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Viva Las Plagas.

Jack Krauser: What is it that you fight for, comrade?
Leon S. Kennedy: My past, I suppose...

Ahh, I'll buy a description of Resident Evil 4 at a high price!

Resident Evil 4 is the sixth main game in the Resident Evil franchise, released in 2005.

Six years after Leon S. Kennedy's adventure in Raccoon City and its ultimate destruction, the Umbrella Corporation is bankrupt and Leon is now working for the U.S. government. It has been decided that he's a bad-enough dude to rescue the President's daughter from a cult operating out of a rural European village. Leon soon discovers that the cultists are infected by an ancient parasite that's not much better than the T-Virus, and since this is a Resident Evil game, he has much bigger problems than another missing girl — three-stories-tall problems.

RE4 was announced in 2001 alongside a remake of the original Resident Evil and the prequel Resident Evil Zero, forming a loose trilogy of sort (ports of the previous sequels were also released to help new fans familiarize themselves with the series). The game languished for a few years in Development Hell, however, as a result of changes to the game's premise and staff (with one pitch being spun off into Devil May Cry); Shinji Mikami's role also changed from producer to director. The game was finally released four years after its initial announcement, taking the series into a radically new direction.

The pre-rendered backgrounds and fixed camera angles of previous entries were replaced with an over-the-shoulder view that follows the player character around in a fully 3D environment. The shooting and inventory system were also revamped from the previous games and the storyline featured minimal ties to the previous games so Capcom could mark a new chapter in the franchise's storyline. The result is one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, greatly influencing the standard techniques of the survival horror and third-person shooter genres.

Although it followed the release of three numbered games on the PlayStation (and Code: Veronica on the Dreamcast), producer Shinji Mikami made the controversial decision to bring the mainline series of games exclusively to the Nintendo GameCube with RE4 rather than the PlayStation 2 in spite of previous expectations.note  This release occurred as part of the "Capcom Five", five games from Capcom designed to boost third-party support for the GameCube.note  A PlayStation 2 port was eventually released several months later, which features additional content, including a new scenario starring Ada Wong that focuses on the events of the main story from her perspective.

Nintendo players later received a more definite version of game when it was released for the Wii in 2007 as Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, which features both the superior graphics of the GameCube version and the new content found in the PlayStation 2 port. Capcom also released a PC port in 2007 (two months before the Wii Edition); it promised the same GameCube graphics with PlayStation 2 content as that version, but ended up being a straight port of the PlayStation 2, an HD Edition for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, and a re-release on PC through Steam as the Ultimate HD Edition in 2014.

In 2016, the game was ported to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This game, alongside the Resident Evil remake, Resident Evil Zero, 5, 6, and the Revelations duology were also ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2019. A heavily cutdown version of the game was also released for mobile devices on the Nokia N-Gage in 2005, Apple iOS devices and the Zeebo in 2009, and Android in 2013. A version remade in Unreal Engine 4 for the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset was released in 2021, allowing players to experience a first-person version of the game.

A remake using the RE Engine, similar to the remakes of 2 and 3, was released on March 24, 2023 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The PS5 version will have support for VR. See the first teaser trailer here.


Got a selection of good tropes on sale, stranger!

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  • 15 Puzzle: There's a 3×3 version during Ashley's playable segment. Once the picture is oriented properly, you have to use a key item to fill in the empty space to open the door.
  • 2xFore: Ashley, when first meeting with Leon, tosses a plank at him.
  • 20 Bear Asses:
    • There's an early segment which rewards you with a somewhat potent new handgun for free if you can destroy ten blue medallions, with a free upgrade for destroying all fifteen.
    • Fully upgrading the Butterfly Lamp. It takes a red, green, and blue gem to upgrade the Butterfly Lamp to its highest resale value. Not only do you have to kill some Novistadors, but they very rarely ever drop a blue gem and there are a finite amount of Novistadors to farm them from.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: After most of the previous games in the series, set between July to December 1998, had become this, this game jumped the timeline ahead to late 2004, which still fell into this because the game came out in January 2005.
  • 100% Completion: Completing each level of the Mercenaries mode with each character and with the maximum rank (5 stars) in each case will unlock the Handcannon in the main campaign, though it will only be available in a New Game Plus.
  • A.K.A.-47: Most, but not all weapons; the Striker is an exception, so is the TMP. The "Chicago Typewriter" is a common nickname for a Thompson submachine gun, as is the Red 9 for the 9mm version of the Mauser C96.note  The others either have outright fictional names (the Five-seveN as the "Punisher", Springfield XD as the "Blacktail", and VP70 as "Matilda") or generic descriptors (Leon's starting "Handgun", his and Ada's two different versions of the "Shotgun", the Springfield 1903 as the "Rifle").
  • Abandoned Mine: The Plagas were discovered in a mine outside the unnamed village and infected the townsfolk. The mine is still in operation by the time Leon gets there.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Leon can optionally use pushable tables or cupboards to barricade windows and doors, but because Ganados are smarter than the average zombies — plus they make use of tools and weapons — they become very temporary measures against the sheer amount of power his enemies bring. The biggest example is when he, Luis and Ashley hole up inside a cabin and fend off waves of Ganados.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Novistador-infested waterway beneath Ramon Salazar's castle. It was actually converted into a dungeon because of this.
  • Accidental Pervert: If Leon tries to look up Ashley's skirt, she will try to cover herself, and call him a pervert. This happens whether the player intentionally looked up her skirt, or if an enemy knocks Leon onto his back and his head goes under her skirt. Or even if he's decapitated and his head lands eyes-up under her skirt.
  • Achievement Mockery: The HD remaster has the "Don't Shoot the Water" achievement/trophy, awarded for provoking Del Lago into swallowing Leon whole, which is done by shooting into the lake.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • The Plagas, when not buried in a host, are extremely sensitive to light, meaning a group of Ganados with exposed parasites can be killed by a flash grenade.
    • Jack Krauser's is the knife. Testing has shown that the knife normally does around .6 damage (an un-upgraded handgun does 1 damage) and that Krauser has 900 health. How many hits from the knife does it take to kill him? At most, a dozen. In other words, the knife's damage was deliberately and massively buffed in the fight with Krauser to around 60 damage, equivalent to the Handcannon just before its exclusive upgrade. Furthermore, one of his attacks has him running at you, pausing, then executing a knifehand attack. If you pull out your knife and slash, it's already at his head level and stops his attack easily. This is a clear example of Gameplay and Story Integration, as a way to make a "knife-fight rematch" a valid way to beat him.
  • Actionized Sequel: RE4 allows you to kick entire crowds of stunned enemies, Leon's knife is far faster and more effective than in past games, and there's more ammo to be found than in the first three titles combined.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Dynamite Ganados will blow you up along with themselves if they grab you and aren't shaken off in time.
    • The small self-destructing robotic drones during Leon's fight with Krauser that act like land mines until you approach one and start charging into him.
  • Action Commands: The game has these for knocking down stunned Mooks or attacking a boss's weak point. Sometimes it is dangerous to use one, such as using a roundhouse kick on a Ganado only for the One-Hit Kill Plaga to pop out.
  • Action Horror: The game has Leon graduate from an outgunned rookie cop in games where Ammunition Conservation is paramount to survival to a Secret Service agent fully capable of gunning down every enemy he fights. There are a lot more actionized elements different from previous games such as being able to parry or perform melee attacks on enemies as well as providing more resources, making resource management not as critical for success.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Saddler refers to the monster he sends after Leon as simply "it", Leon asks him if he forgot its name due to a "senior moment". Saddler thinks about that for a moment, then has what seems to be a genuine laugh at the joke.
  • Addiction Displacement: Loosely implied in the scene where Leon first meets his Handsome Lech ally, Luis Sera. Luis asks Leon if he's got a smoke, to which Leon replies "Got gum."
  • Advancing Boss of Doom:
    • During one sequence in Chapter 2-3, El Gigante chases Leon and Ashley down a narrow gorge. You can shoot the supports out from platforms to drop boulders on him, or you can just run away and fight him when you reach the end. You don't actually have to fight him at all here, although you'll miss out on a few treasures in the area. Chapter 2 of Separate Ways repeats this type of encounter.
    • In Chapter 4-1, a Drill Tank advances on Ashley in a narrow castle corridor.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom:
    • At one point in Chapter 4-1, you have to save Ashley from the aforementioned advancing drill of doom in a narrow castle corridor. It makes no sense to have it in the castle anyway.
    • There's an Advancing Giant Living Statue of Salazar in Chapter 4-4, shortly before confronting the real Salazar.
  • Affectionate Parody:
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The ending of the game begins with a montage of happy scenes of the villagers of Pueblo before being infected by Las Plagas, contently tending to their farms, playing with kids, and shows that the very first Ganado you killed liked to play guitar for the village children. Then the music turns dark, the cultists arrive, and everything goes straight to hell with scenes of villagers suffering convulsions, going mad as their children fall mortally ill to the parasites, and mutating.
  • All in a Row: Ashley will trail behind Leon wherever he goes when in follow mode. To keep her out of danger, you often have to stash her somewhere secluded, like up a tower, in a dumpster, or on the opposite end of a choke point, and give her the wait command.
  • Already Undone for You: Played with. As Leon explores around the village, he will encounter locked doors with missing keys scattered about in highly inconvenient locations, typically not too far from the other side of the door, forcing him to take the long way around. When playing Separate Ways, Ada Wong found the keys in more obvious places, unlocked the doors, re-locked them behind her, and dropped the key somewhere out of the way. This sabotage was absolutely intentional, as Wesker ordered Ada to kill Leon on sight.
  • Always Over the Shoulder: The game pioneered the rather close-in, over-the-shoulder perspective now used in nearly all Third-Person Shooter games.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: After being told Salazar is sending his "right hand" to dispose of him, Leon's response is, "Your right hand comes off?" Sure he was being sarcastic, but for Leon and what he's experienced, "gigantic mutant fuck-off monster formed from someone's hand" is totally within the realm of possibility.
  • America Saves the Day: Lampshaded by Saddler, calling it a cliché that only happens in Hollywood movies; then played straight when Leon kicks his ass all over the place. Even more hilariously, from the moment Saddler makes this comment, the game plays out like a cliché Hollywood film: Saddler goes One-Winged Angel, Leon blows him up with a rocket launcher, Ada swoops in at the last moment and swipes the sample off him, then the island blows up forcing Leon and Ashley to ride a jetski down a tunnel while outrunning the fireball to escape, and then the game ends with Ashley flirting with Leon as the two ride off into the sunset.
  • Amphibian Assault: Del Lago is a salamander mutated into a gigantic lake monster via a parasite, who gained a taste for humans thanks to all the diseased corpses being thrown into its home. It will also snatch and kill Leon if he shoots the water pointlessly for long enough.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Much of the area you travel through looks like it's trapped in the middle ages, in particular the village and the castle, the occasional car or Gatling gun turret notwithstanding. Modern day rural Galicia does look exactly this way though.
    • At the beginning of the game, you find what is obviously an older shotgun that comes with a modern laser sight.
    • Weirdly out of place is the doorway out of the village that leads to the castle; it's an advanced retinal scanner like the kind found in banks, secure buildings and other high-tech facilities.
    • The warship that Ada fights in her Separate Ways campaign looks like something built in the first few decades of the 20th century, but some of its weapons such as the cannons and what appear to be Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers did not enter service until the '70s.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: After Luis' death, Leon and Ashley get split up once more. Control is then given to Ashley, where she has to make her way back to the main room to reunite with Leon.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Saddler and both of his subordinates (Mendez and Salazar) have Plagas implanted within themselves. Leon and Ashley have the Plagas within themselves as well and most of the game revolves around trying to find the cure before the parasites take over their free will.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • The original GameCube version has Leon's RPD outfit from RE2 and a pop star-esque outfit for Ashley.
    • The later ports added a gangster suit for Leon, complete with a Tommy gun version of the Chicago Typewriter, and a suit of medieval armor for Ashley that actually affects the game by making her invulnerable to bullets and unable to be carried off (and gives Leon a mild backache when he grabs her after a jump).
    • Ada wears three different outfits: her main Chinese dress outfit, a black spy-suit in Assignment Ada and an updated version of her red dress from RE2 in The Mercenaries. Her main outfit wasn't usable by the player until the Separate Ways scenario was added in later versions.
    • The Wii Edition allows the player to use Leon and Ada's other outfits in Mercenaries mode.
  • Androcles' Lion: Early in the game, Leon encounters a dog caught in a bear trap. If the player has him free the dog, it returns later to help Leon fight his battle against the first El Gigante boss by distracting it.
  • Animated Armour: Once you reach the castle, be on the lookout for seemingly inanimate suits of armor.
  • Anonymous Author: In-Universe. The letter Leon receives when he wakes up after passing out is unsigned. Guidebooks reveal that Ada wrote the note.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The PlayStation 2 and Wii versions of the game added the Separate Ways scenario, which depicts the events of the main story from Ada's perspective and even goes as far as to depict why certain locations and items were the way they were in the main story. Oddly enough, the only gap in the story that Separate Ways does not cover is the one between Ada's arrival at Saddler's Island and her meeting with Krauser.
  • Anti-Climax: RE2, RE3, and Code: Veronica ended with their respective protagonists vowing to take the fight to Umbrella and bring them down. The intro of this game reveals that the company was defeated offscreen by a normal investigation by the United States government and subsequent collapse of their stock value. There is an implication left by Krauser and Wesker that Umbrella is not quite gone and they're trying to bring it back, but future games render it moot.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game will change enemy health based on how much you die and the ammo drop rate based on how much you use of what types.
    • Much is done to make escorting Ashley none-too-painful. She mirrors whatever speed Leon is moving at when following, and is generally good at staying right behind you unless you're weaving through a crowd of enemies. Aiming has her either stick to Leon's back, or duck if she's not close to you so you're less likely to shoot her. Most maps have spots you can park her at where she won't be in any danger, and the story removes her from your care whenever there's a boss fight or a tough section ahead.
    • Ashley's sequence. Normally, you need to hit the enemies in the first room with three lamps to kill them. There are two of them in the room and only six lamps, and they run fast enough to potentially dodge them when you throw them. Die enough times, however, and they stop running and will only take two hits to kill.
    • To keep from hitting a wall on especially difficult boss fights, novice players are able to purchase rocket launchers as a single-use "Just let me win, dammit" boss killer weapon. They are pretty expensive at 30,000 pesetas a pop and you can only carry one at a time, but unlike with First Aid Sprays, the Merchant also has unlimited stock.
    • The ink ribbon system has been removed. As a result, the player has unlimited saves.
  • Anti-Regeneration: The quickest way to kill Regeneradors and Iron Maidens is if Leon uses a special scope on his rifle to aim and shoot at where the Las Plagas are located inside their bodies. Otherwise, you will be shooting them for a long time.
  • Anti-Villain: Krauser is retroactively implied to be this given the events of The Darkside Chronicles. Also, in the game itself, he himself states that he took the President's daughter to get himself close enough to the Los Illuminados cult to gain the Queen Plagas, which implies that he'll interfere with the Queen Plagas injection into Ashley, although whether that means he'll return the president's daughter to her father without risk of a Plagas outbreak or whether he'll kill her is never specified.
  • The Anticipator:
    • Saddler tends to wait to confront Leon sometimes.
    • A notable, and humorous, occurrence of this is when Salazar is waiting for Leon and Ashley on a balcony, where they have this exchange:
      Salazar: Me llamo Ramón Salazar, the eighth Castellan of this magnificent architecture. I have been honored with the prodigious power from the great Lord Saddler. I've been expecting you, my brethren.
      Leon S. Kennedy: No, thanks... "bro".
  • Apocalyptic Log: The game is different in that the logs are generally written by your enemies, and usually detail either general orders or what plans they happen to have for you. Nevertheless, there is at least one "Oh crap, the protagonist has killed us all" note to be found.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Seven shots to the head (with a handgun) can't kill the Ganados on Professional.
  • Arm Cannon: Second type for Leon with the Mine Thrower and the P.R.L. 412.
  • Arms Dealer: Naturally, the Merchant.
  • Armor Is Useless: Played straight with armored plagas in knight armors, since shooting their weak areas will cause them to collapse.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The game's re-releases add a literal suit of medieval armor as an unlockable costume for Ashley. This makes her completely invincible, as the armor will not only prevent her from taking any kind of damage, but is also too heavy to allow any enemy to kidnap her. This makes the sections with her much easier, as you don't need to worry about her safety anymore.
  • Arrows on Fire: The crossbow-wielding enemies shoot flaming arrows, though this doesn't seem to do anything to enhance their lethality.note  Most likely the reason for the fire effect is to help the player spot the crossbowman at a distance rather than any in-universe justification.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Observation of the village at the beginning of the game indicates that during their downtime, the Ganados seem fixated on wandering around aimlessly, doing menial tasks, and repeating the same two swear words over and over.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In the very beginning of the game, there is a section of tripwire that will detonate upon contact. The pissed off villagers apparently forgot who set the explosives in the first place, because they will run right into it and kill themselves if you position yourself right. Also happens with dynamite: On some occasions, if you get close to dynamite-throwing Ganados, they may rush at you and try to grab you. They may or may not have lit the fuse to said dynamite. They might also gesture and shout orders/alerts to their comrades, often standing among them with a sparking stick of dynamite. Of course, this makes a bit more sense when you realize the Las Plagas is likely turning their higher reasoning capabilities into Swiss cheese.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The game is set in a nameless fictional European country apparently placed in the middle of Spain. Despite this, all the Ganados speak Spanish with a Mexican accent. "Ganados" is itself an example as well: Ganado means "Livestock" in Spanish and it is rarely pluralized.
  • As You Know: During the car ride in the opening cutscene:
    Leon: Anyway, you know what this is all about. My assignment is to search for the president's missing daughter.
  • Aside Glance: Leon's description of the Special Rocket Launcher acknowledges it's a "perfect weapon to exterminate the boss."
  • Assimilation Plot: Las Plagas are mind-controlling parasites that assimilate with a host and connect them to a Hive Mind under the command of a Hive Queen. The Los Illuminados cult is centered around the parasites, with the goal of spreading their "faith" to all of humanity.
  • The Atoner: Luis used to work for Saddler.
  • Attack Drone: The boss fight against Krauser has him using some spider-like drones that are rigged to explode, as well as a few flying models armed with machine guns.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • The Regeneradors and Iron Maidens can die when certain spots on their bodies are shot, which the infrared scope is needed to see. While they will die from regular damage, it will take a lot of it to accomplish this. As such, until you get one of the super weapons in a new game, hitting the weak points is the best option.
    • In the Salazar and Saddler boss fights, the eyes are not so much the weak points as the switches that reveal the truly vulnerable points.
    • Exposed Plaga are generally the only way to quickly take down their hosts. Armored Garradors cannot be killed any other way, naturally.
    • El Gigante is nearly indestructible, but causing it significant injury forces the Plaga to expose itself as a reflex reaction to the pain to make the dmaage count. Destroying the Plaga kills the giant.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Del Lago is a huge mutant salamander.
    • El Gigantes are mammoth humanoids.
  • Attack the Mouth:
    • Del Lago takes extra damage if hit in the mouth instead of its body.
    • In Separate Ways, Saddler has to be hit until the eye in his mouth is exposed, and hitting that enough times will defeat him.
  • Author Filibuster: Subverted concerning Salazar as he starts what appears to be a long speech about a rather "special" fate he's got planned for Leon, following a brief quip about terrorism "(being) a popular word these days". Before he can finish his second sentence, Leon shuts him up by nailing his hand to a wall with a well-thrown knife.
  • Automatic Crossbows: Enemies in this game use crossbows that are sort of automatic: they can shoot two bolts in rapid succession but need a reload after that.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Punisher's exclusive upgrade. Its exclusive of piercing up to five enemies is mostly useless, since if you're faced with a group that large, you'll likely be wanting to use something more powerful and with spread such as a Shotgun or Hand Granades for crowd control. It is also far too weak for the mid to late game, even fully upgraded (its maximum power isn't even double that of its base power), which is why the Red9 and Blacktail see more use.
    • A Broken Butterfly with the exclusive upgrade deals an awesome 50 damage per shot. But actually getting that upgrade, which is unlocked shortly before the final boss, costs about the same as purchasing 15 rocket launchers, each of which can insta-kill anything in the game. On top of that, without the exclusive upgrade it only does 28 damage, being outdone by a fully upgraded bolt action rifle (30 damage in most versions of the game, and with much more common ammunition too) and a Killer7 with at least one point in firepower (30 damage, 35 with two points).
