Next Stop, Louisiana: How Resident Evil 7 Incorporates The Mythology Of Its Predecessors

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Resident Evil 7 may be significantly different from the previous games on a first level, but on a second one it shares quite a few similarities with nearly all the games of the Resident Evil series that came before it and, in a way, pays homage to them with incorporating plenty of their elements - puzzles, items, character traits, plot points and twists, and more. This article explores several of these elements; some may be more obvious, others may be less direct, but all of them are connected one way or the other, and greatly contribute to the game's unique and captivating atmosphere.

House of horrors

Ethan Winters finds himself in the nightmarish Baker residence in Dulvey, Louisiana; he is trapped  in the big house full of locked doors, inhabited by crazy people and, later, by terrifying monsters, and he has to find a way to escape.

The Baker house once was a warm home but now it's a kingdom of decay

In Resident Evil Remake, Chris and Jill were trapped inside the mazey and eery Spencer mansion in the Arklay Mountains, from were they struggled to escape, always chased by zombies and mutated monsters.

The Spencer mansion is in a significantly better state, but it's no less spooky

An old house

The old house of the Bakers is abandoned and ruined, with parts of missing floor and huge hives with hostile insects nesting in them and, occasionally, flying around the rooms and attacking Ethan, following Marguerite Baker's command.

The old house looks like the houses of the bad witches in fairy tales

The hives are blocking Ethan's way and he has to burn them down completely to be safe

The Residence in Resident Evil Remake, just outside the garden of the Spencer mansion, is a similar-looking house; it has a vintage atmosphere underlined by the existence of the chemistry lab and the oil lamps, its floor is missing in places, and it is also infested with hostile insects - bees in particular, which spawn from a huge hive.

The nasy plant hiding in the basement can attack you through the holes in the floor

You cannot destgroy this hive, but you can kill all the bees with a strong incesticide

Vintage memories

On the hardest difficulty level of Resident Evil 7, you need to have special items to save your game at the tape recorders. These items are the vintage cassette tapes, found mostly near the recorders but also in several other places. 

The cassette tapes found in the game nod to past times

Similarly in the first games of the Resident Evil series, you needed to have another special item in order to be able to save at the typewriters. That item was the famous ink ribbon.


In the old games, you always needed ink ribbons to save your progress

Welcome to the dollhouse

For some reason, dolls always look creepy as a decoration. Let alone in a horror game. There are two dolls in the Baker cottage, one depicting a little girl and one that has the appearance of a young woman.

The little girl doll is standing on a high shelf

The young lady doll has fallen on the ground

These two dolls share similarities with Eveline and Mia, respectively. Very close to the end of the game, while Ethan is in the guest house having hallucinations which reveal to him what really happened when he was there the first time, he sees a giant version of the little girl doll in the kitchen.

Eveline is trying to show Ethan that she will prevail

In Code Veronica and, subsequently, in Game of Oblivion from The Darkside Chronicles, Alfred is obsessed with dolls, and quite a few of them can be seen in the Ashford palace.

There are vintage dolls in the corridor outside the bedrooms

There is a glass case full of such dolls in Alexia's bedroom

In the Game of Oblivion version of the palace attic, there is a disturbing decoration 
with hanging dolls around the carousel

Dollhouse morgue

In several places around the Baker property, there are destroyed dolls, some of them even look like they were burnt someway. There is a whole row of them decorating the bridge that connects the main house with the old one.

This looks like Marguerite's artistic touch

And there is a closet full of such dolls in the dark wing just beyond Marguerite's altar.

Ethan think he'd better not have opened this closet

Back in the Arklay Mountains in Resident Evil Remake, Chris and Jill discovered Lisa Trevor's hiding place below the Spencer mansion. The anteroom that led to her bedroom was full dolls, both in good and bad state.

The existence of well-preserved dolls together with ruined ones possibly symbolizes 
Lisa's healthy past as opposed to her nightmarish present

In Revelations 2, Barry and Natalia come across several gory installations involving destroyed dolls in Alex Wesker's lairs.

