was one of the games that really showed what the PlayStation could do.
With its claustrophobic atmosphere, dystopian back story and accessible but terrifying gameplay, Resident Evil invented a whole new genre called “survival horror”, with hordes of zombies seeking to kill your in-game heroes – a man named Chris Redfield and a woman named Jill Valentine.
Now, things could start to become complicated, so let’s try to outline the essential plot elements that made Resident Evil so compelling.
Resident Evil revolves around a kind of pharmaceutical company known as the Umbrella Corporation, who have created something called the T-Virus – a contagion that can turn humans into zombies and create murderous monsters from other creatures.
Geographically, the video games start in rural America at a mansion in the Arklay Mountains, which served as the original research base for the T-Virus’ creators. The action then moves from the mountains to Raccoon City, at which point the storylines of the Resident Evil games converge with the movies.
Major Characters on Resident Evil
We don’t have space here to give the full life story of every single character you can play or interact with in the Resident Evil universe (and there are a lot), but it’s hard to get a sense of what’s going on without knowing a few things about the protagonists.
Chris Redfield – An ex US marine, Redfield teams up with Jill Valentine to investigate the mansion in Resident Evil 1 as part of the Special Tactics And Rescue Service of Raccoon City’s police force.
Jill Valentine – The other playable character in Resident Evil 1, she (like Chris) follows up the first game by becoming a sworn enemy of the Umbrella Corporation.
Albert Wesker – A more shadowy character, Wesker starts out as the Captain of Redfield and Valentine’s unit, he soon proves to be more than meets the eye. Later games find him playing the super-villain role.
Leon Kennedy – Appeared for the first time in Resident Evil 2 and quickly became the number one playable character. Starting as a hapless rookie cop, he becomes a seasoned zombie-killer with the help of mysterious femme fatale Ada Wong.
Carlos Olivera – A major player in Resident Evil 3, Olivera is an ex-communist guerrilla from South America and becomes a key ally of Jill Valentine in the quest to escape Raccoon City. He also features heavily in the film series as a friend of Alice.
Alice – Interestingly, although she stars in all of the Resident Evil movies, Alice isn’t to be found in the games at all (but she does interact with many in-game characters). Played by Milla Jovovic, Alice begins as a security guard at the Umbrella Corporation’s Hive facility but forms a plan to expose their evil plot. Soon after, it becomes clear that she has a resistance to the T-Virus. Instead of turning her into a monster, it gives her superhuman agility, stamina and strength – handy weapons in her adventures.
So, that’s the major characters from the games, and the star of the movies. Obviously there’s a lot more to Resident Evil than that, so let’s have a look at how the game and movie series panned out.
The Resident Evil Video Game Series
Resident evil is one of the longest running franchises in gaming history. The first title was released by arcade legends Capcom in 1996 and new titles have been released almost every year since then. Here’s a run-down of the major titles that all gamers should try:
Resident Evil 1 – When it appeared back in 1996 on the PlayStation 1, Resident Evil took survival horror games up a notch (or four), offering an immersive, terrifying shoot ‘em up experience that had never really been seen before. The original’s visuals may seem blocky now, but a remastered version was released in 2015 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PCs, and is a great place to start.
Resident Evil 2 – Set a couple of months after the first instalment, Resident Evil 2 saw players roaming around zombie-filled Racoon City, adding extra adventure-style puzzle solving elements to the mix. It appeared in 1998 for a range of consoles and Windows, but has not yet received a recent release like the first game in the series.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – Released in 1999, the third Resident Evil game saw Jill Valentine trying to escape from a virus afflicted city and was more of a pure shooter than an adventure. Again, it was released for consoles like the PlayStation and Dreamcast, as well as Windows PCs.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica – Released in 2000, Code Veronica was essential Resident Evil 4 and saw three main characters tackling a virus outbreak on an Antarctic base. Proper 3D (non-rendered) environments were introduced, along with extra camera angles, and Veronica was also the first version to receive PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions (a few years after its initial release on Dreamcast).
Resident Evil Zero – The first Resident Evil game to appear on the Wii was initially released in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube. This time around, the action took place at an abandoned pharmaceutical facility and saw players zapping between two characters with different skills. The Wii saw a version in 2008, while remastered editions for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One came out in 2016.
