Wednesday, April 23, 2008

House Of The Dead 2 & 3 Return

I believe I have stated previously that there is no finer thing on this Earth than discharging a shotgun into the bloated cranium of evil. Whether it's demons, monsters, or zombies, a 12-gauge pump action is the great leveller.

Those drunkards at Sega have seen fit to roust House of the Dead 2 and House of the Dead 3 from the retirement home and ship them out to Wii owners worldwide. You get both Houses on a single disc, for which you'll be paying just under $70 AUD. It's a rail-shooting zombie-themed double feature, and those people who have never heard of either game were clearly spending the 90s in a soundproof arcade-free box with their fingers planted firmly in their ears.

These are games with a lot of problems. They're packed with unlovely graphics that would look out of date on an original PlayStation. They have plots that swerve dangerously between "incomprehensible" and "insulting". House of the Dead 2 is nun-punchingly hard and House of the Dead 3 is off-puttingly easy. The dialogue is atrocious and in House 2 the acting sounds like they've thrown a dementia patient down a flight of stairs and put the result through an intercom.

But for all those horrible, horrible crimes, these games are fun. Because - and here I refer back to my opening paragraph - you get to shoot zombies in the head with a shotgun.

That's really what it comes down to. Either you love shooting zombies in the head with a shotgun, and hence will enjoy these games, or you're a communist. The bad kind of communist. The kind that makes spicy mince pies out of puppies.

Sega wants you to play these games with a Wii Zapper, the most overpriced peripheral in the history of gaming, and I suppose that in some magical gaming paradise filled with leprechauns and Wing Commander sequels a chosen few elite actually do own these things and use them. But for the rest of us you'll be glad to know that all it takes to play House of the Dead is the ability to point a Wiimote at the screen and pull the trigger.

The biggest deterrent to buying these games is the time-per-dollar factor. Each game runs for about 25 minutes from beginning to end, tops. If you're some kind of a highly-trained light-gun ninja you'll blast your way through the entire content of the disc in under an hour, with time left over for a refreshing spot of tea.

In the interests of unnecessarily prolonging the magic, Sega initially grants you a very limited stocks of lives and continues, which is incremented for future games every time you wash out and have to start over. That miserly approach to player happiness is frustrating but, I hate to say it, effective. It encourages players to actually get better at the game, while at the same time eventually giving the terminally uncoordinated the chance to make it to the end credits. Which, by the way, are nothing special.

There's some alternate modes thrown in to the mix, but none of them really improve on the basic game, and you have to remember that these alternate modes were created by Sega, which really should have to go on all Sega games like those apalling cancer ads the government puts on cigarette packets.

Ultimately the key question for House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return is not whether you want to pay for it, but how much you want to pay for it, and if the answer is lower than $70 AUD then this is one you should definitely start watching the bargain bin for.


Corvus said...

While I do love me some spicy minced puppy pie, I'll absolutely be picking this up when it drops below $20 US.

Next Zombie Yule is going to be a good one!

Greg Tannahill said...

I like how House of the Dead teaches you to double-tap the enemy. Zombies aren't finished unless the brain is completely destroyed.