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.
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