Resident Evil (known in Japan as Biohazard) is a survival horror and science fiction video game series. It has since branched off to become a media franchise consisting of comic books, novelizations, a live action film series, and a variety of collectibles (including action figures, strategy guides and publications). Developed by Capcom and created by Shinji Mikami, the series has sold 34.5 million games as of February 27, 2008.The premise of the original Resident Evil was that the Umbrella Corporation was conducting sinister experiments in a mansion outside of the "Midwestern" town of Raccoon City, and a team of SWAT-like police called the Special Tactics and Rescue Service, or S.T.A.R.S., stumbles onto it in an investigation of several cannibalistic murders. Further games expanded on this premise, and it has since become one of the most successful action-horror games series of all time in addition to coining the term survival horror. This also includes two CGI films, Degeneration and Damnation, set in the same universe as the games. The latest numbered installment, Resident Evil 6, was released on October 2012.Resident Evil 7 was rumored for an unveiling at E3 2013, but that didn't happen.The movie franchise, starring Milla Jovovich, is also moderately successful and has spawned five movies, with the most recent one, Retribution, released in September 2012.The following is a list of game titles in the series, ordered by their year of release and platforms they were released on.The main series is comprised of:
Other media tie-ins include several separate comic books from DC's Wildstorm imprint, such as an anthology magazine (five issues, 1998-1999), the four-issue limited series Fire and Ice (2000-2001), and a six-issue limited series simply called Resident Evil (2008); novels by S.D. Perry and other authors; a number of manga and manshua, radio dramas, mobile phone games, and even a trading card game by Bandai.The chronological order of the series goes as follows:
Resident Evil 0 - July 23, 1998
Resident Evil - July 25, 1998
Resident Evil Outbreak - September 20-October 1, 1998note Both, the original Outbreak and File #2, consists of five scenarios each, spanning the entire downfall of Raccoon City as depicted in RE2 and RE3. There's no concrete canon regarding how each of these scenarios transpired due to their mostly self-contained nature.
Resident Evil 3 - September 28, 1998 (first half)
Resident Evil 2 - September 29-30, 1998
Resident Evil 3 - October 1, 1998 (second half)
Resident Evil: Survivor - November 1998
Resident Evil Code: Veronica - December 1998
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Summer 2002 (events of Operation Javier)
Resident Evil: Dead Aim - September 2002
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - February 2003 (events of Operation T-A.L.O.S.)
Resident Evil 4 - Autumn 2004
Resident Evil: Revelations - 2005
Resident Evil: Degeneration - November 2005
Resident Evil 5 - August 2006 (Lost in Nightmares), March 2009 (main story)
Resident Evil: Damnation - December 2012
Resident Evil 6 - December 2012 (first two chapters of Jake's campaign and Chapter 2 of Chris' campaign), July 2013 (rest of the story)
Note: Each game in the series now has its own page, as do the films. If a trope or an example of one only applies to one game in the series, or only to the films, put it on that page.
Abnormal Ammo: Gas, acid, flame and freeze rounds for grenade launchers.
Aborted Arc: The epilogues in RE3 implied that nearly every main character was going to join forces to stop Umbrella. The only real thing to come out of this was Claire and Chris reuniting in Code: Veronica and Leon becoming a government agent in RE4. The rest? Chris and Jill reunite offscreen, Barry's and HUNK's roles in the series were reduced to minigame cameos, and Umbrella goes down offscreen from the stock market.
This is expanded on somewhat with Chris, Jill, and Wesker in the final scenario of The Umbrella Chronicles.
Action Girl: All the playable female characters, not including Ashley and a young Sherry.
Actionized Sequel: The clearest example is the fourth game, but even the second game had more of an emphasis on fighting than the first. The original gave you very little ammo, so you could only really use it when you had to. The second game, on the other hand, gives you a whole lot more, to the point you could probably kill everything in the game and still have ammo left over.
Alliterative Name: Barry Burton, Helena Harper, Alfred, Alexia, and Alexander Ashford.
All There in the Manual: A lot of supplemental info can be gleaned from the manuals, novels, and other associated media.
Always Night: For all the early games, which last through the night and end at dawn. Finally averted in 4 and 5, which both start in the daytime. The sun going down is a signal that things are about to get worse.
Actually averted in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. It starts during the daylight hours; you just can't tell because of the camera angle and the fact that half the city is on fire, so the sky is filled with smoke.
During Claire's final part in Code: Veronica, when she battles the Nosferatu, it's dawn or very early morning. During Chris's game, it's mid morning, and when he rescues Claire, it's high noon.
Which is tricky considering they're in Antarctica, below the Antarctic circle. A region which alternates days/nights of six months each.
