Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
|Resident Evil 3: Nemesis|
North American PlayStation cover art
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, known in Japan as Biohazard 3: Last Escape (Japanese: バイオハザード3 ラストエスケープ Hepburn: Baiohazādo 3 Rasuto Esukēpu?), is a survival horror video game developed by Capcom and originally released for the PlayStation video game console in 1999. It is the third installment in the Resident Evil video game series and takes place before and after the events of Resident Evil 2. The story of the game follows Resident Evil protagonist Jill Valentine and her efforts to escape from a city that has been infected with a new type of biological weapon secretly developed by the pharmaceutical company Umbrella. The game uses the same engine as its predecessors and features 3D models over pre-rendered backgrounds with fixed camera angles.
Unlike previous Resident Evil games, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was designed to have more action-oriented gameplay. It features a larger number of enemies for the player to defeat and introduces the eponymous Nemesis creature, which periodically pursues the player from one area to the next until the end of the game. The game was a critical and commercial success, selling more than three million units worldwide. Most critics praised the graphics for being detailed and the Nemesis creature as an intimidating villain, but some criticized the game's short length and story. After its release on the PlayStation console, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was subsequently ported to the Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows and GameCube systems.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a survival horror game where the player controls the on-screen character from a third-person perspective to interact with the environment and enemies. Jill Valentine is the sole protagonist and main controllable character of the game, with another character also being controllable for a brief portion of the game. To advance through the game, the player is challenged to explore the fictional Raccoon City while avoiding, outsmarting and defeating various types of enemies. The player can open doors, push certain objects, climb obstacles, and pick up items. All items collected are stored in an inventory that the player can access at any time. Items in the inventory can be used, examined, and combined to make new ones. The inventory is limited to a certain number of slots, and the player must often move items from the inventory to a storage box located in special rooms to manage space.
In combat, the player has the ability to dodge attacks, use firearms against enemies, and shoot certain objects like explosive barrels, causing them to explode and damage nearby enemies. The player can also run and perform a quick 180 degree turn to evade enemies. The player has a certain amount of health which decreases when attacked by enemies. The lower the player's health is, the slower the player's movement speed is. Nevertheless, players can increase their health by collecting and using herbs, which can be mixed with other herbs to increase their healing effect. The game also incorporates an ammunition creation system that allows players to create new ammunition from different varieties of gunpowder. In addition to engaging in combat, the player must often solve puzzles that focus on logical and conceptual challenges.
Unlike in previous Resident Evil games, the player is occasionally prompted to choose between one of two possible actions. These choices affect the direction of the game and story. Additionally, a creature called Nemesis is encountered multiple times throughout the game as a recurring boss. Nemesis is considerably more powerful than the player and has the ability to use a rocket launcher as a weapon, dodge incoming fire, and pursue the player from one area to the next. During one of these encounters, the player can choose to either fight Nemesis or run until he is evaded. A variety of encounters are possible, with some being mandatory, and some varying in nature and location based on certain choices made by the player. Even if evaded or defeated during one of these encounters, Nemesis will inevitably continue to pursue the player until the end of the game.
Upon completing the main story mode, a minigame titled "The Mercenaries: Operation Mad Jackal" is unlocked. In Mad Jackal, the player must control one of three members of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service that Jill encounters during the main game and run from one side of the city to the other within a limited amount of time and resources. However, the starting time limit given is insufficient to actually perform this task directly, and the player must continuously receive time extensions by performing certain actions such as defeating enemies, rescuing civilians and exploring hidden areas. Completing the main game also unlocks alternate costumes for Jill and epilogue files that detail the activities of different characters following the events of the game. The mercenaries minigame and alternate costumes for Jill are available from the start of the game in the Microsoft Windows and Dreamcast versions of the game.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis begins 24 hours prior to the events of Resident Evil 2 and follows Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) member Jill Valentine as she attempts to escape from Raccoon City. Nearly all of Raccoon City's citizens have been transformed into zombies by an outbreak of the T-virus, a new type of biological weapon secretly developed by the pharmaceutical company Umbrella. On her way to the Raccoon City Police Department, Jill runs into fellow team member Brad Vickers, but he is subsequently killed by Nemesis, a bio-organic weapon created by Umbrella for the sole purpose of eliminating surviving S.T.A.R.S. members, who are first-hand witnesses of Umbrella's unethical experiments. After evading Nemesis, Jill encounters three surviving members of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S.): Carlos Oliveira, Mikhail Victor and Nicholai Ginovaef. Nicholai explains to Jill and Carlos that a rescue helicopter can be contacted if they manage to reach Raccoon City's Clock Tower and ring the tower's bell.
As the game progresses, Nicholai disappears and is presumed dead, while Mikhail sacrifices himself to save Jill and Carlos from Nemesis by detonating a grenade in a cable car's rear compartment on its way to the Clock Tower, causing the car to speed out of control and crash into the Clock Tower's main courtyard. As a result, Jill and Carlos are briefly separated. At the Clock Tower, Jill summons the helicopter by ringing the Clock Tower's bell before being confronted by Nemesis, which destroys the helicopter and infects Jill with the T-virus. Jill manages to temporarily defeat Nemesis and eventually falls unconscious due to the T-Virus. Carlos finds Jill and takes her to safety within the Clock Tower. Three days later, Carlos finds a cure for Jill's T-Virus infection in the Raccoon City General Hospital. He then returns to Jill with a vaccine, encountering Nemesis for a brief period.
