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The House of the Dead 2
is History. Hey quiet at the back of the class.
Light gun games
are probably the most linear games available, but over the last few years
we have seen many changes. Mike, a friend of mine had a game called Duck
Hunt on his NES. Each time I visited we use to play this, it was amazing I
enjoyed it a lot even though I was rubbish at it. Fast forward some years
and we were introduced to the 'real' FMV light gun games like Lethal
Enforces and the dreadful Area 51. Just when light gun games had
disappeared into the light, Sega stood up and shouted from the roof tops.
In other words they released Virtua Cop.
Even though in
all honesty the Virtua Cop games were still linear, they built realistic
scenes then coloured them in garish shades of the primary colours. Sega
released a sequel imaginatively titled Virtua Cop 2, the sequel looked
better and the Saturn conversion had a new route at the end of the 3rd
level. The public demanded Virtua Cop 3 but instead Sega experimented with
new ideas and created ‘The House of the Dead.’
injected some weak but highly enjoyable plot segments, but the biggest
excitement point was that it had various different routes through the
levels, this added to its reply value. Was Sega listening to the public,
or was it another way to get more money from their £1 a go game? A Sega
Saturn conversion blessed the last few Saturn owners, the game was great.
It obviously lacked the graphical malarkey of the arcade version, but it
played great. The House of the Dead 2 [HOTD2] was released in the late
90's on Sega's N@omi arcade board, and now in the age of the Dreamcast you
can play it at home. Prepare
HOTD2 was one of the first wave of Dreamcast games released, but thanks to the American media the game and gun packs were very hard to come by. This resulted in many people ignoring the game, which was a shame. HOTD2 amazed me when I first loaded it up. The graphics and stages are incredibly well designed and have real depth. All the zombies from the first game are back along with a few new arrivals.
This time 'G'
and 'Rogan' from the original game have been disabled in the sudden zombie
outbreak, it is up to you to sort this zombie infestation out and find out
who is behind this latest zombie plot.
As you would expect from a sequel the game plays near identical to the original, except as is the rule for sequels: everything is bigger. Hostages are still there to be saved, and one near the beginning is impossible to rescue, and that I am sure of. Sega have obviously hired the people who did the voice acting for Resident Evil 1, as they are all very uncharismatic and sound very dumb, they have also developed the excessive hand movements from the Resident Evil series. It sounds pretty dreadful, but somehow it all fits in perfectly creating a linear interactive B-movie.
interactive? Yes! The levels still feature huge end of level bosses which
all have their various weak points and are easy to dispatch when you have
learnt their attack patterns. Playing with the light gun is much better as
you would expect over the pad, but the pad setup is also very good. The
analogue stick controls the cursor whilst button "A" fires and
"B" reloads. So by pressing both "A+B" simultaneously
you have infinite auto reload, this makes destroying the second boss real
To try and boost HOTD2’s lastability Sega has added several exclusive home modes like ‘Training’ and ‘Original’. Sadly Original is not the first game from the series but a custom version of the main game where you can earn extra characters, weapons, costumes and more. The Original mode is very hard as your default gun only holds 3 bullets. Training mode is excellent, basically you are given certain tasks to complete with certain limitations, be it time, ammo, or accuracy. You are also able to practice your boss 'techniques' as long as you have faced them already in Arcade mode.
first play HOTD2 you will get virtually nowhere, this is because HOTD2 is
very hard even on the easy difficulty level with 9 continues at your
disposal. Seriously this game will take you a while to finish….properly.
game properly? What do I mean? Well as in the first game there are several
different endings which are dependant on your score when you manage to
complete the game. Points are added for zombie head shots and deducted
when you shoot hostages, just like real life!
To add to the already high difficulty level the final boss from The House of the Dead 1, The Magician, appears as the penultimate boss, worst still he is even tougher than before. But compare him with the final boss -The Emperor and he seems a doddle in comparison.
Okay, so I
think you have realised that the game is hard, what about the sounds? Well
the music is atmospheric with some real haunting tracks on the later
levels. The zombie moans are spot on, as are the additional sound effects
of the bullets ricocheting off metal objects and barrels.
In short this
game is the same as what you play in the arcade. The game is very
enjoyable, and even more so when you play in 2 player. However as in any
light gun game you will not be playing it all the time, more likely you
will return to a spot of zombie shooting a little and often. Purchasing
the game and the gun may seem expensive, but how much would you be
spending on the Arcade machine at £1 a go? Well? How much?
"Empty your barrel and shoot your load, only in The House of the Dead 2."
I agree with what Sam says here. The graphics are more detailed than the arcade but personally I think the sound is awful. When will companies get in real scriptwriters? There is little point in buying a ‘gun’ game without the gun; Like going fishing without a rod. Really, once you had completed the game they should have given you a level select like ‘Virtua Cop’. You will play the first level so much that you will hate it with passion. And Sam is right about the two hostages at the beginning! They just can’t be saved…you need two players! Why? Who knows?
7/10- "At the end of the day it’s a great shooter. Nothing more, nothing less.”
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