The Zombies Are Getting Restless: Thoughts on Resident Evil 3

There honestly isn’t a lot that I can say about Resident Evil 3: Nemesis that isn’t a rehash of my own thoughts and experiences on the first Resident Evil game. I never got into the franchise when it was new as I’ve never been very interested in zombie fiction or survival horror in general, so I didn’t play any of the Resident Evil games until very recently. I’ve actually owned a copy of RE3 for many years, and–in fact–I really don’t recall how I came across it. I certainly didn’t purchase it myself, so I likely somehow picked it up during some “mergers and acquisitions” in the mid aughts. It was only when I played through the first Resident Evil on the Playstation Classic that I got a taste for what the series is all about: it’s a classic text-based puzzle and resource-management game that just happens to take place in a pre-rendered graphics zombie apocalypse.

Give us a smile, baby!
Nemesis will be played by Robert De Niro

Resident Evil 3 is somewhat less linear and certainly more action-oriented than the original. Of course, I can’t tell for certain if this is a trend or just a difference between the two games as I have not played Resident Evil 2 yet. In RE3, you take control of Jill Valentine (from the first game) in an effort to escape the zombie-infested Raccoon City before it’s liquidated by a nuclear weapon. During the course of your escape, Jill is pursued and ambushed by a gigantic mutant known as Nemesis. There’s not much of an explanation as to who or what Nemesis is, except that he just looks like a rejected costume design from the 1994 Frankenstein movie. Unfortunately, these scenes with Nemesis are probably the most interesting parts of the game as the rest consists of tedious fetch quests, occasional jump scares, and very few actual puzzles. There are some interesting timed decision sequences where the player’s choice determines how the next part of the game plays out, but these are too few and far between to make up for the overwhelming boredom in the meantime.

Unfortunately, the difficulty curve doesn’t fare much better than the rest of the gameplay. The original Resident Evil had what felt like a nicely rising difficulty curve, but Nemesis seems to have an inverted curve where the game gets infinitely easier the closer to the end. The first major challenge in the game is the initial encounter with Nemesis where Jill is equipped with only a pistol and has to duck and dodge to avoid being grabbed (impaled by Nemesis’s tentacle arm?) and immediately killed. This title introduces a new dodge mechanic that has to be practiced to get right, but there are so few encounters before Nemesis that a player has no real opportunity than to learn during the boss fight. It’s lazy and sloppy design on Capcom’s part, causing more game overs than I care to recall. After that, though, the game is smooth sailing–especially after finding the grenade launcher.

He's even got a beret!
Jill Claude Valentine Damme

In a lot of ways, Nemesis reminds me of the 1999 film Universal Soldier: The Return wherein Jean-Claude Van Damme is chased around the suburbs by the cartoonishly superhuman Bill Goldberg in much the same way Nemesis pursues Jill Valentine. Each encounter with Goldberg/Nemesis consists of a brief battle ending with JCVD/Valentine getting the better of their enemy through either superior firepower or–occasionally–a clever trap. Unfortunately for Capcom, I feel like Universal Soldier had the more entertaining sequel. Granted, there are a few novel components to the game–like when Jill gets poisoned and her new friend/ally/potential romantic interest Carlos has to locate an antidote–but the over-reliance on (occasionally branching) fetch quests instead of puzzle mechanics drags this game down to the bin of mediocrity. It’s an important piece of the overall Resident Evil mythology, but unless you’re a big fan of the franchise, I would stick with the original.

How To Install The Homebrew Channel To Nintendo Wii

My wife’s Wii has been languishing on a shelf for the past several years, so I wanted to breathe a little life back into it. Ever since the NES Classic launched a wave of “mini” self-contained consoles, I wanted to extend that kind of convenience to all the consoles in our collection. There’s a much different experience playing a game on something resembling the original hardware than there is using an emulator on a PC, but I wanted to be able to do it without the wear and tear on optical drives or having to worry about damaged discs. So, I decided to install a USB loader on the Wii in order to be able to play those discs from backups stored on a hard drive and keep the originals in their cases for posterity!

Installing The Wii Homebrew Channel using str2hax

There are several different ways to install The Homebrew Channel on the Nintendo Wii, but this guide will be using str2hax since I don’t have an SD card available at the moment. (I’ll fix that soon.)

In the Wii settings menu, click on “Internet”, then “Connection Settings”, then your current connection.

