Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
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|Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles|
North American cover art
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, known as Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles (バイオハザード アンブレラ・クロニクルズ Baiohazādo Anburera Kuronikuruzu?) in Japan, is a rail shooting video game co-developed by Capcom and Cavia. The game was released for the Wii on November 13, 2007 in North America; November 15, 2007 in Japan; and on November 30, 2007 in Europe, excluding Germany, where the game is not available due to the refusal of a USK rating and its subsequent inclusion in the index. It was followed by Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Both Chronicles games are included on the Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection for the PlayStation 3.
The game exposes the Umbrella Corporation's meddling throughout the Resident Evil series through narration from Albert Wesker, a former Umbrella Corporation scientist, and hidden documents pertaining to the organization's secret motives and actions. The game is composed of five scenarios that recapitulate the events of Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, as well as new material pertaining to the Umbrella Corporation's downfall.
The Umbrella Chronicles is an on-rails shooter. Players follow a pre-set path, shooting enemies and picking up optional weapons and health items, occasionally choosing between multiple paths. Using the analog stick on the Nunchuk, players can look around in a limited manner. In some cases, the Wii Remote can be used to activate melee weapons against enemies where the camera shifts to a third-person view, or use timed button presses in certain cutscenes to evade traps and enemy attacks. Each stage is split into individual chapters and contains save checkpoints at the end of each chapter. Stars are obtained at the end of each stage, based on the player's performance, which can be used to upgrade weapons. To unlock some levels and sublevels, the player needs a certain ranking, "S" being the best. The amount of destroyed items, obtained objects, files, critical hits and clear time affects this.
Upon beating Hunk's "4th Survivor" mission, co-operative mode will be unlocked for the single-player missions. When selecting characters, an option will appear on the screen to select co-op mode. Both players will play as the same character, but each player will have their own aiming reticule.
The Umbrella Chronicles encompasses several scenarios, which are based on various plot elements from the Resident Evil series. The game's first three scenarios, "Train Derailment", "The Mansion Incident", and "Raccoon's Destruction", are set within Raccoon City, or its surrounding area, in 1998. The final scenario, which is based on new material, is set in Russia, taking place in 2003. The game features eight playable characters from previous Resident Evil games, including Rebecca Chambers, Billy Coen, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Carlos Oliviera, Albert Wesker, Ada Wong and two others from Resident Evil 2.
The game's first scenario, based on the events of Resident Evil Zero, follows STARS operative Rebecca Chambers, and former Marine Billy Coen as they venture through a train that eventually takes them to a derelict training facility. Once within the facility, they discover they are being stalked by James Marcus, one of the Umbrella Corporation's co-founders and former scientists, who has managed to resurrect himself with the aid of leech test-subjects. After a confrontation, Marcus mutates into a monstrosity, but is subdued by the duo. Chambers and Coen escape as the facility self-destructs. Another sub-chapter within the scenario traces Wesker's actions, now posing as the leader of STARS' Alpha team, as he attempts to escape the training facility. This chapter also introduces Sergei Vladimir and one of his bodyguard Tyrants, codenamed "IVAN".
The game then proceeds to retell the events of the first Resident Evil. The scenario follows Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, as opposed to the actual Resident Evil game, which features the two splitting up. Redfield and Valentine are forced to battle their way through a mansion full of undead residents, before stumbling upon a secret Umbrella Corporation research facility in the mansion's basement. The two then discover the facility's most powerful creation, a Tyrant, and destroy it. The scenario features two different sub-chapters, which reveal Chambers' action between Resident Evil Zero and Resident Evil, as well as Wesker's reanimation and escape after his apparent death.
The next scenario visits Raccoon City during the events of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Valentine returns to the game, and is paired with mercenary Carlos Oliveira, as they attempt to survive an outbreak of the T-virus. After defeating several undead citizens, Valentine and Oliveira encounter Nemesis, an upgraded Tyrant, sent to kill Valentine. They defeat Nemesis and escape Raccoon City before it is destroyed by the United States government in a desperate contingency measure. The scenario also features two sub-chapters, detailing Ada Wong and Hunk's background roles during the main scenario's events.
The game's final scenario is composed of new material, which trails Redfield and Valentine as they attempt to infiltrate the Umbrella Corporation's final stronghold in Russia. Now leading a group of armed activists, they storm the stronghold, encountering waves of undead soldiers and mutations. Despite their force sustaining heavy casualties, Redfield and Valentine enter the facility's inner sanctum, only to encounter and destroy the Umbrella Corporation's latest creation, the T-ALOS project. The game's final sub-chapter features Wesker infiltrating the facility in an attempt to recover the Umbrella Corporation's most important files. He is confronted by his long-time nemesis, Sergei Vladimir, whom he defeats. The game's credits reveal that the Umbrella Corporation's secrets have finally been exposed. As a result, the U.S. government succeeds in its legal action against Umbrella's top officials.
