One of the occasional spin-offs from the Resident Evil series, Umbrella Chronicles is best described as a light gun game played with the Wii remote (and also supporting the contraption that is the Wii Zapper frame). The idea is that you take the role of one of a pair of agents (who change as the levels progress), and generally shoot seven shades out of everything as you work your were through the levels.
It’s an ‘on rails’ shooter, that occasionally gives you a choice of which route to follow, but generally trundles you along, and you need to be prepared for zombies, creatures and bosses popping up with regularity. Also, given the finite nature of any weapon with any impact (the likes of the standard hangun comes with infinite ammo), it’s worth both conserving ammo and looking for the assorted pickups that are sometimes on screen for a second or so.
At heart though, it’s a simple, effective and surprisingly long game. After the joy, yet extreme brevity, of Sega’s Ghost Squad – which appeared on the Wii earlier this year – this proves to be a far, far lengthier game, and that’s very much in its corner. Furthermore, it’s good fun to play
Graphically, Umbrella Chronicles does show up some of the weaknesses of the Wii, with jagged graphics occasionally getting in the way of total clarity, although generally it does look good. And also, harking back to Ghost Squad, it lacks the frenetic action, the urgency and levels of utter glee that Sega’s game managed to deliver. It doesn’t manage to match its momentum, either (although it does get better as the game progresses), at times feeling just that bit laboured.
But there’s a lot to Umbrella Chronicles, and generally it’s good fun to play. And while Ghost Squad may still be the choice for the casual light gun-style gamer, for anyone who has the slightest interest in Resident Evil, the reverence to the franchise here is quite brilliant. You find yourself exploring and blasting your way through locations from many of the games in the series, and all the main weapons from the games are also here to be discovered.Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is ultimately a fun shooter, that undoubtedly offers good value for money. Particularly in two player it delivers, but even as a single player blast – replete with the continues you need to get through the game – it’s suitably enjoyable. It’s not the best game of its ilk on the Wii, but it is the longest, and the best value too.