The survival horror genre would not exist without Resident Evil. The popular series is defined by its expansive plot featuring horrifying bio-experiments, secret laboratories disguised as strange houses, bizarre puzzles, and the evil intentions of the Umbrella Corporation. Over twenty games exist in the franchise, many of them following the exploits of S.T.A.R.S. agents as they attempt to piece together the horrors that occur inside Umbrella’s research facilities.
In honor of the release of Resident Evil Origins Collection on Xbox One and PS4 this week, we wanted take a look at some of the lesser-known side stories that exist within this storied franchise, beginning with where it all started.
The Beginning (Resident Evil Origins)
The foundations of the Resident Evil nightmare begin in Resident Evil Zero, which details the cause of the first viral outbreak in Raccoon City in 1998. After hearing reports of bizarre murder cases, the S.T.A.R.S Bravo Team unit is dispatched to the Arklay Mountains region to investigate a series of gruesome murders. New recruit Rebecca Chambers, the team’s young medic, discovers zombies onboard a commercial train owned by Umbrella, the Ecliptic Express. During her search, she teams up with an unlikely ally, a convicted murderer named Billy Coen who escaped from police custody after a court-martial. The duo explore the remains of the abandoned train, and stumble across the Umbrella Executive Training Facility.
The very next night, the first Resident Evil game takes place as S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team is dispatched to assist with the murder cases after communication with Bravo team was lost. Key members of the Alpha Team, including Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Barry Burton, and Albert Wesker stumble onto the Spencer Mansion. Inside, they discover the bodies of several of their team members, along with a plethora of undead creatures. The S.T.A.R.S. members discover that the Spencer Mansion is actually a front for a top-secret laboratory owned by the international Umbrella Corporation, and that the creatures are the result of experiments with a bio-weapon called the T-Virus. To make matters worse, Wesker purposefully lured the team there to die. A self-destruct sequence destroys the remnants of the laboratory, along with its most deadly experiment, the Tyrant T-002.
These events serve as only the beginning to the long and twisted tale of the Umbrella Corporation. In the months following the Spencer Mansion incident, Raccoon City falls entirely to hordes of zombies and monsters. Several other research facilities, virus strains, and bioweapons are later discovered. These are just some of those stories.
Resident Evil Outbreak was a side-story title that was notable for being the first Resident Evil title to incorporate online cooperative play. Immediately following the horrors of the Spencer mansion incident, the T-Virus spreads south into the heart of Raccoon City. Chaos and destruction soon follow, with the innocent populace beginning to transform into zombies. The game follows a ragtag group of civilians who convene inside of J’s Bar and plan to escape the city. The survivors include members of the Raccoon City Police Department (Kevin & Aaron), a field reporter (Alyssa), a waitress (Cindy), and others.
Each character has their own strengths and witnesses and must act together in order to defeat enemies and solve puzzles. The game features five unique scenarios with ambiguous connections between each other. The game ends with the execution of Mission Code: XX, an operation in which the U.S. government effectively nukes the entirety of Raccoon City to eradicate the T-Virus threat.
Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 was released in 2005. This sequel and expansion contained levels which failed to be completed in time for the first game’s release.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a side-story title that portrays two differing “what-if” scenarios that occur in tandem with the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. With the true intentions of Umbrella threatening to spread, the company dispatches Delta Team, a special forces unit with orders to stop Dr. William Birkin from handing over his G-Virus research to the U.S. Military. When Birkin injects himself with the G-Virus and orders mercenaries to combat Umbrella’s forces, Delta Team are given new orders to protect the legitimacy of Umbrella by destroying any incriminating data files they come across. Delta Team is also ordered to destroy facilities and kill witnesses to impede the U.S. government’s search for answers behind the viral outbreaks.
Unbeknownst to Umbrella, the United States government dispatches their own special forces team into Raccoon City. Echo Team are given orders to obtain sensitive Umbrella data as well as to locate and assist any survivors. Echo Team come across several major characters from previous Resident Evil games as they search for answers, including Jill, Carlos, and Sherri. As Echo Team explores an Umbrella laboratory, they find a T-103 Tyrant being programmed to search for Sherry, who was carrying a sample of the G-Virus. They attempt to halt the programming process, and in so doing awaken it.
As shown by the way the ending boss (the Parasite Super Tyrant) is created, the two campaigns are not canonically connected, but instead ask the question “what if this organization had control of events during the outbreak?”