Alex has made these tasteful works of art to scare little Natalia
The closer you get to Alex, the creepier the doll installations become

In Code Veronica and Game of Oblivion, things become even more terrifying. The Ashford palace has its entrance hall decorated with a huge deformed doll hanging from the ceiling.

This doll looks like a version of Alexia

In Game of Oblivion, the doll that is hanging from the ceiling in that room is even more scary.

There are smaller dolls sticking out of the large one

Creepy mannequins

In the demo version of Resident Evil 7, there were several mannequins in the attic of the guest house. They would even change position when you looked away. In the game, there are mannequins in a few other places as well, mainly in the Testing Area.

We still don't know what all these mannequins were doing in the Baker cottage

There are also mannequin parts on shelves, that look rather scary.

Maybe Lucas was testing the efficiency of his bomb traps using the mannequins as lab rats

In Resident Evil 6, in the part where Jake and Sherry go though an underground passage after defeating Ustanak for the first time and just before bumping onto Chris and his men, they pass from a storeroom stuffed with mannequins.

The mannequins looked deformed, as if someone wanted to desrtroy them

There are also mannequin parts on the shelves nearby.

These mannequins must have seen better days

Sack it up

There are several paintings in the Baker house, and one of them depicts a woman with her head covered by a sack. It is a very mysterious painting which, incidentally, was connected to one of the murder sites found in the demo of the game.


What can be possibly hiding under that sack?


In Jake's campaign from Resident Evil 6, in the same place where the creepy mannequins are, there is also a bizzare graffiti on a wall behind a wire fence. It shows a pair of big eyes and between them there is a naked woman with a sack covering her head.


Could this be connected somehow to the painting in the Baker house?

Lucky coins

Throughout the game, you collect antique coins which you can use to unlock useful items and guns that are locked in cages. Once you have the required amount of coins, you can insert them in the slot of a cage and open it.

The cages carry vital items, like Steroids or the mighty Magnum gun

In Jake's campaign from Resident Evil 6, Jake and Sherry collected ID medals that, in a similar process, had to be inserted in a slot on a Buddha statue. Three medals unlocked the first passage, ten unlocked the exit, and sixteen opened a secret area with valuable ammo.

Jake inserts the medallions in the slot on the back of the statue

Clockworks

There are two clock puzzles in Resident Evil 7, one in the main game and another in the DLC episode Bedroom. In the main game, Ethan has to turn the clock in the master bedroom to show the correct time, that will reveal the hidden trapdoor that is under the bed.

The time must be set to a quarter past ten for the trapdoor to open

In Bedroom, Clancy Jarvis is trapped in that same room under Marguerite Baker's guard. During the short intervals where he is free of her watch, he has to explore the room for clues that will lead him to an exit. One of the puzzles has to do with the clock; he has to set it to the right time so as to reveal the trapdoor under the bed. Only this time said trapdoor is secured by a lock and he has to look for a key as well.

Clancy must set the time to five o'clock to solve the puzzle

In Resident Evil Remake, Chris and Jill had to solve a clock puzzle which revealed an important item for them, a key that opened the barn gate, where one of the death masks was located. The clock of the Spencer mansion was a grandfather clock, which moreover required solving another puzzle before its mechanism was revealed to Chris and Jill.

The clock must be set to six o'clock; then it chimes and reveals the hidden key

In Resident Evil Zero, one of the puzzles that Rebecca and Billy had to solve in the Umbrella Training Facility involved a huge clock. One of its hands was missing, so they had to find an iron needle to replace it. Setting the clock at the right time, unlocked two doors somewhere else in the building.

The correct time for his puzzle is eight past fifteen

Deadly traps

While in the Testing Area, Ethan must be careful to not trigger the trap bombs that Lucas has placed in almost every room.


