Before the Resident Evil 2 Remake, Catch up on the Story So Far

There are less than 20 days now until Resident Evil 2 Remake drops, and I’m losing my good gosh darn mind. I’m sure many of you are, too. But in amongst us hardcore RE fans who are maybe a little too obsessive, there’s plenty who are either entering the world of Resident Evil for the first time with RE2 Remake, those who haven’t played the games that lead up to it, or those who might might not be entirely up to speed on the history of the series up to this point. So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and get us all caught up, just before we dive into the new world of survival horror on January 25th.

We lay our scene in the humble but industrialized mid-western town of Raccoon City, resting at the basin of the Arklay Mountains. Laying claim to hosting the world-renowned pharmaceutical enterprise, Umbrella Inc., Raccoon was a centerpiece for technology and revolutionary healthcare procedures despite being an otherwise typical city. Nearly 100,000 people called it their home, and the city prospered for decades in the glow of the pharmacutecal giant.

However, in the early summer of 1998, a nightmare struck. A series of brutal, seemingly cannibalistic murders sprung up on the outskirts of the city. In an effort to resolve the crimes quickly, Raccoon City Police Department chief Brian Irons upgraded the investigation responsibilities to the recently founded special forces team, Special Tactics And Rescue Service, or S.T.A.R.S. for short. Come just after midnight on July 23rd, 1998, the S.T.A.R.S began their formal investigation by plunging directly into the heart of where the killings appeared to stem from, deep in the forests of the Arklay mountains. Conducted by Bravo Team, the investigation came to a sudden halt when the helicopter’s engine failed above the wooded landscape.

Forcing an emergency landing, Bravo Team set out into the forest to conduct their investigation from where they had landed, instead of giving up entirely. They quickly discovered an overturned military police jeep with evidence that a transported prisoner, Billy Coen, had murdered his captors and escaped. Coen’s crime of murdering over twenty people while in the armed forces didn’t bode well, either, as their investigation found a possible new lead for the killings. As S.T.A.R.S Bravo team swept the area, rookie member Rebecca Chambers found a derelict train — and quickly discovered a terrifying alternative to Coen for the source of the killings.

The reanimated corpses of dead passengers filled the cars of the train, bloody and hungry for flesh. To make matters worse, Cohn was aboard as well, and the young rookie found herself caught between her investigation and her struggle for survival. Unexpectedly, however, the train began to move — control had been seized and Rebecca inadvertently left her entire team behind as the train sped off into the darkness. Forced to form an uneasy alliance with Billy Coen, the two managed to stop the train from derailing but ultimately crashed into a mysterious underground train dock.

Up above, Rebecca and Billy discovered a massive and ornate mansion — a training facility for Umbrella Inc. researchers and executives. Fighting their way through the undead and an ever-expanding collection of inhuman creatures, the two came to discover that the horrifying monsters were in fact the result of strange and twisted experimentation. A virus, with the capability to not only reanimate dead cells, but mutate living beings into horrifying beasts — created in secret by Raccoon City’s very own Umbrella Inc., to sell to the highest bidders. The work of James Marcus, one of Umbrella’s head researchers and a young man named William Birkin, the Tyrant Virus was unlike anything the world had ever seen — and one that the world wasn’t ready for, either.

Even worse, Rebecca and Billy uncovered a twisted plan, executed by a dead mastermind. The T-Virus hadn’t been leaked by accident — it was deliberately spread throughout the facility and the Arklay forests in order to get revenge on Umbrella. James Marcus, the scientist who had originally discovered the means with which to produce the Tyrant Virus, had been assassinated on orders from Umbrella’s founder decades ago — but his anger and hate lived on in his creations, hyper-intelligent viral-formed leaches. Together, thousands of leaches came together forming a new lifeform that mimicked Marcus’ personality and carried out his wishes against Umbrella. Hundreds (and if the virus ever found its way to civilization, thousands) had died, all for revenge.

