House of the Dead 2

6_1Virtually identical to the arcade counterpart with the same title, the first House of the Dead took you through a fast-paced zombie shooting splaterfest on rails. The same bloody action can be found in the sequel with few changes. The B-movie horror plot is just the right amount of camp – as a secret something, your goal is to stop a raving lunatic from unleashing his horde of zombies unto the world. Along your journey you will shoot a lot of undead, save innocent bystanders in split-second shots, and fight several nasty bosses.

The action takes a front seat here, although the plot might have actually been engaging if it weren’t for the throwaway voice acting. This is a SEGA import from the other side of the pond, so low quality acting is to be expected. But some of the voices are too quiet to be heard entirely, and the on-screen persona you assume is ridiculously off-key on everything. Finally, the mastermind behind the whole terror fiasco, a suit only known by the name Goldman, scares me with his monotony rather than any genuine hints of evil.

Technically, this title has a variety of options when it comes to input. You can set mouse, keyboard or even joystick control. Graphically, the title is a rather awkward mix of pixelated textures and blurry characters, but the action goes by so quickly that you’ll probably won’t even notice it. The level design and range of textures is diverse enough given the limitation of the engine, and the gory zombie-blasting looks appropriately horrifying when the ghoulies (or assorted companion monsters) get in your face.

The entire game is played on the rails, which is to say you have no direct control over your movement. This is almost a blessing given that so many bad guys jump at you from so many places. So even though you can’t look or move freely, you’ll need razor sharp reflexes to fight the undead hordes in front of you. Along your journey you’ll find many civilians in need of rescuing, and doing so is highly recommended as they’ll give you all manner of useful bonuses.

House of the Dead 2 is dumb but extremely fun in the end. The main issue with the game is the same as its predecessor – the lack of replay value. Since each particular level plays out the same, blasting through them becomes much more easier (and hence a lot less exciting) once you learn each monster placement. With the being said, however, it’s great fun while it lasts.

System Requirements: PPentium 90 MHz, 8 MB RAM, Win95

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