Monday, November 2, 2009

Resident Evil

- Resident Evil -
Resident Evil Fan
For anyone who wants to review, it looks like an insane amount of work went into this thesis.

What's to say about the Resident Evil franchise that hasn't already been said? It's the game that brought 'survival-horror' to the masses. While Capcom may not have technically invented the style of gaming, nor was it the first game to feature zombies, it was the first to really make an action based survival-horror game playable and popularized zombies within the gaming world for years to come.

I've been with the series from the very beginning. I own and have played through RE 0-4 (+Code Veronica).

People forget about Code Veronica and that it was one of the Dreamcasts great exclusives (it wasn't ported to the PS2 for another year and half). Personally I think they should have given Code Veronica the official "3" numerical value and RE 3 something else, like "Resident Evil: Code Rebecca", as RE 3 was more of a side-story than Code Veronica was and took place during the events of RE 2 featuring some of the same environments.

I popped the Gamecube RE (remake), RE 0, and RE 4 into my Wii to clear out some memory blocks on my GC memory card and ended up revisiting those games longer than I had planned. I really liked the Gamecube RE remake, and wish that Capcom would've given RE2 and RE3 the same treatment.

If you've never played Resident Evil, or haven't played it since it's Playstation debut, I highly recommend picking up the Resident Evil and Resident Evil Zero remakes which have been re-released for the Wii under the 'Resident Evil Archives' moniker.

As for RE4, I don't know how anyone couldn't get into that game. It was terrific - and having 3 entirely seperate environments made it almost feel like 3 different games rolled into one lengthy adventure.

- Resident Evil 5 -
Release Date: March 13, 2009

The titular character Chris Redfield is back! Chris hasn't been the main playable character since the very first game, and as a secondary playable character 3/4's of the way through Code Veronica.

I do wonder how Resident Evil 5 stacks up in the creep factor. One thing about all the other RE games is that the environments alone were always traditionally & stereotypically creepy.

While I'm sure we're probably get our share of lab/factory/underground settings somewhere in RE5, it's the main village setting which raises doubts. I'm not saying a remote african village full of killer 'not zombies' can't be unsettling in it's own way, but it's out in the open and mostly from what I've seen takes place during sunlight hours. It seems more of a setting for a Tom Clancy game than your traditional Resident Evil fare. I guess you gotta give props to Capcom for not rehashing the same environs for the umpteenth time though.

As for downloadable content, an episode entitled "Lost In Nightmares" is due February 17th, stars Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, and takes place in a RE1 throwback-esque style mansion setting.
The second episode entitled "Desperate Escape" is due March 3 (no details have yet been made available about it's content).
Finally, Resident Evil 5 "Gold Edition" is going on sale March 9, and will contain the two episodes and some other extras. If you don't already own Resident Evil 5 (like myself), you might as well wait until the Gold Edition drops.

The only games I don't own/haven't played in the series are Resident Evil Outbreak I & II on the PS2,

the gun games - which are Survivor on the PSOne and Dead Aim (also known as Survivor 2) on the PS2,

and The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles both for the Wii.

- The Resident Evil Movies -

Resident Evil (Live Action)
The first live-action Resident Evil film starring Milla Jovovich is really the only salvagable film of the trilogy. They just get worse from there on in.
A fourth in the series, Resident Evil: Afterlife, is set for 2011.
Resident Evil: Degeneration
I was impressed with Resident Evil: Degeneration. It features Leon (from RE2 and RE4) and Claire Redfield (from RE2 and Code: Veronica) and takes place after the events of Raccoon City. It has great graphics...errr uh CGI, and is much more in-line with the video game franchise than the increasingly bad live-action films starring Milla Jovovich.

It is also interesting to see what happened to the US after the events of Racoon City, as everything after RE2 and RE3 (Code: Veronica, RE4, RE5) has taken place in countries other than the good ole' US of A.

Resident Evil: Degeneration along with Final Fantasy: Advent Children (not Spirits Within, that movie was garbage) are great examples of how to do CGI movies based around video games right.

Halloween 2009: ZOMBIES!

Find Me A Zombie
Zombies Bite

I like the Zombie genre, but unlike zombie movie fanboys, I think a truly great, epic zombie film that's truly scary with serious tone has yet to be done. Infact, I'd go as far as to say that a good 99.5% of zombie films are crap, unfortunately.

