Zombies are everywhere, and they have been everywhere for a while. From Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead next time Zack Snyder Army of the deadIt’s actually quite fitting that these bloodthirsty returnees have held out in fiction after all this time. Of course, after being spoiled by quality zombie means like The last of us other Train to Busan Over the years, it’s easy to take the undead for granted. Believe it or not, there was a time when it seemed like his fear factor was over and it was hard to take zombies seriously.
Back in the 90s, Romero’s original Dead The trilogy was already becoming a distant memory, and zombies were considered a cliché, with only the most desperate creators turning to them when they needed threatening antagonists. Aside from the Savini remake of Night of the Living Dead, most of the notable zombie media outlets of that decade had a comedic undertone and gifted us with satirical classics like Brain death other Army of darkness while depriving us of real zombie scares. This spread to games as well, with lighthearted titles like The zombies ate my neighbors contributing to the fall of the undead from the grace of horror.
All of that would change in 1996 when Capcom unveiled its survival horror masterpiece, a little title called Biological risk, known in the western world as demonic resident. Today, I’d like to talk about how this groundbreaking game did more than redefine interactive horror as we know it, it also revived one of the genre’s most versatile monsters for a whole new generation of scares.
Growing up, my only contact with zombies had been through direct-to-video. Scooby Doo action-oriented movies and arcade games (such as the hugely underrated Area 51), so imagine my surprise when my uncle showed up one night with a PS1 disc that said it contained a really scary zombie game. I was too young at the time to really appreciate Shinji Mikami’s masterful craftsmanship when I ripped out the original. demonic residentBut it didn’t take long for me to realize that my uncle was not exaggerating.
Exploring the Spencer Mansion while solving obtuse puzzles and managing limited inventory space was an experience unlike anything I’d ever played before, and while I always instinctively passed the controller to my uncle whenever a zombie appeared, I could still respect the intense (although certainly awkward) combat. Despite the strange voice acting and aesthetics of the B movie, the game played everything completely straight, making things much more intimidating. After the memorable first encounter with an undead enemy, I was terrified that a single zombie could be a lethal threat if not handled correctly, something that no other horror game had managed to do.
I was a teenager when I finished the game, having annoyed my uncle tremendously during that initial game and reluctantly learning to survive alone, but demonic resident it left a lasting impression and introduced me to what would become one of my favorite subgenres. Despite being absolutely mortified for most of my experience with the title, I felt a strange need to face my fears in order to progress, something that I now recognize as one of the most compelling aspects of Survival Horror.
This curious instinct led me to watch (and was often traumatized by) several classic zombie movies, resulting in a lifelong love of the genre, and I think many fans have similar stories. At the end of the day demonic resident It was not a success just because it was scary, but because it allowed players to overcome these horrors with a little patience and perseverance.
Over the years, numerous critics have commented how the intentionally awkward controls and combat system only served to make the game more intense. Players were always at a disadvantage and felt as vulnerable as Jill and Chris when faced with enemies and other deadly obstacles, and were constantly forced to think fast. The limited savings also added weight to each decision, as players were never sure if they were managing resources correctly, knowing that any wrong move could have disastrous consequences later on.
While it was undoubtedly the result of technical limitations, the original game’s focus on close encounters with small groups of zombies rather than hordes also dates back to the work of George Romero. Despite the occasional large crowds of undead ghouls, Romero’s zombies benefited from quirky gestures and unique clothing that reminded viewers that they were once living and breathing people. This made his attacks much more memorable than the generic waves of undead enemies in other media, and this also applies to the horrible horrors of demonic resident. Many fans actually refer to specific enemies in the game by their location, discussing the “Costume Room Zombie” and the “Bathroom Zombie” as true NPCs rather than forgettable enemies, a testament to the planning behind these. encounters.
In fact, the possibility of getting infected is almost the only memorable zombie trope that demonic resident does not play with him. This makes practical sense, as having the player face a death sentence after just one bite would have made things too difficult, but it’s still a shame that they haven’t found an in-game reason to avoid this. The game at least acknowledges the problem by causing other characters to succumb to the Umbrella virus and eventually turn on the player, but it’s strange how nearly every subsequent zombie game followed in Capcom’s footsteps and ignored this simple tradition.
It’s no secret that demonic resident spawned legions of copycats when Survival Horror took off, with many of the so-called “RE Clones ”that also use the undead as a starting point when creating interactive scares. Over the years, this led to zombies returning as genuinely intimidating foes in classics like Dead rising other Left 4 Dead, with monsters even making their way into the incredibly popular Obligations series as one of the franchise’s most beloved bonus features.
Of course, demonic residentThe influence extends far beyond gaming, with this multimedia empire culminating in the world’s most profitable movie franchise based on a video game. While the demonic resident Movies were only superficially connected to games, they became RE in a household name, and they were also something of a gateway for the general public to discover the joys of zombie cinema. At one point, these films were so popular that the Umbrella Corporation became the top of the line for jokes about Big Pharma’s ills, even appearing in viral videos online. Capcom games may have raised zombies from the dead, but these blockbusters kept them alive in other media; although they were not alone.
With zombies back in the public consciousness, it’s not surprising that modernized versions of the undead were seen through movies like Danny Boyle’s in the 2000s. 28 days later and the Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead. After a failed release for his own version of the demonic resident adaptation, even George Romero decided to revise his Dead Films with a new trilogy that reintroduced audiences in his ghoulish style of social commentary. I’d say this zombie mania peaked with AMC’s runaway success the Walking DeadBut we still live in a zombie-infested media landscape more than a decade later.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Shinji Mikami’s horror play is solely responsible for the zombie boom of the 2000s, I have no doubt that demonic resident played an undoubtedly important role in finding these mysterious creatures and bringing them back into the spotlight. In recent years, RE The franchise may have moved away from traditional undead cannibals, but I will always be grateful to these games for introducing me and many others to the strange world of zombie media.