From there, select “Change Settings” and skip forward until you reach the DNS settings (“Auto-Obtain DNS”) menu. Select “No” and then click “Advanced Settings”. Type in 18.188.135.9 as the primary and secondary DNS. Press “OK” and perform the connection test. If the connection was successful, you can click “No” to skip the system update.

Go back to Internet settings, then click “User Agreements”, then “Yes”. The system will appear to freeze for a couple of minutes. This is normal. In about 1.5-2 minutes, you will get a screen featuring a pixelated Rainbow Dash taking a nap. Welcome to the HackMii installer. Click “I ACCEPT” and wait for the installer to download.

After another few minutes, you will get a warning screen declaring that the software you are using is to be distributed free of charge and is not allowed to be exchanged for money. Thirty seconds later, “Press 1 to continue” will flash on the screen. Press 1 to continue.

On the Hackmii installer main menu, highlight “Install the Homebrew Channel” using the D pad, and press A to select. Select “Continue” once the installation is finished. At this point, I would install BootMii, but my SD card was having problems. I opted to skip this step and revisit it later once I knew my SD card worked, so for now, select “Exit”. (BootMii can be installed by launching the Hackmii Installer from The Homebrew Channel.)

Install Priiloader for brick protection

Since BootMii didn’t want to install yet, I opted to install Priiloader to have a level of brick protection. This application is a custom bootloader that allows you to select how you want the Wii to boot (either to stock system menu or to any number of bootable apps you can install). It also allows you to run recovery discs in case of a bricked system, so it’s pretty invaluable when embarking on this hackery nonsense. The trick to using any old SD card is making sure that you do a full (overwrite) format as FAT32. Once that’s formatted, you can download the Priiloader installer from GitHub, unzip the archive, and drop the “apps” folder into the root of your SD card.

A note about the Wii SD card

Homebrew apps on the Wii SD card live in a folder called “apps” in the root directory. Inside the “apps” folder, each app will have its own folder, and each app folder will contain a “boot.dol” or “boot.elf” file, an “icon.png” file, and a “meta.xml” file. If you’re having trouble with any Homebrew apps, check to make sure all these conditions are met.

Install Priiloader through The Homebrew Channel

Insert the SD card into the slot on the front of the Wii and launch The Homebrew Channel from the system menu. Click the Priiloader Installer and follow the directions on the screen. Once you return to The Homebrew Channel, power off the Wii.

Configure Priiloader

To boot into Priiloader, hold the RESET button while powering on the Wii. Once Priiloader loads, you can release RESET. For the initial configuration, highlight “System Menu Hacks” with the D-pad and select with A. For the initial configuration, enable “Region Free EVERYTHING”, “Block Disc Updates”, “Block Online Updates”, “Auto-Press A at Health Screen”, and “Replace Health Screen with Backmenu”. Save your settings, the press B to return to the main menu. Highlight “System Menu” to boot to the Wii home screen.

How To Install USB Loader GX on Wii

Now that we have The Homebrew Channel available to us, we can install a few niceties that can breathe a little life back into the unsupported mid-aughts console. First among these, we’ll need the ability to run custom firmware for the Wii (referred to as IOS). To do this, we’ll need the dx2 cIOS Installer. Download the application, unzip the archive, and place it in the apps folder of the SD card. Once the SD card is in the Wii, you can run the installer from The Homebrew Channel.

Install custom firmware on the Wii

Once the application loads, press A to continue, then match the settings as seen below:

Select cIOS: v10 beta52 d2x-v10-beta52

Select cIOS base: 57

Select cIOS slot: 249

Select cIOS version: 65535

Press A twice to install, then press A again to install the next cIOS:

Select cIOS: v10 beta52 d2x-v10-beta52

Select cIOS base: 56

Select cIOS slot: 250

Select cIOS version: 65535

Again, press A twice to install, then press A again to install the final cIOS needed:

Select cIOS: v10 beta52 d2x-v10-beta52

Select cIOS base: 38

Select cIOS slot: 251

Select cIOS version: 65535

Press A twice to install, then B to exit once completed.

Install USB Loader GX through Homebrew Browser

Download Homebrew Browser and place on the SD card like with the previous apps. Back on the Wii, launch The Homebrew Channel and select Homebrew Browser. At the very least, you’ll want to install USB Loader GX, Wii Mod Lite, and Nintendont. USB Loader GX is a full-fledged system menu replacement for Wii (and can be launched at boot through Priiloader) that will launch backup titles from a USB hard drive as well as install games to the hard drive. Wii Mod Lite will let you install custom channels to the system menu. Nintendont works inside USB Loader GX to handle launching GameCube games. Both apps are listed under the “Utilities” heading and should be at the very top (sort by popularity). Once the apps are installed, you can exit the Homebrew Browser.