Lucas's bombs are almost invisible

 In Resident Evil 4, Leon came across such bombs on a few occasions, while still at the village.

The swamp outside the village has numerous bomb traps

In Resident Evil 5, the passages leading from the Storage Facility to the open area before the port were full of similar bomb traps.

It's easy to fall in the bomb traps if you are not careful

Morbid discoveries

While looking for the special items that are needed to open the exit door, Ethan has to go to the basement of the Baker house, which is the realm of gore. It even has its own dissection room and its morgue. The key that opens the dissection room is hidden inside a morgue drawer.


Jack Baker was the one who thought that this would be a nice place to hide a key

In Revelations 2, Barry and Natalia arrive at the creepy mansion built in a cave where Alex is hiding, but to get to her they have to do a series of actions, starting with finding a key that opens a room where an important item is located. That key is hidden again in a morgue drawer.

Evil minds think alike

Books are not just for reading

To unlock the exit, Ethan has to find three dog heads that are hidden in the house. One of them is located inside an old book.

The Blue Dog's Head can be easily found in the Recreation Room

This is not the first time in the Resident Evil series that items are found inside books. In Resident Evil Remake, the Medal of Wolf and the Medal of Eagle were hidden in old books.

One of the two medals that are found inside books in the Spencer mansion

In Resident Evil Zero, parts of the two statuettes that Billy and Rebecca had to place on the scales to unlock a door (the White Wings and the Black Wing), were hidden inside books.

The Black Wing is found inside the Book of Evil

The missing pieces of mythology

To get out of the Baker house, Ethan has to find three dog heads and place them on a decorative relief on the exit door. The three dog heads are the missing pieces of the relief, which depicts the mythological three-headed dog Cerberus, the guardian of Hades, from ancient Greek mythology.




In Resident Evil 4, Leon has to place three missing pieces on a mural in the Salazar castle, that opens up another section of it. These pieces are the Goat Ornament, the Snake Ornament and the Lion Ornament. When placed on the relief, the whole picture is formed which depicts Bellerophon attacking the mythological beast Chimera, again from ancient Greek mythology.

Chimera has the head of a lion, the tail of a snake and its middle body is a goat

Later on, at the Island, after seemingly defeating Jack Krauser, leon has to place three insignia on the relief of the exit gate so as to open it. The relief depicts the Holy Beast, and the missing pieces are the Panther, the Serpent and the Eagle. This seems like a variation of the trinity of Incan mythology: Condor, Snake, Puma.

The Holy Beast carries a lot of symbolism connected to the game

Caught on videotape

In the attic above the old children's bedroom, Ethan finds a videotape in a closet. This videotape has the phrase "Happy Birthday" written on it, and it includes a recording which shows the cameraman Clancy Jarvis taking on one of the twisted activities of Lucas Baker which involves a birthday cake, a bomb and Clancy's tragic end.

It's hard to believe that anything involving the Bakers can be 'happy'

In Resident Evil 6, after Leon follows Helena in the lab underneath the Tall Oaks Cathedral, he finds a videotape in there, with the phrase "Happy Birthday Ada Wong" written on it. The recording in this tape shows the Ada clone emerging from its cocoon.

This is more like 'Unhappy Birthday'

A broken shotgun

There is one small room in the Baker house where there is bust of an officer holding a Shotgun. You can take the Shotgun, but then the door behind you closes. To be able to take this fully functional weapon and use it to defend yourself, you have to find a Broken Shotgun in another room and replace the working one with it. However you are given the option to just leave the Shotgun where it is, take the Broken Shotgun instead and fix it with a repair kit that is hiding in the yard.

The Shotgun looks tempting, but you can ignore it if you want

In Resident Evil Remake, there is a room in the mansion with a Shotgun in a frame. If you take it, then attempt to leave that room, you will be trapped in a small hall where the ceiling will start descending. In other words, you fall into a death trap. You need to find a Broken Shotgun, take the working one and put the broken one in its place. This way you can use the working shotgun while cancelling the trap outside.

