Thanks to a mixture of parents that didn’t follow pop culture, and older brothers that did, my friends and I spent much of the late 1990s playing Resident Evil in the dark. With a solid atmosphere, and nasty creatures aplenty, it was unlike the usual Marios we’d grown up on and felt like a one off. Little did we know, this survival horror from Capcom would still be around when we were in our early 30s.
Yes, 21 years, and over 25 sequels, later (including numerous spin offs) the series is still going strong, with latest entry Resident Evil 7 arguably being a franchise high point. It’s also the only game license to successfully branch off into movies, with an unparalleled 6 entries that all made it to the cinema. And whilst one would be hard pushed to call them more than guilty pleasure/ escapist fun, there’s something contagious about their blend of grotesque monsters, high octane soundtracks and exaggerated gunplay. To celebrate the blu-ray release of the latest, and last, in this series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Horror Cult Films were invited to partake in a real life version with Breakin’ Escape Rooms.
If you’ve never done an escape room they’re exactly what they sound like: a bunch of you are locked in a room together and need to escape before the time runs out. Think of it as being like a mental challenge in The Crystal Maze, with a greater emphasis on team work. Escape Rooms became popular on the continent, but are now all the rage in the UK – entertaining stag dos and staff nights out for a few years now. Among the premier organizations in the field are this north London based company, that have 6 different themed games including a pirate one, a superhero one, a space one and, for one night only, a Resident Evil one. Sat with some other journalists, representing other great genre sites/ magazines, we were given a copy of the movie, knocked back a beer or so and were sent into secret layer, The Hive, to find an antidote to The Umbrella Corporation’s virus (so goes the plot to most incarnations).
So there were 7 of us in total fumbling around the dark to get a cure. This meant turning up a number of clues, doing puzzles and, at one point, running like shit when a zombie came bounding out the secret tunnel towards us (luckily we had flashlights and a human hand to distract it). It was tough going, with keys and combos found in different boxes and some parts requiring precise movements and noticing patterns, but with logical thinking, good communication and a generous amount of clues we made it out within the designated 30 minutes! Everyone had fun and all of us played our different parts right until the heart pounding finale of running through a wall of blinking lasers.
With that over the Sony rep was keen to show us the latest gizmo – a Playstation VR headset with Resident Evil 7. Having used a VR before, and had the good fortune to play through the game twice on the normal PS4, nothing in the demo surprised me. Yet it’s amazing how immersive the wrap around graphics are. At first the mix of head movements and using the pad for 30 degree turns was tricky, but within a couple of minutes it had become second nature. The result is an even better way of playing an already superb game. Returning to reality, there was time for another couple of beers before hitting the road to see how Alice’s story ends. And wondering how the last two decades went by so fast.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is out on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand services on June 12th 2017