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Videogame: Resident Evil 2
At the same time, at the same place, you have to survive this nightmare to know the true end.

Resident Evil 2 — the second game in the Resident Evil franchise — was originally released for the PlayStation in 1998. After the unexpected success of the first Resident Evil, Capcom immediately set up a team to work on a sequel and turn Resident Evil into an annual franchise. Capcom initially scheduled the sequel for a Spring 1997 release, but the original version of Resident Evil 2 (now dubbed Resident Evil 1.5) proved disappointing to its developers; rather than release a game that didn't satisfy their expectations, the team went back to the drawing board and delayed the game's release by a whole year. The gamble paid off: Resident Evil 2 would go on to become one of the best-selling and most-critically-acclaimed Capcom games in history. True to its nature, Capcom re-released the game across various other platforms — the PS1 (a DualShock support re-release months after the original release), the PC, the Nintendo 64, the Sega Dreamcast, and even the Nintendo GameCube.

This sequel stars two newcomers to Raccoon City: Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie R.P.D. officer late for work; and Claire Redfield, the sister of S.T.A.R.S. survivor Chris Redfield, who went AWOL while investigating the Umbrella Corporation. Two months after the events at Arklay Mansion, the T-Virus somehow leaked into the town's water supply, spreading quickly and causing an even bigger outbreak than before. Leon and Claire band together to shoot their way through the zombie hordes and discover the root of the outbreak. Hot on their tails is a pair of improved Tyrant bioweapons: featureless Mr. X, and William Birkin.

Whereas Resident Evil segregated its branching paths, Resident Evil 2 allows the player to replay both routes from either Leon or Claire's perspective, creating a total of four possible scenarios. Under this premise, actions performed by the first character affect the environment of the second (e.g. an uncovered passage in Claire's playthrough likely won't need re-clearing in Leon's chapter). The game also features a minigame unlocked after finishing both characters' scenarios called The 4th Survivor, as well as a harder version of the same called The Tofu Survivor. Later releases of the game added an Extreme Battle mode.

Resident Evil 2 contains the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Some of the corridors in the cavernous sewers were larger than the ones in the police station.
  • Actionized Sequel:
    • Compared to the first game, there's a lot of ammo laying around. A lot. How much, you ask? If you played aggressively, and killed nearly everything you came across, you'd end Leon's game with over 150 handgun bullets left over, 40-50 shotgun shellsinfo , and 60 magnum roundsinfo  burning a hole in your pocket. This can lead to a very short final boss fight and crying once you realized that you've wasted your time chipping away at bosses for nothing. This game gave rise to the legend that Leon would be the perfect companion in a hostage crisis – ammunition would start breaking through the ceiling to rain down on him. Claire isn't far behind: by the same standards, you can finish the A scenario with 180 bolts, 100 bullets and at least 20 grenade launcher shells of all kinds.
    • This is also the first game in the series that has automatic weapons in its arsenal (a gatling gun and an MAC-11, to be specific), but only one character in either scenario can obtain the MAC-11 and you need to beat the game in a certain period of time info  in order to get the gatling gun at all. There's also customized shotgun and handgun modelsinfo .
