Last year, we got wind of an amazing collection of nearly all things Resident Evil that Capcom was releasing in Japan to honor the 15th anniversary of the series that defined survival horror. At the time, I had never played all the way through a game in the series, but swore that if that box set ever game to the United States, that I would drop the cash on it. While I was aware of the series’ story, I knew that not having truly experienced it was a giant hole in my gamer resume.

Unfortunately, that set still hasn’t appeared on North American shores, but one thing caught my eye when Capcom announced Resident Evil 6. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were getting two different bundled versions that, together, covered every title in that huge box set. The down side? Each costs $89.99. I knew there had to be a way to experience the games without dropping nearly $200, and I set out in search of the most inexpensive method.

Big, beautiful box set... but we never got it.

First up, let’s look at what comes in each of these two sets.

Resident Evil 6 Anthology (PlayStation 3) – Resident Evil 1: Director’s Cut, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil 4 HD, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition, Resident Evil 6. Based on the product listing, the older titles are in the form of vouchers for download on the PlayStation Network.

Resident Evil 6 Archives (Xbox 360) – Resident Evil 4 HD, Resident Evil: CODE Veronica X HD, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition, Resident Evil 6, Resident Evil: Degeneration film (DVD). Again, it’s unclear if the XBLA versions of RE4 and RE:CV are on the disc or vouchers.

Again, each of these will run you $89.99. We can do better. Half.com (a division of eBay) typically has good prices, though the advertised price is usually for the lowest quality item. Depending on how picky you are about the case and manual, you may have to pay a bit more. Because these are regular people (mostly), instead of career secondhand retailers, the prices are more reasonable and indicative of demand.

Resident Evil 1

You’ve got a couple of options for Resident Evil 1. You can either play it as it was originally released, or find yourself a copy of the REmake that was released on the GameCube. It’s bordering on atrocity that this well-regarded update hasn’t been released on other systems.

  • PSN (playable on PS3, PSP and Vita): $9.99 (more expensive than both RE2 and RE3)
  • PS1 (Director’s Cut): $7.49 (Half.com, which is better than the lowest Amazon seller at $287.50)
  • GameCube REmake: $10 (Half.com)
  • Sega Saturn: $27.97 (Half.com)

Resident Evil 2

  • PSN (playable on PS3, PSP and Vita): $5.99
  • N64: $12.78
  • PS1: $7.50 (Half.com, which is better than the lowest Amazon seller at $249.99)
  • Dreamcast: $12.00 (Half.com)
  • GameCube update: $24.00 (Amazon seller)

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

  • PSN (playable on PS3, PSP and Vita): $5.99
  • PS1: $7.90 (Half.com)
  • Dreamcast: $12.99 (Half.com)
  • GameCube update: $15.95

Resident Evil: Code Veronica (including X version and HD updates)

  • PSN/XBLA (HD): $19.99
  • PS2: $.75 used, $11.73 new (Half.com)
  • Dreamcast: $4.00 (Half.com)
  • GameCube: $33.99 (Half.com)

Resident Evil 4 (including HD updates)

  • PSN/XBLA (HD): $19.99
  • PS2: $3.50 (Half.com)
  • GameCube: $5.00 (Half.com)
  • Wii: $5.89 (Half.com)

Resident Evil 5 (including Gold edition)

  • Xbox Live Games on Demand (original version): $19.99
  • PlayStation Network (Gold edition): $29.99
  • PlayStaton 3 (Gold edition): $13.00 (Half.com)
  • Xbox 360 (Gold edition): $13.67 (Half.com)

Resident Evil 6

  • Standalone: $59.99

Resident Evil Degeneration

  • DVD: $8.49
  • Blu-Ray: $7.99
  • Amazon Prime Instant Video: Included in free package
  • Netflix: Available to watch on demand

OK… so now that we have that out of the way. Let’s take a look at the most inexpensive way you can own every title in those two collections. This assumes that you own a number of different consoles and have a membership to either Amazon Prime or Netflix streaming.

Title Platform Price Vendor
Resident Evil Director’s Cut PS1 $7.49 Half.com
Resident Evil 2 PSN $5.99 PSN
Resident Evil 3 PSN $5.99 PSN
Resident Evil: Code Veronica Dreamcast $4.00 Half.com
Resident Evil 4 PS2 $3.50 Half.com
Resident Evil 5 PS3 – Gold $13.00 Half.com
Resident Evil 6 PS3/360 $59.99 Any
Resident Evil: Degeneration Amazon Prime / Netflix Free with subscription Amazon / Netflix
TOTAL $99.96 (plus shipping from all those Half.com retailers)

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But what if you wanted to get the highest fidelty experience? Well, it would break down like this:

Title Platform Price Vendor
Resident Evil Remake GameCube $10 Half.com
Resident Evil 2 GameCube $24.00 Half.com
Resident Evil 3 GameCube $15.95 Half.com
Resident Evil: Code Veronica 360 Inc.
Resident Evil 4 360 Inc.
Resident Evil 5 360 – Gold Inc.
Resident Evil 6 360 (Archives) $89.99 (savings of $23 over least expensive option) Any
Resident Evil: Degeneration Amazon Prime / Netflix Free with subscription Amazon / Netflix
TOTAL $139.94

That’s not a big price jump for getting the prettiest versions of each of these games. The biggest ticket item is actually the GameCube update to Resident Evil 2. Again though, this assumes that you want to jump from console to console. What if you want to minimize the number of systems you’ll be playing on?

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Title PS3 360
Resident Evil 1 Director’s Cut Inc. $9.99 on PSN
Resident Evil 2 Inc. $5.99 on PSN
Resident Evil 3 Inc. $5.99 on PSN
Resident Evil: Code Veronica $19.99 Inc.
Resident Evil 4 Inc. Inc.
Resident Evil 5 Inc. Inc.
Resident Evil 6 Anthology – $89.99 (savings of $51.96 over individual downloads) Archives – $89.99 (savings of $48.46 over individual downloads)
Resident Evil: Degeneration Free with subscription Inc.
TOTAL $109.98 $111.95

It looks like going with PlayStation 3 straight down the line is the least expensive option, but not by much. The only thing that is unclear is whether the Xbox 360 version comes with vouchers for Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica or if they are on the disk (increasing the value of the game if you have friends you share with or should you want to trade in down the line).

Regardless of which approach you take, one thing is for sure. Purchasing both Resident Evil 6 Archives and Anthology are not the most affordable way to build your collection.

Of course, this won’t get you every Resident Evil game, but we’ll save those side stories for another day.