If “The House of the Dead 2 & 3: Return” seems like a perfect fit on the Nintendo Wii, that’s because it is. Never in the history of the industry has a system’s standard controller been so suited for the arcade shooter. Because of this, regardless of your affinity for Sega’s once proud series, you’ll have a bloody good time playing through it.
Gruesome and fast-paced, both games featured on this disc will provide a flashback to the late ’90s where arcades, still on their last legs, were filled with teens splurging quarters on whatever shooters they could find. Despite not being particularly good-looking and having the cheesiest voice-acting ever in a video game [even Troma’s own Lloyd Kaufman would get choked up listening to some of it] the series had a cult following due to its hilarity and difficulty.
Feeling like a B-movie throughout, you’ll have a hard time feeling any type of emotions for the characters that seem pretty damn calm in spite of the fact that they are being chased by hordes of zombies. Their actions will come off forced, weird and overly formal, all at once, making the game more funny than scary. Truth be told, both games that possess “The House of the Dead 2 & 3: Return” are easily two of the worst video game story lines ever written, but it doesn’t take away a thing from the overall gameplay.
“God of War” this is not, but who cares- there are zombies.
As far as the difficulty goes, the first few levels get you used to the action, but after that, it’s a crap shoot. If you’ve never played any of the games in the series and have no idea what you’re getting into, be warned- both games on this disc are tough as nails. Not only do you have to be uber quick to survive through both of these games, some gamers may have to enlist the help of a friend to get through certain passages.
This is where the game is at its best, as the standard, “You stay on your side and I’ll stay on mine” notion that many players use while playing multiplayer shooters doesn’t exactly work. The carnage gets a bit crazy at times and you’ll have to stick together and not be scared to help each other out. However, with some practice and adjustment to the patterns of your enemies, both games become easier and more than manageable for the average gamer, making for a compilation package that this well worth the price and the time.
Overall, for under 40 bucks, you’d be hard-pressed to find the type of shooting action that “The House of the Dead 2 & 3: Return” offers. The gameplay is fun, frenetic and fruitful and simultaneously provides older gamers with the type of action they’ve been missing all these years, while showing newbies how to make a shooting game work without all the bells and whistles of the competition. Sega may not be the mega publisher they were a decade ago, but this game alone proves that they still have some gas left in their tanks.