If Resident Evil provides something else besides twisted gore and paralyzing scares, it unique and colorful characters. They don’t always benefit from the greatest writing (“Jill sandwich” anyone?) but the best of them are vital cogs in the lore, and well realized members of this dark universe. The following are the ten most well developed, most iconic, and more recognizable characters in the series.
How HUNK always ends up the only member of his squad to survive is both interesting and frightening. Since Resident Evil 2, he has popped up as an auxiliary character in the games, mostly as an unlockable character or a mainstay in the popular Mercenaries mode. Little else is know about him except that he’s ruthless, and that he makes gas mask aficionados everywhere look pretty good.
Jack Krauser has been around the block. Once a SOCOM operative for the US, he and Leon tracked down the original source of the B.O.W. outbreak in South America before the events of Resident Evil 4. By the time you catch up with him during the game, he’s fully embraced the “survival of the fittest” mentality of the Los Illuminados cult. Originally sent to steal Plaga for Wesker, he used it on himself, adding a little extra gusto to the reunion party he threw for Leon. If John Rambo was half tentacle beast, he’d be Jack Krauser.
The most interesting thing about Rebecca is wondering why she isn’t in more games. An incredibly bright kid, she graduated college at 18, and was fast tracked into S.T.A.R.S.. After the events of the first game, she is one of the only surviving members of the ill-fated tactical squad, and the only one who hasn’t been re-addressed in some form since RE2. Do I smell a Resident Evil 7 comeback?
Of any character on the list - or the entire franchise, for that matter - Barry is the most likeable. He is pretty much what I think the Japanese though of Americans in general: Charismatic buffoons with a heart of gold, unbridled bravery, and an unnatural love of guns. You never knew what was about to come out of Barry’s mouth, but it was probably going to be unintentionally hilarious.
Claire stumbled across the Umbrella-led tragedy in Racoon City by accident, and has been fighting to keep the t-Virus and all of its progeny of the streets since. Unlike most of the other protagonists in the series, though, Claire’s adventures are usually by choice. Motivated by the mysterious disappearance of her brother, Chris, she takes the fight to Umbrella, vigilante style.
Incredibly tenacious and cunning, Wesker has been a thorn in the side of Chris and Jill for years. A powerful manipulator and normally a narrative outlier, Wesker took center stage in Resident Evil 5, becoming the cackling super villain we always knew he could be. Attempting to force humans to evolve via mass infection of the Progenitor Virus really brought out the best in Chris, who before then didn’t even know he could walk on lava and punch boulders to pieces.
Speaking of over achievers, here’s a man who characteristically goes way above and beyond the call to get the job done. Dependable and full of integrity, Chris would never ask something of someone he wouldn’t do himself. Except get super swole, like he did between Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Resident Evil 5. That he’ll do himself. Though jarring at first, his hulking redesign might actually complement his “to the point” tough guy attitude better than skinny Chris ever did.
There’s always been something alluring about Ada Wong. Besides her beauty and her impeccable taste in evening attire, she was one of the few characters in the series who’s motives remained a mystery throughout. She was always on her own side, never truly an enemy, but not quite your friend either. Her complex relationship with Leon is a testament to how
Leon S. Kennedy
Considering his meteoric rise through the civil servant ranks after the Raccoon City debacle, Leon’s story should be a rags to riches one. From bumbling rookie cop to US federal agent, its almost as if he is a child of prodigy. Truth be told, Leon’s first run in with zombies, viruses, and evil corporations in Resident Evil 2 awoke something in him. Since that day he hasn’t been able rest easy knowing threats like that could happen again. Always cucumber cool and collected is this Kennedy, never letting his emotions get the better of him. Except when Ada is around.
Jill Valentine means a lot to video games. Not just the Resident Evil series, of which she is the most capable and compelling character of them all, but to the industry as a whole. The games business suffers when it comes to how to portray women in ways that are both unique and appealing without being offensive and off putting. As these debates rage on even today, its a joy to remember that Jill was created way back in 1996, and has been the shining example of a female character that fully developed. She is attractive, sure. But she is also noble, driven, and ferociously stubborn - sometimes to a fault. In other words, she feels “real”.
Her personal history is almost as complex and nuanced of that of the entire Resident Evil series, have been apart of - in one way or another - almost all of its major events. Shes played for both sides, once undergoing treatment against her will and being controlled by Wesker to do his bidding. Jill is one of the most recognizable characters in video games, and is the best character in the series, period.
Or am I wrong? Let me know in the comments, or tweet @cursegamepedia.