Resident Evil

Resident Evil, known as Biohazard (バイオハザード) in Japan, is a successful franchise of horror-adventure video games developed by Capcom. It is credited with popularizing the survival horror game genre, in which the goal is to avoid being killed by monsters, undead and assorted evil creatures bent on attacking you.



Missing image
Chris and Jill. Scene from Resident Evil (remake)

The success of this franchise has spawned several computer games, a comic book series, novelizations, two Hollywood action films and toy action figures. While the games mostly adhere to a consistent storyline there are enough deviations from the game plot within the films and novels to be considered alternate storylines.

The first game (Resident Evil, 1996) takes place in the fictitious Raccoon City, a typical midwestern American urban setting controlled economically by the Umbrella Corporation - a conglomerate that produces a wide array of consumer products. Raccoon City's elite S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service, sometimes also referred as Special Tactics and Rescue Squad) are dispatched to investigate strange and gruesome murders outside the city in the surrounding Arklay Mountain and Raccoon Forest area.

The Bravo team disappears, and the Alpha team is sent to recover them and continue the investigation. They are chased into the Spencer mansion where they uncover evidence that Umbrella is conducting illegal and unethical research into biological warfare. They have secretly been researching the mutagenic effects of synthetic viruses on living organisms, resulting in the creation of several species of fierce, bloodthirsty mutants.

Each title sheds more light on Umbrella's operations and background, how far-reaching they are, and what lengths they will go to in order to keep their operations a secret. More recent titles touch on the government's attempts to take down Umbrella.


Resident Evil is based on a game known as Sweet Home, which in turn was based on a Japanese horror film, スイトホム (Suito homu). Sweet Home was released by Capcom in Japan only sometime in the late 1980s for the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System). Resident Evil borrowed many elements from Sweet Home including the mansion setting, the puzzles, and even the "door" loading screen. This was confirmed by Shinji Mikami, producer and director for many Resident Evil titles, during an interview.

Most of the games in the series are played from a third-person perspective, viewing the characters from a generally overhead camera angle as they move through pre-rendered environments. Although Resident Evil was one of the first games to use this gameplay style on console systems, the technique was first pioneered on the PC by the Alone in the Dark series which is often cited as the first game in the survival horror genre. These static backgrounds have been a bone of contention for many players, although Code: Veronica uses a more dynamic camera system, featuring a fully animated environment (akin to Silent Hill).

Some of the games allow you to chose from one of two main characters which will affect which parts of the story are revealed with additional secrets, mini-missions, weapons and endings unlocked after completing the game by both characters.

The Resident Evil series is controversial for its violence and bloodshed, and each game is prefaced by a disclaimer warning that "this game contains scenes of violence and gore". It should be noted that the game's violence is almost exclusively against zombies and non-human mutants and only twice in the entire series does the player character ever fight and kill another human being. However, the player-controlled characters are human and their deaths are often graphic.

Further controversy arises from Capcom's dealings with Nintendo to make the Resident Evil series exclusive to the GameCube, at least for the core story based titles, after many years of releasing the games for the Sony PlayStation and porting them to other systems (more below).

The series has sold over 24 million copies worldwide as of mid-2004 [1] (, and the following titles have been published or announced and are listed in game time-line order where applicable.

Main series

Resident Evil 0

Main article: Resident Evil 0

Set in 1998, just one day before the events of the original Resident Evil, S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team is sent in to investigate a series of grisly murders in the Arklay Mountains region. On the way to the scene Bravo's helicopter crashes with no fatalities and they discover an overturned military transport truck riddled with corpses. The team is soon split up and Bravo team's field medic, rookie member Rebecca Chambers, begins to wonder what she has gotten herself into. She quickly hooks up with a passenger, ex-marine Billy Cohen, and the two of them face off against a band of Cerberus, swarms of strange leeches, and a mysterious individual with possible links to the disaster. It should be noted that this individual wears a skirt.

Resident Evil

Main article: Resident Evil (video game)

The original game opens on the evening of 24 July 1998 after contact is lost with the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team. Alpha team is sent out to rescue Bravo team and to continue the investigation into the number of grisly murders near the vicinity of Raccoon Forest. After finding the downed Bravo chopper Alpha are attacked and find themselves running for the protection of the Spencer Mansion, believed to be abandoned.

