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Resident Evil - Zombie Survival Horror Begins on PlayStation One

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The Most Frustrating Saving System In Gaming

The game save system is by far the most frustrating part of the experience and an area that has improved greatly in subsequent sequels. Like many other games it only allows players to save at key locations indicated when they come across typewriters located throughout the mansion, but the typewriter alone will only load a previously saved game. To actually save a game players need to locate a typewriter ribbon and then use it in combination with the typewriter. This creates quite a few problems as these ribbons are hidden throughout the environments. Also, since inventory is limited, you can only hold onto a few ribbons at a time or else risk not being able to hold onto an important weapon, healing herb or other important items. This means that players cannot save often and could easily loose hours of gameplay if they are killed before saving or have to stop playing before they can make a save.

Inspirations:

Game creator Shinji Mikami sites the Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit classic horror RPG Sweet Home as his inspiration for Resident Evil, and the games do share many of the same mechanic style. Sweet Home was a 1989 adaption of the horror film by the same name, and while it was incredibly advanced, and controversial for its violence, it was never released outside of Japan.

Some of the heavier influences from Sweet Home including puzzles, the inventory system, and the ever famous spooky mansion setting which allowed players freedom to roam around without having to movie in a linear direction. Other similarities are more tributes, such as using a near identical door opening animation mechanic.

While Sweet Home is the only game that Mikami has acknowledges as inspiring Resident Evil, it does have several uncanny similarities to the 1992 computer game Alone in the Dark , which is also often cited as the first true survival horror game. Having released four years prior, Alone in the Dark is also rendered in 3D, takes place in a spooky mansion, has both male and female playable characters, uses fixed camera angles that change depending on the space the player moves into, similar puzzle solving, and even has zombies. The similarities between the two games are just too uncanny for it to have been coincidence.

Final Thoughts

While its label as the first survival horror game may be in question, Resident Evil is without a doubt one of the most successful, and best games in the genre. Since it released for the PlayStation one, it's seen numerous remakes and revamps, including a "Director's Cut" just a year after its initial release. There have also been numerous sequels, a prequel, a major feature film series, an animated film, toys, comic books and a series of novels. Who knew that when you first innocently heard that dark and sinister voice calling out "Resident Evil!" when you pressed the start button that you'd continue hearing that same phrase over and over for the rest of your gaming life.
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