Resident Evil is a beloved series for many reasons. It scared players senseless with zombies, fixed camera angles, and enemies that could easily ruin your day if you hadn’t packed the right type of ammo. When it comes to characters however, there are few who are more iconic than Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, the stars, both literally and figuratively, of the first game in the series. Today we’re going to look into the woman responsible for inspiring one of the best-known lines from the series, Jill Valentine.
Much More Than A Jill Sandwich
Barry Burton famously said, “you were almost a Jill sandwich!” in the first Resident Evil, creating a line that will never die. Despite the fact that this line makes light of Jill’s harrowing ordeal of almost being crushed in a trap room in the Spencer Mansion, she’s no less impressive. Jill is one of the last surviving members of S.T.A.R.S in the Resident Evil universe. When her helicopter crashes, and she finds herself in a nightmare of the undead, betrayed by someone she thought she knew, and in constant danger, she doesn’t loose her cool.
Jill was actually the better character to play as in Resident Evil. She has more equipment spaces, probably because she actually brought all of her gear on the mission, and has a lock-picking kit to make light work of any secure doors. Compared to Chris Redfield, she’s a dream. Being prepared isn’t all that Jill can do though, she manages to survive the events of Spencer Mansion, and finds herself back in Racoon City when the real outbreak begins.
Resident Evil 3, both Nemesis and the Remake, takes place a little ahead of, and during, the events of Resident Evil 2. The game sees Jill battling against the odds to escape Racoon City, which has been completely overrun by zombies, whilst also being hunted by a bioweapon specifically designed to take her down, Nemesis.
Jill Valentine has arguably the worst time of any Resident Evil protagonist. She’s relentlessly hunted throughout Resident Evil 3 by a hulking mass of flesh wielding a machine gun, flamethrower, rocket launcher, and some mad tentacles. Nemesis is the ultimate bioweapon, designed to take S.T.A.R.S down, and Jill is the last one left in the city. The odds have very rarely ever been this stacked against someone, and they just keep getting worse.
Jill has to solve puzzles, which ultimately lead to her either meeting Nemesis, or something else nasty, only to progress to another point where she’s in danger. Jill has probably had the most stressful time in games, and it’s not getting any easier. In Resident Evil 3 Remake Nemesis has been revamped, given more abilities, and he might even be able to attack at any point in the game. Right now we’re unsure of whether there are prompts to take him on, which Jill would always choose to fight in, but the fact that she goes through all of this and comes out the other side is incredible.
Jill makes it into Resident Evil 5, where we see that at some point she has teamed up with Chris Redfield again. She doesn’t have an easy time, getting captured and controlled, but she manages to survive even this. If you take Nemesis and Jill as metaphors, you can translate them into many situations. Nemesis can represent any hardship, from something as simple as a group of friends ostracising you, to an abusive partner. Jill represents you, the survivor. She never gives up, in fact she goes out of her way to protect others, suffering n the process, but always looks to serve the greater good when she can.
Jill might be a special agent of sorts. She has training with weapons, and understands how to user her body effectively in a fight with fists or guns, but she’s still vulnerable. With that said, she never quits. Jill is the epitome of survival, and she should inspire that same endurance in anyone who plays as her. Her return in Resident Evil 3 Remake will only show even more impressive feats of endurance and survival, demonstrating just how far someone can go to stay alive.
For International Women’s Day 2020 we’re covering some of the most iconic women in games. If you enjoyed this look at Jill Valentine, head here to read about more women in games from this series.