Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Resident Evil 1.5

One of my favorite game series of all times is Resident Evil.

Origin Story
It was 1996, my cousin Ryan got a Playstation for his birthday. He had Ridge Racer and another car combat game that escapes me right now. We played them non-stop for a full month.

Eventually, Ryan saved up money and it was time to get another game. We ventured out to the KB Toy Store in Jamestown mall. (Both of those things are pretty much non-existent today) We looked at all of the game boxes and saw this beautiful cover (see below) of a guy looking scared with a shotgun and two giant spiders on either side of him. (Turns out, that character isn't even one in the game)

He gladly plopped down $60 and we entered the world of survival horror. 

The World of Survival Horror

The plot of the game is a Special Tactics police squad venture out into a forest near a midwest town to investigate mysterious deaths of a bunch of hikers. Turns out, a large pharmaceutical company has a black lab hidden in an old rural mansion where they've been creating zombies and other creatures for years. 

Some of my best memories are of me riding my bike over to Aunt Laura's house on Friday, getting some Steak N Shake or pizza, and Ryan and I sitting in his dark room desperately trying to survive and figure out puzzles meant for adults. It took us 4 months to beat what turned out to be a 3 hour game. 

To this day, I still play through the original Resident Evil every time the weather starts turning colder in the fall. 

The Rumors

Shortly after Resident Evil 1 came out, rumors of Resident Evil 2 started swirling. There were even screen shots released and I of course was incredibly excited, ready to reignite those late nights in a new scenario. 

When the game was about 80% complete, the director decided to scrap everything because it was too similar to the first one. Capcom decided to start over and ended up creating what is largely considered the best Resident Evil in the series. 

Well, as internet connections got faster and more available, you would see posts of people claiming to have a copy of the original version of Resident Evil 2. (Now dubbed Resident Evil 1.5)  Burned copies of it would even show up on eBay every now and then and sell for thousands of dollars. (Before inevitably getting taken down for Copy-write infringement.) A few years back, someone even posted 15 minutes of video of them playing it.

There were different places, difference characters, different items, it was this lost piece of history that I desperately wanted to play. 

Especially as I feel older and travel further into adulthood, these few precious memories of childhood that I can relive become treasured moments. So getting to play a game that was made in 1997, that I never got to play, but feels like that time, is perhaps one of the greatest time capsules ever. 


In the past 3 years, Capcom changed the Resident Evil franchise fundamentally. Instead of being a slow moving, low ammo, puzzle game, it was now a full on machine gun action game. Still fun, but not the sort of game I grew up loving.

Well, some programmers got a hold of a copy of Resident Evil 1.5 and are currently in the midst of finishing the game. They basically said all the dialogue and movies were there, it was mostly busted menus and items that need to be fixed. In the meantime, an unfinished copy of the game has leaked. 

I wanted to keep from downloading and playing it, but I couldn't help myself. Last week, I booted it up and got chills when I selected "New Game." I only played for a few minutes, just to make sure this wasn't a dream and shut it off. 

Now knowing that my Holy Grail is only months from my hand is exciting. I'm actually considering taking a few days off of work (assuming I have PTO left) just to sit in the dark again, stay up late with a pizza, and play the game.