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Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles Review

windy By:
GENRE Action 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Leeches of the world, unite!

Sure, I dream of a post-apocalyptic world as much as the next girl. You know, the kind of place where you can really show your mettle, resolve disputes with only your wits and a gun, and barter for goods by trading on the few useful things learned back when the world was civilized. I feel as if I could carve a nice little niche for myself sewing garments from iguana skins or creating irrigation systems for the few remaining places where plants will grow. I dream of a place where I can finally smash a man's nose with my palm without a grain of remorse. I want to see if my blow will really reach his brain stem. I want to see how that feels.

click to enlargeBut, if my almost paralyzing indecision over which of two pair of new kicks to buy at the shoe store is any judge, I probably wouldn't make it past the initial apocalyptic event. And then, if I had to run for my life at top speed for more than 200 yards in said new impractical kicks, well, forget about it. No, I'll probably go down with the bulk of the population, my last gasping words to my loved ones, “I can't run anymore, I'll hold them back as long as I can, go on without me”.

No, it won’t be fear that gets me. It'll be indecision, low stamina, and heels. I just find it hard to have fun when I have to run a lot, even in a game. When I have to face enemies and decide the path I have to take through the labyrinth, I might just turn the thing off and do some sudoku instead. It's just the way I am. That's why Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is so great. It has all the elements I enjoy without the unwelcome hassle of choice. Or running.

RE:TUC is a first person shooter, but the character you play is on rails. It's like House of the Dead, or a dark, twisted, extended version of the shooting games in Rayman Raving Rabbids. So it's fun and intense, without the bother of having to learn any controls or figure out which dark hallway to turn down. You just have to shoot. Kill or be killed. What could be better?

Actually, it's not quite that simple. There are items that must be picked up along the way. You can find weapon upgrades, health extenders, and background information that rounds out the R.E. story. You'll have to be quick about picking this stuff up too. Missing a submachine gun could mean the end of your run.

click to enlargeYou also have to be accurate. There is nothing more satisfying than nullifying an attacker with a single shot. Many foes can be killed in this way, but others require a more powerful weapon like a shotgun or grenade launcher. The gun sights will flash when you hone in on the attacker's weak spot so you know where a shot will do the most damage. You also have the option to use the new Wii Zapper, which adds some realism to the gameplay.

Sometimes things will attack and you'll be asked to pull off a defensive move. These can be tricky and you'll swear you've done them right but you get hit anyway. The boss monsters take a long time to kill, as they should, but it gets a little maddening at times. At least the bosses are varied and unique. You won't encounter many repeats here.

Destroying other objects not relevant to the gameplay will boost your score and may uncover hidden weapons or other goodies. General mayhem is rewarded in this way. It may mean you'll have to hunt in the dark as you proceed to shoot out all the light bulbs in sight - turn down the lights and turn up the intensity. In truth, the game is a little too dark in places. You can't see your attacker but you know he's there.

The story in Umbrella Chronicles will take you through several scenarios that touch upon previous titles in the Resident Evil series where you'll encounter all manner of zombies and monsters. Although you don't have to have any knowledge of the previous games, it's nice to see a familiar face every once in a while, even if it is the face of that giant snake from RE1.

click to enlargeOh, and the leeches. Leeches are everywhere. These nasty little critters will jump on you and suck your blood. You have to slash at them, using the wiimote like a knife. Not only is this game fun to play, but folks watching you will laugh as you try to dislodge the fiendish leeches in a frenzied panic. If you don't kill them individually, the horrible pests will combine to make another monster!

There is not much difference between single and two player modes. It's good sometimes to have someone along with you, to laugh as you shoot something that's already dead, just to watch it twitch.

Umbrella Chronicles is a good game to have in your Wii collection. It is easily playable by the most casual among us, but there are elements that will keep the seasoned gamer interested. I almost hate to say it but it's the perfect girlfriend game. You can worry about cross training later but she's got to learn how to shoot at some point. And you're going to need buttons sewn on stuff. You'll want her by your side when the end comes.
B Revolution report card
  • Classic shooter on rails
  • Great variety of foes
  • High intensity level
  • Iffy defensive moves
  • Dark and smudgy
  • Girl friendly

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