Aside from wading through a grotesque charnel house full of mouth-foaming zombies, the Resident Evil video game franchise is known for challenging players through various brain-teasing puzzles. Often, the harder a puzzle is to solve in the game, the easier it is to be distracted and chomped to gory bits, making the ostensible in-game detours far more important than they may appear at first glance.
From vaccines, water samples, portrait paintings, and gas gauges to animal statues, hangmen, and graveyards, discover the most challenging in-game puzzles the Resident Evil franchise has to offer thus far.
Water Sample Puzzle – Resident Evil 3
Beginning in chronological order, the water sample puzzle in the influential horror game Resident Evil 3 has become notorious for how tedious and annoying it is for players to solve. A severe patience-tester, the instructionless puzzle asks players to align the proper row of combination blocks atop the water sample machine.
The difficulty comes from the lack of a well-defined objective, leaving players to simply guess which combo blocks are the right fit on top of the sample indicator. With four different possible outcomes, players are bound to die of boredom or zombie attacks before solving the puzzle in a timely manner.
Vaccine Base Puzzle – Resident Evil 3
At the very end of RE3, another confusing and ill-defined puzzle has been driving players mad for years. Once players have formed the vaccine base, they must synthesize the compounds of the vaccine by properly calibrating temperature across three different levels.
Like the Water Sample puzzle, the lack of instructions leads to a wildly inefficient trial and error, leaving players to repeat the laborious process over and over until the proper temperatures are aligned. No real logic or strategy can be applied, which makes players scramble and panic as time runs out. In a huge guessing game, the best solution is to align Mid, High, and Low gauges at 50-degrees apiece.
Portrait Puzzle – Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
Most RE die-hards will agree that the portrait Puzzle in Code: Veronica is a real chore to complete. In order to solve the puzzle and advance through the cliche-ridden horror game, players must inspect a series of family portraits of the Ashford family and press the buttons underneath each painting in the proper order. The idea is to trace Ashford’s family in their exact lineage.
With seven detailed portraits, finding the proper order can take a lot of time and effort. With poor clues given and a hazy solution from the outset, the puzzle is easy to get lost in for hours. For a clue, the last painting, a portrait of Alfred Ashford, is located upstairs.
Fuel Gauge Puzzle – Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
Once players finally solve the Portrait Puzzle in Code: Veronica, they will invariably pull out their hair when facing the frustrating Fuel Gauge puzzle at the end of the game. Extremely confounding, the task is to manually calibrate the proper pressure to the bridge after the automatic system fails.
With little clues and rules to follow, the supremely vexing puzzle takes forever to solve, often leading players to give up and want to quit the game outright. Essentially reduced to hitting a bunch of buttons until the proper permutation is found, players are bound to run out of gas quicker than the gauge itself.
Knight Puzzle – Resident Evil Remake
Thanks to the remastered upgrade of the scary horror game, the iconic Knight Puzzle from the original Resident Evil game is even tougher to solve. Players enter a room housing four Knights of armor, each holding a different symbolic weapon. The task involves pushing the knights in the proper order. One false move will rearrange the knights back to their starting position, making a player restart the entire process.
Moreover, zero hints to the ordering are given, leaving players to deduce clues from the weapon symbols alone. It’s a tougher challenge than the original game, which often catches players by surprise.
Animal Statue Puzzle – Resident Evil Zero
Almost every RE completist will agree that the Animal Statue Puzzle in Resident Evil Zero is no easy task. However, it may be one of the most amusing of difficult puzzles in the franchise. The task involves lighting the candles above the various animal statues, doing so in order from weakest to strongest predators.
While it may sound easy enough, the unpredictable pattern of the predatory animals is nearly impossible to decipher upon the first go-around. For instance, the snake and eagle outrank the wolf and cougar, which is anything but an obvious order.
Crate-Pushing Puzzle – Resident Evil Zero
One of the chief ideas behind one of the best Resident Evil games, Resident Evil Zero, was to go back to basics and redesign from the ground up. The overhaul is most notable in the exasperating Crate-Pusing Puzzle at the end of the game, in which players need to raise the water level in a corridor to the proper height so that crates can be moved easily to form an exit path.
Raising the water properly is a real nuisance on its own but the real challenge comes in moving the boxes at precisely the right time and in the right order to find egress. The best way to solve the puzzle is to switch between characters and use Rebecca to do the heavy pushing, a priceless shortcut that takes forever to discover.
Slider Puzzle – Resident Evil 4
The most difficult puzzle in Resident Evil 4 belongs to the maddening Slider puzzle, and it isn’t particularly close. Ashley happens upon a stone slab full of strange symbols and patterns. Unless players know how to treat the slab like a 3×3 tic-tac-toe grid, the puzzle will appear like an indecipherable foreign object.
By moving the nine symbolic pieces around the slab in the proper numerical order, a tenth opening will appear. Players must then add the stone slab procured earlier in the game to the opening and the puzzle will be completed. It’s easy enough if aware of the 3×3 gird model and nearly impossible without such knowledge.
Hangman Puzzle – Resident Evil 6
With zero directions to follow, the Hangman Puzzle in Resident Evil 6 is a taxing challenge that requires patience, precision shooting, and brilliant problem-solving at once. Ada Wong ambles into a dark crypt in Tall Oaks, only to find a grisly corpse dangling from a rope.
With no clear-cut objective, the puzzle requires Ada to exhaust nearly every avenue before opening fire at the corpse. Without knowing and until it is achieved, the goal is to shoot the corpse precisely so that it falls to the ground and lands on a hidden switch that opens a trapdoor. As such, the puzzle takes multiple attempts to get right.
Tombstone Puzzle – Resident Evil: Revelations 2
The Tombstone Puzzle in RE: Revelations 2 is one of the most complex and elaborate multi-pronged challenges in the entire franchise. First, one must find one of two notes left as instructions. Afterward, players must solve three riddles to activate four different headstones in the correct order, which will open a gate to advance through.
Unless the note is picked up at the exact right place, instructions guiding players to use the “front” and “back” will make no sense whatsoever. Also, where most puzzles are confined to a tight space, this one requires running around various rooms in the dark, which makes it easy to lose one’s place and have to start over.
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