My personal favorite character in all Resident Evil, Jill Valentine is always my go-to when playing the first game.
You can play as Chris, but she has a larger inventory to hold items.
She’s not as strong as Chris so if you do pick her, you have to be careful not to get hurt as often. Or at least hold more herbs in your pocket.
When you play as Jill, you still get to find out that Albert Wesker has been working for Umbrella the whole time and is one of the key figures behind the whole zombie thing. And he’s controlling her friend Barry Burton by threatening his family.
Regardless if you play as Chris or Jill, they both survive. Officially, Barry Burton and Albert Wesker survive as well.