Resident Evil first shambled onto the original Playstation back in the late 90s, bringing with it absolutely terrifying gameplay that had gamers too frightened to play it with the lights off. We were introduced to long-time mainstays Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Albert Wesker, all members of Raccoon City’s S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) division of police force, the RCPD. Responding to reports of possible cannibalistic attacks in scenic Raccoon Forest, the S.T.A.R.S. team members set out via helicopter.
The opening cinematic shows us the S.T.A.R.S.’ chopper suffering an engine failure and going down deep within the forest. Soon after escaping the busted craft, the team members are attacked by vicious bloodthirsty hellhounds. Team leader Wesker instructs them to take refuge in a nearby mansion, owned by the shady Umbrella Company. It has been overrun by the undead.
Behind the scenes, the main aspect driving the Resident Evil series has been the Umbrella Corporation. The story goes that the immensely rich pharmaceuticals company had a secret weapons research division that was currently working on a project to create the ultimate soldier; one with suppressed senses and oblivious to pain so they blindly obey orders and attacks until either successful or dead. Unfortunately, the substance they came up with, the T-Virus, had the side effect of causing its victims to die and become the undead, walking corpses that need to feed on living human flesh. The T-Virus also caused horrific mutations in non-humans like apes, reptiles, canines and birds, causing them to become murderous deformed killing machines.
Part of what made Resident Evil so terrifying was the fact that most of this information was only hinted at and only largely revealed in the closing moments of the game, leaving you to literally fight for your survival trapped in a mansion with the walking dead. You were being hunted, you didn’t know what was happening and you were fiercely under prepared for the horrors that were ahead of you. The “survival” part meant making the best use of the little weapons, ammunition and healing items the game let you have.