Wow, when Resident Evil was released on this day (March 22) in 1996, who would have thought that we would be talking about it all these years later!
Our first encounter with Resident Evil was quite memorable. Upon loading the game on our Playstation, we were subjected to some cheesy B-grade acting, but it was the rabid zombie dog at the end of the intro sequence that scared the pants off us when watching it at the dead of night – we still have nightmares!
We quickly learn that Raccoon City is a foreboding place, where an outbreak of the T-Virus (created as a bio-weapon by the Umbrella Corporation) starts spreading from the nearby Arklay Mountains, turning humans into zombies and other creatures into horrifying monsters. The protagonists, Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, both members of the Alpha S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) special forces from the Raccoon Police Department (RPD) are trapped in the Spencer mansion, attempting to find out what all the eeriness is about. This is where things get interesting in this awesome survival horror game; from encountering supernatural enemies – some that make you jump off the couch, to finding typewriter ribbons to save your progress and the dread you feel when opening a door to transition to another room, there were scares aplenty!
Interestingly, the game is known as Biohazard in its native Japan. When the Biohazard project kicked off, Capcom were planning a spiritual remake of their 1989 horror game Sweet Home. Once they found that a DOS game had registered the Biohazard title in the US, the company held an internal contest to choose a new name. This contest lead to the title, Resident Evil, which we know and love outside of Japan. Resident Evil/Biohazard was also first to be dubbed a ‘survival horror’ game – the term coined for the new genre.
Capcom weren’t convinced that Resident Evil would do well, with sales projections pencilled in at just 200,000. Once critical acclaim was widespread, Capcom were truly gobsmacked when Resident Evil went on to move 5.8 million copies (original, Director’s Cut and Director’s Cut DualShock), making it a massive hit.
image source: games revisited