House of The Dead 2 released on the Sega Dreamcast on September 9, 1999. You and your partner go investigate a mad scientist, and zombie madness ensues.
Now I am no huge fan of light gun games, I have played a handful of them ranging from Time Crisis, house of dead, Operation wolf etc.. You either love them or hate them right? Personally for me they either need to be innovative (time Crisis) or have content that I enjoy (Terminator).
One warning, you can play this either with a light gun or the DreamCast controller. The latter will almost make you wish you put your hand in the food processor, your choice though.
You play as either James Taylor or Gary Stewart, two goverment spooks, in search of a man named “G” only to find out the town has been over run by Zombies. So naturally in a situation like this you start shooting first and worry about the rest later.
You’ll find yourself traveling through four stages of multi-pathed gun shooting action. The stages in House of the Dead II are brilliantly designed, enough to keep your interest piqued and they manage to deliver on the element of surprise, which is a must in any light gun game.
The good design manifests itself primarily in the creature placement. You can expect your foes to pop out of doors, windows, and gates, and will more often than not have a creature leap at you from a balcony, or up from under a bridge. The level designs also allow for multiple paths (accessible mostly by saving defenseless citizens), and a few other gameplay twists, such as your taking out targets while riding on a speed boat.
The creatures that you encounter in The House of the Dead 2 look great, and are varied in both form, and style of attack. You’ll encounter typical zombies, who just walk up to you, looking to be blasted, axe-wielding zombies, who use their axe as a form of shield, owls, whose flight patterns can be somewhat difficult to work with, along with green slime creatures, bats, and a whole host of other creatures. One thing that’s cool about the game is that you can fire on different parts of the creatures and expect different graphical results; fire at a zombie’s left side, and he’ll jerk back to the left; fire to the right side, and the zombie will jerk to the right. And don’t be surprised if you blast off a few limbs and blast out a few holes in the brainless heads of these creatures.
The graphics of House of the Dead 2 are somewhat of a mixed bag – and I mean that in quite the literal sense.
On the one hand, the main zombies, and most of the boss characters are detailed, and seem to be lacking visible polygon seems. On the other hand, the human characters, and many of the other enemies, look like they were pulled straight out of part 1, with little if any form of enhancement to their models.
I suppose there’s a trade off involved here, though, as the game does allow for plenty of creatures onscreen at one time. The levels themselves are modeled well, with an uncanny level of detail, but the texture maps and shading range from the good, to the just-plain hideous. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game with such a varying level of texture resolution.
The light gun genre is typically plagued with one very large problem – play time. Games of the genre are usually pretty short experiences, and this is typically due to the fact that they hold their origins in the arcade, where short playtime is the norm. If you were unpleased with the playtime in other lightgun games, House of the Dead II won’t please you any more, as you’ll probably get through the game from start to finish in only a half hour. I’m actually of the opinion, though, that this is the perfect time for a game of this nature, as it allows for a quick arcade-style thrill.
There are a few things, though, that add extra value to House of the Dead 2. First up are the multiple paths. You’ll have to play the game multiple times in order to go through every single path through the game, and when you play the title over again, even after having seen all the paths, you’ll have fun choosing the path that suits you best. Also contributing to the playtime is the absolutely insane difficulty of the game. Sega went overboard on this one, as it’s quite difficult to get through the game even on the easiest setting (you’ll definitely want to go at the game if possible using the 2-player mode – don’t worry, the game seems to be quite enjoyable when one player uses a gun while the other player uses the controller for shooting). Finally, we have the few additions Sega has made to the game in the form of three additional gameplay modes. First off is the training mode which allows you to complete various training missions in order to hone your skills; these are ridiculously hard, and the load time makes them somewhat of a nuisance, but they still add a lot to the game. There’s also the boss-attack mode, in which you fight the bosses you encountered in the game, trying to best your time, and the original mode, which allows you to select from a few power ups to start the game (the ability to increase the round size on your gun will be a lifesaver for the inexperienced gunsman).
I’ll not argue with you, though, that it would have been nice to have seen a couple of extra levels in there, accessible only once you’ve followed certain difficult paths. However,House of the Dead II does have more bang for the buck than most other gun games, and it also has faster gameplay, better enemy placement, and awesome surrounding atmosphere. Experienced gunmen would be silly to pass this one up; the inexperienced out there may want to take a look as well. For the love of God, though, PURCHASE THE GUN!