Maximum, Resident Evil
Let’s begin with a cover that celebrates one of the most iconic moments in the entire Resident Evil series. It’s from the cutscene that plays when you encounter your very first zombie. The hideous creature is distracted from its meal of human flesh, and slowly turns to show the camera its rotting features. You probably remember it well if you’ve played the original Resident Evil. I know I do. I remember it well enough to realise that the image on this cover isn’t taken directly from that cutscene. It’s the same scene, the same zombie in a pose that screams “hey, buddy, keep it down, I’m tryna eat here,” but it’s a completely different CG model. Unless Capcom were handing out unseen concept art to magazine for promotional reasons, that means that someone at Maximum went to the trouble of recreating this famous zombie just for this cover. That’s a level of dedication to the Resident Evil games that I can definitely appreciate, and it’s a good enough model to pass undetected at a glance. When you compare the two zombies side by side, however, the differences become apparent. The one on this cover has no ears, for starters. The big difference is the eye, though. In the game, the zombie has a beady yet inquisitive eye sunk deep into its mouldering eye socket. This zombie’s eye appears to have been accidentally connected to a bicycle pump.
Game Informer, Resident Evil
The first zombie returns on this cover, expect this time he’s a drawing rather than a CG model. I really like the milky white eyes it has here, I reckon they’re even creepier than on the original. As for the rest of the cover, it’s mostly taken up by official art of the STARS members you’ll encounter in the game. I’d like to take this opportunity to say how much I like the STARS acronym, because “Special Tactics and Rescue Service” really does sound like the name of a police branch that might conceivably exist. The only problem with it is that it’s usually the members of STARS who need rescuing.
Gamers, Resident Evil
Blimey, that zombie doesn’t half get around. However, this time he’s fuzzily shoved into the background so we can focus on the real stars: these trace jobs of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. I say “trace” but that’s not quite right. The drawing of Chris is definitely a copy of the game’s US cover art, but I’m not sure where that Jill is from originally. They’re not bad drawings, though. Certainly better than I could manage, and I know that for a fact because when the first Resident Evil came out I did little else but draw pictures of Jill and Chris.And Wesker. Okay, mostly Wesker. The most notable thing about this drawing is Chris’ especially veiny forearms, especially when you consider this is from long before the musclebound, boulder-clobbering version of Chris we got from Resident Evil 5 onwards. My theory is that his arms look like that due the sheer amount of elbow grease he must have used to polish his gun so much it glows.
Game-X, Resident Evil
Now we’re talking. Chris drops into an extremely uncomfortable-looking combat squat as he shoots near – but not at - a zombie, while Jill is so shocked by the attacking mutant dog that she reflexively throws a karate chop at it. Of course, the real star of this cover is the zombie, who has become overwhelmed with ennui. It is “so done” with this allegedly elite police unit’s antics, as the youth might say. You know how sometimes you look at a character and you can hear the voice they should have in your head? Yeah, there’s no way that zombie doesn’t have a slightly camp British accent. I’m imagining a cross between Kenneth Williams and Boni from The Trap Door saying “oh, the humanity!”
Official UK Playstation Magazine, Resident Evil
Hang on, that’s not Resident Evil. That’s a Deadite from the first Evil Dead movie! See?
Okay, glad we got that settled. Now I’ll look forward to the inevitable Resident Evil Dead crossover event. You might think Ash wouldn’t make for a good fit with the well-trained special forces police unit that is STARS, and you’d probably be right. However, I guarantee Ash would have figured out that Wesker was evil as soon as he saw him mysteriously disappear while wearing an all-black outfit and indoor sunglasses.
Computer and Video Games, Resident Evil 2
Maybe I should have included some kind of gore warning before starting this article. Mind you, it’s about Resident Evil so I imagine anyone reading this would have been expecting gore. Not so in 1998, when this issue of CVG was released – as I recall, the magazine received some complaints from people who didn’t want to see a rotting corpse with exposed brain matter hanging out of a body bag while they were browsing in WH Smiths. Personally, I think it pairs up rather nicely with the festive sprig of holly adorning the CVG logo.
