It’s no secret that quality releases on the Wii are becoming few and far between. Many Wii fans, myself included, have nothing to look forward to until Skyward Sword hits in November. With so few titles on the horizon, I’ve been scouring bargain bins and clearance shelves looking for quality Wii titles that I may have overlooked. One such bargain bin discovery was Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles.
Originally released in 2009, The Darkside Chronicles is a Wii exclusive on-rails shooter set in the Resident Evil universe. One or Two players can strap on their Wii Remotes (or Wii Zappers) and blast their way through leagues of zombies, mutated animals, and other horrific creatures.
The game controls simply but elegantly. Using the Wii Remote’s IR functionality players move their aiming reticle by pointing at the screen and fire by squeezing the B trigger. Players are able to map their weapons loadout to the four directions of the D-pad, and holding A activates a mostly useless knife mode where the movements of the remote are roughly translated into on screen swipes.
The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has ever played an arcade light gun shooter. Clearing all of the undead enemies in an area will bring you to the next area with a new set of enemies to deal with. In certain areas, players must select the direction in which they’d like to travel. Branching paths can add a lot of replay value to an on-rails shooter, but unfortunately players are only given this option a handful of times in Darkside Chronicles. A lot of your time in this game will be spent fighting boss creatures. Many of these fights boil down to continuously shooting a small highlighted area, i.e. a heart or eye. However, they do offer a nice change of pace and some much needed difficulty to the game. Although the gameplay is quite simple, it can be very addictive and the addition of a second player really adds to the fun.
The visuals are decent, but certainly nothing to write home about. However, the characters and enemies are animated well; with some boss creatures in particular being downright upsetting to watch. In the audio department, we get a heavy dose of that signature Resident Evil cheese. The dialogue is awkward and often nonsensical, but I get the feeling that most RE fans wouldn’t have it any other way. The gun sound effects are all very satisfying, and the various zombie grunts and groans are appropriately creepy.
The game is broken up into chapters, or chronicles, that each tell the story of a different set of characters in the RE universe. The meat of the game’s story is a new scenario involving Leon Kennedy and Krauser infiltrating the South American compound of a mysterious drug dealer with ties to the Umbrella Corporation named Javier. There are two other Chronicles available, one which retells the story of Resident Evil 2 and the other which has players revisiting the events of Resident Evil: Code Veronica. It’s a nice blast of nostalgia to be able to revisit the characters and locations of these older games while experiencing them in a different way.
Overall, Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles is a good multiplayer game that will provide most gamers with several hours of zombie blasting fun. I was able to dig it up for $20 dollars in a Sears bargain bin, and would recommend it wholeheartedly at that price. A quick look online reveals that most retailers are offering the game at that same price or even less, so if you’re looking for a good Wii game to play until Skyward Sword arrives give The Darkside Chronicles a try.
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