The main focus and primary villain of Resident Evil 3, the bioengineered Tyrant Nemesis will pursue Jill throughout the whole game, attacking with a variety of weapons. In this guide we'll explain how to escape and defeat Nemesis, both in levels and in all his boss fights.
Warning: this page contains spoilers for the plot of Resident Evil 3. We've laid it out all the details as they occur chronologically to minimize the chance of anything being spoiled, but nonetheless, read on at your own risk!
On this page:
- How to Beat Nemesis in Resident Evil 3
- Beating Nemesis at Jill's Apartment
- How to Beat Nemesis in the Downtown and Subway Area
- How to Beat the Hunter Alphas
- How to Lure Nemesis Away from the Subway
- Flamethrower Nemesis First Boss Fight
- How to Beat Rocket Launcher Nemesis
- Animal Nemesis Second Boss Fight
- Umbrella Lab Nemesis Third Boss Fight
- How to Kill Giant Nemesis in the Final Boss Fight
How to Beat Nemesis in Resident Evil 3
It's important to remember that Nemesis' abilities, weaknesses and strengths will change over the course of the game as both you and him are altered by experiences and equipment. Consequently your approach should adapt according to different points in the game, but don't worry - we'll explain how to defeat Nemesis by going through all sections with him one-by-one, starting with the game's introduction.
Beating Nemesis at Jill's Apartment
The first enemy you encounter in the game, Nemesis introduces himself by crashing into Jill's apartment and attempting to brutally murder her. This is more of a scripted escape than a fight or open gameplay, but it does tell us that Nemesis can't be killed by standard weapons, as Jill fires multiple bullets into his head without even fazing him. We'll explain more on that later, but for now you'll be back in control when Jill makes it out into the hallway. From there, follow these instructions:
- Run down the hallway with R3 to the end, where a quick cinematic will take you into the apartment on the right.
- Go through the window onto the fire escape.
- Head down the stairs and go through the room being redecorated. Nemesis will ambush you again, this time using a weird tentacle.
- Run down the burning corridor to the exit, appearing on another fire escape.
- Go down as far as you can. Nemesis will ambush yet again, throwing you into a burning room and then knocking you both through the floor.
- When he grabs a slab of concrete and charges at you, run in the opposite direction, using R3 and skipping around the fire.
- If you make it to the end of the hall, debris will fall and block the exit behind you, stopping Nemesis from pursuing.
You'll encounter Nemesis again on top of the Parking Garage, but don't worry - this is simply a quicktime event. Press the button prompts as they come up and you'll make it through safely.
How to Beat Nemesis in the Downtown and Subway Area
Later Nemesis will reappear in the Downtown area, hunting Jill and acting as more of a standard enemy than his appearance in the apartment or the parking garage. He roams about the map, pursuing Jill when he spots her and altering other zombies at times into more powerful Hunter Alpha zombies. Here's some basic advice on dealing with Nemesis:
- Nemesis cannot be killed! However, he can be temporarily downed by doing enough damage to him in rapid succession, such as several shotgun blasts to the head. This'll buy you about thirty seconds to make an escape before he gets back up.
- Nemesis cannot follow you into safe rooms, or certain areas such as the Toy Store. However, sometimes he will wait outside, depending on the area.
- Nemesis will move at a slightly slower pace than you while pursuing you on the street. However, he can do a dash-teleport move that'll usually put him right in front of you, often following it up with a swing. If he dashes close to you, it'll sometimes stagger Jill - it's best to dodge the moment this ends to make sure neither Nemesis or a zombie is about to hit you.
- Sometimes the game will simply spawn Nemesis ahead of you, dropping him out of the sky. It's cheap and annoying, but there's no way to stop this from happening. There's usually set places it'll happen, often at thresholds between one area and another.
- Nemesis' standard moves are big, heavy swings and punches that aim high and will often knock you flat. You can dodge under them if your timing is right, and it's best to wait until the very last second to do this.
- Nemesis also has a shout attack that blasts air in front of him and staggers you. It doesn't really hurt, but you're unable to move or act while inside it, leaving you vulnerable to follow-up moves and attacks from other zombies. Like the dash stagger, get ready to dodge the moment it's over.
- Finally, Nemesis can use his big tentacle arm to grab you by the legs and knock you onto your back while pulling you towards him. It's hard to dodge, but requires a direct line of sight and doesn't do damage. He'll follow it up with a punch if you don't get up quickly. The moment he lets go, dodge to the right to get up in the safest spot.
- It's possible to use Nemesis to get an attachment for your pistol. We've explained how in this guide here.
Nemesis will appear and reappear multiple times over the course of Downtown, and will also reoccur at other points of the game with some new abilities - including making tentacle zombies known as Hunter Alphas.
How to Beat the Hunter Alphas
You'll see pretty clearly when the Alphas appear, getting their own cinematic wherein you see Nemesis grab a regular zombie and attach some facehugger-like lifeform to its head. Tentacle zombies will appear from that point on, using the tendrils on the back of their heads to lash at you.
