Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles Review

I rarely have anything negative to say about Capcom. They have been behind a good percentage of my favorite games of all time, and nearly everything with Capcom on the box is at least worth renting, if not buying. My one complaint with the company is that in the years since Resident Evil hit the PS1, they’ve released a ton of remakes, spin-offs and ”Hey… remember how great this game was?” self-congratulatory nods at the original classic. I’m not complaining about the game’s direct sequels (2 and 4 being two of the best games of the past decade), but the Outbreaks, REmakes, Collector’s Editions and Deadly Silences are getting extremely tiresome. C’mon, Capcom… at least if you’re going to remake the same games over and over, give us a new Dino Crisis or Maximo, for crying out loud!

Capcom’s latest foray back, yet again, to the first Resident Evil games is Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii. What could have been a slapdash, crappy lightgun cash-in with Wii controls actually turned out to be a pretty good game. Even better, it is the only time, in any Resident Evil remake or flashback where I thought, “Oh… I remember that… cool,” rather than, “Dear lord… if I have to walk through this mansion again, I am just gonna lose it.” The first three Resident Evil games (and the prequel, Zero) and all the attempts revisit them may be more played out that Billy Coen’s tribal tattoos, but Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is the most fun you’ll have with a home lightgun game that doesn’t have “Time Crisis” in the title.

Before we get into specifics, it needs to be mentioned that Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles release date was set to coincide with the introduction of the Wii Zapper, a gun-shaped peripheral with spots for the Wii remote and nunchuk. My review of the Wii Zapper and the game that comes packaged with it, Link’s Crossbow Training, will be available on this site in just a few days, so check back for those. Anyway, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is meant to be played with the Wii Zapper, though I can promise you that not having the Zapper won’t diminish the game’s fun one bit. Again, Umbrella Chronicles is meant to be played with the Wii Zapper, but it is by no means necessary.

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is basically a first-person, on-rails shooting game remake of the first few Resident Evil games. You’ll start the game at the beginning of the Resident Evil timeline, on the runaway train from GCN’s Resident Evil Zero. You’ll follow that game’s protagonists for a while, but before it is all said and done, you’ll have made your way through the stories from Zero, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. This means you’ll be revisiting all the favorite moments from those games – the mansion, the police station and finally, the showdown with Nemesis himself (the cool version, not the Muppet from the Resident Evil movies). As an on-rails shooter, the Resident Evil saga works a lot better than I thought it would. The story is a tad watered down and the suspense of the originals is almost gone, but Umbrella Chronicles is still a Resident Evil game through and through.