So back when Resident Evil had a pretty good game to bad game ratio, I think the series did a great job of making genuinely scary moments. Sure, zombies were nothing new to video games and pop culture, but certain aspects of the Resident Evil franchise were set apart because of awe-inspiring moments. It wasn’t the first survival horror, but it was definitely an impactful series that gave gamers some great moments.
That fellow over there is eating another fellow!- Resident Evil (especially the Gamecube remake)
The subtle build up to the first zombie attack was done so perfectly, I imagine that Capcom used 45% of their complete creativity on this scene and they’ve been coasting on their success ever since (which explains Resident Evil 5). The slow reveal of the zombie chowing down on a helpless victim is unsettling as you see the blood drop onto the ghastly face of the victim. Then the zombie turns to you with its torn flesh and rotting skin as it prepares to attack. This was the moment that terror in video games got real. And I think it works especially well in the Gamecube remake, since technology allowed for a more frightening character model as well as non pixilated graphics. Sheer brilliance.
Say hello to my flamethrower-Resident Evil 2
Now flamethrowers in video games can be used poorly to decent, but I think Resident Evil 2 had one of the best uses. The flamethrower, which looked amazing back in the 90’s (when animating fire was a difficult feat) was given to you at a specific moment to combat a certain enemy; the plant monsters. Sure, you could take down those leafy green villains with a machine gun, but the flamethrower was the most satisfying weapon to use on them, especially since it’s such an obvious choice of fire beating plants. Getting the flamethrower also made me realize what a great setup Capcom made in the Resident Evil games since the appearance of the flamethrower was meant to coincide with the appearance of those plant monsters. I learned a valuable lesson that made me nervous and aware at the fact that a new weapon or ammo drop usually meant a new enemy or boss fight. So while the specific use of the flamethrower isn’t new, the experience that came with it was an enduring moment.
Get to the chopper! Oh wait never mind-Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
I chose this moment not because I enjoyed Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, but because I disliked the game almost completely. At this point in the series, we were given the third installment of a game that played just like the first two installments, without a sign of change or new ideas. However, there is a moment in the game when you think that you’re being rescued. A helicopter is approaching you location and for a second it looks like your Raccoon City nightmare is at an end. But then Nemesis shoots a rocket at the chopper and the look on your face is priceless as you watch your freedom crash and burn. It was a sneaky trick to pull on gamers and I think it was a very redeeming moment for the game since it made me realize that the characters in the game did warrant some level of empathy.
The cabin in the…Spanish Countryside- Resident Evil 4
Probably my favorite moment from any Resident Evil game purely because the sheer number of enemies in overwhelming and the hordes attack from both upstairs and down. The sequence plays out like a mash-up between a buddy cop movie (since Luis and Leon make such an oddball team) and 80’s horror film (i.e.The Evil Dead). Barricade all you can and conserve your ammo; this is one hell of a sequence.