|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SEGA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
January 4, 2008 - Many gamers, thinking back, may agree that their initiation into the world of videogames occurred at an arcade, be it at the local Chuck E. Cheese's or at one of those little mini-golf places scattered all around beach areas. There were tons of different arcade games, but arguably the best among them were the light gun shooters. These games put a plastic gun in your hands and challenged you to shoot the living daylight out of enemies placed on-screen. Fans of such games have cause to rejoice because Sega is porting both the second and third iterations of its famed House of the Dead series to the Nintendo Wii.
It's likely pretty obvious that House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, the game's full title, will feature compatibility with the Wii Zapper -- the peripheral that has you snap the Wii Remote and Nunchuk into a plastic gun. This nifty little peripheral which can be picked up for 20 dollars retail does a great job of emulating the experience that you'd really get at an arcade.
Like pretty much every House of the Dead game, the premise for this remake is relatively simple and straightforward. You, the player, are placed in a situation in which you've got to fight for your life against hordes of bloodthirsty zombies. You're going to need to keep cool and implement a quick trigger-finger and sharp aim to make it out alive. And in this game, hordes means hordes. Real hordes. You're faced with masses of zombies which, while taken down relatively easily, bring deadly new meaning to the term "strength in numbers."
House of the Dead is a rails shooter, which, for those unfamiliar with the term, means that you're not entirely in control of your own movement. Instead, you move along a set path, like a train on tracks, and only control where you shoot (although there may be the ability to affect where you go by performing certain in-game acts ). This is a very interesting type of game, and as any fan of the sub-genre can tell you, it's a lot of fun. And as far as rail shooters go, House of the Dead is one of the best there is.
Though we have little information to really judge the game's graphical capabilities, it's possible to say that they're shaping up to be quite nice. Screenshots present the game as quite crisp-looking (always a good thing, because oftentimes the game looks better in real life than in a screenshot), and really enhance the atmosphere of the game. It's one thing to be rushed by a pixilated, obviously fake-looking zombie, and it's something entirely different to be attacked by one that seems straight out of a childhood nightmare. It's unclear currently whether the game is receiving a graphical update, but currently signs certainly do point to yes.
Seeing as House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return is a two-game pack, it's clear that there's going to be a lot of replay value. The mere fact that there are two games is a bonus for anybody shopping with an eye on value for price, die-hard fans of the House of the Dead series, and those looking for an action-packed Wii shooter. There are several different modes in this game, allowing you to enjoy House of the Dead in a number of ways. There are at least six different modes confirmed so far, including the classic arcade version of the game, a time trial of sorts, challenging you to play through as quickly as possible, and many others. Finally, add to all this a budget price tag of just 30 US dollars, and you've got yourself one heckuva deal.
One of the most exciting modes is the co-operative multiplayer, which allows you and a friend to blast through the game's levels working together on a split screen. The ability to play through the entire game with or without a friend is another huge replay value factor, and pretty much ensures that whether playing by yourself or with another person, there's no end to the fun you can have with this title.
House of the Dead 2&3 Return is shaping up to be one of the most fun, nostalgic gaming experiences on the Nintendo Wii. For those of you who miss the fun (but not the cash requirements) of arcade shooters, or if you enjoyed titles like Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles or Ghost Squad, then this game is definitely for you. Keep an eye out for this title in Spring of 2008.
CCC Freelance Writer