17 years too late, Resident Evil 4 players have discovered a way to survive the game's most notorious instakill attack

Resident Evil 4
(Image credit: Capcom)

It's been around for almost two decades, but players of the original Resident Evil 4 have just discovered a way to survive Salvador's infamous chainsaw attack.

The Resident Evil 4 remake is already one of the most hyped new games 2023, but this life-saving method found by players of the 17-year-old original is less of a strategy, and more of a stroke of luck. The first clip surfaced on YouTube, showing RE4 hero Leon Kennedy taking a chainsaw to the neck and effortlessly shoving away his assailant. Getting attacked by sack-headed Dr. Salvador (or any chainsaw-wielding enemy) is widely known as an instakill moment; after all, who brings a gun to a chainsaw fight?

But more clips have surfaced from the game's remastered version, showing the Raccoon City veteran able to shake off the otherwise fatal blow. According to a Twitter thread, Leon has a small percentage of a chance to survive a chainsaw attack if you meet two vital criteria: firstly, that you're playing a remastered copy of the original game for PC, Xbox 360, VR, or Nintendo Switch. Secondly, it seems to only work when you have a full health bar right before the attack.

Although the death-defying measure has yet to be spotted on PS2 versions of the game, some Twitter commenters note that the ability to avoid a chainsaw death might be a remnant of a scrapped mechanic from the original. Twitter user Megxrage remembers an interview they watched during the developmental stages of the game, noting that "in development, it wasn't a one-hit kill if you had full HP." This is backed up by other tweets, with another Twitter user stating that the ability to shove off a chainsaw enemy existed in beta copies of Resident Evil 4, but was removed from the final version.

So is there a way to guarantee the chainsaw save will work for you? Not really, since it's really a matter of having all your cards lined up at precisely the right time. We already know that the remake will see Leon getting reacquainted with his blades in one of the toughest parts of the original. Whether this handy knife parry will work on chainsaws as well as Leon's actual neck does in the original, well, that's another question entirely (though gameplay footage suggests it will).

Here's why plans for a Resident Evil 4 remake chainsaw controller were sadly scrapped.

Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.