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House Of The Dead 2 & 3 Return Review

The arcade classic gets extreme on the Wii

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles was good fun, but this is what we call a proper zombie shooter. Forget the stiff, wooden monsters in Resi, these guys are like homicidal street drinkers - they're angry and they want you dead.

We've always been fans of House Of The Dead. It's undoubtedly one of the most satisfying and fast-paced shooters in the arcades, and this package gives you the two best episodes in the series.

The good news for lovers of the original is that the Wii version works perfectly. Sega has slapped in a pointer calibration option, as they did in Ghost Squad, so it has no problems reproducing the exact same experience as its coin-guzzling counterparts. And it's still one of the best shooters out there.

Click to view larger image

Shoot To Kill

RE: UC lacked impact; there was no real sense of power. HotD has it right from the start though. Your shots tear through zombies, ripping holes in them and tearing off limbs as they approach. You can actually see through the gaping wounds you blow into those fat zombies that try throwing barrels at you!

These dudes aren't slow-moving idiots; they're serious killers. Crazy chainsaw blokes burst through doors and sprint at you like crazed madmen. Ninja zombie dudes flick around your screen, bouncing off walls, before lobbing knives your way. It's fast, frantic and lots of fun - the way an on-rails arcade shooter should be.

But what if, like us, you've already played the arcade versions (or any of the numerous previous console conversions) to death? What's new? The simple answer is: not a lot. The graphics remain unchanged, which isn't so bad with HotD 3, but the Dreamcast-age graphics of HotD 2 look really dated now. There are, however, a few additions to the Wii version.

When you first turn on the game you'll find the arcade modes for both games, with newly-added tutorials (just in case you're unsure how pointing and shooting works) and a handy Boss Attack mode which, apart from giving you an extra challenge, allows you to practice boss fights without having to trawl through the relevant levels.

Blast your way through both arcade modes (which is no easy feat) and you get a new Wii-exclusive Extreme mode in HotD 3 as well, which makes some cool alterations to the gameplay.

En Guard!

To start with, it's even harder. Enemies move faster and the spread of your standard shotgun is downgraded to the pistol-like pinpoint shooting of HotD 2. On the flip side, you reload quicker and, best of all, have a new Guard Attack.

Click to view larger image
Performed with the A button, the Guard Attack is not only a powerful melee strike but it can also block enemy attacks. It's brilliant, but mastering the timing isn't easy, particularly in boss fights.

It's not exactly ground-breaking stuff but it does give you an excuse to play it through again. But then, for fans of the game, it doesn't need to be. The thing with this game is that you know what you're getting - a classic shooter. It's still great fun today, and although it looks a little dated, fans won't care. On the other hand it is one of many ports that plague the Wii library, and as much fun as it is, we'd all surely prefer developers to spend their time making new games for the console, not porting old ones.

Comments

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  1. Mendez Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 15:55

    Sega's done it again: it's read our mind and delivered exactly what we wanted. Now excuse us while we go off and daydream about a Virtua Cop trilogy.

    On the other hand it is one of many ports that plague the Wii library, and as much fun as it is, we'd all surely prefer developers to spend their time making new games for the console, not porting old ones.

    - Starting to show its wrinkles
    - Yet another port

    Doesn't that make the Magazine contradict itself a bit?

  2. Squadala Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 16:36

    Surely the game deserves more. The review cleary states itself that House of the Dead 2+3 is better than Umbrella Chronicles. As a frequent House of the Dead player, I can't help but feel confused as to how the game is showing "it's wrinkles". I mean, House of the Dead 2 is one game that is IMPOSSIBLE to get bored of. Missing out on HotD 1 was a little mistake but the game itself seems pretty much solid. With the inclusion of the new difficulty and melee attacks, it refreshes the game's formula. It may be "another port" but it's a damn good one!

  3. lattywatty Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 16:41

    Eh? I read the whole of this review and the final score just didn't make sense.

    P.S. Screenshot #10 is just awesome :D

  4. Baboon_in_a_tomb Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 16:45

    Yes it does, but I do see where the review is coming from in Terms of getting wrinkly. HoT2 I feel is really showing it, but that's afte rplaying Hot4 for so long.

