So its hard to say no to the idea of shooting zombies: House of the Dead's milked the idea for years on the arcade and home console scene and was a lot of fun. So as an offshoot idea for Resident Evil, its far from the worst one.
This digital HD release is actually two games in one: Umbrella Chronicles, tracking the events of the original game, the prequel Zero, and 3, and Darkside Chronicles, which covers the events of RE2 and Code Veronica. (The two games will also be released separately next month).
Both were released for the Nintendo Wii a few years ago: they've been stitched together and tarted up HD style for their shift to PS3 download, and a few cosmetic changes as Wii Remote turns into Move.
The originals offered smooth controls, and its the same here: essential given precision is paramount. While the games are on-rails, you can look around the environment to a certain degree to find pick-ups. While you can use a standard controller for camera pans, its more comfortable to combine the Move with a navigation controller for extended plays.
It's not long before the first Undead shuffle onto the screen, and the shooting gallery begins. Head shots are, as any good zombie survivalist knows, priority. A tactic that works well until a on-screen message pops up informing that all monsters have weak spots - finding them is key to survival.
What the location is isn't so easy in finding, and shortly we give up trying and return to our trusted bullet barrage against the skull. It's only halfway through the first chapter that we stumble on the zombies', and we realise how much time (and bullets) we could have saved if only we'd shot them exactly on the hairline. Score a hit there and one bullet will turn their heads into explosive watermelons.
We could forgive the illogical choice behind this (we are playing Resident Evil after all - realism bailed with a hearty wave to us all years ago) but having to pinpoint an even smaller target while both zombies and camera move so much can be frustrating rather than fun.
Another issue is weapon switching. Your standard pistol has infinite ammunition, but at each chapter's start you can choose other weapons in the form of machine guns and shotguns - and as the game progresses - grenade launchers and bazookas. All these weapons can be upgraded and are indispensable for the player's survival.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to chose the correct weapon for the job in the middle of battle. The reticule doesn't give enough visual information so its hard to identify what you're switching to without having to keep glancing to the icons at the side of the screen. Also weapon placement is based on what order they were picked up during your run, adding an additional memory game to the pressure of picking the right tool for the particular job. That these extra weapons remain on the selection list even when ammo is exhausted can lead to unpleasant situations, particularly during the numerous boss battles.
Graphically, despite the HD upgrade the Wii origins are obvious. Both areas and character models vary in quality - some of the latter unnatural in their movements, their eyes dead. At least the enemies looks good, though its rarely a good sign when the human characters seem less credible than the undead.
The main idea behind Chronicles games is to let players relive the classic Resident Evil moments from a new perspective. It is here where the game really shines, and it is difficult not to become a bit nostalgic for the first time you stand in the hall of the original mansion.
There is no doubt that these games are a great fan service, and it is hard to ignore developers' attention to detail in their retelling of many of the most nightmare-inducing stories of the franchise's past. It all feels quintessentially Resident Evil even with the genre switch; from the evocative music to the spooky sound effects. Even the voice acting is of the characteristically bad sort, but with a few more one liners than you're used to hearing from the figures.
With that in mind, and the many hours of game time both titles offer, if you're a fan of the series, and have a Move controller to hand, both titles are worth the pick up. Atmosphere and nostalgia go a long way in making the repetitive gameplay (always a problem with light gun games) a non-issue. However that's something that, for those ignorant to the Resident Evil universe, will have a much greater negative impact.