The save rooms in Resident Evil cause a contradiction in player emotions. On the one hand, these areas serve as a refuge from the monsters that would cause harm to protagonists Chris and Jill. There is an unspoken rule that zombies cannot cross into these rooms, so the player has some time to collect their thoughts and plan ahead. There is often ammunition or healing supplies located in the save rooms, as well as item boxes where one can stock up on necessary supplies. A sort of calm exists in these spaces.
However, Chris and Jill will eventually have to leave these peaceful zones in order to complete the game. The momentary respite for the player is quickly replaced with the tension of preparing to depart. It is very common to avoid killing any zombies in the mad dash to a save room, leaving these menacing creatures lurking just beyond the door. Any tranquil thoughts have to be cleared away in order to psych yourself up for the next battle.
Aptly titled Peace of Mind, the theme for the save rooms in the first Resident Evil matches these conflicting emotions.
A soft string section tries to ease the player’s mind, while otherworldly tones instill a feeling of foreboding. The music is just off-putting enough to keep folks from relaxing.
The save rooms and their related characteristics continued across most of the Resident Evil series, and each sequel included appropriate music to match. A recent micro episode of Retronauts presents all of the save room themes in a seamless playback, providing listeners with a chance to hear the musical transition of this classic series in a single sitting. Be sure to check it out, along with the other fantastic episodes of this retro-gaming podcast!