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Start To Finish: The Ultimate Resident Evil Guide

Resident Evil

Resident Evil. Two words that are sure to strike fear into the very souls of gamers across multiple console generations.

Originally titled 'Biohazard' in Japan, until Capcom's Director of Operations Chris Kramer pointed out they would never be able to trademark the term in the US, Resident Evil first arrived on the PlayStation 1 in 1996.

Since then, there have been a staggering TWENTY-EIGHT entries across various consoles, with the 29th (a Resident Evil 4 remake) due out next year. And that's before we get to the novels, the comics, the TV shows, the movies, the anime, the pachinko machines, the mobile and board games, and the stage plays. Yes, really, there have been 3 stage plays.

Simply put the Resident Evil franchise is a behemoth... but we decided it was a worthy subject for a Halloween Special!

I say we, as I'm joined by Dan, Paul, Sophie and Callum who have graciously agreed to help by covering some of their favourite aspects of the series.

We've divided things up into the following 5 categories; The Original titles, The Decline, The Ethan Winters Saga, The Remakes and The Board Games.

So, with the housekeeping out of the way, lets dive in and look at the original games!

The Original Games

Love Bite

Before we get into the games themselves, indulge me while I give you a little background on my history with the Resident Evil franchise.

In 1996 when the first game released, I was the tender age of 10 years old, and although I did get a PlayStation that Christmas, I spent my days playing tamer titles like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro.

However, I distinctly remember hearing hushed conversations on the playground. The older kids talking about this terrifying game set in a booby-trapped mansion full of shambling monsters, and it piqued my interest.

It wouldn't be until the release of Resident Evil 2 in 1998 that I got my first taste of the T-Virus though. Having been regaled with stories of how good it was by a friend at school I finally persuaded my parents to get me a copy.

Unfortunately, I barely got to play on it straight away, as we jetted off on a 2-week holiday just hours after I booted it up for the first time. For 14 long days I thought about little else, itching to get back to the Raccoon City Police Precinct.

The moment I did I was hooked on the entire franchise, and it's a love affair that has persisted right up to the present day... albeit with a few tiffs along the way.

Game Changer

Picking your battles, conserving ammo, solving puzzles and slowly revealing the story piece by piece - Resident Evil was a landmark title, and if it didn't invent the survival horror genre then it certainly revolutionised it.

Resident Evil 1 takes place almost exclusively in The Spencer Mansion, putting players in the shoes of either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine.

Jill and Chris are joined by combat specialist Barry Burton and the enigmatic Albert Wesker, who are all part of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service, or S.T.A.R.S as they are better known. Chased into a creepy mansion, they quickly discover something isn't quite right... the first big clue being a rather pale looking chap chewing on someone's face.

Although the S.T.A.R.S enter as a team, players will find themselves alone in the claustrophobic house of horrors for the most part.

Their job is to scour for items and scarce but vital resources, and solve puzzles, all while trying to avoid being eaten by the various denizens of the suspicious mansion.

Unload all your ammo into the first few zombies you meet and you're probably going to have a bad time. But fail to thin out the undead numbers and potentially pay the price if you have to revisit the area later. It's a balancing act, made even more difficult by the fact even resources to save your game are limited.

One issue many new players have with the first few games in the series are the Tank controls. They make Chris and Jill particularly cumbersome to control, but this was an intentional choice by Shinji Mikami, who felt they made the game feel scarier. Not only that but they lent themselves well to the fixed camera angles and static backgrounds Resident Evil games were famed for.

It was these static backgrounds that were responsible for the game looking stunning by 1996 standards, too. With environments being little more than jpeg images that characters move in front of, the games developers were able to add depth and detail to locations without gobbling up precious resources that fully rendered backgrounds would have needed.

While not without its faults (the voice acting is either awful or endearing depending on how you look at it), Resident Evil is a masterpiece of gaming.

The Second Coming

Two years down the line Capcom returned to the maggot infested table with Resident Evil 2. I've already explained that this is my favourite entry in the franchise, and that's because it's more of the same from the first entry... but better.

