Welcome to the premiere episode of Portaholics. For a refresher to those that missed the intro article, Portaholics is a show and article series dedicated to analyzing the release history of a single game. In the end, this writer will give his verdict on which is the definitive edition. To start, let’s look at the first Resident Evil’s twenty-year history.
Resident Evil (PS1): The original Resident Evil was released in the U.S. on March 30, 1996 for the PlayStation. It’s first port, Resident Evil: The Director’s Cut, launched on September 30, 1997 for the PS1. It graphically looked the same, but it did feature several changes. An Arrange mode was added that switched items and enemies around as well as give characters new costumes. The handgun was improved, allowing for critical hits at random. There was also a Beginner’s mode to help ease new players in. Finally, cut content from the original release was uncensored in this version except for the beginning FMV.
There were two other ports based off of TDC, but as this writer wasn’t able to play them himself, he decided to negate deeper investigation. However, he will say that they were for the Sega Saturn and PC, each containing exclusive content not found in any of the PS1 versions, apparently. The PC version launched alongside the PS1 while the Sega Saturn copy released a month earlier on August 31, 1997.
A third edition, Resident Evil: The Director’s Cut Dual Shock Version, launched on September 14, 1998 for the PS1. As the name suggests, it added support for PlayStation’s new DualShock controller. The soundtrack was also redone. Everything else from TDC remained unaltered.
Resident Evil (GBC): Here’s where things start to get a bit crazy. In collaboration with a third party, HotGen, Capcom was working on a Game Boy Color port of the original PS1 release of Resident Evil. It was slated to release in 1999, but the project was ultimately canned. Except for screenshots, it never saw the light of day until a prototype ROM was released online in 2012. While it’s a primitive port to an inferior system, the work done is impressive for the GBC to say.
Resident Evil (GC): The next official release of Resident Evil came in the form of a complete remake via GameCube. It launched on April 30, 2002 in North America. This remake is considered a separate game in the series as it overhauls much of the game’s storyline, graphics, mechanics, and so forth while retaining the same identity at its core: a survival horror game centered around police fighting zombies in an abandoned mansion. To give one example, Crimson Heads were zombies that were stronger, faster, and had to be killed with fire otherwise they could resurrect themselves at random.
This remake was later ported to the Nintendo Wii, Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil, on June 23, 2009. Nothing was changed other than allowing for Wii controls to be utilized. Last year it was also ported to the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on January 20, 2015. The graphics were improved along with a few other extras, but nothing huge. The most notable change was adding an option for full analog support, negating tank controls for the first time.
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (DS): Deadly Silence released on the Nintendo DS on February 7, 2006. It features an approximate graphical mirroring of the original PS1 release, but with a bit higher resolution. It features touch controls for normal play, along with segments needed for touch. The top screen is dedicated to the map whereas the bottom is for the core gameplay. It also includes a Rebirth Mode, which is a harder version containing more enemies and new puzzles that utilizes the Stylus more. Finally, it includes the only multiplayer the original game has ever received for local connections via the DS’ wireless only.
Final Verdict: All right, now that the information is out there the question remains. Which version is the best? For this writer, it’s definitely last year’s port to the PS4. That GameCube remake is a masterpiece, but the tweaks added last year made that work even better. If one has never played a Resident Evil game before, this is the classic.
Special Notes: Check out the RE1 version retrospective on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.