Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Explained

Resident Evil 3's Nemesis won't stop until you're dead, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get to know him a little better. Plus, we have a few strategies and tips for how to finally take the big guy down.

Resident Evil 3 Nemesis
Photo: Capcom

The Nemesis name may no longer be on the Resident Evil 3 remake’s marquee, but he’s still a major part of the experience. Resident Evil 3’s Nemesis will pursue you throughout your time with the game. Whether he’s trying to crush you with his meaty bio-engineered hands or decimate you with his laser-targeting rocket launcher or flamethrower, the Nemesis will not stop until you’re dead.

Despite the time you’ll spend fighting or running from him, you won’t get to know the Nemesis all that well just from your Resident Evil 3 adventures. While the game’s excellent story does a pretty good job of telling you what Nemesis is, you may walk away from the game with a few unanswered questions.

If you’re struggling with the Nemesis section, you may also wonder how you’re supposed to survive your many encounters with this unstoppable force. Let’s take a look at what the Nemesis is, what he brings to the game, and how you can defeat this overpowered boss.

Who (or What) Is the Nemesis?

In the story of Resident Evil 3, the origins of the Nemesis date back to the 1980s. It was then that Umbrella Pharmaceuticals was tasked with creating a Bio Organic Weapon for the United States Army. Essentially, the European and U.S. branches of the company were tasked with creating mutant soldiers.

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The plan was undone by some logistical challenges. Both branches of Umbrella were initially unable to create B.O.Ws with sufficient intelligence. In the eyes of the military, this made them a liability on the battlefield.

Fortunately (for Umbrella), a breakthrough was made when Umbrella USA was able to manufacture a B.O.W under the Tyrant Project that sported more human-like intelligence. Known as the T-002, this revolutionary creation was cloned in order to create more advanced models known as T-103s. Unfortunately (again, for Umbrella), the T-002 was destroyed by S.T.A.R.S. during the events of the first Resident Evil game.

Interestingly, Umbrella Europe had begun work on a parasite years ago that they hoped would be able to infect a host and create the ideal B.O.W. While they were not able to find a suitable human host, the T-103 clones proved to be strong enough to survive the infection. Some of the creations proved to be somewhat too independent and ego-driven, but Umbrella Europe still felt confident enough to send their creations to Racoon City for field testing.

One of those B.O.Ws that Umbrella sent was instructed to hunt and kill all surviving S.T.A.R.S. members in order to see how it fared against the team that bested its predecessors. That B.O.W. was internally referred to as the Pursuer, but you probably know him better as the Nemesis.

What Separates the Nemesis From Mr. X?

Those of you who played 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake (or, for that matter, any version of the first two Resident Evil games), might think that the idea of a lumbering mutant who chases the player sounds pretty familiar. However, there are a few key things that separate the Nemesis from Mr. X and the earlier Tyrants in the series.

The first is its purpose. The Nemesis is specifically tasked with hunting down S.T.A.R.S members, but he will kill anyone who gets in his way. He even occasionally grunts the word “Stars,” which is evidence of his increased intelligence.

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Meanwhile, Mr. X was tasked with recovering a virus sample and ensuring that there were no survivors in the Raccoon City Police Station. As we noted, the overarching purpose of sending all B.O.W. types into the field was to see how they performed in real-life situations and use that data as the basis for future improvements.

The two are quite different mechanically speaking as well. Mr. X was a lumbering giant who usually patrolled specific sections of the police station. He was terrifying, but he was largely reliant on melee attacks, and there were large sections of the game where you didn’t really have to worry about him at all.

That’s not the case with the Nemesis. While you are sometimes “safe” from him when you’re not playing as S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine, you can rely on the Nemesis to be a thorn in your side throughout the game.

That would be annoying enough if Nemesis was really just Mr. X 2.0, but he’s actually quite a bit more capable than his predecessor. Not only does he have access to a rocket launcher and a flamethrower — which feels like overkill given his hulking frame and bad attitude — but as we said in our look at what makes the remake version of Nemesis so special, this latest incarnation of the infamous creature is deadlier than ever.

The Nemesis in the Resident Evil 3 remake is faster, more agile, and has access to a long-ranged tentacle attack that can pull you towards him or simply stop you in your tracks. Advancements in technology have also made his animations smoother than ever before, while advancements in A.I. mean that the same tricks you may have used to best the 1999 version of the Nemesis won’t necessarily work anymore.


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How Do You Defeat the Nemesis?

The simplest answer to that question is that “You don’t.” At least you don’t for a very long time.

Much like Jason Vorhees, the Nemesis has the ability to keep coming back despite whatever you hit him with. He also morphs into several different forms throughout Resident Evil 3, which means you can’t really rely on the same strategies to defeat him from one encounter to the next.

Thankfully, there is some good general advice you can follow to make things a little easier on yourself:

In his earliest forms (before the first mutation), your best strategy is to run. For the most part, this means running in the opposite direction of where he shows up and using things like corners and walls to your advantage to protect yourself against special attacks.

Things get a little more complicated when the Nemesis breaks out his weapons and other abilities. At that point, you’ll need to start using Resident Evil 3’s dodge ability to move out of the way of his attacks until you’ve found a way to escape the fight.

What about standing your ground and fighting? Well, in the early parts of the game, that is an option, but it’s a tricky one. Until you get the grenade launcher, you really don’t have access to a weapon that can do real damage to Nemesis (unless you’ve chosen easy mode and have access to an assault rifle). That means that you’ll have to rely on your pistol (not good), your shotgun (much better), and the rare explosives and environmental hazards (best of all, at this stage) in order to temporarily defeat the Nemesis.

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Even if you do manage to down the Nemesis, he won’t stay that way for long. But if you do down him, he will drop rare items and upgrades, so you are rewarded for taking him on.

The dynamic is a bit different when you’re forced to battle the Nemesis. You’ll know when you have no option but to fight because these action sequences are basically presented like boss fights within an enclosed space. Most of these boss fights require you to exploit a certain mechanic unique to that fight, such as shooting the Nemesis’ flamethrower or using a new weapon to expose one of his weak points.

Without diving too much into spoiler territory, the best thing to do during those boss fights is to listen to Jill’s dialogue. During combat, she’ll pretty much tell you what you need to do in order to defeat the Nemesis. She’ll also give you more information the more you fail, so don’t get too frustrated if you don’t catch on right away.

Overall, fighting the Nemesis is all about evasion and making sure you have the right tools for each encounter. Failing that, stack up on special items and weapons, throw the game on easy mode, and get some cathartic revenge.