• Resident Evil games have had a significant influence on the survival horror genre, inspiring various critically acclaimed titles like Silent Hill and Parasite Eve.
  • Despite changes in gameplay and direction, horror remains a key element in every game of the Resident Evil franchise, with moments that are sure to frighten players.
  • Each game in the series introduces new terrifying enemies and situations, such as traversing crocodile-infested water, encountering jumpscares from revenants, and facing off against grotesque monsters like drain deimos.

The first Resident Evil game hit stores in 1996, and it is still considered to be one of the most influential releases in the survival horror genre’s history. Capcom’s 1996 game inspired tons of critically acclaimed titles like Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, and, of course, the numerous Resident Evil games that were to follow.



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Capcom’s Resident Evil is the most well-known horror franchise, and fans are likely to enjoy these games.

Unlike many 90s franchises that struggled to adapt to the gaming industry’s advancements in the 2000s, the Resident Evil series was able to reinvent itself in 2005 with Resident Evil 4. The fourth major installment inspired many excellent titles, like Dead Space and Alan Wake, and it is still recognized today as one of the greatest games of all time. After a few lackluster releases that struggled to recapture the magic of Resident Evil 4, Capcom again decided to switch up their gameplay formula with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

Despite the multiple changes in direction and gameplay style, there is one thread that connects every game in the franchise: horror. Although the games differ in how much they succeed in scaring players, every title has at least one or two moments that will have most gamers reaching for their pillow.

Updated on April 2, 2024, by Mohsen Baqery: Back when the visuals of Resident Evil games mostly consisted of red pixels and animal growls, the horror they instilled in players rivaled that of current-gen titles. Classic Resident Evil games were renowned for their intense, phobia-inducing moments, which many players consider to be the scariest gaming experiences of their lives. With this in mind, this list has been updated to include more classic masterpieces and old-school scary moments, particularly from the first Resident Evil game. Additionally, the list now features a heart-stopping scene from the 2019 Remake of Resident Evil 2, a game that set the standard for top-notch remakes within the franchise.

15 Resident Evil 5

Scariest Moment: Traversing Crocodile-Infested Water

Resident Evil 5 Wesker Boss

Resident Evil 5
March 5, 2009

Survival Horror

Capcom’s Resident Evil 5 struggled to live up to the extremely high expectations that were placed on its shoulders long before the game was even announced. Resident Evil 5 is certainly not a bad game though, exemplified by its impressive Metascore of 86 on PC.

In terms of the game’s fear factor, it’s not a particularly scary game, though it does have its scary moments, such as the section in Chapter 3 – 1, where players must traverse crocodile-infested water.

Resident Evil (1996)

Scariest Moment: Black Tiger Boss Fight (Underground)


Imagine it’s 1996, and a teenage gamer is about to fire up a game on their PS1 that everyone’s buzzing about: Resident Evil. The initial cinematics are spine-chilling enough to tempt them to eject the disc and retreat to Crash Bandicoot. Nonetheless, they muster the courage to dive in. Following a few hours of gripping gameplay that’s left their eyes widened and palms sweaty, they’re confronted with their ultimate dread: Fighting a colossal spider in a claustrophobic underground tunnel. That’s true fear.

The pixelated visuals of the first RE game might not look scary now. But back when the survival horror genre was in its baby stage, those “funny-looking” zombies could easily give someone a heart attack—especially if they had no idea what jumpscare is. The arachnophobia-inducing Black Tiger boss battle in Resident Evil 1996 is destined to stand as an iconic “hair-raising” moment in video game history. Its impact goes beyond the inherent creepiness of giant spiders; it inspired numerous horror games to exploit gamers’ phobias in the most sadistic ways imaginable.

14 Resident Evil 2 Remake

Scariest Moment: First Licker Encounter

Claire aiming a flashlight at a licker

Resident Evil 2 (2019)
January 25, 2019

The idea of searching a zombie-infested Police Station in Raccoon City as the young and clumsy Leon should be enough to scare most gamers away. But if they overcome the initial fear and give RE2 Remake a shot, they’ll be rewarding themselves with countless terrifying moments that will send shivers down their spines. One such instance is the first encounter with a Licker, an unsettling hybrid creature capable of decapitating anyone with its elongated tongue.

What intensifies this scene is the Lickers’ lack of sight. These creatures rely on sound to detect their prey, as they are devoid of eyes. Consequently, players will find themselves attempting to stealthily maneuver past them while they emit ominous growls and wait for their mistakes.

