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The Untold Truth Of Resident Evil 3's Nemesis

Fans of horror games are no strangers to being chased by malevolent creatures. Outlast asks you to outpace the mutated residents of a closed-down psychiatric hospital. Alien: Isolation forces you to run and hide from a deadly extraterrestrial. Resident Evil 2 seemingly perfected the concept of the enemy stalker all the way back in the '90s with the terrifying Mr. X. 


It's possible none of these baddies hold a candle to Nemesis from Resident Evil 3.

You thought Mr. X was scary? How about a half-Tyrant, half-mutant abomination who utters the name of your law enforcement group while endlessly pursuing you with weapons? Mr. X was a charming chap in comparison, with his trench coat and fedora. Nemesis barely has a face, and his disfigured noggin shows off his enormous, nightmare-inducing chompers. He's not the kind of guy you want to get trapped in a room with. That makes him a spectacular villain.

There's a whole backstory about Nemesis that you may not know about, including what he was inspired by and the impact he's left on the Resident Evil franchise. This is the untold truth of Resident Evil 3's Nemesis.


Nemesis is a very strange beast

You'd be forgiven for thinking Mr. X from Resident Evil 2 and Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 are the same kind of creature. They're both lumbering hulks that aren't to be trifled with. They're both frighteningly determined to track you down. They're both creations of Umbrella, the evil corporation in Resident Evil lore that has caused so much trouble these past few decades.


The truth, though, is that Nemesis is something far different than Mr. X. Where Resident Evil 2's villain does little more than stalk after you and beat you into a pulp given the chance, Nemesis is capable of far more.

According to Giant Bomb, Nemesis is a Tyrant combined with a "special parasite derived from the T-Virus." This parasite reportedly gives Nemesis more intelligence than the typical Tyrant, enabling him to handle weapons and even speak the word "S.T.A.R.S." on occasion. 

That intelligence comes with a cost, however. Instead of remaining in Tyrant form, the parasite causes Nemesis to mutate over time. At the end of Resident Evil 3, Nemesis is little more than a blob — still determined to kill Jill and the other S.T.A.R.S. targets, but not quite the imposing figure he was at the beginning of the game.


Nemesis was pretty much a test

If you play video games, you're likely familiar with beta tests. These are basically initiatives that put releases out a bit early, letting people play them and bring potential issues to light before an official launch takes place. Most of these are not deadly. People download the games, the beta ends, and folks typically survive the experience.


That is not the case with the kind of beta testing Umbrella did. Nemesis, for all of the hell it caused those in Raccoon City, was essentially a trial run to see if Umbrella could make the whole "Tyrant crossed with a parasite" thing work. Pretty remarkable, right?

According to the Nemesis page on Fandom, Umbrella wasn't very happy that the people in S.T.A.R.S. were trying to expose the company's bio-weapons programs. So Umbrella sent Nemesis — called "The Pursuer" — to both take out S.T.A.R.S. and see how the new creature performed its job. "In tracking and killing them," Fandom states, "it would prove its ability to recognize targets." The rocket launcher comes into play, too. Umbrella outfitted Nemesis with that particular piece of kit to see how it handled weaponry.


Was the Nemesis project a success? It's tough to say. There's little doubt it scared the living daylights out of everyone who played Resident Evil 3, though.

Nemesis was reportedly inspired by Terminator 2's T-1000

Due to the commonalities between Nemesis and Mr. X, you might get the idea that Nemesis was inspired by Mr. X. They're both from the same video game franchise, after all. Capcom adapting Mr. X for a new adventure would make a whole lot of sense.


The inspiration for Nemesis might actually come as a surprise, however. He wasn't necessarily dreamed up by those who'd worked on Resident Evil 2 as a sort of successor to the terrifying Mr. X. Instead, Nemesis was brought to life thanks to a popular '90s film.

According to an issue of Edge from 1999, the team at Capcom actually modeled Nemesis off the T-1000 from the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In case you forgot, the T-1000 was the ultra-scary Terminator who could turn into liquid metal and pass through most objects. Capcom's Shinji Mikami wanted players to be just as afraid as the protagonists in Terminator 2, stating, "I wanted to introduce a new kind of fear into the game, a persistent feeling of paranoia."


It's probably safe to say Mikami and his team succeeded.

The Resident Evil movies actually give Nemesis some backstory

It's entirely possible you've played every Resident Evil game and still don't have your head wrapped around the underlying narrative. That's understandable. These are horror experiences first — the story sort of takes a backseat to the scares. If that's the case, it's likely true that you played Resident Evil 3 and don't even know what Nemesis is or where it came from. Again, totally understandable.


Fortunately, there have been a number of Resident Evil movies. These movies have offered a bit of background on the plot threads running through the Resident Evil universe. And Nemesis got a considerable bit of his origin explained.

