While we await the sprawling zombie-blasting antics of Capcomís Resident Evil 5
to release on PS3 and 360 later next year, we have a little taster for us this Christmas in the shape of the on-rails, arcade style shooter that is Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
on Wii. On top of everything else, this game is the first proper
lightgun game for Wii; and by far the best excuse yet to wield Nintendoís new Wii Zapper for an extended playtest (Linksí Crossbow Training
Ėthe free game that comes bundled with the gun - is a nice taster, but not really a filling main course).
For those zombie-haters who have played their way through the past few outings in the series, you will recognise a number of scenes in RE:UC
plucked from Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil
(the GameCube remake), and Resident Evil 3
There was initial concern amidst some of the more hardcore fans of Capcomís undead-hating series when the shamelessly arcade-y, on-rails style shooter outing that is RE:UC
was announced. We enjoyed the brief time we had with the game (and the then just-announced Wii Zapper gun) at E3 earlier this year, but we had one niggling question eating away at our brains after ten or fifteen minutes of blasting the heads off hordes of zombies. Would we get bored of it after an hour or two?
Iíve been sat in a dark room for the past week charged with taking out the worst undead fiends and biological weapons that the Umbrella Corporationís rogue T-virus has produced. Iíve done this with a small plastic gun. Read on to find if the experience was in any way fulfilling.
Firstly, two admissions: I love Resident Evil
, but to my knowledge I donít think Iíve ever sat down and played a lightgun-based, on-rails shooter right the way through to the end. Not that this type of game doesnít appeal to me, it does, particularly when faced with the latest House Of The Dead
incarnation in the arcade. But Iíve generally had enough of the game after half an hour or so. They donít tend to offer me so much in the way of longevity. Thirty minutes of blasting baddies with a big plastic gun and thatís me sated, thanks.
is very different. Itís held my attention for far, far longer that 30 minutes over the past week and, even if I wasnít charged with reviewing it, Iíd want to return to it again and again for just one more crack at that hard-to-kill boss monster.
Just one more play through a particularly favourite set piece; just one more opportunity to unlock some more new info about the back story.
If you are a big fan of the series, like me, youíll get a frisson of joy when playing through the never-before-seen chapters such as the Umbrella Corp's Russian base. If youíre not a fan of the series and not so bothered about knowing too much more about the storyline or the characterís back stories, then youíll get enough satisfaction from hour after hour of blasting away at zombies while being whisked through some genuinely creepy and memorable levels.
Before I say much more about why I think the game holds its own against Nintendoís best first-party offerings though, a few words about the new Wii Zapper peripheral. The new placky gun is in high demand (as is pretty much anything thing these days that is white and produced by Nintendo).
The Zapper is a pretty solid piece of gaming kit into which you insert the Wiiís two controllers, allowing you to easily control the Nunchukís thumbstick and to use the Wii Remoteís [B] button as the trigger. Itís a lot of fun and, in the course of playing Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles,
I kept on returning to it time and time again, as it really did enable me to aim better.