Last year, Resident Evil celebrated its big 2-0. Two decades of Capcom’s seminal scare-em-up, my friends. Twenty years of Umbrella scientists toiling away like Doctor Frankenstein, locked away in dark basements with only fish heads, monkey scrotums and an array of horrifying and deadly viruses for company. It was never going to end well.
As franchise fans will know, Resident Evil is famed for its huge and varied selection of batcrap crazy enemies. The whole concept of biological weapon manufacture (and human experimentation) meant that Umbrella, and so the developers themselves, had carte blanche to create all kinds of hideous abominations. They took that ball and ran it to the end zone.
As with the in-game experiments themselves, the results have been mixed over the years. The series has brought us such iconic horrors as The Hunter, the reptilian creature whose speed, agility and slashing claws have been making Wolverine feel inadequate about his manhood since its introduction (in that FMV on your return from the residence in the original). Then there are such badasses as Tyrant, Nemesis and other ten-feet-tall man-freaks with axes to grind.
The sad fact is, though, some of the games’ enemies are just downright awful. Particularly since they branched out from the whole zombies thing, it’s all been a little unfocused. For all their clichéd flaws, we knew where we stood with zombies. They’d shuffle slowly and unsteadily towards us, like drunks who’d shat their pants. They’d moan about brains and try to chew on our faces. What’s not to like?
Suddenly, in the space of a few game releases, we’ve got giant mutated moths and plants on legs coming after us. I don’t know what the hell went wrong, but we might as well buckle up and take a look at The 20 Lamest Monsters In The Series.
20 The Ooze
Resident Evil Revelations was, in a lot of ways, a saving grace for the series. By the time of its release, a lot of fans were bitching furiously online about the state of the franchise, and they weren’t exactly wrong to do so. When did our beloved survival horror become a half-assed TPS, boasting more bullet-flying bravado than your average Schwarzenegger movie? I don’t know, Hypothetical Internet Forum Rager #1. I just don’t know.
What I do know is that Revelations was a step in the right direction, bringing some semblance of horror back. The one major slip up, I always thought, was that The Ooze were pretty crappy. Zombies in all but name (water-zombies, I like to call them), these moldy buggers only have the look-ma-no-face party trick going for them.
Now, if you remember seeing Quint being slowly chewed into spam in Jaws, you’ll know that sharks are not to be screwed with. As such, a boss battle against one the size of the Chrysler building had all the hallmarks of a bad-day-to-wear-white-underwear sort of bad time. My issue with Neptune wasn’t that the concept was lame, rather that the fight itself was as underwhelming as all hell.
The build up to it is all kinds of intense, as you haul ass through the aqua ring with Neptune and his sharky underlings biting at your heels. Sadly, it all culminates with you simply pushing a powerful electric doodad into the tank and switching it on. Sure, I get that the original game’s tank-tacular controls would’ve made any sort of legitimate fight a logistical nightmare, but still. Neptune was far too magnificent a creation for the old toaster-in-the-bathtub routine.
I think I speak for just about the entire human race when I say: bugs are assholes. Take spiders, for instance. These dudes cruise on into our homes with an air of ‘hey there, check me out with my eight legs and eight eyes. I’m like a boastful rapper, only with a needless excess of appendages instead of cash and hoes.' It’s all about attainment with spiders, trust me.
Then you’ve got mosquitos, biting you in the tastiest, most infuriatingly itchy parts. Still though, it could be worse. There could be swarms of Novistadors doing the rounds. These damn things infest certain select areas of Resident Evil 4, huge man-sized grasshoppers that spit acid and fly unpredictably to waste your ammo. That wasn’t enough of a middle finger to our hopes and dreams on Capcom’s part, though, so they also gave them the ability to turn invisible (hence Novistador, ‘unseen’).
These things are every possible kind of lame known to man, plus a couple new ones that science hadn’t even discovered yet.