More specifically, Antarctica in December, which should be bright out and roughly 15-25 degrees F. Instead, it's apparently cold enough to freeze a room full of water in a few hours.
Anyone Can Die: In a shower of shocking gore. If they are really lucky, they'll stay dead, because if not...
Apocalyptic Log: A way of saving the games, and way too many logs left by the various researchers and doomed citizens in the games.
"4 — Itchy. Tasty."
Arbitrary Gun Power: Ever since the first game, a magnum handgun has more stopping power than an assault rifle, and an old RPG-7 (always with warheads that aren't even implied to be armor-piercing) trump absolutely everything else in lethality, even a Kill Sat.
Aristocrats Are Evil: A good number of the series antagonists come from aristocratic backgrounds, such as Ozwell E. Spencer, the Ashford family, James Marcus, and Ramon Salazar.
Artifact Title: The international title of Resident Evil is a reference to the evil residing in the mansion in the original game. None of the other games take place in said mansion, although there are other mansions and estates such as the Ashford estate in RECV and Salazar's castle in RE4.
Although the Resident in later games could likely also be referencing the residents of the cities and towns they take place in, especially the local Card Carrying Villains and their willing subordinates.
Averted for the Japanese titles, where most of them are titled Biohazard. Biohazard means a biological outbreak and it's what the whole series is about.
Empowered Badass Normal: Wesker, starting with Code: Veronica. He is shown performing moves akin to those seen in The Matrix, up to and including dodging bullets. RE 6 features a pair, in the form of Wesker's Heroic Bastard son, Jake Muller (super strength) and Sherry Birkin (healing factor).
Blind Idiot Translation: The first game featured an awful lot of English typos, grammatical errors, and just plain goofy phrases that slipped through the QA net (including, not least of all, "Welcome back to the world of survival horror"). It did get better in subsequent games as the sequels got better budgets. The irony, of course, is that not one of the games ever had a Japanese language version in the first place. Even in Japan, the vocals are all done in English with Japanese subtitles. It gets even worse in non-English localizations, at least in the German version. For example, Jill's lockpicks are called "Dum-dum Geschosse" (dumdum bullets) instead of "Dietriche", the correct translation for lockpicks. And if you happen to understand English, you'll notice that what the characters are saying is often very different from what the subtitles read.
Capcom Sequel Stagnation: The series was fixated on the events of Raccoon City for quite awhile, even long after the year 1998 had already transpired in the real world. RE3 itself was actually a parallel installment set during the events of RE2, while REmake and RE0 set the storyline back to the past for obvious reasons. Only Code: Veronica (an oddly named sequel set a few months after RE2/RE3) and some of the spinoffs (namely Survivor and Dead Aim) attempted to move the setting beyond Raccoon City before RE4 brought the storyline of the mainline titles six years after the fall of Raccoon City.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Back in the day, Chris Redfield just wasn't as good as Jill Valentine. Oh, he had higher stamina, sure, but he couldn't carry as much, and he didn't get access to the grenade launcher like Jill did. He fared a little better in Code: Veronica, on account of getting some cooler toys to play with and a possible ten inventory slots, but still got the crap knocked out of him by Wesker in the end. As of Resident Evil 5, he can knock enemies through closed doors with a right hook and is fully capable of killing a man by punching him in the ass.
The Chew Toy: To quote President Evil's RE plot analysis FAQ, "someone on the development team hated Brad's guts."
Chekhov's Gunman: Chris is this to his sister. Thanks to his training, Claire survived Raccoon City, Rockfort Island, and Harvardille.
Jill Valentine counts as "Chekhov's Gunwoman". She was infected with the T-virus in RE3, but was cured thanks to Carlos Oliveira synthesizing a cure. Following her tackling Wesker through a window, Wesker discovers the T-virus antibodies in her bloodstream, which he would later use to further his experiments with Uroborous.
Wesker's son Jake Muller qualifies, as he has the antibodies which can cure the C-virus. Instead, Carla Radames uses his antibodies to make the C-virus more potent.
Child Prodigy: Characters in the series have a habit of packing more into their lives before they hit 21 than most people go through in a lifetime. Albert Wesker, William Birkin, Rebecca Chambers, and particularly Alexia Ashford all play this trope straight, but even the main protagonists tend to have training or skills that they shouldn't given their ages. The most notorious case thereof is with Jill, who has a wildly implausible military background for a woman who's only 23 in the first installment.
Clipped Wing Angel: This happens a lot in the series. Birkin from RE2, Nemesis in RE3, Tyrant Morpheus in Dead Aim, Alexia in Code: Veronica, Saddler in RE4, and Wesker in RE5 all transform into giant monsters that are noticeably slower, dumber, and less effective than their superhuman normal forms. Remember - if it can't hit you, it can't hurt you.
Cloning Blues: Wesker, in a manner of speaking. Also Alice in the third film.
