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What’s the Most Memorable ‘Resident Evil’ Puzzle?

Before the more recent game gradually started shying away from anything that might hurt their mainstream appeal, the Resident Evil series was known for its puzzles. They were often ridiculous and nonsensical, but they’re also challenging, and that made solving them rewarding. I don’t mind having to scour every inch of a creepy, zombie-infested mansion for a key shaped like an arrowhead because I know that when I do, I’ll have earned my special fuck-yeah-I-rock-at-horror-games dance.

Thankfully, game design trends seem to be shifting away from the hand-holdy garbage that plagues too many modern video games — thank you, Dark Souls — so we might see this shift away from long-winded tutorials and busy HUDs in more games, including horror games.

With the release of the Resident Evil HD remaster last month and the recent debut of Resident Evil Revelations 2, I thought it might be fun to look back at the best and worst puzzles the series has thrown at us so far.

Looking back, I can think of about a dozen puzzles that made me feel especially good when I bested them, but the water samples puzzle from Resident Evil 3 may be the most satisfying of the bunch. I hated this puzzle until I solved it.

It wasn’t until after the frustrating bit was over that I was able to forget about the fact that I just spent 20 minutes of my life cursing at the screen as Jill fumbled her way through a console filled with rows of colored patterns, or whatever that thing was about.

Now it’s your turn!

For better or worse, what’s the most memorable puzzle from the Resident Evil series so far?


  • DD-Indeed

    In the first game there was that V-Jolt-recipe that was interesting and needed some thinking, but all puzzles in RE2 were easy and boring. Third game, that stones-puzzle in the Clock Tower was frustrating. Also that water sample puzzle was difficult.

  • John Palermo

    Definitely the water sample puzzle. I was stuck on that for a good hour first time through.

    • ChaosWolf

      Fucking water sample puzzle!

    • Werewolf

      Really? I guess I was one of the lucky ones on that one. I always solved it fairly easily.

      • That’s not possible without the use of black magic. I BANISH THEE, DARK WARLOCK!

  • texas evil

    The painting puzzle in the crow’s room in RES1. I played through that part many time on PS One before i have a memory card, and everytime i got the puzzle wrong and those crows start flying, i start panicked if i die, i have to start the game all the way from the beginning again

  • DD-Indeed

    If we think about it, the puzzles are one element, that should be in higher role in new RE-games in the future. They give this interesting twist, you just don’t Run’n’Gun through everything, you have to focus, think and be patient in the suspense, and that was brilliant aspect in the old games in the series. Of course, some of them were just running forth and back, but it didn’t spoil the whole game experience. And maybe that was also one trick to keep the suspense high.

    • I completely agree, and I think it’s going to happen. Both the RE HD remaster and RE Rev 2 seem to be doing well, so that may be enough of an incentive to bring that element back in a big way, possibly in RE7.

      • DD-Indeed

        Only time will tell. They have been changing the recipe couple times and they almost spoiled it. Luckily, strong old titles have kept the reputation and fanbase alive. If they (Capcom) go back to look, why the old titles are still holding strong, they find many good aspects that could be used. Of course, series have to go fowards, but they could add some old things and remember the basis of the series. Trying to make games for the big market always ends in catastrophy, if the series is about something unique and special.

  • Dante Volkert

    water puzzle, not only was it hard. but imagine being 5 years old and trying to figure it out…shit was making my head implode

    • You figured that one out when you were FIVE? You’re a goddamn superhero.

  • Rafael Lima

    the colored pattern puzzle on resident evil 3 was the best, i don’t need more reasons to choose it. i was playing in psone without memorycard or internet when get suck in this thing. i was prepared to forget the game then i ask my mom to solve, she did it. Probably the best ps1one moment.

  • Werewolf

    That damnable sliding pieces puzzle in 4 when you’re playing as Ashley in the darkened corridor with the mechanical knights. I mortally hated that thing.

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