Resident Evil Survivor is a side story notable for utilizing a first-person viewpoint as well as the light gun peripheral. Survivor follows the adventure of a detective named Ark Thompson, who was asked by Leon S. Kennedy to infiltrate Sheena Island, a hidden Umbrella facility off the coast of Europe. Ark gains access into the compound by impersonating the leader of the Umbrella facility, Vincent Goldman.
Once Ark is discovered by the facility inhabitants, Goldman causes an outbreak intentionally. Not long after, Ark suffers from amnesia and struggles to remember his identity and his mission. While searching for answers, he encounters two small children, Lott and Lily Klein. The Klien siblings were born and raised on Sheena island. Over time the two were brainwashed to believe that Umbrella’s researchers were saviors to the island’s struggling population. As the trio avoids the dangers of the island’s experiments, Ark’s memories slowly begin to return. He recalls his mission to destroy the facility and later locates a functional emergency helicopter. As Ark and the Klein children are about to escape, a prototype for a new kind of Tyrant, the Hypnos-T Type, confronts them and begins pursuit of the helicopter. Ark uses the on-board missile systems to destroy it for good.
A sequel to the game, entitled Resident Evil Survivor 2 CODE: Veronica was released in 2001. The game was an adaption of Claire and Steve’s events in Code Veronica.
Resident Evil: Dead Aim is a side-story title that continued the use of the light gun peripheral. After the destruction of Raccoon City, Umbrella continues their research and refuses to abort their experiments. When a large amount of the T-virus is smuggled onto an ocean liner, the Spencer Rain, Bruce McGivern is sent by the U.S. government to take back the cruiser and stop the spread of the virus.
The T-virus was stolen by a previous Umbrella scientist-turned-bioterrorist named Morpheus D. Duvall. With the deadly virus in his hands, Duvall holds the world hostage. He demands that the U.S. and China pay him a one billion dollar ransom – if they do not, his followers will launch missiles from an undisclosed silo with T-Virus warheads. Alongside Bruce, a Chinese intelligence agent named Fong Ling, also boards the ship in an attempt to stop Duvall.
After a short confrontation, Morpheus injects himself with t+G-Virus (a T-virus/G-virus hybrid) to save himself from critical injuries. Shortly after, Morpheus begins to mutate. Unlike several other mutations, Morpheus manages to maintain his mind after his transformation. His mutation keeps his overall shape humanoid, while endowing him with the strength and speed of a Tyrant. Morpheus continually pursues Bruce and Fong across the ocean liner and eventually onto an off-shore Umbrella waste disposal facility.
Once the duo reach the island, they are forced to confront several failed experiments, including the enormous monstrosity, Pluto. Morpheus eventually loses his sanity entirely during a final confrontation with Bruce, and he dies when the T-virus-filled missiles detonate on the island. Bruce and Fong manage to escape via boat just before the entire island succumbs to the explosion.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles are light gun titles that re-envision several games from the Resident Evil franchise. The adaptations of these main games were quite faithful to their original releases. Also included in both of these games were unique side stories that provide more information behind Umbrella and the heroes of S.T.A.R.S.
Operation Javier is a side-story scenario that is featured in The Darkside Chronicles. In 2002, Leon S. Kennedy and his partner Jack Krauser are sent to South America to search for an ex-drug lord Kavier Hidalgo, who was rumored to be in contact with Umbrella. The duo are greeted by zombies and a deadly water creature, confirming their suspicions of Umbrella involvement.
Manuela, the daughter of Javier Hidalgo, is revealed to have been receiving regular doses of the T-Veronica virus to combat a fatal illness. Soon after this, Leon and Krauser discover that Javier has been kindapping young girls as a means to extract their organs, in an attempt to save the life of his daughter. The water bioweapon seen earlier is then revealed to be Javier’s wife, Hilda.
Leon and Krauser destroy the remnants of Hilda, but Javier injects himself with the Veronica plant, mutating into the V-Complex. Manuela assists Leon and Krauser in the battle against her father by using T-Veronica, at the risk of turning into a monster herself. The three survive, and are rescued by helicopter. The U.S. government takes custody of Manuela, and Leon and Krauser’s story continues in Resident Evil 4.
Umbrella’s End is a chapter in Umbrella Chronicles that takes place five years after the destruction of Raccoon City, and one year before the events of Resident Evil 4. Chris and Jill attack and secure Umbrella’s most important facility, located in the heart of Russia. Inside this base, the Red Queen supercomputer contains all of Umbrella’s years of research data. Jill and Chris delve deeply into the facility, ultimately destroying Umbrella’s most sophisticated bio-weapon ever, the T-A.L.O.S. project.
