Resident Evil finally had its Barbie moment, and I’ve never been prouder

Rose with the crystal
(Image credit: Capcom)

Something’s following me. I can’t see it, but I’ve been in these dark, dingy, and rotting cells before, and I can tell when there are eyes on me. I apprehensively venture into the dark hallways underneath the Dimitrescu Castle, knowing that I could meet my end around every corner.

Quickly, I need to make my way through this horrifically claustrophobic basement as fast as I can before whatever’s following me catches up. As I frantically pace through the cluttered rooms, I pick up whatever I may find useful. And then I see it, a key. If there’s a key, there must be a locked door, which means a road to freedom. 

Then I hear it. It’s muffled, quiet, but I know exactly what it is; it’s a little girl crying

Flash forward to me going from door to door, trying every single one in hopes that this could free me from this nightmare. Failure after failure, I’m beginning to think this key was some cruel prank. Then I hear it. It’s muffled, quiet, but I know exactly what it is; it’s a little girl crying. And said little girl is locked behind the door I have the key for. Fantastic. 

I have no choice but to unlock the door. Trust me; if there were another way, I would have found it. As the door creaks open, I brace for impact. At first, all I can see is an empty room, but then from the sick darkness emerges a creature mad of melting tar. Suddenly, it clutches my ankle. It screams and moans as it drags me down into an abyss; I’m struggling, fighting, trying everything I can to make this ghoul release me. 

Something grabs me from behind, yanking me from the monster's grip. I fall to the ground, dazed and confused, only to look up and see my own face staring back at me. She looks exactly like Rose Winters, Ethan Winters’ daughter and the protagonist of this DLC. My mind rushes to one thing and one thing only; Barbie, Princess and the Pauper. Oh my god, it’s finally happening; I’m having my Barbie moment. 

A Barbie world?

Rose meets her clone

(Image credit: Capcom)

I don’t blame you if Resident Evil doesn’t scream Barbie to you; I was just as confused at first. This new DLC for Resident Evil Village, Shadows of Rose, doesn’t exactly scream shopping trip. I don't think I even saw a shred of pink in the bleak and menacing Castle Dimetrescu.

That first meeting is so similar to the Barbie movie (minus the goo monster), I thought they were going to break into song

But hear me out; for those who haven’t seen the cinematic masterpiece that is Barbie Princess and the Pauper, this is uncannily similar. Two girls, despite being almost identical in looks and features, are entirely different due to the life fate dealt them. On the one hand, you have Rose, who has been brought up controlled by agents from the Umbrella Organisation, and on the other, there are the clones who Mother Miranda directs.

Not to mention how that first meeting is almost the same in the Barbie movie (minus the goo monster). It was so similar; in fact, I thought they were going to break into song. 

Nothing super about this

Rose being dragged to her death by the mold

(Image credit: Capcom)

The central theme of Shadows of Rose is coming to terms with oneself and achieving a sense of closure. The titular character, Rose, is forced to confront these clones among the other horrors as a way of learning to accept the parts of herself that she hates, this being her supernatural powers gained from the mold. 

The mold occurs when Megamycete absorbs an organic being, be it a human or animal. It can craft itself into a human shape or something close to that. The Megamycete is slightly more complicated, but it’s a collection of human consciousness. Rose was born from two mold-mutated parents, and so has a close connection to this warped and cruel mass of consciousness. 

Superpowers seem cool, but Rose has led a lonely life because of them

Having said connection is not all it’s cracked up to be. Superpowers seem cool, but Rose has led a lonely life because of them. Not being able to form friendships or lasting relationships, she worries that she will forever be an outsider. This fear leads Rose to enter the Megamycete, hoping to find a crystal that’ll free her from these cursed powers. 

When Rose enters this warped consciousness, she is swapped into a different world, the land of Castle Dimetrescu, the setting of Resident Evil Village. Despite not having an easy time in normal life, the clones of herself that she encounters in this vile place have it infinitely worse. Created by Mother Miranda in a twisted attempt to revive her dead child, they are killed, imprisoned, and tortured as they have no way of defending themselves; they don’t have Rose’s powers.

Family ties  

Rose fighting the mold

(Image credit: Capcom)

Swapped into this horrific life, Rose has no choice but to make do and learn to use her hated powers. This is a gradual process, but as she becomes stronger and stronger, the horrors sent by Mother Miranda lose their potency. Ultimately, she uses her powers to save those she loves, the clones who have lived such miserable lives, and the kingdom, wait no, wrong story. 

The princess and the pauper is a really helpful allegory to understand Rose’s story

I can agree to disagree, but even if this is just my own warped reading of the Resident Evil DLC, the narrative of the princess and the pauper is a really helpful allegory to understand Rose’s story and how she deals with the horrors of the Megamycete and Mother Miranda.

The message of Barbie’s Princess and the Pauper is just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re strange or you should change yourself. Rose entered the Megamycene wanting to rid herself of the powers that made her an outsider. But after encountering the defenseless clones and someone special (no spoilers), she chooses to keep her abilities to help others. 

It’s a great way to round off the Winters’ story, one filled with loss, regret, and pain; I still feel sorry for the Baker family. While there are definitely still unanswered questions, I think this is just the ending Ethan would have wanted for his daughter.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.