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E3 2007: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles


The Resident Evil series had hit a bit of a stagnant spell before 2005's excellent Resident Evil 4 (really something like the 10th game in the franchise) put the zombie-killing train back on track. RE4's recent port to both the PC and Nintendo Wii point to that game's long-term appeal, and served as a good introduction to the third-person "survival horror" (a badly translated Japanese description that seems to have stuck) genre for new fans.

The first Resident Evil game designed specifically for the Wii, The Umbrella Chronicles, isn't nearly as ground-breaking, and in fact, is a pretty obvious short-term cash-in while we all wait for Resident Evil 5, briefly glimpsed here at E3 and expected sometime next year at the earliest.

Using the new Nintendo Wii zapper.

Instead of a traditional third-person action/adventure, the new game is what is known as a "rail shooter," where, similar to an amusement park ride, gamers are automatically led down a set path, shooting pretty much anything they see along the way, using the Wii remote like a gun to shoot at the zombies on the screen. With few exceptions, your character basically runs along this set path, making this a somewhat shallow twitch-response experience.

Despite the lack of depth, we still had fun with the game, which takes you on a sight-seeing tour of locations from the previous Resident Evil adventures. It works well with the Wii remote as a light gun, and the carefully timed shocks are reminiscent of a Coney Island haunted house ride, but The Umbrella Chronicles is best served in small doses.