Beating them isn't easy - they'll stagger towards you, their heads encased in some insectile arms that protect them from damage, but with a great big glowing weak point inside. You can force the protective arms open with a powerful attack like a shotgun blast, or target their bodies to make them fall, whereupon the head will open up, perhaps to see what the hell is going on out there. Alternatively, a grenade or fire weapon can hurt them in any state.
How to Lure Nemesis Away from the Subway
The next encounter is a chase wherein you have to pull Nemesis' attention from the subway train full of survivors. Luring Nemesis away isn't really the challenge here - the big, lipless lunkhead is going to chase you no matter what. The challenge is escaping before he can tear your head off, which is difficult in the confined corridors of the subway. It's more of a puzzle than a combat encounter, one that requires you to find an exit that you can use, but he can't. To do so,
- Once the chase begins, immediately head down the corridor. Don't bother trying to deal with Nemesis directly just yet, you'll only waste ammo. Just run.
- The corridor is blocked halfway down by a shelf with a First Aid Spray on it. Grab that and take a sharp right, going up some stairs into a maintenance/janitorial room.
- Once inside, make your way through the winding path between shelves and equipment.
- At the end it forms into a small loop that circles around some more shelving, with a vent in the wall nearby.
- You can interact with the vent to break it, but don't yet. It'll take too long and Nemesis will attack and interrupt you.
- Instead, grab the pistol ammo in the center, and circle around, goading Nemesis into chasing you until he's positioned by the red barrels.
- Shoot the barrels. The explosion should down Nemesis temporarily, overloading him with damage.
- If you didn't down him successfully this way, use your shotgun or any grenades to do so.
- While he's down, repeatedly interact with the vent to destroy it. Once destroyed, Jill will jump through, ending up in the Sewer areas and leaving Nemesis behind.
Flamethrower Nemesis First Boss Fight
The next encounter with Nemesis is a chase that turns into a boss fight, beginning when Jill leaves the Sewers and flees through a construction site. This time Nemesis has a great big flamethrower on his left arm with which he shoots jets of fire. Flee in the opposite direction, avoiding the zombies. It's a winding but singular path inside. Follow it, moving up the building and staying out Nemesis' range. There'll be a safe room near the top, with a typewriter save point and a storage chest. Grab everything you'll need for combat and head up the ladder when you're ready to deal with Nemesis.
The boss fight itself is a two-phase arena match, one in which you deal with Flamethrower Nemesis, and one in which you battle him after losing that flamethrower. We'll cover them both, as well as other tips, in a list of tips below.
- When you start the fight, you'll need to destroy the tank on Nemesis' back that fuels the flamethrower. This isn't too hard, as Nemesis moves slowly around the battlefield and the tank sticks up over his shoulders.
- In this first phase, Nemesis will shoot streams of fire in sweeping motions. They don't have a great range, but getting caught in them is pretty damaging, as they stagger Jill. The fire also spreads to certain nearby objects, meaning that touching them can do additional damage.
- Nemesis will also shoot into the air, causing a rain of fire in an area in front of him. If you see this happen, strafe around him as quickly as possible, keeping at a distance. This is less damaging, but harder to avoid.
- The arena has ammo and healing items spread around it, both on the objects in the middle of the area and around the edges. There's also a generator you can shoot to temporarily paralyze Nemesis if he's close to it.
- Once the tank is destroyed, Nemesis will start moving faster and switch to a melee focus, trying to hit Jill with the wreckage of his weapon. This begins Phase 2.
- Now you need to learn to dodge. Nemesis will swing at you often, and also do a hard-to-dodge charge move in which he tries to impale you on the wreckage. Nemesis struggles to do sharp turns in this charge, so roll directly to the side or even onto his right to have the best chance at evading it.
- To beat Phase 2, simply pour enough damage into Nemesis that he gives up and shuts down. Shotgun blasts to the head, grenade launcher attacks, or the assault rifle if you're playing on Assisted Mode. You'll have to play defensively - he's fast and you'll spend a lot of time trying to escape his reach - but eventually Nemesis will keel over. At this point the boss fight is over and you'll get the Achievement/Trophy "Nemesis Down?"
How to Beat Rocket Launcher Nemesis
No, of course he's not dead. Nemesis returns after the encounter in the gun store, this time wielding a rocket launcher with a laser sight. Just run away from him, taking the obvious alleyway exit. The laser will track you, and when it turns from orange to red, duck to the side - it means Nemesis has fired and the rocket will hit anything in the way. Just keep running and don't bother to fight; Carlos will appear with a solution eventually.
Animal Nemesis Second Boss Fight
You'll properly battle Nemesis for the second time on a large bridge and open square next to the Raccoon City Clock Tower, where he reappears in a more feral, animalistic form, larger and on all fours with long talons. He doesn't have any ranged attacks now, but his speed and damage more than make up for it. Here's what you'll need to know to defeat him.
- Once in the open square, Nemesis will make charging or pouncing attacks in an attempt to knock Jill over and maul her. He has a large reach and his swipes cover a lot of space. If it's a standard swing, dodge backwards. If it's an overhead swing or he tries to jump on you, roll to the side.