The environments look grander, the enemy design is better, the puzzles make more sense, the controls... well, they're just as awkward as ever, but it works!

Resident Evil 2 starts on the streets of Raccoon City before largely being based inside the Police Precinct and the sewers below. Although the locations sound like they should be more open, there is still that air of claustrophobia that made the first game so nail biting.

As with the first game, players can choose their protagonist from Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Leon is a Police Officer with terrible timing, heading to Raccoon City to start a new job just as the outbreak begins. Claire is the sister of Chris from the first game, and is searching for her brother. They meet by chance and their fates become instantly intertwined.

Resident Evil 2 introduced a couple of new things over the first game; scenarios and Mr. X.

This time each player has an A and a B scenario, the latter unlocking for the opposite character once their main campaign has been completed. The second is almost a 'what if', as it plays out a scenario where the car they are in during the opening cut scene is flipped, meaning Leon goes right instead of left and vice versa for Claire.

It essentially doubles the length of a game that's already quite chunky to start with.

Yes, it's the same locations, but different interactions, weapons and to an extent, plot points. Which brings me on to Mr. X.

X is a tyrant that gets dropped into Raccoon City on Claire and Leon's B Scenario. His mission is to recover a sample of the G-Virus and wipe out any remaining witnesses in the Police Station, and as such from the moment he lands he's on your trail.

Unlike the remake X isn't dynamic in his movements, and only appears at certain 'set pieces', but he still adds an element of dread to initial play-throughs, as you never quite know when he might appear.

Triple Threat

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis released in 1999 and was the final entry to feature pre-rendered backgrounds, with the control scheme also receiving a couple of upgrades that paved the way for what was to come.

Despite my absolute love for Resident Evil 2, I never really gelled with Nemesis in the same way, and a big part of that was due to the titular character.

I wasn't a huge fan of the Mr. X mechanic in Resident Evil 2, and Nemesis is that... but on steroids (probably quite literally looking at him.)

Nemesis has an unstoppable thirst for the blood of S.T.A.R.S members, and having already killed Brad Vickers (the helicopter pilot from Resident Evil 1) he sets his sights on Jill Valentine.

What ensues is an off the scale game of cat and mouse across Racoon City, with Nemesis constantly on your heels no matter what you do.

While RE:3 is quite substantial in size, it only has one scenario and then an unlockable 'Mercenaries' mode, that is almost like a time attack.

Despite my personal cynicism, Nemesis IS a good game, a lot of people's favourite in the series, and there are aspects I do like.

The new controls I mentioned earlier add a dodge and a 180 turn, which doesn't sound like much but actually makes a huge difference in how agile you can be.

Nemesis also introduced a 'Live Selection' mechanic, where two options would be presented and a snap decision has to be made that will affect things later in the game. This would eventually morph into pure Quick Time Events in the later titles, but I personally prefer what they did here.

In Full Fourth

Now, at this point I have to do a little more housekeeping. Technically there are two (kind-of) mainline games that released between Nemesis and Resident Evil 4; Code Veronica and Zero.

But this collab is already going to be a monster akin in size to the original Tyrant, and as neither of them follow on from Nemesis (Zero is a prequel and CV falls between 2 and 3) they got chopped.

Right, on to what many consider the jewel in the crown of the Resident Evil franchise... Resident Evil 4.

Released in January 2005 in North America and Japan, then in March in the UK (can you imagine a gap like that these days?!) RE4 was originally a GameCube exclusive. It has since been ported to practically every console available, the most recent being a VR adaptation for the Oculus Quest 2, and is getting a remake... but more on that later!

Resident Evil 4 makes some DRASTIC changes to the tried and tested formula followed in 1-3. For a start it's no longer focused in and around Racoon City, in fact it's not even set in the USA. This time the action follows Leon Kennedy to Spain in order to rescue the President’s daughter.

The tank controls and fixed camera angles are gone too, replaced by a more standard control scheme and an over-the-shoulder view.

Perhaps the most shocking move though, is that Resident Evil 4 doesn't feature any zombies. Something that up until this point the franchise had been synonymous with.