Clown-Car Grave: Zombies will sometimes respawn in areas where there is no place for them to have come from.
Combat Tentacles: Loads of bosses, but Villager and Soldier Ganados take the cake; their Plagas often manifests itself as a tentacled brain with a huge scythe tentacle. Nemesis also had tentacles, but he only used them as a finishing move until his coat gets burned off, then he used them all the time.
Uroboros monsters are nothing but combat tentacles.
Continuity Snarl: Capcom's attempts to set at least four different games during the fall of Raccoon City leads to a lot of continuity errors about the shared locations. Specifically the Raccoon Police Department, which players visit in 2, 3, and File #2 with critical differences each time.
The Chronicles games are rather bad about this, adding new events and filling in holes in the established canon (most notably between Code Veronica and RE4), while at the same time also contradicting quite a bit of it. Really, figuring out the true continuity of Resident Evil is only slightly easier than Zelda. For example, to date, the canon ending to the original still hasn't actually appeared in any of the games.
Capcom fully acknowledged this with Operation Raccoon City, as the player can come across the likes of Leon S. Kennedy and kill him. They've simply said that the game's using Rule of Cool in regards to things like that, and that it's up to the player to decide if they want to play a canon game and leave the timeline intact, or run around screwing up the series' continuity by killing all of the Raccoon City survivors.
Conveniently an Orphan: Chris, Claire, Leon, and Sheva fall under this according to novels and guidebooks, with Jill also possibly qualifying (we don't know what happened to her dad). This, of course, leaves them free to go save the world. No indications are given of Ada's parentage, but judging by her choice in occupation, they're likely either estranged or dead. With Jake, it is a major character trait. In fact, the only characters in the entire series with at least one confirmed parent are Ashley, Steve, Sherry, and the multiple generations of Ashfords (Capcom felt the need to give them an entire family tree).
Cool Hat: Jill likes berets. She switches them for a baseball cap.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: The entire executive board for the Umbrella Corporation, particularly Ozwell Spencer. Albert Wesker later qualifies.
Demoted to Extra: HUNK, Barry and Rebecca in post-RE3 sequels, as they only returned for The Mercenaries minigames. Claire has yet to make a return appearance in a canonical game since RECV, although she did had a starring role in Degeneration.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: The main healing item in all the games is "green herbs." Which, when mixed together, are resting as a fine powder on a sheet of rolling paper. This is actually a pretty common method of preparing traditional herbal medicine in Eastern cultures (the games were made by the Japanese, after all), but in America, it comes off like someone over at Capcom is a fan of the Grateful Dead.
Doing It for the Art: One scene in the remake has a closeup of Wesker's boot, which shows that the top buckles are not laced up.
Do Not Run with a Gun: More like Do Not Walk With A Gun. The only games in the series which let you move and shoot simultaneously is Outbreak File #2 and Dead Aim, and then you move so slowly that it's barely worth the effort.
This is finally averted with the two 3DS games and Resident Evil 6. You will be able to aim and fire your guns while on the move. Not only this, you can also reload and switch your weapons on the run instead of standing still while performing said actions and praying that nothing hits you for those few precious seconds.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Helicopter pilots have notoriously low life expectancies in this series. The longest one has lived is two chapters. In particular, someone on Nemesis's design team really had it in for Brad.
Easter Egg: Examine Wesker's desk 50 times in RE2 to find a reel of film containing a picture of Rebecca in a basketball outfit.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Sort of. The different types of grenades are more effective against some creatures than others. A Licker in the second game, for instance, can take two point-blank regular grenades to the face and keep coming for you, but one Acid round will do them in. And fire tends to be particularly effective against plants. The fifth game even features Fire, Liquid Nitrogen, and Electrical grenades.
Exposed to the Elements: A perfect example is when Claire and Steve end up in Antarctica in light clothes. Particularly Claire who is in a midriff-baring t-shirt. However, they do not complain seeing as they have other things to worry about, nor does the cold seem to effect them. In the Battle Game though, during a certain point of Claire's game, after defeating all the zombies, if you walk back a few steps she will do a special animation where she shivers.
The End of the World as We Know It: Surprisingly, the RE world's regular T-virus zombie outbreaks are not a threat that may lead to this, as they seem relatively self-contained even with minimum government intervention (the Extinction movie is another story entirely). Also, the plot of at least three of the series' major bad guys (Dr. Marcus in RE0, Saddler in RE4, and Wesker in RE5), although Wesker was the only one who ever came anywhere close to implementing the plan.
One of the novels has a scientist who seeks to cause this. He is stopped by Rebecca.
Carla Radames in RE6, full stop.
