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Resident Evil 7 walkthrough: Nightmare, Ethan Must Die and Jack’s 55th Birthday

Banned Footage game modes, explained

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Resident Evil 7 biohazard’s DLC doesn’t just add new puzzles for you to wrap your head around. There are also three new and challenging game modes. Nightmare follows Clancy as he survives waves of enemies in a low-resource night in the basement. Ethan must Die sees Ethan attempt to complete a remixed version of a small piece of the main campaign with randomized item drops. Jack’s 55th Birthday is a lighthearted time trial with fun hats and guns that shoot confetti.

Table of contents


Nightmare is a survival mode. You, as the perpetually-suffering Clancy, have to survive a night in the basement of the main house. Your goal is to survive through five waves of enemies (corresponding to the five hours you’re attempting to survive).

You do this by purchasing weapons, upgrades and traps with scraps. You’ll start off with a set amount of scrap, but you’ll earn more from compactors that you can activate around the basement.

You’re not going to pull this off on your first try. Or maybe even your 17th. It’s just not easy. Here are some tips to get you through the night.

  • Buy smart. You’ve got limited scrap to spend and every time you buy an item, the cost goes up. Don’t buy anything you’re not going to use.
  • Don’t ignore your skills. When you buy hardware, you can also buy upgrades to your skills. It’s tempting to ignore them when you’re so desperate for ammo, but upgrades to your health and reload speed can save your life.
  • Don’t forget about the compactors. Compactors only hold 1,000 scraps at a time, so you’ll have to empty them out regularly. They also have to be reactivated during every wave.
  • Make every shot count. At no point in Nightmare are you going to have an overabundance of ammo. Keep (as) calm (as you can) and take the shots that matter.
  • Use your rewards. Completing Nightmare, even unsuccessfully, with high enough scores will unlock additional rewards. Don’t waste them.
  • Use that corrosive. Buying that corrosive will let you unlock additional rooms in the basement and additional compactors.
  • Save the big guns for the big enemies. If and when you get around to buying the grenade launcher, save it for large groups of enemies or the mini boss fights.

Ethan must die

Ethan Must Die is a stripped-down version of a piece of the main campaign. Your goal is to fight (and kill) Marguerite in the greenhouse, but first you have to survive. And this game mode doesn’t make it easy.

You start off with your knife and nothing else. You pick up random loot from crates that are scattered (also randomly) around the level. You might pick up some gunpowder or you might pick up a shotgun. The importance of the item is indicated by the crate’s color (yellow is something common like an herb, green is probably a weak weapon and purple is something like a shotgun) and the number of stars floating above it.

And, oh yeah, some of the crates are booby trapped and will kill you immediately. You can hear ticking if you’re close to one of these crates.

Every time you die — and you will die a lot — your grave is marked by an angel statue. On your next run through, you can smash this angel to pick up one of the items you were carrying when you died.

We’re not going to lie, this mode is brutal. You’re relying on randomized loot drops for your weapons and the enemies are all more powerful than they were in the main campaign. Here are the two tips we can give you:

  • Run. You’ve start out with a pocket knife, so slashing away at a moulded isn’t the best plan of attack. Until you get yourself some meaningful firepower, your best (and, arguably, only) option is to run.
  • Make every shot count. You’re relying on those same random drops to find or make more ammo for whatever weapons you’re lucky enough to find. Don’t waste one precious bullet. If there’s a chance to run away, do that instead.
  • Watch out for booby traps. When you find them, use them to take out enemies.
  • Learn from your mistakes. The items are randomized, but the booby traps and the enemies are the same every time.
  • Don’t worry about making room in your inventory for first aid meds. You’re more likely going to be killed outright than just take damage. First aid meds are useful, but not as important to you as ammo.
  • Block. Blocking is the exception to the rule above — it’ll dramatically reduce the amount of damage you take if you’re cornered.
  • Pray.

Your journey through "Ethan must die" will take you through the main hall, the basement, the second floor of the main house, then back to the greenhouse where you’ll face the Marguerite boss fight with whatever you’ve managed to find. We’re not going to walk you through every twist and turn of this game mode. There’s two reasons for this: the path is relatively straightforward (you’ve been through all of the rooms during the main campaign) and this mode is really, really hard and we haven’t finished it yet.

Jack’s 55th birthday

Jack’s hungry and it’s up to you, as Mia, to feed him. It’s his birthday after all and all of the molded dressed up for the occasion.

Jack’s 55th Birthday is a fast-paced and fun journey through main campaign areas where your only goal is to find enough food to satisfy Jack before time runs out. Killing enemies will temporarily pause the countdown and tougher enemies pause the countdown for longer periods.

You get to load up out of an item box at the beginning of every playthrough and you’re familiar with the levels, but don’t expect this to be easy — Jack’s appetite is impressive and you’re going to be spending a lot of time running back and forth to deliver him his food.

  • Limit your inventory. It’s tempting to load up on as much hardware and ammo as you can carry before you start, but the food you’re searching for takes up a lot of space.
  • Spice it up. Spices take up valuable slots in your inventory, but when you combine them with food, they increase Jack’s satisfaction — filling him up (and his meter) faster. Add in the spices while you’re still out exploring to free up that inventory slot
  • Pay attention to the stars. The stars next to the names of the food you pick up indicate the quality of the food — high quality food fills up Jack faster than low quality food.
  • Don’t fight when you can run. Your ammo isn’t as limited in this mode as the others, so it’s not quite as important to conserve your ammo, but fighting and killing molded takes time. Yes, you get some of that time back when the countdown pauses, but it’s not always worth it. Your first and last priority is getting food from out in the level back to Jack.
  • Don’t make unnecessary trips back to Jack. Fill up your inventory before you take the time to go back. Make sure the time is worth the trip.


The next level of puzzles.

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