Finally, after two years of wanting to experience the BIOHAZARD (aka Resident Evil) Halloween attraction at USJ, I’VE DONE IT. Achievement Unlocked.
Halloween is an extremely peak period for the amusement park, with special Halloween attractions and a Halloween Horror Nights portion where zombies roam the park freely. It draws hordes of
zombies visitors from all over Japan and overseas. Even on a Tuesday when I went it was as packed as weekends usually are and already I feared the growing numbers of people that would be visiting in the days and weeks to come.
Of all the special Halloween attractions, BIOHAZARD THE REAL has always been the most popular – because who wouldn’t want to grab a gun, shoot zombies and experience being in a survival horror game?
The official trailer
You need a timed entry ticket (整理券, seiriken) for the attraction, which are given out on a first come first serve basis. This allows you to join the queue at the listed time and it is not the time you will enter and start the attraction. These tickets are distributed at a separate location from the attraction itself and run out really fast. We joined the distribution queue at 10:40AM and were given the entry time of 6:15 to 6:30PM. About 20 to 30 minutes later, the queue was closed and all tickets given out. Another way to ensure entry is to buy the express ticket pack through online reservations.
After waiting the whole day just for our timing (while trying out the other Halloween attractions) finally, finally came our turn! First up is to strap on the Projection Goggles and Arm Band – it’s a contraption that works something like Google Glass and displays the game information on the small spectacle lens. See the Umbrella Corporation logo on the left side? Yes? Then you’re all set! You might want to consider wearing contacts in case your spectacles get in the way. But I had mine on and the headgear fit fine so it doesn’t actually hinder gameplay.Grab the handgun passed to you and head over to meet your liaison. There’s 10 minutes before the Umbrella Corp helicopter arrives at the pick up point and you’ve got to fight your way there with the rest of your group. There’s limited ammo but item pick ups aid you along the way.
Fans of the BIOHAZARD/Resident Evil series will appreciate the gameplay mechanics which are similar to the video games. In-game items make their appearance throughout the course such as ammo, first aid spray and green herbs which players aim at, focus the trigger on (causing the crosshair to change on the projected display!) and shoot at to regain ammo or health.
The whole experience was such a blur, with barely any time in each room to fully explore before we had to shoot oncoming enemies and rush to the next area. Other than normal zombies that you have to shoot, enemy types such as Tyrant and Licker also make appearances which make the attraction more immersive. I felt it wasn’t as scary as some of the other attractions (like Chucky’s Horror Factory 2 ugh) so you won’t go home with nightmares.
There’s also a mysterious Password Entry segment where players are invited to enter what they think is the password – gathered through clues hidden inside the attraction area – which could be the key to success or failure.
The final showdown takes place against Nemesis and players will get to use a machine gun with unlimited ammo in an attempt to defeat the boss and wipe its HP bar to zero.
Instead of always watching people play games, I was now the protagonist of my own game! I was shooting enemies, though more often than not wasting ammo because if you hit something enough times you’ll hit the mark eventually…right? The high paced nature of the attraction gave me such a rush as we ran through areas to escape from enemies. The bang, bang, bang of the trigger sent my blood racing and as we walked back out into the cool night after depositing our gear, already I wanted more.
Definitely worth the wait. 10/10 would play again.
Watch Japanese celebrities tackle the attraction and get an insight to what actual gameplay is like in the following videos (in Japanese with no English subtitles):