    • The Large Bass. It's easy to find in the village's well and lake, is practically free and restores life completely. However, it's huge (you could store six First Aid Sprays or twelve Golden Eggs in the same space) and doesn't even sell too well (only 2,300 pesetas, slightly more than a hand grenade). Though it's good to catch one and heal up on the go after fighting Del Lago in order to save herbs and sprays.
    • The Mine Thrower. Awesome firepower with a tracking upgrade, but typically not worth the inventory space. This is made worse by the fact that ammo for it tends to be rarer than Magnum ammo even with ammo drops increasing with use. It's also quite easy to kill yourself with it, if you're careless.
    • The Matilda burst fire pistol. While it looks cool, all of the normal handguns use bullets more efficiently and take less space. It's also a New Game Plus weapon, meaning you've unlocked the Infinity+1 Guns already.
  • Back from the Dead:
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Leon and Luis, notably the cabin scene were they are tied together.
  • Badass Normal: Leon, several times over. He was previously seen as a police officer on his first day, barely surviving an encounter with zombies and other horrors, but even then he was shown to have a lot of raw talent to survive the events of that game. Now, after extensive training, he's assigned to protect the President and his family. And then there's the events of the game, where he heads over to Europe to simply investigate the whereabouts of the President's daughter, completely unaware and unprepared for the hordes of freaks and monsters he's heading straight into. And guess what? He comes out on top.
  • Baddie Flattery: Salazar is rude and snarky for most of his screentime, until he's finally impressed enough to start saying things like "I fear I have not paid my respects to your impressive and stubborn will. Mr. Kennedy: WELCOME!"
  • The Bait: Late in the game, Ada attempts to fight Saddler to get his attention away from Leon while he rescues Ashley. This goes poorly for her. Saddler, instead of just killing her, ties her up from some scaffolding to lure Leon out into a fight. Sure enough, just after he's able to get Ada down, Saddler attacks Leon.
  • Balance Buff: When the game was released in PAL territories, it lowered things like ammo drops, but upgraded a number of weapons. These changes were applied to all further re-releases:
    • The fully upgraded bolt-action rifle does 30 damage instead of 18.
    • The fully upgraded Red9 does 6.5 damage instead of 5.
    • The fully upgraded Blacktail does 4.5 damage instead of 3.4.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Ashley's popstar outfit and Ada's tactical outfit.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The boss fight against Bitores Mendez takes place in a burning building in the frontier area of the village, close to Salazar's castle.
  • Battle Theme Music: Mooks, especially Ganados, have various creepy battle music depending on the location. As for bosses, many of them rely on foreboding ambient music to suit the game's mood, though Krauser in his last phase and Saddler when fought against Leon play more action-styled music.
  • Bear Trap:
    • Leon encounters a dog snared by a bear trap. The player can choose whether to free or ignore it. Doing the former will result in the dog helping you against El Gigante.
    • There are a number of bear traps set in various areas waiting for you to step in them. Doing so causes you damage and also freezes you in place as Leon has to stop and pry it open. Naturally, they don't hurt enemies running towards you, and they can be avoided by either shooting them or getting close enough to hit them with your knife, which causes them to spring early.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: If Leon rescues a dog whose leg is caught in a bear trap in Chapter 1-1, the dog will later come back to assist him during the boss fight against El Gigante.
  • Betty and Veronica: Leon has Ashley (Betty) and Ada (the Veronica, like in the second game), with his Mission Control Hunnigan functioning as the Cheryl at the end.
  • BFG:
    • The game is mostly about the Hand Cannons, but the bad guys get to have more fun; there is a special enemy type who carries a portable Gatling gun in the final stage, while in the castle Leon occasionally finds himself faced with cultists manning totally inexplicable modern mounted Gatlings placed in the middle of rooms for no adequately defined reason.
    • Completing the game on Professional mode gives you the P.R.L. 412, a Wave-Motion Gun that one-shots everything in its path when fully charged.
    • The Separate Ways campaign in the PS2 and Wii versions went the final step of having Ada shoot up a warship with a series of huge mounted guns.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Leon sure does go to a lot of trouble for Ashley and seems genuinely compassionate towards her, even if it is part of his job. Leon is only The Stoic when he's the one in danger, but he'll risk himself without hesitation to protect anyone who needs his help (as already proven with Sherry in the second game).
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • If you help the dog in the bear trap at the start of the game, it repays the favor by coming to your aid during the El Gigante fight.
    • Ada saves Leon in the nick of time on several occasions.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Salazar's castle. Not only is it simply massive in size, but it has several art rooms, ballrooms, a room just to hold a giant, animatronic statue of Salazar, a hedge maze, and even a trolly system if in you don't feel like covering the grounds by foot.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The first Ganado Leon meets in-game threatens him with: "¿Qué carajo estás haciendo aquí? ¡Lárgate, cabrón!" ("What the fuck are you doing here?! Get out, asshole!")
    • For the most part, the Ganados' Spanish consists of curse words and threats, but sneak attacks from behind will always be announced with "¡Detrás de ti, imbécil!" ("Behind you, imbecile!") in the village levels, Zealots in the castle just laugh evilly, and Militia in the island snarl "Te cogí!" ("Got you!"), giving the player ample time to pull a 180 and open fire.
    • The Plagas monsters have appropriate Spanish names as well, and plaga itself means "pest" or "plague". The standard Plaga-infected humans are Ganados ("beasts" or "livestock" - some say it coincidentially goes with "ganar" for "to win" - hence, Saddler winning their trust), the giant humanoids are El Gigante (literally "the giant"), the mutated salamander in the lake is Del Lago ("from the lake"), the near-invisible sewer bugs are Novistadors (portmanteau of "No Vista," which roughly translates to "no sight"), the mutated wolves are Colmillos ("fangs"), and so on. The exception seems to be the "Iron Maidens".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The game isn't quite as depressing as most of the other entries, but it's still up there. Leon, in one more do-or-die situation, rescues Ashley and takes her home, but an entire village was doomed thanks to Saddler's scheming, Luis is dead, and Wesker now has a sample of Las Plagas thanks to Ada.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The entire Salazar Castle has a mishmash of random settings and objects. It has everything: a room surrounded by water, a sewer system, a hedge maze, a furnace, an actual lava pit with fire-breathing dragon statues, a pit trap, ancient underground ruins, a mine cart ride, a giant clockwork mechanical statue of Salazar, and even a roller coaster.
  • Black Comedy: Upon discovering a woman nailed to the wall by way of a pitchfork through the face:
    Leon: Guess there's no sex discrimination here...
  • Blade Lock: Even though he uses knives, Leon locks blades quite often when facing up against Krauser.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Ada shoots Krauser's knife out of his hand in order to stop him from killing Leon.
  • Blatant Item Placement: All the ammo and weapons just lying around.
  • *Bleep*-dammit!: In the conversation that occurs after Saddler has his rocket launcher-wielding minion shoot Mike down, Leon shouts, "Saddler, you bastard!" However, the subtitles simply says, "Saddler you..."
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The game tries to have the Ganados utter the common phrase "You can run, but you can't hide!", However, the line "¡Puedes correr, pero no puedes esconder!" is used, which employs the wrong Spanish conjugation of the verb "esconder" (hide) so it becomes "You can run, but you cannot to hide!". Appropriate forms would be "¡Puedes correr, pero no puedes esconderte!" or "¡...pero no te puedes esconder!", due to how reflexive conjugation works in Spanish.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Leon and Ashley cough blood throughout the game due to their Plaga infection, but it's hardly a spoiler that neither of them die.
  • Blown Across the Room: Shooting an enemy at close range with a shotgun would send them flying back, as would hitting them with a grenade, even though most of the damage of a grenade is done with the shrapnel, not the explosion, which is merely a method for delivering said shrapnel.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Ashley's coy offer to Leon at the end of the game is met with a pretty rational decline. Leon's a professional on the clock; regardless if Ashley's cool with it, making time with someone he's been assigned to protect would result in a severe reprimand at best.
  • Body Horror: The game plays this with Las Plagas ("The Pests" in Spanish), some sort of strange being that takes over the host's body and submits their will and mind to Saddler's own purposes. As you play the game, you can see how Las Plagas are slowly taking over the bodies of Leon and Ashley.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • This happens when Mendez nearly strangles Leon to death but lets him go when he sees he's been injected with a Plagas egg, knowing that he'll eventually succumb to the parasite's control. He later admits in a memo that he gravely underestimated Leon's capabilities and that at the rate he's going, he'll probably destroy the whole village before the Plagas takes over.
    • In Separate Ways, Ada gets knocked out by a Tranquilizer Dart. Instead of killing her immediately, the villagers put her in a conveniently slow death trap. Naturally, Ada wakes up just in time to escape from it.
  • Bonus Feature Failure:
    • There's the Handcannon, a souped-up Magnum with massive stopping power, the ability to go through multiple enemies per shot, and infinite ammo when fully upgraded. You get it by getting the maximum ranking with every character on every stage in The Mercenaries mode, which can be remarkably hard for certain characters. However, by this point, chances are you've already beaten the game once and probably bought the Chicago Typewriter, Infinite Rocket Launcher, or even just fully upgraded another regular Magnum, which makes the Handcannon look pretty pointless in comparison. Granted, the "infinite ammo" part is pretty damn sweet, but the sheer effort needed to unlock the thing makes it more trouble than it's worth for anyone who's not a Challenge Gamer.
    • The PlayStation 2 version introduced the P.R.L. 412, a futuristic anti-Plagas weapon that is only obtained after beating Professional mode, which means there isn't much of any reason to use it, since the player's probably finished everything by then anyway. It's not even particularly great, being a slow charging laser that serves mostly as an unlimited supply of flash grenades unless you spend the time charging it to full power, in which case it kills Plagas villagers instantly, but not much else. Even worse, a weak flash can kill the final boss immediately. The Wii Edition and onward, however, tweaked the P.R.L. 412's charging time to become nearly instantaneous and a single charged shot can shoot down anything in front of Leon's line of sight, including traps, breakable objects, and crows.
    • Because using the Raccoon Police Department/"pop starlet" outfits for Leon and Ashley is also supposed to enable Ada's Assignment Ada tactical outfit during the main game, who only appears during cutscenes in the main game, the original PC version and the PlayStation 2 version miss out on seeing this because of their use of pre-rendered cutscenes.note  However, the original GameCube version of the game and all releases after the original PC port use in-engine cutscenes, meaning characters stay dressed however they appear during gameplay and thus Ada will show up wearing her tactical gear during cutscenes.
  • Boob-Based Gag: Upon meeting Ashley, whose has a sizable chest, Luis wryly remarks that the President has "equipped his daughter with ballistics".
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Unless you are using a particularly powerful weapon, it is nearly impossible to kill any Ganados without shooting them in the head, and even then in Professional mode, it will still take around nine headshots to kill them. The only other way you are encouraged to shoot them is in the legs, so you can run up and melee them in the head (unless they have a mask on, in which case it takes around 60 headshots to kill them).
    • With the exception of the Wii Edition, where Leon's hand is as steady as you hold the Wiimote, there is fairly realistic gun sway. If you point a gun at a Ganado's head for too long, they will anticipate the shot and start covering their faces or move out of the way.
    • Strangely, despite being able to take multiple bullets to the face, anytime an enemy is killed by an attack directed at its head, their noggin will graphically blow it up, complete with a nauseating splatting sound and chunks of head laying on the ground (strangely, this often doesn't kill them instantly). This includes everything from .50 magnum shots to 9mm bullets to the PC elbowing them in the face.
    • Subverted with the Regeneradors and Iron Maidens, where shooting them in the head does almost nothing. Even if you use an extremely powerful weapon, or blow its head off, it'll just regrow in a couple seconds.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The knife and the pistols (Handgun, Punisher, Red9, Blacktail) can come across as such. It might not be impressive to play using those weapons 90% of the time, but it's much more likely to lead you to success than using your flashy weapons all the time.
    • All of the "basic" weapons have some form of bonus to make up for the fact that they are generally not as powerful or utilitarian as the "advanced" weapons. The basic shotgun does more damage than the Striker, for example, and the bolt-action sniper rifle takes more time to fire than the semi-auto sniper rifle, but fully upgraded, does almost twice as much damage per shot. As a result, the early versions of weapons, although they're not as flashy, can be more useful than the later versions. The bolt-action rifle has one other useful advantage over the sleek, modern semi-auto rifle: the bolt cycling animation between shots allows you to have a quick peek around Leon to see if there are any enemies flanking around you, which is something they can easily do if you get caught up in the tunnel vision of your scope.
    • The Handgun you start the game with combines both aspects of this. Sure, the Red9 has more per-shot firepower and the Blacktail eclipses it in nearly every respect on paper, but the Blacktail is only available mid-game: the Handgun has the advantage of having cheaper upgrades that are available much earlier so it can easily keep pace, and the Exclusive upgrade allows the Handgun to make a critical headshot kill against a Ganados enemy 30% of the time, letting it punch well above its weight against the most common enemy in the game.
    • It can be easy to overlook the TMP. Without upgrades or the stock, it's a Little Useless Gun that does anemic damage per shot, chews through ammo like popcorn and is ineffectual at any range besides "very close". With a couple of upgrades and the stock fitted, however, it becomes a brilliant substitute to a shotgun by being every bit as good as a panic weapon while also being infinitely more versatile. A pinpoint-accurate four-round burst is perfect for picking off thrown dynamite, or tacking a head or knee shot to buy yourself some room or follow up with a melee attack, while more sustained fire will shred through a shield or a small mob of Ganados with little trouble. TMP ammo pickups come in boxes of 30 or so and they're quite common, and the exclusive upgrade gives the TMP a gigantic 250-round magazine, so you'll always have the ammo to do something with it.
    • When it comes to contextual melee attacks, the roundhouse kick. It's not as damaging or showy as the suplex, but it's easier to pull off with headshots versus the suplex's leg shots, it hits multiple enemies in a wide area and knocks them down on the ground for a quick knife or retreat, and there's always the chance you'll get a critical headshot while setting up the kick anyway.
    • Minus the Rocket Launcher, keeping the number of your weapon inventory at a bare minimum or having two (or more) of the same gun type. The way ammo generates is loosely based on what your inventory shows, so having the least amount of weapons will generate the specific ammo you need. In addition, having two or more of the same gun type will have a much higher chance of generating that kind of ammo (i.e. Broken Butterfly and Killer7 for Magnum bullets).
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Leon manages to escape the village by killing Chief Mendez and then taking his false eye, which he uses to bypass a retinal scanner at the village exit. If the player examines the eye, there's actually an encryption on the eye's iris, which is what the scanner reads.
  • Boss-Altering Consequence:
    • If you free the dog caught in the bear trap, it will help you in the boss fight with El Gigante. In the second encounter with El Gigante, you can shoot down boulders to significantly damage it. In the third encounter, you can dump one of them in lava using a lever.
    • Though the Verdugo may be an Optional Boss, it can be made easier if you shoot the liquid nitrogen tanks next to it, freezing it and causing it to take triple damage.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: The area where Leon fights Verdugo has several liquid nitrogen tanks that can be knocked over to slow it down and freeze it, making it vulnerable to damage.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Played straight for the whole game, but a particular mention goes to fighting Salazar. There's crates in quite a few places, and going to the bottom level, there are infinitely spawning spider Plagas. They randomly drop ammo for whatever weapons you have.
  • Boss Banter: The boss battle with Salazar is the only boss battle (besides the final boss) to talk with you. And it can be used very tactically, as he only talks for three reasons, besides his introductory "You will suffer like Ashley did": Whenever you shoot the Verdugo, he mocks you saying things like "That tickles"; whenever he grabs with you with the tentacle; finally, he talks when he uses his One-Hit Kill move. Which is very useful, since you can tell when to dodge.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • When Plagas start bursting out of the Ganados heads, both forms are not to be trifled with. One has constantly whipping razor tentacles that make knifing seem impossible and the other can lop off Leon's head, resulting in a game over. Thankfully, those otherwise non-damaging flashbangs will kill them instantly and at some range.
    • Regeneradors. They are encountered late game and can seriously damage Leon very easily, namely with a lunging attack, and like their name suggests, they can regenerate limbs and are nigh-unkillable unless if you bring the thermal scope and kill the Plagas inside of them. The only consolation is that they are painfully slow and are rarely encountered.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The sixth and final chapter, known simply as "Final Chapter", begins as soon as Leon and Ashley manage to excise the Plagas within them, and consists of the Final Boss battle against Saddler, followed by an Escape Sequence.
    • The extra campaign added in later versions of the game, Separate Ways, averts this, as its last stage has Ada make her way through the Island's factory and defeating a prior boss before reaching the part where she fights Saddler. She later helps Leon in his own fight against Saddler.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The Chicago Typewriter, the fully upgraded Handcannon (though you can still get a reload animation with these two), the Infinite Launcher, and the P.R.L. 412.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • At least in the North American release, Ashley exclaims "What's going on?" when being trapped against a wall during the game. However, in the demonstration video played when left idle at the menu, the same scene is shown, with the dialogue being "Oh my God! What's going on?"
    • The game has a single enemy who unexpectedly pops out of a large oven to rush the player while on fire. This guy didn't make it into the German version, probably due to unspeakable things the Nazis did. In fact, the German version was so badly censored that German gamers largely refused to buy it, importing versions from other countries.
    • In a rare occurrence of material being censored in its native country, the original Japanese version removed all decapitation deaths, instead changing them to have the faces mutilated much like the aftermath of a Novistador's acid attack. The animation for Leon being killed by a chainsaw was also sped up.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Unlocking the Handcannon requires getting a 5-star ranking on all four Mercenaries stages, with all five characters. If you can successfully pull off twenty perfect runs with five very different playstyles in four increasingly difficult scenarios, then you can already handle all the worst stuff the main game can possibly throw at you without it.
    • In the post-GameCube ports, players are rewarded the P.R.L. 412 for completing the game on Professional mode. It is a powerful laser weapon that can create a flash that blinds nearby enemies like the Flash Grenades with its normal shot, but after fully charging the weapon, it fires a laser beam that instantly kills most enemies and bosses in a single shot. While the weapon itself is free, it can only be used in a New Game Plus playthrough.
  • Brain Food: One things the Zealots do say, among other things, is "Cerebros, cerebros, cerebros" ("Brains, brains, brains").
  • Break Them by Talking: Salazar hijacks Leon's communications line in order to demoralize him and cut him off from the rest of the world. Leon uses the opportunity to make fun of Salazar until he snaps.
  • Breaking Old Trends: RE4 was the first mainline entry in the series to phase out the fixed camera in favor of a third-person camera, a design choice that would carry over to almost every subsequent entry.
  • Breakout Character: Krauser was beloved for his incredible boss fight, cool design, mysterious background and unique playstyle in Mercenaries mode. This led to him being brought back in The Darkside Chronicles, which expands on his relationship with Leon and details his Start of Darkness.
  • Breast Attack:
  • Brick Joke:
    • At the end of the credits, Hunnigan, who was cut off from contact at the beginning of Chapter 3-1 after Leon and Ashley enter Saddler's castle, re-establishes contact, having ditched her nerdy glasses in the interim. Leon reports that he has completed the mission, compliments her on her style and asks her out, to which she responds that they're still on-duty.
    • At the end of Assignment Ada, the credits roll as we watch her helicopter fly off into the rising sun. The same rising sun that Leon and Ashley travel into after escaping the island on the jet ski. Sure enough, after a while the jet ski shows up moving away in the distance.
  • Bridal Carry: This is how Leon catches Ashley when she needs to get down from a high place. This is averted in her own chapter where unlike Leon and Ada if she wants to get down she needs to use the ladder all the way down.
  • Broken Bridge: Broken bridges actually force you to keep going. RE4 is also notorious for breaking bridges behind Leon, thereby preventing the player from returning to previous areas. Most notable are the bridge out of the village, the castle drawbridge, and the boat ride with Ada.
  • Bugs Herald Evil: One of the first signs that something is seriously wrong with the villagers (besides them all being homicidal to outsiders, of course) is that their homes are crawling with flies, maggots, and roaches because they've taken to eating their meat rotten - not to mention the bodies strewn about.
  • Bullfight Boss: Garradors are like this. Their only vulnerable spot is on their back, and if they hear you, they'll come charging. If you move in time, they'll end up getting their claws stuck in the wall long enough to shoot them in the back for massive damage. The other option is just to walk, in which case they can't hear you, and, so long as you dont't get too close, you can sneak up on them at your leisure.
  • But Thou Must!: Trying to go back the way you came in at the start of the game triggers a short cutscene of one of the policemen with you saying, "Not that way, cowboy."
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: This is what Luis says when he sees Ashley for the first time:
    "I see the President has equipped his daughter with... ballistics, too."