Spencer probably appreciated this Shotgun so much that he involved it in a cunning trap

Keys to freedom

The locked doors in the Baker property need special keys so as to open. Each door has a pattern on it, and the key that goes with it shares this pattern. Ethan has to find a Scorpion key, a Crow Key and a Snake Key.

Even the keys of the Baker house are creepy

In Resident Evil Remake, most of the doors in the Spencer mansion needed similarly special keys to open. Those locked doors had certain symbols on their keyholes, and the necessary keys had these symbols carved on them. Chris and Jill had to find the Sword Key, the Armor Key, the Helmet Key and the Shield Key.

The Armor key is the one that unlocks the most doors in the Spencer mansion

In Resident Evil 2, Claire and Leon also had to find special keys that corresponded to specific doors in the building of the Police Department. Those keys were the Diamond Key, the Heart Key, the Spade Key and the Club Key.

It is not usual for a police station to have keys shaped after symbols from card decks

In Resident Evil: Revelations, some of the keys found in the ship have also special shapes carved on them, that indicate which doors they unlock. The Helm Key, the Iron Anchor Key, the Trident Key are some of them.

The Iron Anchor Key is given to Jill by Raymond

The way up

Before Ethan is able to meet Zoe Baker and give her the ingredient that she is missing for the production of the curing serum, he has to follow the orders of Lucas Baker who sends him back to the main house so as to find two keycards that will unlock the door of the Testing Area. One of those keycards is located in the attic of the old children's bedroom. Once in the bedroom, Ethan presses a button hidden on a table lamp, which is actually a switch that releases a ladder leading to the attic.

The attic used to be Lucas's lair, and obviously still is to some degree

In Code Veronica, Claire used a music plate on a music box to reveal a secret ladder in one of the palace's bedrooms, which led to the attic. Chris did the same later in the mansion replica, in Antarctica.

Alfred had serious reasons for keeping the attic out of reach

Black is the color

Eveline's initial appearance is a little girl dressed in black.

Eveline has the annoying habit of just standing there and staring at you for several 
minutes before deciding to speak

In Revelations 2, Dark Natalia (aka, Alex in her Natalia impersonation) appears as a little girl in a black dress as well.

Unlike Eveline, Dark Natalia has light brown to blonde hair, since she is some 
kind of blend between the platinum blonde Alex and the brunette Natalia

The old and (not) wise

In the Baker house, Ethan sees an old lady seated on a wheelchair in random places. She first shows up at the dinner table, next he sees her on top of the stairs, then she is outside the Drawing Room, and so on and so forth. This old woman, who never speaks or moves, just sits there and stares at you, is Eveline's aged form.

Not the kind of grandmother you'd want to have

She looks pretty much like the lost twin of Oswell Spencer, as he appears in Resident Evil 5, in Wesker's flashback. We see him as a very old man, sitting on a wheelchair. But not only he talks and moves, he even dares argue with Wesker; something that proves to be a very bad move. The worst, in fact.

Even in this situation, Spencer still believed that he could become a god

Mummy longhands

When Ethan goes to the old house to look for the missing ingredient for the serum, as Zoe guided him, he has to face Marguerite Baker who attacks him severely with her bugs which she summons with her own beloved lamp. Ethan needs that lamp at some point, to solve a puzzle; so he follows Mrs Baker to the greenhouse. There, Marguerite shows up in a totally gruesome and terrifying mutation, with extremely long hands, a hive-like formation under her belly and the disgusting ability to crawl along walls like a cockroach.

Hands off, Marguerite!

Alex Wesker in Revelations 2 had undergone a somehow similar mutation. Athough Alex's alteration was bigger, I think Mrs Baker's transformation is still much more disgusting.

Alex is equally scary when she is standing up as when she is crawling

Just hang in there!

