torstai 3. helmikuuta 2011

Good vs. Evil - Chris Redfield & Albert Wesker

Chris as he appears in the Nintendo
GameCube remake of Resident Evil
Voice actor(s): Scott McCulloch, Michael Filipowich, Joe Whyte, Roger Craig Smith (current)
First game: Resident Evil (1996)
Latest game: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2010)
Upcoming: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (2011), Resident Evil: Revelations (2012)

Whenever there's a zombie outbreak and everything else fails, you can pretty much count on Chris Redfield to crash the party and save your sorry ass. The most recurring male character in the Resident Evil series made his debut in the very original, campy but excellent PlayStation classic in 1996, and since then, he has pretty much become the hero of the whole franchise. Not to take anything away from his partners Jill Valentine and Sheva Alomar, a rookie cop turned to government agent Leon S. Kennedy, or even Chris' hot and efficient little sister Claire, Chris has boots we always feel the most comfortable to kick ass with, whether it belongs to a rotting zombie or a parasitic freak.

Chris started out as a 25-year old marksman in the service of Raccoon City Police Department's elite force dubbed S.T.A.R.S., sent to investigate freaky murders that had taken place on the outskirts of Raccoon City. Ambushed and forced to retreat into a nearby mansion by a group of rabid dogs, Chris and his partner Jill Valentine found out the truth behind a sick biological experiment conducted by a local medical company, Umbrella Inc., as well as their captain Albert Wesker's strong ties to the company. Chris and Jill managed to escape the mansion before remotely blowing it to pieces, but had no evidence against Umbrella. Jill stayed in Raccoon City, while Chris went his own way to investigate Umbrella's global actions. Many months later, he came to his sister Claire's rescue on the Antarctica, and again crossed paths with Albert Wesker, who had somehow survived their last confrontation. Chris fought Wesker and managed to escape the facility with his sister, but could not match Wesker's mysterious, inhuman agility and strength. Wesker swore to have his revenge.

Many years since the fall of Umbrella, Chris and Jill formed the B.S.A.A., an organization established to investigate potentially malevolent biological research around the globe. They finally managed to track down Umbrella's founder Ozwell Spencer, but by the time they found him, he had already been murdered by Wesker, now suffering from a serious case of a god complex. Chris survived yet another fight with Wesker, thanks to Jill, who seemingly sacrificed herself for her partner. After a few more years, Chris went to Africa on the behalf of B.S.A.A., and got himself a new partner in a local agent named Sheva Alomar. Not only did Chris find out that Jill was still alive and brainwashed to work against him, he also found that Wesker was responsible for the spreading and growth of a new parasite. After saving Jill and making her come to her senses, Chris and Sheva confronted Wesker, and finally put an end to the mutant he had become.

Although the war between Chris and Wesker has come to an end, something tells me we've not seen all of our dear Christopher. He and Wesker are slated to be rivals in Capcom's upcoming all-star fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Chris has also been announced as the lead character in the Nintendo 3DS exclusive Resident Evil: Revelations, which is due in 2012.

Chris' current model, from Resident Evil 5 (2009)
Jumped the shark?
His entrance in Resident Evil Code: Veronica is one of the coolest ever, accompanied by some really epic music, so epic it's almost corny. Also, there's that one scene in the end of Resident Evil 5; when Sheva is surprisingly grabbed by Wesker, Chris has this flashback of Wesker attacking Jill in Spencer's mansion, seemingly killing her - although that proved to be false judgement - and gets this sudden surge of adrenaline to save Sheva and kick Wesker off the plane, even if it means he would have to sacrifice himself for Sheva. I think that scene was cinematically awesome.

Hit rock bottom?
Think about any scene he speaks in, in the original Resident Evil. In that game, Chris came on looking and sounding like a complete retard just like any other character, but the worst of them all. He had the most amount of idiotic lines, he was the most oblivious to everything that was going on in that damn mansion, and he couldn't even break into closets. I guess the S.T.A.R.S. really needed a "master of unlocking" like Jill!


Wesker as he appears in Resident Evil 4
Voice actor(s): Sergio Jones, Richard Waugh, Peter Jessop, D.C. Douglas (current)
First game: Resident Evil (1996)
Latest game: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2010)
Upcoming: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (2011)

Albert Wesker was an evil motherfucker.

In the original Resident Evil, Wesker was introduced as the captain of S.T.A.R.S., a remarkable soldier with extremely high intelligence and a natural knack for leadership. However, as it turned out, Wesker was in fact a scientist who originally worked for Umbrella Inc., but upon discovering the true potential of the T- and G-Viruses that went on to infect the whole Raccoon City and turn the citizens into flesh-eating zombies, he went renegade and set his grand scheme of world domination in motion. He was apparently killed by his own version of the Frankenstein's monster, the Tyrant, who Chris managed to blow to smithereens with a rocket launcher. However, Wesker survived even the explosion that followed. Even he didn't know why, at the time. After all, you'd have to be inhuman to survive that sort of gutting.

Inhuman is exactly what Wesker was. He was actually a biological experiment himself, conducted by Umbrella in the early 60's with the purpose of creating a perfect man. His apparent death triggered a change in his body, into an incredibly fast, vampiric being with amazing physical strength. Although he enjoyed exploiting his strength, Wesker grew curious of his origins and confronted his boss, Ozwell Spencer, who revealed the truth to Wesker only to be murdered by him, and to trigger a god complex that made Wesker perceive mankind as filth he was destined to wipe off the face of the planet.

Wesker after the mutation in Resident Evil 5
To keep his unstable DNA in check, Wesker needed a precise dose of medicine within a steady schedule. Chris and Sheva managed to overdose him and defeat his true form. Even that, and falling into a pit of lava didn't stop Wesker - Chris and Sheva finalized the job by launching two rockets at his burning body and blasting him into oblivion. That was the end of Albert Wesker.........?

Jumped the shark?
I originally thought that making Wesker some kind of freak was a bad idea. In Code: Veronica, it was never really explained why Wesker had suddenly risen from the dead and become this vampiric death machine, and the game left a sour taste in my mouth as far as Wesker was concerned. The storyboard development in Resident Evil 5 made Wesker's sudden transformation much more plausible and extremely cool. Every second Wesker's on the screen in that game is a moment I treasure. I dug his minor appearance in Resident Evil 4, too - it reminded people that the prime evil was still out there, and paved the way for the grand conclusion in Resident Evil 5.

Hit rock bottom?
Once again, we have to turn to the very original Resident Evil. It's not just any line, but his supposed death scene in that game was fucking embarrassing from all standpoints. There was absolutely no glory to his final scene, or his final words. Until he made his return in Code: Veronica years later, Wesker remained a pathetic little cockroach in my mind, compared to the actually intimidating villains in the franchise.

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