During Chris and Jill’s infiltration, Albert Wesker forces his way into the stronghold and steals the entirety of Umbrella’s research himself, then wipes the computer clean. This begins his plan to revive the Umbrella Corporation under his command, as revealed in Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil Revelations
Resident Evil: Revelations takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5. Revelations depicts the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA), a counter-terrorism group co-founded by Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Jill and Parker Luciani are sent out by BSAA head Clive R. O’Brian to search for Chris and his partner Jessica Sherawat, who have gone missing. Jill and Parker arrive at Chris’ last known coordinates, the abandoned cruise ship known as the Queen Zenobia. Onboard, they find horrofic mutants known as Ooze, victims of the t-Abyss virus. Jill and Parker are then attacked by a member of the bioterrorist organization, Il Veltro.
The organization was responsible for an attack and subsequent virus outbreak in Terragrigia, an artificial aquapolis that was destroyed on orders from Morgan Lansdale, director of the Federal Bioterrorism Commission (FBC). The details of the event remain unclear.
When Chris and Jessica discover that Jill and Parker are in trouble, they attempt to land on the ship to assist them. However, to their surprise they learn they are instead on Queen Zenobia’s twin ship, the Queen Semiramis. It is later revealed that O’Brian orchestrated the events behind the mission as a means to gather information on the Terragrigia incident. He then informs them of the existence of a third ship known as the Queen Dido, that lies below Terragrigia. The ship was sunk by Morgan Lansdale, who destroyed it to eliminate any evidence of his involvement in the Terragrigia incident.
Jill and Chris undergo a search for Jack Norman, the leader of Veltro, knowing that he holds evidence against Lansdale. However, he has become delusional, and survived a year by injecting himself with T-Abyss and resisting mutation through sheer force of will and his desire for vengeance. Believing Chris and Jill to be FBC sent to kill him, he overdoses on the virus and mutates. Norman transforms into a unique Tyrant, known as the Final Form Abyss. After a long battle, he is finally killed, expressing his relief that he could finally be at peace.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 follows Claire Redfield as a senior member of anti-bioterrorist organization TerraSave. At a commencement party she meets her new partner, Moira Burton, daughter of Barry Burton. The reception is crashed by an unknown assailant and Claire and Moira awaken in a dilapidated prison on an isolated island. The duo are stalked by strange creators and led around by the mysterious Overseer, who speaks to them through bracelets installed on their hands. As they explore the island, Claire spots a mysterious young woman, who introduces herself as Natalia Korda.
Fighting their way across the island, and failing to escape via helicopter in the process, the duo reach the Overseer’s tower. Claire and Moira discover the truth behind their abduction; Neil Fisher, mole of the previously-disbanded FBC, is the true mastermind of the events. He sold TerraSave members to the Overseer, also known as Alex Wesker, in exchange for a sample of Uroboros virus. Alex then injects Neil with the very virus he requested earlier. Willing to dispose off the unneeded spy, Alex allows Neil to mutate into a huge Uroboros monster, but is eventually killed by Moira.
Not long after, Alex greets Claire and Moira with a seemingly-sardonic speech, briefly mentioning her brother, Albert, and his experiments before drawing her gun on Claire, and then inexplicably commits suicide. In response to Alex’s demise, her facility compound self-destructs.
Six months later, Barry Burton attempts to question Claire about his daughter’s whereabouts, and eventually travels there himself. When he arrives, he encounters Natalia, who seems to have an uncanny ability to detect bioweapons on the island. Barry also comes face to face with Alex Wesker, who survived her suicide attempt and has begun to show signs of mutation. Barry demands to know the whereabouts of his daughter, but Alex tells him she’s already dead.
As Barry retraces Claire and Moira’s steps, Natalia’s personality begins to change due to experiments conducted on her by Alex. Natalia awakens her “Wesker” self, and she is able to guide Barry through places she can’t actively remember. When Barry and Natalia finally reach Alex, she overdoses with a vial of Uroboros virus, initiating the final battle. As Alex gains the upper hand, Moira reappears and defends her father. Claire arrives soon after, providing sniper support from a helicopter. Barry gets the girls to the helicopter, and ends Alex’s uncontrollable mutation with an RPG-7.
So many events in such a short amount of time. The Resident Evil series is far from over, so hopefully this has helps you feel all caught up for the next time Umbrella Corporation is up to no good.