  • Adjustable Censorship: The N64 version.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Oversleeping saves the day yet again. Leon is the only remaining officer in the city who's not infected; the police headquarters couldn't hold up to a sustained siege and quickly fell to zombies, as the barricaded doors and windows indicate. The Chief himself is holed up in his office and refuses to come out. We later learn in memos that the company knew the T-Virus was bound to spread into the watertable and spent the last two months frantically disposing of evidence. Chief Irons was ordered to keep a lid of the outbreak, which ultimately cost the lives of all of his officers.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You temporarily take control of the player character's partner at certain points in the game. For Leon, you get to play as Ada Wong and for Claire, you get to play as Sherry Birkin. Ada carries a pistol and a first aid spray while Sherry only carries a first aid spray since she's just a little girl and wouldn't know how to use a gun doncha know. Sherry also runs slower than the adult characters, making it difficult to outrun the zombie dogs in the A scenario, but her shortness make it easier to dodge the zombies in the B; they can't grab her, only spit, which is easy to avoid.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Unlike other games in the series, there's no need to finish the game first to change clothes. A zombified Brad Vickers shows up just outside the police station if the player reaches it without picking up any items on the way there, and he takes a lot more ammo to kill than most (an upward shotgun blast will kill him nice and easy, however). Once he's dead, Brad will drop a Special Key one can use on the locker in the Dark Room save point that has two costumes for Leon (a "gangbanger" type with a beanie hat and vest and a leather jacket and jeans set) and one for Claire (a flame-patterned denim suit). They also come with some sight extras as well. When Leon's wearing any of his alts, his pistol aiming stance changes so he holds his pistol with one hand, Gangsta Style, which slightly speeds up his pistol firing rate. Claire's has no built-in effect but comes with a Colt SAA gun for her which fires faster at the expense of a smaller ammo capacity, leading to constant reload.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Sherry doesn't carry weapons when you play as her and she runs slower than the adult characters, but she makes up for it by having almost double the health of the main characters and lacking a limping animation if she's injured.
  • All There in the Manual: The official name of William Birkin's monster form is "G", but nobody in the game actually calls him that.
    • The reason why Leon overslept before his first day on the job was explained by the designers of Resident Evil 3: he apparently had a bad falling out with an old flame and spent most of the night drinking. To avoid doing anything he'd regret later, he slept in a hotel, and he happened to oversleep on the day he would've began working for the RPD. That's right: Leon survived a zombie apocalypse while he was probably hungover.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: How Sherry gets around, most notably in the finale. Also averts Offscreen Teleportation. If you look closely at the areas she's seen disappearing into or out of, there's usually a vent or opening that Claire will note is too small for an adult. Also, Ada does it once with Leon's help.
  • Aloof Ally: Ada always gives off that feeling.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A crocodile about the size of a bus waits in the sewers, grown to humongous size by the T-virus.
    • Not to mention spiders as big as cars!
  • Attack of the Town Festival: Played with. An entire precinct was planning a party for the rookie, Leon, joining the force, and party hats and lemon-lime soda bottles are still visible in some of the deserted offices.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Colt SAA's weakness isn't in its power, but in the fact that it can only hold six bullets and takes quite a bit more time to reload than a clip-loaded handgun. However, those six bullets fire much faster than any other weapon short of the submachine gun, meaning that it's excellent against single to dual enemies. Anything more than that, though, and you're screwed.
  • Back for the Dead: Brad shows up as a zombie, though it's easy to miss him. Resident Evil 3 explains how he became one of the undead.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Leon, a rookie police officer, and Claire, who can handle firearms just as well as he can despite being a college student. Later works attempts to Hand Wave this by saying that Chris taught his sister some skills for self-defense.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The naked zombies, which lack any noticeable genitalia.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The antagonist of Scenario A (and indeed the overarching storyline) is William Birkin, an Umbrella scientist whose half-baked corporate espionage wound up backfiring on him. After being shot, Birkin hastily injects himself with the G-Virus and grows to immense size, which mistakenly spills canisters containing the T-Virus into the sewer system. As "G", he mindlessly shambles after his daughter in the hope of propagating more spawn. In Scenario B, "Mr. X" is deployed by the company to retrieve Birkin's lost vial. Within moments, he spots Claire/Leon and begins hounding them everywhere. Both monsters are fought numerous times in-between the police headquarters and the plant.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Where are the toilets? Apparently Nobody Poops, so they obviously didn't bother to build any restrooms.
    • A cable car platform, behind the sewer, which you have to wade through sludge to get to? Check. A moving bridge that costs as much as, or more than, two separate stationary bridges? Check. An overhang in a cavern under the city's precinct, built there for no reason other than linking the chief's personal dungeon to the sewers? Check. A main fuse set in the middle of an access hallway? Check.
    • An easily-missed example; there is a clear incline between the entrance to the west lobby and the entrance to the room where you meet Marvin in the main hall. Yet if you start at the former and make your way to the latter through the back way, there are no slopes. When your police station defies the laws of physics, zombies suddenly become the least confusing thing you'll find.