    C - F 
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence:
    • Mendez has a group of Ganados ambush Leon and Ashley on a ski lift in Chapter 2-3.
    • The mine cart sequence in Chapter 4-3.
  • The Cameo: In one of the castle rooms, you can find some fire-spitting statues of dragons. They are almost identical (if not the same) to the weapon Ifrit from the original Devil May Cry.
  • Camping a Crapper: An optional enemy can be found in the bathroom on the lower level of the village chief's house.
  • Canon Immigrant: The game lifts the laser room of death from the first Resident Evil movie. Albeit, it's beatable in the game.
  • Cap: Out of all the enemies, exactly one type has a damage cap: the chainsaw wielding enemies, with their horrific One-Hit Kill. No more than about 6 damage can be done to them with any one hit. This leads to players wasting magnum (up to 50 damage) and rifle (up to 30 damage) shots on the strangely protected enemies. Without the damage cap, a single 50 damage magnum shot would easily take out Dr. Salvador's 40+ Hit Points. It's also disconcerting to the player using the magnum, since it takes about eight shots to put down Dr. Salvador for good, adding to his monstrous reputation.
  • Carrying the Antidote: Saddler conveniently keeps a fully functioning and barely protected Las Plagas removal device in his headquarters which Leon and Ashley find just in time. In-game files suggest the reason he had it was he was using it to research a way to make the parasites immune to the device.
  • The Casanova: Leon and especially Luis like to fancy themselves this. Leon is well-aware of the fact that it'll never work for him.
  • Casting Gag: This isn't the first time Jesse Corti voiced a villager in Europe who rolls with angry peasant mobs.note 
  • Catch a Falling Star: The ending has Ada jump down from a ledge. A few seconds later, a helicopter rises into view with Ada sitting inside it, having apparently fallen through the roof and, yes, the rotors.
  • Catch and Return: Leon interrupts Salazar's monologue by throwing his knife, and nailing his hand to a pillar. Salazar's bodyguard then takes the knife and throws it back at Leon, meaning he has to Press X to Not Die.
  • Caught Monologuing: Salazar goes off onto another smarmy monologue on how he's going to kill Leon with another clever trap. Leon, who by this point is thoroughly fed up with Salazar's bullshit, shuts him up with a knife to the hand.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Early in the game, the player must dam a river in order to enter a secret tunnel hidden behind a waterfall. There is a plot-critical key at the end of the tunnel.
  • Chainsaw Good: Dr. Salvador, the Bella Sisters, and Super Salvador all carry chainsaws that are a One-Hit Kill against Leon.
  • Chandelier Swing: Leon uses several chandeliers to swing across indoor balconies. In a variation, he doesn't hang from them, he jumps on top of and stands on them like platforms.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Zigzagged as Leon pulls off several acrobatic moves, which range from very possible to nearly impossible.
  • Checkpoint Starvation:
    • There's a room in the castle that is not only a fair distance from the nearest typewriter, but it has no checkpoints other than the entry point. If you fail, you start the battle from the very beginning.
    • Worse is Chapter 4-1, which is not only extremely long with few checkpoints or save points, but has a larger amount of tough enemies as well.
  • Chest Monster: Some boxes contain snakes instead of items.
  • Childless Dystopia: The village of people who've been turned into People Puppet mooks; notes explain that the children were unable to survive being implanted with a Puppeteer Parasite.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System: Leon meets a dog with a bear-trap stuck on its paw. If you free it, it will help you to defeat the game's first El Gigante by distracting him. Instead, if you literally Kick the Dog, you'll have to kill the Giant Mook on your own.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: There are many, many things which cause instant death, no matter how much life you have, such as Dr. Salvador, Del Lago, the Lava Coated El Gigante, etc. Also, an enemy with his or her head popped, if the parasite won't come out, will either attack once more or, more usually, drop dead right there.
  • Clairvoyant Security Force: There's a seemingly unguarded treasure chest in Chapter 3-3. As you approach it, a cage drops around you, Zealots fill the room, and a Garrador jumps in for a cage match.
  • *Click* Hello: Ada's reunion with Leon in the castle is kicked off by her pointing her gun at his back along with an audible click (although she doesn't do anything that would make that *click*note ).
  • Closed Circle: Even after rescuing the President's daughter, the bridge to get out of town is out and a helicopter before Mike sent to pick you up apparently got shot down.
  • Co-Dragons: Mendez, Salazar, and Krauser to Saddler, although Krauser is actually a double agent. Salazar himself has his two Verdugos.
  • Colossus Climb:
    • El Gigante must be killed by shooting at him for a while, then climbing onto his back and slashing at the parasite controlling the beast as it emerges. However, the player can also just shoot the parasite as well, but that doesn't look nearly as cool.
    • A later puzzle requires you to ride the hands of a giant robotic statue of Salazar to reach the control switches for a bridge. After you raise the bridge, the statue chases after you.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Ammo pickups in this game and the subsequent Resident Evil 5, and Resident Evil: Revelations have the following color scheme: Handgun ammo is red, shotgun ammo is green, sniper rifle ammo is white, submachine gun and assault rifle ammo is blue, magnum ammo is black, and Handcannon ammo (only found in this game) is yellow.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Colmillos, "scythe heads", and Saddler's tentacles.
  • Compensating for Something: In Separate Ways, Ada implies that Krauser is compensating for something because of his freaky mutant arm.
  • Competitive Balance: The Mercenaries mode places heavy emphasis on this, with each character being majorly different in some way. Leon is a Jack of All Stats, armed with his Blacktail and Riot Gun for crowd control; Ada is a Fragile Speedster, armed with a TMP, Auto-rifle, and Punisher for quick hit and run tactics; HUNK is a Lethal Joke Character who has a TMP, some grenades, and some powerful melee moves; Krauser is a Mighty Glacier, who moves slow but has a powerful bow and crazy strong special move with his sword arm; and Wesker is a Lightning Bruiser who comes with some extremely strong guns and melee moves but lacks ammo at the start.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: The Gatling guns used by J.J. and some other mooks do extremely heavy damage to Leon, but the bullets they fire are easily stopped by ordinary walls, wooden planks and, most absurdly, a canvas tent.
  • Content Warnings: As with previous games in the series, this one adds a content warning every time it's booted, referencing the blood and violence. Unlike the previous games, however, it also mentions strong language in the disclaimer.
  • Continuity Nod: For Resident Evil 2. The gun Matilda is apparently the name of HUNK's favorite handgun. You could also upgrade Leon's standard handgun to the Matilda.note  There's also the final sequence where Ada tosses down a rocket launcher to Leon to kill the Final Boss, just like she did for him in Resident Evil 2.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The villain is not a genetically engineered monster but an unearthed parasite queen of Las Plagas that has possessed Saddler. This contrasts the modus operandi of Wesker with the T-Virus in the previous games.
  • Contrasting Sequel Setting: The first three main entries in the Resident Evil series were set in or around Raccoon City, a fictional American metropolis. The fourth game, by contrast, is set in an unnamed European country (though Wesker's radar at the start of Separate Ways zeroes in on Spain) and opens in a rustic village.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Late-to-middle in the game, Leon has to fight two El Gigantes in a small enclosed cavern where the entire floor consists of grating with lava about half a meter below it, much less with no grating visible in earlier versions. Naturally, the heat doesn't bother anybody as long as you do not actually fall into the lava.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Played for Laughs with the game's joke anti-piracy warning at the end that threatens you with "criminal prosecution from a S.T.A.R.S. member and then some" if you violate their copyright.
  • Cool Chair: Saddler's chair near the end of the game. The player can actually sit down in the chair. However, if they do, the text will tell them that "there's no time for resting."
  • Crazy-Prepared: Leon goes to the Spanish village only to investigate and ask questions, yet he brought along a pistol, knife, attaché case, flashlight, radio, binoculars, a tracking device, and a grappling hook. If playing on Easy, he'll be toting a shotgun as well. Of course, he was investigating a group that had kidnapped the President's daughter, so he had pretty good reason to expect trouble.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The closing credits depict the fall of Pueblo, showing how Las Plagas infected the villagers.
  • Credits Gag: The end of the credits state that the copyright on the game is protected by the RPD and appropriate S.T.A.R.S. members will prosecute you if you break it.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted; as you take damage, Leon will start to limp and hold his stomach.
  • Critical Hit: Occasionally, a headshot will cause the enemy's head to explode in one hit. This isn't necessarily a good thing once things get dark.
  • Crossover: With Haunting Ground. The dog you save from the bear trap? It's Hewie. Makes some sense, as the games appear to be in the same part of the world.
  • Cult: Basically the entire plot, where a Spanish doomsday cult uses a parasite to infect the President's daughter and send her home, resulting in terror and tragedy after she inevitably mutates into a creepy monster thing and most likely infects, if not kills the President. Fortunately, a hero is there to save the day.
  • Culturally Sensitive Adaptation: The VR adaptation for the Quest 2 removes the more sexual comments and scenes, such as Luis' "ballistics" comment, Leon's quips to Hunnigan, and Ashley asking Leon for "overtime". This was done at Oculus' (NKA Meta) request to bring the game more in-line with today's values with the byproduct of some scenes appearing odd, such as Ashley now being mad at Luis for seemingly no reason since his offending comment was removed.
  • Cute as a Bouncing Betty: Leon has access to a magnum called the Broken Butterfly, a pistol called Matilda, and a machine gun called the Chicago Typewriter.
  • Cutscene: If there's any examples of subverting a cutscene (i.e. adding gameplay to them), then it's when this game added Press X to Not Die to them.
  • Cutscene Boss: Done with the Press X to Not Die flavor when fighting Krauser for the first time; the entirety of the battle is a dialogue exchange with the occasional unexpected QTE thrown in to keep things interesting. It's actually done fairly well, and you get a proper battle against him a little later on.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: At times, Leon suffers from this. In spite of his exaggerated coolness, he spends a lot of the early game getting utterly thrashed by Mendez, who could have killed him many times over if outside factors didn't keep interfering; this is despite being the same guy who overcame the far deadlier Mr. X and William Birkin back when he didn't have Neo-like combat training.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Leon often displays acrobatic feats and neat gadgets that the player doesn't get to use.
    • In the GameCube version, Ada's grappling hook only appears in cutscenes, not being utilized in the Assignment Ada quest. The later ports allow limited use of it in Separate Ways.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • The HD versions of the game (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the second PC release) use a control scheme that is modeled more after Resident Evil 5, meaning controls like "Raise weapon" was moved from the right trigger to the left. This in turn can be very disorienting for someone who's more familiar with the SD versions (GameCube, PlayStation 2, Wii, or the first PC release). What's worse is there is no way to correctly map the controls to be more familiar for veteran players. Oddly, the Ultimate HD Edition on Steam has the gun controls all mapped to the right bumper and trigger, more like the GameCube version, and it cannot be remapped. It also uses the GameCube version's direction arrows on the GUI for the various rifle scopes.
    • In the VR version, firing your weapon is, obviously, done using the trigger of the hand you use. If you're right-handed, you'll likely struggle to fire the RPG due to it using the left trigger to fire, not the right, until you accidentally fire it and completely miss. Whoops.
  • Damsel in Distress: Ashley, which is made all the more hilarious by how she really wants to to give Leon more than a Smooch of Victory for rescuing her at the end, only for Leon to decline the offer.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Shortly after Luis's death scene, a file contains a photograph of dartboard with his face on it.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Luis, as the cabin siege sequence can attest, showing great skill with his pistol:
    Luis: Did you send out those invitations!? I told you, no more than FEEFTY PEOPLE!
  • David Versus Goliath:
    • Leon is the David to the El Gigantes' Goliath. In the former's favor, there's usually something that helps him in each case: A dog in the first El Gigante battle (provided he saved him, otherwise he'll be out of luck), a boulder trap in the second (which is also optional, as another route can be taken to progress in the game), and a lava trap for one of the El Gigantes in the third.
    • An interesting example happens in Chapter 3-4. Common mooks that both Ada and Leon can dispatch very easy become more dangerous as the player has to play as Ashley. Leon is already taller than her and some rare male mooks are taller than him. Furthermore, since Ashley has little to virtually no combat ability, seeing her facing one is a sight to behold.
  • Deadly Dodging: One of the quicker ways to defeat the Garradors is to stand with your back to a wall, get them to charge you, and run for it, causing them to get their claws stuck in said wall and allowing you a free strike to the weak point on their backs.
  • Deadly Lunge: Garradors, once they pinpoint the source of noise, will charge with their claws ready to impale.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Leon, and to a lesser extent, Saddler.
  • Death by Falling Over: An ax-wielding villager lunges at Leon, who counters by throwing him against a wall. The villager lands awkwardly and breaks his neck.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: When you die, you are transported back to the last save point or area-load location (green text), with your health and items restored to what it was before you died.
  • Death of a Child: The end credits montage shows that there used to be children in the village before Saddler arrived and injected everyone with the Plagas. As revealed in supplemental materials, the children ended up dying since they were unfit hosts for the parasites and most of the skeletal remains that Leon encounters in the village are actually of those kids.
  • Degraded Boss: El Gigantes undergo an interesting form of this. When you first encounter one, El Gigante is a ridiculously powerful boss that one might only manage to beat because you have lots of room to maneuver and (hopefully) a dog to provide a distraction. The second time, you lack this room, and you're expected to use the terrain to delay it long enough to escape. By the third and final time, you've got enough firepower to handle two El Gigantes with relative ease — and since you retain your arsenal when you start the game over, from the second round on, El Gigantes are pushovers from the start. It also helps the third time that you can activate a lava pit and eliminate one of them quickly. In true Resident Evil tradition, Convection, Schmonvection applies. And be very wary of the El Gigante flailing around in the pit since, if Leon get close enough to it while it's still flailing about, it'll grab Leon, killing both of them, though it only gets one chance to try.
  • Denser and Wackier: This game fully embraces the Camp aspects of the series with far wackier scenarios than in the prior games, more akin to a silly Hollywood action movie than horror.
  • Depth of Field: The HD Project mod has a plug-on to fix several adjustments to the visuals, such as some missing depth-of-field effects.
  • Descending Ceiling: There are two rooms with a spiked ceiling, with four sensors that need to be shot out — this apparently tricks the ceiling into thinking it's hit the bottom, causing it to retract.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If Leon tries to hide in the tower when the Ganados attack him for stepping foot in their village, they'll immediately start tossing in Molotov cocktails in order to cook him.
    • Once you reach the church, you're supposed to check the door and find it locked, justifying Leon having to go through the lake to find the key and thus rescue Ashley. If Leon tries to go to the lake before trying to open the door, Hunningan chews him out for "taking the scenic route", since neither of them know Leon needs the emblem to open the door yet.
    • One mid-game puzzle requires you to flip a wall panel and shoot a particular item in the now revealed painting. The way you flip the panel is by ringing a little bell, which you do by interacting with it. Or, if you're in a hurry, you can shoot the bell for the same effect.
    • In the castle section, there's an underground sequence that involves you having to blow up a boulder with dynamite, and getting said dynamite is a rather lengthy process. If you have a spare rocket launcher, or the Infinite Launcher from a New Game Plus, you can just blow up the boulder with that instead.note 
    • Suppose the player decides to use a regular rocket launcher instead of the specialized one Ada supplied to them as the coup de grâce on Saddler. The developers anticipated this possibility and created a slightly different cutscene specifically for this sort of situation: Saddler's corpse after being shot at by the regular rocket launcher will be significantly intact, but will start show signs of degrading, whereas with the specialized ones, Saddler's corpse basically turned into smoking charcoal.
    • If Ashley is wearing one of her special costumes and you try to look up her skirt, she won't chastise you because she's wearing pants. Similarly, if Ashley is wearing her armored costume, when Leon catches her, there's an extra scene of him falling to one knee and then grabbing his back in pain when he stands back up.
    • Ashley will chastise Leon for trying to look up her skirt if he suplexes an enemy close enough to her that he would reasonably be able to do so, even if the camera isn't pointed in that direction and the player wouldn't be able to see.
  • Devour the Dragon: Salazar does this, in a sense, to his remaining Verdugo by having them both assimilate to his One-Winged Angel mode.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: At the end of Chapter 2-1, Leon has rescued Ashley and signaled for the rescue chopper, when Saddler appears and starts monologuing about his big plan, which is already complete — inject Ashley with Las Plagas and have her under Saddler's control when she gets home. He then notes that Leon can't stop him since he was injected as well while unconscious. But then, despite the fact that Saddler literally has to do nothing to win (no monologuing, pretend to let them escape, resulting in total victory), his toadies show up and shoot flaming crossbow darts at them. Then they shoot down the chopper as well and proceed to try and kill Leon and Ashley for the rest of the game. Why? Because, as Saddler states just after rattling off his entire plan, he suddenly wants to squeeze the US for some ransom money before sending her back. If he simply does not give in to simple greed, he would have won. The worst part? If he'd had the sense to stick to his plan to the letter, he would've gained access to the entire United States Treasury!
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Halfway through the fight with Mendez, he ditches his human legs by force and swings around the shack monkey-style.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • As far as Leon's potential handguns go, the Red9 is the big example. It has the slowest reload speed, and the smallest ammo capacity of any handgun, can recoil without sacrificing inventory space for its stock, and its Exclusive Upgrade isn't exactly as crazy as more lethal headshots, the ability to shoot through enemies, and so on. That said, many players swear by it, since it's basically a handheld rifle, and a max damage rating of 5.0 is massive by non-magnum handgun standards.
    • As the Merchant says, the Broken Butterfly is the superior choice of the two magnum weapons. While the Hawk has a higher base damage potential, the fully upgraded Broken Butterfly does twice as much damage as the fully upgraded semi-auto. However, the Broken Butterfly, even fully upgraded, takes much longer to reload, leaving you vulnerable for longer, and doesn't have the capacity, so it's much more difficult to use without taking a pitchfork to the face in heavy battles.
    • The Handcannon. Reloading is not a concern when fully upgraded and it'll obliterate about 95% of the threats you face with a single bullet, but its massive punch is offset by equally powerful recoil, so you have nearly two seconds between each shot where you're a sitting duck. Don't miss.
    • In The Mercenaries mode, HUNK is the second-to-last character in health, only Ada has lower HP, the slowest on the move, and his only firearm is a modified TMP, leaving him lacking against stronger enemies. He doesn't even have a knife. However, HUNK is a grenade specialist and can collect these powerful explosives from enemies quite frequently due to his limited loadout, and he has two powerful melee moves: a football kick that will send enemies flying, and a neck-breaker move that can kill even a Bella Sister in one hit. When used carefully, these advantages can allow HUNK to rack up truly insane combos in a very short time. Some players have reported scoring upwards of 200,000 points.
  • Difficulty by Region:
    • It seems as though the game's A.I. cycles are tied to the frame rate. Therefore, an unintended consequence of the PC Ultimate HD Edition increasing the framerate to 60 fps is to make the enemies much more aggressive.
