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Resident Evil Village Was Scarier In The 90s

A smash hit with critics, "Resident Evil Village" has only continued to bring the scares and nostalgia for "Resident Evil" fans and curious newcomers across the globe. Naturally, that means fan art and other creations are bound to come rolling in. The gaming community has already created plenty of interesting "demakes" — lower resolution remakes with graphics that look straight out of the 90s — of popular games like "Cyberpunk 2077" and "Bloodborne." One artist even created a retro demake for "Last of Us 2" before the actual game came out.

"RE Village" has joined the list of games with viral demakes, thanks to talented 3D artist Hoolopee. His demake reimagines the "RE Village" trailer with blurred backgrounds and pixelated people, dropping it straight into uncanny valley territory. There's something exceptionally unnerving about seeing Ethan Winter's blocky hands waving in front of his face as he tries to explain his plight to a frightened villager. The muddy textures and motionless mouths of the speaking characters makes everything feel just a bit more creepy and dreamlike. Lady Dimitrescu, "RE Village's" infamous vampire lady, especially steals the show with her glowing yellow eyes and unmoving smile. A few of the images in this trailer manage to put some of the creepiest details in the actual game to shame.

In addition to his "RE Village" masterpiece, Hoolopee has animated a "Death Stranding" PS1 demake that has attracted well over 4 million views. Other popular videos on his YouTube channel include 3D "Simpsons" shorts and a "Halo Infinite" Nintendo 64 demake. However, this may just be Hoolopee's most bizarre and interesting work yet.

The creepiness is pixel-deep

Commenters on social media were both awed and horrified at the skilled "Resident Evil Village" demake. In fact, some of them said that the demake was even scarier than the modern version. One YouTube commenter wrote that seeing Lady Dimitrescu with "no facial animations is more terrifying than I thought." Another thought that the "old janky PS1 bump graphics are more scary" than current games.

Both commenters have a point. Games in the 90s, like those played on the original PlayStation, lacked the realistic facial animations that most developers now incorporate into their character models. Lady Dimitrescu's pupil-less eyes and robotic face in the demake give off an "uncanny valley" vibe — just enough to remind the viewer that the animation is barely humanoid. 

To hammer home the work that went into the demake, Hoolopee posted a side-by-side comparison of a scene he reanimated on Twitter. Somehow, in the official trailer, getting stabbed by Lady Dimitrescu seems less scary with that sexy smile. The PS1 version instead looks like the player is getting stabbed by a haunted doll. 

"Resident Evil Village" has inspired a bunch of other creepy mods, include a Thomas the Tank Engine-faced Lady Dimitrescu — which somehow has a similar vibe to the version of her seen in Hoolopee's demake.

The demake shows how far the series has come

"Resident Evil Village" was released during the year of the franchise's 25th anniversary, and this demake really feels like the ultimate celebration of the series' legacy. The first "Resident Evil" stalked its way onto the PlayStation One back in 1996, and there's something special about seeing the new game being redesigned to resemble a title from that era. If nothing else, it really hammers home how much the series has evolved over two and a half decades.

One of the most obvious points of comparison is how the scripts have improved, since the voice acting and dialogue sounds significantly more accomplished in "Village." The hushed and panicked dialogue between Ethan and the old man with the gun is a far cry from the OG's laconic delivery of "You were almost a Jill sandwich." Although the series as a whole has maintained its B movie vibe over the years, the danger in "Village" feels much more immediate.

Of course, once you really think about how far games have come, it becomes a bit more obvious that "Village" would have been a severely stripped down experience if it had actually come out in the 90s. As cool as it is to think about navigating Castle Dimitrescu in a simpler time, the reality is that the new game was simply made for newer consoles. Imagine battling lycans without that sweet PS5 haptic feedback, or the 3D audio design that publications like CNET have praised for enhancing the atmosphere of next-gen gaming. Although this remake provides fans with a fun look at what could have been, fans appear to be getting the best possible version of "Village" in 2021.