After recovering from the infection, Jill proceeds towards the Raccoon Park and enters the park caretaker's cabin. There, she discovers from Nicholai that he is one of an unknown number of "supervisors" sent into Raccoon City along with the U.B.C.S. to gather combat data from the soldier's encounters with Umbrella's bio-weapons. He is then forced to leave after a tremor shakes the cabin. Jill follows Nicholai outside, only to discover that the tremor was caused by a massive worm-like creature. Jill defeats the creature and escapes to a dead factory at the rear of the park. Inside the factory, Jill meets up with Carlos, who tells her that the US government is planning to launch a nuclear missile into Raccoon City to eradicate the T-Virus infestation. After confronting Nemesis and grabbing a keycard needed to escape, Jill learns from the factory's control tower that the missile attack on Raccoon City has begun, with only a short time left before the city is destroyed.
Depending on the path taken by the player, Jill's final encounter with Nicholai will differ. In one version of the events, Nicholai will attempt to start a gunfight with Jill, only to be taken by surprise by Nemesis. In another event, Nicholai will hijack Jill's intended escape chopper, and the player must choose to either reason with Nicholai or destroy the helicopter. If Jill negotiates with Nicholai, he reveals that he has killed the other supervisors and boasts about collecting the bounty placed on Jill by Umbrella before escaping. Regardless of Nicholai's fate, Jill makes her way to the rear yard and confronts Nemesis one last time. After an intense battle, Jill defeats Nemesis with the help of a prototype railgun before meeting up with Carlos and escaping the city via a helicopter. If the previous escape chopper was stolen by Nicholai, Jill and Carlos will instead meet up with S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team's weapons specialist Barry Burton, who helps them escape in his own helicopter instead. The final cutscene of the game shows the nuclear missile vaporizing the Raccoon City and its infected populace.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was developed by Capcom and produced by Shinji Mikami, who previously worked on the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2. After the release of Resident Evil 2, Capcom was working on multiple Resident Evil projects and had a team led by Hideki Kamiya developing what was planned to be the next main installment in the Resident Evil series. According to Resident Evil 3 scenario writer Yasuhisa Kawamura, the intended game "was loosely set on a luxury cruise liner and had a general plot where HUNK was attempting to bring back a sample of the G-Virus" featured in Resident Evil 2. However, Capcom realised that the game would not be completed in time for a PlayStation release due to Sony's announcement of the PlayStation 2, so the project was ultimately cancelled. As Capcom did not want fans to wait some years for a new game, the company promoted one of its other projects as the third main canonical game while Kamiya's team was moved onto developing Resident Evil 4.
The selected project was a spin-off that was being developed by an inexperienced team under director Kazuhiro Aoyama. The spin-off was originally intended to introduce a new character who would have to escape from an infected Raccoon City. However, after the promotion, Capcom decided that Resident Evil protagonist Jill Valentine would be the main character and Raccoon City would be destroyed. Unlike the majority of the early scripts in the series, the scenario of the game was not created by Capcom's Flagship studio but by internal Capcom writer Yasuhisa Kawamura, who had very little experience with the Resident Evil series at the time. Kawamura noted that he had to play the original game to familiarize himself with the series' fictional universe immediately. Nevertheless, the story was proofread and sanctioned by Flagship to avoid continuity errors with other installments in the series, an issue that was also given attention in monthly meetings between all directors and producers.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis uses the same game engine as its predecessors. The environments consist of 2D pre-rendered backgrounds while moving objects such as enemies and some interactive elements consist of 3D polygon graphics. The developers chose this technique because having full 3D graphics would not allow them to create graphically rich and detailed environments. According to project supervisor Yoshiki Okamoto, "the number of polygons allocated for the enemies would not be sufficient. We did not want to have blocky, pixelated zombies." Interaction with the environment was improved so that the player could shoot objects like explosive barrels to damage enemies. Developers also added more variety of zombies, who can take the form of policemen, doctors, and ordinary citizens, among others.
Unlike previous Resident Evil games, which take place inside buildings, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis takes place in Raccoon City. The developers noted that the city setting allowed them to create more varied environments. Capcom also decided to give the game a more action-oriented style, which resulted in the 180-degree turn and the introduction of a dodge feature so that the player can avoid enemy attacks. Additionally, the developers designed the game so that up to nine enemies can appear at the same time and improved their artificial intelligence to hunt the player up and down stairs. The eponymous Nemesis creature was inspired by the liquid-metal T-1000 Terminator from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. According to Mikami, "I wanted to introduce a new kind of fear into the game, a persistent feeling of paranoia. The Nemesis brings that on in spades. When it disappears after the first confrontation, you live in constant dread of the next attack. The idea is to make you feel like you're being stalked."