Instead, Leon has to fight his way through hordes of villagers and cultist infected by 'Las Plagas', a mind-controlling parasite. Not only does this mean they are far faster than the mindless, shuffling zombies of previous titles, but they are also much more competent when mounting an attack.

When I first booted up Resident Evil 4 on my Gamecube, I can't say as I was a fan. I expected something similar to Resident Evil 2 but with better graphics, and what I got was a game that felt like RE in name only.

However, as I battled with chainsaw-wielding villagers and felt just how claustrophobic the new camera angle made things feel, I started to enjoy it.

The bigger world allowed for more locations to be explored, more items to be found and more enemies and bosses to attack. Yes, it was a step away from what made the series great in the first place, but it stopped it from getting stale and found the perfect mixture of action and survival horror.

In fact, if it wasn't for the nostalgia I have for 2 then 4 would absolutely be my favourite game of the franchise. I'm not a huge fan of the quick time events that lead to certain death if you miss a button press, but I can give it a pass in what is otherwise a stellar game.

Resident Evil 4 would set the blueprint of what was to come, but not everyone liked the direction things went... As it transpires though Dan wasn’t one of them, so let me hand over to him for a different take on the games considered by many to be ‘The Downfall’ of the Resident Evil Series.

The “Downfall”?

So, in this mega collab of Resi fans, I have been tasked with writing about the supposed “downfall” period. I didn’t realise there was such a negative consensus on these games until we started talking about it behind the scenes here at Zatu. I have fond memories of both of these titles. The “downfall” period. If you could hear me right now, you would have heard a little sigh of disappointment. Resident Evil 5 & 6 aren’t the downfall, they are the god-damn reinvention of the series!

Tag Team Turmoil

Resident Evil 5 for me was the first game in the series that I actually enjoyed for many years. It was actually the first since RE3 that I took a shine too. Code Veronica X was great too, but my game was bugged and I was hard locked out of progression. I never managed to finish that game. RE5 however injected the action into the series that it was needing. Whether fans agree with this or not.

RE4 may have been iconic in its own ways but I felt that it was lacking in a lot of areas. The highlights of RE5 for me were taking down the biohazard bosses. There was just something satisfying being able to take them down with much more gumption than in previous titles. Whether that was specific strategies that you needed to employ or certain weapons that needed to be utilised, I think the game has some of the best bosses in the whole Resi line up.

Resident Evil 5 had some really outstanding moments in it. Unlike Jay, I AM a fan of QTEs, I think it keeps the player engaged during otherwise drab cut-scenes. I loved the mercenaries mode. By god, I absolutely loved the mercenaries mode. I spent hours upon hours in that mode with my friends. Not to mention the good old classic couch coop you could play the game in.

What I did not like so much however, was Sheva. Both as a character and as an AI. The number of times I just simply wished Sheva would be killed off screen at some point would shock you. Only, if Sheva dies, it is game over. But honestly, in a biohazard breaching possible end of the world scenario, anyone who just stands idle whilst their partner is being eaten, or thinks a shotgun only works a mile from its target doesn’t deserve to survive.

Make It A 3-Way… Or 4

Resident Evil 6 naturally followed on from the action-oriented gameplay of 5. A lot of people made their gripes about 5 known, and so Capcom responded to this by… giving players more of what they disliked? Not entirely sure what Capcom was thinking with that move, but hey, I enjoyed the title. I actually enjoyed it a fair bit more than I did RE5.

What I loved more than anything in RE6 was the characters. I know that might seem controversial, and hey, most of my opinions here in this collab feature are, but bear with me. The titles up to this point had played it pretty straight forward with characters. Mainly featuring one or two main protagonists. But RE6 had 6 heroes duking it out in their three respective stories. This was phenomenal! Not only did we finally (after a whopping 16 years) see Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy meet for the first time, but we also had a plethora of new characters. Whilst admittedly, I could not remember the names of Helena Harper or Piers Nivans, they clearly were not as god damn awful as Sheva.