Everybody's Dead, Dave: Happens to HUNK a lot. To quote the chopper pilot: "Once again, only you survived, Mr. Death." In Chronicles, he abandons squadmates for his own gain.
Evil Brit: It's worth noting that Wesker's evilness increases in direct proportion to his Britishness as the series goes on.
Also, the Ashford clan, a whole family of evil Brits, including Code: Veronica antagonists Alfred and Alexia Ashford.
Feminist Fantasy: The original games owe a great deal to the popularity of horror movies among teenage girls in 1990s Japan, and as such have a lot in common with them, such as having a number of capable, independent female protagonists. The wider world of the franchise is one in which women were allowed as combat operatives in the U.S. military by the early 1990s and where a woman's capability and reliability in a dangerous situation is simply taken as read and never questioned by any of the male protagonists.
Fingerless Gloves: Pick a playable character, any character. Chances are they have fingerless gloves.
Fixed Camera: The original PS1 trilogy, REmake, and Zero all featured pre-rendered backdrops with fixed camera angles, while Code: Veronica featured real-time 3D environments with a moving camera that follows the player around (similar to the original Dino Crisis). This changed in RE4, naturally, when the series became more action-oriented.
Former Regime Personnel: Sergei Vladimir, Nicholai Ginovaef, and Spectre all worked for the Soviet Government prior to its collapse.
Full-Frontal Assault: Lickers, Regenerators, Iron Maidens, and Bloodshots are stark naked. And mean.
As well as the zombies at the end of any of the first 5 games. They are always tougher and bite harder.
Most Tyrants, with the exception of pre-mutation Mr. X, Nemesis, the Ivans, and Thanatos.
Operation Raccoon City was stated from the beginning to be an alternate-reality scenario.
Game-Breaking Injury: RE2 was the first game to begin having the heroes' body language reflect their remaining health. If they took too much damage, then they would start limping and not move as fast as they normally do. If you were low in health and had to run away from a group of zombies or a huge boss, then you were in for a rough night.
At 1/4 health in RE5, you go into the "Dying" status and have to have your partner resuscitate you, while at 1/2 health, you're limping and holding in your guts.
Particularly powerful attacks can knock you flat on your back in Revelations, rendering you vulnerable and only able to shoot right in front of you with your pistol. You have to hammer Y in order to pick yourself back up.
Play magazine was rather excited about a rumor you could play as Rebecca in RE2, thanks to a glitch with the station gate. Can't be done without a GameShark. Or PC reskin mods.
The PC ports of RE4 and RE5 have also developed quite a large modding community, mostly based on reskins and new models, but also occasionally new missions or Mercenaries stages.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Zombies can't shamble through doors you open if they trigger a scene transition, but are shown in a cutscene to be capable of opening gates with enough effort. Subverted later on when they do in fact have a chance of ambushing you from the other side of a transitioning door once you go to open it, and later on with Crimson Heads, which follow you through doors until you manage to kill them. In later games (Outbreak), they do follow you through doors, but require some effort. A player can slow things down by holding the door or barricading it, but it'll open.
In RE2, there's an exception to this. Opening one particular door in a usually-safe savepoint room results in two zombies moving into the room. Afterward, if you try and open that same door again, Leon or Claire will refuse, saying it's too dangerous out there. And then there's Mr. X, who won't follow you through doors, but does knock down two walls to get to you.
Also of note is the zombies themselves. In the PSX games at least, the cutscenes show them to be almost completely impervious to bullets, shambling quickly towards their prey regardless of the dozens of bullets going into them. In the actual game, the zombies are much slower and easier to kill. Also, the cutscenes show the main characters taking the zombies out with just one or two bullets. This combines Plot Armor and Almost Lethal Weapons.
And in regards to the zombies (namely, the T-virus zombies, as it is explicitly said that the T-virus spreads through bites and contaminated fluids), no matter how many times your player character gets chewed on by them, they will never turn into zombies themselves. The changing rate from human to zombie is also inconsistent - in the opening of 2, a truck driver is bitten by a zombie and is shown to have zombified fairly quickly (you can see him as a zombie as his truck is driving towards the car Leon and Claire are in), while both Marvin Branagh and Jill in the third game spend at least a few days with the T-virus in them - Jill gets vaccinated in time by Carlos, and while Marvin is not so lucky, he doesn't turn into a zombie until the A scenario is roughly half over.
Gatling Good: A few of the games let you get your mitts on a huge gatling gun. Resident Evil 4 gives us the Chicago Typewriter, a superpowered tommy gun. With infinite ammo.
Genre Shift: From 1996 to 2002, the series was an horror-puzzle franchise that featured massive conspiracies, with each installation raising more questions than it answered, and spawning a weird and insular but highly dedicated fan community. Beginning with RE4, and more strongly with RE5, the series is a deliberate blend of action and horror, with some games and scenarios tilting more toward the action end of the spectrum than the other. This has simultaneously fractured and vastly expanded the online fan community.
