Just take a moment. Settle down. Close you’re eyes and cast you’re mind back to a simpler time. A time diminished in history by the expansive wonder of progression. When society was bereft of reliable Internet connectivity. Trolling was reserved to dungeons and dragons or forms of communication spoken under bridges. Back when the male of the species would forage for provisions, utilising crude implements and utensils forged from blunt stones and fabricated branches. When dinosaurs weren’t merely confined to theme parks (because the youth of today is so flippantly ignorant of time before they were born that dinosaurs literally wandered unmolested through the 90’s, despite the movie reference predating this particular year by 3 years!). Heroes like you’re own father endeavoured to decimate their child’s dreams and aspirations at a tender age, by initiating a illicit affair with their wife’s best friend. This was also a time of tremendous prosperity for the survival horror, with the defining ubiquity known as Resident Evil leading the way. It’s now largely redundant format, ridiculed for its photographic environments and Tommy Wiseau scripted dialogue was at the cutting edge of knicker drenching paranoia and fear. You had deserted mansions in the middle of a forest. Twisted scientific experiments resulting in the reanimation of the dead. Canines hurtling through windows for no other reason than to send you vaulting towards you’re ceiling like a terrified toddler. Dining on the fine dialogue nutrition of a Jill sandwich. 1996 was a tasty time indeed. Of course Capcom, Satan’s most astute minion that holds dominion over all things stupid adopted the popular notion that success, particularly the modern definition of success precipitates that anything lucrative must be as abused as a male escorts anus. So let us all place a firm back hand to the cheek (whichever you’d prefer) an authoritative flick on the nose and a resounding chorus of “No. Stop that! That’s a very bad game. Very bad game! Now sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done. And don’t you dare look at me!” to Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.
“The frustration of leaving the back door unlocked. I’ve been there pal.”
For me the series has maintained a gradual decline in quality, evidenced in the aberrations to the primary series such as Survivor and Outbreak. The rigorous frivolity of the farcical spin-offs are paraded in all their sequential disorder, delivered with all the distinguished principles of a Kardashian sibling. But Operation Raccoon City had so much potential. For me it was a great concept, poorly conceived. An anomaly with potential. Failing to capitalise on the series waning popularity by outsourcing it’s mangled corpse of a series to the gaming equivalent of a Taiwanese broom manufacturer (that’s more of a personal estimation, but you get the point). The game that failed to exploit it’s full potential of a corporate pharmaceutical company soliciting the aid of internal militia to silence any survivors of the Raccoon City incident. Or something like that? The idea of being the initial cleanup crew, encountering the failed mutations and waste experimentation’s is a novelty I would’ve enjoyed. But because you and you’re team a merely corporate mercenaries hired to contain the spread of a deadly pathogen there’s no conflict. Because their names are derivatives taking from the phonetic alphabet and the entire infantry are cloaked in protective gear, concealing their identities in the process you can’t differentiate between them! These aren’t people but weapons. Ballistics utilised to cull extensive militarised conflicts. So trying to introduce a story to characters that posses no discernible character, whose only differentiating characteristics are what weapons they specialise in is like inviting Theon Greyjoy to a brothel. Pointless!
And like a dog going back to its sick, the series just couldn’t resist refining (trampling) over its own narrative continuity with plot inventions. What should have been one of its more riveting conflicts was introducing characters from that period such as Claire Redfield, the Tyrant and Leon S (you can’t forget the “S”) Kennedy fleeing Umbrella crew in a “What if?” structure. The idea that you can actually kill one of the series main protagonists was a stroke of near genius. But it was so poorly executed that such a unique hypothetical scenario came across as almost arrogant, imparting a similar measured sensitivity to the idea of killing a beloved character, even one that wouldn’t of been considered canonical in the same way that Guy Richie depicted Sherlock Holmes. In fact it’s impossible to rationalise the arbitrary way in which it presented itself, evidenced in the way characters interacted, the way the game took critical narrative liberties, the players stilted capacity for mobility and the way it dealt with the franchise most defining incident: the contamination of Raccoon City. It’s more like the red wedding told from the perspective of a guard outside peering through a keyhole. And in the end just the elaboration of a bad liar.
What bad games have you played that wasted its potential? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.