The two best characters by far though, were that of Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin. I thought introducing the son of the long-standing villain of the series as a protagonist was a good choice. And bringing in Sherry Birkin as a protagonist was really clever. She was the little girl that we save in Resident Evil 2 from her mutated father. I loved the story that was told with these characters and seeing them intertwine with the stories of Chris and Leon was such a great way to expand on the story for Resident Evil as a whole. I hope we haven’t seen the last of the new characters we met in this game.

Now, there were a few things that even I had gripes with. Whilst I loved the individual story campaigns, and seeing how they overlapped with each other at times, there were parts that just made no sense to me. In Chris’ campaign, you only ever fight the J’avo. In Leon’s campaign you only fight old school zombies. This made no sense when the two live in the same world, and especially didn’t make sense when the two crossed paths. After playing through Chris’, Leon’s and Jake’s campaigns, you unlock a 4th campaign consisting of story following Ada Wong and a random agent. By the time you have unlocked this, you are pretty much done with the game. The 4th campaign just felt more of a tacked-on feature than anything else.

Underrated Gems

Maybe I just played these games at an age that was just right; maybe I wasn’t as attached to the old Resident Evil formula as everyone else; maybe I was totally drunk every time I played them: I don’t know. What I do know is, these two games deserve more recognition than they get. The absolute undeniable success of Resident Evil 4 paved the way for the series to be skewed off into a totally new perspective. So, it was inevitable that the series became more action oriented for a while. And I believe the series benefitted more as a whole because of this.

Unfortunately most people disagreed and the series took a short hiatus, which is the perfect cue for me to hand over to Mr. Paul Blyth!

The Winters Family Saga

After the less than stellar reception of Resident Evil 5’s boulder-punching shenanigans and Resident Evil 6’s action heavy leanings, the mainline series was sent to the naughty step to think about what it had done. It stayed there for five years.

In those five years its biggest gaming rival - Silent Hill - also went fairly quiet. That is, until 2014, when a mysterious demo appeared on the PlayStation store called PT. Survival horror fans will be well educated about the would-be king “PT”, which ended up being a “Playable Teaser” for Silent Hills.

It was to be directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro and would star Walking Dead mainstay Norman Reedus. The short demo promised so much, action was moved to first person to get you right into the scares. The claustrophobic and oppressive atmosphere of Silent Hill was back and everything was looking up. Then Konami happened. Kojima had a very public falling out with the studio, everything fell to pieces and, among other things, Silent Hills was canned. Then, out of the shadows in 2016, came something very exciting - a trailer for Resident Evil 7.

Remasters Before Remakes

Before the remakes, there were two HD remasters of Origins and Resident Evil. It was the hit of nostalgia fans wanted. We got to revisit the mansion and hear Barry say the famous Jill Sandwich line. However, these games still played the same and the graphics weren’t great. They were a cheeky cash grab in a market of half-baked remasters. But then Capcom got to work on something truly special…

Remaking Perfection

When I heard about the Resident Evil 2 remake, I was excited. I remember watching my older sister play this whilst I hid behind sofa cushions. Now I could load up the game and experience it myself for the first time. Despite being a remake, it feels like a brand-new game. The story differs across the 2 playable storylines and includes new boss fights.

Level design is impeccable. Tight spaces, mixed with low lighting up the ante. I never knew what was around each corner and I had no idea when a zombie might drop on my head. Survival ramped up as resources got sparser and enemies more aggressive.

I could write a thesis on how great this game is. It’s everything you want from a horror! Don’t even get me started on The Tyrant aka Mr. X! As Jay previously alluded to, Mr X is a character who hunts you down and cannot be killed. His constant pursuit made performing simple tasks difficult, and dealing with mundane enemies challenging. You had to know where you were going and solve puzzles quickly as he stalked you. Having a perusing enemy heightened the whole experience. Especially, as the encounters were completely unscripted this time, and you couldn’t gauge when he would show up.

The Resident Evil 2 remake captures the essence of the original game whilst improving on gameplay, story and design. It invited fans back and made the series accessible to a new generation.

