Review by p1r4t8r
Reviewed: 04/25/03 | Updated: 04/25/03
Nemesis - Fear has a new name
‘Resident Evil’ is a big name in the video game industry. For many, ‘Resident Evil’ represents one of the scariest video game series’ ever made, myself included.
‘Resident Evil 3’ is actually the fourth game in the series (the third was Survivor), and possibly the best. Prepare to enter the world of survival horror once again…
The ‘Resident Evil’ games have always had great stories, and ‘Resident Evil 3’ is no exception. Set twenty-four hours before and twenty-four hours after the events of ‘Resident Evil 2,’ it follows the path of a single character; Jill Valentine. Jill was the heroine from the original ‘Resident Evil,’ a member of the STARS team, and one of the few survivors of the outbreak at the mansion in the first game. Now she’s back, trying to escape Racoon City after the T-Virus spreads uncontrollably onto the streets, turning all infected into flesh eating zombies. This is her final escape…
To make things worse, the evil Umbrella Corporation, creators of the T-Virus, have engineered a new breed of mutant with the simple mission of killing all STARS members, Jill included. He is the Nemesis: stronger, faster and much more resilient than your average zombie, he hunts Jill through the streets of Racoon City, unrelenting, unstoppable and un-killable.
While the story may seem like a mere rehash of ‘Resident Evil 2’ from a different characters perspective, it is much more than that, and in many ways more involving than any of the previous games. The introduction of the Nemesis gives Jill’s plight an even greater sense of urgency, adding another layer to the already very involved story.
The cut-scenes do a great job of further conveying the story, and throughout the adventure you will find diaries, scribbled notes and reports, giving you an even better insight into the ‘Resident Evil’ world. Each character has their own motives and hidden agendas, giving the story plenty of suspense and backstabbing.
Right from the introduction movie, ‘Resident Evil 3’ will captivate you from start to end, immersing you in its world till you eat sleep and breathe Resident Evil twenty-four-seven. Everything on offer here is quality, not least of which the graphics.
The introduction movie is perhaps the coolest intro to a video game ever, and shows the mayhem in Raccoon City as the zombies walk the streets, while the police struggle to contain them. The attention to detail is breathtaking, and while it doesn’t exactly look realistic, it’s still a great piece of cinema none-the-less. ‘Resident Evil 3’ is littered with short movies throughout, and each one is of the highest quality. My only complaint; there weren’t enough of them!
The in-game graphics are the same as all the previous games; three-dimensional characters placed on top of pre-rendered backgrounds. This time however, the characters are even more detailed, and the backgrounds far more intricate. Never have you seen Raccoon City this vividly before, from the streets to the sewers. You will even come across familiar locations from ‘Resident Evil 2,’ such as the police station. The animation is fantastic and fluid, and often you will be attacked by multiple zombies onscreen at the one time. Truly an achievement for the aging PlayStation hardware considering how detailed the character models are. There are some great weapon effects on offer too, which look very cool.
The maps are very detailed, and this time Raccoon City does feel more like a city, as the path that you take isn’t quite as restrictive or linear as that of ‘Resident Evil 2.’
There are a few complaints with the graphical aspect though, as the menus are still clumsy to navigate, and some of the puzzles aren’t exactly very clear onscreen. One of the biggest problems is the fixed camera angles. Because the game uses pre-rendered backgrounds, the camera angles are fixed and often you can’t see what you want onscreen, or key items are easily obscured or overlooked.
Despite that, ‘Resident Evil 3’ still has some of the best graphics seen on PlayStation. Because Raccoon City actually looks and feels like a real town, it is easy to relate to the atmosphere, making the game even more suspenseful. ‘Resident Evil 3’ will get inside your mind, and play on your fears till you are questioning each and every part of the games world. What’s around that dark corner that’s just out of sight? Is there something hiding in the shadows ready to leap out at me? Paranoia will set in very early on in the game, so those with a faint heart beware!
The audio is an integral part of any horror game, and luckily ‘Resident Evil 3’ doesn’t skimp in this department at all.
The music is designed in such a way as to never intrude upon the gameplay, yet at the same time add to the atmosphere and your fears. The save rooms feature calm and relaxing music, but once you step out that door the game will do its best to subliminally psyche you up, and add to your fears and paranoia. Never has a game gotten inside your head like ‘Resident Evil 3,’ and the music is part of the reason for that. Often there is no music at all, only the hollow howl of the wind as it winds its way through the empty streets of Raccoon. When the Nemesis appears, the music becomes frantic, giving you a sudden jolt, and a sense of urgency, making you want to get away from him as soon as you humanly can.