  • Bland-Name Product: Tons, one of which (the "Cool Soda" vending machines) got replaced in later versions for being a bit too close to infringing on Coca-Cola's likeness.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: William Birkin.
  • Body Horror:
    • William Birkin goes through five different forms, each one more horrific then the last.
    • G-Imago, or "Baby", the horrible pseudo-G form that erupts from a doomed NPC Alien-style courtesy of a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong from Birkin.
    • Marvin's quick degeneration into a zombie.
  • Broad Strokes: Leon and Claire are running around the same police station, sewers and research facility at ostensibly the same time, yet only run into each other a couple of times before the ending. On top of that, they both have to explore the entire precinct, unlock every door and solve all of its puzzles, some of which are identical yet yield different items, some of which are completely different.
    • There is no overlap in items between the two characters despite there presumably being two copies of everything. They both restore power to the lab by building a new main fuse. And the first character the player controls never runs into Mr. X even once or even witnesses any of the broken walls and ceilings he leaves behind (or hears all that destruction reverberating through the walls, for that matter) despite him relentlessly stalking the second character.
    • This is especially egregious when you remember that the idea that one of the advertised selling points was that you would have to be careful which character took what items, because they wouldn't be there for the other character. There're only two such choices, the side-pack and machine gun in the police station armory. The player can take one item and leave the other for the second scenario character or take both if they feel like being a dick. The second was the Anti-B.O.W. sprinklers in the lab during the first scenario to weaken the enemies along their pathway. However, if they do so, then the Ivy enemies would be stronger and poisonous in the second scenario. A note found in the lab basement in the second scenario confirms that the enemies build up an anti-body against the Anti-B.O.W. gas.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: After completing the game with a high ranking, players can unlock the 4th Survivor scenario. This level shows how a single Umbrella operative, HUNK, escaped the city with the G-virus. HUNK starts in the sewers and has to make it to the helipad. He begins with a sizable arsenal and two mixed herbs, but nearly every room is full of enemies. There are no saves and no item pickups, so every bullet counts. Even though it's extremely short, taking anywhere from two to fifteen minutes to beat, it packs in a huge amount of difficulty. To take things to the extreme, the player can later unlock a different version of the same scenario where the character is a giant block of tofu – armed only with a knife.
  • Camera Abuse/Easter Egg: Certain locations within the game will allow you to shoot bullet holes into the camera for some reason.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sherry's pendant. It turns out to be concealing a G-virus sample Annette put in there for safekeeping, fearing William's plans to betray Umbrella would be exposed. She was right.
  • Chest Burster: Victims implanted with G-virus embryos (but only if they don't share blood ties to the original host — Birkin, in this case) have this happen to them moments after implantation.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Irons in his last scene.
  • Clipped Wing Angel: Birkin's fourth form is a Lightning Bruiser capable of outrunning the player and killing them in about three bites if he's in the right mood. His fifth form is a gigantic blob that moves very slowly and can only attack at melee range.
  • Clown Car Windows
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Leon tries persuading Ben Bertolucci, who has locked himself in a jail cell, with, "Look, if you wanna live, then you're gonna have to leave with me," when Ben thinks he's safe from monsters, unaware that Leon is "the only cop left alive" in the police department.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the first Resident Evil, the player can find a file written by an Umbrella researcher named John who uses his girlfriend's name as the password of a nearby computer (Ada). In 2, Ada tells Leon that she's looking for her boyfriend John.
    • In the N64 version of this game, the player can find a report by Rebecca Chambers loosely describing the death of Billy Coen. This was years before Zero was released, which was still under development for the N64 before switching platforms to the GameCube.
    • One of the extra files in the N64 version mentions HUNK's boss "Christine Henri", who is actually an antagonist from a Japanese-only Biohazard audio drama starring Ada (Ada the Spy Lives). Since none of the drama CDs were ever released outside Japan, many players had no idea who Henri was supposed to be and thought it was just a foreshadowing for a sequel.
