- Released: 03/22/1996 (Japan), 03/30/1996 (US), 08/01/1996 (PAL)
- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
Horror inspired games have taken many forms over the years. It’s hard to say what the earliest example of one is, but there were two that very notable influenced the creation of Bio Hazard/Resident Evil: Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark. The funny is that these games couldn’t have been more different.
Sweet Home was a Capcom developed and published RPG on the Famicom back in 1989, based on the psychological horror film of the same name from famed horror director Kurosawa Kiyoshi. It is sometimes argued that Sweet Home was in fact the originator of the survival horror genre, given the game’s heavy emphasis on the concept of survival. The idea is certainly arguable, but the traditional RPG trappings feel far too strong for this to have been what most consider to be a survival horror game. Its influence on Bio Hazard/Resident Evil is undeniable though: Opening door screens for transitions between areas (obviously this was used to cover load time in RE, but was likely just used for atmosphere in Sweet Home), a mansion setting, a heavy emphases on puzzles to progress, story telling through diaries and journal entries, a very limited inventory in which to manage items and just a general lack of fear of using a certain amount of gruesome and horrific imagery. That the original Bio Hazard/Resident Evil was originally planned as a sort of remake of Sweet Home should come as little surprise given all of this.
|The Cerberus dogs as portrayed in the opening cut scene…||It takes real effort in hair maintenance to look this good!|
Alone in the Dark’s influence, however, is a bit more of a surprise. The reason that it is such a surprise is that it was a completely western developed game. These days it is not uncommon for Japanese developers to take many queues from their western counterparts, however back then the Japanese were still leading cutting edge console game development and did not necessarily pay much attention to what was going on in the west. None the less, Alone in the Dark was unmistakably a factor in the creation of Bio Hazard/Resident Evil. It not only took place in a mansion, but also was a 3-D game using polygonal characters over pre-rendered backgrounds. It’s considered by many to be the first real survival horror game as we’ve come to know them today.