It’s been over 10 years since the Resident Evil reboot arrived on Nintendo’s GameCube, where it surpassed the original with a huge graphic overhaul, new environments, fresh boss fights and much-needed voice acting improvements. To this day, the game holds its own, and can arguably be put right up there against The Evil Within, considering Shinji Mikami directed both. 

Even though the GameCube version was ported to the Nintendo Wii a few years back, Resident Evil HD Remaster is worth a look, especially for players who missed out on either version. That said, Resident Evil isn’t a walk in the park. Ammo is scarce, your inventory is limited and your health is never displayed on-screen during gameplay. In a nutshell, this adventure is old-school survival horror at its best, and is far from current-linear titles you’re used to. Luckily, we have some essential tips for new players. Believe us, without some guidance, you’ll become a Jill Sandwich in no time. 

Choosing your character - Chris or Jill?

One of the most unique features of Resident Evil involves choosing your character when you begin. You have a choice between S.T.A.R.S. members Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield. Both have their pros and cons, but it should be noted that Jill acts as the primary character for first-time players. She has two more slots in her inventory, making item looting more efficient. Second, most boss fights are more forgiving, as Jill meets several helpful characters to aid her in battles; one boss can be avoided with some puzzle solving, provided you made specific decisions.

The third advantage Jill has over Chris is the Lock Pick she acquires early on. With it, you can unlock and access several areas sooner, and avoid the hassle of searching for Old Keys. Additionally, Jill is capable of acquiring the Grenade Launcher, a must-have weapon for tougher enemies. The downside for playing as Jill is her health. Chris can sustain a lot more damage.   

Where’s my health bar? 

Like most classic survival-horror genres, Resident Evil eliminates the display of your character’s health bar onscreen. There are two ways to get a hint that your character is hurt: view your health status on the item screen, or when your character’s movement declines and they display injury. Always monitor your health after sustaining damage, and heal when needed. If you don’t, one simple bite from a zombie will result in a Game Over (YOU DIED!!!) before you know it. 

Auto-aim rules 

Although you aim holding the left shoulder button, your character will automatically lock onto the target when in range. Note that you can do this even with your back turned. This works well when the screen angles trick you, and you’re not sure of an enemy’s location. 

Do a 360

If you find yourself helpless from a zombie and want to retreat, turn around quickly using the right stick. The last thing the undead want is a hug. Using this technique can benefit yourself when dealing with multiple enemies, and may prevent a bite. 

Don’t forget to reload

Similar to your health, ammo for any weapon isn’t displayed on screen. That’s the other challenge you’re faced with; nothing’s worse than encountering a foe only to have an empty clip as you attempt to fire. You could count your shots, but weapons vary on ammo capacity. Instead, open the item menu and use the combine option with your bullets and weapons to manual reload, preventing yourself from becoming a hot lunch.

Save your game using ink ribbons

Another feature of Resident Evil that distinguishes itself from current titles is the save system. There are no checkpoints. Instead, you will need to scour the mansion for Ink Ribbons and then use them on typewriters to save your progress. Unless you’re shooting for a speed run or good ranking, save as often as you can, but keep in mind that once you run out of Ink Ribbons, you’ll need to search for more.    

Defensive weapons  

GameCube Resident Evil brought forth a nifty feature called Defensive Items. As you play through the game, search for Daggers, Battery Packs and Grenades. This generally works on any enemy as long as you’re assaulted from the front (with the exception of boss fights). Think of these weapons as a second chance; your character will perform a counter-attack upon being assaulted, leaving you unscathed. Be sure you equip defensive weapons in the item menu. 

Manage your inventory 

You have a limited amount of space when it comes to scavenging items, health and ammo. Chances are you won’t be able to pick up everything. That’s where save rooms come into play. Most save rooms contain an item box, which acts as a permeant stash spot that interconnects with all item boxes in the game. If you’re carrying too much unneeded herbs, for example, store them in the item box. You can always return to a save room and use them later. Don’t worry—they won’t go anywhere. 

Mixing herbs 101 

If you never played Resident Evil, herbs are efficient health items that you’ll find scattered throughout the game. There are three different herbs: Red, Blue and Green. As we said above, you have tight space when it comes to carrying multiple items, but herbs can be combined for different effects. Here’s a breakdown of mixing herbs. 

  • Green Herb: Cures 25 percent health 
  • Green Herb (x2): Cures 50 percent health 
  • Green Herb (x3): Cures 100 percent health 
  • Blue Herb: Cures poison 
  • Green and Blue Herb: Cures 25 percent health and poison 
  • Red Herb: Useless alone 
  • Red and Green Herb: Cures 100 percent health 
  • Red, Blue and Green Herb: Cures 100 percent health and poison

Explore the unknown 

Resident Evil isn’t what you consider an action game. You need to search every room, solve puzzles and explore each environment thoroughly to advance. Although several items are placed in the open — usually flashing periodically — others are hidden within backgrounds such as cabinets, boxes and drawers. Use the action button as you search every nook and cranny. Odds are you’ll find an Ink Ribbon, a file or some well-needed ammo. Additionally, environmental objects such as doors or statues can be examined, perhaps giving you the hint on an upcoming puzzle, or the proper key required.  

Read everything

Well, we assume you enjoy reading if you’re glancing at this article. One of the cool features of Resident Evil is its backstory. Although you’re presented with eerie cut scenes, reading files, letters and notes is the fun part. Not only will you get a history lesson of what happened, but you’ll usually find clues and hints for the mind-bending puzzles you’ll encounter throughout the adventure. 

Look closer 

Resident Evil requires you to examine items in more detail, even more so than the original. For example, you’ll come across numerous books and jewelry boxes. Examine them from the inventory menu for a more detailed description. Many items can be rotated and manipulated when examined. For instance, you can open up a book to find a treasure inside, or discover a hidden switch on a box with a closer look.  

Shoot and then burn the bodies 

In most cases, you’ll want to avoid encounters with enemies and save ammo, at least when you begin. This of course depends on your difficulty and character. Many encounters can be avoided using the environment, such as looping around pillars or using other paths. At times, however, you won’t have a choice. If you need to lay the smack down on a zombie, ensure you dispose of the bodies by burning them once you acquire the Fuel Canteen (and Lighter for Jill). If you don’t, the undead resurrect into more lethal enemies known as Crimson Heads

On a side note, be sure to refill the Canteen with fuel canisters scattered in several locations. You may have lucky moments with a headshot, which prevents the chore of disposing them. The Shotgun has a good chance of scoring a headshot when aimed upward. Unfortunately, avoiding foes does have a downside. Certain enemies have the ability to enter rooms and open doors. Listen for them and be cautious when moving around corners. 

Maps point the way 

Perhaps the most-obvious tip involves using the in-game map. Unlike several modern titles, Resident Evil doesn’t have a destination pointer. When you discover maps for each area, view them from the inventory screen. The map displays every room in the given area, showcasing locked doors (may require a key to open) or rooms that still need to be explored. Completely-explored rooms are shaded in white, while rooms that are shaded red still need attention. Rooms not yet visited are shaded clear. Again, you’ll most likely miss an item or two, or lack enough space to snag all the goods on one trip, so using the map can pinpoint your next destination.