    I'll be getting this either way, I'm really enjoying what Sega are doing recently.

  5. Maul-your-ass Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 17:36

    If the porting carris on at this rate the Wii will have the entire PS2 library by march of next year.

  6. phil44 Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 18:10

    I will be buying this tomorrow and just want to say thanks to the staff at onm for getting a review up before the game is released, i totally agree with the review, i have all 3 hotd games 1st on the saturn, 2nd on the dc and 3rd on the pc but i never tire of playing these games it is just a shame we dont have the first one, maybe sega will release it with a virtua cop pack :wink:

  7. NintendoWiiNath Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 18:48

    awww c'mon ONM! it deserves at least 80% i cant wait to play it tomoz twill be awesome! just gota wait now for HOTD 1&4 hehe

  8. uster dog Thursday 27th Mar 2008 at 20:34

    "BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG............RELOAD" :!: "SHOOT IT IN THE HEAD" :!: "BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG............"RELOAD" :!: AND REPEAT UNTILL YOUR FINGER GO'S DEAD :lol: :lol: :lol: .

  9. tomonm Friday 28th Mar 2008 at 10:12

    I think the point is that it's all a bit lazy. While House Of The Dead 2&3 Return is a good game, why not make a new HOTD game? It is a bit cheeky to re-release these old games and charge people Ł30...

  10. slangman Friday 28th Mar 2008 at 12:21

    Yay now i am really tempted to buy this game since you guys gave it a positve review even though its missing the first version of the game. Just one thing still puzzles me though.

    What are the graphics like? are they excatly like the arcade versions or are they they downgraded?

  11. Squadala Friday 28th Mar 2008 at 13:17

    I think the point is that it's all a bit lazy. While House Of The Dead 2&3 Return is a good game, why not make a new HOTD game? It is a bit cheeky to re-release these old games and charge people Ł30...

    It's simple Tom, if you look at the graphics of House of the Dead 4, a sequal would no way fit onto the wii. House of the Dead 3 is impressive graphics even for the wii. I don't think they could have done much else except add number 1 to the game

  12. Bradderz Friday 28th Mar 2008 at 19:23

    From wikipedia: Sega has announced that if House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return for the Wii sells well, they will bring House of the Dead 4 to the Wii as well.[2] The Wii, however, may not have the proper CPU power in order to carry out the game's graphics as it looked in the arcade.
    Surely this is an incentive to buy the game, so we can guarantee a fresh, new HOTD on the wii too! :D

  13. Squadala Friday 28th Mar 2008 at 21:25

    From wikipedia: Sega has announced that if House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return for the Wii sells well, they will bring House of the Dead 4 to the Wii as well.[2] The Wii, however, may not have the proper CPU power in order to carry out the game's graphics as it looked in the arcade.
    Surely this is an incentive to buy the game, so we can guarantee a fresh, new HOTD on the wii too! :D

    Bringing HotD 4 to the wii would blow the console apart. Heck, the game would barely manage to be put onto 360

  14. phil44 Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 00:48

    ok having played through this game both hotd2 and 3 i can say that it has got to be the best lightgun game on the wii at the moment, my only grip with this is why all the loading screens during gameplay, if i remeber correctly this did not happen with hotd2 on the dreamcast, and when i have played hotd 3 on the pc there wernt all the loading screens either(maybe im just nitpicking). but other than this i would deffinitly recomend this to any lightgun game fan, bring on hotd1 and 4 :P

  15. Phwil Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 01:56

    :idea: SEGA have released a great game, HOTD3 looks good next to most wii games, perhaps the graphics in HOTD2 could have been revamped but in all a great classic game. Hopefully sega will continue the trend of releasing its back catalogue and release the likes of the virtua cop series and my favourite Crazy Taxi 1&2 which would be a excellent contender for a wii make over.