A New Nemesis

In 2020, the Resident Evil 3 remake was released. It was given the same treatment as Resident Evil 2. For me, Resident Evil 3 was one of my favourites in the series. It introduced live selections, Nemesis and memorable boss encounters. My expectation of the remake was through the roof.

Sadly, the remake didn’t meet my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing entry and delivered on aesthetics, gameplay and story. Yet, there was so much missing. The game felt tiny compared to the original. I thought the developers would turn Raccoon City into a zombie infested playground. Apart from the first section, the city felt small and pokey. On top of that, Nemesis was disappointing. His design was amazing, and his boss fights were on point, but he wasn’t menacing enough. His encounters felt scripted, and he was relegated to boss fights only. I wanted him to be more present like Mr. X. I wanted him to chase me at times I wasn’t expecting and induce that same feeling of terror. Nemesis wasn’t frighting, he was just a bullet sponge.

Additionally, the game cut a lot of the story. This made the run time abysmally short, and we missed out on levels like the clocktower, park and factory. Live selection, one of the most innovative parts of the original game, didn’t make the final cut either, taking away any choice you had in the original.

This remake is great. It’s by far one of the best in the series. But the expectation of fans and the success of 2, made it hard for Resident Evil 3 to deliver. The developers made strange choices like cutting down the story and underusing Nemesis. The light single player content was later padded out with an online mode. Resistance was an online game where 4 players were survivors and 1 player acted as the big bad. It was an interesting premise, but lack of players made for long lobbies.

Resident Evil 4 Remake – Coming Soon

On the back of two successful remakes, Capcom is set to release the Resident Evil 4 remake in March 2023. After the expectation and slight disappointment of Resident Evil 3, I am rather nervous about this entry. Resident Evil 4 brought new fans into the Resident Evil franchise and is a cult classic. I do hope, they don’t cut or rearrange the story in a way which will anger fans. Yet, seeing this game in the RE engine is going to be a feast for the eyes.

Who knows how far these remakes will go. Will we see a Resident Evil 5 and 6 remake? Could those games be given the same remake treatment? Somehow, I can’t see those games ever being as suspenseful or atmospheric as Resident Evil 2,3 and 4.

So, that’s everything covered, right? Well, not quite! You see, Resident Evil isn’t confined to the digital world any more, and while that doesn’t mean you’re likely to see a Zombie or a Licker shuffling through the streets, it does mean you can sit down with friends (or even alone) and play the Tabletop adaptations! And who better to talk you through them, than Callum from Northern Dice!

Evil Reborn

Capcom had clearly sat up and noticed what Silent Hills was doing and swiftly took action. Resident Evil 7 looked to revitalise the series. It wasn’t a reboot and it wasn’t a remake. It was something entirely new and the Silent Hills influences were everywhere in the best possible way. The scares were back, the horror was back and everything was going to take place in glorious first-person. After a couple of gripping demos to give players a taste of what to expect Resident Evil 7 did what Silent Hills couldn’t - finished production and released into the wild to thunderous applause.

It followed new protagonist Ethan Winters who receives a message from his wife, Mia, who has been missing for three years, to come find her. Ethan, being an all-round stand-up guy, foolishly sets off to find his beloved. What follows is a non-stop creep-fest, filled with jump-scares, monsters and dismemberment. Ethan faced off against the Baker family in a story that put the Resident Evil franchise back on the map. Resident Evil 7 went on to sell 3.5 million copies in its first four months of release.

Unsurprisingly a sequel was announced and Capcom got cracking with another instalment of what is now known as “The Winter’s Family Saga”. By the time a trailer hit our eyeballs in 2020, Resi 7 had sold over 10 million copies - a first for the series.

It Takes A Village…

Resident Evil 8, officially titled Resident Evil Village... or Resident Evil VIIlage (if you want to be pedantic and butcher typography beyond recognition), looked to continue the first-person trend set by 7. Picking up 3 1/2 years after the events of its predecessor, “Village” followed Ethan as he went on a one-man rescue mission to save his daughter - Rose - from a village of mutants and monsters.

