Ghastly Gaming: RESIDENT EVIL 3 NEMESIS is an Underrated Classic, a Remake Desired
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and it’s high time we honor this often overlooked gem and, with the success of Resident Evil 2 remake, give it the proper updating it deserves.
If you were to ask any Resident Evil fan today what their favorite entry in the series was, I believe the answers would be easy to guess. It usually breaks down to two groups. There is the section of people who love their Resident Evil with more action and modern control schemes, so there tastes tend to lean toward the later entries in the series. Usually, that is Resident Evil 4, with its revolutionary over-the-shoulder gameplay, taking the place of more slow and deliberate tank controls, and its complete makeover of the series from pure horror to a more blended action-horror hybrid. Then there are the purist RE fans, who no matter how far the series gets away from its horror roots (and eventually returning to it), still hold the old school “tank” controls and pre-rendered backgrounds as their go-to RE experience. This primarily falls to Resident Evil 2 or the remake of the original Resident Evil, displaying the atmosphere and personification of the “survival horror” genre that I personally prefer and whole heartedly adore. However, I believe that one entry in the series doesn’t get the love that it deserves from either of those two groups of Resident Evil fans.
That game I speak of is Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the final entry in the original trilogy of RE games released for the Sony PlayStation. Released in September 1999, this entry continued the story of Jill Valentine, one of the two original playable characters from the original Resident Evil, as she fights her way through Raccoon City to escape the mass zombie outbreak and the eventual impending destruction of the town via the Umbrella Corporation. Behind the scenes, the story goes that RE3 was meant to be a side story to the franchise, with the upcoming RE: Code Veronica for the Sega Dreamcast meant to be the next numbered entry in the series. However, due to a supposed legal agreement between Sony and Capcom, they had to deliver three numbered entries in the series on the PS1, therefore this title was eventually released as RE3: Nemesis. The reason for this coming off as more of a side entry and not the natural progression of the series is because RE3 takes place in and around the events of Resident Evil 2, re-using the same graphics engine and assets from that game while simply expanding the gameplay to be in the town of Raccoon City as opposed to a single enclosed location. This causes RE3 to be overlooked, underappreciated or simply ignored, not held in the high regard as the first two entries. That is a big mistake. There is ONE real good reason why Resident Evil 3 shouldn’t be ignored and be placed as on high a pedestal as the original two games. There is ONE reason why, with the immense success of the Resident Evil 2 remake and the great handling and gameplay mechanics of the imposing menace that was Mr. X, this game needs a proper remake to show everyone how great this game was. The reason I speak of is the character of Nemesis, the enormous monstrosity that stalks you throughout the entire playthrough of RE3.
Nemesis is the latest creation of the evil pharmaceutical corporation Umbrella Corporation, dropped into the aftermath of the infection of Raccoon City. His mission is to deal with any and all threats that might be brought against his creators, specifically Jill Valentine, her S.T.A.R.S teammates and anyone supporting their cause, mainly Carlos Oliveira, an Umbrella solider who ends up defecting to help Jill escape the city. He appears near the very beginning of the adventure, surprising Jill in front of the RPD. Nemesis establishes himself immediately by (SPOILER) killing our reliable helicopter pilot Brad Vickers with a well-placed tentacle through the face. From there out, he consistently appears at random points of the game, pursuing Jill with great speed and a singular focus to end her life. He even stalks her from section to section, such as from a courtyard to the streets outside, similar to how Mr. X in the recent RE2 remake goes from room to room, hunting down Leon or Claire through the RPD. Nemesis is a more imposing threat than Mr. X could ever be, mostly due to his immense speed, grotesque face, voice that simply utters “S.T.A.R.S…..”, and of course, the largest friggin’ grenade launcher you’ve ever seen. Some of these encounters with Nemesis slow down the action to a freeze frames, leaving the player with two choices to choose from via prompts on the screen, generally breaking down to fighting him or distracting him/running away. Fight him and you can gain some valuable ammo. Run away and you live, but forgo some important weaponry you might need later. Nemesis brings with him a constant threat of danger and tension, similar to what Mr. X was designed to do in the remake of RE2. Every time Nemesis showed up, I sweated profusely. Can you possibly imagine a modern day remake of this game, chock full of glorious outside environments of Raccoon City, pulse pounding action sequences, and a hulking madman chasing you throughout the your entire adventure? I’m already prepared for the nightmares that will come from the possibility of that dream coming true.
To be perfectly honest, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is the hardest game in the franchise for me. I only recently completed a full playthrough of RE3, primarily due to some gut check necessary fight moments with Nemesis that I was simply unable to crack at the time in my youth. I have since completed the game another two times, and still find it a challenging endeavor to this day. That doesn’t deter my pure enjoyment of this venerable black sheep of the franchise. Capcom, you have been on an amazing win streak recently, which I am sure will continue with the impending release of Devil May Cry 5. You need to ride this glorious ride of Resident Evil goodwill that has been spreading for the last two years, and bring an underappreciated entry that clearly needs a reintroduction to the mass public. Nemesis would be an imposing and scary enemy, and a great game mechanic that would make your escape from the destruction of Raccoon City intense and wholly nerve wracking. I’m already in.