- Keep the dimensions of the square in mind so your back isn't suddenly against a wall.
- If Nemesis hits you, he can do up to 50% of your health in a single strike, depending on the attack. If you have to decide between doing damage and dodging, choose to dodge. You need to stay defensive here.
- There's ammo and items all around the edge of the plaza - grab them if you need them.
- Flame grenades are an excellent option against Nemesis, briefly incapacitating him as he writhes about on the floor. You can use this to grab more supplies or do a couple of extra shots of damage.
- After taking enough damage, Nemesis will briefly retreat, bouncing about on cars as he runs in a circle. This will open some of them up and reveal new items - including a lot of Mines for your grenade launcher.
- From this point on, Nemesis will have moments where he runs on the walls of the buildings around you, too far away and too fast to be easily shot. When this happens, stick a mine in his path and watch him run into it. The blast will knock him to the floor and you can shoot him multiple times while he recovers.
Eventually the damage will overwhelm Nemesis and he'll collapse again. Make sure to loot the area before moving on - you won't get another chance.
Umbrella Lab Nemesis Third Boss Fight
Nemesis returns again, still in his animalistic form, in the hidden underground Umbrella Laboratory, ambushing Jill after she creates the vaccine. Though similar-looking to last time, Nemesis is more powerful with a few extra moves, largely focused around his big tentacle arm. Here's how to beat him:
- Nemesis is back to a melee-focus, attacking usually in pounces and leaps that are best dodged by strafing around him to the side. If you dodge backwards, he's more likely to catch you.
- When Nemesis winds back his tentacle, he's preparing to shoot it forward in a long line. You won't be far enough away to keep out of its path, so dodge to the side again.
- Keep shooting him! Flame Grenades are good weapons here, able to do high damage and briefly incapacitate him along with it.
- While headshots are good, they're not essential, especially considering how tiny Nemesis' head is. Better to keep putting in lots of normal damage than waste time trying to line up the perfect shot and risk becoming a Jill sandwich.
- After a while Nemesis will roar, causing electrical shortages on the tanks around the arena. Zombies will start to appear, but so will Carlos, acting as a source of advice and strategy. He'll often warn you if you're about to be attacked, so listen closely to him.
- Now Nemesis will get a new and very dangerous attack: if he stands on his back legs and raises his tentacle as though to smash the ground, back away as far as possible! He'll start with a sweeping attack that's hard to dodge, then follow up with a frenzy of swings, sweeps and ground-pounds that'll do high damage to pretty much anything within fifty feet. Don't get caught up in this horrible combo, or it could kill you, regardless of health.
- Nemesis will also start running around and climbing on the big tanks. If he stops on one, use the Grenade Launcher to blast him off. The impact will do high damage and stun him when he hits the ground, opening him up for more attacks.
Eventually the damage will overwhelm him again, giving Carlos the chance to lift Jill out with a crane while dumping acid on Nemesis in an attempt to melt him. And sure, fire, explosions, bullets, being crushed and drowning haven't killed Nemesis yet, but I'm sure acid can do it, right? After all, you got an Achievement/Trophy called "Nemesis Down?!". I'm sure we can relax.
How to Kill Giant Nemesis in the Final Boss Fight
Well, what'd ya know?! Nemesis comes back yet again in his most inhuman form: a giant tangled mess of meat with his head bobbing about on the front. Don't worry - this is the final boss fight, and the one that closes the whole game. Follow our steps below, and you'll be able to escape from Raccoon City before long.
- You can't kill Nemesis with conventional weapons now. Instead, head in the opposite direction from him to the silver terminal directly opposite it.
- Interact with the terminal, and it'll open and reveal the FINGER Railgun. Jill will take it out and fire it at Nemesis, doing huge damage. However, this blows out the power system, marked by the blue cylindrical power cells built into the left and right walls. Any cells marked red need to be physically pushed back into the wall to recharge the Railgun.
- Nemesis won't let you push the cells, of course. His attacks require very last-minute dodges to evade safely, and usually have a range that you'll need to dodge from side-to-side.
- In order to stop Nemesis attacking you, you need to destroy the pink, throbbing pustules that grow over his body. Destroy all of them and Nemesis will be overcome with pain, temporarily incapacitating him.
- This is your opportunity to push in the power cells. If you're quick enough you can replace two of the three red cells before Nemesis regains himself and begins attacking again.
- Once all three cells are replaced, head back to the FINGER and open fire. Nemesis will reel, allowing Jill to perform a follow-up shot into the Tyrant's mouth and blow it to pieces, ending it for good.
Don't worry, that time you really got him, along with the Achievement/Trophy "Nemesis Down!!!" to boot. Aside from one quick interactive bit, you've essentially beaten the game. Congratulations!
As you might've guessed from the essay above, we've got a lot of Resident Evil content here at USgamer. Why not take a look at Caty's review of Resident Evil 3, or see Mat's story on what modders were doing to Nemesis before the game was even out.