Remake, re, re2, re3. Back in the true survival horror day. The modern resident evils are fun in an action game sence. But as survival horror their a joke. Tons of ammo, plenty of healing items, liniar as hell. They just don't compare.
Resident Evil 3 for its improvements to the core gameplay, its innovations to the series while not straying too far from the traditional formula (and making it work properly) using Nemesis to add balance to the increased action-oriented gameplay, the "quick decision" paths and their impact on replay value, the introduction of "The Mercenaries" which has remained a series staple (albeit altered in response to the change of the series' direction).
I'm only skimming its qualities briefly which doesn't really do it justice. RE3 is a great game and would have served as a great blueprint (with further refinement) for the series direction had it not changed so drastically in the final version of RE4.