"Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles" was a little too ambitious...and not very good. For a glorified light gun game it had overly complex controls and wasn't, well, very much fun. But Capcom has returned to give it another game with "Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles." Does it remedy mistakes of the past or are we left with another so-so title to fill in the time between true sequels?
Like "The Umbrella Chronicles," "The Darkside Chronciles" is a first person light gun game that uses the Wii remote to blast zombies, lickers and a host of other "Resident Evil" beasties. The game follows the events of "Resident Evil 2" as well as "Resident Evil: Code Veronica," as well as a side-story which fills in some of the plot holes.
"Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles" made the mistake of giving the player too much control. Most light gun games give you a fixed point, but in that game you had to constantly move the analog stick on the nunchuk to look around. "The Darkside Chronicles" tosses this concept, letting you play the game with just the Wii remote, a much more simple affair, and more ideal for quick multiplayer.
Improved Weapon Upgrades
You'll now find money hidden throughout the levels in "The Darkside Chronicles" which can be used to upgrade your weapons, "Resident Evil 4"-style. Upgrading weapons was in the last game, but the money element adds a new level of fun, blasting apart each and every scene, looking for gold bars.
Trip Down Memory Lane
If you've played "Resident Evil 2" or "Code Veronica" you'll probably love how each of those stories are delivered. The game is broken up into chapters, with familiar action scenes replayed from the new first-person point of view. And, if you never played those games, "The Darkside Chronicles" is sort of like a fun Cliffs Notes version, hitting all the major plot points without you having to worry about running out of typewriter ribbon.
A Bad Case Of The Shakes
Getting rid of the need to move the camera around: good. Making the camera so shaky that you can't get a shot off: less good. While I understand the need to add challenge, making it harder to nail headshots, the camera in "The Darkside Chronicles" moves like it's on crystal meth. It gets to a point, later on, that you're basically firing wildly, hoping to hit something, with the camera bobbing and weaving through the action like a scene out of "Black Hawk Down." Ease up a bit, guys.
Cheese To The Max
If you've never played a "Resident Evil" game, you may be stunned by just how bad the writing is in these games. Some say they're intentionally bad, to mimic the b-movie style, but personally I think it just comes down to rough translations. Fans of the series will appreciate the groan-worthy lines, but anyone that's used to "BioShock"-quality writing should brace themselves.
I was surprised by how much enjoyment I got out of "Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles." Even with its faults, it's one of the best light gun-style games I've played in a long time, and is well worth a look for fans of the genre or fans of the franchise. It's also great for 2-player multiplayer, which is as easy as hooking up a second Wiimote.