So we’re well into the naughties and the Resident Evil treadmill keeps on turning like a zombie which just won’t die, this time in the form of Umbrella Chronicles – a lightgun game using the point and shoot capabilities of the Wii remote with no sign of Rhianna anywhere.
Rather than play through a complete story, you play through a number of scenarios you’ll recognise if you’ve ever played the first game, Resident Evil 0 or Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. This one’s mostly viewed through your own eyes as the camera swings about to set suspense and cue the next wave of attacks, occasionally breaking into 3rd person to progress the plot and show off set-pieces.
Being a lightgun game this one’s easy to get to grips with but also has some nice additions you won’t see in an arcade game. You use the B button to shoot, the A and B buttons together to throw a grenade and if you hold A down and swing your remote you slash with a knife to remove anything that may be stuck to your face or smash something close-by. You can use the nunchuck to look about a bit beyond where you’re being shown to look and you can hold them in the standard way or use the zapper to make it feel like you’re holding a gun. I couldn’t get hold with one so got a good alternative from Joytech called the Sharp Shooter which you can also pick up for about a tenner in GameStation if you’ve got one nearby.
This is standard Resident Evil fare, being that there are too many zombies and not enough ammo. Pistol ammo is unlimited but becomes increasingly ineffective, but shotgun, RPG and machine gun ammo is easy to run out of leaving you with what may as well be a spud gun to bounce off the baddies’ heads.
Luckily, each bad guy has a small critical target area – hit that and they die with one shot, so sometimes it’s worth being less trigger happy and taking aim for those one hit kills. There’s also a treasure hunt aspect to the game as you can shoot lights and other areas of the screen to reveal health, information and weapons and upgrades.
The game can be played single or two-player and is a lot of fun while it lasts. It’ll take you about 4 hours to play through it once and sometimes the atmosphere isn’t as tense as it could be. I was busy fending off mutated gibbons and for some reason was having some lovely dialogue as calm as you like. Maybe these videogame heroes are just used to all this chaos – who knows.
It’s great fun and certainly a new experience, I haven’t played a good light gun game at home since the days of Duck Hunt.
Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles gets a very good 7 out of 10.