Series regular, Chris Redfield, also played a larger role after his quick cameo towards the end of Resident Evil 7 and a subsequent DLC. This helped tie Ethan’s story into the main canon and timeline rather than just a number on the end of the title. A quip from a late game boss asking where “Chris the boulder puncher” was also a nice touch and an admission of past mistakes by Capcom.

Tonally different from 7, with more focus on action than 7 (but thankfully not to the extent of 6), it still told a surprisingly emotional story. Grounded and relatable, while still dealing with supernatural elements and horror. Capcom certainly hit a perfect balance, which was reflected in sales as Resident Evil Village surpassed 7 and is now the best-selling entry in the series.

From here Capcom have announced DLC, which comes out this winter (2022). It will add third person mode to the main game, new characters to Mercenaries mode, the release of the much-delayed Resident Evil RE:verse, and, most importantly, an extra story called “Shadows of Rose”. This will take place after the events of Village and will see you take control of Ethan and Mia’s daughter - Rose - as she struggles with her mysterious powers. It also signals the end of the Winter’s Family Saga, leaving the door wide open on where the series can go from here.

The Winters Saga wasn’t the only thing Capcom had been working on though, and at the same time as they were moving the franchise in new and exciting directions, they were also appeasing fans rabid appetite for nostalgia by jumping on the remakes bandwagon! I’ll hand over to Sophie to take you through them!

Resident Evil Remakes

After Resident Evil 6, fans were getting a bit frustrated with the series. It had gone from a horror to a farcical (sorry Dan!) action shooter. Enter the Resident Evil remakes. Made in the RE Engine, these were jaw droppingly good to look at with intuitive controls. They captured the horror, dread and atmosphere of the originals in a modern format.

Resident Evil: The Tabletop Games

We’re talking Resident Evil, so of course we’ve got to include the tabletop adaptations created by SteamForged Games! I’ll be talking about Resident Evil 2 The Board Game, Resident Evil 3 The Board Game and, of course, the upcoming Resident Evil The Board Game. All three of these are cooperative at their core and centre on their respective IP’s narratives.

The Tabletop OG

Resident Evil 2: The Board Game was originally a Kickstarter than went to retail in 2019. It follows Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy’s adventures through Racoon City, centrally focussing on the 1998 original’s narrative. However, it does omit some of the events to streamline the experiences held by players. It’s more akin to an A side playthrough of the original. Players will still take on the icon that is ‘G-Virus pumped up Stage 3 Berkin’ and the hideous G-Mutant. You’ll also get both the duos of Leon and Claire AND Ada Wong and Robert Kendo models as main players. Couple that in with 12 zombies, 2 zombie dogs and a Licker and you’ve got a lot to take on!

Fitting All Those Nasties Together

This big boy of a board game has some beautiful bite to it. Every model is gorgeously designed and has stunning detail. From every blood-soaked jawline on those mindless zombies to the veins pumping that G-Juice around Berkin, it’s grotesquely detailed and stands true to the original game.

Narratively the game follows the sequence well with some sensible omissions for those less versed in Resident Evil 2’s deep narrative and lore. You’ll get to experience the adventure of the police department, moving through to the sewers and then diving into the secret Umbrella labs. Combined with the flavourful narration of the scenario book, it’ll give even the most unenlightened novice a clear flavour for what the theme and original were all about: survival horror.

For Those Purists…

If you’re of the sect who followed the lore like gospel, you may want to delve deeper down the rabbit hole. The B-Files expansion will give you true nightmares as Mr X chases you from room to room, adding a new layer of difficulty. It becomes hide, run and seek with a 7ft tall unstoppable behemoth. There are also the Malformations of G expansions, each of which add two more of Berkin’s deadly forms. They attach onto appropriate scenarios and alter existing scenarios with ease!

Resident Evil 2: The Board Game has a lot of optional content, but the game itself runs a linear and easy to understand path. You go from scenario to scenario to complete objectives ready for the next ones. It makes life easy and runs on a simple basis of letting you know what’s dangerous… whilst also shoving you into said danger! As far as accessible, cooperative gameplay with a desperate need to survive theme goes, this is a front runner!