When Leon first hears a Licker’s growl for the first time, he goes, “What in God’s name…?” And that should be a sign for players to never return to that hallway again.

13 Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Scariest Moment: Revenant Jumpscare

Resident Evil Revelations 2 Revenant

Resident Evil: Revelations 2
February 24, 2015

Survival Horror

One of the spin-off titles from Capcom’s flagship horror franchise was Revelations 2, a game that brought back fan favorites such as Claire and Barry and introduced new characters like Moira and Natalia, which a second player could control.

Along with new characters, there are a host of new enemies, including the terrifying revenants, and grotesque monstrosities of sewn-together body parts that are infected with the Uroboros virus. During the exploration of the mansion, one sneaky revenant falls down from the ceiling right at the player’s feet, resulting in a cheap but effective jumpscare.

12 Resident Evil 3 Remake

Scariest Moment: Encountering Drain Deimos

Resident Evil 3 drain deimos

The remake of Capcom’s classic RE3 saw players returning to the virus-ravaged streets of Raccoon City as the unstoppable Nemesis tenaciously hunts down Jill Valentine, one of the few survivors of the Spencer Mansion incident.


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Through her explorations of the city, Jill experiences many terrifying events, such as running away from Nemesis, mutated dogs, or the dreaded drain deimos. Said to be infected with fleas, these insects, unfortunately, are not flea-sized and are large enough to present a threat. The most horrifying thing about these creatures is that they can grapple Jill and infect her with parasites that are a death sentence unless she can cleanse herself of them.

11 Resident Evil – Code: Veronica

Scariest Moment: Rockfort’s Torture Chamber

Capcom Resident Evil CODE Veronica Alexia Ashford on Fire

Resident Evil CODE:Veronica
February 29, 2000

Survival Horror

Resident Evil: Code Veronica was the first main series Resident Evil game to release after the original trilogy. The game was notable for its visuals, which were a significant improvement from the game’s predecessors.

The visuals were considered to be movie-like at the time of the game’s release. This made the game all the more frightening, as audiences hadn’t seen such realistic horror visuals in a video game before.

10 Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

Scariest Moment: Yawn Boss Fight

Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles Jill Zombies

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
November 13, 2007


Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was the first game in the franchise to be released after the iconic Resident Evil 4. This put a ton of pressure on the on-rails shooter, and sadly, it failed to live up to the hype, scoring a lackluster 75 on Metacritic.


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Much like Resident Evil 5, the amount of hype around Umbrella Chronicles was more of a curse than a gift. The initial disappointment clouded what was a solid on-rails shooter that made excellent use of the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls. The on-rail mechanic is what grants Umbrella Chronicles a spot on this list, as players have no choice but to follow their characters who are constantly heading directly into danger.

9 Resident Evil 0

Scariest Moment: Queen Leech Boss Fight

resident evil zero - protagonists standing with guns

Resident Evil 0
November 12, 2002

Survival Horror

The Resident Evil series’ fifth main installment was released in 2002. The game didn’t perform badly with critics, though it was seen as a drop in form from the incredible run of games that Capcom was on leading up to its release. Criticisms were predominantly directed at the game’s lack of innovation, particularly in terms of its fixed camera, which seemed outdated at the time.

Resident Evil 0 earns a spot on this list for its atmosphere. The improved hardware of the GameCube allowed Capcom’s developers to create more meticulously detailed environments than ever before, which greatly helped the game’s unsettling elements pop.

8 Resident Evil: Revelations

Scariest Moment: Scagdead Boss Fight

Protagonists standing together in Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil: Revelations
January 26, 2012

Survival Horror

The Nintendo 3DS doesn’t seem like the most natural place for an action-horror title, but Capcom was able to make it work with Resident Evil: Revelations. The game performed particularly well with critics, exemplified by its impressive 82 Metascore.

Resident Evil: Revelations offers a unique horror experience thanks to the Nintendo 3DS’ capabilities. The 3D functionality made the game’s scariest moments far tenser and made the horror feel closer than ever.

7 Resident Evil 4

Scariest Moment: First Regenerator Encounter

Regenerador in Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4
PS4 , PS3 , PS2 , Xbox One , Xbox 360 , Switch , Wii , Nintendo GameCube , PC , Android , iOS

January 11, 2005

Survival Horror

As mentioned previously, Capcom made the bold decision of reinventing its iconic Resident Evil franchise with the sixth main series iteration. The risk certainly paid off, as Resident Evil 4 breathed new life into the series, and it quickly became recognized as one of the best games of all time.

The game sacrificed some of the series’ iconic horror in favor of more action-packed gameplay, though there are still a few frightening moments. Such moments include the fight against Del Lago, the first encounter with a Regenerador, and the fight against Verdugo.

6 Resident Evil (2002)

Scariest Moment: Zombie Dog Jumpscare

Resident Evil Jill Sandwich

Resident Evil HD Remaster
January 20, 2015

Survival Horror

Resident Evil (2002) marks a significant increase in the fear factor of this list’s entries. Whereas most of the games weren’t too scary but did have scary moments, Resident Evil (2002) is a genuinely unsettling experience throughout.

The 2002 remake of 1996’s Resident Evil wonderfully recaptured the essence of the original’s horror, while making the experience uncomfortably immersive with the improved visuals.

5 Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Scariest Moment: First Encounter With Mr. X

Horror Resident Evil 2 Remake Mr X Tyrant Attack

Resident Evil 2 (2019)
January 25, 2019

The highly-anticipated remake of Resident Evil 2 was released in 2019. Unlike some games on this list, it didn’t disappoint. In fact, the game exceeded expectations in the eyes of many, as few would have predicted the game to win the Golden Joystick Awards’ top prize of Ultimate Game of the Year.


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Anyone who has completed either the 2019 remake or the original 1998 game will likely remember two specific moments as being the most terrifying: the first encounter with Mr. X, and the first encounter with a Licker.

4 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)

Scariest Moment: First Encounter With Nemesis

The Nemesis from Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
November 10, 1999

Survival Horror

The success of the Resident Evil 2 remake unsurprisingly led to a remake of Resident Evil 3 just one year later. However, the game would have benefited from a longer development cycle, as it struggled to emulate the success of its predecessor.

Disappointment over the remake shouldn’t detract from the original game, however, as the 1999 title is not only one of the franchise’s best entries, but it’s also one of the scariest over 20 years after its initial release, largely thanks to the infamous Nemesis.

3 Resident Evil 4 Remake

Scariest Moment: Playing As Ashley In The Castle

Resident Evil 4 Remake Key Art

Resident Evil 4 Remake
March 24, 2023

Survival Horror

With the overwhelming success of the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, it almost felt inevitable that the critically acclaimed fourth game would get the same treatment. Thankfully, the developers learned from the mistakes of the RE3 remake and took the necessary time to deliver something truly special.

Resident Evil 4 remake retains almost every aspect of horror and action that made the original the household name it was. It also selectively chose to update the game in key areas and mechanics. While much still feels like the original, anyone who has played both versions of this story will notice the improvements.

2 Resident Evil Village

Scariest Moment: House Beneviento

resident evil village monster

Resident Evil Village
May 7, 2021

Survival (dupe) , Horror

When it was revealed that Resident Evil Village would implement similar gameplay mechanics and themes to its predecessor, many people started preparing for another horrifying experience. And that is just what they got as they saddled up for another adventure as the series’ latest new protagonist, Ethan Winters, as he searched for his kidnapped daughter Rosemary in an isolated Romanian village.

With each of the Four Lords being defined by a different subgenre of horror, players are spoiled for choice about which part of the game is the scariest, depending on what they personally find frightening, but most fans seem to be in agreement about one infamous part of the game that sparked nearly as much discussion as the much beloved Lady Dimitrescu: House Beneviento.

1 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Scariest Moment: Mia Boss Fight

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard - Jack Baker fight

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
January 24, 2017

Survival Horror

In terms of the numbered titles, it seems that Capcom is separating their Resident Evil games into groups of three. The first three games centered around combat, survival, and puzzle-solving with a fixed perspective. Resident Evil 4 then leaned into the series’ action elements and put the camera over the protagonist’s shoulder. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard again implemented a perspective change while also ramping up the level of horror, inspired by titles like Outlast and Amnesia.

Ethan Winters travels to an old farmhouse in Louisiana in search of his missing wife, Mia, after receiving a message from her, despite her being AWOL for three years. He finds much more than he bargained for when he encounters her captors, the homicidal Baker family, and discovers dark secrets beneath the bogwater.


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