Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy Book Review


Back in 1998, a little video game known as, Resident Evil, was released for the Playstation. The game, which is considered to be the first of "survival horror" video games, had a similar effect to gamers as George A. Romero's, A Night of the Living Dead, had on audiences. It was like nothing gamers had seen before and it included my favorite horror creation of all time: zombies! Unbeknowst to me, my favorite video game series also had a series of novels; the first is the awesome, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy, written by S.D. Perry (That's a woman--hell yeah), follows the events that happened in the first game and includes everyone's favorite characters: Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Barry Burton, and Albert Wesker. The story begins in the midst of strange attacks occurring all over Raccoon City by what the police department believes to be a cannibalistic cult.

In response to the chaos, the RPD gathers a special task force, S.T.A.R.S., which is made up of the very best in the department (Jill, Chris, Barry, and Wesker). During a briefing of the case, the task force receives a radio response from their Bravo team, who mysteriously crash by a mansion known as Spencer Estate. Fearing the worst, S.T.A.R.S. heads out to rescue them. Clearly, that's a bad decision.

Before Jill meets up with the rest of the crew, she is stopped by a mysterious man named Trent, who happens to know a lot about the mansion and the Umbrella Corporation. Trent gives Jill a map and insists that she keep their meeting to themselves. Weird. Then, Jill runs along her merry way and gets in the copter with the rest of her crew to begin their mission.

So, when the copter arrives on the scene, the Bravo team is nowhere to be found and while the group investigates, they get a lovely surprise visit from some flesh-hungry canines. Just like in the beginning of the first game, the S.T.A.R.S. members are chased down by cannibalistic dogs and are forced to seek refuge in the mysterious mansion nearby. This is where the trouble REALLY ensues.

The rest of the novel plays out almost like the game, following every step and puzzle along the way. As you read, you can picture the important scenes and as a fan, I knew what was going to happen at certain parts simply because the atmosphere was described well enough for me to remember the scenario in the game. Now, some may argue that there's no point in reading a book that's basically the same as the game and my response is this: Shut the hell up! I LOVED it because it just gave me another fix of my favorite video game and rather than actually replaying it, I got to replay it in my head.

Of course, there are added elements to the story that were missing from the book. The reader gets a little backstory into each character and we really get to know a little bit more about them that wasn't explained in the game. For example, Jill used to be a lock-picking theif, which was a skill she learned from her criminal father. Barry is a trustworthy family man just trying to make ends meet, which surprised me because I always thought he wanted to bang Jill in the games.

Chris is a no-holds-bar tough guy who has serious suspicions against Umbrella and what's actually going on in Raccoon City.Wesker is still an evil bastard and we get to learn his intentions and why he actually decides to help Umbrella. However, we still don't get to really know a lot about Umbrella, and I wouldn't expect to learn too much about them until the later  novels.

The book is filled with the
action from the games; the dogs jumping through the window, the crows, the falling ceiling, the snake, and of course, THE TYRANT!

The game is fun for any horror fan, especially for fans of the series who are looking for a refresher. And if you haven't played the games, the book is the perfect place to start because it will give you all of the entertainment and zombie action that you are looking for. So, pick up Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy for a quick and enjoyable read. Or else.

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