The game was co-developed by Capcom and Cavia and produced by Masachika Kawata, who was behind the PlayStation 2 port of Resident Evil 4. At E3 2006, Capcom officially announced that development was already underway for an exclusive Resident Evil game for the Wii and mentioned that it would take advantage of the console's unique Wii Remote controller, giving players a new experience. Members of Capcom's Clover Studio, who created such games as Viewtiful Joe and Ōkami, were called upon to help develop the game.
A short clip of the game was shown on the Nintendo World event on November 3, 2006, where 2007 was revealed as the release date. On April 6, 2007, the official Japanese website went live containing an official teaser video. On April 13, 2007, the official Japanese website updated with a second trailer, character profiles and screenshots. A Japan-only release of the game came with a limited edition collector's Biohazard box featuring several items. Christian Svensson, Capcom's senior director of strategic planning and research, stated the game would support 480-progressive scan and 16:9 widescreen resolution. A trailer was included in the Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, which shows the mansion from the original game and areas of Raccoon City. At its pre-E3 press conference on July 11, 2007, Nintendo announced that the Wii Zapper peripheral will be compatible with the game.
The game was initially going to play similarly to Resident Evil 4. However, in an interview with Famitsu, the game's producer Masachika Kawata revealed the reason for the drastic change in gameplay: according to him, "Wii users like easiness" and that a Resident Evil 4-style game is "too complicated" for Wii users to enjoy. Masachika Kawata then elaborated that "complex operability can be an obstacle for Wii users", and that he purposefully had to "compromise to a lower difficulty level" and "reduce enthusiast-only elements".
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was released in late 2007. An extensive line of tie-in products was created to promote the release of Capcom's on-rails shooter and to expand its storyline. This includes a graphic novel, several spin-off novels, and an official soundtrack release.
Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles ~Hōkai he no Jokyoku~ (バイオハザード アンブレラ・クロニクルズ ～崩壊への序曲～ lit. "Biohazard Umbrella Chronicles ~Overture to the Collapse~?) is a series of two comics published in Akita Shoten's weekly Shōnen Champion magazine in Japan. The first chapter was released on November 8, 2007, the second on November 15, the same day the game came out in Japan. Masaru Miyazaki wrote the plot for the manga. The illustrations were done by Naotsugu Matsueda. Its story is based on the game, taking place just before the invasion of the Russian Umbrella facility, using a fictional Russian village as setting. Protagonists Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine are drawn into various strange occurrences in the village, which has been completely infected by the T-virus, before finding the sole survivor, a young girl named Anna, and later face off against Wesker.
Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles SIDE A (バイオハザード アンブレラ・クロニクルズ SIDE A?) and Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles SIDE B (バイオハザード アンブレラ・クロニクルズ SIDE B?) written by Osamu Makino are novels based on the events of Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and direct novelizations of the game. The first one was released in Japan on December 22, 2007. The second one was published in January 2008.
The Resident Evil Shot Blaster is a replacement to the Wii Zapper. The gun comes with a detachable Nunchuk holster. The holster also rotates downward to allow easy reloading for in the game. When the nunchuk holster is removed the gun becomes something like a pistol. The package also includes a decal that you can put on your Wii Remote which has a picture of characters from the game on it, and a Nunchuk joystick grip which has the logo of the Umbrella Corporation on it.
Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles Original Soundtrack was composed by Masafumi Takada and Jun Fukuda from Grasshopper Manufacture featuring Ada Wong as the cover. A CD with 49 tracks called Biohazard: The Umbrella Chronicles Original Sound Track was released in Japan on December 19. It was published by Suleputer and was distributed by Sony Music Distribution for 3150 yen. The soundtrack includes a full-color booklet. Initially produced items are limited editions with special sleeve cases.
The Wii version of The Umbrella Chronicles has received positive scores from critics. GamePro praised its unlockable secrets and satisfying gameplay, adding that "the only downside to The Umbrella Chronicles is that longevity will be an issue." GameTrailers called it "fantastic overall" and a "superb entry in the genre," praising the game for its surprising length and unlockable content, but stated that while the graphics "look good", they were sometimes "a step behind" Resident Evil 4 and added that having the game on rails actually makes it scarier, and that it's "basically a love letter" to fans of the series. IGN praised the game for having "amazingly cool" design but complained about the lack of representation from Resident Evil 2 and 4 as well as the gameplay, which they felt was too slow; on the other hand, they called the presentation "pretty impressive" and stated that "there’s no denying the fun" they had with it. GameSpot praised the easy controls and the look and feel of the game, but criticized the music, stating that "it undermines the atmosphere," and that the "on-rails shooter gameplay can still feel restrictive. 1UP.com called it "a surprisingly meaty experience" and "an accessible, mostly satisfying shooter" and praised the depth and strategy offered by the gameplay, but complained about difficult headshots and stated that "it never really amounts to more than its concept".
