rehorror: Zombies – What’s the Big Deal?

Ask any longtime fan of the Resident Evil series what would make the game better and you get either one of two responses, if not both. So listen up, Capcom!  Make it scary, and bring back zombies!  While “make it scary” can be left open to interpretation, fans have been demanding zombies make a return in full to the series since 2005.

Longtime readers of the site might recognize this article from a long time ago.  Well, we’ve decided to revisit the issue to commemorate the 15th anniversary of one of our favourite franchises.  In that article, we discussed what makes zombies so frightening to the average gamer Joe.

“Zombies scare me because although they are just a bloodthirsty creature, they take their form from innocent victims.  Your mother, babysitter or son could be there one minute, and then after you the next.  I think the thing that scares me the most is the psychological struggle of realizing that this person you love is no longer there, and that in order to survive, you must kill them.”

“Because they do not behave in the most basic flight/fight response of every other living being.  They will continue to destroy themselves/be destroyed in order to have a chance to kill you.”

As detailed in the previous article, the zombie origin story begins far before its more traditionally known the Voodoo roots.  The undead, hungry for human contact, blood or flesh appear on historical artefacts as old as the Epic of Gligamesh (2150-2000BCE).  The Epic of Gligamesh describes creatures under the control of the goddess Ishtar, who threatens to raise the dead and have them feast on the living.  One Thousand and One Nights also references a family of ravenous ghouls, hungry for human flesh.

That would pretty much describe the Resident Evil baddies infected by the T-Virus in the games up to RE4.  The recently departed, rising up again to feed on the living.  But the story that everyone is more familiar with is from Voodoo origins, where people could be enslaved via the use of drugs and Voodoo priests.  Gone your ability to think and act for yourself – doomed to spend eternity to do the will of another.

Well that kind of sounds like the Ganados from Resident Evil 4, and the Majini from the Resident Evil: Black Sheep Edition.  Except of course there’s a gigantic parasite where their spine used to be, and they’re actually dead.

We get the impression that were this at night, and Sheva weren’t right beside us, this would be a lot more frightening…

After the Ganados were infected in RE4, they all were controlled by Mendez, who had a Queen Plagas within him.  Sure, they could be seen tending to crops and…stringing up police officers over a campfire, but they were being controlled the entire time.  The Majini from RE5 were controlled as well by Wesker (SPOILER: you’ll note that Wesker and Excella are not attacked as they get onto the freighter after their encounter with Chris and Sheva).  So technically, they were zombies, just not the kind that we all  were hoping for.

So what is it about the traditional zombies of the classic RE games makes them so frightening, while the newer baddies of RE4 and 5 so off-putting to fans?  Or are the games just a package deal?  Is it the overall feel to a game that has to be frightening for the monsters to be effective?  We want to know.

What makes RE’s monsters frightening to you?  Why are zombies so important to the Resident Evil series?  Will we ever be able to move on beyond the slow, plodding undead creatures roaming the streets of Raccoon City?

Discuss!

–jeeves86

COMMENTS

  • dennissunwar

    wat is dis? a game or something?

  • nemesis91286

    i really missed the zombies from the older titles and wish that they would bring them back in RE6 ever since they started using the parasites as enemies the survivor-horror theme when down hill and i hope that Capcom going back to it’s roots with the T and G viruses everyone complains about the over shoulder aiming in the RE4 and 5 but that’s not the problem the problem is Capcom needs to bring back the zombies.

  • REgamer96

    With RE4 and RE5 Capcom thought that if they could implement a new third person engine and a new slew of enemies fans might overlook the fact that they removed to two things that make RE just that little bit better and defined the whole Survival-Horror genre by making a scary, astmospheric and great horror game….

    Gone were the pre-rendered backgrounds with the locked camera angle that made you question yourself if you dared turn the next corner only to find yourself attacked by the zombified remaines of someone you passed by at the start of the corridor….

    The fact that many RE fans think the RE4 is the best re-game of all time only proofs how gullible they really are. RE 4 and RE 5 are NOT Resident Evil games when you remove the before named camera angle and zombies and replace it with parasiteinfested humans over the shoulder camera angle and completely remove the “Survival Horror” aspect and replace it with “Action – Adventure”….

    I don´t care what eveyone else thinks they are not RE games….

    RE 0 and RE remake for the Gamecube are by far the best RE games ever made hands down. Even beating the original resident evil for the original playstation….

    Shame on CAPCOM for ruining one of my favorite game franchises ever….

    Final note a Resident Evil game without the pre-rendered background and zombies is just like an Mortal Kombat game without blood. gore and fatalitys….

  • DarkDreamTCK

    I would personally prefer an amalgam type enemy. Angry ravaging dead corpses that attack with intelligence but still want to do nothing but eat you. Basically, smart Crimson Heads.

  • R.E.5HATER

    All I have to say is zombies don’t FLIP,TAKE COVER,&SHOOT MISS LAUNCHERS………..Las plagus was fine

  • R.E.5HATER

    Hey, REGAMER96 I agree with every word u said, however, 2 things,1. I still enjoyed R.E.4 but it was a let down in the scare department.2. The only thing good about resident evil 5 was the undead nightmare dlc pack . It had the camera angles that you talked about a couple puzzles and even a couple real scares………..in my mind undead nightmare was the real resident evil 5 it was just really, really, really short!

  • R.E.5HATER

    Ummmmmmm. That’s lost in nightmares, sorry!!

  • capcom should do both t-virus zombies and las plagas zombies maybe in mercenaries we might see a stage like that.

  • Andrew Simmons

    To be honest, if you keep the RE4 camera angle with the over-the-shoulder perspective, and if you replace zombies with Crimson heads, make them abit more fluent in their movement, could do a story where the T-virus skips the inital infection of a standard zombie and bypasses the strain to automatically create Crimson heads at the cost of a longer period for the human body to react and reanimate.

    With that, have the more faster enemies IE hunters/Hunter Gamma/Beta’s, drain demois and Brain Suckers, Chimera, licker and keep the novistadors as I quite liked them as an alternative variant of licker mutation potentially. Need proper tyrants back as well.

    Also, keep with the insects and other animals IE Yawn, Neptune, Plant 42, Stinger, Black tiger and web spinners, centurion, plague crawlers…. they were awsome creations. Even outbreak had some awsome creations.

    They need that originality back.

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