    • Along with an extra "Easy" mode, the Japanese and PAL versions also give certain weapons game-breakingly huge exclusive upgrades (the bolt-action rifle's max power, for example, goes from an impressive 18.0 to a downright bonecrushing 30.0). The latter was carried over to the HD re-releases.
  • Difficulty Levels:
    • Two in the console and PC versions: Normal, and upon completing it, Professional. The PAL GameCube and PC version has an Easy difficulty.
    • The mobile and Zeebo ports has no less than five difficulty levels: Beginner, Normal, Professional, Hell, and Extreme.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The middle act of the game, set in the Castle, ends with Leon fighting the Salazar/Verdugo/Queen Plaga chimera in the central tower, before traveling by boat to Saddler's Very Definitely Final Dungeon. It's also a literal case in the original GameCube version, because Disc 1 ends its content when Ada decides to give Leon a ride to industrial island where Ashley was escorted, prompting the player to swap to the Disc 2 for the last chapters.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The game appears to reach a climax in the end of the Chapter 4, when Leon reaches the final part of the castle, escapes a giant Salazar statue, meets the real Salazar and chases him while climbing a decrepit tower full of mooks, and catches him at the top... and then Salazar tells him, right before the incoming boss battle, that Ashley was being taken out of the castle, meaning Leon won't find her there anymore. Next up is Leon facing a horrific hybrid between Salazar, the second Verdugo and the Queen Plaga, which is only this; and after he wins he descends the tower and, with Ada's help, go to the island where Ashley was taken. The fact that Saddler (Salazar's superior) is still alive by that point is another indication that the game wasn't going to end just yet. In the GameCube version, this prompts an aforementioned disc swap.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Red9 pistol. It can be bought fairly early on, is the hardest hitting handgun in the game, and can be upgraded with a stock for more precise aiming. Fully upgraded it gives you more power than a stock rifle, fires faster than one, has steady aim, and uses the most common ammo type.
  • Distressed Dude: Most gamers expecting to see Ashley getting the first bondage scene were surprised to see a bound and gagged Luis pop out of a closet near the end of Chapter 1-1. And at the start of Chapter 1-2, Leon and Luis are tied to each other as one of the villagers infected with a virus tries to kill Leon at least but they escape, that is if the timing is right.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In Chapter 4-1, Ashley is attacked by two Zealots driving a long cylindrical horizontal drilling machine down a long tunnel.
    • Leon and Ashley getting their Plagas removed has a bit of this thrown in. Especially Ashley, who after having her parasite removed might as well have done like Luis and also asked if Leon had any cigarettes on him.
    • Ada's line to Krauser after finishing him off in Separate Ways.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: In the lake, Del Lago is capable of swallowing a person whole. Shooting the lake enough time will cause it to come out and kill you. The HD remaster adds an achievement/trophy for doing this and its aptly called "Don't Shoot the Water!".
  • Don't Go in the Woods: The game has its first act in and around a small woodland village in rural Spain, where a Puppeteer Parasite has turned the townsfolk into Technically Living Zombies.
  • Doom Doors: There's the "elevator" sound as the door sound in a couple rooms in the fortress, notably shortly before Leon faces the first Regenerator.
  • Doomed Appointment: Luis promises Leon and Ashley that he will meet them later with the suppressant medicine needed to help them fight off their plagas. As soon as he walks through the door to meet Leon, Saddler appears and impales him.
  • Double Unlock: There are unlockable special weapons and figures that first have to be unlocked through either progressing through the game or getting the secret collectibles that then have to be bought with an inordinate amount of money.
  • Down the Drain: There's a regular urban-ish sewer level underneath an ancient castle that features an invisible type of opposition.
  • The Dragon: Mendez, Salazar, and Krauser to Saddler, each of them apparently the enforcer in their respective sections of the game (the village, castle, and island). Salazar, meanwhile, has his own set of Co-Dragons, the two Verdugos.
  • Drill Tank: As aforementioned, in Chapter 4-1, a giant drill starts closing in on Ashley, who is trapped in the corridor. Leon must kill the Zealots driving it to stop it before it kills her.
  • Drone of Dread: A good portion of the soundtrack. Some notable examples includes "A Ruined Village", "Noche", and "Bitores Mendez".
  • Drop-In Nemesis: Shooting a couple of bullets into the lake while standing on the end of the dock results in Del Lago leaping out of the water and nearly eating the whole dock.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Once the U.S. government finds out that Umbrella played a role in the outbreak in Raccoon City, they decide to make the company go bankrupt.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Nearly every stage ran on this, but if you are low on supplies by the Island, you're in for a rough time. This is doubly so on Professional mode.
  • Dual Boss:
  • Dub Name Change: In the English version, the village Ganados are given proper names in their bottle cap figures, such as Don Miguel, Dr. Salvador and the Bella Sisters. In the Japanese version, they were simply given descriptive names (e.g. Chainsaw Man, Chainsaw Sisters). This also applies to the giant Gatling gun wielding Ganado, J.J.
  • Dug Too Deep: In the backstory, the Las Plagas were discovered this way.
  • Dungeon Shop: The Merchant shows up at numerous "safe points" throughout the game, offering guns, healing items, ammunition and maps in exchange for coins and treasure. Strangely, even if he's killed in one location, he'll simply respawn at the next.note 
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The game doesn't punish you in any way for dying repeatedly, despite keeping a tally. Quite the opposite; it actually gets easier the more you get your ass kicked. Those going for a perfect no-deaths run in their first playthrough, however, are in for a world of pain.
  • Dynamic Loading: Listen closely to your console while you're playing, say, the end of the village fight. The game takes the last few seconds of the village fight (triggered by killing x number of enemies) to load the next in-game cutscene and the following Ganado-less village. This means that the game jumps straight to the cutscene after killing all the necessary villagers. Another moment that comes to mind is in the El Gigante fight where his death cutscene is being loaded off the disc while you're fighting him.
  • Ear Ache: Salazar drops Leon into a spiked pit, then puts his ear to an earphone so he can hear Leon's screams. Leon, however, saves himself with a grappling line, and when Salazar wonders where the screaming is, Leon fires a pistol next to the earphone's outlet, blowing out Salazar's eardrum. Naturally, Salazar doesn't take this well.
  • Early Game Hell: The game can be terrifying and brutal in the beginning village sections, where the player is unlikely to have enough supplies or ammo for their guns to effectively fight off the villagers (especially if they run into Dr. Salvador), let alone get any gun upgrades. You're lucky if you can escape by the skin of your teeth. Leon can get more ammo and money from the enemies he kills, but he will have problems during the whole village survival segment and to a lesser extent the aftermath, up until he meets the Merchant and starts buying new weapons and upgrading or selling old ones.
  • Easier Than Easy: The game originally launched with only Normal and Professional. Some international versions and subsequent re-releases added an Easy difficulty that, in addition to having weaker enemies and more ammo, outright skips a number of the more difficult levels in the game.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Try shooting the lake a lot as soon as you come by it in Chapter 1-3. Del Lago eats you.
    • Accidentally hitting Luis enough times during the climax of Chapter 2-2 will get him to shoot and kill you in Yet Another Stupid Death.
    • If you have the Mafia outfit equipped on Leon, and then get him to try and reload the Chicago Typewriter four times, he'll toss his hat into the air and catch it.
    • In the village stage when you're at the church, if you shoot the church bell a handfull of villagers will come running, in ones and twos, thinking they're being summoned You can then kill them for extra items.
  • Easy Level Trick: The lava chamber has three fire-breathing dragon statues that you must disable by killing the cultists operating them. You can go the obvious route by juking them and then sniping the guys from behind their cover, or you can look up at the chains each statue hangs from, notice the D-ring couplings keeping them attached, and shoot them until they break apart.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Easy mode (found in the PC and European/Australian versions of the game), some areas containing key items are sealed off and the related doors are left unlocked, and some of the more difficult secondary bosses are removed; however, you don't get to unlock any new toys for use in Normal or Professional modes. This can be somewhat disconcerting to those who try Easy mode after Normal and Professional (e.g., to beat the game in every possible form), as one of the sealed off areas contains a piece of a composite treasure item, which is moved to a different location in the Easy version. Also, you have to wonder what kind of crazy architect designed a parapet that cuts off your access to the staircase - and in two different instances, no less.
  • Edible Ammunition: It is actually possible to equip eggs as weapons, which can be thrown like grenades. However, this is a massive waste, because the eggs do barely any damage at all despite stunning Ganados hit in the face the same way a knife or piostol shot would. It's a much better idea to just eat them. They at least make it easier to harm Ashley without deducting a single bit of health.
  • Eldritch Transformation: The villagers in the later stages of the game turn into extremely disgusting and repulsive tentacled horrors when wounded enough, with their heads exploding so the tentacles can get out. Leon has to put them down quickly before they get too close, as their tentacles have blades on them that inflict heavy damage. And of course, there are the game's boss encounters, which include a man whose spine extends to make him twice as tall while tearing his torso open, hybrids of human, insect, and reptilian DNA, a man whose arm turns into a massive blade, and the Final Boss fight being against a man who turns into a spider monster.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: There's one elevator near the end of the castle. You are ambushed by groups of Zealots from above, and the best way to deal with them is to use a shotgun.
  • Elite Mook:
    • Any of the chainsaw-wielding enemies.
    • The Garradors, who are blind but also equipped with a set of retractable claws.
    • One of the Colmillos in the hedge maze is literally twice as tough as the others. The Colmillos themselves appear to be smarter than most of the other enemies, can jump over walls, and can occasionally dodge bullets.
    • Saddler's Militia located at the Island have powerful weapons, and some of them are even equipped with armor. The Zealots are also this to some level, as they are stronger than the Villagers.
  • Enemy Chatter: The mooks will yell stuff to their comrades once they see you, and will say very interesting stuff if you can understand Spanish.
  • Enemy Rising Behind:
    • Mendez pops up just behind Leon and grabbing him by the neck.
    • This is played with when Krauser rises up behind Leon, disappears when Leon senses something and turns around, and Krauser attacks Leon from above.
  • Epic Flail: The Los Illuminados cultists in the second act of the game can use flails as weapons. They have surprisingly long range and deal heavy damage to Leon, but have a second-long windup that is telegraphed by the rattling chain.
  • Equipment Upgrade: All of Leon's guns can have various upgrades purchased from the Merchant. Most even have a "special" upgrade which becomes available when all the others have been bought.
  • Escape Sequence:
    • There's a giant statue modeled after Salazar that chases you, complete with Collapsing Lair and Press X to Not Die.
    • During the game's finale, Leon and Ashley have to escape quickly from the military island before it explodes. They flee with quickly driving a motorboat across a subterranean river.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Half of the game. Fortunately, it's pretty endurable, all things considered. Ashley has decent AI (hiding behind you, ducking when you aim in her general direction, etc.), and there's usually a good place to stow her away in every map. The game also throws you a massive bone - the plot is structured such that you never have to protect Ashley during a boss fight.
    • Inverted in the Helicopter Mike segment. By all accounts, Mike escorts you.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The game emphasizes the comparative intelligence of the Las Plagas with a cutscene during the first village battle sequence: Leon scrambles to take shelter inside an open house, and as he looks out the window, he finds the Ganados — whom the players would treat like the previous games' zombies — actively communicating with each other, bringing weapons to break down the door, and ladders to enter the second floor. It's the first and last warning that RE4's monsters are more intelligent, agile and aggressive than before.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Merchant.note 
  • Exploding Barrels: The game curiously decided that the best location to place almost every explosive barrel found in the game was the military base. They can be found lying everywhere, even in places where shooting them has absolutely no purpose aside from the pyrotechnics. In the Village and Castle areas, colorful glass oil lamps hanging from the ceiling can also be shot down to create short-lived walls of flame that fatally ignite any Ganado that touches them.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The Garradors have their eyes sewn shut. Also, their One-Hit Kill move impales Leon through the eyes with their Wolverine Claws.
    • To expose Salazar's body, Leon needs to shoot out the eye on his main tentacle first.
    • Saddler's critical point, in both forms, is the eye in his mouth. Both Leon and Ada during the respective boss fights can run up and plant the whole blade of their knives in it. That's gotta hurt.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Saddler when he goes One-Winged Angel. Those eyes were technically on his face; his face just happened to sprout legs and combat tentacles. In his human form, he has an eye in his mouth; his lips are eyelids.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Krauser used to be Leon's partner before joining Wesker.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Subverted. Raccoon City incident survivor Leon approaches a strange man from the back, the man doesn't answer his question and in general doesn't seem to be aware of Leon. Everyone who has a slightest notion of what the previous games in the series were about goes shrieking, "No, Leon, no, it's a zombie, and it will do its Deadly Lunge now!" The man turns around and - he's normal. He even answers Leon with strong derision in Spanish. Of course, he is still a murderous maniac as well as the other villagers, but definitely not a zombie.
  • Fake Difficulty: A common design choice to make both of Ada's side missions harder:
    • In Assignment Ada, you are required to store Las Plagas Samples in your attaché case, whereas in the main game, you stored other plot relevant (but useless in-gameplay) items in a separate screen. Excluding subsequent versions starting with the Wii, Ada doesn't have a knife in this scenario either, which can be jarring for players who've learned to use the knife effectively with Leon in the main game.
    • In Separate Ways, you cannot upgrade your weapons like you can in the main game, and enemy placement in general puts more of an emphasis on blindsiding sneak attacks rather than action-horror.
  • Fake Longevity: Invoked with unlocking the Chicago Typewriter in later ports. In the GameCube version, you unlock the Typewriter after beating Assignment Ada, but in the PlayStation 2 version and onwards, you have to beat Separate Ways; in turn, you can't unlock the weapon for Separate Ways until you beat both it and Assignment Ada first.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Saddler, all the way. When Leon makes quips at his expense, Saddler always responds with a good-natured chuckle before telling him in a conversational tone how Leon will not succeed or would rather choose death over power, and never lets on that Leon is anything more than a source of amusement for him. Even when Leon manages to rescue Ashley at the Island after being cured of Las Plagas via radiation, Saddler's only reaction is to express amusement with hardly a hint of anger for managing to foil his plans before transforming.
  • Find the Cure!: Leon and Ashley get implanted with the Las Plagas, which will mutate and take control of their bodies if not eliminated on time. Breaking the trend of using a vaccine, the game "cures" the two characters by having them using electrical shocks on each other to kill off the parasite within them.
  • Finger Wag: The Verdugo that Leon has to deal with beneath the castle sometimes wags its finger at him for trying to shoot it.
  • First Day from Hell: Leon's first day as a Secret Service agent isn't much better than when he had to investigate the T-Virus outbreak in his first day with the RPD; this time he has to rescue the President's daughter while venturing through a city with its own outbreak. He's at least better prepared for it.
  • First-Person Ghost: In the Oculus Quest 2 version of the game, you never see Leon's body in first-person POV, just his hands. Even if you have the weapon holsters set to "immersive" they'll just float on the airspace that should be Leon's chest and hips. The only exceptions are cutscenes, which were not made immersive.
  • Fishing Minigame: Early on in the story, Leon comes across a lake, a boat, and an infinite supply of harpoons. He can use the harpoons to spear fish, which he can either eat or sell. You can also harpoon Colmillos on the opposite bank from the safety of the boat. However, do not try to shoot any fish with your guns six times before crossing the lake, or else it'll result in an instant death for Leon.
  • Foil: The Ganados contrast the zombies from previous Resident Evil games, as they're rather intelligent and can wield weapons, as well as pursuing the player by climbing ladders and busting down doors.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Early in the game, a church bell suddenly rings out while the player is surrounded by Ganados in a village. It's pretty creepy. On the other hand, it also summons the villagers, who drop their weapons and ignore the guy they had been trying to kill just seconds earlier. In the base campaign, this is seen as a lucky coincidence, but in Separate Ways, it's revealed that it was Ada who did this.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Spanish peasants like calling apparent intruders any number of foul things.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During Chapter 1-1, the player will likely come across a female Ganado corpse that's been pinned to the wall. Leon will sardonically say that there's "no sex discrimination here", which is a prediction that later comes true when you pick up Ashley. Enemies will routinely target her and even try to kill her in some of the following levels.
    • Leon is barred from leaving the village by an advanced retinal scanner, which seems wildly out of place for a Ruritania setting. This foreshadows that the Los Illuminados threat is a lot more technologically advanced than initially assumed, which pays off once Leon gets to the island.
    • "Plagas Head" enemies only start showing up once the sun goes down. The implication is that the Plagas don't like bright lights, which is meant to cue in the player on the alternative function of the flash grenades- instantly killing any Plagas Heads.
    • One of your first encounters with Krauser is an amazingly elaborate Action Command-centric fencing duel with knives. In retrospect, it foreshadows the best way to deal with his boss fight, since he takes massive amounts of damage from the Combat Knife.
  • Fossil Revival: Las Plagas are revealed to be prehistoric, and were recovered from fossils in an excavation underneath the castle. God knows how old they really were.
  • Four Is Death: In a game with this number and danger scattered about, the player can kill aorund 1,000 enemies across the story campaign. HUNK, who is nicknamed "Mister Death" and has a habit of being the only member of his squad to survive, comes back as one of the four unlockable characters in the Mercenaries mode of this game. The fourth stage in this mode has the deadliest enemy in the game, which can spawn twice in a run; completing said stage also unlocks Albert Wesker, the Big Bad of the majority of the games, though not in this one.
  • Fragile Flyer: Flying Novistadores are more mobile than their land variant, but also much more fragile, as a single shot from any weapon will kill them instantly.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Ashley. She moves faster than Leon and she has a noticeably smaller HP bar.
    • Ada can barely take a hit, with the least health of all the playable characters. Her run speed is the highest of five characters.
  • Franchise Codifier: The game shifted the series from using 3D models on pre-rendered backgrounds to a full-3D Third-Person Shooter with an Always Over the Shoulder perspective. This style would be retained in the next two games.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Krauser. He was a Special Forces officer that worked alongside Leon on a fateful mission that left him with a Career-Ending Injury. Unable to adjust to life outside the military, he underwent a Face–Heel Turn and joined Wesker's bio-terrorist organization in pursuit of power.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Regeneradors and Iron Maidens. This isn't a good thing.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • While Ashley and Luis are having an argument, Leon is running around and barricading the doors in the background.
    • If you kill an enemy while Ashley is hiding behind you, she'll sometimes pump her fist in approval.
  • Fun with Acronyms: P.R.L. stands for "Plagas Removal Laser".
  • Fusion Dance: Salazar fuses with the Queen Plaga and a Verdugo to form the Chapter 4 boss.

