Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 remake wasn’t a one-to-one recreation of the 2005 GameCube original. Multiple sequences, like the ridiculous Robo-Salazar battle, were reimagined, while other moments were cut altogether. One of the more devastating cuts for the Resident Evil 4 remake was the infamous laser room, in which Leon S. Kennedy dodges and backflips through an array of instant-kill laser beams.
Separate Ways not only brings back that iconic corridor full of killer lasers, it gives it a major upgrade in the form of a legitimate reason to exist. The laser room also adds one of the most quietly gruesome death scenes to the Resident Evil 4 remake, a game full of gory beheadings and other blood-soaked player deaths.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways.]
In the original Resident Evil 4, the laser room was an obstacle that stood between Leon and Osmund Saddler’s favorite sitting room. En route to face the U-3 bioweapon, Leon is confronted with a handful of quick-time events that show off his acrobatic laser-dodging talents. It’s endearingly cheesy.
In the noticeably less cheesy remake, Leon never faces U-3 or the deadly laser security system. But Ada does, and it comes as part of a new boss encounter against a creature known as Martinico.
Martinico is one of the monsters created by experimenting with the Amber. It’s described in-game as a once-fragile but now uncontrollable test subject that, after numerous experiments, “gained tremendous resilience and regenerating abilities, and now it is impervious to conventional weapons.” Basically, it’s another unkillable Resident Evil monster.
“It may be stronger, but its mental capacity has not improved at all,” an in-game message warns. “In the unlikely event that it breaks free, there is little we can do to contain it again. Only the powerful lasers can stop it for good.”
The laser room is a security measure built to keep Martinico from escaping to the island. Ada walks through two laser-protected rooms and is chased by Martinico multiple times. She decides to use the laser grid to her advantage as she escapes the island’s comms center, where Martinico resides.
Ada is just as lithe as the Leon of 2005. She can dodge past and squeeze through the laser grid with ease. But if she fails to make it through the final gauntlet of laser beams, Resident Evil 4 gives us one of the game’s most memorable and disturbing Game Over sequences.
Just like Martinico, Ada is fatally cubed by the beams if she whiffs the final button press, but rather than crumble into a pile of laser-sliced meat, Ada is frozen in place as her body shuts down. It’s unsettling.
It’s also an apparent homage to the gruesome laser deaths in Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil from 2002. In that film, members of the Umbrella Sanitation Team find themselves trapped in a room outfitted with deadly lasers, where they’re killed one by one in gruesome fashion. The leader of that group, James “One” Shade (Colin Salmon), gets sliced into dozens of cubes by a grid similar to the one from Resident Evil 4.
Here’s my other favorite thing about how Separate Ways handles the laser room: It’s self-aware about how ridiculous it is. At certain points during the DLC, Ada offers what reads like a bit of commentary on Resident Evil as a series. She balks at grabbing a piece of treasure from a well full of muck and slop, and later refuses to jump into a water reservoir the way that other Resident Evil heroes gladly do. (She is adventuring in some very expensive-looking stiletto-heeled leather boots, after all.)
This is her assessment of a long hallway outfitted with a series of moving killer laser beams:
Yes, Ada. Yes it was.
Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways is out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.