When Resident Evil first hit the Playstation and Sega Saturn, all those years ago, it was as survival horror. Limited ammo, creaky floorboards, health that was scarce and more often than not place deviously close to some sort of new monster. Puzzles that tested your grey matter and if failed resulted in death. It felt at times you were watching a movie as all the cliches were trotted out but splitting up, pools of blood, far of noises and suspicious activity all worked together to deliver a lesson in video game development.
It also had charm; outrageous character animations during cut scenes, ropy voice acting, loading screens that took an age to end but perversely added to the feeling of claustrophobia, of dread and trepidation.
Weapons had to be left behind in favour of a green herb ,of a shiny gem or piano notes.You couldn’t just save your game, you had to find a specific item then cart it back to a specific room but in your way hordes of the undead, you had to question weather it was worth the journey!
A game when you might not see an enemy for five minutes but you know there is one close as you have just been treated to a cut scene. Plus on hell of a needlessly convoluted story, everything added to the setting. All in all it was pitch perfect, here was a game that had it all.
Now wave after wave of foes charge to their demise, explosions rock the screen and blood in splattered in visceral style reminiscent of a straight to video nasty.These days it is BOOM BANG KAPOW, in short it is no longer Resident Evil. Oh it has the name, the look, the characters and in some places the fear but it is no longer survival horror, just horror.
And that is a real pity, as the first in the franchise was a genuinely hair raising experience. Little touches like taking a ten minute detour just because you suspect the room you want to go through has a zombie in it. The layout of the mansion allowed this and was better of for it, now it is a case of A through to B dispatching as many of the undead as you can manage.
The newer ones are not bad games they just no longer fit the bill, with each incarnation hope is dashed that a hair tingling, nerve wracking, fever baiting game will be released. Roll back the clock Capcom and you will find you had it right the first time around.