Resident Evil: Underworld

Author:  S.D. Perry

Published By: Titan Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                It's that time of the year!  Time to break out the scary stories...the ones that will keep you up all night.  Yup, it's October and Halloween is just around the corner.  Time to brush up on our horror tales, including the zombie stories.  My latest foray into the Resident Evil franchise - Resident Evil: Underworld.

                When we last left our heroes, the survivors of the elite unit known as the S.T.A.R.S. had vowed to take down the Umbrella Corporation and reveal to all the horror they had unleashed on the world.  In order to do that, the team split up, with Rebecca, John and David heading to Caliban Cove and Jill, Chris and Barry heading to Europe in an attempt to take down the Umbrella Corps Headquarters.  David, John and Rebecca just survive the Caliban Cove mission and, upon returning to Raccoon City, come across rookie Raccoon City Police Officer Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, Chris' sister. 

                Departing from Raccoon City while filling each other in, the group head to an airfield and transportation to Europe to form up with the rest of their team.  Unfortunately, the mysterious Trent has other ideas.  He hijacks the plane, informing David, John, Rebecca, Leon and Claire that their greater mission lies in locating a codebook held by the director of an Umbrella facility in Utah.  Finding this codebook is imperative as it could help unlock all of Umbrella's secret documents. 

                The group reluctantly accepts what is supposed to be an easy mission.  But where Umbrella is concerned, nothing is easy and the group finds themselves separated, fighting Umbrella agents above and demonic Umbrella creations down below.  We're not just talking zombies anymore, folks, these latest creations are horrific abominations with speed, agility, some with the ability to fly and our heroes are running out of ammo.  Can they stop the monsters and take out facility director Jay Reston before he unleashes his monsters on the unsuspecting world?

                I have to say, Resident Evil: Underworld was less scary than most of the Resident Evil novels I've read thus far.  There are no zombies waiting around corners for our group.  The only monsters we come across are in the artificial environments called "The Planet."  Though nasty - pterodactyl-like creatures, giant scorpions, inside-out goats that can squirt acid and Tyrants - these monsters, for some reason, are just not as frightening, especially while encased in controlled environments.  I did enjoy the change of heart in the electrician, Cole, who ends up helping the folks trapped in "The Planet."  Too bad his character is short lived.  Would have liked to get to know him a bit better.  Other than Cole, there really weren't any new characters introduced that are worthy of mention.  I did like the sneak peak into Trent's background though - offered up a great explanation as to why Trent is out to get Umbrella.

                All-in-all, while a fun addition to the series, Resident Evil: Underworld just doesn't have the scare factor of the first three novels in the series.  Here's hoping the next novel in the series, Nemesis, is a bit scarier.


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