  • Cutting Off The Branches: Resident Evil 6 establishes that Sherry was injected with the G-Virus vaccine and gained superhuman healing as a result, something that only happens in the Claire A/Leon B storyline, although previous Resident Evil side-products had made references to events that happens in the other storyline (such as Ada's fall from the catwalk). In addition, The Darkside Chronicles shows Ada being attacked by Mr. X.
  • Darker and Edgier: Much more horrifying than its predecessor. The box art, official artwork and gruesome Game Over sequences speak for themselves.
  • Deadline News: Ben greedily keeps the G-Virus scoop to himself, but gets nabbed by Birkin before he can publish. So close, and yet so far. Furious at Irons for what he's done, Ben turns his evidence over to Leon and uses his last breaths to implicate the Chief, telling Leon to "make him pay."
  • Demoted to Extra: Done literally to Marvin Branagh and John Kendo, who were both intended to be important supporting characters in Resident Evil 1.5, but were reduced to bit parts in the final version.
  • Determinator: Mr. X for most of the game.
  • Development Gag: Tofu was initially created to test the game's collision detection.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you complete the "A" scenario with an alternate costume, the "B" scenario will reflect that character's clothing change. Sadly, this doesn't affect the CGI scenes since the characters are rendered with their default outfits.
    • The dev team did fail to check the clothing change for Claire due to a late game cutscene showing Claire giving her pink vest to Sherry, even if Claire isn't wearing it.
  • Difficulty By Region: The overseas versions were slightly harder than the Japanese version: auto-aiming is turned off by default, the item and enemy placement is a bit different and the enemies themselves have increased strength and durability. As a result, the Japanese release of the Dual Shock Edition added a "U.S.A. Version" mode which sets the difficulty to the same level as the export versions. In the PC and Dreamcast version, the default Normal mode is based on the Japanese version's difficulty, while Expert mode is based on the U.S. version.
  • Dirty Cop: Police Chief Irons is this to the core, as well as a psychotic lunatic with several known cases of Domestic Abuse and was charged with rape in his college days. Not only is he taking regular bribes for Umbrella and working to cover their hides, but when the outbreak finally occurs, he goes mad and deliberately screws up the efforts of the RPD to try and save people to the extent of murdering some survivors himself. And when the mayor sent his daughter to the police station believing it would be safe, Irons uses the cover-up of the outbreak to kidnap, possibly rape, and murder her.
  • Disney Death: Ada.
  • Dull Surprise: Sherry at some points.
  • Easier Than Easy: The Rookie mode introduced in later versions, which starts the player off with all the special weapons already in his or her disposal.
  • Easter Egg: Wesker's desk seems to have nothing but clutter, but if you search it fifty times, you'll find a roll of film. Develop it to get a photograph of Rebecca in a basketball uniform.
  • Eldritch Abomination: What William Birkin eventually becomes after injecting himself with the G-virus. The first three forms are Humanoid in their appearance. The fourth mutation is more Animalistic as it moves like a wolf or dog. His final form is a mess. After suffering multiple wounds and going though several rapid aggressive mutations, his body has become a huge amorphous blob.
  • End Game Results Screen: Leon returns to being an ordinary cop and Claire goes on a road trip with Sherry. Both are rather implausible scenarios, given what actually happened after the events of RE2 according to the sequels.
    • The Dual Shock Version added result screens to the HUNK and Tofu minigames when they originally didn't have any in the initial release.
  • Enter Solution Here
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Annette and Sherry were the loved ones to William's evil.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Every single antagonist except for Mr. X.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: One characteristic of the G-Virus is the eruption of tumor-like eyeballs all over the host's body. Birkin sprouts one on his shoulder, and in REMake, Lisa Trevor (herself a host of the "Progenitor Virus", the precursor to G) has one on her back.
  • Failsafe Failure: The lab's self-destruct system is not activated deliberately, it was accidental when Mr. X smashed a reactor console. The resulting short-circuiting knocked out one system after another triggering the denotation sequence, with no option to abort.
