Ever since its original release back in 1996, Resident Evil has been one of gaming’s staple franchises when it comes to survival horror. There is a mix of ingredients that have made the series endure over such a long period of time, and arguably one of the most important aspects that have contributed to this are the numerous iconic monsters throughout the series’ history. While there are a fair share of duds (looking at you, Eliminators), I think it’s safe to say that a vast majority of them have been part of someone’s nightmares. With that said, here are a few that have contributed to some of mine.
7 – Zombies
These days, zombies are considered as a bit of a tired trope throughout most forms of media, so it’s no small feat that, somehow, Resident Evil 2 Remake managed to make them scary again in 2019. These things are just disgusting to look at, and it’s hard to fight off the feeling of panic you get when you headshot a zombie three times and the damn thing still won’t die. The series has a penchant for getting these monsters right ever since the first entry, and I’m pleased to say that they’ve still got it to this day.
6 – Regenerators
Try shooting these things without an infrared scope and, unless you’ve got some good luck, you’re toast. As the name implies, these things regenerate no matter how many times you shoot them, unless you can pinpoint their weak spots with the aforementioned infrared scope. After the relative thrill ride that Resident Evil 4 offers, the Regenerator serves as a shocking contrast to the barrage of Ganados and El Gigantes that the rest of the game has to offer. Hearing the horrible noises these creatures make for the first time in the cold storage area is sure to send a literal shiver down your spine.
5 – Lickers
Don’t. Make. A. Single. Sound. Lickers are creatures that, despite not having any eyes due to having a literal brain for a head with a mouth holding a freakishly long tongue to accompany it, possess ultra sensitive hearing, and if you do anything other than walking around them you’re sure to get pounced on. The fact that these things look like they’ve been turned inside out adds to their creep factor, and it’s too counter-intuitive to walk when your brain is just telling you to run.
The worst thing about Lickers is that they can creep out from anywhere, be it vents or windows, so you need to always keep your guard up. Once you get used to Lickers they can be quite easy to bypass, but the real threat is when they’re paired with another enemy — try walking slowly when you have an absolute unit like the Tyrant stalking you through the hallways of the police station! Oh, and speaking of the Tyrant…
4 – The Tyrant (Mr. X)
Seeing this huge entity wearing a large trench coat and fedora in an effort to “blend in” can be quite a humorous sight, but not so when you’re actually playing. Hearing the Tyrant’s footsteps coming towards you and his theme music growing louder signaling that you’ve been found is definitely a cause for concern, especially considering the most you can do is down him by using quite a bit of your already scarce ammo. And even then, he’ll just get right back up after a few seconds to continue his relentless pursuit of you. To quote our good friend Leon S. Kennedy, “Oh shit.”
3 – Nemesis
A further step up from Mr. X, Nemesis is arguably one of the most iconic monsters of the entire series. If you thought Mr. X was bad, Nemesis ups the ante by carrying a freaking rocket launcher, having the ability to actually run, and has the ability to chant a single word: S.T.A.R.S. He has one goal, and you best believe he’s intent on seeing it through to the end, much to the misfortune of Jill Valentine, even if it means seemingly “dying” a few times and coming back in an even more horrendous form (see also: basically every antagonist in Resident Evil).
Despite all this, when you finally do defeat this brute that has been hounding you for an entire game, there is no more satisfying feeling than choosing to “Exterminate the monster”, taking revenge on Nemesis for all the stress he’s caused Jill throughout the duration of Resident Evil 3.
2 – Lisa Trevor
While not the most physically terrifying from the monsters mentioned in this list (although still quite creepy), the real horror of Lisa Trevor comes from her backstory. A young teenage girl experimented on by the Umbrella corporation for three decades, her story is a tragic one, leaving her deformed and devoid of all her humanity, doomed to a painful existence. Lisa Trevor is a testament to the atrocities that Umbrella have committed in the Resident Evil universe, and her addition to the remake of Resident Evil adds a further layer of horror, intrigue and tragedy to what was already an exceptional horror game.
1 – The Bakers
The Baker family from Resident Evil 7 are just plain scary. While Lucas is just a regular old psychopathic maniac, Jack and Marguerite are on a whole other level. Jack’s relentless stalking of you throughout a large portion of the game makes sure you never feel at ease within the Baker mansion, yet every fight with him makes you feel more empowered, as if you’re conquering your fear.
The fight with Marguerite in the greenhouse, however, may be one of the most painstakingly horrible fights I’ve ever had the displeasure of partaking in (in a good way; they definitely fulfilled their goal of making me uncomfortable). Her unnatural and spider-like movements coupled with what appears to be a wasp’s nest where her stomach should be made her so freaky that I had to take a few breaks just to let the anxiety wear off. The iconic status of the Bakers cements them as some of the best and scariest monsters in the entire series, and they’re largely the reason why I’ve replayed Resident Evil 7 quite a few times.
The Resident Evil series has a large variety of amazing monsters, and I’ve barely scratched the surface in this list. Think I missed a few? Let me know below!