Trendsetters week 6: Survival Horror

The genre that's horrifying, or just plain horrific

The pioneer- Resident Evil | 1996 | PS1
Responsible for coining the term survival horror, Resident Evil was more than a third person action/adventure with a few monsters in- it marked out the beginning of a genre that actively went out of its way to unsettle and isolate players. For a start, you never had enough ammo, so sooner or later you were going to have to run. But run where? The claustrophobic confines of the mansion was as much your enemy as the monsters, with intentionally awkward camera angles heightening the fact that you really had no idea where the next threat was going to come from. Worse, it brilliantly implemented sound, so you could hear those bastard zombie dogs, but never know where they were until they were feasting on your jugular.

Raising the bar- Resident Evil 4 | 2005 | GC/PS2
Perception is a funny thing. When we think of monsters in horror, we expect mutations and freak experiments, maybe clinging to the odd dismembered limb or mutilated corpse for effect. Resi 4 threw most of that out with the bathwater, and the introduction of the speedy, co-operative, and intelligent Ganados, who look like ordinary people, was far more chilling than any creature of the night could be. Along with a welcome re-jig of the combat system into a first/third person hybrid, and a move away from fixed camera angles, Resi 4 breathed some life into a genre that was very nearly defined by the inclusion of zombies.

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