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Christopher J Oatis's blog

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Christopher J Oatis avatar 12:41 PM on 02.11.2010  (server time)
Darkside Chronicles: Another Reason Resident Evil Needs To Turn A Corner

Remember turning that first corner in Resident Evil to find one of your comrades from Bravo Team with his face being gnawed off by Resident Evil's first zombie? Can you believe that was fourteen years, seven main series games, seven side-story games, four movies, and one remake ago? Newly released Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, number seven on the side story game list, was the latest installment that fans (waiting for a hopefully re-tooled part 6) got to chew on.

Most fans will probably do well to rent this one so they can spit it back at the video store or GameFly when they're done with it, which is not to say the game is unplayable but rather just plagued by the bad RE cliches, terrible dialogue, and little replay value. The game follows Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser into South America where they try to track down overused RE motifs and successfully discover someone who infected their daughter with whichever strain of the T-Virus we're up to now.

Aside from the plot, which is so typical for the series it's not even worth talking about, the gameplay is similar to Umbrella Chronicles' rail shooter style, but clearly made efforts to undo every element that was frustrating in "UC." I was happy to see I could play the entire storyline without having to unlock pieces of it with high scores, and being able to carry an inventory of herbs and my entire armory seemed appealing at first, but as the game went having access to enough explosive to level Brazil rather than having to choose which weapons to bring on the mission seemed to dumb down gameplay. However, if you enjoy the RE atmospheres and mythos then Darkside was brainless head popping fun.

I can't say Darkside wasn't enjoyable, but it was a cheap tease in the grand scheme of the series. Darkside, like Umbrella Chronicles, operates on replaying scenes from the main series in rail-shooter format. The bothersome part is the game is actually narrated by Leon as he fills in Krauser on some of his previous experiences with the virus, which makes the gameplay a flashback. In that case, how the hell can you die in flashback if you've lived to tell the tale? "Great Scott! It could cause a paradox, Marty!"

At the end of the day, Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles is good mindless fun, and if anyone cares about Jack Krausers backstory then it has that too, but the franchise is still lacking and has delivered minimal scares since that first zombie got done chewing years ago. The games in recent years have fallen short without undead creatures jumping out from every corner, REAL walking copses, and creepy atmospheres. I guess we can they get it right in Resident Evil 6 and also give the fans a usually-somehow resurrected Albert Wesker complete with his brilliant dialogue.

"What's this...A Mansion?"

The obvious never escapes you, which is why we love you or maybe its those cool shades.


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