Until the first live-action Resident Evil movie starring Milla Jovovich came out in 2002, I had never actually played any of the games. My general experience with the series was limited to watching gameplay videos online or reading the novel adaptations written by S.D. Perry. I don’t favor the films since they are anything but faithful adaptations and have all the established characters from the Resident Evil, or RE for short, universe play second fiddle to an all-original character portrayed by Jovovich. But the games aren’t without their share of problems.
While most of the games in the series have stellar stories, epic action sequences, interesting heroes and villains, and truly iconic monsters, there are also moments that don’t make any sense whatsoever if you think about it. Which I have. What follows is my list of the ten most illogical things in the Resident Evil video game series. I thought about including a moment from the latest main entry in the series, but there is so much wrong with RE6 that it deserves its own list.
10) Are the bad guys really this bored or stupid?
The opening for RE4 has government agent Leon Kennedy journeying to a remote area in Spain in search of the President’s missing daughter, Ashley. Story-wise, I believe only two hours transpire from when Leon first encounters a hostile cult-like terrorist group behind the abduction to when he finds a random note written by one of the cultists. This note not only acknowledges Leon’s presence in their village, but it also flat out states where Ashley is being held. Given that the cultists have been hell-bent on eliminating Leon as a threat up to this point, it begs the question on why one of them would take the time to write this. And, the note’s writer may as well have added an additional sentence: I’ll just leave this lying on a table where the intruder can easily spot it.
9) Fear of getting wet?
The water puzzle in the prequel game, Resident Evil Zero, where you have to move three crates to form a pathway over this rather small tank – simply to retrieve a valve needed to access a locked room, I might add – couldn’t be more ridiculous if it tried. One thought that crossed my mind, as I was pushing the boxes into place, was ‘Why can’t Rebecca or Billy just swim across to get what they need?’ What makes it even more absurd is that this puzzle is encountered just after Billy pulled himself out of a waterway and hadn’t had time to dry off.
8) Shoddy containment measures.
One of the most curious aspects of RE5 is how many monsters are roaming about unchecked in Wesker’s secret facility. While one could argue that the game’s antagonists unleashed the majority of them to deal with Chris and Sheva, the cages for the Lickers tell a different story. The beasts are seen confined within a glass enclosure that they can, and do, easily break out of when the heroes are passing by. There is evidence that at least three people have been killed by these creatures before Chris and Sheva even stumble upon them. Given that the Lickers are one of the deadliest creatures present in the series, it’s questionable why even Wesker doesn’t take better care to protect his own staff from them.
7) Did the dogs really stay by the doors the entire time?
The first game in the series kicks off with members of the paramilitary organization, S.T.A.R.S., taking refuge in a seemingly deserted mansion after being chased through the woods by a group of zombified Dobermans. The majority of the game centers around trying to find an alternate way out, as any attempt to exit through the front doors results in one of the dogs gaining entry to the house and attacking whichever character tried to leave. It doesn’t matter what point of the game it is; the dogs are always there. Why they stick around that area even when the S.T.A.R.S. members aren’t anywhere near the main hall is anyone’s guess, especially when there has to be something more accessible to hunt somewhere in the forest.
6) Wesker is far too easily distracted.
In RE: Code Veronica, the mainstay villain of the series, normally known for having remarkable focus and awareness, can’t seem to decide who to give his undivided attention to at various points. During one scene where he has his mortal enemy, Chris, in a chokehold and is threatening to end his life, Wesker hears the game’s primary villainess, Alexia, laughing on a nearby computer monitor before the screen goes dark. For whatever reason, Wesker throws Chris aside and immediately takes off to chase her down. Yet later, when Wesker is actually fighting Alexia, he seemingly forgets about her and lunges toward Chris when he realizes the latter is present in the room. As a result, Alexia nearly succeeds in setting Wesker on fire.
5) Turn off for the relentless killing machine?
RE3 sees Jill Valentine attempting to escape the doomed Raccoon City while also trying to survive against a genetically-engineered humanoid creature called Nemesis that’s been programmed to kill her and the other S.T.A.R.S. survivors from the first game. Jill is relentlessly pursued by Nemesis throughout RE3 until a period where she is infected with a virus and requires a cure to keep breathing. A man named Carlos, who isn’t even a S.T.A.R.S. member, comes to her aid by manufacturing the antidote she needs. Even though Jill has been left unprotected and virtually helpless, Nemesis comes after Carlos while he’s on his way back to her. Given that Nemesis otherwise dogs her every step of the way, this sudden deviation is very curious.
