Nemesis (Resident Evil)
|Resident Evil character|
Nemesis as he appears in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
|First game||Resident Evil 3: Nemesis|
|Portrayed by||Matthew G. Taylor (film)|
Nemesis, also called the Pursuer or Chaser (追跡者 Tsuisekisha?), is a fictional character in Capcom's Resident Evil franchise. It first appears in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, before later emerging in other titles and cameo roles. It is also featured on various merchandise and in the 2004 film Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The character is voiced by an uncredited actor in the game, and portrayed by Matthew G. Taylor in the film.
Since Nemesis's introduction, the character has received a positive reception, and has come to be regarded as one of the series' most popular characters. Some publications have praised its role as an intimidating villain, while others have noted it as one of their favorite and most terrifying monsters in video games.
Conception and design
Introduced in Resident Evil 3, Nemesis was designed under the concept of a "huge, overpowering monster that could use weapons and intelligently track you anywhere". During development, many different designs were considered. Although some elements remained constant among them, the early designs featured several different degrees of surface damage, as well as different options for clothing such as a protective vest instead of a coat or a nude design similar to the original Tyrant from Resident Evil.
In the series' story, Nemesis is the result of infecting a Tyrant—a humanoid bioweapon created to be the ultimate life-form—with a parasitic organism designed to increase its intelligence. Upon infection, the parasite takes control of the Tyrant's nervous system, forming its own brain and enabling it to follow precise instructions and make decisions without a need for constant direction. Clothed in black trousers, overcoat, boots, and gloves, Nemesis is armed with a rocket launcher mounted on its left arm. To emphasize its design as a prototype, the game developers left exposed muscles on its body and added stitches to cover the right eye. Upon spotting its target, it says the target's name and attacks.
The secretions from the parasite give Nemesis heightened regenerative abilities, which result in damage to the skin and the emergence of additional tentacles, as well as unpredictable mutations to withstand further attacks. In Resident Evil 3, the creature's survival instincts eventually override Nemesis' programming, causing the host's body to reject the parasite and transform into a giant digestive organ. Featuring large central bone protrusions and elongated tentacles, it crawls looking for prey, yet continues trying to complete its mission despite its now diminished intelligence. This design proved to be the most difficult for the game's development team, as they worked to try to make it appear as unique as possible.
In video games
Nemesis, named after the Goddess of Vengeance from Greek mythology, first appears in the 1999 PlayStation game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis as the game's title character and primary antagonist. The product of years of research, the prototype is deployed by the Umbrella Corporation to hunt and kill the STARS police team as a field test, and as revenge for the destruction of the original Tyrant. The game’s protagonist, Jill Valentine, first encounters Nemesis outside Raccoon City’s police station where it kills Brad Vickers and then pursues her, uttering "STARS..." on sight. Nemesis continues to stalk Valentine throughout the game, attacking with physical blows and grabs, and with a rocket launcher if armed. After losing its overcoat as a result of heavy damage, Nemesis mutates, and gains the ability to attack with long, extendable tentacles. Despite later being doused in acid, Nemesis continues pursuit, and mutates into a much larger monster after absorbing a dead Tyrant, gaining the ability to spew poison. Jill finally destroys Nemesis using a rail cannon.
Nemesis also appears in Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica, chasing the player if they fail to complete a level before the time limit expires and killing them instantly if it hits them; it can also be fought as a secret boss armed with a rocket launcher if the player has met the proper conditions upon completing the game. Nemesis returns for the Resident Evil 3 chapter of Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, in which it pursues Jill in the same manner as the original game and mutates into its secondary form as a boss. Alongside Jill, Nemesis also appears in the Capcom title Under the Skin, and serves as a boss the player must steal coins from in a Raccoon City-inspired level. Character cards for Nemesis additionally appear in SVC: Card Fighters' Clash 2 Expand Edition and its Nintendo DS sequel. In an interview, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds producer Ryouta Niitsuma stated a desire to use Nemesis in the title as a "monster-type" character from the Resident Evil series, but was dropped after considering it too "grotesque and disgusting" and in consideration of ESRB ratings. The character would instead appear briefly in the game's ending sequence for the Hulk. However, despite the initial concerns about his inclusion, Nemesis appears as a playable character in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, an updated version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Nemesis appears in Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. In the game, Nemesis's programing is damaged and the USS is tasked with finding a parasite to repair it. Once the parasite is found, players must defeat Nemesis and inject him with the parasite. The Nemesis in the game uses a gatling gun for the fight and is mainly based on his film counterpart, however once the mission is completed Nemesis awakes to find his rocket launcher and utters his famous line, "S.T.A.R.S." Nemesis also appears in the tactical role-playing game Project X Zone as a rival unit.
Nemesis is featured in the 2004 film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, portrayed by Matthew G. Taylor. The character's design was left relatively unchanged, brandishing a rocket launcher and similar attire, but with the addition of a forearm-mounted rail gun, modeled after a heavily modified minigun. Director Paul W. S. Anderson noted that the gun's addition was inspired by the idea of Nemesis "walking around with a gigantic, powerful weapon in each hand and almost indecisive as to which one to use". The costume for Nemesis was created by Kropserkel Inc. and PJFX Studios, and stands roughly 7 feet 3 inches (2.21 m) tall, weighing nearly 100 pounds (45 kg). After production of Apocalypse was completed, the costume was restored and put on display at Kropserkel's offices.
