Wii/Dreamcast Review – House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return

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I first played House of the Dead two in arcades many years ago and then later in my home with my Dreamcast. It was a game so bad that is was good – for brief occasional playthroughs. I was feeling in the mood for a shooter, so decided the revisit the game alongside its sequel House of the Dead 3 which I have never played!

The stories are B-movie material. In them, you take control of various agents who are trying to uncover reasons for zombie outbreaks. The second game takes place roughly 18 months after the first game in the year 2000, and has its setting in Venice. The third game takes place in 2019 in a post-apocalyptic world in an unidentified research facility. Both games have cliche connections, terrible voice acting, and uninteresting characters. Despite the shortcomings of the story, it doesn’t really detract from the game.  In fact, I think the game is actually a lot more funny for it and allows the game to fit into the B-movie “so bad its good” genre.

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In terms of gameplay, these games are on-rail GunCon shooters where you take the Wiimote, aim it at the screen, and FIRE at bad guys!  What’s more is you can take a friend along for the adventure in 2-player co-op, which makes the game even more fun!

Levels generally start with a little story segment, followed by screens and screens of on-rails shooting of zombies and monsters! There are many other enemy types too – all with different attack patterns that keep things interesting and challenging. If you kill the enemies before they reach your, you don’t loose any health and get to go on further! Like many horror games, you get opportunities to save people, and if you do successfully, you get bonuses like extra health. It’s often hard to save people because the zombies are quick, but it adds a nice level of challenge to the games.

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One of the unique aspects of the game is the multiple branching paths found in each of the level. In part 2, your actions generally determine what way you make your way through your level – but you always end at the same spot. Depending on who you save people, different pathways open up that give you access to various items and health. Generally, the more people you save, the more rewarding the pathways you get access too. I really liked this because your skills determine how you proceed. In part 3, there are plenty of different pathways – many of which lead to completely different levels. The only downside is that most decisions occur when the action stops. I felt how I played had less of an effect on how I proceeded through the game which was a bit disappointing.

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At the end of each level, you get to battle with a boss! I found them probable one of most fun and enjoyable aspect of the game because they are both memorable and challenging. For example, the first boss of the second entry is only vulnerable at certain points – but during these points, you are vulnerable to get hit if you don’t succeed! This tension really makes the game engaging and fun! As the game progresses the bosses do get a lot harder – and at times frustrating – but overall I enjoyed the challenge. I found the bosses more enjoyable in part 2 than 3, but boss offer some fun boss fights.

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In terms of graphics, both games have aged, but they still look fine for what they are – silly arcade shooters! Part 3 obviously has better graphics that part 2, but I’m actually more drawn to the bad graphics as they are charmingly bad! The bosses all have unique graphics and are quite imaginative and unique, with some of them as big as the screen! The normal enemies look good enough, and some are even creepy!  The music of the game is nothing great, and the voice acting is absolutely horrible – but its charming nonetheless!

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In summary, this is a compilation of two classic GunCon games re-released for the Wii. While the graphics and music are nothing special, the gameplay is fun and the branching pathways increase replayability. The game can also be played in multiplayer which increases the fun factor. Overall, I think these games a worth a try if you like horror and GunCon games! I give this compilation a final score of 7/10, although I liked part 2 a little more than part 3!

Final Score: 7/10

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