Thunderbolt logo

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Resident Evil

We are nothing but pawns, our lives easily extinguished by a silent bullet or a sharp knife, our presence as unsubstantial as the mirage of the desert, and as brief as morning dew on slippery tree leaves. By instinct we fear the unknown, we flee the dark because we are ignorant to its core, and we run from all that is huge because we are afraid on our fragile selves. The thundering skies scare us although it’s too far away, and a mere sound may startle us and make our bodies shiver fearfully. After all it’s human nature, and Capcom seems to understand that quite well.

For yet another time, a new RE game is released. Capcom has made a whole bunch of them over the last years, starting with the first Resident Evil, and ending with Resident Evil 2, which made it to the N64 as well as to the PC and the Playstation. The style of these series was a ground-breaking one, filled with enthralling fights in most masterfully crafted atmospheres. Capcom seemed to have the ability to blend all kinds of different factors in a game, all with suitable proportions, and well-considered ratios without making any but the slightest mistakes. Its games were all smash hits, and even after many releases of RE games, the fans still asked for more. Now, Capcom complies and sends us Resident Evil: Nemesis, however, we are promised of changes. The word Nemesis was obscurely jotted to the title, and many inquiries were raised upon the features of the new game. What are the changes Capcom has made to their game, and how well do they fare? Read on to know.

And so it begins.

It’s dark and gloomy, numerous spots of fresh blood fill the streets, and chaos in its worst forms is shown everywhere. Echoes of dying screams resound faintly with the blowing wind, and the stench of death can be smelled in the dank cold air. Typically, it’s in the bleak hours of the night, when even the moon is nowhere to be seen, how romantic! Signs tell of violent battles taking place all over the city in the last hours, now however, everything is enveloped with such deadly silence, all but this narrow street.

Who are you?

Jill Valentine, a former police officer in the S.T.A.R.S squad, and a very attractive woman by earthly standards. Somehow, in all this mess, she’s still alive. Apparently, something has infected the whole city, maybe a virus or a biological weapon, no matter what this thing is it’s exceedingly dangerous and epidemic. It’s turning all the citizens of Racoon city into brutal zombies. Upon spotting you they will mindlessly attack, and will keep biting and clinching on to your body until they rip your guts inside out. Eh, not the death I had in mind! To make things even worse, they have developed a very high physical resistance; even bullets do little to hinder their progress and grenades hardly do. Going over all these facts together Jill realizes something, she’s stuck, and all the odds are against her mere survival. Oh boy, it’s getting spooky, and hot!

Needless to say, you play the part of Jill Valentine. Your only task is to hack your way outside of Racoon city, and what a hard task it is. The whole city is virtually a war zone, streets crawl with numerous zombies, and biologically altered creatures lie hidden in dark places, waiting for you to come near them so they can shred you to pieces. To make things further more complicated, everything is out of commission. Most items need alternate pieces to be combined to them to function, and some passages or areas are only reachable after figuring out certain puzzles. Everything till now shows the makings of a good game, and the way Capcom handled all these factors together sharpens the edge further more.

The puzzles to be found in Resident Evil 3 are very accurately placed and do their part amazingly well. One of the reasons is their suitable level of difficulty; they don’t annoy you for being insanely hard, yet they never sound pathetically easy too, thus they hook you to the game without overburdening your head with worry or getting you to feel desperate. Another reason is the mysterious yet attractive symbols they are put behind. For example, seeing three clocks and trying to work on them isn’t fun, but seeing strange symbols like ‘past’, ‘present’, and ‘future’ with skeletons drawn on the last sure should grab your attention. More than that, the puzzles are very well distributed. They never come all together or too far apart, so as a result, they never become too heavy or boring.

The whole atmosphere in which you are put is enthralling too – for a tense/action game that is. Various areas in the game will make you feel strangely fearful or apprehensive, like going to a clock tower that is situated in the suburbs of the city, and somehow is standing in an isolated corner close to a graveyard! Now, the first second I put my foot there I felt worry, especially with the gray-scaled walls, and the random bell-ringing of the clock between now and then. Such places were deliberately chosen to provoke fear indirectly within the player’s soul, and I can say that they have succeeded. In addition, you are sometimes forced to go look for certain items in the most unwelcome, by which I mean frightening areas. Who wants to venture inside a dimly-lighten cellar with blood splattered on the walls just to find a wench? I tell you for sure, that can get your heart beating!