While Nemesis's design remained similar, the character itself was expanded upon, now portrayed as a tragic villain. Formerly Matt Addison (portrayed by Eric Mabius), a survivor of the events of the first film, he was infected with the T-virus after being scratched by a Licker and later captured and experimented upon by the Umbrella Corporation. Transformed into Nemesis, he is sent to kill the surviving members of STARS, but remembers his humanity after fighting Alice, and fights alongside the protagonists towards the film's conclusion. Nemesis is eventually crushed beneath a helicopter, and is later killed by the nuclear explosion that destroys Raccoon City.
In printed adaptations
Nemesis appears in a 1999 Hong Kong manhua adaptation of Resident Evil 3 by Lee Chung Hing, Biohazard 3: Last Escape, which is named after the game's Japanese title. The 27-issue series adds to Nemesis's backstory, detailing its origin by showing the infection and transformation of the original Tyrant by the Nemesis parasite. Some elements are changed for its design, such as Nemesis retaining both eyes initially, losing the right eye and gaining cranial staples only after an encounter with Jill. The comic also introduces characters from Resident Evil 2 into the storyline, which results in a face-off between Nemesis and the mutated William Birkin towards the end of the series.
In 2000, Simon and Schuster published a novelization of Resident Evil 3, written by S. D. Perry. Though left unchanged for the most part, Nemesis is immediately recognized as a modified Tyrant in the novel, which Jill Valentine dubs Nemesis after thinking about why it hunts her. Instead of mutating due to having taken damage, Nemesis mutates towards the conclusion of the story in its pursuit of Jill, with its second form from the game being its actual appearance beneath the coat.
A novelization of Apocalypse was released in 2004, written by Keith R. A. DeCandido. In the book, Matt and Nemesis act as separate personalities in the same body, both aware but with Nemesis dominant. Matt eventually regains control after his body is impaled on a metal shard while fighting Alice, by showing Nemesis his memories of Umbrella's experimentation upon him. Nemesis is later mentioned in the 2007 novelization of Resident Evil: Extinction, in which antagonist Doctor Isaacs considers Nemesis his greatest success and his greatest failure, hating mention of it and blaming Umbrella's desire to immediately field test it.
Promotion and merchandise
Nemesis appears on the cover of every version of Resident Evil 3, and is mentioned prominently on flyers for Resident Evil: Survivor 2. Capcom has also released commercial products modeled on the character, such as an adult size Halloween mask, and later a silver ring modeled after Nemesis's head available for purchase through their Japanese online store. Palisades Toys used its likeness to create a posable action figure, which was released alongside several other Resident Evil-based action figures, packaged with a base and equipable rocket launcher. Moby Dick released its own line of Resident Evil action figures bundled in pairs of a playable character and enemy. Included in the series were Nemesis's first and second form, with the first form featuring an alternate head and equipable rocket launcher. Each set additionally includes a part of an action figure of Nemesis's third form, which measures 24 inches (60 cm) long when completed.
Following the game's debut in 1999, Nemesis became one of the most recognizable and popular characters in the Resident Evil series. G4's Filter named Nemesis one of the top ten video game villains of all time as selected by viewers, placing fifth on the list. IGN noted it as their favorite aspect of Resident Evil 3, stating, "The point is, he's a bad-ass, and he's got plenty of surprises in store for you besides just fast feet and a big gun". In another article, IGN noted Nemesis as one of their favorite video game monsters of all time, but felt disdain for its presentation in the film. They also named him one of the series' best bosses, calling it "what may be Umbrella's most fearsome creation ever" and comparing it to Terminator 2's T-1000, and later one of the top 100 video game villains of all time, placing 59th and described as horrific not for its appearance or attacks but its persistence. 1UP.com named the battle against Nemesis one of the "25 of the Most Badass Boss Fights of All Time", saying "There are plenty of bosses worth mentioning from the Resident Evil series...but the one that to this day most people point to as the biggest badass of the bunch is Nemesis".
GamePro ranked Nemesis 29th on their list of the "47 Most Diabolical Video Game Villains of All Time", noting the character "made RE3 memorable even among the other, superior installments in the series". It ranked fourth on Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Top Ten Badass Undead" article, which described its role as a simple, yet effective villain. GameSpot featured Nemesis in a "Reader's Choice" edition of their "Top 10 Video Game Villains" article, placing eighth on the list and noting the character's high popularity among fans when compared to the Tyrant. He has also been voted by GamesRadar's readers as the 99th "most dastardly ne'er-do-wells" villain in video games in their "top 100". GameDaily listed it as one of their favorite Capcom characters of all time, stating "The Resident Evil series has a slew of memorable bad guys to choose from...but Nemesis is our favorite." Nemesis additionally ranked fifth on their list of "Top 25 Scariest Video Game Monsters".
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