Review by Da Bomb

Reviewed: 10/14/03

This third installment may not be perfect, but its the best Resident Evil yet!

Resident Evil: the senseless name that has brought you gore, action, horror and excitement all in a disturbing package. Since the first Resident Evil blew me away back in the 90's, I have been transfixed on becoming one of those pros that know the exact storyline and can recite lengthy portions of Resident Evil dialogue off the top of their head. What is more, I wished to experience the survival horror that dominated the first installment to the Resident Evil series.

I found that the sequel to the latter was a little to arduous and painstaking, but yet I fought threw it, disgruntled, bloodthirsty zombies behind me and 'the ultimate biological weapon' in front, with only a revolver to survive. It is times like these that really stand out and clasp you and never let go. And that simple fact that Resident Evil is a grand work of art had forced me to continue battling the darkest dreams, nightmares even, that can be conjured by Capcom's minds.

Resident Evil 3 was probably the first time that I really enjoyed a game; the others were amazing, but I believe many will agree that the 3rd installation offered more battles, extra gore and a huge amount of entertainment. So, I borrowed the game off my friend, having not purchased it due to the propaganda about 'Resident Evil's downfall' and such.

If you are reading this review and have not quite made up your mind about the purchase of the game, I urge you now to get it, even if it belongs solely on the PS1. Resident Evil 3 is so good, in fact, that it blow away the new Code Veronica X and even R.E. :Dead Aim. So why, you might ask, would such a highly praised game receive only an 8/10? Well, read on...

I think that the Resident Evil games would not have been so popular if it were not for the storyline. The first R.E. was a mix of horror, sci-fi, action and drama, and this ball of delight (in a gamer's mind) was continued in Resident Evil 2. This second sequel actually happens shortly before its recent predecessor, as the Raccoon City disaster deserves more than just a single game. You take on the role of Jill Valentine, who, for those who are new to the series, was the heroine during the first survival horror game of the series. All we saw at the end was Jill, Chris and Barry flying off into the distance as if the adventure was over, yet a few months later, Jill is faced with the same problem. The only 2 differences are now, she has a whole city full of zombies to battle, and that she has been pitted against different, never-before-seen creatures, most notably the walking abomination Nemesis.

So in short, Resident Evil 3 is a partial side story that continues to mix sci-fi and action, but lacks horror in place on suspense. So overall, the storyline deserves a 9/10.

Capcom has introduced an adequate amount of innovation into this third adventure, which does aid the gameplay in terms of variety. Jill is able to create ammunition by collecting certain types of gunpowder and mixing them together a la the herbs. With this comes ease, and it makes the game less of a survival game, but does add some much needed intricacy.

Also, Jill has some new moves, as she can spin 180 degrees and blast anything behind her, or aim for certain objects, such as barrels or zombies. Again, the 180 and auto aim feature make the game a lot easier, but prevent newcomers from getting tired of the slow rotation and manual aiming (which was made worse by the camera angles. Another welcomed feature was one where you would be presented with 2 choices when in deep trouble, such as 'jump off the bridge' or 'push the monster off the bridge', which showed that Jill was more athletic than we have ever seen. This also makes the boss battles rarer and more prized.

The adventure, as noted before, features Jill endeavoring to escape from these biological freaks, nut this time around nothing is as simple as before. For example, Jill catches the T-Virus, and so requires an antidote fast. Fortunately, she has a burly Brazilian to help her out and open up new areas that were inaccessible before. Because of this, teamwork is involved, so you should open all doors with your lock pick when with Jill to allow your friend to explore and open up pathways. Also, the puzzles have continued, as there are many instances where you will need to overcome a host of brain-straining pozas that require more than just a trigger finger and some lead. This helps variety, and gives us a chance to think; a rarity in today's games, where emphasis is on pure entertainment rather than thought.

As said before, this installment offers a lot more action than before, which is gladly supported by many of the gamers. If you are looking for horror only, go for Silent Hill rather than this, because you won't find any hear. Instead, you will find blood rushing action that intoxicates you when the adrenaline rushed around; this action can become so intense that you may find yourself perched on the very edge of the chair, knuckles white and lungs heaving from the exhaustion of all that rapid finger movement. Sure, I am using hyperbole, but you get the idea that the game is incredibly fun to play. So overall, the gameplay gets a well-deserved 8.5.

The Playstation's force is once again being fully harnessed by Capcom, as the graphics, though not photo realistic nor perfect, are as close as you can get with such a system. The character models are a lot sharper than in the first game, and nothing ever looks blurred during movement. The enemies are also quite varied, as the zombies where different clothing and the wolves may have bloodstains ect. I must admit, Nemesis looks quite the part, and his grisly features are well detailed.

The CGI videos are also excellent, as though they are graphics, they set the scene terrifically and lead the story on. As a downside, the lip-syncing is nonexistent, and when not in videos, the characters lack expression. It may be a little too much to ask, but I would like these minor, yet noticeable flaws corrected.

The level design is not linear, so you may often be surprised by what you find, and each environment is very different. Through her travels, Jill will go from downtown to the sewers to a factory, and Carlos will go from a Diner to a hospital, which does make you feel as if you are in a city, and not in a small space made by game designers. Also, the frame rate was at a lush, fluid rate so the game rarely stuttered in the midst of some heart-pounding action. So overall, the graphics deserve 9/10.

Audio has always been important when inspiring horror, and Capcom does not fail. Unfortunately, like most Capcom games, the audio is not a primary concern, as is left average rather than spectacular. The first Resident Evil had great music, and though this installment lacks on that plain, it does not completely fail.

The sounds, on the other hand, are clear, varied and very life like. The weapons sound very true, and the voice overs are quite well done, even if the dialogue is a little...weird (''All the Foxy ladies love my accent; it drives them crazy</>). So overall, the sound deserves a 7/10.

Resident Evil has numerous cheats, and action that you will want to experience again, plus an all new Mercenaries mode where you can purchase weapons for the usual game by earning points. The game should take around 4 hours to complete, if you inspect every room, so don't think of this as a 'done in a day' game. So the replayability gets a 7/10

Resident Evil 3 is incredibly enjoyable, yet it retains partly the horror aspects and introduces some new elements too. Unfortunately, it is the same old 'blast the zombies and beat the boss' setup, which makes it a little stale after a while. Still, if you are looking for a cheap road to action, I say try this, at least for a rental. You won't be displeased.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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