How do I like my zombies? I like 'em gruesome and slow, I don't believe they should all be capable of running, and I prefer my zombie flicks as straight-ahead creature features sans any heavy-handed social commentary please, thank you.
The infamous Tarman

My favorite zombie films;
Some of the films listed below are not true-to-spec "zombie films", but in the vain that any living dead are zombies, regardless of whether it was from airborne toxins, a virus, being buried on cursed ground, a comet, or taken over by slimy slug like creatures from outer space. If you're the walking dead, you might be a zombie.

Ahhh George Romero, "father of the zombie".
I've never been that much of a fan of the original B&W Night Of The Living Dead or Day Of The Dead, and Diary Of The Dead was an utter piece of crap.
I fell asleep during the Dawn Of The Dead remake starring Ving Rhames (yes, it was that good. I guess I'm just not a fan of Zack Snyder, I feel his movies are somehow devoid of substance), which took place in a fictional suburb of my hometown of Milwaukee, and I haven't seen the direct-to-DVD remake of Day Of the Dead directed by Steve Miner (also with Ving Rhames).
I'll check out Romero's newest, Survival Of The Dead, when it secures an official DVD release.

Even though I may think that Romero's zombie films as a whole are overrated, I do like select films in the Romero series/Home Page Of The Dead
Dawn Of The Dead[1978], Night Of The Living Dead [the 1990 remake by Tom Savini], and Land Of The Dead[2005],

Return Of The Living Dead I[1985] & II[1988],

Night Of The Comet[1984] and Night Of The Creeps[1986],

Pet Sematary[1989] (not really a "zombie film", but does feature the undead),

Shaun Of The Dead[2004], Slither[2006], and Planet Terror[2007],

28 Days Later[2002] and 28 Weeks Later[2007],

and Quarantine[2008]

Other notables;
Resident Evil[2002] (the first film in the live-action adaptation of the video game was the least worst of the series), and the CG film Resident Evil: Degeneration[2008].

As for the pre-1980's so-called "classics", I've seen 1971's Amando de Ossorio's Tombs Of The Blind Dead and Return Of The Blind Dead for the first time a year or two ago.
Tombs Of The Blind Dead is sometimes recommended as a zombie film, but "Ossorio objected to the description of the living dead Templars as "zombies," insisting that they more resembled mummies and that, unlike zombies, the Templars were not mindless corpses.", and I agree with that assessment.
Holy mackeral, that was some seriously laughable shit. Not only did I not find it scary, but also rather exploitative as well with the whole lesbian thing, rape, and you get to see almost every girl in the movie topless at some point.
The sequel had a couple of the same actors (who died in the first one) playing different roles, but looking nearly the same! More topless shots, and one attempted rape.

I have yet to see Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 from 1979.

-Video Games Featuring Zombies -
It's almost hard to believe there was a time when those pesky undead weren't running amuck within the video gaming world.

One of the first post-golden age home console games to feature a zombie theme was Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Super Nintendo version pictured above), which was released back in 1993.
The SNES version was recently released (Oct 26, 2009) for the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console.

The Resident Evil series, debuting on the Sony Playstation in 1996, is the title best known for bringing Zombie's to the forefront of gaming for years to come. (See upcoming blog post)

The House Of The Dead series is a popular "on-rails" gun game which debuted in arcades in 1996, and has subsequently seen numerous home console ports starting with the first in the titular series for the Sega Saturn in 1998. Though it may be better known for the near arcade-perfect port of House Of The Dead 2 for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999.

House Of The Dead 2 & 3 [2008] and House Of The Dead Overkill [2009] were both released exclusively for the Wii (Overkill having the dubious honor of being the first video game to receive the Guinness World Record title of most swearing in a video game with 189 counts of the "F" word).
Here's to hoping Sega decides to release House Of The Dead 4 on the Wii as well.

Taking a page from George Romero's Dawn Of The Dead with a shopping mall setting, Dead Rising was released for the Xbox 360 in 2006, it's sequel planned for a Q1 2010 release date.

Left 4 Dead for the Xbox 360 was released in 2008, while it's sequel is set to be released November 17, 2009.
And lastly, another fun game is Zombie Apocalypse, which was released for download on their respective consoles through Xbox Live and Playstation Home in 2009.