According to Resident Evil: ApocalypseNemesis was actually a human at the start. He was infected by a licker, snatched up by Umbrella, and ultimately transformed into his final form: a Tyrant mixed with a T-virus parasite. The movie take on Nemesis actually adds a little bit of humanity to his story, and makes you feel some empathy toward his plight.

Get back to playing the game, though, and you'll quickly return to cursing every time Nemesis makes his presence known.


Nemesis got a very different ending in the films

If you played the original Resident Evil 3 through to its conclusion, you might recall that you dispatched Nemesis with a good old fashioned railgun. That was the finale for the Tyrant-parasite hybrid. That was the last thing you did before you booked it out of town on a chopper. You ended Nemesis, the game ended, and that was that.


It would be a mistake to believe you were the one who killed Nemesis, though. Just as you failed to do so throughout Resident Evil 3, it seems you failed again at the end, too.

Thanks to some extra story that surfaced in a Resident Evil novel and the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, it's now clear that Nemesis didn't actually die at the end of Resident Evil 3. He survived, and could've potentially wreaked more havoc on Raccoon City and the S.T.A.R.S. members he was hunting. Fortunately for the good guys — and unfortunately for Nemesis — Umbrella sent a nuclear missile into Raccoon City to cover its tracks. Nemesis was finally killed once and for all in that missile strike.

If you end up playing Resident Evil 3 in the future and you strike down Nemesis at the end, don't be too quick to pat yourself on the back. It wasn't you.


Nemesis is considered one of the best video game bosses ever created

You could spend days listing out all of the awesome bosses that have appeared in video games over the years. Ganon from The Legend of Zelda obviously makes the cut, right? You have to include Sephiroth from Final Fantasy 7. There is no Super Mario Bros. without Bowser. And as you can do over and over again, you can look to Resident Evil 2, which provides a pretty formidable foe in Mr. X.


It's almost required, however, that you add Nemesis to that list of classic bad guys. A number of video game critics have attempted to name the best bosses in games over the past few decades. Several have landed on Nemesis as one you simply cannot ignore.

"There are plenty of bosses worth mentioning from the Resident Evil series (especially from Resident Evil 4)," wrote 1UP, "but the one that to this day most people point to as the biggest badass of the bunch is Nemesis from Resident Evil 3."

"Anyone who played this game must still have post-traumatic stress disorder from this guy," added PC World. "His constant pursuit made RE3 memorable even among the other, superior installments in the series."


Nemesis may give you nightmares but you have to admit: he's a pretty incredible boss.

A Nemesis teaser was patched into the Resident Evil 2 demo

Did Capcom drop the ball on this one, or was it brilliant marketing despite the late arrival? That's the debate you'll likely have with yourself over the teaser that the company patched into the Resident Evil 2 Remake demo. In case you missed it, the patch in question added a stirring sound byte from Nemesis, whose "S.T.A.R.S." line frightened many a player in Resident Evil 3.


The line was seemingly added after Capcom revealed it was working on Resident Evil 3 Remake, presumably to tease the impending arrival of Nemesis in Raccoon City. But it's hard not to think about a world where this teaser was patched in before Capcom had announced the remake of the third Resident Evil. Can you imagine the reactions?

Twitter would've exploded with people sharing clips of the audio in question. Reddit would've turned itself upside down as players tried to figure out if the sound file was new or was added later on. The community would've speculated endlessly about whether  the addition meant Resident Evil 3 was being remade. And then, boom — Capcom could've made it official and gotten a lot more mileage out of the entire tease.


That's not what happened, of course. And that's not to take away from the teaser — it was still pretty cool. But wow, this whole thing could've unfolded in a much better way.

Nemesis returns to Raccoon City in Resident Evil 3 Remake

Why all the hubbub about Nemesis now? Why does the world seem so fixated on a video game character who first appeared over two decades ago? There's an easy answer for that — Nemesis is stalking the streets of Raccoon City once more. Resident Evil 3 Remake launched on April 3, 2020, providing a more modern way to experience the sheer horror that is Nemesis all over again.


What do you need to know about the new RE3? To start, it uses the same RE Engine that helped bring Resident Evil 2 into the current generation. It largely follows the same story as the original, though Capcom has provided a few new twists. Nemesis is a whole lot smarter and a whole lot deadlier, which should scare the living daylights out of anyone who might play the game. And Resident Evil 3 Remake has a multiplayer title called Resident Evil: Resistance built right in — just in case you're looking to have fun with a few friends.

Will Resident Evil 3 Remake be just as popular as Resident Evil 2 Remake? Will Nemesis memes become the new thing the world can't get enough of? You'll have to wait and see what happens as more players get their hands on the game.