I actually had this issue as a kid, and even if I hadn’t already been incredibly excited for Resident Evil 2 after playing the first game, this artwork would have definitely drawn me in because I was kind of a morbid kid and I’ve always thought this image finds that perfect balance between revulsion and fascination. If you’ve ever seen people talking about how they used to see horror movies at the video rental place and their covers were so horrifying yet fascinating that the actual movie could never live up to the promise of the artwork, then for me this is the videogaming equivalent. Except that Resident Evil 2 did live up to my expectations, much to my teenage relief.
Hyper, Resident Evil 2
Another cover that’s little more than a truly disgusting zombie, and what an excellent drawing it is too. There’s just a hint of sadness in its eyes to offset the sloughing flesh and necrotic skin, although I think the worst part about it is the nose-hole. I don’t know why that should seem more unsettling to me than the rest of the zombie, but the gaping sinus is definitely making this cover quite hard to look at… until you look a little further down and there’s Yoshi, offering an oasis of cuteness at which you can take a mental rest and compose yourself. Then you look back up and see Gex 3D being referred to as “the king of the PSX platforms” and suddenly you’re cast back down into a mire of disgust and misery.
EGM, Resident Evil 2
Is it just me or do the heroes of Resident Evil 2 look like porcelain figurines on this cover? I think it’s a combination of the skinny arms and their smooth, pale faces. In a different, better universe, this is the kind of thing you see advertised on the back of a newspaper’s Sunday supplement. “For the low price of £99.99, you can be the owner of the exquisite, limited edition “Raccoon City Nightmare” porcelain diorama. Once this finely-detailed creation is “resident” in your home, you’ll be the envy of your friends and neighbours! £35 p&p, payments in monthly instalments available, no refunds.”
It’s that licker I feel sorry for, though. It's clearly trying to give Claire a hug, but her look of disgust has stopped it in its slime-drenched tracks. We’ve all been there, buddy.
Total Play, Resident Evil 2
You know, I bet there were a lot of Resident Evil 2 fans out there who really did want more of a focus on Leon’s backside. Well, this magazine cover is the one for you, then. I feel like it’d also work as the cover for the lo-fi dreampop album that Leon and Claire have been working on as a duo that plays up the "are-they-aren't-they" nature of their relationship.
Official Australian Playstation Magazine, Resident Evil 2
“Don’t miss,” says the cover. I have some other suggestions for “don’ts.” Don’t close your eyes while you’re firing your gun, Leon. Don’t tie your holster to your left leg so tightly that it cuts off circulation to your foot. Don’t ask Claire why she thought red denim cut-offs and cycling shorts were a good look because she’s got a knife in her hand and her facial expression suggests she’s not afraid to use it.
Official US Playstation Magazine, Resident Evil 2
Bloody typical, one of the covers I was most interested in taking a close look at and it’s the one I can’t find at a decent resolution. That might be for the best, however, because these zombies look deeply unpleasant. The one at the back especially. Don’t let his jaunty hat fool you, he has the look of a zombie that’s gone beyond “undead” and into “physical manifestation of the concept of disease” territory. It took me a while to figure out what memory was tickling my brain while I looked at this zombie, but eventually I realised it reminds me of the Hellraiser comic books, and even for the Resident Evil series that feels a bit much in terms of raw horror. In fact, these magazine covers being more grisly and disturbing than the RE games themselves has been something of a theme here, huh? If you’re worried it’s all going to get a bit much for you, just take a look at the face of that zombie between Leon’s legs. He’s got absolutely no idea what’s going on, does he?