    G - K 
  • Game Mod:
    • A small (and fading) modding community for the PC port has made all sorts of mods for Resident Evil 4, from fixing everything it did wrong, changing models/textures, to swapping character models with characters from other video games. Some of these character swapping mods include characters from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter IV, and even Bayonetta herself! There's even a mod that even changes the Ganados to The Infected from Left 4 Dead and one that gives the game a classic "fixed camera" mode, like in older games in the series. This seems to have slowed to a crawl with the HD re-release, though. Mods for that version are few and far between.
    • The HD Project mod for the Ultimate HD Edition faithfully revamps the game's visuals to HD standards while addressing many lighting, model, and texture issues of the original game and adding 3D edits to objects that originally used simplified 2D objects or textures. It also comes a plugin called re4_tweaks, which can be used independently from the HD Project, that provides various fixes, tweaks, and quality-of-life enhancements such adjust FOV, fixes for the mouse controls, broken shader effects, and a vertex buffer problem that slightly blurred the game's visuals, restores missing Depth of Field and scope effects from the GameCube version, enable the Japan-exclusive fixed camera angles for Ashley's segment, and more.
  • Garbage Hideout: Leon can tell Ashley to hide in a dumpster while he takes out the Ganados.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Some late-game mooks wear gas masks. They're disturbingly sewed to Ganados' faces and make it slightly harder for Ada and Leon to elbow off their heads.
  • Gatling Good: The weapon of choice of J.J., and getting shot by him will leave a pretty nasty sting.
  • Gender-Blender Name: To the English-speaking ear, "Luis Sera" sounds like "Louise Sarah." It would explain why the director of Paul Mercier, Leon's voice actor, didn't correct him whenever he said "Lewis" instead. Sally Cahill, Ada's voice actress, on the other hand, says his name properly.
  • Gender Incompetence: The game does this in its own subtle ways. Ashley, obviously due to not being trained in combat, moves slower and more feminine when it comes to climbing and parkour, and while Ada is generally on par with Leon while playable, there are some tasks neither Ashley nor Ada could do such as grab something that fell in dirty water while Leon would get it.
  • Genre Blind: When a friendly helicopter intervenes and helps Leon fight the baddies, he just has to start talking about a nice bar where he'll treat the pilot a drink when all this is over. Guess what happens the next moment?
  • Giant Mook: The game features several different giant mooks that get bigger, including large Ganados wearing potato sacks on their heads and carrying chainsaws named Dr. Salvador, Garradors, tall, blind minibosses and armed with Wolverine Claws, Ganados carrying miniguns who goes by JJ, and large Ganados with bulletproof metal sheets nailed to parts of their bodies, making them particularly difficult to attack from the front. The biggest giant mooks are the recurring El Gigante that are the size of elephants.
  • Giggling Villain: Salazar, who introduces himself with his maniacal giggling echoing throughout his castle's foyer as he greets Leon and Ashley.
  • Glamour Failure: Normal forms of Las Plagas (Control and Master Plagas seem to be exempt). It's supposed to mimic human behavior, but they get a taste for raw/rotten meat, attack non-carriers, have no sense of hygiene, glowing eyes at night, and photosensitivity, more so than a normal person. The castle monks and island soldiers act increasingly less human than the villagers do, as well.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Ashley can barely take a hit when the player is using her. Even at max health, she can't stay in the enemy grasp for long before getting her neck snapped, but with her main weapons, the lanterns, she can actually beat Zealots in the same amount of hits it usually takes for the Chicago Typewriter to do the job.
    • Ada's rifle and TMP make her fairly dangerous at long distances, but she can barely take a hit, and is the most fragile of all the playable characters.
  • Go for the Eye:
    • Used in name only for the the Chapter 2 boss Mendez. Despite the fact that you need Mendez's eye intact to operate the retinal scanner, you're not impaired in any way by shooting him in the eyes.
    • The final boss is an extremely odd creature with eyes on its articulated limbs. While you do have to shoot it to keep the fight moving, you kill it with the staple Resident Evil anti-boss weapon: a rocket launcher. And if you do shoot the eyes on the limbs, it gives you the opportunity to shove your ubiquitous knife into its main eye. Repeatedly.
  • A God Am I: Saddler clearly tries to paint himself as a messiah like figure.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: During the course of events in the game, Leon gets a small cut across his otherwise perfect face during a knife fight. Contrast his rival antagonist Krauser, who already has several scars along his face and lips. And then Krauser gets another one straight across his chest after a lengthy knife fight with Leon.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol:
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Averted in the case of the Ganados, since none of them speak English, but played straight with Salazar and especially Luis. And with unnatural expressions and even grammar mistakes, on top of that. In their defense, at least they don't fall into this that often.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Whoever or whatever caused the Las Plagas to originally exist can be seen as this. After this game, the Las Plagas goes on to be used as a base for several far worse parasites that get unleashed on the world.
    • There's Wesker, who doesn't even appear in the game proper (only being shown in the Seperate Ways bonus scenario) but who is directly responsible for Krauser's involvement in the story and indirectly for Ada's, meaning that while he can't be blamed for the Las Plagas outbreak and Los Illuminados' plans, his schemes are still ultimately the reason a lot of this game's plot comes to happen.
  • Grenade Tag: Possible with the Mine Thrower by sticking darts on goons that go off after short period of time. The Mine Thrower can also be outfitted with a scope to snipe enemies across long distances, and after getting the exclusive upgrade, give the darts a homing compatibilities to ensure they stick to their target.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: During the cabin fight, Luis helps you out. He can't die, has an upgraded Red9 with unlimited ammo, and even throws you supplies if you run short. Just don't shoot at him.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way:
    • The TMP submachinegun is said to fire "custom 9mm" rounds which are distinct from the standard 9mm ammo used with handguns. In real life, the TMP and Leon's other 9mm weapons would be able to share the same ammo.
    • Leon always recocks the shotguns when he reloads them, which should spit out a shell if he's doing it while there are still chambered rounds. Also he always reloads the same number of rounds for single cartridge reload animations (three for the Broken Butterfly, five for the Handcannon, and two for the shotguns, the latter of which can reload up to 100 shells if the Striker is maxed out). This is somewhat averted in VR version, where cocking the shotgun causes it to eject a shell that is returned to total ammo pool. He still loads entire magazine in one go, however.
    • The Broken Butterfly is a break-top revolver chambered for a powerful magnum round. Revolvers that can take any cartridges more potent than a .45LC pretty much have to made with a sturdy fixed frame, as the pressure from a heavy magnum load would break a hinged frame open on every shot.
  • Gunship Rescue: Mike comes to Leon's rescue against an onslaught of Ganados and gun turrets.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: U-3 can One-Hit Kill Leon by bisection with its scissor-like Plaga mouthparts.
  • Hammerspace:
    • The attaché case, which can be upgraded to hold a ridiculously large amount of items and is never seen in the game itself.
    • The capacity upgrades for the weapons fit this:
      • The most stunning example may be the Striker shotgun. Its exclusive upgrade allows its magazine to hold 100 shells at once. Logically, you would expect the fully-upgraded drum magazine to be more than eight times as large as the default, which would make for a drum more than six feet in diameter, and the weapon itself would likely exceed hundred pounds in weight—but, this absurdly spacious magazine is no different in size than the default magazine, which holds 12 rounds.
      • The TMP, which allows for a magazine capacity of 250 rounds. Such a magazine should be almost seven and a half feet in length.
  • Hand Cannon: Any of the Magnums. Also, a weapon actually called the Handcannon is made available by getting the high score on all the Mercenaries levels with each character. It uses its own unique ammo, which is very rare. Upgrade it fully, though, and it gains infinite ammo, and becomes about as powerful as the Rocket Launcher. Ammo is generated half by pre-determined drops and half by what weapons you have. If you sell your shotgun, TMP, and Pistol, you'll get tons of Handcannon ammo drops, which keep dropping even if you have the infinite ammo upgrade (but sell for 600 pesetas per round). Magnum ammo is considerably less frequent, followed by the extremely rare Mine Darts.
  • Hand Stomp: Krauser will do this to Leon as he's dangling off a ledge. An Action Command is needed to knife him in the leg and give Leon a chance to pull himself back up.
  • Harder Than Hard: Professional mode significantly shines in this department. Every enemy is a damage sponge. Plagas are more likely to pop out of heads. Enemies will run towards you when they aren't running into your camera's blind spots, which is bad for getting crowded, and also means that shooting them in the legs will drop them to the ground instead of making them kneel for a quick melee follow up. Ammunition drops are rarer. Enemies do way more damage, to the point that two good hits at the beginning of the game might kill you, and three good hits at the end of the game with a fully upgraded life bar will do the same. The timing windows for QTE moments are narrower. Even the Tactical Vest, one of the most important items in Normal mode, is completely unavailable in Professional. The only thing in your favor is that the lack of ammunition drops from enemies means that you'll be getting more money drops, which allows you to upgrade your weapons more consistently. And you'll need to upgrade your weapons.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses:
    • In some cases. Granted, the mooks aren't much harder, but there are a couple bosses that can be instantly killed with one hit from a Rocket Launcher, or a few shots from an upgraded magnum. Avoiding the super powerful weapons swings things closer to the lethal boss end of the spectrum; the bosses will take several shots from a normal gun and can dish out serious pain.
    • By Chapter 5, especially on Professional, you will pull your hair out fighting Krauser again and again, and then when you do beat him, spend the next few hours warding off waves of enemies and machine gun turrets.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The game unlocks Professional mode and several difficult minigames after beating the main campaign on Normal. Every single mode unlocks a different weapon or upgrade, but by far the most lethal weapon is the P.R.L. 412, which in every version but the original GameCube version, fires several homing lasers that instantly kill anything they touch without fail, allowing you to plow through the game while destroying everything in your way. It is unlocked by completing Professional mode. It's also totally free, and can be bought on any save after beating said mode at least once.
  • Hate Plague: The game had this introduced instead of the zombie plague in all the other games in the form of Las Plagas, which (in their normal form) are only able to make their victims more aggressive, albeit controlled. Experiments show how much worse this can actually be for its victims.
  • Haunted Castle: Salazar's castle, ostensibly in Spain. It's not actually haunted, in the sense that there are no ghosts, but it does have dangerous cultists infected with a monstrous plague, deadly monsters that can turn invisible, two murderous giants, and a crazed leader escorted by two durable monsters.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Hunnigan says this to Leon when he reaches the village:
    "I'm sending you a playing manual."
  • He Was Right There All Along:
    • You pass by a locked gate that you can hear something growling behind. When you return to this area at night, that something is revealed to be El Gigante. Cue boss fight.
    • Mendez pulls this on Leon when you enter the barn where you fight him.
    • When you meet the Garrador, he's chained to a wall and covered with invulnerable armour. To escape the room, you need to get near him in the hope of pulling the switch that opens the door. He waits till you're six inches away before breaking out of his chains and beginning the battle.
    • This occurs with Verdugo. First he's shown stalking you from "Jaws" First-Person Perspective, then he periodically claws at you from the ceiling; only after you activate the elevator power and attempt to open the shutter does he drop down and fight you face to face.
  • Healing Herb: In addition to the standard green and red herbs, the game also features yellow herbs which, when combined with the others, not only refill a character's HP but also mildly extends it.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "Cold Sweat", played when you're rescuing Ashley from Salazar's trap.
  • Heart Container: Mixing yellow herbs with green or mixed red/green herbs will give a permanent boost to your health meter. Because both Leon and Ashley have their respective life meters, both are in need of consuming the medicines of these herbs to have higher chances to survive. The same applies for Ada in Separate Ways. Fortunately for all three characters, the increased life meters carry over for the New Game Plus, and R+G+Y herbs can be sold for a good bit of money if you don't particularly need them.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Ganados on the Island. Some of them sport big, bulky spiky breastplates and helmets, though their faces are uncovered. Well, that and another spot.
  • Hedge Maze: One such maze appears in the castle's backyard, explored in Chapter 3-2, and you must find the items you need to advance while dealing with the enemies in it. Notably, in the castle bedroom that provides a sight to this maze from its window, Leon meets Ada for the first time in the game.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Luis was initially hired to work for Saddler's cult, but had a change of heart and now opposes them by helping Leon.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Ada spends a lot of her time in the Resident Evil series alternating between helping Leon and Wesker. That said, while her actions and motivations in gameplay appear ambiguous, it's revealed at the end of Separate Ways that she's working for a completely different organization that's above both the U.S. government and Wesker.
  • Hellish Copter: The game does this not once, but twice:
    • The first helicopter is shot down offscreen, stranding Leon and Ashley for the foreseeable future.
    • Later in the game, Mike arrives to provide aerial support in Chapter 5-4. Leon (and the player) have just long enough to become attached to Mike the helicopter pilot, when he's blown up with a rocket launcher by Saddler's goons.
  • Helpful Mook:
    • The game introduced mooks who toss dynamite sticks, which have roughly the same damage and blast radius of a Hand Grenade. However because of the way the game has set it up, it will only deal damage to the player if it landed right under their feet, otherwise your character will casually shrug it off by covering his face. The enemies, unfortunately, don't know this trick, and will often have a whole pack of them blown to pieces by their clumsy comrade without the player lifting a finger. And, if you manage to hit their dynamite, it'll explode instantly, making him a very useful mobile Exploding Barrel.
    • The RPG mooks. Sure, it deals a lot of damage, but when you've realised that it has the same property of a grenade, which makes you safe as long as you are two inches away from the blast, it quickly became a conventional way to take down the giant mooks, much to their dismay.
    • The 'JJ' gattling gun mini-boss will continuously fire even as other Ganados cross into his friendly fire and get murdered themselves as he tries to get the player character.
  • Hero Killer: Saddler kills Leon’s best buddy Luis, and later a coworker of his; and was in a position to hold Leon down via parasite control and deal with him, had Ada not shown up to harmlessly pump dozens of bullets into him before blowing up Leon's escape route instead.
  • Heroic Dog: A dog helps Leon fight El Gigante if Leon freed him from a trap earlier in the game.
  • Hide Your Children: An entire town is infected by a parasite, which turns them into zombie-like beings made bloodthirsty via commands to attack intruders. No children are ever seen, of course. A montage during the credits gives a glimpse of how the parasites were introduced to the villagers, and children are seen. Thus, one way or another, a lot of kids died before the game began. There's a strong implication from that sequence that the children were murdered by the Plaga-infected parents.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The first sequence of the game puts you in a rural village somewhere in Spain, where the local villagers - infected by Puppeteer Parasites - come at you with Torches and Pitchforks. There are also recurring chainsaw-wielding Sackhead Slasher type guys who appear as Elite Mooks. As the game continues, however, it gradually moves away from this setting.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: If you look closely, you’ll notice that the Chicago Typewriter is only 7x2 spaces big, but takes up 7x3 in the briefcase.
  • Hive Mind: One of Luis's memos on the nature of Las Plagas reveals that after infecting their hosts, they share a connection that allows them to work together.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Unarmed enemies behind you will grab you so other enemies can hit you for extra damage, except the grab itself does no damage unlike the frontal grab, so this can be abused for a more powerful melee attack when you elbow them to break free.
  • Hold the Line:
    • Two sequences early in the game (the village and the cabin by the bridge) involves holding a house against zombie-like Ganados coming in every entrance. The former also includes Dr. Salvador in the mix.
    • During the fight against Verdugo, the player can either fight and kill Verdugo or survive for four minutes until the elevator arrives.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted. Leon has a light clipped to his belt that activates in dark areas and covers most of the screen, so it's mostly for atmosphere.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Wesker's silenced Silver Ghost allows him to shoot the Ganados undetected.
  • Homefield Advantage: One garrador is fought inside a metal cage, where Leon doesn't have much space to move around, while later two of them are fought inside a dark room, neither of which inconveniences them.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Herbs, fish, and eggs restore health.
  • Ice Breaker: In Chapter 4-1, Verdugo can be defeated by knocking over nitrogen tanks and shooting him while he's frozen.
  • The Illuminati: Los Iluminados, whose name in Spanish actually translates into this; their leader (Saddler) aims to take the world by infecting the world's most powerful leaders, beginning with the U.S. President by infecting his daughter so she can infect him and have him serve as a new vector. This is subverted by Wesker being a more successful infiltrator behind the scenes than their entire organization.
  • I'm Melting!: Enemies in this game melt after death. The Novistador's acid attacks inflict grisly melting on Leon's face.
  • Impaled Palm: One confrontation with Salazar has Leon throwing his knife at him, which pins Salazar's hand to a wall.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Another common way to die, via Garrador claws, Krauser's knife, Leon's own knife (thrown back at him), and one particularly nasty trap in the castle, should you fail the button prompt. The falling ceiling traps either impale or crush their way down.
    • Iron Maidens can kill Leon by extending their spikes and stabbing him in various places - contrary to rumor, it's not instantly fatal, but causes massive damage.
  • Implacable Man: Verdugo, Regeneradors, and Iron Maidens. They tend to come off like Hopeless Boss Fights to most first time players. Furthermore, the latter two aren't even bosses.
  • Impossible Item Drop: The only Ganado who uses a gun of any sort is J.J. on the Island yet you'll be getting lots of ammo for your guns from the enemies you kill.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Mercenaries mode features enemies that wield double-bladed chainsaws that are on fire. One can also speak this way of the guns getting progressively higher capacities and other abilities beyond what they can normally do.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Subverted with Ada who, despite her slinky Chinese dress, is able to kick ass like Leon all throughout the parts of the game where she wears it.
  • Improbable Falling Save: A side effect of gameplay. Leon must catch Ashley at the bottom of ladders.note  While most ladders are about one story tall, a few are multiple stories tall, and Leon is never pulled down as a result of catching her.
  • Improvised Weapon User: Leon can throw eggs at enemies. Not that it does much good. Usually.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Oven Man, a militia Ganado who stuffs himself in a gas oven, presumably for the express purpose of bum-rushing you while on fire. If you examine the oven afterwards, Leon will wonder what in the world he was doing in there.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Leon seems genuinely surprised that Saddler found the beeping, flashing red tracking device that he threw onto Ashley's back while Saddler was watching. And followed it all the way through, letting Saddler pit him against the creature "It".
  • Inexplicably Awesome: The Merchant. Nobody has any idea who or even what he is or where he gets all those wonderful guns, or why he's even selling them to you.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The only explanation why the Merchant can be at so many places at the same time and gets better when you kill him is that there are more than one of him. All with the same voice.
    • Subverted in Professional Mode. If you kill the Merchant in Professional, (And don't have a full kit and a Handcannon, infinite launcher, or Chicago Typewriter,) you might as well restart because he will not appear in any other location for the rest of the game, and you can't buy any weapons or upgrade them, making beating the game virtually impossible.
  • Infernal Retaliation:
  • The Infested: Saddler has made it so nearly everyone is this with Las Plagas, as he can control those who have been infested. By the end of the game, the Plagas have infested him so much that they've taken over his brain and reduced his plan to nothing more than "infest more people with Las Plagas."
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Almost every weapon in the game has a purchasable exclusive that, while powerful, still uses up ammo. This is partially subverted with the Broken Butterfly's exclusive making it a boss killer weapon, thus saving a lot of rare magnum ammo.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Not only are there three weapons (four in the post-GameCube ports) with infinite ammo that are designed for three wildly different playstyles, but they're all balanced. To wit:
    • An Infinite Rocket Launcher which, while powerful, and has a wide range, has a slow rate of fire and is dangerous to use.
    • The Chicago Typewriter, an infinite-ammo Thompson M1928 SMG. Can kill many things in the game in one or two hits, but does a lesser job penetrating surfaces like wood and is very inaccurate at long range.
    • The Handcannon, a ridiculously powerful magnum which can penetrate cover and disintegrate wooden doors. However, it has a slow rate of fire and next to no wide shot range, and is the hardest to get. It also needs to be fully upgraded in order for it to become a Plagas-slaying beast, but it is cheaper than the two weapons above (790,000 pesetas vs. 1,000,000 pesetas).
    • All versions after the GameCube version award the P.R.L. 412 for free on New Game Plus if you beat the game on Professional mode. When fired, this laser weapon stuns enemies with a flash and causes a small amount of damage to them. When fully charged, however, it instantly kills everything in front of its line of slight, but it takes a while to fully charge its shot; in the Wii Edition and onwards, a fully charged shot destroys anything in front of you, including inanimate objects, and takes far less time to fully charge the weapon. You can even use it in Normal mode during New Game+, at least on the Wii version and onward.
  • Info Dump: The mobile and Zeebo ports uses still images from the original game with text explaining the situation of the story to the player.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: This game retroactively makes Resident Evil: Dead Aim important to the series' ongoing canon. High-roller businessmen were aboard the Spencer Rain in order to bid on Umbrella's bioweapon experiments, but Morpheus Duvall murdered them all, taking Umbrella's capital with it and forcing them into bankruptcy.
  • Instakill Mook: The chainsaw-wielding Dr. Salvador and Bella Sisters, as well as the Type 2 Plagas, are able to instantly kill Leon by decapitating him.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Ashley and the Merchant will both be killed by if you hit them even once with anything more powerful than an egg. Sometimes, a single handgun bullet to the head will decapitate Ganados.
  • Instant Sedation: In Separate Ways, Ada gets shot by a tranquilizer gun and instantly passes out.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: In the village, Leon comes across a locked gate that he could just jump over instead of having to endanger himself by looking for the key.
  • Interim Villain: Saddler, who unlike other villains in the series does not have any connection to Umbrella. Wesker returns as the Big Bad for Resident Evil 5.
  • Intrepid Merchant: The Merchant. He may be infected by Plagas, given his Glowing Eyes of Doom, but he seems like a pretty cool guy regardless. Rather than bludgeon Leon's brains out or stab at him, he'd rather earn some cash selling weapons and upgrades to the agent. He always manages to somehow be one step ahead of Leon to set up shop in unusual locations that the player had to fight to the death in order to reach.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: The game changes the system in relation to previous games by giving the player unlimited space for treasures and key items; it's only weapons, ammunition and health items that go in the player's manageable inventory. On top of that, the manageable inventory is changed from half a dozen or so discrete item slots into a grid made of small square, with different items taking up different areas of squares based on size and shape. An herb, for example, is only two squares, while a pistol might by take up a 2x3 rectangular area and shotgun 2x8. Occasionally, you end up having to reorganize your inventory to consolidate the empty space, especially when making room for something large like a new gun or a Too Awesome to Use single-shot rocket launcher.
  • Invisibility: The Novistadors have Predator-style camouflage by way of color change. Their glowing eyes are still visible, though, and they can't use it and fly at the same time.
  • Invisible President: President Graham. We never see the president himself (except possibly in some incredibly blurry photographs right before the final boss fight), but we do meet his daughter.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Certain powerful enemies will trigger a special animation upon killing you, having you die in a special and usually brutal way rather than just collapsing from your injuries. These include being decapitated by chainsaw or other means, devoured whole, impaled, bisected, or having your face melted by acidic vomit.
  • "Jaws" First-Person Perspective: Del Lago is introduced in this fashion, being a gigantic salamander who lives in a murky lake close to the village where Leon arrived prior - it also sometimes occurs if Leon alls from the boat and is to swim away from him. Also the case with Verdugo, and the Novistadors when one captures Ashley while camouflaged Predator style.
  • Jiggle Physics:
    • Ashley's "ballistics," though it's mostly realistic and not overdone.
    • When Ashley and Leon are in the rail cart, Ashley just can't get those things to stop moving. This is especially noticeable in the PAL PlayStation 2 version.
  • Jump Scare:
    • The Oven Man. As soon as you get close enough to the oven that contains him, the oven explodes and he runs out to attack you.
    • Inanimate armadura within the dungeon Ashley explores will try to slice her in half by dropping their weapons on her. After that, they fall apart.
  • Kaizo Trap: Quite a few, mostly delivered in the form of malignant QTEs, examples include:
    • After finishing Del Lago in a frantic battle, it sinks to the bottom of the lake - dragging a harpoon with a rope which wraps around Leon's leg down with it, and you have to button mash fast to cut it loose, or it's down under Leon goes.
    • In the dual El Gigante fight, if you've successfully tricked one of the El Gigante into falling in the Lava Pit but don't take care to stay away from it, it will reach out from the pit and grab you into the lava with it. In addition, after finishing one off, if you are too close to it and fail the subsequent button prompt, you'll get crushed.note 
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: The Merchant, though quite willing to sell you stuff, sells it at twice the price he'll buy it from you. This is subverted because you can get the Punisher by shooting specific targets. Here is a link that illustrate this.
  • Kick the Dog: Saddler only kills Luis and Mike the pilot in the game, both of which die mid-conversation after helping Leon, but these scenes only really serve to show how ruthless Saddler is to threats to his world conquest. Unsurprisingly, Leon angrily promises vengeance both times.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down:
    • It's more "shoot/stab them while they're down, otherwise they'll potentially bite you in the rear end, effecitvely, with other enemies around."
    • Ashley kinda does this if Leon is knocked down near her with normal uniforms. "Oh! You pervert!"
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Ada in her red evening dress with the butterfly embroidery.
  • Kill It with Ice: If you want to fight it instead of dodging it until the elevator arrives, Salazar's "Right Hand" is much easier if you use the conveniently-located canisters to repeatedly freeze it solid and pump it full of lead while it's frozen.
  • Kill Streak: In the Mercenaries mode, the more kills in a row you get, the more points you get, which in turn can be used to get unlockables.
  • King Mook: Zealot Leaders have red robes and goat masks, sometimes wield rocket launchers, and can take quite a bit more punishment than normal Zealots. There's also the Bella Sisters, which are chainsaw-wielding miniboss versions of the female Ganados, Super Salvador in Mercenaries mode, and the Queen Plaga, which Salazar and Verdugo merge with for the boss fight in Chapter 4-4.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: How do you get the initial shotgun and a free Broken Butterfly? Steal it. You loot the corpses of Ganados for money. Need more money? Steal it from barrels and hiding places. More still? Fight mini-bosses, kill them, and loot the corpses. The same also goes for bullets and jewels. You can even steal from the church's offering plate. It's justified, however, since you're stealing from murderous savages. Ironically, stealing from the collection plate is possibly the least immoral example as it's part of a Religion of Evil complete with human sacrifice and public burnings.
  • Knee-capping: One of the better ways to stun an enemy is to aim for the knees, and then have Leon quickly run up and knife 'em while they're down. Alternatively, run up and suplex them to crush their heads for an instant kill.
  • Knife Fight: Leon's first encounter with his old buddy Krauser is a QTE-filled cutscene of the two exchanging words and attempts to shank each other.