Ghost Ship: The Starlight from Gaiden, the Spencer Rain from Dead Aim, and the Queen Zenobia from Revelations.
Giant Spider: A staple of the series to invoke fear. Thefirstthree used tarantulas, Resident Evil: Code: Veronica had exotic black widows, Resident Evil 4 gave it a break and had a few normal spiders, and Resident Evil 5, aside from spider-like enemies, had normal (though still big) African spiders. The Video Game Remake of 1 redesigned the boss spider into the Australian funnelweb, the Lost in Nightmares DLC for some reason had spiders bigger than Jill's ass, and the Chronicles games have a lovely mix of giant spiders. Goes into overdrive in RE6 where the entire themed virus transformation is bugs.
Good Is Not Soft: Most of the playable characters would qualify: they are either good decent people who just happen to be Bad Ass and are in law enforcement or the military, or normal people who are an example of Rousseau Was Right and fully capable of surviving an outbreak, the main exceptions would be Ada (having a large role in 4, morally ambiguous and Good Is Not Soft) and Alex who starts out as a mercenary.
Handcannon: Many pistols — and especially the revolvers — are ridiculously oversized. Heck, in RE4, one of the unlockable weapons is even named"Handcannon". In general, magnums tend to cause more damage than things like grenade launchers or point-blank shotgun blasts.
Hate Plague: Las Plagas, which also turns the entire society into Bee People. Why do you think Ashley was kidnapped in the first place?
In Resident Evil 5, Jill sacrifices herself to save Chris. It didn't quite take, because neither she or Wesker died. And Sheva attempts to sacrifice herself to save everyone from Wesker. Chris stopped her because he was thinking of what happened to Jill.
If you can trigger the special sequence during the final battle, Sheva holds back from shooting at Wesker because it would hit Chris as well. Chris says to do it anyway, but Sheva instead takes out her knife and goes to town.
In Resident Evil 6, Piers sacrifices himself, injecting himself with the C-virus, to save Chris and defeat the Haos.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Mutant Steve. You can only 180 turn and run away, and you are bound to take at least one hit unless you're very quick with dodging at the battle's start.
Lisa Trevor's first phase is also unbeatable.
Pretty much every encounter with Nemesis except the final confrontation and one instance where you merely damage it enough to buy some time and flee. In subsequent playthroughs, once you've unlocked various weapons not available normally, you can choose to stand your ground and fight Nemesis. Defeating him (although only temporarily - he'll be back) makes Nemesis drop parts for a pretty powerful handgun you can assemble once you have all the parts, as well as a container allowing you to carry three first-aid sprays in a single inventory slot.
Implacable Man: Most bosses, but Nemesis, Mr. X, Lisa Trevor, and Wesker are the most famous.
It's The Only Way To Be Sure: Every Umbrella facility has a handy self-destruct device. Also, the government bombs Raccoon City into powder to stop the T-Virus from spreading.
Joke Character: Tofu, a sentient brick of tofu who has a knife and wears a combat harness and beret.
Jump Scare: Zombies, dogs, and crows crashing through windows. The Nemesis and Mr. X crashing through walls. Zombies reaching through barricades. The player walking through a hallway to find a zombie right in front of them which was previously hidden by the camera angles (Happens quite a few times in REmake).
Last Name Basis: Wesker. That may as well just be his driver's license — "Wesker."
Krauser, Salazar, and Saddler also count.
A variation in 4: Salazar never uses Leon's first name. He only ever calls him "Mr. Kennedy" or even "Mr. Scott Kennedy".
Late to the Tragedy: Nearly all of the protagonists of each installment arrive at their respective settings after the initial viral outbreak. Exceptions include Jill in RE3, Claire and Steve in REC:V, and most of the Outbreak player characters.
Life Meter: The first three games, Zero, Code Veronica, and the remake of the first game had a then-unique health bar in the form of the EKG, which was only visible if you bought up the inventory screen. The amount of health you had was noted by color, heart rate, and name (green: fine, yellow: low fine/high caution, orange: low caution, red: danger, and purple: poison). In addition to color and name, the character's heart rate would go down, and if they were poisoned, their heartbeat would become irregular. Starting with 4, a more traditional health bar took place of the EKG.
Made of Iron: Most of the cast, really, since the most common enemy attack involves zombies chewing through your jugular vein.
Many of the otherwise-human characters can survive being shot several times with little problem. Jill Valentine took a rocket to the face, and simply shrugged it off.
MacGuffin: Chris has two: Leon emails him about Claire's plight in Code: Veronica, and he receives a big one regarding Jill in Resident Evil 5.