17 Big Man Majini
Resident Evil, as we know, isn’t really one for ambiguity in its enemy names. A mutated zombie-freak with a signature protruding tongue? That’ll be ‘Licker.’ A horrifying clawed super-undead with a red face who sprints after you faster than Usain Bolt with the squits? That’d be ‘crimson head.’ Some of them may have fancy Spanish names, like the last entry, but it’s generally very much a say-what-you-see sort of affair when it comes to naming these things.
The lamest example? Big Man Majini. This Resident Evil 5 enemy type is just a big dude. Nothing particularly freakish or zombie-looking looking about him, that’s all there is to it. Step back, mutated nasties; you haven’t known true fear until Umbrella unleash their real secret weapon: a muscly guy in his underwear.
16 Plant 42
There’s something about Plant 42 that’s just never sat quite right with me. However hard I try, I just can’t get on board with the fact that I’m fighting grandma’s overgrown, evil prized magnolias. A plant? As a boss? Not in my damn lifetime. Get out of here with that crazy talk, Capcom.
I did quite like the mechanics at work here. By solving the puzzle with the different chemicals prior to the fight, you could whip up a powerful herbicide to deal with this thing. Still, it wasn’t much of a fight either way, as you could make super quick work of Plant 42 with the grenade launcher. I just found the whole thing so bland, from its design to its hentai style tentacle-flailing attacks.
15 The Ganados
As we’ve said, Resident Evil hasn’t quite known what to do with itself since it decided to (by and large) leave zombies behind. They’ve mostly just gone with a range of different copout definitely-not-zombies-hell-no-you’d-be-crazy-to-think-that enemy types. The fourth game marked the first real departure and introduced the Ganados.
Here, Leon came up against his most formidable enemies yet: beardy farmers and housewives. The game begins in a small village in Europe, whose residents have been infected by the Plaga parasite. The difference between them and the usual undead was that the Ganados kept their intelligence for the most part; they could use weapons, lay traps and plan ambushes.
This is all well and good, but angry yokels just don’t scream ‘Resident Evil’ to me.
Yawn has earned itself a place on the Hall of Lame list for a couple reasons. First and foremost, the super-sized serpent will forever be associated with some of the most ball-achingly awful dialogue in the series (“It was a huge snake… and also… POISONOUS! OUUUUUCH!”). That particular line made me want to punch my own ears in the face and it’s all your fault Yawn. Go and sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.
Secondly, this guy appears as the final boss of the DS port’s Master of Knifing minigame and it’s pure awful. If you’re not slashing at its weak spot, your blade will ricochet off of its body with a metallic sound effect, as though its made of solid steel. It’s as ridiculous as it is hilarious, and I award Yawn 10 lames out of lame for its general existence as a result.
A true Resident Evil icon, those freaking zombie dogs have appeared --in a range of guises-- in just about every game in the series. Not to mention the movies; remember that time Alice kicked one right in the damn face in Matrix-esque slow mo? Good times, my friends. Good times.
For just about as long as there have been zombies, there have been zombified dogs. For as long as said dogs have existed, they have been raging assholes. I didn’t appreciate that moment they came barrelling through the windows back in the first game (my bladder sure didn’t either) and I’ve hated these things since. While they can’t take much punishment, their quick movements weren’t great for the early games’ cumbersome aiming. As such, these things spent more time chewing on my gonads than they did eating the sweet, sweet buckshot they so richly deserved. Lame with a capital lame.
12 Ramon Salazar
The egotistical castellan himself. From the moment you arrive in the castle, this tiny walking Napoleon complex is there, spouting utter BS and always calling you by your middle name (Scott, as in Leon Scott Kennedy), though there’s no reasonable way he could actually know it. These are the mysteries of guys who spend their days surveying empty rooms from above, just in case an enemy walks in who they can smack talk from on high. It’s all about the ego.
Further, it’s no surprise that the most cretinous character in the game becomes one of the most hateful bosses. This guy and one of his servants transform themselves into some kind of huge armored crab’s vagina, which periodically (unfortunate choice of words) fires out a set of jaws which one-hit kill you if they connect. Screw you, Salazar.
