What started out as a horror adventure similar in style to the Alone in the Dark dark games eventually grew to one of the most iconic franchises in video game history. Originally released in 1996 on PlayStation and PC, the survival horror classic would go on to spawn countless sequels and spinoffs. Known for their kludgy tank controls and esoteric puzzles, the early games in the series earned a legion of lifelong fans. Those fans squealed in delight with the recent remakes Capcom published on PS4, Xbox One, and PC that brought the classic up to modern standards with an incredible layer of polish.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the franchise and we asked our staff to recount their favorite moments in Resident Evil history.
Question: What is your favorite Resident Evil moment?
Complete Global Saturation - Ozzie Mejia, Resident Editor
I really hate to be the one to kick this off and pour ice water down people's backs. I'm not the biggest Resident Evil fan in the world. I'm not a super fan. Heck, I'm not even a regular fan. I've never played an RE game the whole way through, with the exception of the first Resident Evil Revelations. I never had an attachment to the characters, the story, or the survival horror idea.
That's why my pick is where the Resident Evil series went full camp with this stupid line from Albert Wesker. Don't get me wrong, this is far from the worst piece of dialogue from RE5, but it's easily the most memorable because Wesker goes full Saturday morning cartoon supervillain. I mean, yeah, it's where the series started to fall off a cliff and it didn't recover until RE7, but I thought it was hilarious and I'll never forget it. Thanks, Wesker!
Mr. X shows up, RE2 Remake - Donovan Erskine, Raccoon City resident
I never played the original Resident Evil 2, so 2019’s RE2 Remake was my first time experiencing the classic story. Somehow, the entire Mr. X/Tyrant thing was never spoiled for me, and I had no idea it was coming. The game already had a super creepy vibe to it, and when that 8-foot tall trenchcoat-wearing dude started following me endlessly, I was freaked out. I was constantly uncomfortable, always listening out for his heavy footsteps. His initial appearance is still burned into my mind.
Window dogs - Blake Morse, Can’t pet the zombie dogs
Where did they come from? Why can’t they be good doggos and use their puppy doors instead of breaking through windows? We may never know why these dirty dogs had such a penchant for jumping through conveniently placed windows in hallways, but it definitely made for some real “AH WTF IS HAPPENING?!??!” moments in the original Resident Evil. I can’t really explain it, but I feel like it’s always harder to kill animals in games even if they’re horrendous zombies. There’s probably a heckin' good boy behind that T-virus somewhere.
Neptune Shark Battle - Chris Jarrard, Has better opinions than fellow staffers
Clearly, the standout moment from the Resident Evil series is from the first game when you must dispatch a pair of infected sharks. Clearly, everyone who played this game saw this coming because it is common knowledge that most evil mansions have sharks on hand. In a series full of nonsense enemies, these great whites might be the silliest.
Ethan Must Die, RE7 - Sam Chandler, Take me to the village
I came into the Resident Evil franchise incredibly late. Not only did I miss out on the original titles on the PlayStation 1, but I didn't even play any of the sequels until 2017, at which point Resident Evil 7 was out. As it so happens, that was my first introduction to the series. As far as intros go, it really set the bar for what I expect of an RE game. I loved everything about that title, from the base game to the numerous DLCs that offered unique ways to play. But my favorite moment from RE7, even though it's not in the base game, is the Ethan Must Die DLC. I loved the roguelike nature of it, of learning the enemy spawns and seeing what kind of gear you get on each run. If Village is anything like RE7, you can color me excited.
Zombies jumping through windows - Bill Lavoy, Co-EIC
Back when I was in high school my friends and I camped out in my living room for a couple of days playing Resident Evil 2. I recall many cool moments in that game, but for me, the zombies busting through the window as I walked down a hallway will always be my favorite. I recall expecting it to happen, telling my friends I would be pissed if it happened, and then it happening. Scared me just as much as if I hadn’t expected it, and that moment has stuck with me for a very long time. I don’t imagine I’ll ever forget it.
Good Doggies - Josh Hawkins, Part-time wolfkin
Few moments in the original Resident Evil have stuck with me as much as the first time that you run into the zombie dogs. As a youngster, these dogs were one of the scariest things in the game to me. Not only were they quick, but they were also dogs, and knowing that I would have to put them down was heartbreaking. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about.
