The Year of the Wii Lightgun Shooter continues with a Resident Evil entry that is two-thirds fun retro, never scary yet surprisingly generous. Too bad it makes a poor first impression.
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is a follow-up to 2007's Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Both Wii games are lightgun takes on gaming's most famous horror series. The first presented Resident Evils 0, 1 and 3 in an on-rails shooting-gallery format. The new game remakes Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil Code: Veronica, wrapped with a short new pre-Resident Evil 4 adventure called Operation Javier. All three scenarios star returning Resident Evil icons — Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy, Redfield and Steve Burnside, Kennedy and Jack Krauser — allowing a player to pick one to control or to have a friend shoot as the other one.
The new game has not just its Wii predecessor and the older Evils it remakes to which to be compared. It can handle that. But it also unwisely invites comparison to Resident Evil 5 and unavoidably to the ribald 2009 Wii lightgun game House of the Dead: Overkill (reviewed here) and the brief but bold 2009 genre peer Dead Space Extraction (reviewed here). That's quite the swarm of comparisons.