Video Game Review: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS1)
Some of you might be wondering, "Hey, where is your review of Resident Evil 2?" Well, to be honest with you, I feel like my review of Resident Evil 2 would be too much praise. It isn't without its faults, but it is one of my favorite games of all time and I believe it to be the flagship in the RE series. Instead, I am skipping to one of the most overlooked titles in the series -- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Let's get down to it, shall we?
Story: This game takes place two months after the first game and runs over the course of four days, whereas Resident Evil 2 took place within the first two days of 3's time frame. So, we're a mere two months removed from the Spencer Mansion incident and it turns out that, unfortunately, not all of the evil was destroyed within the mansion's explosion. The virus makes its way inside Raccoon City and tears it inside-out in record time. Now, the city is overrun by zombies and all sorts of carnage and wreckage, leaving the city in inaccessible ruins. Jill Valentine is one of the few left alive and must escape whilst dressed like a hooker. As she tries to escape the infernal plague, she encounters a new Bio-Organic Weapon dubbed the Nemesis. The Nemesis is like the Tyrant, except smarter, faster and with a rocket launcher for an arm. Oh yeah, it also has a vendetta against S.T.A.R.S. members, so it is literally hunting Jill. From the start of the game, you have frequent run-ins with the main boss in this game. I feel that this is an interesting twist in the RE formula, as you normally would have many boss-like monsters to face instead of multiple altercations with one. We are also introduced to the U.B.C.S. (Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service), an organization created in order to contain viral and B.O.W. outbreaks... or so we're led to believe. It turns out that the U.B.C.S. is just a front for collecting B.O.W. performance data. Imagine that. Umbrella pulling a double-turn on their own ranks. Anyway, after some twists and turns, an infection and a curing, a final showdown with the Nemesis and some help from an honest Umbrella agent named Carlos, Jill escapes the destruction of Raccoon City by the skin of her teeth. The story here doesn't quite have the heart of RE2's, but it does add some closure to the obliteration of Raccoon City and offers some great insight on the dirty dealings in a city corrupted by its leaders.
Jill gives Death the finger as she marvels at the graphically enhanced fire.
Graphics: Naturally, Resident Evil 3's graphics are the best of the original Playstation's era. The figures are sharper, the colors are more vivid and the pre-rendered backgrounds are more elaborate. It is quite possibly one of the best looking games of its era.
The Nemesis is either going to give Jill the "Ike Turner Special" or a Chokeslam.
Controls/Gameplay: This is the category that Capcom really spent time beefing up. While the dreaded "tank controls" are still in play here, some awesome additions were made in order to cut through the learning curve. The ability to make quick 180-degree turns as well as a dodge move were added in order to give the player the ability to make quick escapes, thereby the ability to conserve ammo. Speaking of ammo, the auto-aim feature that was available in RE2 has been made available here as well. Ammunition is a little more frequent in this game thanks to an ammo creation system. Combining gunpowder with the reloading tool or with other ammo can multiply your supply as well as create more explosive ammunition. One of the most impressive controls of the game is the "Live Selection Mode" that pops up in certain points of the game. For example, after the Nemesis kills "Mr. Chickenheart" Brad Vickers in front of the police station early in the game, you are offered the choice between staying and fighting the Nemesis or running and hiding inside the R.C.P.D. It may not sound like much of a choice, but it does slightly alter the story and it does offer quite a bit of replay incentive.
Jill wanted coffee, but the service was too slow.
Sound: Just as in the first game, RE3 excels in the sound department. Naturally, the air is filled with the numerous moans of the undead. The score so perfectly sets the mood for this game. In fact, the score for this game might be my favorite in the entire series.
The bar would be quite cozy if it weren't for all the dead cops constantly raiding the place.
Fun Factor: There are so many close calls in this game, you will feel the hair on the back of your neck stand-up often. Not only are there quite a few choice possibilities in this game, but there is even a "Mercenaries" mini-game that is unlocked after the game is beaten. The mini-game allows you to control one of the three U.B.C.S. soldiers through the ruins of Raccoon City. You're awarded points for speed of completion, attack dodges and B.O.W. kills. The better you do, the more money you earn. If you earn enough money, you are allowed to purchase unlimited ammo on certain weapons to be used during additional playthroughs. RE3 continues the series tradition of extreme replayability.
The Verdict: I remember when this game was released in September of 1999 and I had to wait until Christmas before I got my hands on it. The wait was agonizing, much like turning into a zombie. However, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was well worth the wait. While this game isn't as groundbreaking as the first or as overwhelmingly good as the second, RE3 offers up some damn good scares and some much needed improvements. On the Playstation era of gaming scale, I give it a solid 8 out of 10. I just wonder if this severe itch I have for Resident Evil will eventually lead to my end...