Written by Jonathan Wojcik
REVIEWING RESIDENT EVIL 5 MONSTERS
Sigh. They'd really hit on something big with Resident Evil 4, still one of the best reviewed games in the series and among the best reviewed games of all time, like, in general, but Resident Evil 5 falls a bit short of recapturing that spark. It marks a point in the series at which the horror really took a backseat to the action, and it doesn't really offer any very new, original ideas either.
I also agree with those who felt it was tactless, at best, for a mostly Japanese production, with an American main character, to set a zombie outbreak in rural Africa, complete with more than one instance of "jungle native" imagery. Eugh.
And as far as monsters go, well, we're about to see that this one was a disappointment in that department anyway.
The new basic Plaga enemy doesn't dramatically replace the host's head anymore, but erupts four tooth-lined petals from their mouth. Kind of a big step back in terms of impact, isn't it? This is a human with a scarier mouth, which, after everything we've seen in this series, isn't that much more distressing than a human who wants to hit me with a really big stick.
THE HATCHLING PLAGA
Well, I like this a little better. It's a good looking veiny stinger-head worm thingy, but it doesn't build much off Plaga we've already seen, either. All three of RE4's basic Plaga-infested humans were a little creepier than this.
I do like what they're going for with this one. The plaga has opened up the host's entire body into a sort of big, meaty umbrella of fangs. The name actually references a genus of cacti that produce star-shaped flowers with a corpse-like odor, and the design itself even somewhat resembles one! Finally, something decent!
I like this one, too. A flying plaga is a fun idea, and any fleshy monster kind of shaped like a weird skin-moth is a good one.
This boss is a giant, mutated, Plaga-controlled bat, with an abdomen like a caterpillar, which allows it to spray a sticky goo at its prey. It's an interesting combination of animals I've definitely never seen elsewhere, not bad, but we've still seen much stranger from this series.
This bad guy eventually injects himself with a plaga sample, which for some reason instantaneously transforms him into a whale-sized sea monster with a big mouth and a bunch of tentacles. Even by Resident Evil standards, I don't know why this would be or how it could have worked.
I'm surprised we hadn't seen any Crustacea in this game before, though that would be rectified by the very next, far more interesting installment. U-8 unfortunately kind of blends in with countless other big, gnarly bug beasties in this franchise, failing to be as weird and memorable as a Giant Enemy Crab should have been in the Resident Evil style.
This is the result of normal cockroaches contracting the Uroboros virus, a powerful new virus that's only supposed to turn a human host into a super-human. So, we get these hulking bipedal roaches with huge, spiny forelimbs, and also, they cloak themselves in stinky vapor.
This isn't bad at all, and by default I love any and all insect monsters, but...we've already seen creatures very much like this throughout the series, and most were even more mutated than the Reaper. Even the very last game already had giant cockroach-like enemies, but they also had creepy human limbs and brightly glowing eyes.
When this virus goes awry, hosts explode with black tentacles similar to those seen in the Nemesis parasite. Lots and lots of black tentacles. This might have felt cooler a few games ago; now it's just passe.
THE UROBOROS SUBJECT
A little disappointed that a name like "Blob" was expended on a monster that's just humanoid, though it's a reasonably interesting humanoid with a gaping lamprey mouth for a face and a big, bloated hump of acid-filled boils. There's also apparently an eyeball on the back, which is good, but I haven't found a picture of it.
Some lady gets turned into an Uroboros monster later in the game, then consumes enough dead bodies to grow and grow into a huge plant-like form, apparently what the Uroboros mutation is always heading towards. That's cool to know at least, I do somewhat like the idea of this flower-like being that's actually awful yellow cysts suspended in cables of rancid skin. Still, this is kind of lacking in personality compared to other boss monsters we've seen in this series. In fact, while technically made out of tentacles rather than worms, these Uroboros mutants are functionally just less cool versions of the leech-based monsters from previous games.
The final boss in this game ends up being Wesker, with tentacles, and there's really not much I can say about that. There wasn't really much to this game in general, creature-wise, and that's too bad, because the Plagas really seemed like an interesting new direction for the series. There could have been plenty more to explore with the concept, from a different angle, especially if they focused more in on the horror side of things, but this game seemed to do everything in its power to run them into the ground, kill their remaining impact, and return us to virus-based shenanigans.
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