During the first moments that Ethan was trying to escape the Baker house, he met deputy David Anderson in the garage, however his chance for freedom got instantly eliminated when Jack Baker arrived, locked the exit shutter and brutally killed the deputy with a shovel. Much later, and while he was looking for the dog heads, Ethan found the deputy's corpse (or what was left of it) in the Dissection Room, hanging on a wall from a hook.

Not exactly happy to see you, deputy

In Resident Evil 4, as Leon is making his way deeper into the infected village, he spots the corpse of a female villager hanging on the wall of a shack.

The poor woman had been nailed to the wall with a rake

Ghosts of the Ashfords

There are several references to the scizophrenic twins from Code Veronica, that have to do with the way the Bakers torture and attack their victims. After Ethan gets captured by Jack Baker in the guest house, he wakes up tied to a chair, at a dinner table (so to speak) where he meets the deranged family for the first time. He manages to escape, but he is forced to play a terrifying hide-and-seek game with the patriarch of the family, who chases him around the house, taunts him and beats him mercilessly whenever he is given the chance.

Ethan is hiding at the garage entrance while Jack Baker is looking for him

In The Darkside Chronicles - Game of Oblivion, Claire and Steve enter the Ashford mansion in an attmept to look for a way to leave Rockfort Island. As soon as Alfred takes notice, he starts taunting them and attacking them in a way that is not so different from Jack Baker's scary tactics.

Both Alfred and Alexia view people as lab rats for their insane experiments

It's game time

Ethan's troubles won't end that easily, though. The twisted son of the Baker family, Lucas, has transformed the cottage barn into a kingdom of traps, which he promptly calls "Paradise", and of course Ethan has to go through all sorts of painful puzzles and trials in order to reach the end of this challenge. Lucas has taken care to decorate the place as needed, to make his guests feel warm and fuzzy.

Lucas is eager to play with Ethan, and makes that quite clear from the start

There are bomb traps, broken mannequins, mutated monsters, and did I mention the bomb traps? The goal is to get to a murderous party room where yet one more lethal bomb trap awaits. Luckily, Ethan manages to outsmart Lucas, having watched a tape where ill-fated cameraman Clancy Jarvis burnt to death after failing to solve the puzzle. While Ethan is going through all that, Lucas keeps taunting him from several loudspeakers that are located all around the place.

Apart from the monsters, Ethan also has to put up with Lucas's disturbing taunting

Similarly, Claire and Steve in Game of Oblivion move on from the Ashford mansion to Alfred's Training Facility. Well, by the looks of it, that place must have been a training facility once upon a time, but Alfred obviously converted it to a death field for his twisted games. The Training Facility is full of deadly traps and dangerous obstacles, while its walls host some really tasteful drawings and jolly messages made by Alfie's hand.

What a great way to start your day!

The zombies that take Claire and Steve by surprise at almost every turn are the least of their worries, as there is a horrifying monster awaiting for them as soon as they manage to leave the place. Of course Alfred never forgets to make their life even worse by talking to them over some well-hidden loudspeakers.

Alfred's sweet nothings make Claire cringe

Lay low and sing small

Eveline, the arch-villain of the game, can be heard singing a morbid folk song on random occasions. A couple of times, the singing is heard while her aged form is closeby, but it stops when you attempt to approach her. Near the end, as Ethan is making his way deeper into the Salt Mines, he hears the singing again and even has a hallucination of Eveline as a little girl before going up the Molded-occupied path that leads to the guest house.

In a similar fashion, Alfred in Game of Oblivion likes to sing a sad lullaby, first as Alexia (which is the first time that Claire and Steve see him, but of course can't tell what's going on), and then as himself, while the countdown for the destruction of the island has started and Claire and Steve are desperately running for the airport.

Where is the other half?

When Ethan encounters Jack Baker at the morgue, he is finally able to defeat him for the time being; when this happens, Mr Baker is cut in half, as his upper body explodes, and he does a few strolls around the place before he falls.


