Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 07/02/08


Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is one of the most popular games in the series because it introduced some new gameplay mechanics that revitalized the terror that wasn’t found in the second game and it also helped fix some of the previous games’ problems with control while adding some new movements to make the overall experience much smoother. Nemesis had the potential to surpass the original in terms of quality, but due to its short length the overall value of the game is brought down some. Still, Nemesis is loads better than Resident Evil 2 and is nearly just as good as the first game was, so it definitely deserves the attention of any fan and any gamer who is into the survival horror genre.

The main feature of this game and the part of the game that makes it absolutely terrifying is the new gameplay mechanic where the game’s main antagonist follows you around and constantly tries to kill you. The developers realized that the scariness of the Resident Evil games just wasn’t there anymore, so they, in a brilliant design decision, created Nemesis, the creature created by Umbrella to hunt down and kill all members of the S.T.A.R.S. team. This includes you, Jill Valentine, and you will be absolutely terrified whenever you hear Nemesis moan, “Staaaaars” or when you see this hulking mass of a monster slowly walking towards you, knowing any second that he could all of a sudden speed at you and rip you to shreds.

Nemesis is one tough dude and one very smart creature, especially compared to the usual Resident Evil fodder of zombies. This guy knows how to operate weapons and he does so throughout the game to try and kill you. However, he’s also pretty speedy when he needs to be and can easily take you out, resulting in a very untimely death for the protagonist. You can try to kill Nemesis all you want, but he just falls to the ground, delayed, and will eventually get back to his feet and continue his pursuit. The best option is to run away, but this guy can follow you through rooms if he wants and while there are pre-determined times in the game where he will appear, he also will randomly appear and stalk you every once in a while, so the tension and fear is always there as you walk around Raccoon City, desperately looking for a way out.

I mentioned improvements to the controls and some added abilities, and there definitely are those. The tank controls are improved with a 180 degree turn available to help you run away from enemies much quicker than you could in the previous two games, which will definitely save you some health, ammo, and time. Jill has also bettered herself so she can now dodge enemy attacks and even knock enemies back when they try to attack her. These little improvements make the game feel more sophisticated than its predecessors.

Resident Evil 2 had a larger focus on action, which I felt hampered the experience and creepy atmosphere somewhat, but Resident Evil 3 has an even higher focus on action, but it does it right. By adding Nemesis to the equation, Resident Evil 3 has successfully helped the Resident Evil series transition to be more action oriented while maintaining that all important scare factor. There are definitely better guns for your protection and a ton of more ammo for you to plug into enemies, but there is also a neat little ammo creation system where you use gunpowder to create ammunition of various kinds. While this system did seem a little unnecessary, at least the developers were trying out something new that didn’t make the overall experience any worse.

A randomization feature is included in the game that will switch items, enemies, and cut-scenes around, but one feature that is a definitely switch from the previous Resident Evil game is that at certain points in the game you are presented with choices. You get three options, with the third option being ignore the two choices given to you. The choice you pick will determine how the story goes and ultimately what ending you’ll receive, and this is a very nice addition to the Resident Evil formula.

Resident Evil 3 has the usual unlockable content in Resident Evil games like various costumes and endings, but the game also has its own mini-game called Mercenaries. This mini-game is similar to Resident Evil 2’s Extreme Battle mode in that you are timed and have to get to a certain location before the time runs out. You can choose from three characters that are all a part of Umbrella’s military and have varying items and weapons. You can extend your time, earn new items, and regain ammo by killing zombies to save civilians, similarly to the House of the Dead games. You are given points after you complete a Mercenaries game and you can use those points to buy new weapons to use in the main game to make your game go by even quicker.

Various environmental hazards are now at your disposal to use against the undead. You are able to shoot pipes to cause some acid to spray on them and you can also shoot explosive barrels to blow the bastards to hell. It’s a little bit different than what you’re used to, but it’s still a cool gameplay mechanic.

Beating a Resident Evil game as fast as you possibly can has always been a big part of the series and Resident Evil 3 is no different. Unfortunately, the puzzles are ridiculously easy this time around and you can beat the main game in under three hours on your first play through with relative ease. By getting a good ranking you unlock various things, but by repeatedly beating the game you earn extra epilogue endings for various characters in the series including Claire, Barry, Leon, Ada, and Sherry, plus some other favorites. These epilogues are definitely worth beating the game over and over again just to see.

The plot in Resident Evil 3 can be a little confusing as part of it takes place before Resident Evil 2 ever happened and the rest of it takes place after the events in Resident Evil 2, but you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. To catch you up to speed, people didn’t believe the survivors from the original game after they told them of Umbrella’s evil intentions, and because of that disbelief, Raccoon City was left vulnerable and someone let out the T-Virus. This virus mutates people into zombies and creates various other hideous beings. The city has been taken over, but most of the S.T.A.R.S members had already left town, except for Jill Valentine and Brad Vickers, the wussy pilot that ditched his team in the original game, forcing them through the hell that was the mansion in the first place. They need to get out of the city and fast, but with the U.B.C.S. roaming the town killing everything they see and a new threat created by Umbrella to specifically kill them named Nemesis, the two S.T.A.R.S. members may have bitten off more than they can chew this time. There are plenty of shocking moments, but once again it’s hard to tell what’s canon and what’s not due to the multiple endings and the different ways the story can go.

For the PlayStation’s power, Resident Evil 3 does some pretty amazing things. The ability to interact with the environment has never been as great as it is in any survival horror game released for the system until Resident Evil 3 and the character models are great. The enemies look much better than they did in the original game, but it is a shame that some of the environments were recycled from Resident Evil 2. Nemesis is a menacing and terrifying creature, which is exactly what the developers were going for when they designed him. The environments look nice and the cut-scenes are of Final Fantasy-caliber, so there’s definitely nothing to complain about there. However, there are some glitches that can be pretty annoying and the game still loads way too often like its predecessors which can be a pain in the ass when you get stuck and have to backtrack a lot.

Nemesis sure has some creepy moans and he will definitely make you shiver in absolute, pure fear. When you are just walking along a corridor, minding your own business, and looking for an item you need to solve a puzzle, you will probably wet your pants when all of a sudden the music jumps and this huge guy with a bazooka jumps through the window. The soundtrack when Nemesis is around is blood pumping and gets you even more terrified and how the music changes right before key moments is a feature that I’m glad is finally working as well in video games as they have in films. The soundtrack is great and while the voice acting still isn’t perfect, it’s leaps and bounds over the original.

Resident Evil 3 has got to be the shortest game in the series as you can easily complete it in under three hours on your first time through. There is a ton of stuff to unlock, though, and to unlock everything you have to play through the game a minimum of eight times. There’s an extra game mode that you can play through with the incentive of purchasing better items to make your ride through the main game much easier, and overall Resident Evil 3 does have some replayability and will still last you quite a few hours, but it just doesn’t have the staying power of its predecessors.

I remember being absolutely afraid of Resident Evil 3 when I first saw someone play it as a child, but it is a good thing when a video game can scare the hell out of you so badly, even a game as old as this one. Nemesis had the potential of being the best Resident Evil game released in the fifth generation, and hell, even the best survival horror game released in the fifth generation overall, but its short length really killed it. Thankfully, there is still tons of stuff to due and the game will keep any fan of the series busy for a while, plus there are some references to Capcom’s other games that fans of the company can definitely appreciate. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a must-have for survival horror or Resident Evil fanatics and is simply one of the best games released for the PlayStation.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (US, 11/11/99)

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