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A trial version of the game - Bio Hazard Trial Edition (catalogue number "SLPM-80027") - was released in Japan in late 1995. This version of the game had bloody writing on certain walls around the mansion, which would allude to the story background when examined. The concept of the blood-writing was almost entirely removed, save for a brief flick of blood in the main hall.
When Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams was released in the United Kingdom in May 1996, HMV sold copies containing a demo disk for Resident Evil. According to the disk's cover, it was a promotional-exchange disk, and could be exchanged at HMV for a copy of the full game upon release, with the price reduced by £5. While the promotional deal was active from June 28-September 1, 1996, Resident Evil was only released in the European market in August. Photographs of the deal can be found here and here While the demo was handed out not long before the game's European release, it included content that pre-dated the Japanese trial edition. An independent German "Preview" disk was also released shortly before the full game; this preview came in censored and uncensored formats to appease German censors, and contained three minutes of video content.
In April 1996 Marvel Comics published an original prequel comic to the game. This non-canon story tells the story of Bravo Team member Richard Aiken's exploration of the Spencer Mansion, along with Albert Wesker receiving his orders from Umbrella to send S.T.A.R.S. out to their deaths. The issue ends with Alpha Team being sent out into Raccoon Forest to investigate the loss of contact with Bravo Team.
To promote the Sega Saturn port of Resident Evil, a novella titled BIOHAZARD THE BEGINNING was written and sold alongside copies of the game. This served the basis of a similar though distinct novella sold in the United States as Resident Evil: The Book.