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A Resident Evil mini-Retrospective


With Gametrailers doing a full-on retrospective for Resident Evil, it would be hard to top that. Instead, I'm presenting to you one of the finest extra modes in gaming: Mercenaries. The objective is simple enough: make it through a gauntlet of zombies and creatures with a time limit. Think you can handle it?

It all started with Resident Evil 1....

It was simply called the "Battle Game". You could unlock it by either by beating the main game, or by using a cheat code with a second controller (hold X, Y, and Z and press Start at the title screen). Considering Resident Evil 1 was the first huge survival horror game, this mode was a blast! Unlike the main story, where you could spend as much as 10-15 minutes not blowing away zombies, this mode was all about undead Armageddon. Resident Evil's battle game was considerably different than it's successors. There is less emphasis on action, and a more limited amount of pickups throughout the game.

In what could be considered one of the first "3D time trials", you were given a ranking depending on how much health you had, and items you had left after completion. Unlike future iterations of the game, this mode was purely for fun; you didn't unlock anything by beating it. Hilariously enough, if you ever played this mini-game you'll remember "Zombie Wesker", an infamous enemy that took almost all your ammo to defeat.

Playable Characters:

* Chris Redfield
* Jill Valentine

Then Resident Evil 2 gave it a face

The Fourth Survivor- HUNK is one of the biggest, and enigmatic names in Resident Evil. He's actually an Umbrella Operative, that was attacked by the Mutated William Birkin (One of Umbrella's Top Scientists). We never even see his face until the offshoot "Umbrella Chronicles"; he's kind of like Resident Evil's "silent Knight". In Fourth Survivor, HUNK has to make it from the sewer entrance to the Racoon City PD's helipad. The main difference between this game and Battle Mode is that you have extremely limited ammo. As a result, most of this game is spent doing what I used to call "barry sanders-ing". Translation: juke those zombie suckas! Everyone to this day recognizes Hunk due to his iconic mask, and if you haven't seen him until now; the more you know!

The Tofu Survivor - The names "HUNK & Tofu" go hand in hand for Resident Evil fans. In Tofu survivor, you play the "blue beret" Tofu, and must reach the rescue chopper on time. It plays out exactly like HUNK's mission, except you're a giant piece of Tofu.

Hunk eats Tofu!

Extreme Battle - Found in the Dual Shock version of Resident Evil 2, this particular game came after the above two mini-games that were featured in the shipped version. It played out just like Fourth Survivor, except you got to play as different characters, and it had a quasi-story. In this mode, you have to plant anti-virus bombs around the Police Department. There are also three difficulty settings that are unlocked; for the first time, a Resident Evil mini-game had incentive to "keep" unlocking. For added replay value, each character had a different weapon and item set.

Playable Characters:

* Leon
* Claire
* Ada
* Chris

Resident Evil 3 Improved it

The Mercenaries - Operation: Mad Jackal- While previous mini-games were played for fun, Operation Mad Jackal actually impacted the main game. Every time you beat Mad Jackal you would accrue cash to spend on new items for the regular game. Additionally, the main character for the first time wasn't playable. Instead, you had to choose from three UCBS soldiers that were part of the main game's story. Like "Extreme Battle", Mad Jackal had different item sets for each character, but this time they greatly varied between each other, creating clear cut "begginer, medium, and veteran" choices. You'll also find survivors to rescue in this mode that drop items. You add time to your clock when you defeat enemies. Strategy was key in Mad Jackal: some enemies were better to run past, and some were neccesary to kill for time. Like all previous versions of Mercenaries, the map was a one way street.

In a huge way, Mercenaries mode was begging to shape up into a full-fledged main menu game, and not just a secondary "option".

Playable Characters:

* Carlos - Standard weapons, with 3 herbs (Moderate difficulty).
* Mikhail- Every major weapon in the game, with one herb (Beginner difficulty).
* Nicholai - Has little in the weapon department, but has 3 first-aid sprays (Expert difficulty).

Resident Evil Code Veronica revived it

Battle Game: Resident Evil Code Veronica saught to resurrect the magic of the original battle game, and added a few features. An unlockable first-person viewpoint was added, in addition to increasing the total character count to five. Code Veronica's version also adds a unique boss for every character to fight at the end of each session. For all intents and purposes, every character plays the same, which is kind of a disappointment considering how Capcom had every opportunity to improve. The only particular feature I really felt stood out is the ability to play as Albert Wesker, but that was mostly fan-service.

Playable Characters:

* Claire Redfield
* Alternate Claire
* Chris Redfield
* Steve Burnside
* Albert Wesker

Resident Evil 4 near perfected it

The Mercenaries: Resident Evil finalized the way we look at mercenaries mode today. It took the magic of Mad Jackal, and greatly improved upon it. Unlike previous versions, you add time to your clock by picking up special "clock items", and this time, instead of merely running through the same "one way street", you were dropped into a large map and told simply: "survive!" Now instead of carefully planning your escape route, enemies could come at you from all sides! In this definitive version, 4 levels and 5 playable characters are unlocked. You were also more inclined to play it again because secret items were hidden all across the different maps. There is no "finish line" Resident Evil 4's mercenaries mode but there is sort of an "end" that has unique bosses when the stage is winding down.

