Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Review

By: John Doe

Riddle: What's $49.99 and kicks ass? Answer: Resident Evil 3. Okay, that was an easy one. We knew this game was going to be great and it doesn't disappoint. Sure it's the same old "survival horror" game we've been lapping up since 1996, but this one breaks the rules of the other games. Remember how you thought you were safe in the past RE games when you finally made it into another room? RE3 will make you think twice about that.


Reprising her role as Jill Valentine, heroine from the first Resident Evil, Polly Gonz proves this time out she has the acting talent to carry the lead role in one of the years biggest games. Taking all of the criticisms to heart after her terrible debut in the first game, Gonz enrolled in the Lara Croft School of Interactive Acting where she honed her talents in the action genre. It certainly paid off. The character of Jill Valentine in this game, is played with conviction; a tough, take-no-crap lass built on a foundation of compassion and an undercurrent of raw sexuality. This lady means business and the audience knows from the moment Jill Valentine walks on camera that she's in full control. This is no common "house-frau". Better not leave the seat up fellas, cuz this lady can lug around a rocket launcher in her back pocket.

The plot of RE3 continues the saga of the ravaged Raccoon City and it's mysterious ties to the Umbrella Corporation. Where as the last games took place in primarily closed door settings (the mansion and the Raccoon Police Dept.) this game takes place all over the streets and buildings of the doomed town. Zombies are once again in season and you've just bought your hunting license. These zombies have learned a few tricks this time out. They can now follow you up or down stairs making them more than just a minor annoyance. They can also swarm you in huge numbers, making you wish that you'd at least bump into Leon or Claire for that "oh so cuddly" extra firepower you know they'd bring to the party. Unfortunately, the actress who portrayed Claire Redfield (ex-porn star Seedy Romm) in RE2 is in London, along with Pix Pixel, who played Chris Redfield in RE1, shooting a new chapter of the Resident Evil saga due out in Winter for the Dreamcast. The actor who played Leon Kennedy (former child star, Sprite Grafix) has run into trouble with the law and was last seen robbing a liquor store with the cast of Diff'rent Strokes. So needless to say all three actors were too busy to make cameos in this latest installment. This is quite unfortunate as it would have tied the games altogether and added some cool continuity to the already engaging storyline. The main thread of the game is the lumbering monstrosity called "Nemesis". He has something against S.T.A.R.S members and unfortunately Jill just happens to be one. Without a doubt, Nemesis is the most horrifying creature featured in the series yet. He is relentless and virtually unstoppable. Sure you might take him down, but he'll always return. If he chases you, which he seems to enjoy, don't think making it to the door will help because... oh you'll see.

Visually RE3 is the best yet. The backgrounds are immaculate and brimming with detail. Flies buzz around corpses, posters and graffiti litter the towns walls, neon signs crackle and spark, fires rage, rain's all one glorious macabre canvas to paint the town red on. The zombies have all been given a beyond the grave makeover and the result is downright gross. All new monsters have come out for this one and most do the job, but I do have to say I miss the Lickers; they were the best. Of course those good old camera angles have returned, giving the game that cinematic feeling. I'm surprised that the game environments weren't rendered like in Dino Crisis, which used the closing in of the camera in certain situations to great effect. In spite of that, RE3 manages to get the balance of camera and environment just right, allowing the game to flow much more smoothly. No more getting hung up on walls or boxes; you'll be able to navigate your way around the town with nary a problem.

For vets of the RE series, you'll know what to expect when it comes to control. Newbies will need extra learning curve time that's for sure. Shooting is still done by holding down the R1 button, and surprisingly Jill can't walk while aiming, which is odd because Regina in Dino Crisis could. However, Jill did get some new tricks for this game. In certain areas where there are packs of zombies, Jill can use the R2 button to search out a target. This target might be a well-placed oil drum or dynamite, and if Jill hits it when the enemies are near, they'll all be taken to a better place. Jill has also been given a cool evade move that is tricky to execute and seems to work about 60% of the time. She can also do a 180 and high tail it in the opposite direction if the need arises. And it will... New to RE3 are the branching story paths. At set times in the game, Jill will need to make a fast decision concerning her next move. The story will then branch accordingly from that moment, giving the game some nice replayability when played again and again. You'll even take control of Carlos, the Umbrella team member for some of the action, but you'll be playing as Jill for 95% of the game.