Resident Evil 4 – Finally, the official sequel to Resident Evil 3 arrived in 2005. Now, players took the role of a special agent trying to rescue the daughter of an American president, with multiple locations around the world. A genuine action classic, RE4 brought an over the shoulder view into fashion and has received a recent remaster for next generation consoles.
Resident Evil 5 – Released in 2009 for the Xbox 360 and PS3, the fifth instalment found the heroes investigating terrorists in an African state called Kijuju. This time around, a two-player cooperative mode was added to the mix and horror elements were toned down a little, focusing instead on pure action. The Xbox One and PS4 received remastered versions in 2016.
Resident Evil: Revelations – A return to the survival horror roots of the franchise, Revelations arrived in 2012, initially for the Nintendo 3DS. The action is sandwiched between RE4 and RE5 and is all about survival, with stealth challenges, limited energy and ammo to contend with. HD updates arrived for the PS3, Xbox 360, Windows and the Wii U in 2013.
Resident Evil 6 – Released in stages in 2012 and 2013, RE6 saw a group of heroes fighting against a worldwide terrorist conspiracy, offering a more complex dramatic horror storyline than previous releases.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 – The sequel to Revelations arrived in February 2015 and featured four linked episodes, forming a mystery scenario that keeps players in suspense until the final revelation. As with the original Revelations, gameplay revolves around using the complementary skills of different characters and the title has been released across all major platforms.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard– One of the gaming events of 2017 will be the appearance of RE7: Biohazard for Windows, PS4 and Xbox One. For the first time, Resident Evil players will be able to immerse themselves in the game’s horrific universe via VR (for PS4, at least).
Thanks to remastering and databases of past titles, it’s now possible to play through the entire Resident Evil series to get a feel for the continuity of the plots.
It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of other titles in the Resident Evil universe to go alongside the list above. For example, there more simplistic rail shooters like the Umbrella Chronicles and smartphone optimised games like Resident Evil: Mercenaries.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard TV Spot
Resident Evil: Revelations Specs
If you want to enjoy the latest version in the Resident Evil series (Biohazard), you’ll need a PC with the following specifications (or a PS4 or Xbox One.):
OS: Windows 7, 8,8.1, 10 64-Bit
Memory: 8GB RAM
Processor: AMD FX-6300 or Intel Core i5-4460 2.70GHz or better
GPU: AMD Radeon R7 260x or Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
Those are the minimum recommended specs. To enjoy the PC version at optimum speed and resolution, a 3.4GHz processor, and an AMD Radeon R9 280X are both recommended by the manufacturer.
Things to Think About Before Buying a Resident Evil Video Game
Aside from whether you actually enjoy first person shooters, survival horror or RPG style games, it’s also worth considering who is going to be playing Resident Evil. The game is classified by America’s ESRB as “M” which means that it contains “intense acts of violence”. Some of the games are rated by PEGI for children over 16 years, but most of them are suitable for persons aged 18 years and older.
Resident Evil at the Movies: One of the Most Successful Film Series Ever
Resident Evil isn’t just a computer game franchise. Since 2002, it has also transferred extremely successfully to the big screen. In fact, it has become the world’s most successful film spin-off from a video game, earning legions of fans in the process. Here’s a quick recap of events in the Resident Evil films so far:
Resident Evil – Released in 2002, the original Resident Evil movie as directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Alien vs. Predator), and starred Milla Jovovich as Alice from the computer games. The first instalment sees Alice escaping from an Umbrella Corporation facility called the Hive, fighting against an army of zombies in the process.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse – 2004’s Apocalypse was helmed by Alexander Witt and finds Alice trapped in Raccoon City as humanity tries to limit the spread of the T-Virus (which was let out of the Hive in the first movie). She helps out video game mainstays Jill and Peyton, has to fight Nemesis, before a nail-biting ending as nuclear apocalypse threatens.
Resident Evil: Extinction – Released in 2007, Extinction was directed by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander) and starts off with the world in the grip of the T-Virus. It charts Alice’s attempts to trek from Nevada to Alaska and the possible refuge of Arcadia, but things rapidly become extremely complicated (and violent) as a race of super zombies becomes involved.
