Alright then, who had the bright idea of teaching zombies to teleport? Humanity could cope with the threat when the undead just shambled around groaning, but popping in and out of thin air, pausing only to munch on human flesh? As clever decisions go, it's up there with inviting Freddie Krueger to beta test new chainsaws, or pointing out to Jaws that he might want to skedaddle when his hunters upgrade to a bigger boat.
Yet teleporting is what Nemesis does. Who's Nemesis? Only the big bad fella in Resident Evil: The Missions (and previously the star of console game Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, fact fans), Capcom's new mobile game that sees you trying to fill Nemesis full of bullets when he does materialise, while fending off a horde of other hungry zombies.
We should stress at this point that this review is of the 2D version of Resident Evil: The Missions, which is an entirely different game to the 3D version. The latter is what traditionalists might consider 'proper' Resident Evil, as in an action-adventure where you wander round killing zombies. You'll need a high-end Sony Ericsson handset to play that, and we'll have a review of it next week.
This 2D version may be a different kettle of fish but, thankfully, it's a tasty one. If kettles of fish can ever be described that way. It's a static shoot-'em-up, viewed from a first-person perspective, which involves blasting your way through 50 zombie-infested missions. And while the core gameplay is relatively simple, Capcom has made notable efforts to introduce new elements as you progress through the game.
For one, you don't play through all 50 missions in order. Instead, they're laid out as blocks on a schematic diagram, with you picking a path through to the end, and then coming back to try other paths. So you start with Mission 1, and might then be offered a choice between Missions 2 and 3, which leads to other missions, and so on.
Essentially, you'll need to play through the game 12 or 13 times to see all the missions, and, yes, that does mean repeating some of them – which is where the gameplay variations come in. More on those later.
Missions take various forms. Some just require you to rid a location of zombies or survive for a set time period, while others involve protecting a hostage or killing a certain number of zombies in, say, 45 seconds. The most tense are the ones where you're infected, meaning that your health level constantly decreases, with you having to top it up with green herbs found while playing.
The actual game dynamic could be compared to a flesh-creeping extension of Whack-a-Mole, in that zombies pop up in specific parts of the screen and you move your crosshair left and right to shoot them. The graphics are functional, but the gameplay is so frenetic you don't really notice the backgrounds, if we're honest.
The aforementioned variety comes from the different weapons you unlock each time you complete one of the final missions. The basic shotgun takes time to lock on to a zombie, for example, while the Remington 870 needs no aiming time but has limited ammo. When you replay the game and come across the same missions, often you'll be using a different gun, which changes your tactics.
That's not the limit of the game's progression, though. About halfway through the missions we were awarded a torch, which heralded a few levels played in the dark, with you flicking your torchlight right and left to spot zombies before shooting them. It's this sort of touch that helps Resident Evil: The Missions rise above the average shooter.
You could say that the core mechanic is a bit mindless – aim right, shoot lots, aim left, shoot lots, repeat. And it's a bit of a shame that owners of Series 60 phones can't play the all-singing 3D version of the game. But nevertheless, Resident Evil: The Missions is a fun and engrossing shooter that should appeal to non console gamers as much as it does to hardcore Res Evil fans.