There is no denying that the Resident Evil video game series might be one of the most poplar video game franchises in the world. Since the release of the first game in 1996, almost thirty more games in the series have been released if you include remakes and the soon to be released remake of Resident Evil 2 (squeee!). The games in the franchise have been released on every major console since the PlayStation 1, some handhelds, and several of the titles have been released on the PC. Nine of the titles in the franchise are even playable through the Playstation Now game streaming service. Needless to say, this franchise is huge. So huge that green-lighting a movie based on the series was going to be inevitable.
And here is where things get a little hairy...
The movies, though they perform rather well at the box office, aren't exactly universally loved by fans of the game franchise. The movie content deviates greatly from the content of the games. While that might be disheartening for fans who wanted to see Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield making their way through a mansion crawling with zombies on the first film outing, perhaps the film franchises deviations are why the Resident Evil films seem to be one of the only truly successful film franchises based on a popular video game. The creative changes made in the movies make the film world almost unrecognizable when compared to the video game world. However, if you know your games and you look closely, you might notice they have more in common than you think.
Read carefully. There will be some spoilers in regards to the films.
15 Chopper Delta
At the beginning of the game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, we see a UBCS (Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service) helicopter in an opening cinematic scene. The designation given to the UBCS helicopter is "Chopper Delta."
In the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Carlos Olivera is being flown over Raccoon City by a helicopter. The designation given to this helicopter also just happens to be "Chopper Delta." Don't think this is just some coincidence. Tiny references to the games like this are seen all throughout the films.
Not only do the helicopters have the same designate, but Carlos Olivera is a character that appears in both the film franchise and in the games.
There are a few minor creatures and zombies that creep and crawl their way from the video game universe to the film universe, but some of the major "Big Bads" from the games have made their way into the films as well. Not necessarily in the same way or serving in the same capacity, but they are most certainly there.
The appearance of Nemesis from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse is probably one of the coolest nods to the game franchise because it was one of the first things in the film series to look like it was pulled directly from the game (outside of Cerberus). Nemesis in the films looks almost exactly like his video game counterpart.
Since the movies are so vastly different from the games, you tend to notice they don't necessarily sync up their film numbers with the game numbers. Nemesis from the third game is in the second Resident Evil movie. Tyrant here, originally showing up in the first game, doesn't make his appearance until the third movie.
Tyrants, simply put, are individuals infected with the T-Virus. Once infected, a rare number of the infected undergo a series of mutations along their path to becoming a hideously deformed super-soldier.
Though the Tyrant in Resident Evil: Extinction looks nearly identical to its video game counterpart, they differ in the fact that the Tyrant in the film retains his human personality and mental faculties.
12 The Lickers
When you walked into the second Resident Evil movie (Resident Evil: Apocalypse) and you were a fan of the games, you were probably a little skeptical that the film might be any good. You may have felt a little burned by the first film having very little to do with any of the games, so you were coming into the next film hoping something would change and put the movies on par with the games.
If this is what you hoped for, you probably remained disappointed in the films. If you were able to remove yourself from your love of the games, you may have found yourself getting a little giddy when the Lickers first appeared. It made many of us players pee ourselves a little when they first popped up as it was one of the first new elements we saw in the second game from the first.
We should also note that, once again, the film version of a creature looks almost identical to its video game counterpart.
11 Ada Versus Alice/Leon
In the game Resident Evil 4, Leon Kennedy is approached from behind by a gun wielding Ada Wong. A short fight commences that shows off some grapples and an impressive back-flip by Ada. The fight ends with Leon removing a knife from a sheath near his arm and putting it to Ada's throat. They then "talk it out."
In the film Resident Evil: Retribution, Ada approaches Alice with a gun exactly the same way. A very similarly choreographed fight ensues, complete with Ada performing an impressive back-flip. The fight also finishes with Alice unsheathing a knife (except she draws from a holster on her thigh) and putting it to Ada's throat.
In the video game universe, the Majini first appeared in Resident Evil 5. They were a bit more intelligent than their traditional zombie counterparts in the games. They are able to use tools, they can drive vehicles, and they are even able to communicate with one another. Their most discernible feature is their mutated second mouth that emerges from their more typical mouth.
A new mutation of zombie that looks exactly like the Majini are first seen in Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth film in the franchise. They aren't exactly like their video game counterparts in terms of intelligence and backstory, but we are seeing another near perfect copy as far as the physical depictions between the films and games are concerned.
9 Albert Wesker
As already stated, many fans of the Resident Evil game series do not care for the film franchise. At all. And they can be very vocal about this in some corners of the internet. Many feel like they weren't made for fans of the games and the movies themselves were so different they could have had a completely different name and be their own standalone franchise. A lot of this comes from the fact that Alice, the main character in the films, never appears in the games. The story surrounding her is completely made up for the films and this warps a lot of the mythology established in the games.
While our hero may not be from the games, one of the main villains from the game series serves as a main villain in the films. Wesker first appears in the third film (Extinction) all the way through to the The Last Chapter, the supposedly final film.
At times in the film series, Wesker has even worn the same outfits as the character in the video games. While he does wear identical clothing and more or less looks the same, there is a key difference between the two versions of the character. Wesker is a top ranking Umbrella researcher in the games, but he is the head of the Umbrella Corporation in the films.