Mr Baker is an expert in freak show demonstrations

In Resident Evil 4, Leon has to fight the village chief Bitores Mendez (or better, his creepy muation) in a barn; at some point during the battle, Bitores is cut in half and his lower body keeps walking around for a bit before dropping dead.

The lower half of Bitores Mendez could have been great friends with Mr Baker's

Lady of the flies

Marguerite Baker is as twisted as her husband and son, but she is even more complex in her attacks, and she is very fond of all sorts of insects and bugs. The old house, which is her realm, is practically inhabited by such creatures and Marguerite is able to summon them as she pleases. One of her favorite attack tactics is to unleash a whole swarm of them on Ethan.

Ethan wishes he had an insecticide handy

Years before her, Alexia Ashford was able to control armies of ants, and as we can see in The Darkside Chronicles - Game of Oblivion, she could even summon them and release them against Claire and Chris during the major boss fight.


Alexia's ants are no less than carnivorous monsters

Here, there, everywhere

Eveline manages to contaminate the ship that was transporting her, and in the end she fills it all with goo, while producing more hideous Molded to keep her company.

A Molded takes a solitary stroll down the corridor

In Resident Evil 5, Wesker injected Excella with Uroboros and she became a horrifying monster which infested the whole ship, unleashing unspecified worm-like creatures to attack Chris and Sheva from time to time.

Chris never loses his style, not even when he dodges the attacks of Uroboros Excella

In Resident Evil 6, Carla took an overdose of the C-virus and as a result she became a giant gooey monster that contaminated the whole aircraft carrier. Occasionally, she would create gruesome clones to attack Ada.

The clones look quite pathetic

Caught in a web

Ethan goes to Louisiana to find his wife Mia who has been missing for three years and is presumed dead. After they reunite for good, they get separated again and now Mia is the one who has to look for him in an infested ship. Eventually she locates him trapped in a gory goo, and she manages to release him.

Ethan is unable to move while in the goo, but takes action as soon as Mia releases him

In Code Veronica, Claire went to Paris to find her missing brother, Chris, but she got trapped by Alexia Ashford. Chris followed her trail and found her in Antarctica, trapped inside a coccon, from which he released her.

Chris finds Claire in the coccoon from which he frees her with the help of his trusty knife

It stings!

When Ethan finally comes face to face with Eveline, he sees her as the little girl dressed in black, due to his hallucinations. She waits for him in the attic of the guest house, and as soon as he arrives there, she starts releasing a shockwave that pushes him back. When he eventually manages to approach her enough, he immediately injects her with the E-Necrotoxine, which reveals her current form before she mutates into a huge molded monster.

Ethan injects Eveline with extreme skill

Back in Resident Evil 5, Chris and Sheva got involved in a furious fight with Wesker upon the Uroboros aircraft, during which Chris got the chance to take his former captain by surprise and inject him with the PG67A/W serum. Having received one similar injection moments ago, this second dose produced side-effects which eventually led to his end.

Wesker can't believe that Chris managed to outsmart him

Never let me go

In a most dramatic scene close to the end, Mia, after releasing Ethan from his gooey bonds, pushes him out of the Eveline-infested room to save him. This happens in the good ending version of the story, where Ethan then goes back to the Baker guest house, kills Eveline and is reunited by Mia thanks to the rescuers. In the bad ending version, Mia turns before being able to push Ethan out of the room, and Ethan is forced to grab a crowbar and kill her.

Mia is still under Eveline's possession, even after she had been treated with the curing serum

Who can forget the heart-breaking finale of Chris's campaign in Resident Evil 6, where, in a similar scene, a half-mutated Piers pushed Chris out of the capsule and into the escape pod and then shut the exit, so as to save his captain's life by sacrificing his own.

This scene is one of the most intense and tragic of the game

There was no happy ending for them though, as Piers remained in the ocean bed, eventually mutated completely at some point, and most probably died later.

No comments: