Anger, fear, terror, and the inevitable demise of S.T.A.R.S. lie around every corner! A brutal tyrant with the brains to operate weapons, and follow commands is waiting for you whenever you least expect it. Can Jill Valentine survive to see her last escape, or will she simply become another body for the undead? Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (RE3) dared players everywhere to help Jill survive a literal nightmare, only to eventually assist Chris Redfield in taking down the Umbrella Corporation a few years into the future. Most players will be familiar with the history of RE3, and will, no doubt, hold onto their feelings of anguish as they fled or fought the titular Nemesis around Racoon City. As well as it should be, seeing as Nemesis is probably the first enemy in the game that will chase the player past screens, and even wait for you outside the so-called “safe rooms”.
I was no different, except for one part: I was nearly an adult when I first played Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Honestly though, I’m glad I didn’t play RE3 as a child, or even a teenager. The amount of panic I experienced as my bullets ran low while nemesis was waiting around the corner was unbridled. I almost wasn’t able to finish the game because of my own incompetence (admittedly, I’m not the best at these types of survival games), but after realizing my mistakes, it became a lot easier. If I had played it any younger, I would have probably shelved the game, and never tried it again, however, that would have been a terrible mistake. After learning the ins and outs of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, I discovered what an outstanding title it is within the survival horror genre. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis truly captures the essence of horror games.
The game starts out relatively simple with Jill Valentine blowing out of her apartment (makes just as much sense in context) into the streets of Racoon City. After being cornered by a bunch of zombies, Jill hides out in a warehouse while waiting for them to clear out. When it’s finally safe, you’re dumped into the city once more, and this time for real. You’ll soon discover that S.T.A.R.S. members are being chased by some kind of monster. You’ll soon be introduced to Nemesis, by virtue of witnessing the pilot from the first game, Bradley “Chicken Heart” Vickers, who becomes impaled by what can only be described as a literal mouth tentacle rape. This moment introduces one of the new mechanics of the game in which Jill will be posed with one of two choices. Both choices yield different repercussions, and you can choose the alternative on a new-game plus.
From this moment on, Nemesis will spawn in random locations throughout the game. Jill can fight him, and potentially earn herself some amazing weapons/rewards, but doing so will potentially lead to nasty situations where bullets or medicine run low. You might think that escaping into another room will save you, as it did in earlier Resident Evil titles, but this simply isn’t true as Nemesis is relentless… and patient. He will do everything in his power to kill you, and escaping him is often not easy, especially when he is equipped with a rocket launcher! While this might sound like the game was based around one simple gimmick, it showed that the developers at Capcom understood the terror players must have felt when facing these situations. That feeling of danger lurking around every corner was the foundation of Resident Evil, and they simply took it to the logical conclusion.
This isn’t, however, the only thing that makes Resident Evil 3: Nemesis special. The title holds very solidly. Even to this day I can still boot up my old copy on a GameCube, and enjoy my exploration of Racoon City. While Resident Evil 2 did a great job of showing us the underside of the zombie infested Racoon City, it didn’t do much as far as showing us the real state of the city because Leon and Claire spent most of their time in the sewers. Meanwhile, with Jill Valentine we get to see how terrible the situation has truly gotten. Zombies will break barriers, cars, streets, and stores are in ruins while giant insects are in every corner. You never truly have a moment of rest, as previously emptied streets refill with brand new enemies, and sometimes these monsters are even worse than what originally inhabited them. You’ll come to dread backtracking, as the player will never truly be able to anticipate what lies in store within the “empty” streets of Racoon City. All of this translated to one of the most truly terrifying games in the series, and it started marking the way for a more action oriented series, which continued onto Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was the last title of the original series to be based in Racoon City. While it was originally intended to be a different game altogether, the route the developers took in making it a part of the main series truly paid off. Most gamers will have fond memories of beating Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and remember its status as one of the best Resident Evil games ever. You can still find copies available in used game stores for PlayStation and GameCube.