Resident Evil 3: Less Optional Content, More Content

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game runs a similar play style and scenario set up to its predecessor. Running the narrative of Jill Valentine’s story of the world’s neediest stalker, it’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in tabletop form. This video game counterpart didn’t entail an A/B side and, as such, has a play that can match the original’s narrative. However, there’s a unique twist in how this board game applies it. It’s again cooperative and allows players to take on the mantle of Jill, Carlos Oliveira, Mikhail Victor and Nikolai Gionvaef. This core set includes two boss models in the Grave Digger and Nemesis stage two, the Nemesis stage one model, four zombie dogs, two Drain Deimos and 15 zombies. All as disgusting as the last, all stunners within their own right!

Decisions, Decisions…

Unlike its predecessor, this game gives full control of which scenario to take on. It’s not linear but requires players to hunt down particular items as they explore scenarios. Key items unlock and enable players to access more scenarios, and finding four specific ones will unlock the final scenario! This of course is dependent on them managing the scenarios well, dealing with unexpected stalker encounters with Nemesis, and coping with many obstacles which will cause the city to fall into disarray. You’ll need to be actively reducing the danger level of the city… and if you don’t, you’ll easily get caught out with a heavy-hearted loss!

I’d argue this game doesn’t need any knowledge of the IP whatsoever. It’s stunning in how well the narrative events, flavour text and whole system are supported by the theme! Resident Evil label or not, the mechanics of choice and play are superbly addictive! It doesn’t need to include the whole Resident Evil 3 narrative to be true to form. The game nails it beautifully without the need to stick to script!

But I Want Frogs!

There is scope to have a “close to perfect” copy experience of the IP, though. To do so, you’ll need to up the arsenal of your Resident Evil 3: The Board Game and get the expansion: City of Ruin. This includes more nasties, a new Grave Digger scenario, Hunter Gammas and the final, mutated mess of a form for Nemesis. It keeps it gorgeously true to form but also spices up that theme, difficulty and purism for those among us who need that Resident Evil perfection!

As much as the in-scenario systems and play is very similar to Resident Evil 2: The Board Game’s, it’s a whole different feel between each scenario. The choice, decisions and need to return to past scenarios means players have to weigh up the risks of going forward unprepared, or spending time and risking the city declining further. An excellent experience for those wanting a real campaign feel to the previous game! Where is lacks is extra content… but that keeps it lean and, trust me, will keep you keen (to keep playing).

The Original That's Set To Be Third

What’s to come in SteamForged’s third iteration of the Resident Evil tabletop implementations? More focus on exploration within an existing system. The Spencer Mansion is a massive, but finite location that has a limit to its places, but those nooks and crannies, basements and secrets, all need to be discovered. There’s no doubt some scenarios will lay over past ones, but with new alterations as the campaign progresses.

This one also boasts some one shot play for those not wanting a mega deep and intense campaign style of play. Reducing the meat without cutting out the excitement and flavour of that classic survival horror! There will be puzzles galore, enemies hungry and bosses that’ll give you nightmares. A true replication of that tense, horror the original Resident Evil gave on every gamers’ first play!

End Of The Line

Phew! Thanks for sticking with us, we got there in the end!

For those of you that found their favourite aspect of the franchise excluded I can only apologise.

I mean, I'm sure there MUST be someone out there who considers Resident Evil Degeneration on Nokia N-Gage to be the pinnacle of the series, and to those people I'm sorry... in more ways than one. But we had to put some limits in place for this feature, lest we still be working on it come Halloween 2023.

In retrospect the decision to try and cover the entire Resident Evil franchise for a Zatu Halloween Special may well have been a foolish one... but hopefully we hit most of the key areas and you enjoyed it!

Who knows, maybe we'll return to Racoon City next year to take a closer look at the spin-offs, the Resident Evil 4 Remake and the third Tabletop game once they are out!

All that remains to be said is we hope you have a fantastic spooky season, and remember, if you see a free shotgun just mounted on a wall ripe for the taking... leave it alone. It's probably a trap and you'll end up a... well, you know the rest.