Luckily Jill has friends in high places, because someone stocked her chest full (no not that one...) of really kickin' weapons. She'll use shotguns, magnums, grenade launchers and even a gattling gun or rocket launcher if you are good enough. Getting medieval on the undead has never been easier or messier. The magnum is great for zombie haircuts, the shotgun is perfect for chest cavity air-conditioning and the rocket launcher is good for grinding in those tough stains on the Nemesis' leather jacket. New to RE3 is the ability to mix and match gunpowder to create new ammo. Trust me, you'll want to take the time out and experiment. Your life depends on it.

As usual, you have to find those nasty ink ribbons if you want to save your game. In the easy mode you are given an infinite number of ribbons. In the hard mode, you'll have to find them along with everything else. RE3 grades you on your performance at the end of the game. (Spoiler Alert: Don't read the rest of this paragraph if you don't want to learn about game rewards) Finish the game once and you'll receive some cool extras like the key to the Boutique, which allows Jill to change her costume. There are five costumes in total, including Jill's original costume and even Regina's threads from Dino Crisis. The Boutique is found in Uptown Raccoon City and is accessed by starting a new game under the old saved game file. Finishing the game also opens up "Mercenaries", which is an excellent extra and by far the best RE mini-game yet. "Mercenaries" features the three man Umbrella team, who must accomplish different objectives in the zombie-infested Raccoon City while racing against the clock. Each member is outfitted to handle the threat differently. One has a ton of firepower with only 1 first aid spray, another has only a knife but a boatload of first aid and herbs, and the other has an equal balance of both. Choose the right man for the job and test your mettle. If you perform well at these quests, you'll be given new toys to play with in the full game.

The RE games have always been reliant on puzzles to stretch the game play out between bouts of intense action. The puzzles in RE3 are wonderful in their execution; no more running from one end of the city to the other for a stupid item. Most of the puzzles can be solved very quickly. Some will require that you dig out your thinking cap, but for the most part the solutions are realistic and fit perfectly within the guidelines of the story. The focus is on action thankfully, and you'll never to be too far away from something trying to get you.

The voice acting is well done and the English translation is top-notch. It's nice to see that they have decided to stop referring to Jill as the "master of unlocking". Due to the production quality, the RE series is no longer referred to as "B-Movie" material. As for the soundtrack, we all know that if it weren't for those tense swells from the orchestra we'd never be scared. This game continues the tradition of playing those fear-inducing pieces at integral times during the game for utmost effect. If you play this game during the day with the sound off and the lights on, then maybe you should check out a little game that will be just right for you called, "Hello Kitty" sissy. Quit ruining it. This game has to be played at night in the dark. Otherwise you aren't getting the full experience. In fact there is a weird rumor going around that if you played RE3 during the day, then a real-life Nemesis will smash through your bedroom door at night and try to wring your little neck. Hey, I don't make these things up you know. I just simply report the facts.

Some might argue that this gameplay is getting old, and that the RE franchise needs to jump into complete 3D. That would be mistake because of the nature of the game. Long narrow paths, stocked with monsters are not only terrifying and claustrophobic, but are completely necessary to the functionality of the game. If you could avoid all of the zombies by simply running around them, how scary would that be? This game isn't without fault but only the most nitpicky will find something to whine about. RE3 offers at least close to 14-15 hours of play the first time through and hours of replay time. Throw in the exciting on-the-edge-of-your-seat story, the stunning visuals, chilling music and the panic-inducing Nemesis and you have yourself a great horror movie you can control. Highly recommended.






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