Health Bar Horror

When I was recently sneaking through the Resident Evil 3 remake, I realized once again how the horror aspects of this series have left me cold. Neither single shock moments, jump scares nor overwhelming hordes of enemies make me lose my desire to play. That was different some time ago. Over the years, however, a simple detail has become apparent that regularly stresses me out and that the Resident Evil games, especially in the new editions, are only too happy to use. Namely the lack of health bars, especially in boss opponents. In Resident Evil 3 I noticed it especially in the giant creature after the bridge. A boss fight in which the oversized opponent drove me for what felt like an eternity through a circle pit of cruelty, because I could never even estimate if I was doing well here or if I was causing any significant damage at all. The bosses of the RE series are also known for not even breaking a sweat, even when shotgun fire is fired at close range. They moan casually, throwing their heads backwards a little bit, only to continue their campaign of destruction immediately. As if they are aware of their existence as mere bullet sponges always grinning inwardly when getting into encounters with me. Not knowing where you stand, a feeling that perhaps simply pushes unresolved traumas from my puberty out of my subconscious.

Speaking of puberty: No other game series has had a greater impact on my adolescence than good ol’ Halo. When I dig out those classics today, I realize that they already worked hard on my trauma back then. Because in Halo, every standard opponent eats virtual lead by the liter without visually telling you the current state of its physical condition in any way. In the past, it hardly seems to have bothered me at all, nowadays it annoys me infinitely! Now go down, you ugly grunt! I don’t have the time for your theatrics, there are still thirty-four of your kind waiting. Developer Bungie has obviously become aware of this. In Destiny and Destiny 2 there are no more enemies without an energy bar. Every mob and every boss shows clearly at any time how much they can still take. Maybe this also explains the immense degree of relaxation that Bungie’s looter-shooter offers me. A headshot is a headshot, the opponent goes down immediately. In Halo every so called major needs several shots to temple until they finally rest in pieces. This is obviously supposed to pose an additional challenge, but in the end it hurts the gameflow enormously. I have a similar experience with Resident Evil 3, but the horror series only achieves what its brand essence is and what I’ve otherwise lost with it. To trigger inner unrest.

Resident Evil 3 is a horror game made and remade by Capcom, Halo and Destiny are shooter legends developed by Bungie. Some of those games cause traumas, others cure them.

This post is also available in: German