A few notes about using USB Loader GX

USB Loader GX can be launched from the Homebrew Channel or through Priiloader. To launch from Priiloader, you’ll have to point the “Installed File” setting to the application and set the auto boot to “Installed File”.

The loader takes a few seconds longer than the stock Wii system menu to load because it’s checking for a USB hard drive. Also: make sure to use a USB hard drive. Flash drives tend to not work with USB Loader GX.

If a game does not load from the hard drive, try using a different cIOS. Select the problematic game, then click “Settings”. Click “Game Load”, then “Game IOS”. Enter the IOS you wish to try (249, 250, or 251), then click “OK”. Return to the banner screen and attempt to load the game. If the game doesn’t load, rinse and repeat. GBATemp has a pretty extensive compatibility list available here.

Installing USB Loader GX as a channel

If you prefer to keep the stock system menu on the Wii, you can still easily load USB Loader GX as a channel (saving you the step of having to go through The Homebrew Channel to launch). To do this, you’ll need to install the forwarder WAD. Download the WAD from the website and drop it in a folder called “wads” on your SD card. From The Homebrew Channel, launch Wii Mod Lite. Use the D-pad to select “WAD Manager”, then navigate to the wads folder on the SD card. Highlight the WAD file that you want to install and press A twice to install. Once installed, use the HOME button to return to the system menu. USB Loader GX will now appear as a channel!

Restoring Wii Online Services With RiiConnect24 and Wiimmfi

There is something kinda fun about those early internet apps that landed on the Wii. They’re definitely not worth anything more than historical curiosity at this point, but I think they’re still worth having around for play with. Then again, I like to use a 40-year-old luggable to play games on because it’s interesting, so maybe I’m not the best judge of this.

Restore online services with RiiConnect24

First, hit up the RiiConnect24 GitHub and download the latest version of the WAD patcher. It’s a pretty straightforward endeavor from there to just run the batch or sh file (depending on your OS flavor preference). Just follow the directions and be patient.

Once the patcher has done its job, return your SD card to the Wii and launch Wii Mod Lite from the Homebrew Channel. Like we did with the USB Loader GX channel WAD, select the files you want to install, then press A twice to install the batch. One thing to note: there may be an update to one of the service channels listed in the batch with the base channel WAD. Do NOT attempt to install the update WAD with the batch as it will likely fail. Exclude the update, install the batch, then install the update WAD. If you forget, you’ll need to uninstall both the update and the base WAD, then install one at a time.

Patching Wii Mail

From the Homebrew Channel, launch the RiiConnect24 Mail Patcher. Follow the instructions on screen, then press HOME when it’s finished. You’ve got mail!

Connecting to the new servers

Just like we did for str2hax, we’ll need to change the Wii’s DNS servers. Go to Wii Settings, Internet, and Connection Settings, then scroll to the “Auto-Obtain DNS” page. Select “No” then “Advanced Options” and enter 164.132.44.106 as the primary DNS and 1.1.1.1 as the secondary DNS.

Click “Confirm” and “Save” then “OK” to perform the connection test. Of course, don’t update the Wii.

Return to the Settings menu, and select “WiiConnect24” to make sure that “WiiConnect24” and “Standby Connection” are both enabled.

Finally, return to the “Internet” section and read/agree to the User Agreement.

Enable Wiimmfi for online play

Since Nintendo shuttered the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, officially-sanctioned online play has been dead. However, thanks to dedicated fans of the system, robust online play still exists on Wiimmfi’s private servers. You’ll need to enable these in a few different places:

For disc-based games, you’ll need the Priiloader patch. Launch Priiloader by holding RESET and powering on the Wii. Select “System Menu Hacks” and enable “Wiimmfi Patch v4”. Save settings and exit.

For games loaded from hard drive, USB Loader GX has support for Wiimmfi built in. The global loader options will have a selection for “Private Server” that can be set to Wiimmfi. Save those settings and USB Loader GX will patch each game when it runs!

For WiiWare titles, you can use the RiiConnect24 WAD patcher as described above, then reinstall the patched WAD with Wii Mod Lite.