Resident Evil: Afterlife – Released in 2010, Afterlife saw Anderson return to directing duties. Now Alice is on the attack, having discovered that the Umbrella Corporation had found a way to clone her and her psychic abilities. She turns the tables and attacks Umbrella in Tokyo but the corporation fights back, setting up a worldwide battle between the two opposing forces.
Resident Evil: Retribution – Again directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, Retribution arrived in 2012 and saw a few heroes of the video games in action, including Carlos Olivera and Barry Burton. This time around, Alice teams up with Ada Wong and numerous clones of earlier characters to escape an Umbrella base, before finding herself in another battle to the death against the Red Queen when she reaches the surface.
Resident Evil: the Final Chapter – Released in late 2016, the Final Chapter was released in stereoscopic 3D and was directed by Anderson once more. The film (without giving too much away) sees Alice heading back to Raccoon City for a showdown with the Umbrella Corporation that will bring the series full circle.
All of the Resident Evil movies aside from the Final Chapter have been released on DVD and Blu-ray. If you haven’t caught up with events or are completely new to the series, the best option is to purchase the Resident Evil Collection, which includes all of the movies up to and including 2012’s Retribution.
If you watched the movies and have played the games and still need a shot of action from the Resident Evil universe, there have also been a number of novels based on the series. The first six movies all received novelisations (basically imitations of the events in the films), but there have also been original works by Osamu Makino called Resident Evil: the Umbrella Chronicles.
There have also been several graphic novels based on the computer game series by Ricardo Sanchez and Kevin Sharpe. Finally, you could check out the excellent Resident Evil: the Marhawa Desire by Naoki Serizawa, which provides background to the start of the series.
If you need more after that, there’s sure to be another Resident Evil game or movie (even if the “final chapter” has been written) somewhere along the line.
Resident Evil: Final Chapter Trailer
Resident Evil Merchandise
As you’d expect from a bestselling movie and video game franchise, Resident Evil has spawned a massive array of fan merchandise. If you want to add to your Resident Evil, here are just a few of the products to look out for:
Apparel – There’s a massive variety of clothing associated with the Resident Evil brand, including printed hoodies, t-shirts, baseball caps and sweatshirts, so if you want to advertise your feelings about the Umbrella Corporation, there’s no shortage of ways to do so.
Figurines – As with many high profile franchises, Resident Evil has spawned a small industry in toys and collectables, including major game characters like Alice and Chris Redfield, along with all of the major monsters.
Card games – Resident Evil can also be played as a board/card game, thanks to the Deck Building Game, where you compete with friends to build arsenals and special skills in order to survive the zombie epidemic.
Accessories – You’ll also find Resident Evil themed backpacks, wallets, umbrella cases, iPhone cases, laptop bags – you name it, there’s probably a Resident Evil design to be had.
Posters and prints – Both the movies and video games have some thrilling posters, and you can purchase them online fairly easily.
Buying Cheap Resident Evil Products
If you want to start your Resident Evil collection, you’ll be sure to find plenty of great offers for the games, movies and merchandise at HotUKDeals. It makes sense to look for box sets, whether you are hunting games or Blu-rays, as this will lower the cost and may well include extra merchandise as part of the package.
Have a look at the HotUKDeals listings, and you’ll find Resident Evil deals on offer from a huge range of major UK retailers. The games and films are available from brands like Tesco, Asda, Argos, Sainsburys, Currys, GAME, Amazon, eBay, Very, and all of them are good places to look.
However, it’s also a good idea to check for downloadable content at places like the PlayStation Network, where flash sales regularly slash the price of instalments in the series.
You’ll also find PlayStation and Xbox bundles with Resident Evil titles included (most likely Resident Evil 7). If you want to update to a PS4 and love the Resident Evil franchise, these bundles are the ideal option to go for and you can find them from merchants like eBuyer or Smyths.
Check the listings when Black Friday comes around as well. Taking place in late November, Black Friday always sees major reductions on entertainment products like PS4 games and Blu-rays.
The Resident Evil Deals - Enjoy for Less With HotUKDeals
Resident Evil has been terrifying PlayStation, PC and XBox players for decades now, and has also produced a hugely successful movie series. Build a Blu-ray or game collection as cheaply as possible with the constantly updated range of Resident Evil offers at HotUKDeals.