When a franchise has been around for as long as Resident Evil has, and with no fewer than 30 games under its umbrella (corporation), there is bound to be a wealth of forgotten heroes with their own passionate fanbase.
Some tout the selfless courage of Resident Evil 1’s Richard Aiken, or the troubled past of Billy Coen from Resident Evil 0. I’m sure there’s even a perverse few riding on the Ricardo Irving bandwagon. They all had an impact on the Resident Evil legacy in their own unique way, making their mark through their deeds.
For me, however, there is one man who stands alone; defiantly rejecting conventional wisdom in an effort to prolong his dreams and ambitions.
This man is Dario Rosso, aka the guy who hides in the shipping container in Resident Evil 3.
At first gasp, you might think I’m being facetious with my alleged fascination for this character. Few recall he even existed in the first place, and fewer still have gone to the effort of learning his name and backstory.
Ironically, it is this anonymity that makes him someone worth caring about.
In the course of fleeing Raccoon City during the zombie outbreak of September 28th 1998, Jill Valentine briefly takes reprieve in an abandoned warehouse. There, she meets up with a frantic civilian who is mourning the grisly deaths of his wife, daughter and mother.
Jill attempts to convince the man to join her, but he is unflinching, convinced that if he goes back outside, he will meet the same fate as his family. He goes so far as to lock himself in a shipping container, shouting that “I’d rather starve to death in here than be eaten by one of those undead monsters”.
In the greater scheme of things, Dario is meant to be little more than a cowardly nobody, condemning himself to certain doom by refusing to confront the threat directly. But I posit to you, could you really see yourself doing anything different if you were in his position?
You’ve got no tangible skills to defend yourself with, and you’ve just seen your beloved daughter devoured before your very eyes. The shipping container offers peace, security… a place where you won’t have to face reality anymore.
Sure, aligning yourself with an armed police officer makes more sense in the long run, but for all you know, the building is already surrounded and you’re going to perish anyway. So you may as well go out on your terms.
Should Jill return to the warehouse later on in the game, she’ll find it to have been breached, and the shipping container left open. A smattering of zombies lurch about, with the deceased Dario among them. It seems he had second thoughts about waiting for death to claim him quietly, instead ending up as another feast upon the gnashing teeth of the ghouls.
He leaves behind little to be proud of, but did go so far as to pen his final testament. In the container lies Dario’s Memo, where he reveals that he had longed to someday become a famous novelist, but never pursued this due to disparaging remarks from his mother.
Instead of chasing after his dreams, Dario settled on being a salesman. Just another cog in the machine, working his 9 to 5 to make someone else rich. In a cruel twist of fate, he is registered as a guest of the Apple Inn, suggesting that he wasn’t even a resident of Raccoon City to begin with.
This poor guy, whom fate had already rejected, happened to check into the worst city in America at the worst possible moment? There are some luckless losers dotted across Resident Evil history — the aforementioned Richard chief among them, destined to be done in by a giant snake or a giant shark — but Dario doesn’t even get his moment of redemption. His last hours were spent in agonising regret.
It’s disheartening to learn of the dire circumstances surrounding this downtrodden everyman, though the 2020 remake did throw in some additional dialogue to render him more unlikable. It also disallowed re-entry to the warehouse, robbing Dario even of his memo.
He represents the unfulfilled potential that haunts all of us; forcing himself through a miserable life of apathy, punctuated by yet another poor choice that would ultimately seal his fate.
As 2022 comes to a close, I urge anyone reading to take heed of the plight of Dario Rosso. Though he may not have brought us the novel that would inspire a generation, what he did end up writing was arguably more significant: a reminder that there is only one shot at this crazy thing called life, so you’d best make the most of it.
We hope you’re proud, Mrs. Rosso. Your boy did alright in the end.
For further reading on Dario Rosso, I recommend checking out this piece by Jared Carpenter, written shortly before the remake’s release. It shares many of the same sentiments I hold on the crestfallen author extraordinaire. It also takes a deeper dive into what his character represents to the narrative as a whole.
Between this and the smattering of fan art I tracked down, perhaps there are more Dario fans out there than I had thought. It may not be too late to salvage his good name, after all.