Mad Scientist: William and Annette Birkin, Albert Wesker, the Ashfords, and James Marcus. The underlings are either extremely wary (they have no choice — they're usually locked into what facility they're in) or kept in the dark about things.
Never Split the Party: In those games where you're either escorting someone or have a partner, it's generally in your best interest to stay close together. Whenever the plot separates you, it's generally so it can throw a really big monster at one character.
Nobody Poops: Toilets appear to be very scarce in Raccoon City. An issue of the British publication NGC Magazine handwaved this saying that the citizens of Raccoon had evolved beyond such base needs, as well as lampshading said trope by saying, "And can you blame them? Everytime you nip off for a quick dump there's always a bleedin' zombie in the bath."
The guardhouse in the original had several apartments, each with a fully equipped bathroom (again including zombies). Reasonable if the guardhouse is a modern addition.
In the Umbrella Chronicles Raccoon's Destruction scenario 2, you wade through a subway and visit several bathrooms. Again, they're full of zombies.
Ink-Suit Actor: Though likely unintentional, Claire bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Alyson Court, her voice actress. Same deal with Irving.
Jill's likeness is that of model/actress Julia Voth.
No Flow in CGI: The original games were pretty bad at this. Claire's ponytail was pretty much the only concession that things attached moved differently.
No One Could Survive That: In Leon's B scenario and its Darkside Chronicles recreation, Ada gets slammed against the power generator pretty hard by Mr. X. And it in fact appears that She's Dead, Leon. But she's back up to throw a Rocket Launcher to Leon during the battle with his final form. It's better than Leon's A scenario, though, where Ada falls down a Bottomless Pit and still shows up to give Claire the rocket launcher.
Notice This: Oftentimes, your character will look at objects that could need picking up. Or enemies in the room. Anything else sparkles or is a hidden item.
Numbered Sequels / Stopped Numbering Sequels: A weird combination. Completely 100% canon games which meaningfully advance the plot are numbered; subtitled games are spinoffs or one-offs that haven't received any follow-up. The exceptions to this rule thus far are Code: Veronica and Revelations.
Off with His Head!: Many clawed creatures and bosses will do this as a finisher, depending on the game. Earlier games tend to feature it, while later installments reserve decapitations for zombies (Code: Veronica, though, didn't even have that). For example, one of Rebecca's possible deaths in the original Resident Evil was to have her head cut off by a Hunter; the REmake version of the scene is instead a Shadow Discretion Shot, and the Hunter just cuts her throat. Both 4 and 5, though, have heads falling off or exploding left, right, and center.
Subverted in 5. The chainsaw doesn't cut the protagonist's head off.
Ominous Walk: Ganados and Majini will often run towards you until they get within a certain distance and inexplicably start using this trope. Hunters seem to enjoy this as well.
Something about the way Wesker walks suggests he was a fan of The Joker.
Tyrants love it, too. Though they at least are still suffering from the effects of being cryogenically frozen. Once they shake it off, they turn into a machine.
Once an Episode: Just about every final boss has been finished off with a rocket launcher.
The whole setting of the story is destroyed by a gigantic explosion, 9 times out of 10 caused by a Self-Destruct Mechanism.
One Steve Limit: Subverted. With so many background characters in both main titles and spinoffs, a few names tend to be repeated among them. There's quite a few Edwards (Dewey and Ashford), Josephs (Frost and Kendo), Georges (Trevor, Scott, or Hamilton), Kevins (Ryman and Dooley), and even Alberts (Wesker and Lester). There's even more than one Steve (an Umbrella researcher by that name in RE1 and Steve Burnside).
Only Sane Man: Edward Ashford was the only one of the original founders of Umbrella who actually wanted to use the Progenitor Virus for legitimate medical research to benefit humanity. His son and his grandchildren make up for his lack of batshit insanity in spades.
Orwellian Retcon: The original version of Wesker's Report that was sold as a pre-order bonus with Code: Veronica originally stated that Sherry was taken captive by Wesker's men after the events of 2. This contradicted the epilogues in 3, in which Sherry and Leon were both taken into custody by the U.S. Government after they were split from Claire. As a result, later reprints of Wesker's Report removed this information completely.
Over The Shoulder Murder Shot: An iconic moment of the franchise. In the first game, a zombie (the first one your ever encounter in the game) does this as he's eating Kenneth. Bonus points for being able to later find and watch a video of it from Kenneth's perspective filmed on his camera.
Overtook The Games: The fourth S.D. Perry novel (Underworld) was set after the events of RE2 and featured plot elements that diverged from what was revealed in later games. Perhaps the biggest offender is the original character "Trent", who is the son of the scientist team who created the T-Virus and were murdered for it and who thusly serves as the Man Behind the Man for all of the good guys (including Ada) out of his desire to bring Umbrella down, being quite effective at helping because he's secretly working amongst the upper echelons of Umbrella.