  • First Day from Hell: Leon's first day with the RPD is the day of another T-Virus outbreak.
  • Floorboard Failure
  • For Want of a Nail: In the intro, Leon and Claire are attacked from the backseat of the police car they're driving. Depending on whether Leon crashes head-on or spins around and crashes in reverse (read: whose disc you put in first), the plot of the game takes some significant deviations.
  • Four Is Death: The main character of the 4th Survivor is HUNK, who's later revealed to have the nickname "Mister Death".
  • Gangsta Style: One of Leon's alternate outfits is a gangster outfit, complete with sideways hat. He also holds any pistol-type weapon in this fashion, and it even affects the gun's firing rate.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: HUNK's hit team.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Ben is your typical muckraker, but perceptive. He knew the R.P.D. was taking bribes from Umbrella, and willingly had himself arrested to get close to the conspiracy.
  • Gorn: The death of Brian (in Claire's Scenario A) and Ben (in Leon's Scenario A).
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Birkin's slaughter of the Umbrella Special Forces Alpha team.
  • Graffiti Town: Raccoon City's streets at the very beginning of the game resemble this, with the trademark brick walls, graffiti, basketball courts, and chain-link fences.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Raccoon City is, according to later games, under military quarantine but somehow both Leon and Claire manage to drive right into town without even learning what's happening. Also, helicopters come and go with impunity.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Brian Irons in Claire's Scenario B, courtesy of Birkin.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Nightmare setting in the Dreamcast version.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted with Sherry, who can be killed by zombies or dogs. Played straight with the fact that no zombified children can be found.
  • Hub Level: The police headquarters is located on the city's main thoroughfare, with branching paths leading to other areas. It serves as the hub for both Resident Evil 2 and Jill Valentine's exploits in Resident Evil 3. In that respect, it is very similar to the Arklay Mansion, and indeed the building plays host to the same traps (i.e. a multistory great hall, ambush-prone windows, and a library).
  • Implacable Man: Birkin and Mr. X.
  • Improbable Weapon User: In the S.T.A.R.S. office, there's a photograph of the entire team next to Wesker's desk. At the lower left corner is an unidentified character who is, for no apparent reason, packing a mortar. He does not appear in any of the games.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Dying may result in a brutal animation of your character getting graphically killed by whatever baddie did you in. Spiders are a notable exception. This is only true for the original PlayStation and PC version.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: First the secret underground research facility, then the train used to evacuate it, explode to contain biohazardous material.
  • Joke Character: You can play through HUNK's 4th Survivor minigame as a giant, knife-wielding block of Tofu that wears Jill's beret. Crank the Crazy Awesome all the way Up to Eleven.
  • Jump Scare: Ordinarily a redundant trope, though the game has one example that is notable. All the Resident Evil games have mandatory door animations. Nothing special, it merely allows you to catch your breath, or brace yourself for whatever lies within the next room. One door is a trap, a zombified couple come out straight towards you.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The flame grenades are the second most powerful gun ammo Claire finds in the game. Naturally, they kill Ivies with one shot.
    • Leon can acquire a flamethrower that can kill two Ivies with the tap of a button.
  • Last Kiss: In the Leon B scenario, after dispatching Mr. X and getting mortally wounded herself, Ada shares one last kiss with Leon before she (apparently) dies in his arms. (She gets better a little later without any explanation, though.)
  • Leitmotif: G's theme — more specifically, three notes of it, which make some sort of appearance in no less than half of the game's music.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Unlike the original game (where the characters stupidly part ways on purpose), the protagonists are separated when an out-of-control tanker truck crashes into an intersection at a perpendicular angle, generating a wall of flames between Leon and Claire. The game still plays this straight, however, since they run into each other again in each scenario and decide to split up so they can search for Sherry. D'oh.
    • When Claire first meets with the police chief, he declines to leave the cushy confines of his office. Likewise, Ben turns down an offer to escape and tells Leon to get lost, believing that he'll be safer in a jail cell. Both characters are caught by G (who can shatter walls) and impregnated with larva.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The game has one thanks to its Save Room theme, "Secure Place".
