Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/11/99 | Genre: Survival Horror
Prepare to once again enter the world of survival horror in Capcom's latest foray into Raccoon City. Resident Evil 3's high production values and reputation give it a lot of potential. All aspects of the series have been improved in this game [yes, even the voice acting is decent] which makes this possibly the best title in an already impressive lineage.
You take on the persona of Jill Valentine [from the first Resident Evil] once more this time around, and you begin the game in the middle of a resident Raccoon rampage, as zombies come bursting out of a conflagration of mangled metal and battered buildings. The area looks suspiciously familiar as the initial events of this game take place before Resident Evil 2 even occurs, but there is still enough new terrain thrown in to keep seasoned dead-destroyers looking at their maps in fervent fright. Thus, the premise of the game is tried and true: keep protagonist X alive while wading through a swamp of interred iniquity and maligned monsters. There is also a new kid on the block [or through the block, as the case may be] called the Nemesis, and he wants to collect the corpses of the original STARS team like Pokemon cards. At times, you may have the pleasure of meeting the mysterious manhandler face-to-face-to-rocket launcher. Be forewarned, however, he has a face that a mother couldn't love if you paid her.
Resident Evil veterans should have no problem picking this game up since the theme, control, and strategies are basically identical to the other two installments. There are a couple new helpful evasive maneuvers, however, like the ability to do a quick 180-degree turn and the ability to dodge. Unfortunately, this familiarity is probably what hinders the game the most. With nothing starkly new to learn about the characters, engine, or story, the game seems more like a side quest than a real sequel. The enemies have been redesigned. There are now zombies of varying sizes, speeds, and genders, and the new hunter will give you the chills; but despite this, it seems like a case of too little too late.
Not to totally decry the designer's efforts, the puzzles in this game are well done and cerebral, much like the ones in Silent Hill. Most of the enigmas require you to track down several items and somehow alter them to fit your needs. This gives a better sense of survival since not everything is handed to you in black and white. You must try to make do with what's in your possession.
When all is said and done, Resident Evil is a great game and should be in the hands of all enthusiasts of the series. It does a nice job at trying to recapture some of the visceral terror that made us wet our pants in the first installment, but the weak story keeps it from being as immersing. For the time being, the Resident Evil series is the best money can buy in the survival horror genre, and Resident Evil 3 justifies Capcom's spot at the top.