Chainsaws are a type of power tool normally used to saw through thick material. Thanks to being featured in modern cinema, the chainsaw has become an iconic symbol of the horror genre. Chainsaws naturally strike fear as they let out a distinct and intimidating sound and have the power to cut their victims into pieces. The chainsaw was first adopted into the Resident Evil franchise starting with Resident Evil 4 and have reappeared in some form in a majority of the games following.
The use of the chainsaw was heavily played up when they initially appeared in Resident Evil 4. Trailers had revealed that enemies could use them and even shown Leon being attacked by them. One of the first more difficult enemies players could encounter can be a chainsaw wielding enemy who would often instantly kill new players. This help set Resident Evil 4's tone of being faster paced, having violent graphics, and danger of instant kills.
A Nintendo Gamecube Chainsaw Controller was marketed with the release of the game. A PlayStation 2 version of the Chainsaw Controller was also produced for the system's own release of the game.
Chainsaw deaths in-game originally would decapitate the player- however, in certain versions of the game, the death was edited out due to censorship. All following games would not feature decapitation deaths.
Chainsaws continue to appear throughout the series but with less emphasis (Likely trying to avoid enraging players as the most recent installations forced the player into tight locations against such enemies, forcing a potentially lost fight against a powerful monster).
In Resident Evil 4, the first enemy encountered with a chainsaw is the Chainsaw Man. Later players can encounter the Chainsaw Sisters who are a pair of chainsaw wielding enemies. In The Mercenaries minigame, the unique enemy of Stage 4 is a Ganado dubbed "Giant Chainsaw Man" who carries a double-bladed chainsaw.
In Resident Evil 5, the Chainsaw Majini fills the same role as the chainsaw wielding ganados.
The Giant Chainsaw Man and the Chainsaw Majini both return in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D.
In Resident Evil: Revelations, Scagdeads have a unique buzz-saw like mutation they make use of like previous chainsaw enemies.
In Resident Evil 6, the Ubistvo B.O.W uses a chainsaw as its main weapon although the blade is actually part of a unique mutation in the creature's right arm. Like its predecessors, most of its attacks are one-hit kills.
In Resident Evil 7, Mia Winters uses a chainsaw against Ethan shortly after he arrived at the Baker household. She first uses it to severe his left hand and once more in the attic upon trying to escape. Jack also uses a unique man-made chainsaw against Ethan in the dissection room, during this encounter Ethan also has the opportunity to use a chainsaw to defend himself against Jack.