The Colours As Magical Elements of Puzzles: The Golden Lynx Puzzle in Resident Evil 4

Sunday 31 December 2017

In spite of being a survival horror game based on action, Resident Evil 4 has several puzzles that its protagonist, Leon Kennedy, has to solve, which are either part of the main plot or that he can simply put together to get items that he can sell and buy weapons in exchange. Several of these puzzles include colored items or precious gems. The Insignia puzzle in the church with the three colored disks that you have to turn so as to open the prison door, the butterfly lamp, which needs a red eye, a green eye and a blue eye so as to be a complete artifact, the elegant mask, which requires a red gem, a purple gem and a green gem to be attached to it so as to gain its full value, are just a few of such examples.

There is one specific color puzzle however that stands out and is different from the others; it is the puzzle involving the statuette of a golden lynx that you have to make complete with finding a red stone, a green stone and a blue stone. Although this puzzle is not necessary to solve for progessing in the game and its use is mainly practical (Leon can get lots of money by selling the resulting complete artifact), it seems to carry some interesting symolism as a whole, and also as far as its individual parts are concerned, as its three stones are not simple ones; they all represent something.

Leon finds the golden lynx statuette near the start of Chapter 5-1. This section takes place in the isolated island that Lord Saddler has made his base, and where Leon goes with Ada's help after defeating the mutated Ramon Salazar in the castle. The precious statuette is hidden in a treasure chest that is sitting on a rock, deep inside a cave that is guarded by three soldiers. To get to it, you have to shoot a barrel causing an explosion that will shatter the rock behind it, revealing the secret area with the lynx.

Leon finds the beautiful statuette

First Leon finds the red stone, which is called 'the red stone of faith' and is located in Chapter 5-1 as well, inside Saddler's headquarters, in a basement room where the kitchen is, hidden in a metal case.

The red stone is in an aluminium case in a dirty basement

The second stone to be found is the green one, called 'the green stone of judgement' and it is inside yet one more aluminium case in the room where Chapter 5-2 ends and Chapter 5-3 begins, just a few areas away from the place where Leon and Krauser meet and have their knife fight.

The green stone is in another aluminium case

The last stone that Leon finds is the blue one, located again in Chapter 5-3, close to the end; specifically it is in a side room in the underground cave that leads to the ruins where the final fight between Leon and Krauser takes place. This stone is not hidden in a case, and it has a special name too, it is 'the blue stone of treason'.

The blue stone is in plain sight, in a cave

From her very first appearance in the Resident Evil series, Ada Wong was almost always wearing red. The only time when she can be seen sporting a different color is in her Assignment Ada mission, where her outfit is grey, but even then there is a red butterfly stitched on one of her top's sleeves. In the main Resident Evil 4 game she is wearing a long red dress, in Resident Evil 2 she has a mini red dress on and in Resident Evil 6 she is wearing a bright red shirt. There is no doubt that red is her associated color and therefore the red stone of faith seems to be connected to her.

Ada in her red dress

Despite the mystery that surrounds her, Ada is a constant value in the Resident Evil world. Although she avoids to open herself up to Leon, she is always there to help him and back him up. Leon may be fond of her but he does not trust her completely; he even doubts her from time to time, and Ada is unable to show him that he is wrong because that would mean exposing her real identity as well as her mission each time. But the truth is that she is a reliable person and faith is a value that describes her very well, although it may not always be so clear.

Jack Krauser, as the mercenary and soldier that he is, is associated with the green color as he is seen wearing camo-based outfits, both in Resident Evil 4 and in The Darkside Chronicles: Operation Javier. In Resident Evil 4, Jack views himself as Leon's nemesis, having returned after his fake death and seeing Saddler's orders as the perfect chance to cross paths with his ex-partner again and take revenge. In his own mind, Jack has always been right, so facing Leon and even killing him looks like a way for him to be vindicated at last.

Jack Krauser is always seen wearing green camo pants

This makes the green stone of judgement his own personal symbol, although he is not really in a position to judge anyone, having a distorted aspect of reality in his mind. However he does see himself as someone who has been misjudged and treated unfairly, therefore his judgement will put everyone (specifically, Leon) in the state where they deserve to be.

The blue color is connected with Leon, as almost all his outfits are in the blue/grey shades, the only exception being his appearance in the Tall Oaks episodes of Resident Evil 6. In Resident Evil 2 he has his blue RPD uniform on, in Resident Evil 4 his outfit is blue/grey and in the China episodes of Resident Evil 6 he is wearing a blue shirt.

Leon with his gray/blue outfit

Leon is undoubtedly a bright, good-hearted and honest man, but Jack Krauser, who obviously aknowledged and appreciated his ex-partner's qualities in the past, has stopped seeing him as such ever since he found out about Leon being in fact a government agent and not a simple soldier like himself in Operation Javier. Jack, who always sought a high rank in his career but kept struggling for it to no avail despite his intelligence and ability, got extremely disappointed when Leon revealed to him that he was literally blackmailed into accepting such a position, because in reality he didn't want it. Although this clearly was not Leon's fault, Krauser blamed him for it, although he never actually told Leon, because he saw it as some sort of treason from his partner's part. Which was a very stupid thought, since Leon didn't know Jack back then and even if he did, he wouldn't have much other choice than accepting the position of the government agent that was offered to him. From that point of view, Leon is a traitor in Krauser's eyes, which associates the blue stone of treason with him.

The golden lynx artifact with its three precious stones

These three individual stones are all attached to the golden lynx statuette, which in turn carries a major symbolism. The lynx has always been considered a powerful spirit animal with second sight, able to see what is happening in other dimensions, as well as things that other creatures are unable to see. It represents qualities such as honesty, patience, caution, reliability and great charm. All these elements seem to describe Leon perfectly; moreover, the 'golden' element matches his blond hair, his name comes from the feline realm and considering his facial features do resemble those of a lynx, we could say that the lynx statuette is associated with Leon's real self.

The lynx could be Leon's spirit animal

This means that Leon has two symbols to represent him: the golden lynx artifact, which is his own symbol, and the blue stone of treason which is the symbol that is associated with him in relation to Jack Krauser and his altered view of Leon. Nonetheless, Leon has a strong connection with him, as he does with Ada; both Jack and Ada are integral parts of Leon's life and memories, no matter how well or bad his relationship with them turned out, which is why the symbolism of the three stones being attached to the lynx becomes even more powerful and emblematic.

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