Resident Evil 2 is a 1998 survival horror videogame developed by Capcom and originally released for PlayStation. It has the same basic gameplay mechanics as its predecessor, Resident Evil.
Nowadays, many Resident Evil fans, included myself, miss this traditional gameplay against the modern gameplay, which started with Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 2 uses fixed camera angles, creating panic constantly and everywhere: we are not able to see what we have in front of us. Resident Evil 4 is a third-person shooter, so we can see everything all the time.
The graphics of Resident Evil 2 (and Resident Evil) were ahead of their time. That is why (this is just my personal opinion as a gamer), from time to time, the game needs ten seconds to load the next scenario. To get those seconds, the development team thought of doors. By adding a scene with a door opening and closing, they could get those valuable seconds.
They already had the time they needed, but the player couldn’t do anything in the meantime; so why not use those seconds to improve the story and transform a drawback into advantage? They decided to use those ten seconds to scare the player: all they had to do was to add a scary sound (it may seem simple, but it isn’t).
I used to play Resident Evil 2 when I was a kid. I beat this game many times, probably more than fifty times. Last year I decided to replay it. I know every corner, every monster and every trick of the game, but those doors still frighten me.
The game has four main different areas: city, police station, sewers and laboratory. Each area has its own doors, so each one must have a specific sound. Each door has its unique pitch and rhythm, but all of them have one feature in common: they are all scary! Creaks, squeaks, bangs, latches, railings, etc., many kinds of doors and sounds. You don’t know what you are going to find behind that door, all you know is that you don’t want to find out. Those ten seconds and that sound, with a peculiar and weird reverb, are not helping you. On the contrary, you are freaking out…!
What would happen if there was not any sound? Or if the sound was different? Probably the storytelling would have been worse.
In addition, the entire story progresses until its climax, so everything has to follow this rule, including the sound. At the beginning there are metal doors, wooden doors, sewage covers… They scare you? Yes. But it is nothing compared to the end. Your fear is growing. Only when you arrive to the final area, the laboratory, is when you realise….
I guess they have achieved their goal.