The game gives the player control of either weapons specialist Chris Redfield or "master of unlocking" Jill Valentine as they look for another way out and try to locate the Bravo team. Unfortunately for them the Spencer Mansion is an intentionally elaborate maze of rooms, locks, puzzles and surprises. The game also features other S.T.A.R.S. members including Alpha team leader Albert Wesker, former S.W.A.T. Barry Burton and trainee biochemist Rebecca Chambers.

Unlike subsequent Resident Evil games, this game had a live-action opening and ending. The opening footage in the American version was edited for gore.

Resident Evil: Director's Cut
  • Releases: PlayStation 1997

A re-release of the original Resident Evil featuring a new difficulty setting containing alternate costumes, an enhanced ("one of a thousand") model of the Beretta, new camera angles and different item and enemy placement. A new enemy zombie was also introduced in this version. Originally packaged with a Resident Evil 2 demo, a later version was released featuring compatibilty for Sony's Dual Shock controller, a new soundtrack by Mamoru Samuragoch and (exclusive to the Japanese release) a bonus disk with downloadable save data and footage of the unreleased prototype version of Resident Evil 2 ("Resident Evil 1.5").

Resident Evil (Remake)

Turn out the lights. Lock the doors... Live the Nightmare.

This re-make of the original features all-new graphics and sound while the plot and map remain mostly unchanged. The original live-action segments are replaced by the new graphics engine and the voice over actors are recast. Chris and Jill are still the only two selectable characters, however most of the puzzles have been changed. It is also now necessary to decapitate or burn zombies to prevent them from regenerating later in the game as the fast and deadly "Crimson Heads".

This game features many additional modes, secrets and various endings over the original as well as revealing the fate of the mansion's architect George Trevor and his daughter Lisa. Additional story elements bring Umbrella executive William Birkin and Alexia Ashford into the overall plot. The game also features a new boss creature, Lisa Trevor, that plays a minor additional role in the story and, like Resident Evil 3's Nemesis, continually pursues your character and cannot be killed.

Resident Evil 2

Main article: Resident Evil 2

Set shortly after the events in Resident Evil 1, this title's plot revolves around the devastation of Raccoon City after Umbrella fails to confine the virus to the lab. Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie police officer on his first day, and Claire Redfield, a college student looking for her S.T.A.R.S. brother Chris, arrive in Raccoon City and must survive the horror long enough to get back out.

Resident Evil 2 is more action-oriented than its predecessor featuring a greater number of enemies and boss encounters. Ammo and healing items are more common to compensate.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

  • Releases: PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast 1999; GameCube 2003

Main article: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Also known as Biohazard 3: Last Escape, the game takes place a month and a half after the mansion lab incident. The player takes control of ex-S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine in her attempt to escape the ruined and zombie-infested Racoon City. Resident Evil 3 was the last Resident Evil game to be released on the Sony PlayStation, it was also the final Resident Evil game to take place in Raccoon City. The City's fate is decisively resolved in the game's finale.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica

  • Releases: Dreamcast 2000

Main article: Resident Evil Code: Veronica

This game is the first in the series to use 3D backgrounds instead of the traditional pre-rendered ones (similar to the original Dino Crisis). This title's first part follows Claire Redfield as she continues her search from Resident Evil 2 for her brother, Chris. The game is set mostly on an island off the coast of South America within the confines of an Umbrella-run prison camp where Claire has been sent after her arrest at Umbrella's Paris facility.

The second part of the story sees the return of Chris Redfield who has come to the island to rescue his sister. The plot sees our heroes challenging one of the evil Umbrella Corporation's founders, and reveals that Umbrella is not the only company performing such hideous experiments into biological warfare.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica X

Everything You Feared... And More.

  • Releases: Dreamcast,PlayStation 2 2001; GameCube 2003

An extended version of Resident Evil Code: Veronica featuring over nine minutes of additional scenes.

Resident Evil 4

Evil Evolves.

  • Releases: GameCube 2005, PlayStation 2 2005

Main article: Resident Evil 4

Set in 2004, some six years after the events in Resident Evil 3, the game follows Leon S. Kennedy of Resident Evil 2. Now a US Government agent, he is sent into an isolated Spanish community in order to search for the President's daughter, Ashley Graham, who has been kidnapped.

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 was announced by Hiroyuki Kobayashi during an interview with the video game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly. Tentatively, the game is being called Resident Evil 5. No details are known yet, and it is unknown if the game will be for this generation of consoles or next-generation. Kobayashi has said that "Resident Evil 5 will naturally proceed where Resident Evil 4 left off."

