Review: The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return
Posted 03 Apr 2008 at 12:15 by Sam Gittins
|"the IR recognition works fantastically well and you can quite comfortably use either the Wii remote on it's own or dust off your zapper for some zombie zapping action"
Sega are no strangers to the light-gun genre and are responsible for such respectable reticule based shooting series' such as the classic Virtua Cop, the recent and decent Ghost Squad and of course more topically the House of the Dead.
The series has had players gunning down ghouls since the early days of the Sega Saturn, through the Dreamcast era and right up to today with the continuation of the arcade series and now it's arrived on the Wii. Essentially this is a port of the second and third installments, pressed onto a Wii format disc and made to work with the Wii remote but should you be expecting any more of it?
Basically no, as this does exactly what it says on the box, for your money (RRP seems to vary at retail outlets) you get both games in their original format, with their original game modes (including two player co-op) and of course their original visuals and "classic" voice acting. So it's something of a mixed blessing really as on the one hand this is a good deal if you have never played the games before but not much to attract players who have played them to death before.
Firstly lets get the obvious out of the way; the IR recognition works fantastically well and you can quite comfortably use either the Wii remote on it's own or dust off your zapper (or third party light gun shell of your choice) for some zombie zapping action. Personally I found using the zapper the best option as it just "feels" right playing the game with it due to it's versatile shell which I discovered also works wonderfully well when used upside down and on it's side as well as in it's default position. (try it if your incredulous towards this claim)
It's a fun experience too with lots of undead creations to blast (including a giant zombie Sloth), destructible objects, a plethora of pickup bonuses, victims to save from death or their deaths to savor (your choice) and a nice selection of alternate routes. At first some may find the difficulty annoying even on the lower levels but as soon as you become accustomed to the controls everything quickly becomes second nature and you'll be blasting through the games modes in no time.
Combined the two games feature six varying modes which basically all revolve around the original game with story mode but with a few tweaks here and there; Normal is the default mode, Arcade has more chances for bonuses and the like while Time Attack requires you to shoot as many undead as quickly as possible to continue the carnage. It's the two player co-op mode which really shines though, still identical to the other modes except for the participation of another (hopefully) human player which really elevates the fun factor of the game taking it to new levels.
Love it or hate it, these are still the same games that were released many years ago though and thus visually they are sorely lacking, that goes for a widescreen mode to as borders are present; sound is now in Pro Logic II though so one has to think, would it have killed Sega to remove the two small side borders? Also the original voice acting is still present and is so bad that it's perhaps unintentionally hilarious and acts as a plus point due to it's mediocrity rather than detracting from the solid gameplay.
Had they made this into a remake then expectations would have been understandably high as fans would have warmly welcomed a graphical overhaul, decent voice acting as well as an obligatory online mode with scoreboards and extras. As it stands though this is a quick port but one that is a decent effort and well worth picking up if you can pick it up for under the twenty five pound mark or ideally less if you can but it's certainly worth no more than that; but if you have the cash to spare and fancy a light-gun game that will keep you entertained for a fair while then you could do far worse then this.
N-Europe Final Verdict
A decent low budget ported package and another enjoyable light gun game for the Wii; which hopefully paves the way for the series to make another return sometime in the future.
Solid IR recognition
Enjoyable twoplayer coop mode
“Classic” voice acting
No widescreen support