Great Dragon, Resident Evil 2
You know earlier when I said I spend a lot of my youth drawing Resident Evil characters? What I didn’t know is that one of my drawings had been picked up and used on the cover of a Russian games magazine! I’m kidding, of course. My drawings were both substantially worse than this one and also contained more gore. I mean, what’s the point of drawing fanart of a series where someone gets pecked to death by crows if there aren’t crows ripping out eyeballs in every subsequent picture?
I’m not sure about Claire’s face, though. You might expect her to look scared or intense, but instead she just seems really, really sad, like she’s just remembered that scene from Up.
PSM, Resident Evil 3
“The monster’s behind me, isn’t it?”
You know, I never realised just how many belts the Nemesis has on its arm. Angling for a role in an upcoming Final Fantasy game, are we? As for the artwork itself, yeah, I think it’s pretty good. It’s not the artist’s fault that I don’t like the makeover Capcom gave Jill for Resident Evil 3. If you want to imagine I’m using the most stereotypical, extreme nerd voice possible while I say this then go ahead, but are we meant to believe that Jill, a highly trained combatant with both police and military experience, would wear a leather miniskirt during her attempt to escape a city full of zombies? Ahem, ahem, I think not. The very concept is laughable! She doesn’t even have her combat beret!
Computer and Video Games, Resident Evil 3
There’s not much to say about the artwork here, what with it just being a couple of renders from the game, so instead I’ll draw your attention to that headline. “The only reason to fill your pants,” huh? I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you there. I know the intention was to communicate that Resident Evil 3 is so terrifying it’ll make you lose control of your bowels, but that’s not how it comes across. It might just be me, but it sounds like your saying the only way to play Resident Evil 3 is is to intentionally soil yourself. Once you’ve done that, a Capcom representative arrives, presumably performs some kind of underwear check and then gives you a copy of the game.
Playstation Power, Resident Evil 3
Looking at this cover, I can only think of this scene from Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
Super Gamepower, Resident Evil 3
Much like that RE2 cover with Yoshi, this one has the rather entertaining contrast between the dark, menacing (and really well drawn, in my opinion) Resident Evil parts and a cuddly Pikachu toy exploding out of a starburst. Clearly, they represent the angel and devil of Jill’s conscience. Pikachu says “pika pika, you should burn down this orphanage, Jill!” and the Nemesis says, well, it says “STAAARRRSS,” but you can tell it also wants you to burn down the orphanage.
N64 Magazine, Resident Evil 0
“’Cause this is thriller, thriller night, and no-one’s going to save you from a zombie on a train.”
Hang on, how are those zombie even standing up atop a moving train? Have they got magnetic boots? Is that it? Do Umbrella make magnetic boots for zombies now? It might sound like a stupid idea but let’s not forget Umbrella once tried to make a great white shark into a remorseless killing machine, having a) sorely misunderstood what a great white shark is and b) grossly overestimated the usefulness of an undead shark. Magnetic zombie boots don’t seem so ridiculous in that context.
Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine, Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Again, there’s not much say about this one other than I really like the picture of Claire in Power Stone’s art style and I thought you might like to see it too.
Fun Generation, Resident Evil
This one is just weird. It’s one of Resident Evil’s part-human part-fly Chimera monsters posing with some of Tekken 2’s female characters for a swimsuit photoshoot? I think? Whoever put this cover together went to the effort of making it look like the Chimera has its arms (well, appendages) draped around the bikini-clad ladies so obviously your first thought is going to be that the person responsible has some weird sexual hang-ups. Look, I’ve been on the internet for a long time, and these kinds of image are almost always about someone’s weird sexual hang-ups. However, I’m going to save you all from thinking about this by pointing out that hey, there’s nothing in Resident Evil that says the Chimeras are male. With that in mind, let’s assume that this monster is actually one of the girls, and they’re all hanging out together and having a great time during their beach holiday.
ToyFare, Resident Evil toys
Finally for today, an image that invokes nothing but jealousy in me because it means someone once got paid for posing their Resident Evil toys to look like they’re having a battle. If only I’d known that was a viable career option as a kid. I could have made a fortune by now.