4) Must have found a plot hole to walk through.
During an exploration of the derelict, creature-infested police station in RE2, rookie cop Leon and corporate spy Ada come across a man named Ben who’s locked himself in a jail cell. Ben states that he wishes to stay in there because he feels it’s safer than roaming the halls. Later in the game, Leon is literally at the other end of the hall from the holding cells when he hears Ben screaming. When the scene cuts to Ben, he’s seen being attacked by a particularly large monster that’s somehow gotten into the cell with him though the door is still shut and there is no other viable entry point in sight. Even odder is that when Leon makes it over there less than a minute later, the creature is nowhere to be found.
3) How many members does this terrorist group have?
Much of the plot of RE: Revelations revolves around a bio-terrorist group known as Veltro and an investigation on whether or not they’re still active. Several pairs of military teams are sent to investigate the cruise ships that Veltro had been using as their base of operations, only to find that each ship is overrun with mutated members of the terrorist group. Ridiculously overrun, as there never seems to be any shortage of creatures around during the exploration of the primary ship, the Queen Zenobia. During one battle, there’s even an endless supply of humanoid monsters coming out of the vents to replace the ones killed by the player.
2) How did she make it into the military if she’s this spineless?
The government organization known as the FBC, or Federal Bioterrorism Commission, featured in Resident Evil: Revelations seemed to have many promising agents to its name. Three of the four who were featured most prominently – Raymond, Jessica, and Parker – seemed more than capable of keeping their wits in dangerous situations. Not the case with Rachel Foley. While it’s unclear how long she’d been an agent prior to being sent to investigate the Queen Zenobia, she immediately turns into a proverbial damsel in distress when faced with just one of the mutated creatures roaming the ship. She even throws her gun at the creature when she runs out of bullets.
1) Chris suddenly becomes Hercules.
Even though I’ve seen the most outlandish moment in RE5 as the butt of many jokes on the internet, I still have to include it on this list. During the game’s final battle, Chris Redfield’s idea of creating a safe pathway for his partner, Sheva, is to repeatedly punch a boulder three times his size to get it to move. You would think that, after Chris stated in an earlier point in the same game that he’s no superhero and even exhibited signs of pain just from punching his arch-enemy, Wesker, in the face, there would be some hesitation before carrying out this daunting task. Nope. Not only does Chris rush in and start whaling on this giant rock, but he also gets it rolling aside in under 30 seconds.
Regardless of this list of criticisms, I am a huge fan of the video game series. What I like most is how the games have evolved with the times. I love the puzzle-driven adventures released from 1996 to 2002 just as much the high definition third-person shooter style from 2004 on. Each game, excluding the spinoffs of Operation Raccoon City and the Chronicles series, brings something unique to the table that sets it apart from the rest. Whether you prefer the tense, fast-paced scenario in RE3 that forces the player to keep moving, the twist-around-every-corner story present in Code Veronica, the impressive cinematic fights involving Wesker in RE5, or even discovering the secret cause of the first outbreak in Resident Evil Zero, there is something to satisfy just about everyone.
And the soon-to-be-released RE7, coming next year, promises a new spin on the series. According to reports, it will be a first-person shooter and will return the series to its “horror roots.” It is unknown yet what the story will be or if any of the previous characters of the series will even be present in this newest installment, but it is something to which I am very much looking forward.
1–Wesker distracted by Alexia
2–Resident Evil Zero’s crate puzzle
3–Glass cage for the Lickers in Resident Evil 5
4–Chris prepares to punch a boulder
5–Rachel Foley runs from a monster
6–Ben’s prison cell in Resident Evil 2
Jeanette, I’ve often asked myself if the characters in a book or movie are so bored or stupid that they commit a simple mistake that could get them caught or killed. Yes, sometimes they are; otherwise, we might not have a good story.
Very enjoyable! I love your sense of humor.
I really enjoyed reading your piece. You disected it so well . You’ve given this a lot of thought. I find it very interesting.
Fascinating! You have such in-depth thoughts and attention to detail with these video games.