The sound effects are just as good, from the hopeless moans of the zombies to the screams that ring out from other parts of the city. The screams in particular make you feel as if you are part of a larger picture, and that you are not the only person in Raccoon city trying to escape, or even the only person alive.
The voice acting in ‘Resident Evil 3’ isn’t quite as good as the other aspects of the game, but still great. While Jill is a good actor, the Umbrella soldier ‘Carlos’ sounds rather ridiculous, to a point where you will just want to put a bullet through his brain. While this may sound like an insult to the game, it’s more of a compliment. His voice acting does express his arrogant, naïve and trigger-happy personality, and while I hate him there are others who love him. It seems that the voice acting does actually express the characters personality, something that not many games can boast.
Sadly though, many of the sound clips have been reused from the previous games, from the shuffling of the zombies to their hollow moans. Not that it’s a bad thing; just it seems a little odd that every zombie sounds the same in every game.
Otherwise, the audio goes a long way to emphasising the rich and suspenseful atmosphere of the game, and it will truly freak you out.
‘Resident Evil 3’ is sadly the last game in the series to appear on the PlayStation, but rest assured, the series truly goes out with a bang.
There are many new features added into ‘Resident Evil 3’ making for a more compelling and involving adventure, and in some ways the game is a lot less linear than it’s predecessors. Perhaps the best introduction to the series is that of the live selection points. At certain points in the game, you will be asked to make a decision on how you progress. Usually it boils down to a simple ‘run or fight’ choice, but you have to make a decision within a certain amount of time, or the game decides for you!
The first example of the live selection points, is your first encounter with the Nemesis outside the police station. You are provided with the option to run into the police station, or stand your ground and fight the Nemesis. Often choosing the ‘fight’ option allows you to pick up rare items, but is also the harder option of the two. This approach is great as it makes the game that little bit easier for newbies to the series, and that extra bit harder for the vets.
There is now the option to mix your own bullets too, by combining two different types of gunpowder. This system is a lot more complex than it may sound, and allows you to custom make the ammo that you want, instead of scavenging for the right ammo type within the game.
The controls have also seen a welcome update, and there is now the option to dodge an enemy’s attack, and perform a fast 180-degree turn. The dodge is perhaps the most useful of the two additions, allowing you to easily dodge a powerful enemies attack provided you get the timing right on a simple button press. While some may argue this makes the game a bit easier, it is still a welcome addition to the series.
The puzzles in ‘Resident Evil 3’ are your usual item or key hunt, although the puzzles seem to make a bit more sense this time around, and are much more coherent.
‘Resident Evil 3’ has a nice range of weapons for you to toy with, including all the old favourites such as the shotgun, pistol, grenade launcher and so on. It is a bit disappointing that there are so few: if any, new weapons but what’s on offer is good, and each has it’s own purpose and is effective against different enemies.
A few new beasties have been added in, and plenty of new and cool looking zombies also feature. There is much more variation in the enemy design this time around, with multiple zombie skins, making the overall experience much less repetitious. You never get the feeling that you are just killing the same zombies over and over again. Of the new enemies, the Nemesis is by far the most interesting and scary. He will often burst into the game at key moments, especially if you are travelling slowly. The Nemesis is not only extremely strong, but also faster than Jill.
Make no mistake; ‘Resident Evil 3’ retains the same scare factor as the previous games, and will have you jumping in your seat on more than one occasion.
There are still problems with ‘Resident Evil 3’ though, the save points make a return (although on the easier skill level you are given unlimited saves, at last!), the item crates make an annoying return, and those damn ‘door opening’ load animations are still there. While these are only minor annoyances, they do seem to disturb the flow of the game, which is disappointing.
Probably the biggest downfall of ‘Resident Evil 3’ is the games rather short length. It will only takes a few hours to play through, with only one scenario, unlike the previous games which had two. However, there is still plenty to unlock, from new costumes to a mini-game that allows you to win cool new weapons to use when playing through ‘Resident Evil 3’ again. The live selection points also add to ‘Resident Evil 3’s’ long term appeal, as you’ll want to see what happens if you select a different option.
Game Play: 9
Life Span: 8
+ Live selection points.
+ Unlockable extras
- Item crates
- Rather easy
- Loading animations
It’s hard to pick faults with ‘Resident Evil 3’ for a very good reason. It is easily the best game in the series so far, and one that any self respecting ‘Resident Evil’ fan should not be without. While it is shorter than the previous games, it is still highly enjoyable, and minor faults aside, perhaps one of the best PlayStation games ever made.
If you’re new to the whole ‘Resident Evil’ series, then this is a good place to start, and if you are a die-hard fan then you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t already have it, get it now, and witness for yourself how good ‘Resident Evil 3’ really is.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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