There’s this one scene as you’re walking down a long hallway. It’s just after you’re getting used to everything in the game. You have your gun, you know you’re fighting zombies, and then these dogs come jumping through a window. I remember throwing my controller into the air when it happened, and while the first game isn’t my favorite—and this is by far my favorite moment in the entire series—no moment has scared me as much as I remember that one scaring me.
Kendo Gun Shop Rendezvous - TJ Denzer, pouring one out for Robert
The original Resident Evil 2 was a whole new dynamic level for the franchise putting the dying Raccoon City at the forefront as the zombie outbreak overtook it. Where zombies were secretly hidden away in the confines of the mansion in the first game, Resident Evil 2 put it all out in the open, and every citizen was at risk. The 1998 version of Resident Evil 2 made this abundantly clear with the chance meeting of Robert Kendo in his gunshop.
Here was a guy, armed to the teeth who served to inform you of just how fast things went to poo poo in the city and how unprepared everyone was for it. And for his short-term efforts in aiding you, Kendo’s fate was sealed all too soon. Despite locking the door, it wasn’t long before a swarm of zombies broke through Kendo’s unfortunately large glass window and massacred him. It serves to tell the player very early that there is no time at which you should stop looking over your shoulder.
Robert Kendo’s initial death became all the more upsetting as you learned that not only was he the faithful gunsmith and friend to the S.T.A.R.S. team, but also tried to arm the community quickly once he realized what was happening, only to be done in quickly for the single moment he dropped his guard. The Resident Evil 2 remake would be a little more kind to Kendo, but the shock of watching your first moment of human contact and compassion get destroyed so quickly never really goes away.
The first time - Steve Tyminski, Zombo!
I don’t have many Resident Evil memories, as it wasn’t the biggest franchise for me growing up. That being said I do remember going over to my friend’s house after school and playing the original Resident Evil on his PlayStation. This is the friend who had all the electronic stuff before everyone else so he was one of the first to have Resident Evil. I also remember getting Resident Evil 4 on the Will and going to town on those zombies with motion controls.
Whaddaya buyin'?! - Bryan Lefler, has a lot of good things on sale, stranger
Heh heh, welcome! I was never big into Resident Evil on the PSX since I didn’t have one at the time and was still wrapped in my Nintendo security blanket. It wouldn’t be until Resident Evil 4 and the fateful “Capcom Five” promise made to Nintendo Gamecube owners that I would get to enjoy the gory survival horror franchise. We didn’t get five titles, and the four that were released didn’t stay exclusive for long; but for a little while, Gamecube owners had the most exciting Resident Evil game at that point all to themselves.
The entire action-oriented shake-up really resonated with me, even though my experience with the franchise was almost entirely second-hand at that point. The entire game is memorable, from the opening car ride with Leon to the sprawling Castle and beyond. For me though, nothing is as burned into my psyche as the roaming Merchant and his one-liners, all destined to burrow into the subconscious of anyone that played far enough to meet him. The Merchant became a safe harbor from the swarms of villagers infected by Las Plagas, offering all sorts of ballistic mayhem for the player. All these years later, he’s still a small part of a much larger and excellent game, but without him, it wouldn’t feel the same. Is that all, stranger?
Welp. that concludes our staff's top picks for Resident Evil moments. What are your favorites? Do you love the big-ass alligator, punching rocks, or do you fancy yourself a Wesker simp? Let us know in the comments below.
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your favorite Resident Evil moment?
I got a kick out of being able to attack Jack with a chainsaw in RE7, considering that the first time you get your head carved off by the chainsaw guy in RE4 is one of the truly classic shocking moments in game history.
Not a moment I guess, but the original RE3 opening starting here I always thought was bad ass https://youtu.be/bG_6nvjDxBI?t=48
The dog part in the first one. Or that first villge section is 4. The first time that chainsaw dude comes running at you was rough. And the dog part was the first time I ever really jump and was scared from a game.
Lots to choose from.
The opening village in 4, getting your hand cut off in 7, I liked the opening convience store section in re2make
The first zombie you see in the first RE game scared the shit out of 11 year old me and the reveal of Mr. X in the Leon part of RE2make.
Bryan has it right; I bought a used gamecube many years after release just to experience RE4 on it. It was perfectly tuned to the hardware, especially the controller, which is still top-tier in my mind. Reaching the merchant always brought a rush of relief and anticipation of trying new accessories.