The game was developed in tandem with the Dreamcast version of Resident Evil Code: Veronica and was originally referred to as Biohazard 1.9 due to its setting between the first two Resident Evil games, although the codename Biohazard 1.5 was also used. Although Code: Veronica takes place after Resident Evil 2, Okamoto explained that Capcom wanted Nemesis to be the third numbered game in the series to keep the titles of the PlayStation games consistent. Development of the game began with a team of 20 people. However, as the game was getting closer to its release date, the development team gradually increased to between 40 and 50 staff members. Unlike Resident Evil 2, which features two discs with two different protagonists, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a single-CD game that centers mainly on Jill Valentine. Capcom chose Jill as the protagonist of the game because she was "the only suitable character remaining", noting that Resident Evil protagonists Claire Redfield and Chris Redfield were previously chosen for Code: Veronica.
Marketing and release
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was featured at the Tokyo Game Show in March 1999. A playable version of the game was available at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 1999. At the time, the dodging feature had not been completed and was absent from the demo. To promote the game, Capcom included a brief demo of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in the US shipments of their earlier game Dino Crisis, which had a successful launch in Japan. Prior to the release of the game, Capcom spent US$20 million on advertisement campaigns for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Dino Crisis, as well as the Nintendo 64 version of Resident Evil 2. The marketing campaign included dedicated television advertising, print advertising, and incentives to the consumer. A double soundtrack album for the game, composed by Masami Ueda, Saori Maeda and Shusaku Uchiyama, was released on September 22, 1999. Additionally, a novelization of the game titled Nemesis and written by S. D. Perry was published in 2000.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was first released for the PlayStation video game console on September 22, 1999 in Japan and November 10, 1999 in North America. The first 500,000 units of the game included additional demo discs of Dino Crisis. According to NPD, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was the top selling game for the PlayStation in the US during the first two weeks of November 1999. The game was eventually released on March 17, 2000 in Europe and became a bestseller in the UK. As of May 2008, a total of 3.5 million copies of the PlayStation version had been sold according to Capcom. After its original release on the PlayStation, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was subsequently ported to the Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast, and GameCube systems, featuring enhanced 3D character models and higher resolution graphics. As of November 2003, 41,395 copies of the GameCube version had been sold in the US. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was digitally released on the PlayStation Network in Japan in 2008 and North America in 2009, allowing PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable users to play any version of the game via emulation.
Upon release, the original PlayStation version of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis received very positive reviews from video game critics. GameSpot reviewer James Mielke described it as the most sophisticated and accomplished Resident Evil game for the PlayStation console in terms of both graphics and gameplay. Official UK PlayStation Magazine called Resident Evil 3: Nemesis "a modern-day classic", concluding that the game "creates a believable environment, populates it with a host of evil adversaries and uses Raccoon City's urban sprawl to enhance the friendish puzzles." Computer and Video Games remarked that the game preserves the best features of its predecessors and "adds some exciting new elements".
The game's pre-rendered backgrounds were credited for their rich details and dismal art style. According to IGN editor Doug Perry, "Crashed cars, rubbish and rubble, totally destroyed city streets, and scattered broken glass and debris, all are housed in a suburban area that truly looks devastated in the worst possible way." GameSpot felt that the 3D modeling of the protagonist Jill Valentine "[looks] light years ahead of the comparatively blocky models in the original game." The music and sound effects received similar praise, with GamePro remarking that the game "keeps the action hot by hiding what you shouldn't see, but telling you about it through the audio." The introduction of the Nemesis creature was highly praised. Official UK PlayStation Magazine described the first encounter as shocking, while Computer and Video Games observed that the creature increases the tension level "to an insane degree; you never know when he's going to show up and cause mayhem."
GameSpot highlighted positively the prompted choices during certain points in the game as they encourage replay value, but also admitted that the game length is too short compared to Resident Evil 2 because it only features one disc with one protagonist. IGN praised the live action choice feature, stating that it "speeds up the pace, increases the tension, and forces a decision that varies the following scene." Writing for GameCritics, Dale Weir felt that the fact that players can mix different types of gunpowder to create ammunition adds a new layer of strategy and customizability to the game. Both the 180 degree turn and dodge move were seen by IGN as welcome and necessary additions. In contrast, Official US PlayStation Magazine criticized the dodge feature for being impractical and for relying too much on timing, resulting in doing more harm to the player than against opponents. Other aspects of the game were not positively received: Official US PlayStation Magazine criticized the story of the game for being lacking, while Game Revolution pointed out that the voice acting was poor. The game was a runner up for GameSpot's 1999 Adventure Game of the Year.
Critical reception for the Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast, and GameCube ports of the game was not as positive. Writing for GameSpot, Ron Dulin criticized the saving system of the Microsoft Windows version for not letting players save their progress at any time, but found the higher resolution backgrounds and 3D character models praiseworthy. IGN stated similar pros for the Dreamcast version of the game, but noted that some backgrounds were not improved, resulting in them looking not as good as the PlayStation version's due to the Dreamcast's clearer and sharper graphics. The GameCube version, released more than three years later than the original PlayStation version, received mixed to negative reviews from critics. It was mainly criticized for its relatively high retail price and outdated graphics.
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