Republished on Monday, 31st October 2016: We're bringing this article back from the archives to celebrate Hallowe'en today. The original text follows.
Originally published on Wednesday, 29th October 2014: It goes without saying that in lists of top titles from the survival horror genre, a Resident Evil release is bound to find its way into every one. Whether it's the classic game's memorable sequel Resident Evil 2 or the revolutionary, timeless Resident Evil 4, there are several worthy entries to choose from in the series. What always astonishes me, though, is that Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is rarely mentioned whenever survival horror games or Resident Evil in particular are brought up in conversation.
Personally, I consider it to be one of the best in Capcom's franchise, and a heart pounding, terrifying experience that's tough to top. Honestly, the likes of Dead Space and many of the Resident Evil games fail to keep me in a constant state of terror. But though I love these titles, and think that they're definitely scary in their own ways, Nemesis is the only one that I've played that accomplishes this feat most notably. It's simply one of the most pure, rewarding, and exhilarating survival horror games out there.
While there are plenty of people who understandably complain about the archaic, “tank controls" of older Resident Evil games, I find them to be an essential ingredient. Turning around slowly and having to shoot while standing still are examples of how cautious and strategic players must be, and Nemesis improved upon its predecessors by streamlining character movement and adding meaningful mechanics – such as the dodge and 180-degree turn moves – that paved the way for new enemy AI behaviour and overall better gameplay. It may feel dated to some, but the game has objectively solid design and features that took Resident Evil to new heights.
The greatest change brought to Nemesis was ammo creation. Instead of the typical clips and magazines for rifles, shotguns, and whatnot, you need to be constantly alert for three kinds of gunpowder throughout the game's environments. You dictate what ammo you receive by mixing it together in various ways, so you're free to use whatever weapon you want depending on what gunpowder you discover, but also must be aware of what's needed for future encounters with particular enemies like the titular Nemesis. In fact, since I was not careful with my usage of gunpowder during my first playthrough, I had to start the game over because it was impossible to defeat Nemesis with my low ammo count near the ending.
This prompted me to pay far more attention to what I created and used for my firearms the second time around, especially for the grenade launcher, which not only fires standard explosives, but ones infused with either (making assumptions here) liquid nitrogen, acid, or napalm. Despite the upsetting setback, I still found replaying the game, to my surprise, more rewarding; my conservativeness and caution with ammo paid off when I finally got to lay down the hurt on Nemesis where he stopped me before, and it felt incredible to watch him fall before the awesome Jill Valentine.
As for the big man himself, Nemesis is a nightmarish piece of work. His stature, strength, mutilated body, and rocket launcher lend him a grotesque, intimidating presence, only made more nerve-racking since he can come around any corner with frightening speed at any moment. While it's possible to defeat him in unscripted encounters to acquire special items, he's only meant for the skilled and bravest players to take on, which I was only able to accomplish once.
Regardless, I believe that this thrill ride perfectly combines feelings of vulnerability and courage throughout the entire experience, which can have you going from one spectrum of these emotions to the other at a moment's notice. Although Nemesis' unpredictable patterns had me on edge more than any other game, I loved weighing in the risks of retreating or fighting him if I kept my cool and played smart. In summary, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is one of the greatest survival horror titles in my book, and should be on your list of games to play this Hallowe'en – even if you'll probably end up a Jill sandwich at the hands of Nemesis multiple times.
Do you agree that Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is an underrated nasty? Look behind you in the comments section below.