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. Rating: 7 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui
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