Game Description: The zombies from the original Resident Evil have returned to give gamers another taste of terror in this third installment of the popular horror survival series. The game begins with Jill Valentine, who survived the first quest, but now finds herself surrounded by flesh-eating zombies as she tries to leave Raccoon City. Once again, there is lots of bone-crunching action as Jill defends herself against this never-ending army of the undead. Later in the game, players will assume the role of Carlos Oliveira, a Brazilian mercenary who will race against the clock to aid Jill in the morbid madness.
We all know the story of the movie, Scream. After the glut of horrible horror films killed the market, Scream was released as a hipper, more updated and gory horror film for teens interested in more believable (and gory) premises. It shocked everyone and has now spawned two sequels and a few not-so-popular spin-offs. But what is amazing is that Scream movies keep coming out with the exact same premise. Pretty teens are being hunted by some unknown serial killer, nothing else changes but the faces of the victims. The fans just couldn't get enough of the first two and seem likely to flock to the 3rd of the series. Here, in Videogame Land, we have our own Horror Trilogy of sorts in Resident Evil. From out of nowhere this series became a hit that fans simply could not get enough of and to this day this sentiment holds true. We've seen similar rip-offs trying to capitalize on the new market (and all have been successful), but no one can dispute that Resident Evil is what fans are yearning for. And so, we're at the point where a third sequel is a no-brainer and, as if it really mattered, I have to concede right from the start that Capcom has managed to put together the best Resident Evil game in the entire series.
You have to feel for poor Jill Valentine. She was so fed up with the whole Zombie thing and the untouchable Umbrella Corporation getting off scot-free thing that she put on her best 'street walking' outfit and decides to head down to the police station and resign. She was about to quit the force and leave town and get away from everything when those pesky zombies started showing up again. And, once again, she's trapped among them and has to fight her way out of Raccoon City. The thing I give Capcom credit for is not even bothering with a new premise with their latest sequel. I mean, that just takes guts. Luckily for Capcom, I'm sure Resident Evil fans wouldn't have noticed at all because they just want to kill more zombies (and they never noticed any change or lack thereof from any Resident Evil sequel). So Capcom has brought back the same enemies, the same weapons and even the same pre-rendered backgrounds from the Resident Evil 2. Hey, whatever works.
But Resident Evil 3 is different from the other sequels in that it's the unofficial finale for the whole series on the PlayStation. Due to this fact, and some changes were already brought to the genre thanks to Dino Crisis, Capcom has sneaked a few new things to go in with the old and familiar elements. For one thing, Resident Evil characters now have a few new moves. With a simple tap of two buttons, Jill can do a 180-degree turn to get out of a jam or turn to face an enemy that was attacking me from behind. This means no more slowly backing up while shooting and no more running around in circles trying to pull off an awkward U-turn. I'm sure we're all tired of being hit by slow-moving zombies only because Resident Evil characters move only marginally faster. Well, cheer up because there's now a dodge move. All I have to do is time the move at the same time the enemy attacks and Jill pulls off a graceful looking side-step or side-jump. I can't tell you how much health these moves saved me. They are very cool additions.
Handling weapons and ammo has been changed too. There's a brand new auto-aim feature that really takes the guesswork out of hitting targets. I cannot tell you the number of times in the past that I've wasted ammo hitting air just to run out of bullets when I actually started doing damage to the baddies. Worrying about having a good amount of clips for the handgun and shells for the shotgun is a mainstay of the series, but Capcom wanted to take things to a new level and added the ability to actually change my ammo. Strewn about the game are different types of gunpowder that can be combined with each other or with previously existing ammo to create new and unique firepower. This adds a new level of strategy and, to a lesser degree, customizability. The only problem I have with it is that I found many more of these things than I wanted or needed and they wound up taking up valuable space in my item and storage box. A better storage system or having less of the ammo lying around would have made for less backtracking and running around.
There is a method to their madness given that Resident Evil 3 is probably the most action-packed of all the games. In this one game, I've run into more zombies than in any other Resident Evil I've played. They are everywhere and on almost every screen. And we all know that where there is one zombie, there are sure to many more just stumbling along in the darkness behind them. I was never more grateful for the new moves and weapons because thanks to the increased zombie attacks and expanded areas to explore, I needed every advantage I could get. But the advantage soon swayed away from me once the man so bad they named a game after him showed up. I'm, of course, referring to Nemesis; a creature that is unlike anything you've ever come across in the Resident Evil universe. He's faster and stronger than me, likes to carry a rocket launcher, and is bent on popping up at the most inopportune moments to rid Raccoon City of me. The inclusion of Nemesis adds a level of tension that is very much welcome considering the amount of backtracking and searching that fills the game.
