81 - Resident Evil 3 (Playstation)

Resident Evil 3 tends to be considered a bit of a water-treading entry in the series, not really adding anything to the main thrust of the plot that runs through the games. I think what people forget is that it's also a superbly structured action adventure that - while offering nothing new or essential in terms of the Resi canon - can stand toe-to-toe with its predecessors when it comes to thrills and overall polish.

The story of Jill Valentine's escape from Raccoon City is more streamlined than the relatively stately first game and first half of the second. Naturally there's the puzzle element and a bit of to-and-fro, but it doesn't hang about much and the pace really does lend a feeling of desperation. It's also something of a chase movie, with the Nemesis mutant stalking Jill throughout. There's a nice little section where the game overlaps a little with Resi 2, which helps add a sense of continuity to the Raccoon City tale.

There are a couple of technical improvements, mainly the 180-degree turn and the fact that you can actually walk up and down stairs freely, and the visuals retain that wonderfully gritty look. Partly out of design and partly out of necessity.

It's also very replayable, both in the main story mode and the truly superb Mercenaries bonus mode - a timed run through a section of the city to rescue survivors. Each successful run unlocks a profile for a character - 9 in all. A frivolous touch but it's very compelling to collect them all. Overall, Resident Evil 3 remains one of my favourite action adventure games. It's a good, solid entry that's just really well-made and entertaining.

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