Throughout your trip inside Racoon city you will face many kinds of enemies. Zombies are most common and are found everywhere, but sometimes you will come face to face with some bizarre yet creative monsters, like giant spiders, and monkey-like lethal headless beasts, but the most ‘unfriendly’ of them all is the Nemesis. He is virtually one guy, or let’s say one ‘biological machine’ that no matter how many times it’s killed keeps coming for more. This monster is after you for some reason, and every time you fill his body with holes, he becomes nastier and appears again afterwards asking to be shot some more. I can’t describe how terrifying the fact, that a loose biological machine is after you all the time, is. Every time you hear a small sound you think it’s him, and you begin wondering if you carry enough ammo and first aid sprays to fight him off. He’s what gave this game its name, and quite rightfully so!

Resident Evil 3 introduces a new option to the game. You can now use a machine to combine mixtures of gun powder to create manually the kind of ammo you wish for. There is up to thirteen kinds of ammo you can create, and if you keep mixing one kind of ammo repeatedly you will eventually create more powerful forms of it. It is particularly great for it allows you to use the weapon you like the most, so if you prefer the shotgun to other weapons, you can simply keep creating shotgun shells. I can’t remember the last time where I saw such a revolutionary idea in a game of this genre, especially a one not centered on shooting as a priority, but combining both puzzle-solving and tension as well. It’s definitely another thumbs up for the game, piling up with all the aforementioned ones of course.

Still thinking you are one of those solid unshakeable guys, who can take all this **** with a steady heart and calm nerves? Then, I think I’ve got just the cure for you. Sometimes, the game actually gives you the chance to experience your own reactions and ability to make good decisions in the most critical situations. The screen will become white, while the game plays on slow motion and the sound of heart-beating pounds loudly in your ears, waiting for you to pick between two choices. Of course, if you wait for too long the game will carry on normally, and you’ll have to face the consequences whatever they were. Let’s see how decisive can you be in those grave moments! What’s great about all this decision choosing stuff is that it can change, not only the path you pass on as you progress in the game, but also the ending, simultaneously boosting the game’s replay value up to higher degrees.

Even with all these changes Capcom’s team doesn’t seem to be contented, they go even farther than that, and weave out the rest of the plot as perfectly as you can imagine. One of the wide-spread problems to be found in this genre of games is how predictable they can become later on. If you go through a certain area once, whenever you return to it afterwards it’s safe. That’s not the case here, now even if you clear an area of enemies once and return to it a second time to find it safe, you can’t be sure it will stay that way the third. Believe me, this can make the most astonishing surprises in the whole game; to run into unexpected enemies in previously-thought safe areas. Of course, this way you’ll never feel secure, and you’ll be anxious and restless all the time (a good thing). You will never have peace of mind for a second, well until you’re dead that is!

Some say that graphics are more important in games of this genre than anything else, and to certain degrees I agree. Resident Evil’s graphics are nothing short of spectacular, yet if they weren’t that way how would you ever be scared? Awkwardly pixilated boxes of trivial colors seldom cause your nerves to tense, and may not even grab your utmost attention; however, luckily it’s not the case here. There isn’t a fixed FPS or third-person-shooter camera that you can see from in this game, it would just ruin the whole idea of it, as being able to look everywhere you want whenever you wish may not give you the kind of dread this game aims at. In RE3 you can see from fixed cameras alternating for each intersection, so you can see only what they want you to see. The rest won’t become visible unless you move in closer; you know what that means!

Graphics in RE3 come off as background pictures that look tremendously realistic. There is really no way I can describe it, simply put, cars look like cars, walls like walls, and everything looks exactly like real life. All except the moving objects, take Jill for instance, which may not come across as realistic, but appear to be convincing nonetheless. I like to think of this game’s graphics as brilliant and motivating because that’s what they truly are, regardless of being the pre-rendered background kind.

Audio in this game is outstandingly atmospheric as well. While the general sound effects are neatly put in, they still never show that remarkable quality, not the one I’m talking about. It’s the music parts that do though. It’s how they change and twist according to the events which truly makes you feel how good they are, really. When you see the Nemesis walking towards you, you might be startled, but when the music instantly changes to a fast-alarming tune accompanied with small step sounds coming from your back, you will freak out. It’s always appropriate to the curve of events, even when you are in front of a puzzle, the music will become strangely calm with chilling yet pacifying tunes. Audio is always suitable and may very rarely irritate you or bore you to the slightest, it’s just great!

So rarely do we see games of this genre come out with one revolutionary idea, yet this game brings to the table a whole bunch of them. Everything is made to shape an atmosphere of utmost vagueness and dread, subsequently sucking the player into this world of moving zombies and creepy beasts with ease. Its impressive sound tracks and awe-inspiring graphics come to play as effectively too. And if we put all of RE’s elements as a whole, they form not only a great game by all standards, but an ideal one for all action games to look up to as well.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2003.

Gentle persuasion

You should like us on Facebook.