The Wii version of the game has sold over 1.4 million copies worldwide.
On March 8, 2009, Capcom announced they would have new game announcements on March 12 at the Resident Evil 5 launch party in San Francisco. A few days earlier, Capcom’s Associate Product Marketing Manager, Matt Dahlgren, said in an interview that "Nintendo Wii fans will be very happy very soon" when asked about getting more Resident Evil on Wii. On March 11, Famitsu confirmed a sequel for Umbrella Chronicles, titled Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. The game, like its predecessor, has on-rails gameplay.
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- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Resident Evil 0 Digest 1: Facing certain death, Rebecca was rescued by the prisoner, Billy Coen. Rebecca was still suspicious of Billy but realized that they needed to work together if they wanted to survive the nightmare. Shortly after, the train suddenly started to move. It accelerated and was rapidly approaching dangerous speeds. To prevent the imminent derailment, the pair engaged the brake. However, it was too late and the train rolled on its side. The two barely managed to escape the wreck. Nearby was Umbrella’s Management Training Facility."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Resident Evil 0 Digest 2: While monitoring Billy and Rebecca’s progress, they began to sense a presence bent on Umbrella’s destruction and decided to destroy the facility... The pair eventually met with a reanimated Marcus. He told them the startling story of how he was assassinated 10 years ago. The copied Marcus eventually transformed into the Queen Leech, while the timer began to run down on a bomb that was set to level the facility..."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Albert Wesker: It is time for me to abandon the sinking ship that is Umbrella."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Albert Wesker: Wesker Here, I will use the rope way to return to the training facility, and depart from there."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Resident Evil Digest 1: The survivors – Chris, Jill, Barry and Wesker – resumed the search fro Bravo Team, but found that most of them had already been killed by zombies. The mansion was filled with trap doors and strange devices and teemed with monstrous dogs, crows, spiders and blood-sucking plants."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Resident Evil Digest 2: They discovered Wesker in the cultivation chamber and learned that he was a traitor... The Tyrant pursued Jill and Chris, while in the background a self-destruction mechanism had been initialized. The pair made contact with Brad, Alpha’s helicopter pilot, and fled to the helipad to escape."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Rebecca Chambers:After splitting up with Billy, I went to the mansion where Brave Team was rendezvous."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Albert Wesker:The virus that Birkin had created brought me back from the brink of annihilation... I did not have time to enjoy my newfound life. I had something I needed to do. Time to grab the data and get out"
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Resident Evil 3 Digest 1: One of the U.B.C.S. men was mercenary Carlos Oliveira. Jill and Carlos began to work together to try and escape the hell on earth Raccoon City had become. A black-coated monster stood between them and their freedom. Nemesis, or the Pursuer, was intent on wiping out every last member of S.T.A.R.S."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Resident Evil 3 Digest 2: In a matter of hours, a missile that had been launched would annihilate all traces of Raccoon City"
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Eradication Notes: They formulated a plan for the complete eradication of the city. In compliance, on October 1st, 1998, the military launched a new type of strategic missile into the heart of the city. Raccoon City, with its 100,000 inhabitants, was forever wiped from the face of the earth."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Ada Wong: I must escape this town and survive in order to accomplish my objective."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Hunk I have secured 'G'. I m all that is left of Alpha Team. I am en route to the rendezvous point."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Jill Valentine: There's no time to wait for authorization from the Russian Government. That facility is an Umbrella base. /Chris Redfield: Yeah, we can't let them get away with this."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Sergei Vladimir: Introducing the latest Umbrella product line. Codename Talos. A pinnacle of biological weaponry, all controlled by the Red Queen computer. The ultimate weapon."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Albert Wesker: I will use one pawn to eliminate the other, and emerge with the spoils for myself."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Albert Wesker: The summation of Umbrella on one disk. This should come in handy."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Sergei Monster Notes: Sergei transformed into this monster after injecting himself with a virus. The tentacles binding his arms fuse into one large tentacle. At the end of this appendage is a dangerous claw that can be used for movement or attacking."
- Capcom (November 13, 2007). Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Wii. Capcom. "Umbrella Raccoon City Judgment: After the Raccoon City incident, the U.S. government issued an order for Umbrella to cease and desist all operations."
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- Official North American site
- Official Japanese site
- Resident Evil at Wikia
- Umbrella Pharmaceuticals website