“These soldiers have lost their edge. They have forgotten what fear and survival mean. It’s time for them to remember…”
Resident Evil 3’s remake ended up being greeted by a mixed reception, straying too far from what made the original such a unique entry, even if it did have some of that original charm.
My feelings were very much in that camp when I reviewed the game last year. I explained why Nemesis was handled poorly and served the story more than the gameplay.
It did have a multiplayer component to offer something different at least. Unfortunately, while the asymmetric experience Resident Evil: Resistance looked good on paper, like so many online attempts in Capcom’s franchise, it ended up falling flat rather quickly. Whilst originally writing the review of RE3 Remake and subsequently playing Resistance, it made me want to revisit the original’s bonus mode The Mercenaries, and that, in turn, made me want to write about it.
I’ve written before how I regard the original incarnation of Resident Evil 3 as a fantastic game, one which still holds up today. Its locations, multiple-choices when facing Nemesis, and of course…that first series appearance of The Mercenaries Mode.
Long after I’d moved on to PlayStation 2, I made sure to have a PS1 Memory Card slotted into the second-player port, just so I could load up RE3 and The Mercenaries. It was a special bonus game where you choose from three characters, and you had to get from the tram area, to the warehouse where you began the main game as Jill, shooting through multiple enemies to gain time and money, while racking up combos while rescuing hostages. It all added up to the money and valuable seconds you would earn, and once you reached the end, you were able to purchase a few items.
From Infinite Ammo to the fabled Rocket Launcher, it made you keep replaying it to build up your cash, so you could eventually own it all. Yet even when I did, I still kept coming back, as it was simply too much fun not to.
Once you completed the original game of Resident Evil 3, you were able to access The Mercenaries mode from the main screen. Right away it felt like a departure, as if you’re now in an arcade game, scrolling through the characters to choose from as if you’re about to play Time Crisis.
Here’s who you can choose from at this point, each with their respective items:
- Mikhail Victor
- Rocket Launcher
- 18 Magnum Bullets
- 21 Shotgun Shells
- Mixed Herb
- Carlos Oliveira
- Assault Rifle
- Eagle 6.0
- 90 Bullets
- 3 Mixed Herbs
- Nikolai Zinoviev
- Combat Knife
- 3 First Aid Sprays
- Blue Herb
I would usually go for Mikhail, mainly because of the satisfaction of the Shotgun and the headshots you could do. But it didn’t matter which character you picked; the difficulty was the same across all three characters, and it simply came down to your skill with the tools available to you. Everything you had learned from your playthroughs as Jill came down to this. Time to earn some money.
A timer would kick in, and from the start, you felt under pressure. Pushed into taking gambles by running past a few enemies to save time and bullets, or to just shoot at some to gain some time and a bit of extra cash. Enemies had a varied value as to how much time you could gain, and how much money it would add to the pot at the end.
A zombie dog would add 4 seconds and six dollars, while a Hunter would earn you 6 seconds and ten dollars. All the enemies would be in locations different to the main game. So when I decided to go to a certain part where the ‘Drain Demios’ would usually be located, I was greeted with the giant spiders.
I had forgotten about this and as I was playing this close-up on a 50” HD TV, it was a shock, to say the least.
Of course, Nemesis appears whenever he likes, which also adds to the intensity of this mode. If you’re lucky/brave enough to defeat him, that’s worth between 10 and 20 seconds, and a massive forty dollars (If you want to find out more about the enemies and their worth, this fantastic wiki gives all the info, including where the hostages can be located).
Hostages were another aspect I had forgotten. There are six in each playthrough. If you rescue them, you gain more time and money, and maybe even an item from them. They’re not required to complete the mode, so you can leave them to fend for themselves, but it’s yet another great addition to a mode that was simply a bonus to the main game.
I loved this mode, and still do. It’s the ultimate example of great bonus content to me. Long after I finished the original playthrough as Jill, Mercenaries kept me going back for more to see what else the mode offered. This was when there was no internet in the house for me, only my trusted magazines of ‘Official PlayStation Magazine’, ‘PowerStation’ and ‘GamesMaster’, each to help guide me through with each character when it really did count.
When the reimagining was announced with RE: Resistance in tow, it was obvious to me that Mercenaries wasn’t coming along for the ride, yet still, I was disappointed that it wasn’t hidden away in there when I played through it for the review.
Capcom seems to have moved on from RE 3 Remake. Resistance is seemingly dead, and its multiplayer successor Re:Verse doesn’t inspire much confidence. So I hope that Capcom tries to bring back this mode again in some way at some point (it has made appearances in several other Resi games since), as it’s another important part of the series history that made it so beloved. It was ridiculous at times, but it was simple arcade-style fun. Story was put aside and the main objective was to get to point A to point T, making sure the combos were racked up, so when you either died or made it to the end, the suitcase of gold coins were ready to be spent on a Rocket Launcher.
Hopefully, Mercenaries returns in some way in the coming years (there’s always that Resident Evil 4 remake), but for now, you may have to head back to the likes of Resident Evil 3, 4, and Revelations 2, and see just how great it can be.