When series prequel Resident Evil Zero hit the GameCube in 2002, it had the benefit of seven years’ worth of hindsight. Seven years of development since the original game had taught Zero a few things about where the series was going and what Resident Evil was into these days. Primarily, its penchant for bringing us mutated versions of every damn animal ever, however completely impractical.
By this point, we’d seen undead lions, bats and an elephant, so where to go from there? A gigantic freaking scorpion on a train carriage, that’s where. I don’t know if someone at Capcom was just stopping on a random page of their child’s Baby’s First Cutesy Animal Book and animating whatever they found there, but what the hell? As biological weapons go, this was a super sucky idea.
10 Chainsaw Majini
In more recent releases, the chainsaw has become a Resident Evil staple. I’m definitely on board with that decision, what with it being an iconic slasher movie weapon and all. Since the game’s enemies became able to actually use their brains, they’ve been going all leatherface on our butts. I can respect that.
The sad fact is, though, as is the case with a lot of things in horror, the impact diminishes the second time around. Jump scares don’t really get you twice and so the Chainsaw Majini just seemed lazy after the much cooler and infinitely more fashionable ‘Baghead’ from the previous title. This guy, by contrast, just seemed like a quick and cheap ‘chainsaws are cool, so let’s shoehorn in this Scarecrow-looking dude’ sort of deal.
Generally, the Ganados came in three basic shapes: Farmguy/gal, Zealotguy/gal and Armyguy/gal. They may have had different weapons and such, but the design was pretty well the same. For Resident Evil 5, though, the Majinis went utterly batcrap crazy, trying just a little too hard to look all freakish and mutate-y.
The ultimate evolution of this idea was Duvalia. This is what happens when the extras forget their place, think they’re the stars of the show and ham it up. These things are just dudes who have turned themselves inside out, desperate for their couple seconds in the spotlight. ‘Look, ma, I’m in Resident Evil 5! I’m not an embarrassing failure who’ll never amount to anything after all,’ howls Anonymous Duvalia #482, voice muffled because he’s now speaking through his anus or something, seconds before Chris Redfield ends his miserable inside-on-the-outside existence with a quick magnum round.
8 Oven Man
Damn you, Oven Man. Damn you to hell.
The controversial Resident Evil 4 is a lot of things. It’s the game that altered the course of Evil history forever. It’s critically acclaimed, one of the best-received video games of all time. What it isn’t, generally, is all that horror-orientated.
Survival horror is a loose term to describe the game. Loose enough to damn well drop right off and roll under the kitchen counter, frankly. I can count the number of true jump scares in the game on one finger: Oven Man.
Late in the game, on the Island, you’ll come across a typically crap-stained kitchen. If you stray in there, an enemy will suddenly erupt from the oven ablaze and charge at you. What was he doing in there? I’ve no clue. Did he taste like chicken? Probably. Did my head go right through the ceiling the first time this happened? Oh yes. Oven Man, I pronounce you husband and lame.
Resident Evil Zero, as we know, is the series prequel. It was GameCube exclusive for some time and sets out to explain how the events of the original game came to pass. It shows how Rebecca Chambers came to be in the mansion in Chris’s scenario, what started off the Arklay Mountains outbreak, all of that good stuff. It also features leeches. Many, many leeches. Too damn many, I’d venture to say.
These squishy little horrors exist solely to suck blood. They’re just mouths on legs, without the legs. In the game, James Marcus used leeches to create the t-Virus by experimenting on their DNA. I guess this makes some kind of practical sense, but a horde of leeches squelching their way towards you just screams lame to me.
Yes indeed my friends. It’s Verdugo, Salazar’s right hand man and full-time douche-amundo. This guy appears just as the castle portion of the game is coming to an end and serves as one final middle finger to the player before the Salazar fight itself.
