Resident Evil is full of creative enemies and villains, but not all of them started out as mindless monsters, mutated by some variant of the T-Virus. Some were people trying to make the world a better place, and whose views became warped as time went on.
We won’t be including any monsters here that were purpose-built for destruction like the Mr X Tyrant or Nemesis. Today we’re more concerned with the enemies and villains whose lore extends further than being created in a lab.
12 Resident Evil Enemies with the most compelling backstories:
Dr James Marcus is arguably the Resident Evil villain who started it all. He’s one of the three founders of Umbrella, creator of the T-Virus and the one who caused the biohazard outbreak in Resident Evil 1 and Zero. The person/creature we face in RE0 may not actually be Marcus at all. Instead, it’s a leechlike bioweapon that has modelled itself on him using his DNA and memories after consuming his dead body.
This creates an identity crisis in Marcus/Queen Leech following his murder by Umbrella and subsequent resurrection. An already insane and cruel scientist, Marcus becomes even more dangerous with superpowers and an obsession with revenge on Umbrella. His anger starts a chain reaction of biohazard outbreaks that play out during the early games.
Birkin is the creator of the G-Virus, a new volatile and unstable version of the T-Virus. But despite his day job creating bioweapons, William is also a loving father and husband. One who’s becoming increasingly disillusioned with Umbrella’s nefarious activities. This includes the murder of James Marcus, of which he assisted.
He’s also the mastermind behind Wesker’s resurrection, and along with Albert, plans on betraying Umbrella and selling their secrets. Of course, Birkin is assassinated before the plan can be completed. But he injects himself with the G-Virus and then murders his killers, and later his wife as a mutated monster. However, he retains enough humanity to successfully protect his daughter Sherry from the Mr X Tyrant.
Jack Norman is the leader of the bioterrorist organisation Il Veltro. He and his villainous allies were apparently responsible for unleashing the T-Virus on the city of Terragrigia. In Resident Evil Revelations, they infect the Queen Zenobia ship with the T-Abyss Virus and threaten to infect the world’s oceans.
However, Jack is simply a patsy for a bigger conspiracy that also involves high ranking members of the BSAA. An organisation set up to battle bioterror, not cause it. By the time the player finds Jack, he’s already insane and consumed by vengeance. He’s also close to transforming into a Tyrant, giving the protagonists only one solution to end his misery.
Carla is another tragic character in the Resident Evil universe. Originally a scientist helping Resident Evil 6 villain Derek Simmons create the C-Virus. Carla becomes a victim of her own work when Simmons uses the virus on her, then subjects her to plastic surgery to look more like Ada Wong. With whom he happens to be obsessed.
However, Carla steals the virus and causes multiple outbreaks around the world in revenge. Naming her organisation Neo Umbrella, she also steals Ada Wong’s identity, eventually believing she is the real thing. This leads to a showdown between the two.
Wesker is one of the series biggest and most celebrated antagonists. One whose absence from the series is still felt to this day. The character started out as a typical B-movie villain in Resident Evil 1, but by RE5, his backstory had been fully fleshed out.
Albert was in fact one of only two survivors of Oswell Spencer’s early experiments to create a more evolved human. This explains his resistance to the G-Virus and superhuman abilities. Sadly, he takes over his creator’s warped vision and tries to infect the planet with a combination of all known T-Virus and Las Plagas variants called Uroboros.
Unlike most characters on this list, Lisa had no connection to bioweapon research or complicity in helping other villains. She was just the teenage daughter of the architect who designed Spencer’s mansions. Fearing the family knew too much, Spencer murdered them and used Lisa in his experiments.
Tragically, in Resident Evil 1, Lisa still roams the Racoon City Spencer Estate as a mutated monster searching for her long-dead mother. This perhaps gives her the saddest back story of all Resident Evil characters. Lisa Trevor will also appear in the upcoming Resident Evil Welcome to Racoon City movie.
Krauser is a bit of a one-dimensional douche in Resident Evil 4, but the Darkside Chronicles explain why. After giving his whole life to the United States government, Krauser is injured in the line of duty and shelved while Leon Kennedy becomes a rising star.
Ironically, Krauser is injured protecting people from zombies and loses the use of his arm, making him redundant as a soldier. Krauser turns to bioterror to regain control of his arm – and his life. However, he loses everything else in the process.
Oswell E. Spencer
Spencer is arguably the main Resident Evil villain and his influence can be felt throughout the series. The founder of Umbrella, Spencer uses his vast wealth to sponsor bioterror and change the world – in his image. Although a very old man, he’s really just an insecure coward who’s too arrogant to accept his mortality.
Believing he has the “right to become a god”, Spencer is, directly and indirectly, responsible for all the death and misery in the Resident Evil series. That is until his past catches up with him. But by then his influence has already irreparably polluted the world.
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Jack is a kind and decent family man, struggling to cover up the murderous crimes of his psychopathic son Lucas. When a walking bioweapon arrives at his Louisiana ranch and infects his whole family, Jack turns into a monstrous shell of his former self.
He is one of the series most compelling Resident Evil villains, because like the average zombie, Jack represents more than just a monster. He’s the victim of Umbrella and other organisations that create the viruses. He’s frighteningly close to home and his every day normality makes him scarier than any 7-foot Tyrant.
Miranda may be the ultimate string-puller in the Resident Evil universe, even serving as a mentor to Oswell E. Spencer. However, her goal is to resurrect her dead daughter and she doesn’t care who she hurts to achieve this end.
It’s unknown how influential Miranda was on the Umbrella organisation directly, but her influence is what fed Spencer’s obsession. She clearly shares a portion of the blame for everything that’s ever happened in Resident Evil, despite her goal being a noble one. It’s just a shame about her methods.
The internet became obsessed with Lady D when the early Resident Evil Village marketing materials appeared online. Some simply found her alluring while others recognised that she may be the original template for a Tyrant.
Really, she was just one of Miranda’s experiments with the mold, but her backstory involves her descent into madness and murder. Lady D is a truly terrifying villain even without her size and claws. She takes young women, drains their blood, turns them into zombies and makes wine out of them all in a big gothic castle. Being stalked by her in Resident Evil Village is a truly terrifying experience.
Karl is different from his ‘siblings’ in that he visibly loathes Mother Miranda and would do anything to escape her control. Even going as far as building an army of bioweapons to use against her. Seeing Rose Winters as the ultimate weapon, he tries to recruit Ethan Winters to his cause.
Heisenberg would be sympathetic, after all he never asked to be in this position. But he clearly has no regard for anyone but himself. Rather than ridding the world of Miranda, it’s likely that he would have simply replaced her.
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