The Scariest Moments of ‘Resident Evil’

Doug Trein
Games Horror
Games Horror

The Resident Evil series recently made its triumphant return with Resident Evil 7. And, as expected, the latest game brings even more scares to this horror powerhouse.

My first taste of Resident Evil came in the form of the Resident Evil remake for Gamecube. On the first night I started playing it, a wicked thunderstorm rolled in and only enhanced the creepy atmosphere. I had to take breaks every 10 minutes or otherwise my heart would have jumped out of my chest. After that, I played more Resident Evil games and fell in love with the franchise and all of its spooky moments. If you’ve also toured through 20 years of Capcom’s beloved horror series, you’ll agree the following are scariest moments found in Resident Evil.

[Note: Spoilers lurk below, so if you haven’t played one of the featured games, you might want to avoid its respective entry!]

Resident Evil – Zombie Dogs Jump Through the Window

Here we have the moment that truly began the lasting legacy of the franchise. The first Resident Evil finds the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team in the Arklay Mountains region, as they search for the missing Bravo Team. The mission immediately goes off the rails when a ferocious group of zombie dogs scatters the group into the foreboding Spencer Mansion. Not long after the team splits up, players find themselves exploring a long hallway on the east end of the mansion. Just as the atmosphere starts to soak in—CRASH!—a pack of zombie dogs bursts through the window. Regular anxiety amps up to full-on freak-out mode immediately.

Years later, the Resident Evil remake called back to this moment in a clever way. Instead of the dogs jumping through the window on the first visit through the hallway, they wait until the second time around. So players comfortable with what to expect got blindsided themselves!

Resident Evil 2 – Licker Through the Window

Lickers were introduced in Resident Evil 2 and have gone on to become an iconic monster for the series. Once inside of the Raccoon City Police Department, Leon or Claire find themselves exploring an interrogation room. A one-way mirror separates this room from the adjacent monitoring room. Things are calm and no danger can be seen across both of these rooms… at first.

But once you search the interrogation room, a Licker breaks the comfortable silence and attacks. Having just explored the empy monitoring room, your guard is entirely down when searching the interrogation room. It’s a fantastic little jump scare that resonated with players—some even more so than the zombie dog scare.

Resident Evil 3 – Nemesis Kills Brad

The hulking Nemesis defined the horror of Resident Evil 3. This grotesque zombie giant never wants to leave you alone. No matter where Jill Valentine finds herself in Raccoon City, Nemesis is not far behind. You can try to take him down every time he corners you, but these encounters can amount to long clashes that leave you with little ammo afterwards.

Nemesis makes his grand entrance in front of the Raccoon City Police Department. After muttering his trademark “S.T.A.R.S…” dialogue line, he viciously grabs hold of Brad Vickers and impales him through the face with an extending tentacle. The cutscene perfectly illustrates the overwhelming power of Nemesis and sets the stage of the rest of the game.

Some might shed few tears for Brad, who left Jill, Chris, and the rest of the S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team stranded during the events of the first Resident Evil. But, surely he could have gone out in a more heroic way.

Resident Evil Zero – Humanoid Leeches

While Resident Evil Zero often gets overlooked within this expansive franchise, the tag team antics of Rebecca Chambers and Billy Cohen result in some crazy encounters once they disembark from the Ecliptic Express. Once they make their way into the Umbrella Training Facility, they come face to face with a handful of crazy leech zombies. These creatures resemble green humanoids before undergoing a transformation that changes their body composition into a giant mass of leeches. You can unload a few magazines of bullets into them, but molotov cocktails are really the only weapon that will slow them down.

The most dreaded area in Resident Evil Zero is the Water Motif area, where three back-to-back rooms each hold a humanoid leech within them! The fights are made even more terrifying by the chaotic music track that accompanies their encounters.

Resident Evil Remake – Enter Lisa Trevor

While the Resident Evil remake remains faithful to the original, some of it brings new scares into the mix. The biggest and baddest was Lisa Trevor, daughter of the architect of the mansion George Trevor. She exists only as a name in a few files before players leave the mansion for the first time. Once they come across a modest cabin within the woods, though, she reveals her horrifying form for the first time.

What’s terrifying about this encounter is that she’s cornered you and it’s near impossible to dodge her without taking an attack from her—which deals a lot of damage. If you don’t watch what you’re doing, you’ll be dead before you know it!

Resident Evil 7 – Marguerite Boss Fight

Those who’ve experienced the horrors of Resident Evil 7 know the truly disturbing nature of the battles with the Baker family. After a few brief clashes, Ethan Winters finds himself facing down each member in a battle to the (true) death. However, nothing is easy when dealing with this deranged family.

Marguerite is no exception; her transformation is outright digusting. Whether she is “giving birth” to hordes of bees or revealing glimpses of her “weak point,” it’s almost impossible to not get grossed out. It certainly makes taking her down more challenging than it already is! The developers did a fantastic job of creating an encounter that gets under your skin… and stays there.

Resident Evil 4 – First Encounter with a Regenerator

The unsettling villagers and the sickening nature of the Las Plagas virus makes Resident Evil 4 a scary experience. But once Leon Kennedy reaches the labs and uncovers the grisly Regenerator experiment, everything goes haywire. The Regenerator will take shotgun shells to the face with pleasure and easily regrows any lost limbs. The fear only gets amplified from the strange breathing sounds they make and the way they creep around the environment looking for you.

Regenerators become much easier to take down after getting the Infrared Scope, but your first blind encounter with them brings a unique stress when they won’t stay down.

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Doug Trein
Doug Trein is a staff contributor at Fandom and focuses primarily on video games and animated television shows. His game genre favorites include strategy and turn-based role-playing games, first-person shooters, 2D fighting games, and action/adventure titles.
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