Equal rights for Zombies!
As some of you may have noticed, we at Game Revolution support the use of zombies in any and all video games. Too many games these days still have a disappointing lack of zombies. Take Gran Turismo, for example. No zombies at all - not one. And when they remade the classic arcade game Frogger, they forgot to correct their earlier mistake and add some zombies.
Fortunately, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is here to fight the good fight and bring equal rights to zombies everywhere. It's got thin zombies, fat zombies, zombie cops, zombie women, spider zombies, zombie dogs, zombies on fire, zombie birds, and zombie worms. Best of all, it has Nemesis - a big, burly, action hero of a zombie. He's fast as hell, brutally violent, can take an amazing amount of punishment, and he can say "STARS." (Practially Sly Stallone vocabulary!)
He looks good, too. The graphics in Resident Evil 3 are slightly sharper than before, with noticeably better textures. The framerate is nice and high as well. From the menacing stumble of a hungry zombie to the rampaging charge of Nemesis, the movements and action all look great.
The control is almost exactly the same as before with precise, subjective movement. The only difference is that you now have the ability to dodge.
And who are you? This is the first Resident Evil where you cannot choose your character. You start as the beautiful and daring Jill Valentine from the first game. She was about to leave for Europe when the zombie plague struck Raccoon City. Although she's a member of the S.T.A.R.S. special forces team, Capcom's quest to get their heroines into increasingly skimpier outfits continues. Jill wears a miniskirt and a tight blue tank-top. Not really the best gear for fighting the walking dead, but she can handle a weapon, and her head is full of delicious brains. I just want to know where she keeps that grenade launcher.
Although Jill might look like she should be hitting zombies with her purse, the second character, Carlos Oliviera, is ready to do battle. You meet him as Jill, and you play as him for the second half of the game. He's part of a mercenary team hired by Umbrella Corp. to clean up their messes. His practical combat fatigues, however, cannot disguise his terrible voice acting. Even Nemesis is better, and he can only say one word.
While you cannot pick you character (except in the secret Mercenaries game), there are some great new features in Resident Evil 3. The first thing I noticed was the excellent new setting. Instead of everything happening in a single house or police station, you must make your way though an entire zombie infested city. It's fantastic. Buildings are on fire, the streets are piled high with rubble, and other humans are trying to escape. It's pure chaos.
And when I say chaos, I mean it. Enter a street or a building and you never know what to expect. Zombies are never in the same place twice, or even in the same numbers. You might think an area is safe and have been through it five times, when suddenly zombies will break through the windows of a nearby building and come for you.
The sounds are also masterfully done and add to the scene. Sometimes you'll hear somebody fighting zombies nearby, or merely becoming their lunch. The whole thing really feels like a city at war.
On top of that, the game is non-linear. Depending on your decisions at certain points (and the order in which you explore), the story can progress along slightly different paths, with different key objects found in different locations. It's absolutely brilliant and guarantees that you'll want to play the game through more than once.
Of course, there is always room for improvement. I mentioned the voice acting already, which is still awful. Also, some parts of the Resident Evil games have always felt like they were just tossed in for no reason. Take, for example, the fact that everyone has to be some sort of commando. The hero of Silent Hill was just a regular guy named Harry, and that made the game even scarier. We can't all be highly-trained military operatives.
The puzzles always have seemed a bit gratuitous as well. If I have a grenade launcher, why do I need to find the 'Chronos Key' just to get through a door in a destroyed city? I bet I could even just kick it open.
Still, the Resident Evil series has maintained its high quality better than any other video game trilogy. Too many companies churn out cookie-cutter sequels one after the other without changing a thing, like Command and Conquer, or even getting worse, like Twisted Metal. Unlike the repetitive Tomb Raider series, each chapter of Resident Evil has managed to be both innovative and engrossing. Better than that, all three have been scary, and Resident Evil 3 is no exception. Now if only I could just shoot my annoying neighbor and claim he was a zombie...