Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles is an arcade shooter composed of a number of filler stories for Resident Evil Zero, One and Three. In the first scenario, we see Billy Coen an escaped prisoner and Rebecca Chambers of the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team working together, fighting through a train full of zombies unaware of what's going on.
As you would expect, the game works great with the point and shoot Wiimote. And if you really wanted to, you could make use of the Wii Zapper too. The manual states you can connect the nunchuk to look around but, you don't actually see much when using it which is a pity because of the way ammo and other items are picked up during the game.
As you travel along the "rail", you have to be quick to react and pick up whatever items are lying around as they only appear on the screen for a matter of seconds. Sometimes you are just standing there and know an item just out of sight next to you but, the nunchuk doesn't help at all which makes it feel kind of pointless.
Shooting doesn't just involve pointing randomly at enemies and pulling the trigger. Every enemy has a weak spot which allows you to kill them instantly and earn yourself a critical shot for a better rank later. Usually this means shooting the zombies in their forehead or they'll end up being a big sponge for bullets, eating up your ammo in no time.
Besides hitting the B button like a trigger, you will be giving the Wiimote a quick flick to reload weapons or throw grenades. There will be the odd times you have to hold A and waggle the Wiimote to slash off whatever's caught hold of you such as the early leeches that jump on your face and of course, the zombies grabbing hold of you although being a shooter, you're mostly just aiming and shooting.
It's sad to see it's mostly zombies you're shooting and this makes it become a bit tiring. Fortunately the environment is destructible and sometimes you'll find a oil drum you can shoot or, chandeliers to use to your advantage. You are actually encouraged to destroy anything that can be destroyed to find power-ups as well as files that contain detailed information about RE's story which gives the game a bit of variation.
As for boss fights, they're not quite as satisfying to defeat as in an action game where you have to time your dodges too. You're basically looped through the same attack animations until you've found its weakness and kill it.
A co-op mode allows two players to team up but only during the main scenario chapters initially. Although it makes the game easier, there is a fair bit of teamwork involved. For example, you share the same health bar and during action sequences, you must both hit the right buttons or perform the right Wiimote actions in time. The buttons are random each time you try and failing usually means instant death. Fortunately, the game does have checkpoints and allows you continue as many times as you wish.
Players are graded at the end of each chapter depending on the time used number of kills, critical shots and even objects destroyed. Depending on that grade, you get a number of stars which is required for upgrading weapons so there's another reason for replayability. Then there's collecting all the files scattered throughout the levels to find and collect.
The presentation of the game is very good for the Wii with plenty of atmosphere. There are lots of detailed textures, objects and lighting effects. You can make out the pointy polygons that make up all the character and creature models but they look and have a bit of variation such as dogs, birds and giant spiders. This will probably be as realistic as a Wii title can get visually!
Oddly enough as mentioned earlier, the game encourages you to shoot everything, even the lights for points making the game very dark - to the point that you almost just see a blank screen!
There are also certain sections where you are stuck with a flash light too that reminded me much of Doom 3. You don't have to worry about things jumping out at you to give you a scare but these parts can get the tension going. There is a bit of slowdown in the later levels as the number of undead increases on the screen and there is fire burning nearby but, for the most part the game runs smoothly.
The animation too is fluid and there are a number of cutscenes linking the summarised scenarios together, both in-game and pre-rendered. One thing that really sticks out like a sore thumb is when you have to struggle and knock a zombie off you. The exact same animation is used throughout that scenario which means by the end of it, you'll probably know how to mimic the move yourself. There could have been more variation here.
I haven't really played any Resident Evil games at all and just wanted a co-op shooter to play because I really enjoyed playing them in the arcades. Umbrella Chronicles fits into that category offering hours of entertainment and perhaps a reference for RE fans.
Time Played: 12 Hours
- Well paced arcade shooter for the Wii.
- Detailed graphics and good lighting effects.
- Movies can be skipped.
- Co-op play.
- Rankings and weapon upgrades for replayability.
- Collectable items and information for RE fans.
- Gameplay animations could definitely use more variation.
- Destroy everything to the point you can't see in the dark.
- Doesn't let you look around much for missed items.