    L - O 
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": The dynamite tripwires have highly visible red lights, and even then the Ganados can't help walking into them.
  • Large and in Charge: Mendez, the village chief, is over eight feet tall.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: How is the evil Umbrella Corporation finally taken down? The U.S. government freezes its assets in response to the nuking of Raccoon City, and all of the stockholders promptly pull out.
  • Laser Hallway: The game decides to throw one in, as a nod to the first Resident Evil film.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The song from the End Credits springs to mind. As the song starts, it's a pleasant recap of how village life used to be when everything was pleasant...and then the Plagas showed up. Let's say, it's a long last note.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Played with; Leon doesn't so much arrive late to the tragedy as much as he does in the middle of it, allowing him to prevent a potentially worse tragedy.
  • Last-Name Basis: Saddler, Salazar, Krauser, Wesker, and Hunnigan are all referred to by their last names.
  • Laughably Evil: Salazar is usually seen laughing when he talks to Leon. Saddler laughs at times as well.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Immediately following Ashley's reunion with Leon, after she abandoned him to face the symptoms of her parasitic infection alone, Salazar contacts Leon via his radio and firstly acknowledges the sweetness of their embrace; Leon doesn't appreciate his presence, and he tells him so:
    Salazar: Aw . . . what a touching moment we have.
    Leon: All spoiled thanks to your interruption. Why don't you do us all a favor and leave before the audience gets pissed off?
    Salazar: You're nothing but an extra in my script, so don't get carried away. Your biggest scene is over.
    Leon: I don't ever remember being a part of your crappy script.
    Salazar: Well then, why don't you show me what a first-class script is like: through your own actions?
  • Left Stuck After Attack: Tricking Garradors into doing this with their claws is a viable tactic against them.
  • Leitmotif: Krauser gets a theme in the Island Ganado battle theme, and during the quicktime event and boss fight with him.
  • Lethal Joke Character: HUNK in The Mercenaries. He's slow, he's got the second lowest HP just behind Ada, his TMP requires sustained fire to do any kind of damage, and he has no knife, so if you run out of ammo, you can't kill any enemies or open boxes to get more, so you just have to run around and wait until you either get killed or time runs out. Useless, right? Yes, unless you know how to conserve ammo by using controlled bursts to heads, accumulate grenades by taking advantage of reliable item drops, and then spam grenades and the Neck Breaker during bonus time to build up monstrous combos. Case in point, a guy plays HUNK and accumulates 200,200 points.
  • Life Meter: This game did away with the series' usual heart-rate based health display in favor of a more traditional life gauge.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: A light pattern has to be matched in the Ganados' chapel to solve a puzzle and find Ashley's whereabouts.
  • Light 'em Up: Flash grenades and the P.R.L. 412 hurt, or even insta-kill Las Plagas.
  • Lighter and Softer: Coming after the Resident Evil remake and Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil 4 is a significantly less claustrophobic and gloomy experience, taking place in wide open spaces rather than in a spooky haunted mansion. Leon has a much more jovial personality than any of the other protagonists, and the music is less ambient and more atmospheric.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Mendez, before his One-Winged Angel form. When Leon first enters the barn, Mendez practically Flash Steps across his line of sight, then appears behind him.
    • Verdugo, the illegitimate love child of Tyrant and the Alien, is even faster and deadlier than the Tyrants, and is Nigh-Invulnerable with sky-high health unless frozen with liquid nitrogen.
    • Krauser, in both the main story and The Mercenaries mode. Unless he's injured in the latter, then he limps and becomes a Mighty Glacier.
  • Living Motion Detector: Los Garradors are blind and hear your movement if you're running, as well as your commands to Ashley. Sadly for them, you fight them in the vicinity of bells — one strategy for defeating them involves shooting the bell and then shooting its weak point while it's distracted. Another is simply walking, which they can't hear.
  • Load-Bearing Boss:
    • During your final battle with Krauser, he activates his time bombs, which only gives you three minutes to beat him and escape.
    • The final battle ends in you escaping on a jet ski while the entire island explodes as a result of Ada activating the self-destruct mechanism. This is lampshaded when Leon matter-of-factly tells Ashley that they have to get off the island before it explodes, and she answers "It's going to what?"
  • Locked Door: Padlocks can be removed with a swing of the knife and most fences can be jumped over, an exception being a certain Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence with a locked gate.
  • Lost in Translation: Leon talks to Hunnigan about the cult he faced, to which Hunnigan tells him that their name is the Los Illuminados and Leon replies that it's "quite a mouthful." Saying the name in English isn't exactly a tongue twister, but it's more difficult to say in Japanese, which makes Leon's quip about the name in the English script seem strange.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • There are a few items in preprogrammed locations. The rest of the items dropped by enemies and hidden in boxes or barrels are somewhat random. The game keeps track of how much ammo, money and health the player has left and decides what defeated enemies drop accordingly. The game even keeps track of how well the player is doing; defeating a lot of enemies without damage will make it more likely that the game will spawn more and harder enemies, keep taking a beat down and the game takes pity on you. One part that is completely random are the eye gems that the Novistadors drop; for a while it was thought that the color dropped depended on the color of the monster's eye at death, but this has been proven false; whether or not you ever find a second Blue Eye depends entirely on the Random Number God's mood in a given playthrough.
    • The Waterworld stage in The Mercenaries to some extent for HUNK and Leon, largely because their lack of stopping power to deal with Super Salvador. The amount of damage he can take before flinching can vary wildly from a well placed shotgun or spray to the face to multiple grenades or exploding barrels. It sucks seeing the futility in trying to slow someone who can instant kill you just by lashing out while being next to you.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Averted; some Ganados carry large wooden shields, but the only thing they're protected from reliably is regular pistol shots: a close-range shotgun blast will shatter them to pieces, sustained fire from a SMG will open holes in them, and the Punisher and all rifles can easily kill with a headshot though them.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When you kill an enemy with a headshot, its head explodes — a bit over-the-top, but not totally unreasonable considering that's how the parasites will emerge if need be. However, the same thing happens if you kill them by kicking them. When you kill a Regenerator, it explodes very wetly from the waist up.
  • Made of Explodium: You are required to shoot some trucks. Do so and the truck careens into a hill or wall and causes an explosion.
  • Madness Mantra: The Zealots have several variants, but they are all creepy.
  • Magic Countdown: Averted during the final escape scene, as the three minutes countdown takes cinematics into account. Skipping said cinematics will not give you three full minutes.
  • Magikarp Power: A relative example. The Broken Butterfly starts out worse in every way to the Killer7. Its damage is lower than the Killer7's first damage rank until its second to last rank and the Killer7 only has to be upgraded once to be more powerful til the Broken Butterfly's last rank. On top of that, the Killer7 has better capacity and reload speed than the Broken Butterfly. However, once the Broken Butterfly gets its final power upgrade, it becomes the single most powerful non-special gun in the game, doing almost double the damage of a maxed out Killer7. However, even an un-upgraded Broken Butterfly is pretty powerful. It is a magnum after all.
  • Male Gaze: You start noticing this more when you put Ashley in her pop star outfit. The President has equipped his daughter with ballistics indeed.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse:
    • As far as the Mercenaries characters go, all the guys go for power moves (such as Leon's kick, HUNK's neckbreak, etc.), and are fairly durable. Ada, however, is a Fragile Speedster who uses acrobatic moves like a Tornado Kick. This is played with in regards to HUNK though, since his only non-explosive is a TMP, and he requires constant headshots to chain massive kill combos while dancing around crowds of enemies in a neckbreaker ballet.
    • Once you beat the game, Leon can get overpowered weapons which will instantly kill every mook. Ashley is always limited to having to scrounge for usable throwing lanterns, and using her tiny frame to escape from enemies and crawl through holes Leon can't to run away from the very same mooks.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The player can die in a wide variety of ways, from being decapitated by a chainsaw/scythes/razor-sharp claws, being crushed by a runaway boulder, having a mutated insect puke acid on your face until its melted away, a villager restrains you until the dynamite in his hand kills you both, having your throat ripped out by Las Plagas-infested wolves, and then some. This compilation showcases the many ways can meet their untimely demise.
  • Marathon Level: Chapter 4-1. Assuming that you don't backtrack to get the free Broken Butterfly, you have to retrieve the last piece of a puzzle key in a room with fire-breathing horse heads to unlock a door to progress further. Then, you have to obtain two Grails to unlock a door, one of which protected by two sets of three suits of armor with Plagas controlling them. Then Ashley gets kidnapped (again) and you have to survive an onslaught of flying insects. Then you have to head to a clock tower to get it running while surviving flaming rocks catapulted at you and the tower is swarming with Zealots inside and out. And when you leave the tower, you have to deal with another crowd. Then you have to fight two Garradors, one of which is a Heavy Armored variant, and some Zealots in a locked room. And if you should survive that, as well as a Press X to Not Die cutscene, the last thing to do is simply survive the encounter with Salazar's "right hand" until the elevator shows up.
  • Mascot Mook: Dr. Salvador, who is prominent in the marketing.
  • Meaningful Name: All the Plaga enemies and creatures have fitting Spanish names:
    • Ganado: The name of the human infected means “livestock”, fitting for their position in the plot and how they are treated by the real antagonists.
    • Colmillos: The wolves’ name means “Fangs”.
    • El Gigante: The Giant Mook’s name unsurprisingly means “The Giant”.
    • Garrador: The enemy with the Wolverine Claws’ name means “the clawer”.
    • Armadura: The plagas-infested animated suits of armors' name means “armor”.
    • Novistador: The insect-like Invisible Monsters’s name means “the unseen”.
    • Regenerador: The humanoid self-regenerating monstrosities' name means “the regenerative”
    • Verdugo; The Elite Mooks of Salazar’s name means “executioner”, which is entirely fitting since the one you fight is a murderous creature.
  • Mercy Mode: The game has multiple difficulty settings, hidden from the player. If you are doing well, the difficulty will increase. But if you die and continue there are fewer enemies and more ammunition. And the first village fight you enter stops when you kill a certain number of Ganados; if you die and continue, the threshold is lower. And the number of Ganados that exist simultaneously is decreased.
  • Metal Slime:
    • The game has the Garradors. They drop a ton of cash upon their defeat. Upping the ante further, one Garrador that spawns in a cage actually guards a treasure chest with a very valuable piece of Shop Fodder in it, and predictably, it's pretty hard to get the item without killing the Garrador first. Garradors appear about four times in the entire game (one of which is a heavy Garrador). Unlike Regeneradors, who also share the aforementioned traits, defeating Garradors (or even damaging them) is almost never absolutely necessary, to the point where running from them is easier than fighting them thanks to the Garradors' crippling blindness.
    • Novistadors. Earlier versions can turn completely invisible and have an attack that involves vomiting highly damaging acid on Leon's face, while the later version gain a pair of wings in lieu of being invisible but still retain the same acid attack and are a pain in the ass to shoot but thankfully are a One-Hit-Point Wonder when in flight. Their reward? They drop "eyes", which are precious gems that can be applied to another treasure you find which, if completed with all three different types of eyes, can be sold for an obscene amount of cash. The Gems themselves are also worth something too. They only appear in the bowels of the castle, and will completely disappear when you destroy their nest just a few scenes later, and the gem color is completely random, sometimes forcing you to either sell the item for greatly reduced cash, or wait until New Game Plus to get another shot at the ultra-rare Blue Eye.note 
    • The Dr. Salvadors. They are fairly uncommon, take a lot of damage, can One-Hit Kill, and can be avoided most of the time, but taking one down nets you 10,000 pesetas or a ruby.
  • Minecart Madness: Chapter 4-3 has one of these. Unlike most examples, jumping off the cart, or with it for that matter, isn't exactly an option until the end of the ride.
  • Mini-Game:
    • The shooting gallery minigame in the main game near certain save rooms with a blue door. You shoot Ganado targets for points, shooting an Ashley target deducts 1,000pts, and scoring a certain amount of points or shooting every single target rewards you with a bottle cap figurine of some of the game's characters and enemies.
    • The Mercenaries and Assignment Ada. Every port since the PlayStation 2 version added the Separate Ways scenario, which is at least half as long as a full chapter of the main scenario.
  • Mini-Boss: The game has a few (with Dr. Salvador doubling as a Mascot Mook) and are often fought in order to get an important item, or gain access to an area.
  • Minus World: By exploiting the 1.5X running speed glitch and dropping down the ladder in the save room near where you battle El Gigante (with the Merchant in it), you'll enter a weird wasteland that's stuffed to the gills with ammo, curative items, and even a few weapons to pick up. The room has been theorized to be everything from a ditched ammo cache to an intentional Easter egg for gamers to find.
  • Misplaced Accent: The game is apparently set in a Spanish-speaking European country where everyone speaks Mexican Spanish. This is fixed in the remake where all the Spanish characters now speaks with European accents.
  • Missing Mission Control: Leon's handler, Hunnigan, loses contact with Leon at the beginning of Chapter 3-1. It is soon revealed that the baddies have hijacked Leon's comm line, and then use it for the rest of the game as a vehicle for taunting Leon. Leon is unimpressed and takes the opportunity to mock them whenever they call. His return snarks push Salazar in particular into a near-Villainous Breakdown.
  • Missing Secret: If you threw all your pesetas at the Killer7's upgrades hoping to get some kind of amazing, overpowered Exclusive upgrade, then you'll be disappointed to find out that there is none.
  • Mission Control: Hunnigan play this role. However, about 1/3 through the game, the Big Bad hijacks your frequency and you don't see her again until the very last cutscene.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: The starting pistol, the Silver Ghost, is a mish and mash of the H&K USP, the S&W Sigma, and a Ruger P85. The Blacktail meanwhile is a Springfield XD that has FNP-9 grips for some reason. Then there's the Broken Butterfly, which has the grip, frame, trigger and hammer of a Colt SAA, and the hinge and barrel of a Smith & Wesson Schofield Model 3. Finally the Semi-Auto rifle is an H&K SL 8 with a G36 sight rail attached.
  • A Molten Date with Death: This can be the unexpected fate of Leon if the player isn't careful. There's a boss fight against two El Gigantes in the middle of a factory with a giant pit of molten iron in the middle. One of the ways you can defeat one of them is to trick it into walking into the center and flipping a switch that will drop it into the iron. If you do it but stray too close to the hatch before it closes, the badly burnt El Gigante will lurch out, grab Leon and drag him down with it - unless he backs away in time.
  • Money Is Experience Points: In addition to using money to buy healing items and weapons, you can also use money to upgrade your weapons' stats.
  • Money Spider: What are by all indications perfectly regular crows often drop money upon being killed, and even ammunition or grenades.
  • Monster Closet: Oven Man. Leon will even lampshade this by wondering what he was doing in an oven.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene: The game usually introduces minor enemies simply by having the camera zero in on one just before it goes on the attack. Your first Ganado is given their own cutscene with dialogue and everything. The Giant Mooks Dr. Salvador and Garrador are also introduced this way, as are the Plagas.
  • More Dakka: Chicago Typewriter. Infinite ammo. Have fun.
  • Morton's Fork: Mendez thinks he's pulling this after the cabin fight in Chapter 2-3, as the path forward branches into two choices. On one side is an El Gigante, on the other is a small army of Ganados, two of which are the chainsaw-wielding Bella Sisters, and either choice will keep you saddled with Ashley and forced to take her through either path. Granted, it ultimately is left up to the skill of the player as while both paths are equally very difficult, there's options in either one to make it easier on yourself such as a rock to drop on the El Gigante, or several safe places to keep Ashley while Leon fights the Ganados without having to keep an eye on her. In fact, a particularly skilled player can do both paths, acquiring all the treasures in both areas.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Krauser, chiefly during his extended fight with Leon.
  • Mundane MacGuffin Person: Ashley, the President's daughter. Unlike most examples, the bad guys had a pretty good reason for picking her beyond the ransom. They plan to infect her with the Las Plagas parasite and send her back home to daddy.
  • Mythology Gag: The laser hallway sequence is obviously inspired by a similar scene in the first Resident Evil movie.
  • Neck Snap:
    • In one of the first cutscenes, Leon demonstrates his new badass upgrade by breaking a villager's neck, using only his foot and the mook's own weight thrown against a wall, at least if you hit the buttons on time.
    • HUNK's main physical attack in the Mercenaries mode is one, which works on the Bella Sisters, but not the other minibosses.
  • Neck Lift:
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Luis is a scientist who used to work for Saddler who writes the memos in the game that tell you about Las Plagas and the Regeneradors, yet is also stunningly good looking.
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight:
    • Ada finds this out the hard way when she goes to grab her gun during her and Leon's brief skirmish in Salazar's castle only to find that Leon has already closed the distance and is holding his knife to her throat:
    Leon: "Bit of advice: try using knives next time. Works better for close encounters."
    • During Krauser's fight with Leon, he starts dodging bullets at close range, so the knife is actually the best weapon for the job.
  • New Game Plus: The game allows weapons, items, ammunition, and current maximum life bar length to be, upon finishing the game, carried over to a new game. This process can be repeated ad nauseum, and can result in the player's inventory being literally filled with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and dozens of healing items from multiple playthroughs, along with loads of money to spend on new weapons and upgrades. The New Game+ is also available for the unlockable mode Separate Ways.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: The game features an infrared scope for a rifle which makes most of the world dark purple and renders enemies in yellows and reds. The accuracy of the perceived colors are rather inconsistent; The enormous, boiling furnaces encountered not long after you get it are also dark purple, while breakable (inanimate) item containers are the same reds and yellows as living organisms. On the other hand, torches and lightbulbs are very bright red, and lightning flashes do turn the sky red for brief periods.
  • Nightmare Sequence: After being infected with Las Plaga, Leon has a nightmare of it taking control of him, Tainted Veins and all.
  • No-Gear Level: The brief sequence in which the player controls Ashley, as she cannot use weapons.
  • No Hero Discount: The Merchant's gotta make a profit somehow. He charges you rather high prices for weapons and other items, even though Los Illuminados are just as much a threat to him as to you. This is lampooned in this Penny Arcade strip.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Neither the castle nor the facility in the island are exempt from having worker-unfriendly environments. The castle in particular takes it further with exposed vats of molten liquids where you're encouraged to dispatch mooks with them - as well as a lack of apparent bathrooms.
  • No Sneak Attacks: Villagers will yell "Detrás de tí, imbecil" (which translates to "Behind you, imbecile") when they're right behind the player, trying to kill him. Zealots and Militia aren't much better: the former chuckle loudly enough to be heard, and the latter growl "Te cogí!".
  • No, You: When Saddler underplays Leon's feat on killing Salazar by saying the latter was just his "small-time subordinate", Leon replies "Saddler, you're small-time".
  • Non-Human Sidekick: If you helped the dog at the beginning of the game, he will come and help you during the fight against El Gigante.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: The highest and hardest difficulty, Professional mode, is the easiest of all the difficulties to speedrun. All lower modes have Dynamic Difficulty that, depending on the performance of the player, will adjust the number, strength and AI of enemies as well as Random Drops. Professional mode ignores this and always has its difficulty set to max no matter what, meaning it's the least random and has the most reliable and consistent Random Number God.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • Shooting the lake and being eaten by Del Lago.
    • If Ashley is killed or recaptured, you get a different game over screen with the words "Mission Failed".
    • If you (accidentally or not) hit Luis too many times during the Hold the Line sequence at the cabin.
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: Beating the game gives you a Cosmetic Award of new outfits for Leon and Ashley. Beating it a second time gives you additional outfits for each of them, but this time, Ashley receives a suit of armor that makes her invincible and impossible to kidnap in gameplay.
  • Not a Zombie: Occurs with the very first enemy. When Leon examines the fallen Spaniard, he comments, "He's not a zombie..."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There are a couple notoriously subverted examples of this kind of Jump Scare. The most famous of which occurs in the later parts of the game on the island. At the beginning of a corridor lined with open cells, the ever-present breathing of a Regenerator. One would think that it's in one of the open cells you're dangerously close to... Nope. It's at the end of the hall right as you're about to turn, and worse, it has a habit of getting quiet when you get close to it.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…:
    • Averted during the Pueblo attack, due to Leon's habit of jumping down ladders rather than climbing them. If you climb up into the 50 foot high watchtower, Leon will still jump down, fall at a steady speed for a good three seconds, and land without so much as a grunt. It's worth pointing out that Leon isn't nearly so invulnerable to falling during any of the game's obnoxious Press X to Not Die cutscenes, though these at least tend to have the excuse of him falling into a pit from which there is no escape (or just a lot of spikes at the bottom).
    • Ganados take considerable damage from falls, but are also free to jump from severe heights without punishment from landing.
    • Ashley always jumps after Leon with him catching her at the last moment. Amusingly enough, when using the second alternative costume (a suit of armor heavy enough that enemies can't even pick her up to kidnap her as usual), Leon clutches his side in pain after breaking her fall each time.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Merchant at one point appears in a room adjacent to one he was already in, despite not passing Leon. The biggest one, however, is when he is present at the top and bottom of the lift gondolas. You can actually see both of his shop flares at the same time if you whip out a scoped weapon.
  • Off with His Head!: Leon (and all playable characters in The Mercenaries) can get decapitated by Centipede Plagas eating his head, Zealots throwing scythes at his head, Garradors going into a berserker rage, and Dr. Salvador, the Bella Sisters, or Super Salvador lopping off his head with a chainsaw. Ganados also lose their hands if they take enough damage, as that is how the parasites emerge.
  • Oh, Crap!: During the opening segment, when Leon accidentally gets the attention of all of the villagers interested in killing him, you can take cover in a nearby house. In a cutscene, Leon will block the door with a dresser, then see Dr. Salvador show up with a chainsaw, prompting this reaction.
  • Old Retainer: Leon can happen upon a diary entry from the butler of the Salazar family. The diary entry talks about how the Los Illuminados that Saddler controls is a successor to a prior cult that Salazar's ancestor (the original owner of the castle) stamped out centuries ago. The reason why the cult harassed the original Salazar? The Las Plagas was buried underneath the castle, and centuries later Saddler came to collect. The butler laments that Saddler's rhetoric of how Salazar needs to atone for the sins of his ancestor is unfounded, and that the new cult is just as dangerous as the old one. Sadly, Salazar does not pay the butler any mind and obeys Saddler without question, but the butler resigns himself to serving his master, just as he did Salazar's father before him. The fate of the butler is never shown, but all the same his situation is unfortunate.
  • Older Than They Look: Salazar has the skin and hair of a man in his seventies, but the stature and voice of a twelve-year-old. In reality, he is twenty years old. A painting of him in a healthier state can be found in his castle, so it's very likely that he looks the way he does because of Plaga corruption.
  • Ominous Clouds: The skies over most loaded areas, such as the island where Leon has been sent to rescue Ashley are consistently cloudy, gray, and foreboding. Fitting, considering everything he finds when he gets there.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The Zealots. The language is Spanish, but it's a romance language, and the words for death are similar. Either way, hearing an eerie leech-infested monk whisper the word "death" over and over is about as ominous as they come.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Salazar's battle music with Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • One Bullet Clips: Played straight, though possibly justified in that Leon collects loose bullets, rather than ammo magazines (as in the previous games), so he could theoretically drop the bullets from the previous mag into his attache case and take a new mag from the case.
  • One Head Taller: Leon is this to Ashley and most of the enemies in the game are at least this to Leon with a few exceptions.
  • One-Hit Kill: Plenty of them. In order of possible appearance: Being beheaded by a chainsaw (Dr. Salvador or the Bella Sisters), not reacting fast enough during a Quick Time Event (by far the most recurring example), being eaten by Del Lago (either in battle or just shooting at the water from the pier), being crushed by the huge boulder that is supposed to fall over the second El Gigante fought, being seized by the El Gigante sinking into the lava pool when fighting the last two of them, and being eaten by the Queen Plaga during the fight against Salazar. The case of the El Gigante dragging Leon also doubles as a Kaizo Trap.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder:
    • The Merchant. Any damage, even a graze with a knife or a handgun bullet to the toe, will kill him instantly.
    • Ashley will die instantly if she takes any damage anywhere from Leon, bar the possible and rare exception of an Incendiary grenade's bery indirect hit. This is averted if she's equipped with the suit of armor.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The "Punisher" pistol, which can be obtained as a bonus for shooting out several blue targets hidden around the early levels, has the ability to shoot through multiple enemies as its special ability. Especially entertaining when said enemies are perched on an elevated platform and fall to their deaths all at once.
  • One-Man Army: Leon. By the end of the game, his Ganados kill tally is about a thousand.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Leon at full health can survive the Iron Maiden’s grab attack which involves getting turned into a pin cushion.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Wesker took a powder during the events of this game, sitting back in a dark control room and commanding both Ada and Krauser to do his dirty work. Odd for him as he normally averts this, preferring to get his hands dirty and either lead his goons himself or go on solo missions to get the job done personally.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Played for laughs. During the end credits, it says how that if you should try to copy it illegally, you will fall under a RPD investigation and be prosecuted by S.T.A.R.S. members, and then some.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The villagers aren't actual zombies. They are people controlled by a parasite called Las Plagas. Although some varieties will have the Plagas take over if the human host ends up killed by decapitation or from damage, or even during night time. This is lampshaded when you first encounter them; after killing the first Ganado, inspecting the corpse causes Leon to observe, "He doesn't look like a zombie..." Further investigation causes Leon to point out the differences between the Plagas-infested villagers and the zombies he encountered in Raccoon City.
  • Out of Focus: Leon and Ada return for this game along with Wesker, albeit only seen on a screen in Ada’s side story. While the other RE2 characters Claire and Sherry are absent due to the Time Skip.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: The castle's lava chamber has three fire-breathing dragon statues you need to disable. The shields placed along the walkways hint that you're expected to fake out the enemies operating each statue and quickly snipe them before they can turn the statue toward you and hide behind it. You can do that, or you can stand a safe distance away, take a look at the chains each statue hangs from, and simply shoot the D-ring couplers keeping them together.