Soon, Rebecca and Billy managed to escape, while the training facility (along with the mimicry Marcus) was destroyed by a self-destruct system triggered by a watchful William Birkin. While it had come to light that Billy had been framed for the murders (prompting Rebecca to allow him to escape police custody with the blessing of her reporting him dead), Rebecca still had to catch up with her team. Umbrella could not be allowed to get away with the horrors that they had unleashed upon the world.

The following night, now the 24th, the S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team was sent to rescue the now 24-hours-missing Bravo. Lead by S.T.A.R.S captain Albert Wesker and made up of the talents of expert marksman Chris Redfield, master lockpick Jill Valentine, and the weapons expert Barry Burton, they found the downed Bravo helicopter, but were quickly surrounded by undead guard dogs. In their effort to escape, Alpha Team pilot Brad Vickers panicked and took off, leaving them all behind. With nowhere else to go, Alpha Team found refuge in a seemingly abandoned mansion in the darkness of the woods. Inside, however, lit candles burned in the darkness and the sounds of quiet footsteps could be heard throughout the mansion.

Splitting up, Jill, Barry, Wesker, and Chris covered different parts of the mansion — soon discovering their Bravo teammates corpses’ littering the building, and the same kinds of undead horrors that Rebecca had faced off with the night before. Jill soon uncovered evidence of Umbrella’s nightmarish experiments going back decades, including human torture and testing …even on children. Chris met up with Rebecca, still alive and fighting for survival in the mansion’s halls, and the pair attempted to save the life of an injured Bravo member, Richard — but failed.

Exploring further into the estate became a deadly game of trial and error, as Umbrella’s deadly virus mixed with the twisted labyrinth both within and without the mansion yielded only to even greater threats. Even worse, Jill soon found herself betrayed by Barry Burton, who had been a valued friend — leaving her behind in the darkness of an underground mine-shaft where one of Umbrella’s most insidious creatures dwell. Lisa Trevor, a sad and twisted monster that had once been a young girl, kidnapped and experimented on for decades, posed a threat so powerful it couldn’t be destroyed by normal firearms. Jill managed to escape, despite Barry’s treachery, and even uncovered the final key to possibly escape the mansion — but found herself entering a secret underground laboratory instead.

Chris and Rebecca soon followed, and eventually the three of them came to face the ultimate puppet master who had been playing with S.T.AR.S. all along: Albert Wesker. Wesker had, in fact, been a researcher for Umbrella since the 1970s (and was even involved in James Marcus’ assassination), using S.T.A.R.S. to collect data, pitting trained combatants against the horrors he helped create. Barry had been forced to betray Jill and follow Wesker’s orders under threat that his family would be harmed if he didn’t. Wesker, content with his victory over the shocked S.T.A.R.S. members, unleashed the ultimate terror — a mutant beast born of experimentation and surgical wizardry. The T-002, code named after the virus that helped birth it: Tyrant.

In his arrogance, Wesker found himself skewered on the end of the Tyrant’s deadly claw, and was cast aside — a pathetic way to die. Together the team set the mansion’s self destruct system to wipe out all traces of the virus, and managed to get in contact with the thankfully still nearby pilot, Brad Vickers. One final showdown with the Tyrant atop the mansion’s helipad, and Brad came through in the end, kicking a military grade rocket launcher out of the helicopter door and into reach of the surviving S.T.A.R.S. members. Careful aim and an easy trigger finger left the ultimate Bio-Weapon, the ultimate life form as Wesker had called it, smoldering chunks of flesh across the tarmac.

The nightmare was finally over — Chris, Jill, Barry, Rebecca, and Brad escaped into the morning sunlight, as the mansion and all the horrors within vanished in a blinding ball of fire and smoke. There was nothing left but to return to the R.P.D. and submit the evidence they had collected against Umbrella and bring Raccoon City’s own resident evil to justice.

…That was two months ago. Word from Raccoon City has gone quiet since the 23rd, and traffic into the city is being diverted by roadblocks and barricades. No phone calls go through, and none come out.

A nightmare has been born in the darkness, and on January 25th, that nightmare will become… reality.

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