Playable Characters:

* Leon Kennedy
* Ada Wong
* Jack Krauser
* Albert Wesker

The best part of Resident Evil 4's iteration is that the extra characters all have special abilities. Krauser can use his infected arm to charge enemies occasionally, HUNK has a neck breaker one-hit kill attack, and Wesker has a special thrust punch that destroys almost every enemy in front of him. It plays completely different depending on the character you choose, allowing it to have near endless replay value. Here's hoping to Resident Evil 5 following the same path....

What to expect in Resident Evil 5?

I do know a few details regarding Resident Evil 5's mercenaries mode but I don't want to spoil them. There are 10 different "characters", but most of them are different skins. RE5's Mercenaries is also confirmed only to have split-screen play.

It looks like Resident Evil 4's derivative has made a return, with a few surprises. Thankfully, this mode, unlike the main game, can be played solo, and J.J the mini-gun totin' boss from RE4 also makes a return! I hope that this version makes some improvements over RE4's system, although we can't really tell yet. I hope you enjoyed this retrospective: now go out and replay these games! Resident Evil 5 is only a week away.
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About Chris Carterone of us since 3:56 PM on 01.05.2009

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!


Twitter - @DtoidChris

I'm married, and I've been playing games since I was 4. I still remember buying my own NES system at Sears and going home and playing Mario/Duck Hunt. Fast forward to the present, my wife and I now own a PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U.

If I had to choose a system I had the "best times" with, it would be a two way tie between the Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation 2. My favorite game series is Mega Man Classic, but I own every Metal Gear, Devil May Cry, Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Wario, Tony Hawk, main series Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil game ever released in the US (and a lot more), so it's a close call!

There are too many good games out to count now, but I'm always itching to play my backlog of old PS2 action titles. I'll play anything and everything action-adventure, so if you have a game in mind, drop me a line! I have strong opinions regarding the financial decisions of many publishers, but at the end of the day, I'm willing to give anything a chance; especially if it comes recommended by a community member.

Oh; and in 2012 I started contributing to Destructoid.

Currently backed upcoming crowdfunding projects:

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Shenmue III

I also backed the Tiny Cartridge Patreon in 2014 for several months, but no longer back any Patreon campaigns currently


Here is my story, from my humble beginnings as a c-blogger.

Carter's Quests (previously Magnalon's Quest):

2011 - Zelda
2012 - Resident Evil
2012 - Tony Hawk
2012 - Kingdom Hearts
2012 - Wario
2013 - Mega Man Classic
2013 - Devil May Cry
2013 - Mega Man X
2013 - God of War
2013 - Metroid
2014 - Diablo
2015 - Batman: Arkham

Future - Pokemon
Future - Splinter Cell
Future - Mega Man Spinoffs
Future - Elder Scrolls
Future - Mario
Future - Platinum Games
Future - Kirby
Future - Clover
Future - Castlevania
Future - Metal Gear
Future - Tenchu
Future - Ninja Gaiden
Future - Onimusha
Future - Ape Escape
Future - Disgaea
Future - Twisted Metal
Future - Deception


Promoted (before I was staff):

Playing with Others: Phantasy Star Offline

Magnalon's quest to beat every Zelda in 2011

Tips for Securing Your Xbox Live Account


My top 20 games (in no particular order):

Resident Evil 5
Fallout: New Vegas
Dragon Age: Origins
Demon's Souls
Skies of Arcadia
Lunar 1 and 2
World of Warcraft: All Expansions
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Tenchu 2
Devil May Cry 3
Phantasy Star Online
Ape Escape 1
Rockman & Forte (Mega Man & Bass)
God Hand
Jet Set Radio Future
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics


Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Bayonetta 2
NieR: Automata
Guilty Gear Xrd
Mario Kart 8
Gravity Rush 2
Dark Souls III
Shovel Knight
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Uncharted II
Yo-Kai Watch
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Ori and the Blind Forest
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Dark Souls II
Deception IV: Blood Ties
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Strider (2014)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy
The Wolf Among Us
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Super Mario 3D World
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Dead Rising 3
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Pokemon X & Y
Super Mario 3D World
Grand Theft Auto V
Dragon's Crown
Gravity Rush
Dragon's Dogma
Persona 4 Golden
Pokemon Silver
Tomb Raider (2013)
Brave Fencer Musashi
Shenmue II
Dark Cloud
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Asura's Wrath
Mutant Mudds
Far Cry 3
Binding of Isaac
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
Zone of the Enders 2
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Batman: Arkham City
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Diablo II
Diablo III
Dust: An Elysian Tail
Tomb Raider II
Metal Gear Solid 4
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Zombies At My Neighbors
Super Bomberman 2
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk's Underground 2
Onimusha 3
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)
Power Stone 2
No More Heroes 2
Ultima Online
Aladdin SNES
Super Punch-Out!!
Demon's Crest
Secret of Mana
Borderlands 2
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy X
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario 64
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario 3D Land
Mega Man 8
The Lost Vikings
Bujingai: The Forsaken City
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Odin Sphere
Donkey Kong Country
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Call of Duty: World at War
Chrono Trigger
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Half Minute Hero
Kirby Super Star
Super Meat Boy
Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony
L.A. Noire
Outland (XBLA/PSN)
Shantae: Risky's Revenge
Mighty Flip Champs
Child of Eden
Kirby's Dream Course
Shadows of the Damned
Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR)
Rayman: Origins


The following are a few of my favorite fictional characters, compliments of SuitcoatAvenger

-My favorite video game character of all time: Magic Emperor Ghaleon.

-Legato Bluesummers from Trigun: classic villain.

-Although obscure, Zero Beat is among my favorites.

-My original avatar.