20th Anniversary Of Resident Evil: The Pac's Top Five Moments

Greetings, ladies and germs, it is I, The Pac, your friendly neighborhood Canadian who will apologize, unprompted, for absolutely no reason at all. Otherwise known as ACE -- Any Canadian Ever.

What follows from here will be a list of my personal favorite moments from the Resident Evil series, from its auspicious beginnings to its current polarizing form that nonetheless continues to crank out blood-gushing action at a steady clip, even as it has paled in recent years to its former glorious - if endlessly cheddar-rich - self.

I'm a little late to the party on this one, you'll notice, but I figured I'd follow in the footsteps of the passionate intellectual giant that is WIGS's very own Lilith Sinclair. Because if you're gonna borrow, borrow from the best. Cliches are cliches for a reason, which is in itself a cliche, and thus proves my point... Right. Anyway. On with the article!

1)      William Birkin decimates HUNK’s USF comrades, Resident Evil 2

When squirrelly Umbrella Corporation scientist William Birkin conspired to steal his life’s work, the G-Virus, right out from under Umbrella’s snooty, high-held noses, Umbrella was already one step ahead. They’d dispatched their mysterious Agent HUNK of the Umbrella Special Forces, along with his faceless squad of merciless grunts, to acquire the sample from the traitorous doctor, by any means necessary. In this case, that included shooting him and leaving him for dead. Unfortunately for them, Birkin managed to conceal his final sample long enough to inject himself in the aftermath, and the ensuing slaughter of HUNK’s team (sans HUNK himself, because he’s a bad mammajamma) would kickstart a viral outbreak under the streets of Raccoon City. And… well. You know the rest, right?

2)      Nemesis kills Brad Vickers, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

With a tacky yellow vest to match the stripe down his back, many fans were probably surprised that Resident Evil’s Crown Prince of Pussification survived the first game’s Spencer Incident at all. And as S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team’s helicopter pilot and only escape option, the fact he was the one directly responsible for stranding series heroes Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield in the face of certain death pretty much guaranteed an ignoble end at some point. Enter Nemesis. Which entered him. Via tentacle. Right in front of Jill, the woman Brad had left behind to die. Brad’s death at Nemesis’s gigantic meaty paw was an indelible introduction to the relentless pursuit to follow, and in so many ways has yet to be matched by any RE creature’s introduction to date, much as Capcom still tries. Though I think they came damn close to matching this scene’s impact with the freaky mutation of Bitores Mendez in RE4…

3)      Mikhail’s sacrifice, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

A relatively brief scene in the grand scheme of the game (30 seconds at most), but impactful as hell. RE3 star Jill Valentine and Corporal Carlos Oliveira, an Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasures Service mercenary-turned-ally, were tracked by the cunning Nemesis to the trolley car they were going to take to reach their extraction point from the city. But best laid plans are usually shot to death in these situations like that poor bastard that Arnold uses as a human shield in Total Recall, and so Nemesis picks the right/wrong moment to arrive en route to ruin everyone’s day. He busts in to spoil the party and means to kill Jill, but standing in his way is badass (and severely injured, at that!) UBCS soldier Mikhail Victor, one of Jill’s new allies and Carlos’s comrade in arms. He bravely stands toe to toe with Nemmy and, despite losing the exchange, makes sure the creature feels some agony of defeat with the fiery kiss of a suicidal frag grenade. Do svidanya, baby.

4)      Albert Wesker battles Chris Redfield, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X

Earlier in the game, Wesker had revealed himself to be alive after Chris had, for obvious reasons, thought him very much dead following the catastrophic events at the Spencer Mansion in RE1. A brief scuffle on Rockfort Island was but a teasing prelude to a climactic (or anticlimactic, to some) battle in an Antarctic sub hangar. But it was a tense exchange while it lasted, which served to show just how much inhuman power Wesker had gained in the interim and how big a threat he would ultimately become as the series progressed. So much power, in fact, that even a length of rebar ended up bent across his face when Chris hit him with it. Despite this being part of the beginning of the end of RE as a credible horror franchise, it was still a fun fight to watch. It mainly consists of Chris getting his ass handed to him, sure, but with a little ingenuity he’s able to outwit the man in black to postpone the inevitable. Only next time, they’d have a little more than 7 minutes to spare for their final battle…

5)      Sky-High Skirmish, Resident Evil 5

Shortly before the disappointing comic book villainy of Chris and Wesker’s final (final FINAL, they swear!) showdown, there came this rad fight scene on a bomber plane carrying Wesker’s Uroboros payload of viral death, enough for complete… global… saturation. Chris and partner Sheva Alomar have stowed away on board Wesker’s death machine, and emerge to confront and end his apocalyptic mania once and for all. But Wesker, still pumped to the gills with a chemical cheat code that gives him extraordinary strength and speed, decides to take both of them on unarmed. What follows is an exchange that would make any Hollywood action choreographer proud, a highlight being an amazing, spinning spider kick that the quasi-Draculian Wesker delivers to Chris about halfway through. Kung Fu or alternative breakdancing, it was a hell of a badass move either way.

And there you have it! Just a few cherished memories of mine, in a series that I've largely fallen out with in the last decade, due to its increasing reliance on wall-to-wall action over horror since RE4 and the horrendous RE movies fundamentally changed the dynamic for the worse.

However, I'm always looking for an excuse to jump back in, if the series were to return to its roots of creeping suspense and genuine horror. Your move, Capcom, your move...
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