Flying in the face of ammo conservation is the treasure-hunt aspect of the game. The levels are filled with breakable objects, such as light fixtures and wooden crates, which can contain herbs and sprays for restoring your life, weapons, and documents filled with crazy Resident Evil backstory. It's the type of stuff that fans of the series go nuts for, and it's the main draw for playing through missions more than once.
In addition to your firearms, you've got some close-quarters combat abilities, which are surprisingly effective. If a zombie gets close enough to grab hold of you, a quick shake of the Wii Remote triggers a counterattack that instantly kills the aggressor. It doesn't work on anyone other than the standard zombie, and even then they won't always attack you in a way that you can counter, but there are definitely times where it's preferable to shooting them. You've also got a knife that you can use by holding the A button and slashing the Wii Remote around all willy-nilly, and it makes short work of smaller enemies like leeches, ravens, spiders, bees, and bats--enemies that are far more difficult to hit with a gun. Coincidentally, all this remote shaking makes use of the new Zapper peripheral less than ideal.
Amid all of the zombie murder that accounts for the volume of the gameplay, there are little interactive cinematic moments, Â¥ la Resident Evil 4, where you have to quickly press a button or shake the Wii Remote to dodge some kind of danger. They're generally not that hard, especially since there's always just a single action to pull off, rather than a series. Still, failing one of these moments results in a hit to your health bar, and possibly death. There are some fairly nasty, protracted boss fights that employ the same mechanics to better effect.
Lighting plays a big part in establishing Umbrella Chronicles' mood.
Though Umbrella Chronicles doesn't look anywhere near as nice as, say, Resident Evil 4, it manages to capture the dirty, undersaturated, run-down feel of the series. Despite some ugly-looking textures, the environments pack in a good amount of detail, and the various zombified people, dogs, monkeys, sharks, snakes, and plants look appropriately fetid. It's too bad that much of the spooky tension that has been a Resident Evil hallmark gets sucked out of Umbrella Chronicles by an overbearing soundtrack that sounds like it belongs in a different, faster-paced game. The voice acting is a better fit, with the role of Albert Wesker, who serves as the game's narrator, being particularly entertaining.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is solid for an on-rails shooter, a genre that admittedly becomes less relevant with each passing year, and the strength of the ambiance, the quantity of Resident Evil detail, and some fun little gameplay touches make it better. If you don't care for either Resident Evil or light-gun games, this won't change your mind, but if you do, it's a pretty fun ride.