At times like this it's best not to ask too many questions and just be thankful for what you're given. But one or two refuse to lie down. Like, why have we got another version of Resident Evil on a Wii disc instead of via Virtual Console? And, why hasn't the aiming style of Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition been incorporated? And where's Resident Evil 5? They don't affect the game as such, but those questions hang over this release.
Resident Evil Archives is the third-party equivalent of a New Play Control! Wii game, yet while the classic game has been reconfigured to work with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, it certainly doesn't take advantage of them.
Essentially this is the GameCube remake of Resident Evil exhumed and rehoused on Wii. That makes Archives a seven-year-old version of a 13-year-old game. Still, when that game is Resident Evil, a suspicious arch of the eyebrow is usually accompanied by a nostalgic smile (quickly followed by a horrified gasp). For newcomers to the series, this is a timely reminder of how it all started.
This is the classic haunted house formula given a zombie twist. A STARS (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) team is sent into a supposedly abandoned mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City, shortly after the outbreak of the horrific T-Virus. As you delve into the mansion you discover it's anything but abandoned. You have a ringside seat to a sometimes stomach-churning freakshow as the ramifications of the dastardly Umbrella Corporation's experiments are revealed.
It's testament to the original game that even now there's a palpable sense of tension. The pace of the game is taught, with jolts delivered after periods of slow-burning suspense, and the pre-rendered backgrounds, deep in shadow, look great even now.
For better or worse, this is stringently faithful to the Cube remake. All the extras that were stuffed into that version are here, including extra rooms, creatures and weapons, like Chris's ability to ram a grenade down a creature's gullet as a last-ditch means of defence.
It also means the control system is just as it was. There was an argument seven years ago that the clunky stop-turn-move scheme added to the tension of the game, that a sense of panic would descend as you scrambled to get out of the way of something nasty. Now that's replaced with frustration. The controls often feel dated and clumsy, and the lack of a point and shoot mechanic is bewildering.
There's no doubting the quality of the game but veterans really won't be getting anything new here, so we can only recommend this to players who have yet to see where it all started. And even they might find the controls long past their sell by date.