Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

I picked up this game for the Wii. I never played any of the Resident Evil series before, but I’ve quite enjoyed the movies, and I generally enjoy survival-horror shoot-em-ups. But this one isn’t doing it for me. I haven’t been playing it very long, but I’m really finding it irritating. Only a few levels in, I’m about ready to abandon the whole stupid waste of time.

Umbrella Chronicles is a “rail shooter”. Before I bought it, I tried to find out what that meant, but I didn’t really get it. But I get it now. It roughly means “bore-the-shit-out-of-you shooter.” You have no control. You’re like Hannibal strapped to a dolly, being trundled around the rooms. You have no say in where you’re going or when. Just one arm free to shoot at the enemies that keep popping up in front of you.

There are no quick-saves, and the checkpoints are way too damn far apart. The checkpoints are usually after you kill the boss, not before. Of course, 19 times out of 20, the boss kills you, and you have to restart the scenario. The first strapped-to-a-dolly ride through the scenario was interesting. The 10th is not. The 20th is fucking excruciating.

The bosses are insanely hard to kill. They’re supposed to be, I know. That’s why I hate bosses. Sometimes they are cool and scary to look at. Let me just watch the cut-scene (once), and then give me an option to just skip the whole stupid waste of time involved in killing it. I have better things to do with my evening than spend 15 minutes pumping thousands of rounds into a 50 foot monster with a weak-point the size of a squirrel’s asshole. And then getting killed and having to do it again. And again. And again. This is not fun, this is what Hell is like.

Because you’re strapped to a dolly and can’t move, the game tries to approximate the idea of dodging by making you press a button or shake your controller at just the right moment. A message pops up telling you which action to take. It could be button B, or button Z, or button D. Quick, which button is button Z? Oh, you guessed wrong, you’re dead. Nobody tells you that you actually have to press the button many times, not just once. And if you press any other button than the correct one after that message appears, you’re dead. Usually the dodge message pops up while you’re in the middle of five minutes of uninterrupted blasting away at that squirrel’s asshole (button B). That blasted message pops up, and in a fraction of a second, you have to stop spastically jerking on the B trigger, and switch to the Z trigger. Sorry, that was one B press too many… you’re dead. Do it all again.

I still don’t know where button D is. I’ve looked all over my Wiimote and Nunchuk, and there is no button D. There’s the similarly-named “D-pad”, of course, but I’m playing with the Zapper, so the D-pad is rather inaccessible. I’ve never done a successful dodge when “D” was required.

And when the dodge action is a shake, you’re dead. There is some special kind of way to shake the controller for a dodge, but I’ve never found it. Up/down, no that doesn’t do it. Left/right? No. Circular, maybe? Clockwise or counter-clockwise? I don’t know. Maybe I did actually shake it correctly, but failed because of one B trigger press too many. I don’t know. And every failed attempt means trundling through the whole tedious thing again. With each attempt, I become more mindless, more like the zombies I’m killing.

There are still hundreds of good movies I haven’t seen yet. Thousands of good books I haven’t read. Too many cool programs to write, interesting things to build, and not enough hours left in my life to finish them all. Why am I wasting my time on a video game that isn’t giving me any enjoyment?

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