I saw how I would fare during a real-life zombie outbreak, at Universal Studios Japan's Resident Evil simulator.
Last year, Universal Studios Japan challenged Resident Evil fans to survive a real-life zombie outbreak, in Resident Evil: The Real. The "ride" essentially had players pick up a pistol and try to make their way through Racoon City, shooting actors dressed as zombies while keeping their infection levels down.
This year, USJ's real-life Resident Evil simulator is back, with Resident Evil: The Real 2, and this time, they've upped the ante by replacing the 9mm with a pump-action shotgun. I was lucky enough to be in Osaka during USJ's Halloween event, so I was able to put my survival horror skills to the test. Let's just say, in the event of an actual zombie outbreak, you'd be better off staying far away from me...
The simulator started with a quick explanation of the ride's rules. Basically, you have a gun with limited ammo, and you need to shoot zombies before they get too close to you, or your "infection level" will increase. Both your ammo and infection level are shown as indicators on your gun. We were given a little bit of practice time with the guns before being led by park employees dressed as Raccoon City police officers into the Resident Evil-themed zone.
I must say, the atmosphere of the "levels" was really top-notch. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures inside, but it really did feel like areas from the various Resident Evil titles, ranging from the police station, to a hospital, to research labs. What was especially cool was that each room felt like a "level," as we had to enter it, clear it, and wait for our guide to open the door to the next one. It really felt like we were playing a real-life video game.
As for the experience itself, its best described as one of those Madam Tussaud's "haunted house" events where people dressed up as monsters jump out at you, but this time you have a gun and can shoot them in the face. The "zombies" had some kind of sensors on their bodies, and whenever I shot them, I could see it light up, and the actors would appropriately recoil backwards and "die".
The costumes were all really well done, and looked like the zombies from the games, and the actors did a fantastic job of keeping in character. At one point, Nemesis himself showed up, making his entrance by grabbing a nearby zombie and ripping its head off. He also pinned one of our RCPD "guides" to the wall at one point, as we desperately pelted him with bullets to try and save her.
A couple of cool additional touches, such as healing herbs, which when pointed at with your gun, reduce your infection level, and ammo crates, which work the same way but replenish your ammo instead, really helped to make the game feel more like Resident Evil - even if the "gameplay" was more akin to an arcade shooter a-la House of the Dead than the slow-paced survival horror roots of Resident Evil.
I'm ashamed as a gamer to say that while I was quite "gung-ho" for the ride, and tried my best to stay in character myself, I unfortunately, could not keep my infection levels within the acceptable range, and was incinerated at the end of the ride. In fact, in our group of ten, there was only a single survivor.
At the end of the ride, my friends and I posed with our shotguns in what turned out to be a pretty epic commemorative photo, and were led into a shop with some cool, exclusive Resident Evil merch, and "props" from the games, such the character's iconic outfits and weapons. I picked up myself up this sweet Umbrella Corporation ID badge, but passed on the "t-virus themed" sausage and drink set..
If you find yourself in Osaka this holiday period, and are any kind of video game fan, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. It's running every day at Universal Studios Japan from now until November 8.