  • Made of Iron: Leon takes a bullet through the chest; five minutes later, he's back on his feet and running at full speed as if nothing had happened.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Capcom created the most elaborate Game Over screens in the series for this game. See for yourself.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Ivy B.O.W., a humanoid plant-thing that sprays venom and lashes victims to death with its vine arms, can bite your character's heads off. Its official name is "Plant 43", as Umbrella created it as a derivative of Plant 42. You can't poison them, either. Doing so just makes them poisonous. They make for a damned annoying nuisance to Leon, who only has the Custom Shotgun, the Magnum, and maybe the Submachine Gun to take them on with (unless he's found the flamethrowernote ). The second character can turn the sprinklers on him/herself, which weakens the Ivies and removes their poison.
  • Mama Bear: Claire serves as this to Sherry.
  • Mauve Shirt: Marvin (Leon's superior officer) and Brad (S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team's helicopter pilot) both appear as enemy zombies. Brad takes more punishment than any other zombie in the game.
    • Depending who you're playing as, the first target of G's wrath is either Chief Irons or Ben. Their body soon rejects the embryo and is torn in half, spitting out larva which must be hunted down before it can infect others.
  • Meet the New Boss: There's a rat on the force and he has a formidable 'stache. Yes, it's the Chief of Police, filling in for the absentee Albert Wesker (still presumed dead as of this installment). Instead of being impaled by Tyrant, Chief Irons is impregnated by G. He blusters a bit before turning his gun on Claire, whereupon he's torn in two as the larva erupts from his chest cavity.
    • In terms of bioweapons, the wide-mouthed crocodile takes the place of Yawn, and the underground lab is overrun with cousins of Plant 42.
  • Mighty Glacier: Mr. X and Birkin in his first and final forms come off as this.
  • Minigame: RE2 has one in The 4th Survivor, where you play as an Umbrella agent trying to escape from Raccoon City. This game also has a much harder Tofu Survivor variant which stars a living block of tofu named Tofu.
    • The Extreme Battle mode, introduced in the Dual Shock Edition, has you return to the police station from the underground lab in order to retrieve four time bombs while fighting hordes of monsters throughout each room. The player can choose to play as either Leon, Claire, Ada, or Chris Redfield.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has either two or four, depending on whether you consider the "A" scenarios to have endings or if those are fake-outs for the true endings. Nothing you do in the game changes the outcome aside from which character you use first.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Especially if it's a giant, virus-mutated sewer alligator.
  • Nightmare Face: When poor Marvin finally succumbs to the T-Virus, he turns into a flesh-eating monster right in front of you.
  • Not Completely Useless: Weapons considered too weak or inefficient to use for killing zombies end up tossed in the Item Box by players to forget — but these weapons prove effective against other specific creatures: Leon's Flamethrower and Claire's Flame Rounds do excellent damage to Ivy monsters, the MAC 11 does a great job of taking out Lickers (and keeps them from counterattacking), and Claire's Spark Shot does nearly as much damage to boss enemies as Leon's Upgraded Magnum. The knife also kills crows in a single swipe; doing this can help you save your ammo early in the game.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Claire and Ada frequently talk over, shush, or just ignore Leon. You can hear the poor guy's frustration build up as time goes on.
  • One-Hit Kill: Even after a full healing, first-form Birkin can instantly kill Leon or Claire with a charged-up one-hit power attack.
  • Palette Swap: The cop that gets mauled on by zombies and then blown up by a crashed chopper at the start of the "B" scenario looks extremely similar to Chief Irons and even has the same body type.
  • Parental Abandonment: By the end of the game, Sherry has lost both of her parents.
  • Police Are Useless: You have to feel for the RPD, getting slaughtered by their own extraction choppers and blindly shooting each other instead of the zombies... but it really doesn't help when the extraction pilot is wearing sunglasses.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Leon and Claire had these against Mr. X.
    Leon: Game over.
    Claire: You lose, big guy.
  • Red Girl, Blue Boy: Leon and Claire are blue and red respectively.