Primal Fear: Darkness, death, monsters, being trapped (with or without something trying to kill you), being eaten alive, being hunted/chased, etc.
Psychopathic Manchild: Ramon Salazar in 4 is most likely about four feet tall with the proportions of a child, though he claims to be twenty. And is he psychopathic? Oh, yes. For an equally strong example in more frame of mind alone, Code: Veronica has the Ashford Twins, though one of them has an excuse. Their house is full of dolls, music boxes, and more, along with Alfred's fits of immaturity.
Lisa Trevor is an alternate version of this; she's in her forties, and is wearing the skin of some of her victims as a shroud, but mentally she's a very young child desperately looking for her mother.
Rebecca Chambers had, in canon, escaped from the mansion with the rest of the team in Resident Evil, but has not made any future appearances in the storyline (other than being playable in a mini-game for Resident Evil 5) within the story and is never even talked about at all by the other characters who survived with her.
Barry Burton, another survivor from the first game, hasn't come back at all other than helping Jill and Carlos escape from Raccoon City at the end of Resident Evil 3. Like Rebecca, Barry also appeared in the Mercenaries mini-game for Resident Evil 5.
Nicolai, who manages to escape after killing all of his teammates so that he can be the sole survivor and hand Umbrella information for money in Resident Evil 3, hasn't made any other appearances or has ever been mentioned.
Carlos, who only made an appearance in Nemesis, escapes from the city with Jill and Barry, but nothing explains what happened to him after the aftermath. There's no epilogue made for him either.
Raising the Steaks: Zombie dogs are the most iconic, but there are also zombie bats and crows, for a start. Outbreak File 2 actually had a level taking place at a Zoo, leading to zombie hyenas, lions, and an Elephant.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Author S.D. Perry likes to portray the villains as rapists in the novels, with Irons (which actually fits — in-game, he was accused of two counts of rape in his past), Nicholai (nothing suggests he is), and Wesker (only a Epileptic Tree in Resident Evil 5) getting this treatment.
Reckless Gun Usage: Early games had this in droves, though the most recent examples (Degeneration and Resident Evil 5) have an almost obsessive focus on Gun Safety in the cutscenes. In-game, however, the characters do run with their guns down and safe, until you hold the button which readies them.
Renaissance Man: Just look at the backstory of any main character from the first game. Especially Wesker.
Roar Before Beating: The larger monsters (such as zombie elephants, Gigantes, G-Virus larvae, and other loveable pets) do this. Hunters also shriek before doing their one-hit kill move.
Rule of Sexy: Most of the characters' outfits, particularly their alternate ones.
Running Gag: Valve handles. For whatever reason, Capcom loves to have the player find and use one in every game (twice in Outbreak File #2). It's even mocked in the live-action movies: you can see a valve handle thrown across the frame by an explosion in the trailer for Resident Evil: Afterlife.
In the Resident Evil 5 DLC, Chris sees an opening next to a door in Spencer's mansion:
If a helicopter pilot ever shows up in this series, don't expect them to last much longer than a handful of scenes. At best. (Though there are a few exceptions.)
Save Game Limits / Save Token: Typewriter ribbons. Justified Trope as part of the player character's personal Apocalyptic Log. Lampshaded by Jill Valentine's verbal situation report when starting or restoring a game. A sitrep that ends with "I'm still...alive..." in a wondering tone complete with dramatic echo.
Self-Destruct Mechanism: Just about every Umbrella laboratory or other important location of biohazard research is subjected to this trope, with the final final boss fight occurring while the detonation countdown is in effect.
Sequel Number Snarl: Code: Veronica and Revelations are considered main titles in the series, while Zero is a prequel. As a result, there's more games in the main series than the numbered sequels would imply.
Shotguns Are Just Better: In each game, the shotgun is a highly valued weapon because of its high power and spread, which makes it good for both crowd control with the omnipresent zombies, and for knocking down and killing things like Hunters and Lickers.
Solve the Soup Cans: If the Resident Evil series featured the original "soup cans" puzzle from The 7th Guest, it still wouldn't nearly be the most out-of-place puzzle in the series. The usual justification, if any, is that the people who designed these places were insane. Toned down somewhat from RE4 onward as part of the Genre Shift.
To give you an idea of how crazy the drinking water is in Raccoon, the RPD's weapons storage is easier to get into than the sewers.
Dead Rising was originally an attempt to make a Resident Evil style game that used the full capabilities of the then-new seventh generation consoles, particularly for large environments with hordes of zombies.
Sunglasses at Night: Wesker always wears sunglasses, even during night missions. Not that this impairs his ability to shoot a zombie dog out of midair with a single bullet. At range. In the middle of the night. Later, he also uses them to hide the effects of his bio-enhancements, which turn his eyes a reddish-golden color.