Gun Survivor series

Resident Evil: Survivor

  • Releases: PlayStation, Arcade 2000

Also called Biohazard: Gun Survivor, the game is set in the isolated city of Sheena Island around November 1998, this game is a major departure from the series, deviating from the third-person perspective to first-person shooters. You take control of amnesiac Ark Thompson who is struggling to stay alive long enough to uncover his identity.

The gameplay is a cross between that of first-person shooters and the gameplay of arcade gun games such as the House of the Dead or Time Crisis series. Like a first person shooter, the player views the environment from the perspective of his character, and moves that character through the environment with the controller. At the same time, when the player wishes to attack something, they depress a button which allows them to control a crosshair on the screen that must be moved around to fire at the enemies that appear to attack you.

Enemies are variants of those found in Resident Evil 1 and 2 including Hunters, Lickers, and multiple Mr. Xs.

The game features branching paths that allow you to select the specific levels you wished to explore which affects the way the story unfolds and which characters you will encounter.

Resident Evil Survivor 2: Code Veronica

  • Releases: PlayStation 2, Arcade 2001-2003

Claire Redfield's dream of an alternative Code Veronica scenario developed in conjunction with Namco. The game has no bearing on the plot, although it does feature characters, enemies, and bosses from Code Veronica. The game also features the return of the Nemesis, who appears on the map to chase you if you run out of time, a thinly disguised arcade game device to prevent players from staying on the machine too long.

Players have the option of choosing between either Claire Redfield or Steve Burnside and two-player cooperative play is possible. Gameplay is closer to that of a stardard first person shooter than the original Gun Survivor game, as instead of a manual crosshair the game uses a fixed crosshair that remains at the center of the screen.

The Arcade version of the game has a somewhat unusual layout. Instead of a wieldable lightgun like those used in House of the Dead or Time Crisis, the game uses a fixed mounted machinegun that serves as a joystick to move the player and rotate his or her view, as well as to fire the player's onscreen weapons.

Originally planned for release under the title of Biohazard: Fire Zone, the game was renamed in order to tie it with the similar-playing Resident Evil: Survivor.

Resident Evil Dead Aim

  • Releases: PlayStation 2 2003

Also called Biohazard Gun Survivor 4: Heroes Never Die, it is the 4th game in the Gun Survivor series (Gun Survivor 3 was based on Dino Crisis rather than Resident Evil). This game starts onboard the Umbrealla owned ocean liner, "Spencer Rain", which has been infected with an experimental T-Virus stolen from Umbrella's Paris labs by former employee Morpheus Duvall. You take control of Bruce McGivern of the Anti-Umbrella Pursuit Investigation Team, a U.S. government task force with the sole purpose of taking down Umbrella.

Unlike the previous two Gun Survivor titles this game features navigation from a third-person perspective as you move your character around to explore the ship and avoid zombies. If you wish to fight the zombies, depressing a button on the controller causes you to go into a first-person perspective shooting mode.

The story also features Fong Ling, an agent for the Chinese government with the second half of the game taking place on another island research lab.

Outbreak series

Resident Evil Outbreak

This Time, It's Personal. Around Every Corner. Behind Every Door. Deep in Every Shadow. Terror Waits.

  • Releases: PlayStation 2 2003-2004

This title marks the first game in the Resident Evil series to feature online multi-player support and is set in the timeline of Resident Evil 2 and 3. You take control of one of eight survivors of an outbreak and must make it out of zombie-infested Raccoon City before it is too late. However, online support was not available for European players.

Resident Evil Outbreak File #2

Try and Get Out Alive

  • Releases: PlayStation 2 2004-2005

Following the success of the first title in Japan, Capcom quickly announced BioHazard Outbreak File 2 for release in fall 2004. File 2 is more of an expansion pack to the first game than a whole new game itself. The same eight characters from the first title return with similar capabilities, and the game takes place once again in a zombie-run Raccoon City. Five new scenarios are available for gamers to take on, and the first four are available from the beginning. One scenario takes place in a zoo, another in a subway, and one in a forest-like setting. The fourth scenario is a modified version the Raccoon City Police Department, which first appeared in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The fifth is an Umbrella laboratory. Despite the financial success of the first title, the File 2 sold roughly 40% of what the first did when it was released in Japan, dampening the chances of a future installment.

