Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Number 3: Resident Evil 4 - Pre-title sequence (Capcom, 2005)

The opening of 2005's Resident Evil 4 starts off as quite the innocuous "first level" but just as the player begins to grasp the gameplay's basic concepts, turns into one of the most thrilling, exciting, nail-biting sequences in modern gaming, and hot damn is it fun!

In Resident Evil 4 you find yourselves back in the shoes of Leon Kennedy, star of Resident Evil 2. In the opening cinematic we listen as Leon summarizes the events of RE2 (townsfolk turn into zombies created by evil corporation, Leon saving the day - the usual zombie plot). We learn that Leon has gone from lowly police officer to government agent superstar. When word breaks that the President's daughter Ashley has been kidnapped while travelling abroad, Leon is sent to an unnamed foreign country (ahem... Spain) to her last known whereabouts to track her down and bring her back.

When you arrive on the outskirts of a small country village everything appears normal. You enter a house asking a local resident about Ashley. While Leon talks, the resident sits there with his back towards Leon stoking his fireplace. Suddenly he turns around wielding an axe. You respond swiftly, taking him out. You take out a few more folk along the road as they attempt to attack you. They don't look like zombies, they just look angry... strange.

Ok, so you've gotten about 10 minutes to try out the controls, get a basic idea of how to aim and shoot, taking out a couple 'non-zombies' when without warning the game amps up the difficulty of the situation to a nearly absurd degree. You enter the village proper and see the residents going about their business. You creep around the side of a house to get a better look. One of the townsfolk spots you and then suddenly the townsfolk go f-ing batshit crazy!

A huge mob makes its way towards you, armed with axes, pitchforks, and other blunt instruments. At this point you have several options open but the most common one is to barricade yourself inside a nearby house. You run inside, you can move dressers and tables in front of the doors and windows to slow the oncoming mob. You think you're safe for a minute when suddenly there's a guy with a freakin' burlap sack over his head wielding a chainsaw coming through the door straight at you!!

You run upstairs, find a shotgun mounted on the wall and take it. The townsfolk are putting ladders up to climb through the second story windows, and they've made it past your barricades and are moving inside the house towards the staircase. The chainsaw wielding maniac is gunning right for you, with the intent to stick that chainsaw right in your head. You do the only thing you can, you just start shooting in every direction. You take out one guy only to have three more directly behind him, you shoot the chainsaw guy right in the face with the shotgun yet he still gets back up! Some crazed woman is running at you with an axe! You don't know what to do, you're shooting at this crazed mob but they just keep coming at you, you're running out of ammo, you're thinking "Oh shit, am I really supposed be taking on ALL these people this damn early in the game??!?"

And then as suddenly as it began - it stops. Church bells ring in the distance, the townsfolk turn around and leave, making their way towards the church, muttering something about "Lord Saddler". Leon walks outside. As Leon whirls around asking himself where everybody went the camera pulls away, moving to an aerial view of the town, and THEN, finally, the title of the game comes up, with the words "Resident Evil" and you realize that you've only just seen the intro to the game. Then you're aware that you've just pissed your pants.

Watch a video here (sorry for the poor quality but it's the only decent one I could find).


yoggoth said...

Unfortunately I haven't played this one so I stopped reading and can't comment. I will admit that Resident Evil 2 was so scary that I stopped playing it half way through.

Herr Zrbo said...

Considering it was at the top of most lists for 2005's game of the year you really should play it if you get the chance. It's really only scary during the first third of the game, though the slow moving shambler things near the end of the game are pretty freakin' scary (why are things that move slowly scary?)