Theme Initials: Ada Wong and Albert Wesker. Bit of a stretch, but the Birkins' first names are Annette and William.
It also seems that nearly every person involved with Los Iluminados has a last name that starts with an "S". Dr. Salvador, Osmund Saddler, Ramon Salazar, and Luis Sera. Bitores Mendez is the major exception.
True Companions: There's a bit of Ship Tease found in some of the games, but in general this is the relationship between Chris and Jill. Jill is willing to sacrifice herself to save Chris from Wesker. While Chris is on his next mission, the moment he gets wind she might still be alive, he drops everything else to find her.
The Unfought: Albert Wesker is this until RE5. In the first game, he either gets apparently killed by the Tyrant's claw or by a Chimera in the lab's power room, only to come back in RECV. In all of the subsequent games, he is often mentioned and/or appears, implying he's the one setting up the events, but is never fought proper. Chris eventually gets back at him at the end of 5.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Played straight in that you usually can't take guns, protective vests, etc. from dead bodies, but at least you can usually search bodies for ammo.
Updated Re-release: Resident Evil: Director's Cut, Resident Evil: Director's Cut: Dual Shock Version, Resident Evil 2: Dual Shock Version, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, the GameCube remake of Resident Evil, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD, Resident Evil 4 HD, and now Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection. For a while there, it seemed it was Capcom's goal to release every game in the series for every platform available.
What Happened To Mommy: The deceased mother of Lisa Trevor in the remake of the first Resident Evil, as well as William in RE2. This is also Sheva's motivation for joining the BSAA in 5.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Rebecca Chambers hasn't been seen since the first game, despite having canonically survived the events and also being the only Arklay Mansion survivor who hasn't played a role in any of the subsequent games (and also despite managing to be the main character in RE0).
Same goes for Barry, Carlos, and Billy. Funny enough, thanks to D.I.J.'s diary, we do know what happened to the actual mouse from Code Veronica.
Interestingly, the only peripheral character that actually had any development in a subsequent game is Ada, who you're sort of supposed to think died at the end of RE2.
And Sherry Birkin, who's a playable character in RE6.
Raccoon City is stated as being in the Midwest, but the presence of high mountains makes this very unlikely. Fanon places the city in either Colorado or Pennsylvania, the only mountainous states that can be described as being remotely Midwestern, and the latter being where the novelizations placed it.
The Spanish-speaking European country in RE4 is never explicitly stated, and Word Of God says that this was deliberate. However, the fact that a) it's a Spanish-speaking European country, b) a satellite shot showed the Iberian Peninsula, and c) Luis claims to be from Madrid leaves very few choices as to what country it is.
However, they all have Mexican/Latin American accents, which don't match up with the supposed location. LA recording studios are going to have a lot easier time finding Mexican voice actors than Spanish.
Kijuju, the setting of RE5, is only described as being in Africa. The only hint as to where in Africa it's located is the fact that Sheva is from the BSAA's West African division.
Who You Gonna Call?: STARS in RE1, then the entire RPD after STARS was disbanded in RE2. BSAA in RE5. There's also STRATCOM in Dead Aim.
With This Herring: You often start out with a weak weapon (unless you're Kevin in Outbreak, but he can barely find any ammo). The games at least attempt to justify this:
Resident Evil 0 and 1 - You are a cop caught in a situation way over your head.
Resident Evil 3 - Jill's off the force and doesn't have access to the guns any more.
Code: Veronica - Claire starts the game in prison in a cell with NO weapons, but once let out she starts off with a knife, and Chris loses a bag of weapons into the sea.
Resident Evil 4 - We never see what Leon had in the police car, and it's destroyed before he can return. He's also only going to the village to ask some questions about Ashley, and with that in mind, he's actually carrying a lot more gear than he really needs.
Revelations - Parker and Jill are only on the Zenobia in order to track down Chris and Jessica, and they have absolutely no idea that the ship is overrun with Ooze and other B.O.Ws.
Resident Evil 5 - Excella is setting you up.
Resident Evil: Outbreak - Most of the characters were just chilling out at a bar when the outbreak got really bad. Kevin and Mark both retain their weapons, as they are a cop and a security guard. The rest have to find handguns dropped in bathroom wastebaskets, beat zombies to death with scrub brushes, or hack and slash with kitchen knives.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Wesker, given the revelation that he was manufactured by Umbrella to be used as a weapon and was manipulated for his entire life by Ozwell Spencer, up to and maybe even after he died.
You Keep Using That Word: The series likes to call antidotes for particular infections (usually of the T or G viruses) "vaccines". A vaccine is administered to a healthy individual to immunize them to a possible future disease.