  16. Squadala Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 05:35

    :idea: SEGA have released a great game, HOTD3 looks good next to most wii games, perhaps the graphics in HOTD2 could have been revamped but in all a great classic game. Hopefully sega will continue the trend of releasing its back catalogue and release the likes of the virtua cop series and my favourite Crazy Taxi 1&2 which would be a excellent contender for a wii make over.

    HOTD 2's graphics are fine .__.

  17. super.james Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 10:32

    they could least made the graphics better

  18. Akerjlg Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 13:22

    As a big fan of the House Of The Dead series I am more than delighted to buy this. Even though it reminds me of the X-Box's versin of Ouse Of The Dead 3 I am more than happy to pop zombies in their hidious, rotting faces over and over aain. And it's also another game that game be chalked up for us mature players -n considering the sheer over the top use of blood and disturbing zombie imagary.

    However, I seem a bit annoyed that the original House Of The Dead wasn't considered as a port? I loved that game, and it seems that the only real place to be able to play it is in some manky old arcade somewhere or on the Dreamcast. Which saddens me a little, as Sega could have actually tried really hard to give us all three games for the price of one and hen basically I would have been in my element.

    As much as I enjoy these games, I would have enjoyed to actually be able to see how the series has progressed - casually missing out House Of The Dead 4 of course, even though it'd work quite well on the Wii, it'd probably need to take a step down graphically.

    I really hope that oher companies deside to bring their light gun games to the Wii. As they're always great fun to play alone or with a mate, even if it is only used to fill up a quick half hour or spent played for days trying to rinse your best high scores. If out of the blue Konami suddenly proclaim that they're going to be ported Silent Hill: The Arcade to the console, then I will be much more than impressed.

  19. Tommson Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 14:19

    It was a great game then, and still is now. If it included the original aswell then i might of bought it, i'm still unsure why they didn't. But i wont be buying it for its current price because it's just not worth it compared to all the brand new games on the shelf.

  20. chojin Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 17:28

    I have HOTD 2 on the Dreamcast, but got this delivered a day early from Game (thanks). Both versions play well on the Wii, but I do like HOTD 3 , the shotgun is a good blaster and them fat guys look like they have doughnuts for bellies when you hit them :D


    Now all I want is a Virtua Cop release

  21. Anonymous Saturday 29th Mar 2008 at 18:28

    I think the point is that it's all a bit lazy. While House Of The Dead 2&3 Return is a good game, why not make a new HOTD game? It is a bit cheeky to re-release these old games and charge people Ł30...

    I disagree, lazy is putting mediocre PS2 titles onto the Wii and throwing in some Wiimote gestures, what SEGA have done is released two of the best lightgun games in history on a console that fits them perfectly, as they did with Ghost Squad not so long ago.

    By the way, I managed to pick this game up for Ł20 on release day, so you were wrong about the pricing too.

  22. Anonymous Sunday 30th Mar 2008 at 19:19

    You shouldn't mark it down for being "Yet another port." If that really IS your opinion then why don't you just mark every virtual console game down as well?

  23. gamepopper101 Thursday 3rd Apr 2008 at 19:19

    I bought it for my birthday and I like it. I've played all 4 House of the Dead games and 2 & 3 on the Wii has been ported perfectly on the Wii. If I compare with Umbrella Chronicles, this game is alot more fast paced. The only problem is the collecting life bonuses, because the game has many enemies, has alot of movements and is quick, it's difficult to get the bonuses.

  24. -gonzo- Saturday 5th Apr 2008 at 09:04

    Ive got HOTD 2 on dreamcast and now got the Wii version.
    I think the Wii version look slightly better than the Dreamcast version.
    Whether its because im using component cables could be a big factor, but maybe the Dreamcast version was downgraded slightly from the arcade original.
    The Wii version looks a little bit more polished.
    Its very good and love this game loads and im glad I can now play this game on my large widescreen tv as my Dreamcast guns became redundant unless I connected to my small PC screen via VGA.
    The only problem ive got now is deciding which it better, RED or GREEN blood?.

    P.S. Aslo this is loads better than Umbrella Cronicles.

  25. johndfernley Monday 7th Apr 2008 at 07:21

    it may only be an untouched port but its house of the dead so its good enough for me!

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