Resident Evil VII: Biohazard is nearly upon us! To keep the hype building for Tuesdays release we are looking back at Resident Evil 3. Originally released on the Sony PlayStation back in November 10, 1999, Resident Evil 3 would be ported to a few other platforms throughout the years. After 18 years, is Resident Evil 3 still worth playing?
Two months have passed since Jill Valentine escaped the Umbrella research lab in the Arclay Mountains outside of Raccoon City. The population refused to believe the stories that were being told about the mansion incident. Knowing the threat that Umbrella posed, all S.T.A.R.S. members disembarked for Europe, the main headquarters for Umbrella. Jill is the last one to leave and finds herself alone in a Raccoon City where things have fallen apart, the T-Virus has been released, and now a zombie infested wasteland has replaced any form of civilization.
Resident Evil 3 reunites us with original series protagonist Jill Valentine as she attempts to escape the nightmare that is now Raccoon City. Unlike the previous entries in the series, there are no selectable characters in the game. The story plays out as Jill until a certain time when you get to temporarily play as Carlos Oliveira. Carlos is a member of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service sent to Raccoon City to contain the outbreak.
Building off the gameplay introduced in Resident Evil 1 and 2, Resident Evil 3 is instantly familiar to players. All the aspects of a great survival horror game are present; ammo, health and saves are once again limited. In what seems to be a necessary evil the wonderful…. “Tank Controls” are also back for yet another round of “let’s have players stumble around.” Thankfully a new quick turn and evade mechanic have been introduced to help offset the bulky controls. Other new features in Resident Evil 3 are the inclusion of a real-time choice system which changed how certain scenes could play out and a reloading tool which lets player create ammo for several different guns in the game.
To increase the sense of fear a new enemy has been introduced into the franchise, the Nemesis. Nemesis is a variant of the Tyrant monster found in previous games and it has one mission: to kill all the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members. After the first encounter with Nemesis it will continue to pursue you throughout the game. Zombies have also received an upgrade that allows more of them to appear in an area.
Resident Evil 3 also introduces us to a new minigame titled The Mercenaries. Building off the battle modes first seen in the Sega Saturn version of Resident Evil and the DualShock version of Resident Evil 2, players must fight off enemies and complete objectives within a time limit. Players can increase their time by completing certain objectives. Due to its popularity, The Mercenaries has been a part of nearly every Resident Evil game since.
The Sound in Resident Evil 3 has its ups and downs. While music and sound effects remain crisp and detailed and atmospheric, the voice work isn’t up to the same level. For every wonderfully creepy utterance of “STARS…” from the Nemesis we get corny accents and bad dialogue from the support cast. Even the dialogue from Jill is more reminiscent of Resident Evil 1 than 2.
Resident Evil 3 continues the tradition of using 3D models on pre-rendered backgrounds found in previous games. Backgrounds are crisper and more detailed than previous games but still look old due to old 3D technology. Characters and enemies, like backgrounds, are the best the series has seen to that point. Enemy variety has increased so you don’t run into the same three zombies repeatedly. The trench coat wearing Nemesis is also a sight to behold as it breaks through backgrounds and charges you.
I cannot choose between Resident Evil 2 or 3 as my favorite chapter in the Raccoon City story. Despite sharing a setting with Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3 provides a new story all its own. Being able to see more of the city and learning about what happened outside the walls of the Raccoon City Police Department provides more depth to the tragedy that befalls Raccoon City. The constant threat of the Nemesis also keeps suspense high as you never quite know when it will show up again. If you are looking for another trip into the zombie infested streets of Raccoon City Resident Evil 3 will not disappoint.
TL:DR Resident Evil 3 adds new story, features, enemies, and modes that make it equal or better than Resident Evil 2.
Alright, I convinced you, huh? How can you play this game?! Resident Evil 3 has been released for multiple platforms.
PS1 (~$15) – Unlike past Resident Evil games there is only one version of Resident Evil 3 available on PlayStation. This is the original release.
PC (~$50) – An enhanced port of the PS1 version. This version features upgraded visuals, models and skippable door transitions. All extra costumes and The Mercenaries are also unlocked from the beginning of the game.
Dreamcast (~$25) – A port of the PC version with 2 extra costumes but door scenes are no longer skippable.
GameCube (~$35) – A port of the PS1 version of the game running at a higher resolution.
PS3/PSP/Vita ($5.99) – An emulated port of the PS1 version available on PSN.
My favorite way to play Resident Evil 3 is on the Dreamcast.