Man, this setpiece sucked. The Verdugo fight serves as a classic ‘being hunted around a cramped area by something that makes Satan look like a chihuahua’ Resident Evil moment and can be a real pain if you don’t cheese it with the liquid nitrogen/rocket launcher trick. There are also QTEs out the wazzoo during this scene, as you dodge Verdugo’s attacks from the ceiling. It’s an all-round super lame bad time. At least he deigns to drop a pretty sweet treasure on death.
5 Crimson Heads
The GameCube remake of the original title was, whichever way you slice it, amazing. Today’s lazy developers, thrusting HD ‘remasters’ through the game-o-matic every other day, should take note. This is how remakes should be done.
One particular mechanic that REmake added can be quite divisive, though. The first time you see a Crimson Head rise from its redeath and come barrelling after you is about as tense as it gets, granted. After that, though, the novelty wears off and they’re little more than a pain in the ass. I could be wrong, of course; many players loved the burn-the-bodies-lest-they-come-back-much-worse-later concept. It’s just a little wearing in a game with so much backtracking to do (which was the whole point, I get that), and makes things just a bit harder on your limited resources.
4 Super Salvador
Now, according to the game’s lore, baghead’s official name is Dr. Salvador. He comes in two flavors: the standard one you encounter in the main game and the holy-hell-where-did-this-enormous-SOB-come-from-it’s-like-godzilla-with-a-chainsaw-which-is-a-concept-I-find-both-arousing-and-terrifying version you encounter in the Mercenaries minigame. Let’s meet the beast that fans know as Super Salvador.
Two of these buggers spawn on the Waterworld map, the resident miniboss of the stage. They’re huge, they’re fast, they’re damn resilient and they wield a fancy dual-bladed chainsaw made from two chainsaws fused together (because sometimes, a single chainsaw just isn’t enough chainsaw). Now, read that last sentence again, and tell me if any part of it sounds like a good time. No part, you say? You’re damn right. Super Salvador swings his weapon wildly, ensuring your insta-death if you approach as close as the same freaking zip code as him. Lame.
3 Giant Moth
By this point, I think the scientists over at Umbrella corp were just having a bit of a laugh. You can imagine them in the lab, gigging away like Beavis and Butthead, plotting making a 50ft mutated caterpillar ‘just because, you know, it’d be cool.’ If you want biological weapons, why not make a Tyrannosaurus that fires a thousand nukes from its mouth whenever it roars? Something practical like that. Why a moth?
Resident Evil 2, more than most of the early titles, is known for getting a little whack with its enemy designs. Hence this thing, nesting down there in the computer room. Moths suck; only being good for leaving those weird dusty trails on clean surfaces as they die of their own failure.
2 The Molded
The new boys in town, these guys are the main enemies the player encounters in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Like Ganados, Majinis and J’avo before them, these guys are not-zombies, in the sense that they most certainly are not zombies. Not in any way, shape or form. Absolutely not. Capcom want you to understand that this is a zombie free zone.
If you’ve played the latest, you’ll know that it does some very, very intense things with its human enemies. The family, that early encounter with your wife… it’s quite heavy stuff. With that in mind, it’s just a shame that the title’s signature ‘monsters’ are a little on the generic side. I guess this is always the way, but it’s just a little gripe of mine.
Finally, hands down the worst enemy design in the entire series. It’s Grandma’s Begonias Jr. Remember the triffids, those bizarre and unexplained venomous plants from The Day of the Triffids? Maybe you’re a fan of them. On the other hand, maybe you aren’t crazy. I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to tell you that walking plants shuffling around on their weird little plant-legs is ridiculous, wrong, and ridiculously wrong.
Thanks to a quick dose of the t-Virus, these things are now mobile. There’s also a venomous variant, Poison Ivy, which has a much better sense of style with its swaggy red and purple color scheme. They both suck, though, so there’s very little to choose between them. Resident Evil Survivor kind of sucked too, probably because these things were in it.