Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
By: Tristan Jones on October 31, 2005  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Also available on: PlayStation, PC CD-Rom
Developer: Capcom
Players: 1
Year: 1999
OFLC Rating: MA15+
Most games start becoming a bit of a one trick dog by the third installment. The cracks begin to show and many fall into traps of thinly veiling the fact that it's all a bit of the same of what's come before it. There are a number of long running titles around that have managed to exceed and excel as they've gone on, but for the majority out there, by the third game, Newton's Law starts to kick in.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was not only the third game in the series, but also the third game to appear on the PlayStation, the console that played host to the previous two in the series. Already that presents a couple of problems. The first Resident Evil hit in 1996, Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998. Resident Evil 3 came in unusually close behind in 1999, barely even a year after the second. Now, when you sit back and take a look at these games in terms of progression and innovation, there really is stuff all there, which is inherent in such a fast successive release. Graphical progression is also impeded. Compare how far the Resident Evil titles went in their first three runs to how far Super Mario Brothers went in terms of singular console progression. The leap from Super Mario 1 to 3 is enormous, both in terms of gameplay and graphics, Resident Evil on the other hand is a couple of steps comparatively.

This is not to say that Resident Evil 3 isn't a good game. It's a great game actually; it's more of the same Resident Evil we all know and love… only that's its biggest problem. It really is just more of the same. The core time of the game is spent doing basically what you do in every other Resident Evil game, but there are a number of small additions that keep the title relatively fresh. The first, most noticeable one is that most of the action of Resident Evil 3 takes place out in the streets and alleys of Raccoon City (which we were teased with briefly at the beginning of Resident Evil 2). It gives the game a very smothering, claustrophobic atmosphere in spite of the fact that it's set predominantly out in the open. Now you can also dodge enemy attacks (if you're good) and perform a 180 degree pivot which is great for hasty retreats. Resident Evil 3 also introduces a new 'Live Choices' feature, where time will slow down to bullet time and you are given two options regarding how to progress from that point. Initially this is a really cool little addition, but when you play through the game a second time, you realise that you don't really alter the outcome of the game by making these choices, as you'll either end up having to go back to the areas you chose against going to anyway, or fight the monster you avoided fighting later in the game.

Speaking of monsters, you can't really talk about this game without mentioning the sub titular Nemesis. Resident Evil 2 had some very clear links to Aliens in terms of plot and feel, and Nemesis should be as obvious as a naked man painted blue with a big sign saying "I am blue and naked". Nemesis bleeds Terminator (again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing). Just like the Terminator, the Nemesis is an unstoppable and persistent force that only has one objective - To kill you. I mean it when I say the Nemesis is unstoppable, so you can either be brave and a) waste ammo or b) have your neck snapped or you can take the smartest option (at least on your first run through) and say "Fuck that!" and run like crazy. This is also the first enemy in the Resident Evil games to be able to follow you through doors, so when I say run like crazy, do it. The other monsters of the game run the gamut of being perfect to a bit on the nonsensical. Most of the freakier mutants fit into Umbrella's failed dabbling with viral weapons (more so once you've played Resident Evil 0) but the giant worms? I'm sorry, but what the fuck?! For the life of me I cannot imagine a more useless creation, and this remains the only creation in the Resident Evil games that I find myself frustrated by in terms of logic, and there's a lot of bizarre evilry to be found in these games.

Once you've beaten the game you get the standard Resident Evil unlockables, though these do have a little more substance than both the previous titles and the ones that follow (except Resident Evil 4). You'll get the tried and true unlockable costume deal, but you'll also get the Mercenaries mini-game which involves getting from point A to point B in a set space of time, and getting money along the way for killing monsters and saving civilians. The money and rank you earn from this will allow you to buy new weapons with unlimited ammo, which is always boss in these games.

It should be noted that those expecting a direct sequel to Resident Evil 2 should be forewarned; the events that occur in Resident Evil 3 run parallel with Resident Evil 2, while also serving as a brief prologue and epilogue. Playing as Jill Valentine from the first Resident Evil game (no choices this time around), you'll find yourself treading familiar territory, though no real insights are offered.

Resident Evil 3 manages to keep it's head just above the waters of mediocrity for both the casual fan and the hardcore alike, and while it certainly isn't a scary game, it does emanate a similar feeling to that found in the latter films of Romero's 'Dead' trilogy, along with the suspense of Terminator (I spent nearly fifteen minutes just running from the Nemesis at one point). There is just enough here to make it a worthy successor to Resident Evil 2 (that's not saying it's as good though!), but ultimately, the cracks really are starting to show.

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