Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – PlayStation
Release Date: November 10, 1999 (NA)
Genre: Survival Horror
Nerd Rating: 8/10
Reviewed by: InfiniteKnife
After playing the original Resident Evil and its successor, Resident Evil 2, I was completely hooked on the horror genre. I’m really not sure where the allure started with me. Maybe I just always had a thing for sitting in the dark and waiting for something scary to happen, resulting in a girlish shriek. I have a pretty good shriek, and trust me, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis induced plenty of them in my first several playthroughs.
RE3 takes place about 24 hours before and about a day after the events of Resident Evil 2. The outbreak of the T-Virus in Raccoon City has reached its peak and legions of zombified citizens are ripping through the streets, easily taking down the police force and infecting even more of the initial survivors.
The main character in RE3 is S.T.A.R.S. member, Jill Valentine, who we remember from RE1. She is abruptly thrust into action as she begins with a pretty simple goal, escape. As she begins her nightmarish trek through Raccoon City’s streets, she discovers from fellow S.T.A.R.S. alum, Brad Vickers, that there is a monster hunting down the remaining members of their elite police unit. #spoileralert It doesn’t take long to meet said monster, nor does it take long for him to dispatch Brad.
Nemesis is bigger, faster, and more intelligent than your run-of-the-mill zombie, and he relentlessly hunts Jill down throughout the game. You think you’re safe simply getting into the next room when being pursued? Wrong! For the first time in an RE title, an enemy can actually follow you from area to area. There are some limitations, however. Since the environments are prerendered, you have to move to a spot that doesn’t have the door in view for Nemesis to come through it, so in a way, you can get a moment to catch your breath, but as soon as you move to another frame, you hear the door open and “S.T.A.R.S.” come from his big, F-ed up face before he starts running at you full tilt, or starts shooting rockets. I forgot to mention this before, but in addition to being a horrifying, hulking monster who runs super fast and is really hard to take down, Nemesis also shoots FRICKIN’ ROCKETS at you!
There are some areas where you aren’t followed so you can get to the usual RE puzzle solving, which will be very familiar to veterans of the series. Some Nemesis encounters allow you to make a choice between a few different actions. For example, in the first encounter, you have the option to fight or simply run inside the police station. In the Normal and Hard difficulty levels, there actually is a benefit to fighting Nemesis periodically during the game. If you deal enough damage, he is incapacitated and drops items that are a huge help the rest of the way. A few examples are handgun upgrade parts, first aid boxes (they let you carry 3 first aid sprays in a single inventory slot), and eventually, unlimited ammo for all weapons.
RE3 starts in the heart of Raccoon City and it is really neat that you visit locations from RE2, like the police station early on. On one hand, it was good to see familiar spots, but at the same time, it’s hard not to notice a pretty big continuity gap with some areas being blocked off knowing they are accessible in RE2, which takes place after Jill is there. It’s a minor gripe but it still bugs me. RE3 does take you to different parts of Raccoon City and the prerendered environments look just as good as they did in 1 & 2.
In addition to Nemesis himself, Resident Evil 3 has a few other noteworthy additions to gameplay that we hadn’t seen before. Movement is still done using the old “tank controls,” but the quick turn action is seen for the first time. Holding back and tapping the run button will do a quick 180 to help get away from enemies getting too close.
Dodging is also introduced. This allows you to evade an enemy attack and sometimes even push them away to give yourself room to get a shot or two in or run for a better position. At least part of the dodge feature was likely due to Resident Evil 3 being the first RE title to be able to support up to 9 zombies on screen at once, which can get a bit overwhelming at times, especially in close quarters. I had a really hard time getting the hang of dodging enemies and when I play, I rarely use it, but I’ve seen others who have mastered the skill and it makes a huge difference in how you play.
The inventory system is like previous installments, allowing certain items to be combined to either solve puzzles or make stronger herb combinations, but new to Resident Evil 3 is ammunition making. At the game’s start, there is a reloading tool in Jill’s inventory and as she goes through the game, there are 2 different types of gunpowder that can be collected, simply called A and B. Combining one of each makes C and by combining the 3 types in different ways, ammo for different weapons can be created. For example, simply combining A with the reloading tool makes handgun bullets, but taking the time to combine 3 C powders makes the powerful magnum rounds.
There is another playable character in the main game, Umbrella mercenary Carlos Olivera. He’s part of the team sent by Umbrella to help control the outbreak. There isn’t anything in gameplay that differentiates him from Jill and his playable part of the game is a pretty small percentage of the game overall. He, along with other mercenaries Nikolai and Mikhail are all playable in the game’s Mercenaries mode that’s unlocked after beating the game. They start with different weapon loadouts so you get a somewhat different experience and difficulty with each.
Mercenaries mode gives the chosen character a certain amount of time to get to a designated part of the map while saving as many survivors as possible in the process. Each survivor saved gives an item like high powered ammo, while defeating and dodging enemies adds more time to your counter. I never found these types of modes to be particularly great, but it’s nice to have some variety and give you something else to do once the main game has been completed.
Resident Evil 3 was a really good installment into the RE series and brought about some of the biggest scares and feelings of helplessness I’ve encountered in games. Nemesis himself even made my Top 10 Scary Game Moments list. Overall, RE3 was more difficult that the first 2 due to the increased number of enemies supported and good old Nemesis, but that’s not a bad thing. When I think of Survival Horror games, difficulty should be up there. What makes a good one is being able to induce that feeling that you’re alone and the monsters are likely going to get you and this game does a great job at that, but it also knows when to give you a bit of a breather, so there’s a balance.
If you don’t have a PS1 to play Resident Evil 3, not to worry, it was also released on Dreamcast, GameCube, and Steam for PC gaming fans. What I’m trying to say is, you don’t have much excuse not to give this one a try. You’ll be glad you did.
Share This Post