There are other minor additions like Live Selection modes where I can choose one of two actions at one of the many climactic moments of the game and the ability to play as a new character throughout the game named Carlos Olivera. These changes add a bit of variety but they are not too different from anything else presented before in the series. I do appreciate the scarcity of load-screens though. Now when Jill walks up most stairs, we don't get a stupid load-screen and we don't get annoying shots of doors opening. This is a nice sign that Capcom is using the high amounts of money they're making off the series to fix some of the consistent problems, but it's even better to see that they've used their resources to improve the sounds. Resident Evil 3 has the best music and ambient sound of the Resident Evil releases. The air is always filled with everything from crows in the distance to the doomed screams of citizens as they are eaten alive. These details all help take the spook level up a few notches.
I guess I can't argue with the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Scream and Scream 2 made tons of money and no one doubts that Scream 3 will do the same. Never mind the fact that nothing is really different about the third movie. I mean, pretty teen stars scream, jiggle a little bit, and then get butchered. Why change that? Heck, the audience loves it so you just gotta give them what they want. Taking a look at Resident Evil 3, you may not find too many new things that weren't tried in Dino Crisis before it, but everything comes together rather nicely. Most of the annoying things prevalent in the first Resident Evil are long gone and the new additions make me look forward to new versions of the series no matter what system they appear on. I would have to say this is the most complete Resident Evil ever released and a fitting finale to the series.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a classic case of too much of the same too soon. When Dino Crisis was released in early September, it had been awhile since I had played a game in the 'Survival-Horror' genre. The change of premise from Zombies to Dinosaurs coupled with some of the new innovations in gameplay had me singing its praises. But within a scant three months and with Dino Crisis still fresh in my mind, Nemesis arrives on these shores sporting more or less the same new features that we first caught a glimpse of in Dino Crisis, but reverting back to the original pre-rendered backgrounds. Dino Crisis was unique to the Capcom genre because it was entirely generated in real-time (with the exception of the full-motion video), and if you ask me, this makes a world of difference with the continuity of the camera angles. Beyond that, I think Dino Crisis also provided a more real-world and rational puzzle design that was less frustrating. By these virtues, I consider Dino Crisis to be a superior offering even when compared to Nemesis.
Yet, even in its own franchise, Nemesis has some trouble generating its own identity. Being a prequel (the timeline for Nemesis takes place after the events of Part 1, but before the events of Part 2), the developers thought it would be clever (or maybe just time-conservative) to reuse the exact same Police Station location that was the center focus in Part 2. Big mistake if you ask me. Nemesis felt derivative from the get-go, but once I was retreading the exact same grounds as in Part 2, I thought Capcom was just flat-out being lazy! By being a prequel, Nemesis also seemed to lack any sense of surprise for me. It's like knowing the outcome of a movie before it ends. Everything that occurred seemed weightless because I knew where this was all heading.
Capcom tried to alleviate the lack of plot development by offering up secret 'files' upon completing the game per character. The file describes the final outcomes of each of the original S.T.A.R.S. team members and reveals more about the Resident Evil mythos. I found this feature to be laughable because the so-called mythos of Resident Evil has always been grossly overrated by the media and fans alike. How well written can something be when it unintentionally parodies itself with ridiculously simple names like Umbrella, S.T.A.R.S., and Raccoon City? I've always found the ho-hum plot of Resident Evil to be serviceable for a typical videogame, but nowhere near worthy of being called a mythology in the same vein as the infinitely superior X-Files storyline.
When all is said and done, I didn't find Nemesis to be deplorable, but simply being overly unoriginal too soon after Dino Crisis. This is still a Capcom production, which ensures high production values and solid gameplay, so I can easily recommend it to those new to the genre or fans of Resident Evil 2 who passed up Dino Crisis. But I personally couldn't get excited about anything that Nemesis offered because I had either experienced if before in Dino Crisis or have seen it in its previous incarnations. Capcom should either rethink the format or give more time between releases. But then again, from the company that has given us X-amount of Street Fighters and Y-amount of Mega Mans, I shouldn't hold my breath.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Animated Blood & Gore, Animated Violence
Parents should beware as loads of blood, guts and frightful sights fill this game. Having said that anyone looking for a good scare should definitely check this game out. In case you missed the news, this is most likely the final version of Resident Evil to appear on the PSX. If you've played through the other two PSX versions then this is a must.
Even the casual fan of the series should own this game because Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is the culmination of the entire series and comes with most of the fixes (mentioned in the review) that gamers have wanted since the original.