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Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles (Wii)

Rated: 15.

Story: Capcom recycles Resident Evils 0, 1, 2 & 3 as a shooting game pasted together with a selection of the old cut-scenes and a bit of text.

Gameplay: You have no control over your movement during the game and very little over where you look. Just point the wiimote and shoot. Selecting weapons, conserving ammunition and finding hidden supplies by shooting the scenery adds some complication.

Save System: Automatic saves at the middle and end of levels.

Comments: My boys asked me what game I'd got through the post. When I said, 'Umbrella Chronicles,' they fell about laughing. I knew I was talking about the story of an evil, multi-national, zombie-creating corporation. They obviously had an entirely different mental image of what the game might involve... I was initially amused but then I realised that this is actually part of a serious problem with the game - it pretty much assumes you've played plenty of Resident Evil before. If you have, you won't be thrown by a story cobbled together from bits and pieces of other games and, instead, be able to fill in the blanks in the plot and background information. If, however, the title makes you think of menacing rain protection, then all the talk of STARS, slugs and T-viruses is going to be impenetrable.

Unfortunately, having played enough Resident Evil to work out what's going on will mean that everything is very familiar. Very, very familiar. To illustrate, witness another conversation I had later the same day:

My wife: Is this a new Resident Evil game?

Me: It's a light-gun remake of the original game. Well, I suppose this bit is a light-gun remake of the GameCube remake of the original game.

My wife: This is the third version of the same game?

Me: I didn't mention the Director's Cut of the PlayStation original or the DS version.

My wife: Okaaay. Whatever...

'Whatever...' is a pretty good summation of much of the game. Walking slowly down that long corridor just right of the main door of the mansion (you know the one) and having zombie dogs jump at me through the window was scary the first time ten years ago. It seems to have happened so often since then, however, that this time I just got rather impatient waiting for them to appear.

So, in terms of Resident Evil, Umbrella Chronicles is a re-run at best. As a light-gun game, it's not that great either. It's relatively slow-paced with low numbers of enemies that each take lots of hits to kill. Each level ends with a boss that just WILL NOT DIE. The tough bosses, slow pace, familiar locations, fiddly controls and sparse checkpoints quickly made playing the game a chore. (The Wii Zapper works OK but doesn't add much to the experience.)

Note to developers: Having to quickly press buttons indicated by on-screen prompts in order to dodge attacks has always been frustrating and a lame alternative to proper interactivity. Bosses with enormous health bars, repeating patterns of movement and that can't be harmed unless they have their mouths open were old news ten years ago. Combining the two is pretty irritating. Stop it.

Conclusion: Maybe worth a rental if you're a big fan of Resident Evil.

Graphics: OK but nothing to write home about.

Length: Short.

Rating: 2/5.

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