House of the Dead 2 and 3 Return
Nintendo Wii (2007)
I knew it had been too long since I had stepped in an arcade when I happened across House of the Dead 4 at my local mall and my first question was, “wow, did I miss House of the Dead 1 through 3?”
The House of the Dead games are rail shooters — first person shooting games where players do not control their character’s paths. Characters travel through the game along a predetermined path, and gamers are only responsible for pointing and shooting. Don’t worry, that part alone will keep you plenty busy. The two games included here are both ports from previous console systems (House of the Dead 2 is a port of the Dreamcast version; House of the Dead 3 came from the Xbox), with both games modified to work with the Wii’s controls. The Wii’s controllers, with or without any additional gun accessories, work amazingly well. Aiming is smooth, not jittery at all, and responsive. I had no frustrations with the controls at all. For those who feel a difference between using a bare controller vs. one of the zappers out there, the game includes a quick calibration mode that works great (more games should include this).
Those unfamiliar with the House of the Dead storyline shouldn’t have any trouble jumping into House of the Dead 2 and 3 with both feet. Both games’ storylines are, by and large, moot. The goal here is to shoot zombies in the head and avoid shooting humans in the head. That’s pretty much it. Along with the games’ original arcade mode, there are other modes including Extreme Mode (where everything’s a little tougher) and a training mode that tests your reflexes.
If I had any bones to pick at all, it would be with the disc’s loading times. During the arcade/story mode things’s aren’t bad, but the training mode spends ten seconds reloading every time you fail (which turns out to be quite often, in my case). House of the Dead 3 has some in-game slowdown as well. There are two other basic complaints about the game floating around on the net, neither of which I agree with. One concerns the game’s graphics, which have not been significantly updated since the Dreamcast/Xbox versions. I quit buying Wii games for their graphical quality a long time ago. The other common complaint I’ve read is that the game is priced too high — again, I disagree. $30 for two games with no major bugs sounds pretty good to me, especially compared to some of the stinkers currently available for the Wii that are priced higher than that. Fans of rail shooters are certainly getting their money’s worth with this package.