Join us as we chart the history of the Resident Evil series via the visual medium of Resident Evil box art, from 1996 to 2012. Along the way we will discover many fascinating things and make many artistic observations. You might learn something. You might not. But one thing's for sure, by the end you will have seen 30 different Resident Evil box arts.
Resident Evil | 1996
A sort of Rorschach print of spiders, faces, and chicken feet, with series stalwart Chris Redfield in the middle of it all. The horrors have given Chris a nasty case of crazy eye. Note Chris’ buff, Rambo-esque, vein-popping physique here.
Resident Evil 2 | 1998
Distinctly different territory variations on a ‘half-a-face-and-the-colour-black’ theme. The US face feels softer and has an almost playful, cat-like appearance. The UK face looks as though it’s been dipped in battery acid and dragged back-and-forth along a cheese grater for several hours. In black and white.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis | 1999
While the previous covers kept their respective terrors shrouded with a degree of mystery, Resi 3 practically punches your eyes in the face by putting its hulking Nemesis enemy front and centre. From the moment you first see the cover, it’s clear this hulking great peeled American footballer of a stitched-together kebab-meat mountain of a monster is what you’re up against.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica | 2000
Here we see a computer rendered Claire and Chris Redfield not looking particularly terrified or even very bothered to be at the centre of another zombie-based disaster. Note how Chris has shunned his earlier buff, Rambo-esque, vein-popping physique in favour of something else.
Resident Evil Survivor | 2000
The US box art shows protagonist Ark Thompson with a piercing gaze and an expression of grim-faced determination, ready for the insurmountable odds stacked against him. In the background some hellish demon spawn wears a sickening grin. The UK box art has a gun and some bullets.
Resident Evil Gaiden | 2001
Blood-smeared ship life ring may not have a fringe, but it has more impact than rubbish looking cartoon person who is actually Leon S. Kennedy.
Resident Evil | 2002
Here we see the UK box art choose a subtle yet striking design to smartly convey the series’ signature mood and tone with an image evoking a sense of unsettling horror. In stark contrast, the US cover opts for an image of Jill Valentine fighting a zombie to show that the game is about fighting zombies.
Resident Evil Zero | 2002
Check out Billy Coen on this cover. He may be a relative bit-part player on the Resi stage, but of all the series’ many characters, none have a face that says ‘I want to kick zombies in the head and then go dancing with the ladies’ quite like Billy’s.
Resident Evil: Dead Aim | 2003
Resident Evil characters don’t come much more obscure than Fong Ling and Bruce McGivern. This is them. Trivia: Bruce McGivern actually has blonde--not orange--hair.
Resident Evil Outbreak | 2004
The US box art lifts the logo from the 2002 Resident Evil movie and--stylistically--the whole cover image could easily double as a poster for some schlocky 70s horror B movie. Which is by no means a bad thing. We would definitely watch that movie.
Resident Evil 4 | 2005
One of these box arts is an actual thing of beauty. Albeit sinister, ominous, foreboding beauty. The other is Leon with an outer glow.
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 | 2005
While both covers share the same art, they’ve been given distinctly different treatments. There’s no gun in the hand of the poor soul being dragged into the sewers on the UK art. The US version has stuck with the movie logo again (which, notably, is the last time the movie logo appears on any Resi game cover). And, as the more observant amongst you will have spotted, one cover’s mostly black and the other’s mostly white.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles | 2007
Would you like your Albert Wesker with or without zombies?
Resident Evil 5 | 2009
While the outline of Africa is unmistakeable on the UK box art, it’s far less distinct on the US cover, instead resembling little more than a non-specific glowing shape. The silhouetted machete-wielding mob is also almost completely indistinguishable on the US box art. Also, note how Chris has returned to his buff, Rambo-esque, vein-popping physique, presumably having eaten the Chris Redfield from Code: Veronica.
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles | 2009
Notice how the UK box art subverts the observer’s subconscious association of the word ‘Dark’ with actual darkness and instead employs a contrasting visuality of lightness. Clever.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D | 2011
The US box art with its stylised explosion of background colour is far more eye-catching and dynamic than the UK cover, which--in comparison--has gone a bit too white and sterile and ends up just looking a bit boring really.
Trivia: This is Chris Redfield’s fourth cover appearance, which officially makes him the Resident Evil character that has appeared on the most Resident Evil box arts.
Resident Evil Revelations | 2012
This is one box art to keep an EYE on. Whoever came up with this cover has a real EYE for design. It’s certainly EYE catching. A real EYE opener. EYE carumba! Etc.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City | 2012
At least it’s consistent with the actual game i.e. it is poorly designed.
Resident Evil 6 | 2012
Ah. Yes. We are also experiencing difficulty seeing past the giraffe thing.
There we are. A history of Resident Evil box art. Do you have a favourite Resi cover? Or perhaps there’s one you have irrational feelings of hate for? Either way, if you feel compelled to comment, please do so in the comments section.
If you have nothing to say or would simply rather keep your comments to yourself, please feel free to peruse some related GamesRadar content as an alternative:
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