One of the greatest survival horror video game franchises of all time meets the most eye-popping portable gaming console on the market to deliver some undead target practice in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (Capcom, reviewed for Nintendo 3DS, rated: Mature, $39.99).
Originally a mini-game in Resident Evil 4 and 5, the Mercenaries model comes to the 3DS as a stand-alone shooter and finds a player killing as many infected hostiles as possible in set amount of time.
And that's pretty much sums it up folks for the latest adaptation.
Those dabbling in the splendors of three-dimensional gaming will find 30 levels of ducking, punching, stomping, knifing and primarily shooting or blowing up a steady stream of grumpy enemies.
The player can eventually control eight Resident Evil celebrities such as Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker and the Hunk (an Umbrella commando) while running into masked executioners, crazed cultists, parasite possessed villagers and a giant earwig with a bat's head.
During a mission, each character carries three weapons ranging from grenade launchers to knives and machines guns while also getting a boost from a trio of unlockable upgrades (30 to eventually choose from).
The visuals help take it to the top of the 3DS releases as players dive into this three-dimensional diorama and feel part of the horror show.
Some 3D moments for me included using a targeting laser to scope out the detailed locations, using Chris Redfield's sniper rifle to hone into a depth of the too-lifelike monsters and admiring the back of Miss Redfield's female form as she runs from trouble.
To get the stunning up front visuals means a bit of ugliness with enemies in the far background but remember kiddies, it's still impressive and no glasses required.
Big-handed warriors won't be pleased. I could never get comfortable with shooting combination requiring the right shoulder trigger to aim and “Y” button fire. It's a cramping experience after about 10 minutes.
Where the game really shines is through a co-operative mode in which a pair of players (either locally or online, each with a game cartridge) battles the hostile hordes.
I'll also mention getting just a taste of what looks like an amazing and original Resident Evil adventure, Revelations, coming to the 3DS in 2012. It's enough demo time to run Jill Valentine into a couple of Lovecraftian humanoids aboard a creaky boat in the Mediterranean Sea.
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