Resident Evil’s French Connection

Reader submission by Alain Elliott

Resident Evil is a highly regarded and important game and I’m sure there are many stories people have about playing the game for the first time. The horror of those zombies and your first sight of them, the tension, the  incredible graphics (at least for the time) and for many people one of the their favourite original PlayStation games. My story of the game is a little different.

It starts with a family trip to France. I was fifteen years old, my brother thirteen and it was the first time our family had been to France. It was a one day trip on a ferry, the ones that national newspapers advertised as something like £5 per person. But if you wanted a cabin to sleep in you had to pay extra for it even though the journey was several hours long and the journey back went through the night. Obviously my parents didn’t pay for a cabin.


I honestly don’t remember anything about France and I had to look up the city we visited, Saint Marlow I think. I only remember one shop, the local video game shop. Not a chain one but a small place that was wall to wall video games. The kind of shop we don’t see enough of anymore. After pleading with our parents for several minutes, they agreed to buy us one game. The PlayStation console itself was actually my brother’s but it didn’t make any difference, we both played each others consoles as much as the one who owned it. We chose Resident Evil, that iconic front image sold us I think and the title ‘Resident Evil’ was on the front cover.

The back cover description though, was all in French. No surprise as we were in France. We spoke to the guy at the counter and in broken English he confirmed that it did have English language settings. With no way of checking, we took his word for it and headed home very happy. The ferry journey home was long and we slept in the relatively comfortable seats of the ferries cinema.


I have no idea what time we got home but me and my brother headed straight to his room to play Resident Evil. I’m sure you’ve already guessed what happened. Yep, it was all in French, with no way of changing the language. I think we were momentarily annoyed but continued anyway. We eventually completed the game (not that same day) and there were some issues with the language that made the game harder.

It’s been so long since I’ve played it, I don’t know if it makes it much more difficult now. I have great memories of us playing through that game together, it felt like nothing else at the time but I’ve never actually played it through in English. I’ve had brief goes on the many remakes or re-releases on other consoles but not for any length of time. Maybe I’ll give it another go on the original PlayStation this year, in English this time.