Other titles

Biohazard i Survivor

Biohazard: Zombie Buster

Biohazard: Zombie Shooter

  • Releases: i-mode, au-phone 2001-2004

Resident Evil Gaiden

S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team member Barry Burton is ordered to check out a cruise ship that has been infected by the T-virus, and to rescue RPD's Leon S. Kennedy. Besides Leon, Barry also encounters a young survivor named Luca and is pursued by a Tyrant-like enemy known simply as the B.O.W.

A side story of the original game (hence gaiden, Japanese for side story), this game features RPG elements, and goes into an RPG-like fight screen whenever combat with the undead is initiated.

Biohazard Assault: The Nightmare

  • Releases: i-mode, Vodafone 2002

Biohazard: The Missions

  • Releases: Vodafone 2003

Biohazard: Confidential Report

  • Releases: Vodafone, au-phone 2004

Biohazard: The Stories

  • Releases: i-mode 2005

Cancelled titles

Biohazard DASH

  • Platform: PlayStation

A semi-sequel to the original Resident Evil set months after the original game's storyline. Biohazard DASH would have placed Jill and Chris in the ruins of the Spencer mansion, as they set out to investigate a nearby zombie plant. Dash intended to use the same environment as the original but would feature new enemies, areas and weapons. Production of DASH was quickly cancelled in favor of Resident Evil 2, but it is believed that certain aspects of the game made it to Resident Evil: Director's Cut, as well as the Battle Mode featured in the Saturn version of Resident Evil.

Resident Evil 2: Prototype version

  • Platform: PlayStation

More popularly known as Resident Evil 1.5, the original version of Resident Evil 2 was reportedly over 60% completed when it was cancelled a month prior to its release date. Many of the characters from the released version of Resident Evil 2 were actually featured in 1.5 including Leon S. Kennedy and Marvin the dying cop - originally scripted to survive in 1.5 but dies in the released version. Notably absent was Claire Redfield, with the prototype featuring the blonde-haired Elza Walker in her place. The main action in the game was to take place in a decidedly more modern police station. The game was rumoured to possess such perks as throwable grenades.

As the game took shape, it was decided that the product was not scary enough and was scrapped before completion. Restarting from scratch, the development team regrouped and went on to make the true Resident Evil 2.

Resident Evil 2

  • Platform: Sega Saturn

A Saturn version of the game was initially announced while Resident Evil 1.5 was still in development. After its cancellation the Saturn version was delayed indefinitely until late during the system's lifespan. A new Saturn version was announced that was to use Capcom's 4MB cartridge, first used with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, but the developers were unable to recapture the quality of the PlayStation version and blame was placed upon the Saturn's inferior 3D capabilites leading to a swift cancellation.

Resident Evil 0

  • Platform: Nintendo 64

Originally intended for the Nintendo 64, it was believed that the system's cartridge media would give the quick load times required for the game's character switching system. Production shifted to the GameCube halfway during development, in order to compete with the Shinji Mikami-directed remake of the original. The scenario and storyline in the finished GameCube version remained largely unchanged although Rebecca's beret, shown on the Nintendo 64, is absent on the GameCube version. The GameCube version's graphics were significantly improved from the Nintendo 64 version (which were closer to Resident Evil 2 and 3 in appearance).

Resident Evil

  • Platform: Game Boy Color

Announced around the same time as the Nintendo 64 version of Resident Evil 0, Capcom originally planned to release a Game Boy Color port of the original PlayStation Resident Evil. The development team apparently managed to capture the original game's three-dimensional gameplay on the Game Boy Color's hardware, but the project was later scrapped citing reasons of poor quality and a new title, Resident Evil Gaiden, was developed with the Game Boy Color's limits in mind as compensation for the cancellation.

Resident Evil 4 prototypes

  • Platforms: PlayStation 2, GameCube

Resident Evil 4 went through three different incarnations during development, each with a different premise, before Mikami decided to take directorial charge of the project.

The first prototype was ironically enough considered too much of a departure from the normal Resident Evil style and was subsequently revamped and released as Devil May Cry.

The second and most well-known prototype of the game, known to the developers as the "Fog Version", featured Leon fighting against non-living objects such as armors, dolls and deer-heads turning to life, as a result of his infection with the Progenitor Virus (first introduced in the Resident Evil remake and in Resident Evil 0).

The third proposed version reportedly featured zombies as enemies again and would have depicted the events leading to Umbrella's shutdown, which is only alluded to in the released version. This prototype was short-lived and was rejected by the developers as too formulaic.


