Nearly all of Capcom's highly successful games over the last two years have eventually been translated across multiple console platforms. And while some have held up well after that year or two delay that occurs when bringing a game developed for one system to another, others definitely show their age. Some have been enhanced with extra features or cosmetic improvements, but most have just been straight ports. Capcom's latest, Resident Evil 3 Nemesis for the Dreamcast, offers only a few minor improvements over the PlayStation original, but it has stood the test of time fairly well.
The storyline for Resident Evil 3 Nemesis takes some work to explain. The events within it occur both before and after what happened in Resident Evil 2. The game focuses on Jill Valentine, one of the two playable characters from the first Resident Evil game, as she tries to survive in the same, big, zombie-infested city that the heroes from Resident Evil 2 worked to escape from. To make matters worse, Jill is stalked by a relentless superzombie who has been charged with the task of killing all the members of her former police unit, S.T.A.R.S. The group has apparently unearthed evidence connecting the mysterious Umbrella organization with the recent outbreak of zombies, and as much as it's your job to bring these facts to light, it's the task of this "Nemesis" to stop you.
Resident Evil 3 Nemesis (both on the PlayStation and the Dreamcast) brought several new features to the series. A new control element that was added was a quick turnaround that spun your character 180 degrees with a rapid double-tap to the back button, while another was a side-step move that could help you dodge the oncoming lunge of a lumbering zombie or let you leap out of the way of an onrushing undead Doberman. But the control changes made up only a few of the upgrades over Resident Evil 2. Numerous little effects such as branching paths, more random scares, constant eerie sounds and howls, and frequent scripted events all contributed to making the game's environment feel even more alive and frightening than before.
The biggest complaint against Resident Evil 3 Nemesis (again, both versions) is that the game didn't build as well as other titles in the series. Storyline isn't a major factor in all games, but in the Resident Evil series, it's essential - and Resident Evil 3 Nemesis came off more like a side story to the line instead of a full-fledged third game in the series. Resident Evil Code Veronica (which arrived for the Dreamcast a few months after Nemesis came out for the PlayStation) felt more like the real follow-up to Resident Evil 2 in terms of both story and graphics, and Nemesis was slightly lackluster in contrast.
The graphics in the Dreamcast version of Resident Evil 3 Nemesis compare favorably to those of its PlayStation cousin. The backgrounds are much more defined, and the character models are much sharper (although they still appear rather segmented looking). On a less positive note, none of the impressive fog and lighting effects seen in Resident Evil Code Veronica pop up here, although its visuals don't possess the same soft blurriness found there either (the only real drawback to Veronica's graphics). The game doesn't exactly max out the Dreamcast's visual capabilities, but it leaves nearly as much of an impression as the PlayStation version did when it was originally released last year. The only other change from the PlayStation version of Resident Evil 3 Nemesis is that two of the extra features that were opened up once you beat the game (the mercenary time-attack mode and a variety of costume changes for Jill) are available from the start.
At any rate, while other recently ported Capcom titles such as Dino Crisis are judged a little more harshly against today's standards, Resident Evil 3 Nemesis remains a very worthwhile game even though not much has been added to the translation. If you've already played the original, there's little reason to pick this one up, but if you haven't yet, you should. While Resident Evil 3 Nemesis may not be the definitive product in the Resident Evil series, it's still a very good game that's experienced only slight wear over time.