  • Quake Elevators: The sliding doors in the laboratory facility.
  • Road Cone: Future games make it clear that the Claire A/Leon B route is effectively the canon route, compared to the Leon A/Claire B route.
  • Room Full of Zombies: You open an unassuming door (in a save room, no less) and zombies shamble in.
  • Rule of Funny: The Tofu Survivor qualifies — and its status as a Self-Imposed Challenge breed of minigame makes it even funnier.
  • Rule of Scary: The police headquarters was once an art museum, hence the gothic architecture and over-reliance on ornate keys. Chief Brian Irons, who is something of an art buff, continues to stockpile fine art in sections of the building. His relationship with Umbrella Corp. suggests that the eccentric owner of Arklay Mansion, Ozwell E. Spencer, may have had a hand in the precinct's design as well.
  • Same Story, Different Names: RE2 generally sticks to the plot of the original, replacing the "Mansion > Residence > Lab" format with "RPD > Sewers > Chemical Plant". At times, the police headquarters looks like a reskinned mansion with exposed pipes and girderwork.
    • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Claire/Leon take the slots occupied by Chris/Jill; Claire and Chris both wear vests with an attached knife sheath and have a less useful partner, while Leon and Jill both wear blue shoulder armor and have a more useful partner. The characters of Barry (helpful teammate of questionable loyalty clad in red & black) and Rebecca (plucky girl sidekick who depends on the player for protection) are collapsed into Ada and Sherry.
  • Say My Name: "ADA, WAIT!"
    • "Sherry! Sherry!"
    • "Leon!"
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: This pops up in the Umbrella lab and on the train at the end.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: RE2 turned out far easier than the first game, as the game packs in more ammo and weapons for the player to pick up, even in the overseas editions (which Capcom made slightly harder than the Japanese version). Capcom also made the game's Elite Mooks (Lickers) significantly easier to deal with and less plentiful in numbers than the Hunters from Resident Evil. The PC and Dreamcast ports of RE2 added a Nightmare mode that increased the health points of the enemies.
  • Sequel Hook: In a semi-hidden room, you can see a large containment tube that looks as if something destroyed it from the inside — and an empty weapons briefcase nearby...
  • Sewer Gator: A gigantic alligator mutated by a human-engineered virus appears as a boss battle when the player traverses the Raccoon City sewers.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Birkin abuses this.
  • Shout-Out: This game has its own Shout Out page.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Leon overslept at a distant motel before making his way to Raccoon City — and that most likely saved his life.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Claire, the untrained college student, gets a lightning-throwing spark gun and a grenade launcher. Leon, the police officer, gets a customizable shotgun and a magnum. Either one can also pick up a submachine gun and a rocket launcher (as well as a secret Gatling gun). You can even use a GameShark to give Sherry guns.
  • Smurfette Principle: The human cast inverts this; amongst the four principal characters (Claire, Leon, Ada, and Sherry), only one is a man. The zombies play this straight, however, as you'll find only one female type compared to the numerous males.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: Two examples — the chess-themed lock on the Raccoon sewers and the faux-Aztec stone lock in Irons's office — show up in this game.
  • Taking You with Me: After being infected by G-Birkin, Irons holds Claire at gunpoint and uses this trope almost word for word — but before Irons can pull the trigger, the Chest Burster that Birkin implanted does its work.
  • Tank Controls: Every version save for the Nintendo 64 port features these.
  • Timed Mission: The game gives you one right at the end: as part of the final fight with Birkin, you have to escape Raccoon City via a train set to detonate (and kill you) if you don't escape fast enough.
  • Turns Red:
    • After spending the entire game as an Arnie clone, Mr. X grows Tyrant-like claws and appendages for his last battle. This adds the the standard Tyrant claw swipe to his repertoire.
    • Birkin's fourth form moves faster than the player, jumps all over the place, climbs on the walls, takes a hell of a beating, and kills you in two or three bites.
