Retro Comparison: Resident Evil 1 Vs. Resident Evil 2

Retro-Comparison-Resident-EvilThe Resident Evil series is one of the most iconic franchises to hit store shelves during the emergence of 3D gaming consoles during the 1990’s. It was marketed to older gamers which was definitely a newer concept for console gaming. After the original Resident Evil made its mark on the industry, the announcement of the sequel created a huge buzz that only certain games of the era would attain. Resident Evil 2 did not disappoint, but it was definitely different than the original. For one, the protagonist started the game in the city with waves of zombies already attacking. Being able to play the game four different ways was also a new concept. But there is one question that I have not seen anyone truly answer: Is Resident Evil 2 as scary as the original Resident evil?

This question is not easy to answer. So I came up with some criteria that each game must meet. First was how each game was presented, including visuals and overall eeriness of both games. Second, I focused on how hard each game was by comparing controls and the amount of resources provided. Mainly, I wanted to stick to these two criteria to keep things short. (Please note that I am comparing the Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast versions of each game.)

Returning to the Spencer Mansion & Raccoon City

I popped in the original Resident Evil and right away I could feel those old memories coming back. The music is as eerie as it gets. Even today, the game is quite terrifying. The presentation of the old mansion coupled with the frightening music makes for an amazing horror game. The mansion is ugly. Even the room where the dogs jump through the windows creates that feeling of, “I don’t want to be here.” Lastly, the Hunter is probably the most terrifying monster in either of the games and the mansion is eventually full of them. The Sega Saturn version has a new enemy labeled the “tick,” which is a variation of the Hunter and adds to the tension of the game. Overall, the mansion setting creates the amazing horror element that made the game so great. It is that feeling of being alone with no way of getting out.


The original Resident Evil won hands down against its successor when it came to the amount of resources and overall difficulty of the game...

The presentation of Resident Evil 2 is not quite as scary but still has its horror elements. The music fits the police precinct quite well in the beginning. At first, it is hard to distinguish the sounds of the police station with the sounds of the music. One thing that makes the sequel of the game unique is the sound effects. Many of the doors are now steel, not all of the floors creak, and although the environment is still quite unsettling, it is not as creepy as the mansion in the first game. This may be an over analyzation, but the steel doors create an echoing sound which makes the rooms feel more open and less claustrophobic. This relieves some of the tension of moving around areas.

A more terrifying aspect of the second game is the fact that the protagonist runs into tougher enemies earlier in the game. Also during the second part of the storyline your character is plagued by the presence of the Tyrant, who seems to keep right on your tail. So while the presentation of the environments is not as scary as the first game, the addition of an enemy who is waiting to attack whenever possible is definitely frightening.

I played as Jill in the first game as she starts out with a gun right away. One aspect that made the game difficult was how fast her health drains. A few bites from a zombie and the game may end quicker than expected. Resources are pretty limited in this game but the player is provided enough to make it through. This is one of the scarier aspects of the game especially if resource management is not a player’s strongest attribute. One of the most important things this game forces the gamer to do is to search the corner of every room to make sure they have enough ink ribbons to be able to save before the end boss. When I ended the game I had just enough herbs to beat the Tyrant which proves that it is possible to get stuck towards the end if too many resources are used.


Resources are not hard to come by in Resident Evil 2. The player is given three ink ribbons at every typewriter so saving the game is not a problem. The first game only gives a stash of 2 ink ribbons whenever they are found. I believe I had around 13 ink ribbons before I had left the police station. That was more than enough to complete the rest of the game. Weapons and ammo are also way more common to find it this game. Resource management is still important, but this game is definitely more action orientated. The controls are more responsive and the Dreamcast pad works fine. One reason why this game is much easier and less scary is the addition of auto aim. When the trigger is pressed the character aims at the enemies automatically even if they are off screen. The original game lacked this function which actually made the first game extremely difficult.


Overall, it is clear that the first game is much scarier due to the eerier environments, tiny amount of resources, and lack of the auto aim feature. Resident evil 2 definitely feels a lot more action orientated. The horror elements are still there, but I completed both versions of the story fairly quickly. This first game took a lot more time to complete. What I have learned from writing this dual review is that both games are really fun but the original is a heck of a lot scarier!

Last Updated ( 13 May 2016 )  


(Link to this comment) Pnutbean 2016-05-17 19:22
Resi 2 is a better game. As much as 1 is a classic, 2 just gets it right. It pacing, weapons and the scenarios. Its the gift that keeps on giving.

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