There are two movies, both written by Paul W.S. Anderson who also directed the first film with a third and a fourth already in development.

Although the films purport to take place in the same universe as the games, they contain many plot elements that directly contradict those from the games. Therefore, there is a consensus that the movies are not canonical.

An initial attempt to bring Resident Evil to the big screen was scripted by zombie meister George A. Romero but was subsequently cancelled.

Resident Evil (2002)

A secret experiment. A deadly virus. A fatal mistake.

Main article: Resident Evil (movie)

The story takes place shortly before the original game. The Umbrella Corporation sends a special ops unit to the Hive, their biological lab beneath Raccoon City, to find out why contact has been lost.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

My name is Alice and I remember everything.

Main article: Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Taking off right where the first movie left off, Alice meets up with Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira to try to escape the zombie infested town of Raccoon City. Umbrella is using the situation to prove the combat effectiveness of its Nemesis project.

The movie reworks Resident Evil 3: Nemesis into the movie-series' timeline. The story focuses on Alice, with characters from the video game like Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera taking a more passive and supporting role.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2006)

Recent details have stated that the new film is scheduled to film in Australia at the end of 2005. It will once again involve Alice and her fight to take down Umbrella. The new movie is confirmed to be set in the deserts of Nevada, with the outback providing that scenery.

Resident Evil 4 (2007??)

When the new details of "Afterlife" were revealed, details also came out about back to back shooting of "Afterlife" and the untitled fourth film. It is confirmed that the ending of "Afterlife", will set up a new location, Tokyo.


Resident Evil: Zero Hour

Book 0 in the series is a novelization of Resident Evil 0 and is written by S.D. Perry, 2004, ISBN 0671785117.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy

Book 1 in the series is a novelization of the original Resident Evil, written by S.D. Perry, 1998, ISBN 0-671-02439-6.

Resident Evil: Caliban Cove

Book 2 of the series breaks from previous novelizations efforts, instead telling an original story set on the fictional island of Caliban Cove. Rebecca Chambers attempts to stop a rogue scientist from spreading a modified version of the T-Virus. New S.T.A.R.S members are introduced including: David, John, Steve and Karen of a Maine branch of S.T.A.R.S. Written by S.D. Perry, 1998, ISBN 0-671-02440X.

Resident Evil: City of the Dead

Book 3 returns to novelization with the telling of the Resident Evil 2 video game. Written by S.D. Perry, 1999, ISBN 0-671-02441-8.

Resident Evil: Underworld

Book 4 is another original novel that sees Claire Redfield, Rebecca Chambers and Leon Kennedy attempt to take down Umbrella Corporation before their biological weapons are released. Maine S.T.A.R.S members David and John return from Caliban Cove. Once again written by by S.D. Perry, 1999, ISBN 0-671-024426.

Resident Evil: Nemesis

Book 5 of the series is a novelization of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, written bt S.D. Perry, 2000, ISBN 0-671-178496-X.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica

Book 6 is a novelization of the original Resident Evil Code: Veronica video game, written by S.D. Perry, 2001, ISBN 0-671-78498-6.

Resident Evil: Genesis

Novelization of the first Resident Evil movie which, if canonical, must be set some time before the events of Resident Evil 0. Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, 2001, ISBN 0-743-49291-9.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Novelization of the second movie, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the events of which are an alternate storyline in the Resident Evil 3: Nemesis timeframe borrowing some plot concepts. Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, 2004, ISBN 0-743-49349-4.

Graphic novels

Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Resident Evil: Code Veronica by Lee Chung Hing, published by DC Comics.

Other appearances

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

A popular fighting game that was ported to several home consoles, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 featured an extensive roster of characters from both Marvel Comics and Capcom, including Resident Evil's Jill Valentine and a tyrant as her hyper combo.

Under the Skin

One level in Capcom's PlayStation 2 game Under the Skin takes place in a comical parody of Raccoon City, and features several characters from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis including Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira, as well as the Nemesis character himself.


President Evil, starring President Martti Ahtisaari as the main bad guy, was a parody game published along with the Finnish adult humour magazine Myrkky.

Random Evil A sprite comic created by the Resident Evil: Dawn of a new world guild on

See also

External links

fr:Resident Evil it:Resident Evil ja:バイオハザード (ゲーム) pt:Resident Evil sv:Resident Evil fi:Resident Evil


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