Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Capcom – PS1/PC/Dreamcast/Gamecube


Horror Cult Films is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Resident Evil franchise with a look back at the games that have been terrifying players since 1996. This time we hit the decimated streets ofRaccoonCity, as we join the heroine from the original game, Jill Valentine, in 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The story of Resident Evil 3 (AKA Biohazard: Last Escape, inJapan) is simple, the city is over run with zombies and you need to get out. This is easier said than done. Abandoned vehicles litter the streets as well as there being many make shift barricades erected to try and keep away any zombies, making the escape somewhat difficult. To make matters worse, a huge monster, known only as Nemesis, is hunting after the remaining members of S.T.A.R.S. Though it’s not entirely elaborated as to why, one would assume this is down to their involvement in the mansion incident of the original game. The story of RE3 is said to coincide with the time line of the second instalment. However, you actually get to revisit the police station from the previous game, yet a lot of the doors are boarded up. Seems a little odd, but never mind!


Differing from the previous two games, the player does not get a choice of which character they start with. This is purely Jill’s story. You will however, meet other characters along the way, predominantly a task force of mercenaries despatched by Umbrella to clean up the mess in the city. One of the mercenaries becomes playable in the latter stages of the game as you are tasked with completing a segment while Jill is otherwise indisposed.


The first thing you will notice about RE3 is the vastly improved visuals and control method. The graphics have come on in leaps and bounds in comparison to the games predecessors, allowing for much more detail in the environments as well as the enemies you will face. These range from the standard zombies, which are more varied in detail this time around, as well as the Cerberus dogs and a return of the Hunters from the original game. However the Hunters look even more frog like this time round, but are just as deadly. Not only that, but a giant worm creature is burrowing its way through the city, resulting in more than one encounter with Jill. Then there’s the titular Nemesis, a massive monster that, much like the Terminator in this respect, will not stop until every member of the S.T.A.R.S. team is dead. This is where the game plays out like some sort of slasher flick, as well as a survival horror. You may be able to put the Nemesis down, but he comes back. And keeps coming back, much in the way you would expect from Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. Though one could compare the three as all are similar in build and determination! This adds a really terrifying element to the game as you never know what each turn of a corner will bring. The Nemesis monster is not easily brought down, and will use a lot of ammo if you aren’t using the right sort of weaponry (though I find the magnum has the best stopping power when it comes to trying to stop the great hulking monster).


The improved controls come mainly in the 180 degree auto turn. This allows for a swift escape if overwhelmed with enemies, which can often be the case on this game, as there tends to be more on the screen at any one time than before, meaning you could be mobbed by a horde of the undead at any one time. This also comes in handy when fighting Nemesis, as the beast itself is extremely quick and agile, making for a tough encounter.


There are two difficulty modes, Easy and Hard. The only easy thing about Easy mode is the fact you start off with an automatic rifle, magnum, shotgun, pistol, 3 first aid sprays and infinite ink ribbons (to save your games with). Hard mode starts you off with the handgun and a few bullets. This mode is the more rewarding as after every fight with the Nemesis monster (if you choose to stay and fight) results in receiving upgrades for your weapons, increasing the firepower and capacity. This obviously makes the game somewhat more challenging, as even with a full arsenal of weapons, let alone only the pistol or shotgun, Nemesis is very difficult to defeat.


The game tries to do something different this time round and at certain points, usually during a time of great peril, you get the option to choose what action to take next, usually affecting the path you are taking. They aren’t huge story changing decisions, but they do add a little variety to proceedings. As per the norm with games, throughout your quest for survival, you will pick up documents and diaries, filling you in on certain goings on and what to expect etc. The locations you will take in are plenty and varied, from the back alleys of the city, the police station, city hall, a hospital, the city’s park and an abandoned factory (this time bucking the trend of underground laboratories) all add to the atmosphere and sense of dread.


Once the game has been finished, you unlock a couple of extras. These being a key to a boutique, should you replay the main story, allowing you to change your costume, and a new mode, Mercenaries. This is where you choose a character from a few of the mercenaries you meet in the main game, and have to get out of the city within a certain time limit. The more zombies you kill, and the more inventive, the more time is added to the clock. Thiings are not made easy, however. Not only do you have to take on the nasties you experience in the main game, but the Nemesis is also after you! This makes things very difficult, particularly in the time-frame you have got, but taking down Nemesis will award you with a hefty bit of extra time. It’s a great extra for an already superb game, and can be just as engrossing as the main story, especially as there are unlockables for Mercenaries, and trying to beat your previous time becomes compulsive.


Overall, Resident Evil 3 is an excellent, nerve-shredding experience which takes what they have done with the series so far and improves on it even more. I used to say how much I loved Resident Evil 2, how I thought it’s the best they’ve made, but playing through Nemesis again, I think that opinion may have changed. Resident Evil 3 was the franchises swan song on the 32-bit format, but what a way to go out. Surely things could only get better with the series next instalment taking the step up to the 128-bit generation?

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is awarded 10 out of 10!

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