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The history of Resident Evil

The skinny on the franchise that's been scaring our pants off since 1996...

Resident Evil is one of the games industry's most revered franchises.

Emerging from the fetid brain of Shinji Mikami in 1996, it introduced the world to a new genre: survival-horror, putting gamers in a claustrophobic, dark world populated by frankly disgusting-looking zombies and mutants, which had to be navigated using a thoroughly engrossing blend of shooting and puzzle-solving.

Over the years, Capcom has treated us to countless iterations and spin-off games, not to mention four Resident Evil films (with the fifth due later this year). 2012 is set to be a massive year for Resident Evil fans, with Revelations for the 3DS already in the shops, Operation raccoon City imminent and Resident Evil 6 scheduled for the end of the year.

So we thought you might be interested in this (chronological) history of the most important Resident Evil games over the years...

Resident Evil


With the benefit of hindsight, it's impressive how fully-formed Resident Evil was when it emerged (for the original PlayStation) in 1996. Its scope was claustrophobic, as it took place in a mansion, where the S.T.A.R.S team, including Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and future baddie Albert Wesker took refuge from the T-virus-infected mutants of Raccoon City. Signature elements like health-giving herbs, ink-ribbons enabling saves and so on already featured. Gameplay leaned more heavily towards puzzles than shooting, although there was already a deliciously satisfying shotgun to wield. A classic, much imitated.

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