To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Resident Evil and the release of Resident Evil VIII next month – we’re celebrating the series this month.
As the first release in the Gun Survivor series, Resident Evil Survivor was a major departure from the survival horror style from the original series. It was released across the world in 2000 on the PlayStation, and celebrates its 21th anniversary this year.
The game received mostly unfavourable reviews on release and has been a title that is often forgotten amongst Resident Evil fans. Is Resident Evil Survivor a cheap, cash-grab or a hidden gem in the series?
Taking place after the destruction of Raccoon City, Resident Evil Survivor follows a pilot who wakes up in a helicopter crash on an island full of monsters. The protagonist is suffering from amnesia and struggles to uncover his identity and desperately trying to stay alive by fighting against the monsters.
The gameplay of Resident Evil Survivor combines first-person shooter and arcade-style gun games. The only part of the game that turns to third-person are in-game cutscenes. In first-person, players control a crosshair on screen which acts as their target to shoot monsters or to select options such as pressing a button.
Resident Evil Survivor borrows many of the monsters from Resident Evil 2 even featuring the same zombie models from the game. Lickers, Ivy plants, Moth Giants and Tyrants are also brought across from Resident Evil 2 and the original Hunters are brought back from the first game.
While reusing enemy models isn’t a new concept, it feels very cheap and extremely repetitive. Resident Evil Survivor may have two new enemies, but human enemies with guns are just a poor substitute for an enemy and the Tyrant is nothing special. It’s just the same as the one from the original Resident Evil with a few added features.
The story itself is weak and the characters are even worse. The protagonist is annoying and painfully stupid whilst the supporting characters are just bland. It’s so bad that you literally root for the monsters to succeed. The only thing that I found really innovative was that the game had branching paths that determine how the story will unfold and who you meet. This addition was way ahead of its time, but would’ve been more useful if the story wasn’t terrible.
Resident Evil Survivor literally exists to fill the void between Resident Evil 3 and Resident Evil Code: Veronica. It was a quickly-made game intended solely for profit with no craft or artistic design behind it. The models were outdated during release and the characters were predictable archetypes. Capcom should’ve released this as an arcade rail-shooter and saved Resident Evil fans the embarrassment of playing it.
Words by Charlie Vogelsang