The Scariest Resident Evil Scene Nobody Talks About

Resident Evil (GCN)
Picture: Capcom

It’s been 20 years to the day resident Evil launched on GameCube in Japan — can you believe it? The once-exclusive remake of the 1996 original has since achieved legendary status, with many fans declaring it the strongest entry in the franchise. I am okay; Yes, Resident Evil 4 is arguably more influential and really shaped the third person shooter genre, but in my opinion, resident Evil (you know what, let’s just call it REmake from now on) REmake is survival horror in its purest form. It has fixed camera angles, limited inventory space, door loading screens, and zombies. So many zombies.

If you were to ask anyone who’s played REmake what the scariest scene in the game is, chances are you’d hear the usual suspects: the first encounter with a zombie; the agonizing moan of Lisa Trevor echoing in the night; Neptune the shark stalking you in the Aqua Ring; dogs; the giant tarantulas.

For me though, the scariest scene came quite early in the game, and it’s one that isn’t usually mentioned in the larger conversation. As a 13-year-old boy playing REmake for the first time in 2002, however, it was a scene that stuck with me for days.

Resident Evil (switch)
Resident Evil (switch) (Picture: Capcom/Nintendo Life)

Now, the first thing I should clarify here is that the scene I’m going to talk about will play out very differently depending on which character you’re playing. As such, it can drastically affect how “scary” you perceive it to be. If you choose Jill ‘Sandwich’ Valentine, the cutscene plays and you just have to continue on your way. If you opt for Chris ‘Boulder-Puncher’ Redfield, however, the game will drop you into a tense gameplay encounter that will test both your nerves and your reflexes. I chose Chris for my first game, so naturally I had the hard part and finally more frightening scenario.

The scene in question occurs almost directly after you walk through a familiar L-shaped hallway; you know this one – the corridor. It’s here that the game throws its first major curveball by refraining from introducing the aforementioned zombie dogs. That alone is enough to strike fear into the hearts of Resident Evil veterans; what (thanks to reruns, of course) had become a scene of comforting familiarity was ripped out, instilling a deep sense of unease and anxiety. After all, you to know you’ll have to revisit the hallway a few times, so exactly when the dogs will finally make their entrance is completely up in the air. It levels the playing field for veterans and newcomers.

Resident Evil (switch)
Resident Evil (switch) (Picture: Capcom/Nintendo Life)

In the next hallway, a door leads to a small, unassuming bathroom with its own bathtub. In the original 1996 game and its “Director’s Cut”, this room was completely devoid of enemies, but housed a small key if you drained the tub of its “muddy” water. In REmake, following the same signal will net you a similar item and one of the game’s most vital collectibles – an Ancient Key.

During Chris’ campaign, collecting old keys is required to unlock certain doors, the closest of which leads to the Plant Chemical, a required key item. Unfortunately, to get said key, you’ll need to trigger a scene that, in my opinion, is the scariest in the entire game.

When inspecting a bathtub full of dirty water, the game prompts you to pull the plug. “Sure”you think, “the Homework be a hidden element in it”. You’d be right, of course, but as you watch the water trickle away, your reflection staring at you in deep contemplation, you’re interrupted by a rotting, stinky hand reaching into the air toward your face. As your character stumbles backwards, a zombie slowly emerges from the water, reaches out and groans with hunger.

The walking corpse falls out of the tub and onto the floor. It’s here that – if you’re playing as Jill – the cutscene depicts our favorite unlock master quickly stomping on the zombie’s head before, uh, bringing her lunch to the toilet bowl. It’s an abrupt ending to the nasty surprise and lets you grab the item (a dagger, in Jill’s scenario) and walk out of the room.

Resident Evil (switch)
Resident Evil (switch) (Picture: Capcom/Nintendo Life)

If you chose to play as Chris, the zombie will fall out of the tub and stand up, ending the cutscene and bringing you face to face with the corpse in perhaps the smallest room in the entire mansion. After 20 years, such an encounter offers little in terms of challenge, but in 2002 it quickly ended my game; I panicked, and while the most sensible option in this scenario was to just turn around and walk out of the room, my first encounter with this zombie had me frantically pressing every button I could on the GameCube controller in a desperate attempt to get a few shots. Needless to say, thanks to the cramped space, the zombie made its way and “You Are Dead” momentarily faded.

Like most encounters in REmake, there are plenty of routes you can take to easily dispatch the zombie and grab the hidden key. Taking him out of the room is the most viable option, and while the zombie follows you around (yes, that’s another addition to REmake that deserves its own discussion), you at least have a lot more room to maneuver. Alternatively, you can bypass the room completely for a while, maybe until you’ve bagged the shotgun.

Finally – and this is really for experienced players only – you can manipulate the zombie into grabbing nothing but air by carefully moving back and forth like live bait. Of course, this is an advanced technique and much more difficult in such a small space, but if you can manage it, it gives you an invaluable opportunity to get some pistol shots.

Resident Evil (switch)
Resident Evil (switch) (Picture: Capcom/Nintendo Life)

Still, this scene is just one of the many ways REmake played with our expectations. What was once a completely secure bathroom now plays host to one of the most nerve-wracking scenes in all of gaming. It’s proof that even after the classic trilogy and its sequel Code Veronicathe lowly common or garden zombie is still a formidable foe that can easily wipe you out if you let it.

And it’s without taking into account the Crimson Heads…

So here is. This is, in my opinion, the scariest scene in REmake. But what about you? Think there’s better wetter pants of a scene in the game? Could it be Yawn the snake? The first meeting with Hunter? Share yours with a comment below and join us in wishing REmake a very Happy 20th.