Resident Evil was first released in Japan on March 22, 1996, North America on March 30, 1996, and Europe on August 1, 1996 for the PlayStation. The game was developed and published by Capcom (and by Virgin Interactive for the worldwide PC and European releases) and was met with high success and sales worldwide. Shortly after, it was released on the PC, adding sharper graphics and more exclusive features, but its sales came nowhere close to the PlayStation version.
The game was then brought to the Sega Saturn, but due to the lack of popularity the Saturn had, this version did not receive as many sales as its PlayStation counterpart. In late 1997, after the Sega Saturn release, Capcom released Resident Evil: Director's Cut. The Director's Cut edition brought new camera angles, character models, weapons, and a rearranged story mode. A year after the Director's Cut was released, the Dual Shock version came out, adding the PlayStation's popular rumble feature in Dual Shock controllers. The Dual Shock version also had remixed music composed by Mamoru Samuragouchi.
In 2002, Capcom remade Resident Evil for the Nintendo GameCube due to Capcom's recent partnership with Nintendo for the release of future Resident Evil games on the GameCube. The remake shared the same title of Resident Evil (commonly known as REmake), but is a completely different game from the original. To celebrate the original title's ten year anniversary, Capcom released Resident Evil: Deadly Silence for the Nintendo DS, which featured a new "Rebirth" mode that took many elements from Resident Evil 4 and used the system's touchscreen for new puzzles and knife fighting sequences. "Rebirth" mode also features an entirely different single player experience from the original.
The Resident Evil North American PC release features the uncut introduction movie, which the European and Australian versions do not have. The PC version also offers two new weapons upon completion of the game: an Ingram MAC-10 for Jill and a Minimi for Chris. The Japanese release includes an adjustable difficulty setting, which the other worldwide releases do not have.
The Sega Saturn version had the worse graphics out of all the versions, but had several extras included to make up for it. The most memorable extra was Battle Mode, where players must fight several enemies in areas taken from the main game. New enemies were also used, such as a new Hunter species (called Ticks) and another Tyrant inside the lab; the Battle Mode also featured a golden Tyrant and a Wesker zombie. New costumes for Jill and Chris were added as well as several uncut scenes in some versions that were not supposed to be displayed.
The Resident Evil: Director's Cut has a brand new "Arranged" mode that offers new costumes for Chris, Jill, and Rebecca. Almost every room in "Arranged" mode also features brand new camera angles that were not used before. A new customized Beretta M92FS is also used, and has the chance of getting an instant kill on any enemy. Several key items and ammo have also been re-arranged in this new mode, which offers a larger challenge for the player trying to find them. Two new enemies have been added, including a former team-mate and Hyper Zombies, which are twice as fast and resistant to headshots. The Japanese release also offered a playable version of Resident Evil 2.
A "Beginner" mode was also featured in Director's Cut, which offers the player twice the ammo and twice the Ink Ribbons. Enemies are also weaker and your weapons are twice as powerful. The Director's Cut: Dual Shock edition featured the new rumble feature incorporated into Dual Shock controllers and a brand new soundtrack. The Dual Shock version, however, was not released in Europe. The Japanese release also came with a bonus disc, titled "Biohazard Complete Disc", which featured exclusive footage of Resident Evil 1.5, which was an early prototype of Resident Evil 2 at the time.
The remake was released in 2002 (simply called biohazard in Japan) for the GameCube. It is an entirely different game, and is featured in another walkthrough. The Nintendo DS version features a "Classic" mode (the original) and a "Rebirth" mode (a brand new mode made for the DS). The game uses both of the DS's display screens, with the top screen displaying a map and a health and ammo counter while the bottom screen displays the actual in-game footage as well as the inventory. The Nintendo DS version takes several ideas from previous Biohazard games, such as the 180-degree quick turn (from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis) and a quick reload and knife button from Resident Evil 4. Dialogue and loading screens can finally be skipped, but the censored introduction is still kept.
In "Rebirth" mode, several new puzzles and challenges have been added that use the touchscreen. Knife battle sequences in a first-person perspective have also been included, in which players must kill oncoming enemies with the Combat Knife (by using the stylus and touchscreen). The player can now shake off enemies using the touchscreen and perform a melee attack to fend off enemies. There is also many more enemies and ammo added into the game; new costumes for Chris, Jill, and Rebecca have also been added.
The game also features wireless LAN support for up to four players with two different modes. The first is a cooperative mode, where two players must escape various levels together. The other is a competitive mode where players must get the highest score by completing certain objectives in stages. There are three stages and nine selectable characters included in both modes.