Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interesting way to say show that only men are violent....

I'm spoiling the Resident Evil games so tread carefully.

Are you familiar with the video game Resident Evil 5? If you aren't here is a quick rundown.

The pharmaceutical company Umbrella has research facilities all over the world. In the public eye they make medicines and nice things that help people. Under the surface they are hive of top rated scientists that work on taking viruses and other organisms and turning them into viable biological weapons.

During the course of the game series you slowly but surely help bring that company to it knees and on to its final destruction. But you can't keep a good villain down.

By Resident Evil 4 Umbrella is a memory but the threat doesn't end there. This time instead of fighting off hordes of virus infected zombies you are fighting off hordes of people infected by the parasite Las Plagas.

Remember what I said about that villain you can't keep down? Even after Leon Kennedy's efforts to save the president's daughter and take out the cult behind the release of the Las Plagas, Ada Wong manages to get away with a sample of the parasite. Her destination, the hands of Albert Wesker.

A few years pass and in that time Wesker makes progress with the tiny life form and even manages to mutate it to make it even more dangerous than the predecessor that Leon fought against in Europe. And this is where Resident Evil 5 picks up.

This time Chris and his new partner Sheva are fighting biological terrorism in Africa in different locales ranging from moderate sized towns to ancient ruins to the obligatory underground laboratories.

Now that I've given you the lay of the land I want to point out something I don't recall a lot of people talking about or at least nowhere near as much as the possible racism in that game. Yes go search "racism in resident evil 5" without the quote marks to see what I'm talking about. There were some problematic scenes to be sure. One was early on when a group of infected men in an African town drug a white woman into a house and the other being later on when the "tribal" enemies showed up looking and acting like just what you'd expect from stereotypical "savages". Speaking of later on there's something I want to pick a bone with.

(Now let me say that I didn't play the game myself but rather watched a playthrough of it on youtube. Yes that wouldn't change what I would observe due to Resident Evil games being very linear but I figure I should mention it.)

Am I the only person that noticed that part of the way through the game ALL of the infected that you fight against are suddenly only adult men?

Yeah look for yourself. Early on there is a mixture of men and women but by a certain point (and I'll admit that I no longer recall exactly where as this post idea has been collecting dust in my Thought Journal for about 6 months, an entry I scribbled 3 months after watching it) all the women disappear. It's pretty interesting how they explain this in the game.

By chance are you familiar with the Resident Evil Archives? No they aren't a game but rather 2 paperback books (about the size of a video game strategy guide) that offer a convenient collection of explanations, character relationship charts, and notes that can be found in the games themselves while playing.

Volume 1 covers Resident Evil 1-3 and Code Veronica and Volume 2 covers Resident Evil 0, Umbrella Chronicles, Darkside Chronicles, 4, 5 (that may seem like there is more content in Volume 2 but bear in mind that Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles are rail shooters that fill in gaps between the other games and are not full on games in the usual Resident Evil sense), and the movie Degeneration. What I'm talking about can be found in Volume 2, which covers the events of RE5.

From page 200 of Resident Evil Archives Volume 2:
The new breed brought with it its own set of challenges. For one, the compatibility was low: There was a 92% adherence rate among grown males - roughly the same as a standard Plaga - but a 0% adherence rate among women and children.
What is being described here is the Phase 3 form of the Las Plagas parasite (meaning that the original from RE4 was upgraded a first time to get Phase 2 and third time to get this Phase 3) and the probability of the host's survival once infected. Men had a 92% chance of surviving to become overly aggressive killing machines void of reason. Women and children simply died upon infection.

Real nice isn't? A perfectly plausible way to avoid having to portray women and children as soulless monsters and of course saving the player from having to kill women and children (well the children I understand...).

Oh and as far as I can tell despite the Resident Evil series having biology play a big role there seems to be no explanation for what is different in men versus women and children that allows the parasite to thrive in the former but kill the latter.