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Precinct1313’s Video-Game Vaults Presents: Resident Evil

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Zombies have, in the last decade, become rather de-rigueur, in fact you can’t swing a chainsaw without hitting at least another few dozen low budget movies, TV series or video games starring these re-animated flesh munching corpses. Much like an undead apocalypse itself, zombie media has hit oversaturation point. I’m sure when influential horror director George Romero first introduced the modern zombie to a horrified audience back in 1968 with the seminal Night Of The Living Dead, he had absolutely no idea that these ghastly ghouls would one day be so over used, that all their dread and terror would give way to a yawn and passive indifference, zombies just aren’t scary anymore…

When the late, great Romero’s groundbreaking introduction to the living dead first hit the cinema screen back in the sixties, it was met with revulsion and abhorrence by an audience unfamiliar with such overtly graphic violence.

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 Where It All Began!

Romero’s low budget, independent movie was the catalyst of a thousand imitators, some were great (Lucio Fulci’s – Zombie Flesh Eaters, Dan O’Bannon’s – Return Of The Living Dead) but most were awful Z grade rip offs, literally hordes of terribly made and woefully acted low budget cash ins, riding on the back of the movie going publics sudden reverence of all things undead.

It wouldn’t be long before video-game companies decided to take on this burgeoning horror phenomenon with their own interpretations, with the most prolific and famous of the digital dead games beginning in an imposing mansion in the Arklay Mountains, site of the original outbreak of the T-Virus and our initial introduction to S.T.A.R.S and the sinister Umbrella Corporation.

A Creepy Mansion, Undead Foes And A Jill Sandwich (!?) Await The Player In Capcom’s Creepy Classic…

Resident Evil (known as Biohazard in Japan) was first unleashed to gamers worldwide in 1996, developed by Japanese company Capcom (of Street Fighter fame) and helmed by game design auteur Shinji Mikami. It is one of the original progenitors of survival-horror, a sub genre of gaming that takes cues from horror fiction and focuses on the survival of the main character against overwhelming odds, with limited resources at their disposal.

The first game established many of the ongoing conventions and tropes for the survivalist series, such as the limited inventory system, third person perspective, fixed camera angles for dramatic effect and the iconic typewriter save system.

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To Be Honest Jill, It’s Not The Zombies That Terrify Me, But The Thought Of Ever Having To Play Through Resident Evil 6 Again!!

The game opens with the elite members of S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) responding to the disappearance of fellow team members who lost contact in the remote area on the outskirts of Raccoon City, known as the Arklay Mountains.

Players choose to take control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield at the start of the game, and then, with their chosen avatar, proceed into the mysterious mansion embedded deep within the creepy forests of Arklay Mountains in search of their fellow team-mates. 

Graphics are a mix of three dimensional characters set against pre-rendered backdrops, fixed camera angles give the game a rather compelling cinematic feel.

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Who’s A Good Boy Then… Uuh, Could You Stop Chewing On My Leg Now!

As your chosen avatar explores the mansion they discover documentation in the form of diary entries and audio tapes that provide story beats and exposition, as well as uncovering clues to the various puzzles that need to be undertaken to progress through the mission. The combat takes centre stage through the use of a variety of firearms discovered around the environment, though ammo conservation is important as ammunition is limited.

The inevitable health loss can be counteracted by the use of either first aid sprays or three different types of combinable herbs. The capacity for carrying items on person is also limited, though extraneous items can be kept in an item box for later use. Saving is done through typewriters that are scattered through the mansion, ink ribbons must first be located before saving is possible, and once more these are in limited supply so must be used sparingly.

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Player characters will fight through a succession of undead and mutated creatures as they progress, from the humble zombie through, giant spiders and hulking behemoths. Also of note are the multiple endings the game can deliver depending on the actions taken by the player throughout their adventure, giving the game an impulsive replayability.

Capcom’s Resident Evil is a landmark game, it is almost single-handedly responsible for the Survival-Horror genre and is one of the longest running video game franchises of all time, with the most recent game “Resident Evil Village″ released to abundant praise from fan and critic alike. Though there have been a couple of missteps (Resident Evil 6 being rather… awful) the majority of titles in the franchise have been absolute gems and are a blast to play (with personal faves being Resi 4 and Code Veronica)

The original has seen a remastered overhaul with an upgraded version released on platforms such as Xbox One Playstation 4, and Nintendo’s fabulous Switch… which means Zombie blasting on the go! so there’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of zombies, elite swat teams, Jill sarnies, and evil corporations!

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This Is A Rewritten Review From A Piece I Wrote Roughly Three Years Previous, Updated So We Could Add It To The Precincts Newest Addition – The Video-Game Vaults.

Modern British Cult Cinema – Halloween Special: OUTPOST

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(Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Former Royal Marine turned mercenary, D.C. (Ray Stevenson) and his ragtag group of ex-soldiers take on the task of protecting scientist, Hunt (Julian Wadham) as he searches for an old military bunker deep in Eastern Europe. Little do they know that this seemingly innocuous task will lead them straight into the hands of a long dormant and malevolent enemy… that cannot die.

Cast: Ray Stevenson, Richard Brake, Julian Wadham, Paul Blair, Enoch Frost, Michael Smiley, Brett Fancy. Writer: Rae Brunton. Director: Steve Barker.

Outpost is a fantastic British suspense/horror movie in the vein of the excellent ‘Dog Soldiers’ and Norwegian horror/comedy ‘Dead Snow’… but played straight. Ex Royal Marine D.C. (played by the always dependable Ray Stevenson of ‘Punisher Warzone’ and Rome’) is tasked with guiding and protecting scientist and businessman, Hunt as he searches the depths of war torn Eastern Europe for a long forgotten WWII outpost, under dubious pretences.

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Accompanying D.C. on his expedition are his mainstay group of experienced ex-soldiers, each eager for the promised large payout for what seems an apparently routine job. Upon reaching their goal however they realise that what previously seemed an effortless undertaking, gradually turns into hell on earth, as they are slowly consumed by an ancient evil, that cannot be killed by conventional means.

The intriguing central story premise surrounds the character of Hunt, a scientist sent by an unknown shadowy third party to uncover an old WWII bunker in search of, what initially the mercenaries think is lost nazi gold, but actually turns out to be a rather unusual generator with strangely supernatural properties.

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English film director and screenwriter Sean Barker presents us with a fabulously creepy and chilling horror movie that really piles on the suspense to unsettling effect. The locations are shot completely in Scotland, and are a convincing replacement for the supposed Eastern European setting, especially the dark foreboding woods that surrounds the WWII bunker delivering a supremely brooding and disquieting presence and giving the film a distinctly claustrophobic effect. The gore quotient is quite high, but the film is definitely more suspense horror than out and out splatter flick.

Some well paced action sequences punctuate the slow suspenseful build up, and the enemy themselves are fiendishly well realised and exude a tone of disturbing malevolence that eminently serves to heighten their revenant revival at the halfway point of the film.

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An Atmospheric And Creepy Suspense Horror Awaits You…

A brilliantly suspenseful British chiller, that treads well used ground but still manages to make the genre feel fresh and innovative. Some excellent acting turns from the mainly British cast list, phenomenal make up and gore effects and a notably effective and creepy setting all combine to form an extremely re-watchable zombie flick.

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