Developer: cavia inc. (“Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles”)
Available on: Wii
Gun shooters tend to excel on the Wii—maybe because it’s so much fun to point a Wiimote at the TV and pretend like you're Elvis, ticked off about what's airing. At least that’s a better guess than diversity in the games’ range of targets: You're usually shooting zombies, and “Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles” is no exception.
As in “Darkside” predecessor “The Umbrella Chronicles,” players blast their way through scenes from previous “Resident Evil” games. In this case it means 1998's “Resident Evil 2”—partly an inspiration for the second “Resident Evil” movie—and 2000's “Resident Evil: Code Veronica.”
Also on the agenda: a visit to a South American village just before the events of 2005's “Resident Evil 4.” That’s where target practice coincides with a fiery yellow ball in the sky illuminating everything. (The franchise’s trademark thrills and chills remain intact.)
Gameplay is strikingly similar to “Umbrella,” with some welcome tweaks. Players still point a Wiimote at the TV, shooting anything that moves and slashing anything that moves especially close with a knife. But now specific weapons can be assigned to different ends of the Wiimote’s directional pad, making it easier to switch between weapons on the fly. That’s especially handy when you're surrounded and just discovered a shotgun or some other weapon with a limited amount of bullets.
The game also adopts a shaky-cam look that makes the action more immediate, and occasionally you’ll see your partner on screen—a rare feature for these kinds of games. It doesn’t matter whether the partner is controlled by the computer or a friend, and there are moments when they get to do things you don't, and vice versa.
Playing with a friend really enhances the fun, and the game’s variety of weapons and collectibles adds to its replay appeal (as does the ability to repeat levels as different characters).
“Darkside” doesn't push the genre in any new directions, as “Dead Space: Extraction” did, but if you’re just looking for a good excuse to shoot at your TV, you’ve found it.
Bottom line: 50,000 zombies can't be wrong.