  • Undying Loyalty: Annette remains loyal to William even after he becomes a mutant killing machine. She even threatens to shoot Claire for "killing" him. Capcom dropped this trait for The Darkside Chronicles, in which Annette wants to stop her mutated husband's rampage.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Players can't pick up the MP5s carried by the remains of Umbrella's soldiers. By that point, they'd have been full of dank sewer water for a week, so this trope's somewhat justified (note that Capcom intended to make the MP5 a usable weapon at one point).
  • Updated Re-release: The DualShock Version, an updated version of the original PlayStation version, added support for the analog sticks, vibration feedback, the unlockable Extreme Battle mode, and a Rookie difficulty that allows players to start the game with powerful weapons loaded with infinite ammo.note  In Japan, DualShock Version includes a "USA Mode" based on the Western release's difficulty.
    • While the N64 port didn't have the same features of the DualShock Version (such as the Extreme Battle mode), it got rid of the tank controls (the only port to do so) and featured new documents ("EX Files") with new information on the series' lore that helped bridge the connection of RE2 with other installments of the series. Because Capcom made the entire game fit a single cartridge, the player could choose both Leon's and Claire's games from the get-go.
    • The Dreamcast port of the game featured many of the additions of the 1999 PC release as well as a real-time health monitor (courtesy of the VMU peripheral).
    • The 1999 PC port of the game received an updated re-release in 2006, but it never ended up ported outside of Japan. The PC port by SourceNext, which came on a single DVD (as opposed to two CD-ROMs), combined both Leon's and Claire's games into one (like the Nintendo 64 port), fixed many of the compatibility issues that Windows XP or higher had with the original PC release, and showed all of the CG cutscenes at full uncompressed quality.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Sherry gives us the first and most memorable example of this in the Resident Evil'' series.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The irrational and paranoid Irons really starts to lose what few marbles he has left when the outbreak begins. Thinking he's been infected, he threatens to prevent anyone else from leaving his town alive.
  • Villain Protagonist: HUNK serves as this in The 4th Survivor. His team holds partial responsibility for the outbreak — and Hunk himself makes sure to escape Raccoon City with a sample of the G-Virus. The ending text for his 4th Survivor path even says, "End of one nightmare, prelude to another".
  • Visual Pun: The train that is used to evacuate Raccoon City is a GALAXIE-5000 AKA a "G-train". The G is bright red to make it more clear.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: During the intro, a sign for "Grady's Inn" shows a phone number with a 212 area code. 212 is exclusive to New York City. Capcom didn't model Raccoon City after New York (obviously) and the games place Raccoon City somewhere in the Midwest.
    • The S.D. Perry novelizations placed it in Pennsylvania, while fanon typically places it in either West Virginia or Colorado. Raccoon City certainly doesn't look Midwestern with its mountains and forests, but Capcom never reveals where it is other than the "Midwest".
  • What Happened to Daddy: William Birkin.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sherry receives a few mentions in other games after RE2 (namely in the epilogues in RE3 and in Wesker's Report), but doesn't actually show up in the series again until Resident Evil 6.
  • Wolverine Claws: Birkin grows a rather large set of these.
  • Worst Aid/Show, Don't Tell: When Leon is injured, Ada dresses the wound by wrapping the bandages outside his clothes. After she pulled the bullet out. In a sewer. During a zombie apocalypse.
    • The "bandages outside his clothes" bit has a (flimsy) Rule of Perception justification, though: if Ada takes Leon's uniform off, applies bandages, and puts the uniform back on — all actions done off-screen — the player wouldn't see the bandages and might wonder if she actually did anything. The game could have informed the player of this via either dialogue (e.g. Ada says "I finished bandaging your wounds, Leon") or narrative text (e.g. "Ada bandaged Leon's wounds, and Leon put his uniform back on"), but the imagery likely made the task easier in the long run.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: This fits better here than in Resident Evil. The mansion had maybe a hundred or so people in it, but Raccoon City had a population of over 100,000 — and practically all of them became zombies.
  • Zombie Puke Attack: This is the only way the zombies can attack Sherrie, who's significantly shorter than them.

End of one nightmare, prelude to another...
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alternative title(s): Resident Evil 2
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