    P - S 
  • Painful Transformation: The victims of Las Plagas go through an ordeal before they are completely turned. After being infected with it, both Leon and Ashley experience gruesome chest pains and cough up blood as the parasites slowly take over their bodies.
  • Paper Cutting:
    • Leon's knife fight with Krauser starts with him just missing Leon, cutting his cheek in the process.
    • In Chapter 2 of Separate Ways, Ada is seen lying on a sacrificial altar of some sort while some villagers speak an incantation. One villager, wielding a two-handed axe, then swings it to kill her, but she wakes up and vaults herself off the table. Although she escapes death, Ada receives a small cut on her thigh from the axe.
  • Parasitic Horror: The game involves a mutative Puppeteer Parasite known as Las Plagas. One type reveals themselves as carnivorous worms growing on people's spines after their host gets decapitated.
  • Parasite Zombie: The Ganados; although they revert to normal human behavior when an uninfected person isn't around-except they don't find rotten food utterly revolting; nor do they bathe. They also worship the parasite.
  • Path of Most Resistance: There's a section in Chapter 2-3 where you can choose one of two paths; one has a bunch of mooks and a set of minibosses, while the other has a single El Gigante. Since all bosses in the game drop valuable items on death, skilled players will do both paths for the monetary gains. This is also a bit of a deconstruction- the ammo you spend doing things this way may not be worth the spare money, depending on your skill level.
  • Pendulum of Death: These appear at a certain point of the game for the player to easily dodge. In case they get hit anyway, Leon is sent crashing into a wall and falls into a pit.
  • Permadeath: On Professional mode, if the Merchant dies, he dies for good. Good luck getting through the game without being able to buy anything or upgrade your gun.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The game features missable treasures in various parts of the game. While any treasure becomes permanently missable if you move on to the next section of the game, the combine-able treasures (beer stein, crown, and golden lynx) in particular are likely to be missed as well as their smaller parts. While this doesn't make the game Unwinnable, it does prevent you from making lots of money and thus delaying your weapons' progression. Also, if you kill the Merchant on Professional mode, he stays dead for good, locking you out of all purchasable items as well as the shooting galleries.
  • Personal Space Invader: Unarmed Ganados will grab a hold on Leon if they get close and must be shaken off.
  • Pet the Dog: Sure, those cops may be irresponsible, if not outright jerks, but one of them at least offers Leon a smoke. It's just enough to make you feel bad they’re both dead not fifteen minutes later.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: By this game and later, the player character simply collapses when they die unless their death is from a unique situation such as failing a quick time event.
  • Point of No Return: At least four. After Chapter 1, parts of the village get sealed off (preventing you from retrieving any items there); after the Hold the Line sequence at the cabin, the bridge from the village gets destroyed; at the end of Chapter 2 the castle drawbridge is withdrawn; and the boat ride to the Island is a one-way trip.
  • Police Are Useless: The lazy and somewhat dickish pair of cops that accompany Leon as his backup. Leon, a former cop himself, isn’t particularly impressed with them. They don’t last five minutes.
  • Pose of Supplication: Leon falls on his knees and hands if Ashley dies during gameplay. "OH...NOOOOOOOOOO...."
  • Power Up Letdown: Getting twenty 5-star ratings in the Mercenaries unlocks the Handcannon for free, which can be upgraded by unloading 790,000 pesetas on it to get infinite ammo and 99.0 attack power. Sounds great, right? Except it utterly pales in comparison to the Chicago Typewriter, which is obtained much easier, by beating Assignment Ada and paying 1,000,000 pesetas. It is statistically weaker (10.0 damage), but that's still enough to One-Hit KO most normal foes, and it's an infinite ammo machine gun with a firing rate of 0.1 seconds, meaning even bosses fall to it in mere seconds. Basically, for 210,000 pesetas more and doing a much easier sidequest, you get a weapon that does the same damage as the Handcannon in one second of firing and is much easier and more effective to use.
  • Pre-Final Boss: In the final chapter of Separate Ways, Ada has to defeat Krauser, who is revealed to have survived his defeat to Leon, before she confronts Saddler.
  • Present Day: Most likely the intention. The game is set in (presumably late, with foliage colors having faded) Autumn 2004, but wasn't released until January 2005, missing its intended setting by a few months.
  • Press X to Die: There are fish in the lake, which you can kill and add to the inventory as healing items. However, shooting more than five bullets at the water triggers a cutscene where Del Lago suddenly bursts out from the lake and swallows Leon, leading to a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Press X to Not Die: Several cutscenes in the game trigger this, and their notoriety influenced the gratuitous use of it in other games. The Krauser vs. Leon knife fight scene in Chapter 5-3 consist entirely of sudden button presses. Failing any of them will cause Leon's death.
  • Proactive Boss: Two bosses in Chapter 5-3 harass Leon well before the latter manages to confront them in boss fights to finally defeat them. The first is U-3, which will constantly throw attacks at Leon while he makes his way out of the three-part container mazes that hang above a bottomless pit, and won't be challenged in a proper battle until Leon reaches a crag at the end. The second boss is Krauser, who already pestered Leon in a prior chapter, and will periodically come at him to attack him until being driven away temporarily; Leon has to make his way through a network of ruins until reaching the roof of a watchtower (at which point he'll have two key fragments) to fight him in a proper battle under a time limit in order to get the last fragment and escape before an explosion kills him.
  • "Psycho" Strings: Used when it gets dark and you first fight a Plaga outside its host, and when fighting Mendez.
  • Punch Catch: Kick Catch, in this case; when Leon first meets Mendez, he tries to attack him with a running kick... only for Mendez to effortlessly catch his foot in one hand and nonchalantly fling him across the room.
  • Punny Name: Colmillos are parasitized wolves. "Colmillo" means "fang."
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Las Plagas take over what's infected by them and direct their actions afterwards.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The game is full of numerous examples of excellent unlockable New Game Plus weapons, one or two of them accumulated as bonus content from various re-releases. Perhaps the most powerful of them is the Wii Edition of the P.R.L. 412. When originally added to the PS2 port of the game, the gun was effectively a source of infinite flash grenades when fired without charging, and when charged, it was an insta-kill laser blast. When the game was ported to the Wii, however, it was beefed up so that its charged attack would fire many beams in one blast, each of which would auto-target a particular enemy and kill it. The end result was that everything in front of you would die in one charged shot, with even the enemies halfway across the map getting sniped down.
  • Quick Melee: Leon can use his knife to disarm bear traps. Also, if any enemy happens to be ascending a ladder, one quick swipe of the blade can send them falling down, and it takes them a while to reach the top before they can attack him.
  • Railing Kill: You can use it to your advantage when shooting an enemy if there's a very tall pit next to them.
  • Rare Random Drop: The Blue Eye gemstones, a pair of which are needed to complete the two Butterfly Lantern treasures you find. You're only guaranteed to pick up one by shooting down the Novistadores' hive, and the rest depend entirely on luck; it's possible to kill every single Novistador in the game without ever getting a second Blue Eye.
  • Real Is Brown: Before this was even popular. The game's color palette consists largely of grays and browns. This is because the game's graphics heavily taxed the GameCube's processor, so the game made it take place in a heavily forested area during what appears to be either late fall or early winter and a derelict military base at night to justify the palette. The clouded sky over the village even takes on a brownish hue, as is from a forest fire. Things are a little more colorful in the castle, though, with quite a few reds, golds, whites, and even blues. The HD Edition ports and onward, however, unintentionally made the game's color palette somewhat more brown than the GameCube's original bleak grayish hue (compare this to this).
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Leon fights multiple El Gigantes over the course of his mission, though each with an added twist: A conventional fight in Chapter 2-1 (the battle can be made easier if the dog from Chapter 1-1 was saved), a Skippable Boss in Chapter 2-2 (even if it's not skipped, there's a strategy that allows Leon to defeat him instantly), and a Dual Boss in Chapter 4-2 (one of those two can be defeated quickly with a trap, though it conveys a risk).
    • Krauser is fought twice in the main game (once in a QTE event and then several times in Chapter 5-3) and once in each of Ada's scenarios.
    • Saddler is fought as the final boss in both Leon and Ada's scenarios.
  • Recurring Traveler: The Merchant. You can kill him, but he'll still appear at the other locations without comment. This doesn't apply to Professional mode, however, so beware.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The "Fourth Mission" track from P.N.03 was recycled as Krauser's mercenary theme.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A general sign of Plaga infestation, which is sported by Mendez, and later by Ashley and Leon.
  • Red Herring: Soon after his introduction, Luis mentions how he saw a sample of the T-Virus during his service as a police officer in their department lab in Madrid. The conversation is cut short by an attacking Ganado, and the topic is never brought up again. Since it's eventually revealed that Luis was also a scientist working for Los Illuminados, this was his way of letting Leon know that there was more going on than it might otherwise appear. But then he was interrupted.
  • Red Shirt: Was there really ever any doubt those cops would end up being this?
  • Redemption Equals Death: Luis, former associate of Saddler's, attempts to deliver some pills to Leon that will slow down the infection process of the plagas in Leon and Ashley (as well as the master sample of the plagas) right before getting shanked.
  • Reformulated Game: The mobile port on the Nokia N-Gage, Apple iOS, Android, and Zeebo port features cutdown versions of certain areas of the game that are broken up into levels players can select from list, the Merchant is only seen before starting a level (and sells ammo and Green Herbs unlike the console/PC versions), fewer enemy variety and enemies attack in smaller groups, your attaché case holds a number of "space" with items and weapons taking up an amount of "size" in your inventory (which can be made smaller by upgrading a weapon's "Size" stat), a redesigned HUD, all of the game's cutscenes were replaced with static images from the game with text (save for the opening and ending scenes), prices of weapons are cheaper than their console/PC counterparts, among many other changes to make the game fit on a mobile device and a low-end console hardware.
  • Refrigerator Ambush: In Chapter 5-1, a Ganado bursts out of an oven to try to take down Leon while on fire. If Leon examines the oven afterwards, he wonders what the guy was doing in there in the first place.
  • Remaster: The Steam version of the game features an optional HD texture pack and the ability play the game at 60 FPS, and would later be used in the HD Remaster re-release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch, although not all of the game's textures has been redrawn and are merely upscaled to higher resolutions. A pair of fans later took liberty of remastering the Steam version of the game themselves over the course of 8 years with the HD Project, featuring remastered high-definition textures based on the real-life architecture and art sources found across Spain and Wales that Capcom once used for the original game's art assets, along with 3D model edits to previously simplified models or flat 2D texture objects, improved models and textures for the characters, items, and weapons, and fixing environmental errors and correcting lighting effects, all while preserving the original feel of the game's art direction and gameplay. It also comes with a plugin called re4_tweaks that also restores effects and features missing from the GameCube version back into the Steam version while adding various fixes and quality-of-life improvements.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Krauser's introductory cutscene is shot as though his identity is a huge twist. Since this is the first time he's ever appeared or even been mentioned, though, the player is more likely to be confused.
  • Replay Mode: After completing the game, an option is unlocked to replay the cutscenes. Those of Separate Ways are included when that mode is completed as well except for the reports that begin every chapter, which instead are accessed through an option known as Ada's Report.
  • Rescue Arc:
    • The entirety of the main plot is Leon attempting to rescue the President's daughter, Ashley.
    • Chapter 4 of Separate Ways is about Ada rescuing Leon from being assassinated by Krauser.
  • Rescue Sex: Subverted when Ashley's offer for Leon to do some "overtime" with her is met with stoic rejection.
  • Reverse Escort Mission: Most of the game is an Escort Mission proper (and one of the few done properly to boot), but for one period of the game Leon is being escorted by Mike piloting a UH-1N Twin Huey gunship armed with twin Gatling guns and hellfire missiles.
  • Revolvers are Just Better:
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Subverted on occasion, when snakes are in the crates instead of money or bullets. Killing the snake gets you an egg, though.
  • The Right Hand of Doom: Krauser's One-Winged Angel form consists of mutating his damaged left arm into a bladed tentacle that he can use as a weapon or a shield.
  • Route Boss: In Chapter 2-3, Leon can optionally choose to take the road under the cliff to go to the castle, thereby having to fight a El Gigante.
  • Rule of Cool: The Mercenaries mode has Super Salvador, a Ganado with a double-bladed flaming chainsaw. He is also very fast and can jump all around the map after you, even vertically up platforms that are over a hundred feet high. Depending on your luck, he can also be incredibly difficult to stun. On the upside, he can be rather easily killed by Krauser or Wesker, but the other three characters can have serious problems battling him. Oh, and you must keep your distance at all times because unlike the regular Dr. Salvador, he never misses when close enough. And if you're incredibly unlucky, it's possible to have to fight two of these guys at a time.
  • Rule of Seven: A gun named Killer7 costs 77700 pesetas, and has initially a seven-bullet capacity.
  • Rule of Sexy: The reason Leon loses his jacket quickly in favor of his Form-Fitting Wardrobe shirt, why so many characters get tied up, and why Ada fights in a slinky red dress.
  • Run or Die: Armadura are first encountered in Chapter 3-4. Given Ashley has no weapons and they can't be killed with the lanterns like the few Zealots roaming the area, the player's only choice is to run from these possessed knight suits, though one can drop steel bars to effectively halt them.
  • Ruritania: The game takes place in an unnamed European country where the people speak Spanish with Mexican accents and have Spanish names, an in-game map places the village in the center of the Iberian Peninsula next to Madrid, and the currency is Peseta, which was Spain's currency before switching to Euro, the developers have outright claimed that the country isn't Spain. Still, as Separate Ways begins, a cutscene shows Wesker's map zeroing in on Spain itself. The fact that the actual in-game environment is a mix of this and Überwald otherwise just makes it even more confounding.
  • Sackhead Slasher: Dr. Salvador is a sack wearing villager who featured heavily in the marketing for the game. He's much more durable than the common Ganado enemy and is encountered infrequently from the first village battle onward, alternating with his Distaff Counterpart, the Bella Sisters. They will decapitate Leon if they connect with a swing, often relying on other villagers as a distraction.
  • Saved by the Church Bell: Upon entering the village, Leon is forced to fend against a mob of infected villagers until a church bell begins ringing, which causes the villagers to stop attacking Leon and enter the church to pray. Separate Ways reveals that the ringing was caused by Ada to save Leon.
  • Save Point: The typewriters, as usual. This time, the player can save indefinitely, whereas in previous games the typewriters were subjected to Save-Game Limits.
  • Save the Princess: Leon spends the entire game going through the Big Bad's trap-filled castle, fighting off controlled minions, so he can rescue the President's daughter, Ashley. At the end of the game, Ashley offers him a lot more than just a Smooch of Victory, but given he's part of the secret service in that game, that would obviously not have been a good idea, and he rightly turns her down.
  • Say My Name:
    • Leon:
      • "LOUIIIIIS!!!"note 
      • "Ada!"
      • "Krauser?"
      • "Saddler!"
      • "MOIIIKE!"
    • Ashley has "LEOOOOOOOOOON, HEELLLLLPPPPPPP!"
  • Scars Are Forever: During their knife fight, Leon and Krauser receive a cut to the face and chest, respectively, both of which remain for the rest of the game.note 
  • Scenery Dissonance: Played with. The village section takes place during the day, which doesn't prevent Leon from getting mobbed by Ax-Crazy villagers. It isn't until Leon crosses the lake that night falls, and stays that way until the boss fight with Saddler. And it turns out that you really were safer in the daytime, since Las Plagas, which are sensitive to bright light, will start emerging from their hosts once the sun has gone down.
  • Schizo Tech: The castle has some examples of modern technology in it, including a Gatling gun and Salazar's giant mechanical statue. It gets even more apparent when you get to the island, where the paramilitaries there use stun rods and miniguns while simultaneously wielding the same medieval flails and wooden shields that the cultists in the castle used.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: In the finale, Ada has rigged the entire island with explosives and set a timer, and gives Leon a heads up and a means to escape. Leon's more than accustomed to escaping such sequences at this point. Ashley on the other hand:
    Leon: (calmly) "We have to get off this island now. It's going to blow any minute."
    Ashley: "(panicked) "It's gonna what?!"
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: This is the first numbered installment to take place outside the United States, namely in a country implied to be Spain. Code: Veronica set the precedent overall in the series by taking place in Antarctica.
  • Set Piece Puzzle: There are a few of these over the course of them game, including a sliding tile puzzle used to unlock a mechanism.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam:
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Many cultists carry large wooden shields that break apart piece by piece when shot with bullets, and can be pierced outright with high-powered weapons such as sniper rifles.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Queen Plaga/Salazar/Verdugo chimera; you have to shoot Verdugo's eye so the creature opens up to reveal Salazar, who is its weak point.
  • Shipper on Deck: Luis, despite leching on Ashley earlier, still supports Leon looking after her, saying Leon is better with the ladies.
  • Shooting Gallery: In three areas of the Castle, as well as two in the Island, there's a target practice minigame run by the Merchant. In it, Leon has to shoot targets modeled after villagers (and Salazar's head) to earn points, while also avoiding hitting those modeled after Ashley to prevent penalties. Scoring high enough will reward you with bottle caps for collection.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: There are locks on doors throughout the game that you need to destroy to continue. You can use your knife, though, and that will save you some ammo.
  • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: After you kill Krauser, Saddler contacts you and asks how he can thank you. Krauser was actually a double agent working for Wesker and Saddler knew it.
  • Short-Range Shotgun:
    • The Striker is an extreme example. It has such absurd spread and damage fall-off that it is not actually possible to deal its maximum potential damage on most enemies. This is double subverted with the exclusive upgrade for the basic shotgun. This removes damage fall-off from the weapon but this doesn't actually improve its effectiveness at range since its wide spread remains the same. You will still more often miss enemies completely at medium range and beyond. The Riot Gun does the best job at being an effective medium range weapon with its tight spread allowing you to line up headshots.
    • Ada's shotgun in Separate Ways, with the added insult to injury that its power is locked at a measly 5.0, so that knocking down a close-up group of enemies is pretty much all it's good for. You'll want something much more effective to actually kill said group.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: You can find a standard pump-action shotgun in the first few minutes of the game, which you can upgrade its fire power, reload speed, and capacity. Later on, you can purchase the Riot Gun, a slightly more powerful shotgun with higher capacity, and then the Striker, which uses a drum round and when fully upgraded can hold up to 100 shells.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • A well-known quirk amongst the speedrunner community is that Leon runs his absolute fastest with a grenade equipped, but this is actually rooted in fact. Soldiers and police are trained to run in a controlled and deliberate manner when carrying a firearm, which of course wouldn't be a full sprint. However, carrying small weights in each hand (like a grenade) will speed your sprint up because it improves balance and widens your stride. It's not entirely accurate as technically he'd need a grenade in each hand, but it's far from being a glitch or oversight.
    • This is reflected in a name of one of the weapons. While the other weapons make full use of A.K.A.-47, the Red9 is the actual nickname for Mauser C96 pistols that were converted into the 9x19mm cartridge. The name comes from the large, ornate red number nines printed onto the grips of these converted pistols to signify the type of round they fired.
    • In the dungeon where you first fight Novistadores, there is a document which describes several real parasites that can alter the host's behavior. This information is scientifically accurate.
    • If you have played the game and you decide to walk the Way of St. James, once you reach the province of Galicia, towns such as La Faba or O Cebreiro will remind you greatly of La Aldea.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Salazar gives Leon one too many smarmy monologues, Leon cuts him short with a knife to the hand.
  • Signed with a Kiss: The letters Ada leaves for Leon (a warning letter and a paper airplane) are both signed with kisses.
  • Silliness Switch: Leon's alternate costumes (his RPD uniform and a gangster outfit) aren't particularly silly, but Ashley's are both amusing. Her first is a pop star outfit, which shows off her cleavage and is mainly amusing in how thoroughly impractical it is for the situation. Her second outfit is the one that really qualifies, though— a full suit of plate armor, which makes her Immune to Bullets. The hilarious part comes when the cultists try to pick her up to carry her off— the weight of the armor will make them collapse and grab their backs in pain.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • The second El Gigante fight can be completely avoided if you're quick enough in grabbing the gate key and shooting the chains off the two doors. This saves a lot of trouble, but will cost you some juicy treasure. Alternatively, it can be entirely bypassed by simply choosing the other path after exiting the cabin. If you do that, you will have to fight a bunch of Ganados instead. Skilled players can do both fights in order to maximize their loot.
    • With good equipment, strategy, and luck, it is actually possible to kill the Verdugo that Salazar sends after you, thanks to those nitrogen canisters. It's actually necessary to kill him to collect the other jewel for the crown you might have collected earlier, which in turn can help craft the single most expensive treasure in the entire game if that is combined with one other treasure that can be obtained shortly after. If you're not interested in getting everything, or don't feel confident in facing him, then just head to the exit as soon as it's available and the game will proceed normally.
  • Skirts and Ladders: Attempting to do this to Ashley (or doing it by accident if an enemy throws you to the ground near her) will cause her to call you a pervert. Peeping from one very specific spot with a custom sniper rifle scope reveals that they are made of white knitted cotton. If you use her alternate outfits, which don't feature a skirt, she won't have that reaction.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Though the overall progression through the game is very linear, with a degree of optional backtracking here and there, many areas can be tackled in multiple ways, and exploration is frequently rewarded with items and ammo.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: There's a gauntlet of blade pendulums in the castle, and a hallway of crushers in the mines.
  • Smashing Survival: Shows up from time to time, sometimes being a quickdraw press, and sometimes being button mashing.
  • Smash Mook: El Gigante is Nigh Invulnerable and can smash you to death if you're not careful.
  • Smooch of Victory: Defied when Ashley offers to "do some overtime" with Leon after he rescues her. It doesn't take long for him to decide to say no.
  • Smug Snake: Salazar and Saddler both. While Salazar eventually has a Villainous Breakdown, Saddler is more fully convinced to the very end that he is going to win.
  • Sniper Pistol: It is possible to go through the game using the Pistol instead of the sniper rifle when required. Since almost all guns are aimed via the crosshair on the screen in the Wii edition, their corresponding idle swaying has been removed entirely — your accuracy now depends entirely on how steady you hold the controller.
  • Sniping Mission:
    • There's one in Chapter 3-1 where you send Ashley to raise the platforms across a chasm of water while making sure she doesn't get hurt or kidnapped by the Zealots, while making sure they don't kill you.
    • Another occurs at the beginning of Chapter 3-4 immediately after Ashley is freed, where Leon has to shoot Zealots while standing overhead on a platform and give Ashley a chance to find a way to escape.
  • Soft Reboot: The game completely retools the gameplay into a much more action-oriented style with an over-the-shoulder perspective and resolves basically every lingering plot thread from previous games with a brief, minute-long cutscene at the very beginning, and goes with a much Denser and Wackier tone throughout.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music the Shooting Gallery minigame speeds up at the halfway point of a round.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Leon first encounters the villagers, who typically wield farmhand tools as weapons. Then he encounters the zealots in the castle, who have better, medieval weapons and wear masks and shields to protect themselves from Leon's gunshots. Finally, he visits the island, which contains Saddler's militia, who are faster, can attack in greater numbers, and have a wide diversity of weapons.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: The Merchant sells you progressively better weapons as the game progresses. Can be annoying, as he also sells you upgrades for your current weapons. So, you spend 80,000 pesetas upgrading your shotgun so it can carry 9 rounds and has a power level of 8, then the Riot Gun, which uses the same ammo, becomes available for 40,000 pesetas, carries 10 rounds, and starts with a power level of 9.5. It does compensate for this somewhat by making the earlier weapons better than the later weapons when you have the dedication to stick with them and fully upgrade them (or at least gives them some advantage). For example, the Broken Butterfly ends up more powerful than the semi-automatic Killer7 (both use the game's rare-but-powerful magnum rounds), and the bolt action rifle ends up more powerful (albeit slower) than the semi-automatic sniper rifle. In fact, in the GameCube version, the bolt-action rifle is the only weapon in the game that can one-shot the red Zealot in the gallery in Chapter 3-2 (though you have to aim carefully).
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: It's easy to know when you've killed everything because the music stops. You can also tell what kind of enemy lies ahead of you because of their distinctive music.
  • Spexico:
    • The biggest give away is the villagers accent, which is not even close to anything you would hear in Spain (not even in the Canary Islands, which accent is the most similar to the Latin American dialects), and they totally sound Mexican.
    • Some of the phrases used in the game such as "¡Cogedlo!", "¡No dejéis que se escape!" (and so on) are not common outside of Spain. Although others like "¡Agárrenlo!" are almost never used in Spain, and the game is not consistent with the use of "vosotros" and "ustedes".
    • Special mention goes to the common threat of “¡TE VOY A HACER PICADILLO!” – the Ganados are threatening to turn Leon into a cooked ground-meat dish that originated in Latin America and has never been popular in Spain itself. (If the devs were going for a threat to turn him into “mincemeat,” then “carne picada” would’ve been more appropriate.)
    • Luis explicitly states that he's from Madrid, but his accent is anything but.
  • Spikes of Doom: One Press X to Not Die prompt has Leon impaled in a spike pit if you miss it. Another trap has a spiked Descending Ceiling, where you must shoot out the sensors to stop it.
  • Sprint Shoes: For some reason, you run faster while wielding grenades or eggs.
  • Spy Fiction: Since Leon is a Secret Agent, fancy gadgets and all, just like Ada, RE 4 is now as much a Spy Thriller as it is a Survival Horror Game. It runs the full spectrum of a seductive-and-cynical Timothy Dalton “Dirty Martini” when the narrative focuses on Ada, to a moody-yet-witty Pierce Brosnan “Stale Beer” when Leon is in the spotlight, right down to a fun and whacky Roger Moore “Tuxedo and Martini” in its goofy, campy & acrobatic moments.
  • The Starscream: Ada is between this and Wesker's Dragon with an Agenda.
  • Stationary Boss: Salazar and his left hand man fuse with a giant plant (that is stuck to a wall) in order to make a giant talking plant... with tentacles. The whole chimera stays in the central position of the battlefield.
  • Stealth Parody: The game's story is a deliberately cheesy and over-the-top pastiche of America Saves the Day action movies, but it's hidden behind a genuinely compelling action/horror game.
  • Sticky Bomb: The Mine Thrower, which basically shoots exploding darts that stick to the target. Its Exclusive upgrade makes them heat-seeking exploding darts.
  • The Stinger: If you watch to the end of the credits of Separate Ways, the escaping jet ski appears riding off into the sunset. It's tiny with distance, and eventually starts in the lower left.
  • Stock Ness Monster: While not the plesiosaur type, the game has the Del Lago, a man-eating mutant Moby Dick-sized salamander that inhabits the village lake.
  • Stopped Dead in Their Tracks: In Separate Ways, Ada is walking across a bridge on a video call with Wesker. When he mentions that he ordered Krauser to kill Leon, she stops in her tracks and doesn't move for the rest of the call. Once the call is over, she immediately changes course to stop Krauser from assassinating Leon.
  • Story Arc: As in Resident Evil 2, there are two characters and each has a campaign as well. However, the second character (Ada) has a campaign that's more of an Another Side, Another Story variation, available after beating Leon's campaign, which itself is divided into three arcs based on the major locales of the setting: village, castle, and island, in that order.
  • Stripped to the Bone: If Leon is finished off by a Novistador (or hit at all by a flying one), they will use acid to strip the flesh off of his face. In some countries' versions of the game, this will also happen when Dr. Salvador or the sisters manage to hit with their chainsaws, rather than the alternative.
  • Super-Strength: While the common Ganados can pull Leon over their shoulder in a fit of 'rage', mind that two of them struggle to lift one deceased cop off of a boat at one point, the Garrador, when first encountered, snaps out of chains while also breaking the stone structures nearby. Mendez himself has a Frankenstein's creature dynamic with his physical power. Leon is rumored to have this, as he can, even before infection, kick enemies' heads off with a Roundhouse Kick, elbow them off if grabbed sometimes, and smash their skulls with a suplex. This may be because the parasite causes the host's head to pop anyway when ikt's ready to emerge, but fans have been impressed nonetheless.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The Wii Edition.
  • Super Window Jump: Practically a compulsion for Leon. There's even one window he can jump through that is just part of a partition and not an actual wall. It's quicker just to run around the partition, but not as cool.
  • Suplex Finisher: Leon can do this to the Ganados with a button prompt if they are on their knees on front of him. Ashley can do it too, if you exploit a bug during her level (Chapter 3-4) in the GameCube version by slamming the door on castle mooks and if they falls to their knees. The "suplex" prompt only applies to the cultist and soldier Ganados seen in the Castle and Island; the villager Ganados instead have an alternate "kick" prompt.
  • Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest: Ashley can't attack, but she can duck under things, and the enemies either have no weapons or are slow. Not to mention that the enemies who just moments ago could withstand shotgun blasts at point blank range can now be killed by throwing portable lamps at them.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Used amusingly at the beginning. How is Umbrella finally destroyed? Through a daring black-ops raid with soldiers fighting its myriad monsters in one final battle? The heroes of the previous games banding together and taking out its leaders one by one? Nope. The U.S. government freezes its assets in retaliation for their involvement in the destruction of Raccoon City, and the highly publicized disasters plaguing the company cause its stock prices to drop, sending it into bankruptcy. One statement from the developers in a Nintendo Power article says that there was no way the U.S. government would have allowed Umbrella to continue operating after being responsible for a disaster that forced them to nuke one of their own cities. This too gets a dose of realism on the other end: Simply removing Umbrella from business does not magically evaporate all the data, personnel, research data and equipment. Their B.O.W.s and viruses are sold to the highest bidder on the black market, the highest level researchers are able to continue their viral weaponry without a traceable line, and the BSAA is formed to counteract the outbreaks that follow.
    • Apparently, Salazar believes Talking Is a Free Action. Too bad for him that Leon does not. Both times that Salazar tries Evil Gloating, Leon makes him pay for it, first by damaging his hearing with a bullet to a listening horn, and second by pinning Salazar's hand to a wall with a thrown knife.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The "Hooked Man" prototype of the game had paranormally animated suits of armor, while the final version has Plagas-controlled armor suits, and Ashley replaces Sherry as the Damsel in Distress.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity:
    • The game lets on that a major encounter such as a Boss Battle is ahead when you find the Merchant (and his armory) and a typewriter in the most implausible of locations.
    • The Regenerador (the Implacable Man of mooks) initially appears indestructible but using a heat scope with a rifle can help hit its normally invisible weakspots. The only opportunity to get the said scope requires the player to thaw a meat freezer and walk past a semi-frozen Regenerator into a cramped dead end to claim it. Also done through the chapters containing the Regeneradors via means of ammo - rifle ammo not only becomes increasingly scarce but finding any rifle ammo (which is always 3-4 bullets) becomes a sign there's a nigh-invulnerable monster that requires ~4 bullets to kill ahead.

    T - Z 
  • Tagline: "Evil evolves."
  • Take Cover!: The game featured a cover mechanic at a few scripted instances of the game, in places where enemies pack heavy firepower. The game's cover mechanic was later improved in Resident Evil 5 and improved even further by Shinji Mikami in Vanquish.
  • Taking You with Me: There are many examples of this in the game — however, many are involuntary. For instance, El Gigante will crush you as he falls over dead if you get too close, and Del Lago's corpse will drag you to the bottom of the lake via a rope that gets wrapped around your leg unless you act fast. A genuine example would be tricking an El Gigante into falling into a lava pit, who will grab and pull you into the lava if you get too close to the pit.
  • Tank Controls: Albeit slightly modified, the game still uses a distinctly tank-like control scheme, mostly due to the camera. The camera is always following Leon over the shoulder, and as a result, going "back" doesn't make him run towards the camera as in many 3D games. Instead, he backs up.
  • Tentacle Rope: The flower-ish growth that devours and assimilates Salazar and his "left hand" does so by wrapping tentacles around them and pulling them into itself.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: Ashley attacks Leon when he first finds her, on account of Ashley thinking he's part of the cult.
  • There Was a Door: If there is both a door and window into a building, you can always dive through the window instead of taking the door. However, this isn't usually a good idea, since an intact window will slow down Ganados for a second and give you an advantage.
  • Third Party Stops Attack: During the knife fight between Leon and Krauser, Ada stops Krauser from killing Leon by shooting his knife out of his hand.
  • Time Keeps On Ticking: During the Escape Sequence after Saddler's defeat, the timer will continue depleting even during cutscenes. It makes Ashley's panic over learning about the incoming island explosion all the more reasonable.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Krauser, who sets up time bombs on the tower on which you're fighting. Obviously, you need to defeat this boss before the tower goes boom.
  • Time Skip: Six years have passed between the outcome of Resident Evil 3 and the events of this game.
  • Timed Mission: The game actually makes fun of it with Leon, who's dealt with such things before, not being even remotely fazed by the idea of having to escape a self-destruct system. Ashley is horrified, being a young girl and all:
    Leon: (calmly) "We have to get off this island now. It's gonna blow any minute."
    Ashley: (panicked) "It's gonna what?!"
  • Too Awesome to Use: The game has this with the Rocket Launcher, which is very powerful (can one-hit every boss in the game), but is still better to sell for cash and use that to upgrade one of your guns that gets more than one use.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • When Leon is first captured by Mendez and tied up with Luis, no one thinks to take his guns or any of his equipment on the off chance he should escape and cause further trouble. This also applies to Ada after she got knocked out by a villager's tranquilizer.
    • Saddler has an opportunity to kill Leon immediately after disposing of Luis, yet chooses to leave the task to Salazar, despite Leon being right in front of him and him being able to hold Leon by aggravating his parasite. He also misses another opportunity to kill Leon after he stunned him by aiming at his heart. Some attribute this to how he was considering Leon as a promising subordinate, provided he was under control before wrecking his plans.
    • The machine to remove the Plaga from a host's body is on an island completely controlled by Saddler, is down the hallway from where Saddler has a cryo-chamber to store Ashley and is left unguarded. Yet Saddler never thinks to sabotage or destroy the one machine that essentially nullifies his power over Leon and Ashley.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Leon grew some muscles and got in touch with his inner wrestler after Resident Evil 2.
    • The Knife, considered the worst weapon in previous games, is much more useful here, as it stuns enemies for that trusty crowd-clearing kick.
    • Even Ashley gets in on this during the brief time you play as her, as she takes down a few Zealots without a firearm or blade.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The villager Ganados are armed with them.
  • Tragic Monster: Unbeknownst to Leon, the entire village was apparently rather peaceful until they were infected by the Las Plagas.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: Ada is knocked out by one, fired from a very archaic-looking air rifle. It takes her less than half a second from looking at the dart that hit her for her eyes to roll up into her head.
  • Trap Door:
    • A variation: Ashley panics and runs down a narrow hallway, avoiding spike traps along the way, before finally stopping to catch her breath, leaning against a dead end. Steel bindings promptly pop out of the wall to catch her, then the wall flips around, taking Ashley with it. This trap would be absolutely useless unless someone of Ashley's build was standing at that exact spot.
    • Salazar attempts to kill Leon with one of these by dropping him into a spike pit. Leon responds by using a grappling hook attached to his utility belt to latch onto a tiny ledge on the wall.
  • Trash Landing: Leon and Ashley escape from a part of Saddler's island compound by jumping down a trash chute, and come out no worse for the wear. The same chute can be used to dispose of a few Militia Ganados with a crane beforehand, but all bets are off as to whether they die when tossed down it or just move off after landing.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: There are two puzzles that can only be solved when Leon and Ashley pull the trigger at the same time.
  • Typical Tentacle Tactics: Though not a squid, Salazar, after his "ritual", certainly pulls this off. And be careful with those tentacle arms; one of the central tentacle's attacks is a One-Hit Kill.
  • Underground Monkey: The Iron Maiden is a more demonic version of the Regenerator, outfitted with spikes that gives it even more damaging attacks.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Del Lago boss battle occurs in a off-board motor boat in the middle of a lake, using harpoons.
    • During the escape sequence, you board a jet ski with Ashley and pilot your way through a relative direct but collapsing cave system (including jump ramps). Except for the moment where Ashley drives a bulldozer in Chapter 5-2, there are no other vehicular combat or vehicle-driving parts in the game.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Merchant. You can shoot him and he will still show up in another location, with no comment, but only in the easier modes.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • It's entirely possible to do this if you sell all of your weapons, ammo, grenades, or healing items.
    • It's possible to kill the Merchant. Doing this in Professional mode results in him staying dead in the area you killed him.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • Among the game's already rare Garradors, there is only one Heavy Armored Garrador.
    • Novistadors normally are either invisible or airborne, but not both; however, there is a lone invisible flying individual in the Nest Tower; after you kill it, it's gone forever. Another unique variant is completely white with black eyes.
    • The Armaduras only appear in two rooms of the Castle.
    • The three Iron Maidens in Chapter 5-2.
    • Also in Chapter 5-2 is Oven Man.
  • Universal Ammunition: The only weapons with unique ammo types are the TMP, Mine Thrower, Handcannon and Ada's bowgun; otherwise, while ammo pickups do have a stated caliber, they are totally interchangeable with any weapon of their class. For the most part the game goes out of its way to use appropriate weapons for its ammo type (the C96 is specifically the 9x19mm "Red 9" version, the .30-06 Springfield rifle is noted to have been converted to .223, etc.), but there are still some weapons that go about this oddly, such as the 5.7x28mm Five-Seven using the same 9mm rounds as the other handguns - or, the other way, the TMP using "custom" ammo that can't be interchanged with the handguns despite being the same caliber.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Luis is a male version; he is dashingly good looking in spite of his oily hair and stubble.
  • Unorthodox Reload: The Broken Butterfly has a break-action mechanism, and Leon reloads it by practically throwing the bullets into its cylinder. Not that we mind.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: Leon admittedly can purposefully look up Ashley's skirt when she's standing at the top of a ladder. However, it can also happen completely accidentally, even when Leon's clearly preoccupied, say, suplexing an enemy. But Ashley will still shriek at him that he's a pervert.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Leon and Ada. Given that she could almost be considered an "ex" for Leon given their encounter prior to this game, their interactions here just amp it up even further. For example, when Leon is fighting some Zealots, Ada doesn't help him because if she did, she would be forced to kill him. She outright admits that the only reason she took the assignment was to help Leon.
    • Ashley propositions Leon for some "overtime" when they get back to America. He politely declines.
    • And then there's Leon and Hunnigan, who after being out of radio contact for some time, is seen at the end, having taken her glasses off. Leon remarks she looks cute and asks for her number. She reminds him he's still on duty.
  • Unstoppable Rage: El Gigantes, Garradors, and Super Salvador all have very hazardous, sometimes deadly charging attacks.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • Although the Ganados drop ammo, Leon cannot pick up the knives, pitchforks, scythes, chainsaws, crossbows, medieval flails, or stun rods used against him. Most of them melt with the enemy.
    • In Separate Ways, militia in the final area will drop (unusable) RPGs.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The game has some fun with this as Leon is no stranger to monsters, B.O.W.s, or Umbrella-style shenanigans. When faced with the massive transformed Salazar, he only calmly remarks that after this fight, there will be one less monster in the world. When he knows the island is going to be destroyed via Self-Destruct Sequence, he takes it in stride unlike poor Ashley:
    Leon: [calmly] We have to get off this island now. It's going to blow any minute.
    Ashley: [panicked] It's gonna what?!
  • Unwilling Suspension: Before the final boss fight, Saddler has Ada tied up and hanging in the area. When presented by this, Leon simply throws his knife to cut the rope holding her up.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The PAL GameCube version of the game rebalances the weapons. Ammo drops and placements are reduced, but still plentiful, and some weapons are more powerful (the knife, and fully upgraded Red9, Blacktail, and bolt-action Rifle). It also adds a new "Easy" difficulty level.
    • The PlayStation 2 version is graphically and audibility weaker than the original GameCube version, but added the Separate Ways missions, a new weapon, and new costumes for Leon and Ashley.
    • The Wii Edition adds the PS2 version's enhancements to the graphics of the GameCube version, and offers better controls with the Wii Remote's pointer aiming while still allowing the Classic Controller or GameCube controller as an option. Knife slashes are also faster than the previous versions.
    • The HD Edition for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 only allows the regular controls, but otherwise has the content of the Wii Edition. The only addition is a higher native resolution, added shadows and colored lighting in many locations, achievements/trophies, and online leaderboards for the main campaign and Separate Ways.
    • The Ultimate HD Edition on Steam is this to SourceNext's poor PC port from 2007. This version has native keyboard and mouse support, higher resolutions, updated high-res textures along with the original GameCube version's textures, improved XInput controller support, and can run at 60 or 30 FPS.
    • The HD Remastered version for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch serves as one to their previous console generation version counterparts, bringing the game to a 1080p presentation (or 600p/900p on the Switch version) comparable to the Ultimate HD Edition on Steam and also runs at 60 FPS.
    • The VR Edition for the Oculus Quest 2 makes a number of gameplay changes to account for the first-person perspective and VR controls, along with various graphical enhancements unique to this version. Several lines of dialogue have also been edited or removed over sensitivity concerns.
  • Vader Breath: Regeneradors and Iron Maidens have raspy breathing that alerts you of their presence. The U3 boss also breathes audibly, somewhat like Michael Myers in the original Halloween.
  • Vagina Dentata: The Iron Maidens have upper jaws that look like this in a cleft pallette.
  • Vampire Refugee: Leon spends the majority of the game infected, racing to Find the Cure! before he and Ashley are permanently assimilated by the parasite.
  • Variable Mix: Verdugo and Krauser's themes do this before and during their boss fights. Also, creepy droning atonal music starts to build up when Ganados or other danger are approaching.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: As a whole, the military island where the Plaga was developed. More specifically, it is the coastal area of the island's factory; it is there where Saddler has Ada captive to lure Leon into his trap, and where the final confrontation between the two takes place.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Rescuing the dog caught in the Bear Trap at the beginning. You'd have to have ice in your veins not to free him with the whimpers he makes. And rescuing him makes the first El Gigante boss battle much easier.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Mostly played straight, save for one instance. You can kill other non-threatening animals and NPCs, but if you try to shoot or slash the dog stuck in the bear trap, the game assumes that you were aiming for the trap and sets it free, and if you shoot it while it's running away, nothing happens, although he won't come and help out during the El Gigante fight if you don't set him free.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • If you shoot Luis several times during the barricade sequence, he will get angry and kill Leon.
    • Shooting and killing the defenseless cows dotted around the earlier levels not only gets them to swing their horns at Leon if he gets close, but increases the difficulty.
    • If you kill the Merchant, he won't appear again in the location where you killed him. And in Professional mode, killing him anywhere will keep him dead for the rest of the game.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: You can use your gun crosshairs to look up Ashley's skirt and she will immediately cover herself and call him a pervert. However, this reaction seems to purely be triggered by the positioning of Leon's face, meaning that even if the camera can see just fine, she won't cover up if there's no line of sight directly tracing towards Leon's eyes. Hilariously, this can also lead to false positives, where, say, Leon gets called a pervert for having his severed head land eyes-up under Ashley.
  • Video Game Perversity Prevention: You get an in-universe scolding for trying to look up Ashley's skirt. She crosses her legs and calls you a pervert half the time. This can happen even if the player wasn't doing it on purpose, such as getting knocked down from an enemy attack and Leon's face landing near Ashley's legs.
  • Villain Ball:
    • If Saddler had allowed Leon to escape with Ashley at the first opportunity, his plan would have worked out fine. Instead, he has to monologue about how he infected both of them with the parasite.
    • Combined with Idiot Ball, Salazar unleashes a spiky Descending Ceiling on you at one point in Chapter 4-1, even though Ashley is with you at that point. If he had succeeded, he would have ruined Saddler's plan.
    • Some Ganados fail to recall the orders to only capture Ashley. Shielded ones will not bother to drop their shields and instead throw that order to the wind to hit her at any chance, as do the ones Ashley encounters alone and the soldiers at the bulldozer sequence.
    • Salazar would have possibly been able to kill Leon a dozen times over if he had just stopped playing games and sent both of his lieutenants after Leon at the same time. One Verdugo is so dangerous that less experienced players may only survive by sheer luck of having several nitrogen canisters nearby. Two Verdugos would have likely easily overwhelmed him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Salazar goes from being cocky to throwing a crazier-than-usual tantrum every ten seconds after Leon escapes his spiked pit trap and probably blows out one of his eardrums. Taking a knife to the hand doesn't help Salazar's disposition, either.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • If an enemy with dynamite is about to explode on you, you can save yourself by shooting the dynamite to kill the enemy in the explosion without hurting yourself.
    • Turning your back on an unarmed Ganado will prompt them to grab Leon's arms rather than his throat, which does no damage while you break free.
    • Knifing bear traps is a good way to disarm them while saving ammo.
  • The Virus: Las Plagas, though they're more like Puppeteer Parasites.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Countless are the players that met the Game Over screen for the first time thanks to Dr. Salvador in the village, and he's just an optional miniboss.
  • Wall of Weapons: The Merchant when he actually has a shop. When outdoors, he has his inventory stuffed into his coat. If only he'd actually use it to help you, but where's the profit in that?
  • Warm-Up Boss: Del Lago. Not long afterwards, parasites start coming out of the Ganados' heads.
  • The War Sequence: The Cabin defense sequence, which has Leon and Luis hide Ashley and keep a horde of Ganados at bay until their numbers thin out so much they give up.
  • Waterfront Boss Battle: Del Lago is fought as it drags the hero around a lake in a small boat. Fortunately, the boat contains an unlimited supply of harpoons.
  • We Buy Anything: The Merchant will buy absolutely everything you're willing to sell and have an unlimited supply of money just in case you want to sell off everything.
  • We Sell Everything: The Merchant will sell you almost anything, but to unlock the really cool stuff, you've gotta replay the game. A rocket launcher with unlimited ammunition? Got it. A laser cannon that'll melt the Big Bad when used on the lowest setting? No problem.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Leon and Krauser, as indicated by Leon commenting "you used to be a good guy" when examining Krauser's corpse.
  • Weakened by the Light: Flashbang Grenades will stun Ganados for some range for a fair number of seconds and can kill Las Plagas instantly. Their light sensitivity is the reason why they don't start emerging from their Ganado hosts until night falls. This is somewhat averted by less stun time on other assailants besides Ganados, while very few bosses are barely stunned, if at all.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • The Plagas that hatch out of the various Ganados are difficult to deal with. However, once "popped", they can be killed instantly with a single flash grenade... yes, that's right, the otherwise harmless blue grenade you've probably been selling off for upgrades and beefier guns.
    • Your knife, the thing that has been with the Player Character since the game's start, doesn't occupy a single slot in the inventory, and has a dedicated button to use, will always remain as your best damage dealer, although hampered by the obviously short range, and the inability to cut through armor plating or hardened skin. When neither is present, you won't find anything more reliable to finish off your enemies, or even block many thrown weapons.
    • The final part of your fight with Krauser is a pretty tough boss fight... until you realize that your knife does about as much damage as a Magnum bullet and similarly causes him to stagger.
  • Western Terrorists: Leon is set against Los Illuminados, a Spanish cult who kidnapped the President's daughter Ashley for ransom, but simultaneously plan to use her to commit bioterrorism with the goal of world domination. They also have an entire militia with the intention of an armed invasion of the United States, complete with battleships. Leon explicitly calls them terrorists at one point.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The dog that Leon can help get out of a bear trap appears later to help him fight the first El Gigante, then after El Gigante is dead, the dog just vanishes without a trace and is never seen again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Just try looking up Ashley's skirt:
    Ashley: Oh, you pervert!
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • If you try to look up Ashley's skirt, she calls you a pervert. She will have the exact same reaction if you just get knocked down near her as well, apparently oblivious to the enemy who just knocked you down with a shield. Hilariously, she'll even have this reaction if Leon's severed head rolls between her legs.
    • During the Cabin segment in which you fight off Ganados with Luis, he will question you if you shoot him. Do so too many times and he'll kill you, resulting in a Game Over.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Salazar is listening into an ear trumpet, wondering about the lack of, rather than a kaboom, "the satisfying sound of one's impalement" after Leon gets dropped into a booby trap. Also toyed with a bit when he gets a kaboom when Leon, hanging from his belt-mounted grappling hook (amazing how often that thing comes into play!), shoots the other end of the trumpet and causes Salazar to flip his lid.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The game is set in an unspecified Spanish-speaking European country, and the developers say this was intentional. That said, Spain is the only major Spanish-speaking country in Europe, the currency is the peseta (the former Spanish currency before the Euro), and Luis tells you that he "used to be a cop in Madrid" (implying that Spain exists even if it’s not the setting).
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: In Chapter 3-2, you're faced with a Red Zealot standing on a balcony, who you then have to chase throughout the gallery... or, if you have the GameCube version, whip out your fully upgraded bolt-action rifle and boom, headshot. Not even the Infinite Rocket Launcher can kill this enemy. Alas, this was fixed in later versions, where the Red Zealot is invincible until you go up the stairs to start chasing him, although you can still take him out before he manages to man the Gatling gun.
  • Wolverine Claws: A variation on the Garrador (it's a longer blade than usual).
  • Would Hit a Girl: Leon, besides killing females opponents like the Bella Sisters, far-gone as they are, almost strangles Ada when the Plaga started taking control of his actions forcing Ada to stab him in self-defense.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Done half-heartedly with Ashley, the game's Damsel in Distress. While the player is escorting her, the mooks do not directly hit her or handle her the same way they would Leon when she is in their proximity. Instead, they give her a nice Over-the-Shoulder Carry to the closest loading zone door unless Leon can get her off their grasp. In the small section where the player does play as Ashley, it is played quite literally in that they do not hit you; rather, they just grab you by the neck, giving you a nice Neck Lift until you are strangled to a snap death while not striking you once. However, variations of enemies and even shield mooks do not hesitate to give her a nice beating until she dies. Ada gets no favors either.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: If certain enemies are on their knees, Leon can run up to them and perform a Northern Lights suplex. Quite effective, and generally prevents Plaga creation, which is handy. Sadly, Ashley has this move only in the GameCube version via a bug.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Saddler warns Leon that their showdown won't play out like it does in the Hollywood movies. Saddler ends up a smoking heap of flesh anyway, while Leon rides off into the sunrise to bring Ashley home safe and sound.
  • Wrong-Name Outburst: Leon constantly pronounces Luis' name as "Loo-iss" rather than the correct "Loo-eece."
  • Xanatos Gambit: Saddler, knowing that Krauser is untrustworthy, decides to pit him against Leon, knowing that regardless of what happens, one of the people who is a threat to him will be dead. However, this somewhat backfires, as Krauser survives, only to be Killed Off for Real by Ada.
  • Xenomorph Xerox: The Verdugo is a type of boss created by splicing humans and insects together, and is over eight feet tall; has razor-sharp claws; a long, segmented blade-tipped tail, and a biomechanical black exoskeleton. Scenes from its POV even emulate a reddish version of the fish-eye lens effect from Alien 3. On the other hand, its head design with segmented mandibles is more of reminiscent of a Predator.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Each "group" of enemies (villagers, cultists, soldiers) only has a handful of character models, with some just dressed a bit differently.
  • You Are Already Dead: Some Ganados continue walking a few feet after their heads are blown off before collapsing. Some of them can even grab the player despite being decapitated.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Leon and Salazar (and later, Saddler) trade quips back and forth every time they talk to each other. This gives us the exchange of:
    Salazar: I've sent my right hand to dispose of you.
    Leon: Your right hand comes off?
  • You Have Researched Breathing: You can buy reload speed upgrades. For certain weapons (like the Red 9 or Bolt-Action Rifle) this might make sense since these guns have somewhat complex reload mechanics; but for others like your standard pistol or the Semi-Auto Rifle, all this amounts to is your character being able to slip a magazine into the gun a bit more hastily.
  • You Monster!: After Mike's death, though it's a Curse Cut Short in text:
    Saddler: Oh, I'm sorry, Leon.
    Leon: Saddler, you bastard!
  • Younger Than They Look: Salazar has the skin of a man in his seventies, the voice of one in his late forties and the stature of a 12-year-old child, but claims to be twenty.
  • Your Head Asplode: From headshots, obviously (and a certain end-game upgrade makes this much easier to invoke). Also possible when you suplex or kick enemies. With a little bending of the rules, it can even be done with chicken eggs.
  • You're Insane!:
    Leon: You've lost it completely, Krauser.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Ashley gets recaptured three times after her first rescue. One of these instances leads to a very literal case when Leon reaches the final part of Salazar's castle looking for her, only for Salazar himself to tell him that Ashley was taken to the military island.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: One of Leon's early objectives is to find a church, where Ashley is being held prisoner. The church door is actually locked, however, and Leon has to go find a key. It's completely possible to avoid this entirely and go get the key immediately. When Leon reports to Hunnigan he's recovered it, she somewhat irritably asks him if he's even been to the church yet. Leon replies in a rather confused tone that he has, regardless of whether he had in that particular playthrough.
  • "You Used to Be Better" Speech: Leon has such thoughts when examining Krauser's corpse after his Boss Fight. Granted, Leon did not know the whole story, their partnership in The Darkside Chronicles gave him a decent impression of the guy:
    What happened to you, Krauser? You used to be one of the good guys...
  • Zerg Rush: The main, and indeed seemingly only, tactic of the Ganados. The Militia and the Los Illuminados (as well as the flying editions of Novistador insects) also engage in it, but will try to use other tactics, such as flanking and attacking up close while a few in the back pepper Leon and Ada with arrows.

"Where's everyone going? Bingo?"

 
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The Laser Hallway

As a nod to the scene from the Resident Evil movie, Resident Evil 4 contains a hallway full of lasers that Leon must dodge and avoid.

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