8 Chris Redfield
Chris Redfield is a cool point of connection between the films and games because Chris Redfield helped start it all. Chris appeared in the very first game as one of our heroes that was forced into a creepy old mansion to take on the conniving Albert Wesker and hordes of zombies. He has appeared in subsequent games since the first outing.
Chris Redfield appears in the films but he isn't filling the role of one of the main protagonists. That honor went to Alice, a character made up entirely for the film franchise. Even though Chris appeared in the first game and the character is a fan favorite, he didn't make it into the films until the fourth installment (Resident Evil: Afterlife). In the film, Chris wears the same exact outfit the character wore in Resident Evil 5.
7 Jill Valentine
In addition to Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker, one more character of importance that should be mentioned as a great connection is Jill Valentine. Once again, this was a character that has been in the games since day one. In the original game, you could choose to play as Chris or Jill. Each option had some different items in their inventory and a slightly different skill set.
As mentioned, Jill is not the main protagonist in the series as that spot went to Alice Abernathy. However, Jill does show up in the film series a lot sooner than Chris Redfield, her counterpart from the original game. Jill's first outing is in the second film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Her outfit in the film is lifted directly from her outfit from the game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.
6 Alice's Eye?
While this is obviously not a direct connection between the games and the films, it is a cool connection nonetheless.
Near the end of the first Resident Evil film in the franchise there is a close-up shot of Alice's eye that is shot and framed in a way that it looks like a direct lift from the title screen of the original Resident Evil game. While a close-up shot of an eye is nothing new in film and doesn't seem like much, this was intentionally put into the film as a nod to the games.
Hey. If you perform the right mental gymnastics you might be able to convince yourself that this is an actual cameo by Alice in the games.
5 Vanishing Bodies and the Laser Room
The deadly laser hallway itself is seen in both the games and the films. This isn't that big of a deal as the idea of a hallway filled with deadly lasers that either dismember an intruder or set of an alarm is a rather common trope. However, the laser hallway scene in the first film directly connects to a concept seen in the first handful of games in the Resident Evil series:
When you re-enter a room, all the bodies of the enemies you've killed have disappeared.
It is common for bodies of slain enemies to disappear in a video game. The film directly addresses this when the characters double back to the laser hallway and all the fallen bodies have since disappeared. This was intentionally done as a nod to the disappearing bodies in the original games.
4 Two Against Wesker
There is another instance of almost identical fight choreography between the films and the games. This one is even more similar than the fight between Ada and Leon/Alice.
In the game Resident Evil 5, the characters Chris and Shiva approach Wesker at the same time. Wesker removes his shades and hurls them at his two opponents and a fight ensues.
In the film Resident Evil: Afterlife, Chris, only with Claire instead of Shiva, approaches Wesker in the same fashion. Wesker turns around and hurls his shades at his opponents. The shades twist and turn through the air in slow motion in an almost shot for shot remake of the same scene from the game. The fight that ensues is almost exactly the same, play by play.
The only real difference comes at the end of the fight. In the film, Wesker hurls Chris and Claire into giant glass test tubes to end the fight. In the game, he hurls Chris and Shiva over the railing of a raised platform.
At the start of the first game your main protagonists end up in the Spencer Mansion after being chased inside by blood-thirsty zombie dogs. If you simply turn around to leave through the front door, you are met with a cinematic of a Cerberus trying to make you his next meal. This makes things especially frightening when you first run across one during actual game play. Everyone who has played the first Resident Evil game can relate to this moment.
Cerberus is such a great connection between the games and films because he appears in the first movie. Outside of the fact that there are zombies and a mansion, there is no real similarities between the games and the first film. When you sat down in that theater to watch the first film for the first time, you're feeling a little disappointed that this isn't more like the games you love. Then you see your first Cerberus and it looks exactly like they do in the game. Cerberus was that one major thing that fans of the games could hold on to while watching the first flick.
2 James Marcus
If you haven't seen Resident Evil: The Last Chapter you may want to skip this connection as it contains a major spoiler.
In the video games, the T-virus is created by a man named James Marcus. In the games, his genetic experiments were highly unethical and didn't seem to be done with any kind of altruistic end-game in mind that could redeem these experiments in the future. It was always about power.
The Last Chapter finally addresses James Marcus as the creator of the T-virus, only this version of James is a bit different when it comes to his ethics. The T-virus was spawned out of his attempts to cure his dying daughter. It turns out that this daughter was named Alice. Alice Abernathy was actually Alice Marcus the whole time.
While this ends up giving Alice a rather strong tie to a major character from the games, it is highly unlikely we'll see an "Alice Marcus" running around in the game world.
1 The Spencer Mansion
It needs to be said that the Spencer Mansion might be one of the greatest settings in video game history. If you grew up during the rise of the first PlayStation, you probably played the first Resident Evil game over and over again. There's also a really good chance you've played the various remakes that came out in the years following the release of the original. It would have been a crime to not include the mansion in the first Resident Evil film. Had the mansion not been included in the films, things probably could have gone very differently for the franchise as it was one of the few things fans could recognize from the games.
The mansion in the films isn't exactly referred to as the Spencer Mansion. However, Alice and a man are pretending to be married and living in a decoy mansion as a front for the Umbrella Corporation. That man and the "owner" of said mansion is named Spencer.