Sunday, June 2

How Resident Evil made the most deadly mansion in gaming feel like home

The Spencer Mansion is the creepy mansion from the first Resident Evil game and a location iconic to the series. During both the 1998 original and the 2002 remake this mansion will slowly unlock as you start to uncover the dark truth behind it. For most of this article, I'm going to refer to the Remake as it's the most up-to-date and I imagine played version. Despite that, a large deal of what I have to say does also apply to the original incarnation of this Residence of Evil.

So as the game begins you're trapped with the majority of the doors locked, even more so if you're playing as Chris as he lacks Jill's mastery with a lock pick. I like to think of this game as having 4 main chapters. You start with the Mansion section which is when you will spend the largest amount of time in the mansion itself. After this, you move on to the Courtyard and Residence which ends with you taking on a giant killer plant and obtaining the final key for the mansion. Then you return to the mansion in order to find a battery and finish off the giant Snake that nearly killed you earlier. While you only unlock 3 doors and explore 3 more rooms you do get to briefly return to the now familiar feeling mansion. From here you make your way underground, kill a giant Spider and find the key to the hidden lab. To use this key you need to return to the main hallway of the Mansion and unlock the door behind the stairs. From here it's down to the Lab before you escape and watch the entire estate explode from the safety of the helicopter.

That is a very condensed rundown of the Resident Evil Remake and one thing that you may have noticed is that you are always returning to the mansion. By the time you're ready to go to the lab this deadly mansion feels like the most comfortable place in the game. This is because from the moment you start playing until you're ready to take on the lab you are always wandering its hallways. This is something I felt was missing from classic Resident Evil 2. Once you finished with the police station you moved on to the sewers, and then the lab. You never returned to the police station and as such, it felt like just another location to survive instead of a place that slowly started to feel comfortable. Resident Evil 3 was even worse for this rushing you from area to area across Raccoon City. By the time we got to Resident Evil 4 this idea of one central location was gone. That is until Resident Evil 7 and the remake of Resident Evil 2.

Both the Baker Estate and REmake 2's Police Station act in a very similar way to Resident Evil 1's mansion. I love this series' return to the original game's style and unique way of making such dangerous places feel like home. The Spencer Mansion itself will always be special just because in one form or another it's always been with me since I was a kid. I do love that others can now feel this way about the RPD Station or the Baker's twisted estate. These games take some of the most dangerous places and make them feel like home and that's a real talent in my opinion.

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