While it may not seem like it, the Resident Evil series (known as Biohazard in Japan) is fifteen years old this year. The series was one of the first true survival horror games, which were as much fun to play as they were terrifying - if they made you jump, they were doing their job right. And while the most recent instalments, like Resident Evil 5, have become a lot more action based, and less about cheap scares, the series has a soft spot in the hearts of many, for it's cheesy voice acting, slow door opening animations and trench coat wearing merchants. How a fifteen year old Chris Redfield manages to get biceps the size of trucks at fifteen, though, remains a mystery - especially considering my (nearly) fifteen year old brother just looks like a beanpole. Maybe it's all them 'erbs.
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To celebrate their coming of age, as it were, Capcom are planning releasing not just one - but two - remakes of classic Resident Evil games, in the form of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica X on the Xbox Live Arcade, which first appeared in 2005 and 2000 respectively.
To fill you in on the entire story of the Resident Evil games would take an age, as the evil-mega-corporation-developing-a-virus-that-gets-out-of-hand tale has as many twists and turns as a very twisty and turny thing. That said, each of the games can be appreciated on its own without really understanding the back story - so there's no need to try and track down copies of the older ones.
In Code Veronica, you begin by playing as Claire Redfield, Chris' sister, who's in trouble for raiding the Umbrella Corporation's Paris facility in search of her brother. She gets caught by the evil corporation, and is imprisoned on Rockfort Island - which then suffers an outbreak of the T-Virus not long after her arrival, after an inexplicable air raid hits the island, turning next to all of its inhabitants into zombies. Released from her cell by a Rodrigo Juan Raval, she teams up with another inmate - Steve Burnside - as they try to escape the island. But they didn't count on the insane island commander Alfred Ashford and his sister Alexa...
Resident Evil 4 follows a completely different story, following a bloke named Leon as he tries to rescue the President's daughter, Ashley Graham. Rivalling Princess Peach in her inability to stay unkidnapped, poor old Ashley's been taken away by a mysterious cult called 'Los Illuminados', whom Leon tracks to a rural village in Europe, full of violent villagers who may-or-may-not have been in contact with another variant of the T-Virus, making them all the more powerful foes.
Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica X are due on the Xbox Live Arcade this autumn - and we're sure we'll be getting more and more information out of Capcom as time goes on, so NO! Don't... GO!, and make sure you keep checking back! For the time being, here's the ultimate cheesiness of the original Resident Evil's intro: