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House Of The Dead (PC)

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    7 Reviews
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      23.09.2011 01:09
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      a very good arcade port of a classic rail shooter

      House of the Dead was originally an arcade game, specifically a lightgun rail-shooter that allowed one or two players to blast their way through level after level of mindless zombies in the time honoured tradition of the likes of Operation Wolf, Beast Busters and Virtua Cop. The pc version is more or less a direct port, albeit with some added extras thrown in.

      The graphics are identical, being in non-accelerated and thus rather jagged and pixellated 3D, but still retain a definite charm despite their crudeness. The game is only one player, but although it can be played using either mouse or (more challengingly) keyboard, it is also possible to buy a PC monitor-compatible to recreate the arcade experience more closely.

      As in the arcade version, the game mechanics are very simple, requring the player to blast away at the on-screen zombies that try and bite you or tear into you with chainsaws whilst other foes also attack you, including giant worms, bats and hideous swamp monsters. The game moves rather quickly, requiring fast reflexes, and there are of course also hostages to save/avoid shooting, which can lead to bonus items and areas- save a civilan from being hurled off a bridge or chomped to bits and they might give you a health boost, or use a keycard to open an otherwise inaccessable area, in which case the on-rails game will take a slight detour through the level. Each level ends in a boss fight, which, in true retro fashion, requires you to dodge attacks of some immense monstrosity whilst blasting away at his exposed weak spot.

      The PC version comes with both an Arcade mode, whihc is jsut a direct copy of the original, and also a new PC Mode, which is the same but for the addition of 4 new playable characters, each of which has different abilities, such as faster reflexes, more health or faster loading times, but this doesnt add much longevity overall.

      It's best to play this game with a lightgun, as keyboard and mouse play is a bit dull to be honest, although if you insist on playing with a keyboard then I would reccommend getting Typing of The Dead, which is exactly the same game except that you have to kill zombies by typing in particular phrases before they can attack you (sounds daft, but its actually a brilliant idea in practice!). The game is pretty short, (and the voice acting is hilariously bad) but its well put together with lots of tense and exciting moments, and is definitely worth picking up if arcade shooters are your thing.

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      24.05.2011 01:10
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      Don't buy this. No matter how nostalgic you may be feeling.

      There have been quite a few movies made about zombies, but for my, and possibly anyone else's money, the best are Night of the Living Dead, and Dawn of the Dead. Not because they're particularly gory (gore doesn't necessarily make for a good movie); not just because they were directed by George Romero - although his sterling direction no doubt quite a lot do with the success of the films. Nope, the reason that these two zombie flicks are so good is that while they both take place in different settings, both of the movies have a sense of claustrophobia and desperation about them.

      The people in Night of the Living Dead are trapped within a farmhouse, with zombies approaching from all sides, while the characters in Dawn of the Dead have a helicopter, and can go pretty much anywhere they want, but are still trapped in a world where the undead outnumber the living.

      Only one game, the Alien conversion for Doom, has ever made me feel claustrophobic like those two movies did. The problem with many games is that however highly stacked the odds may be against the main character, they're never really insurmountable, given the arsenal of monster-killing weapons you have access to, and the ability that most game characters have of taking loads of hits without kicking the bucket. I'd like to see a game where you couldn't just wipe out an army of foes, where you really had to watch your back and where you had to run. But wait - what's this on the horizon? It's a new zombie-based shoot-em-up from Sega. One that pits you against a horde of undead baddies. Could it be that this will be the game to finally to steal the shoot-em-up crown, to be the gaming equivalent of Night of the Living Dead?

      Er, no - it isn't. In fact, House of the Dead, the aforementioned shoot-em-up is in fact a rather uninteresting effort, converted from the light-gun arcade game of the same name. The premise behind the game is that some mad doctor by the name of Curien has been conducting Reanimator style zombie experiments at a top secret, and possibly government funded, lab. However, he has decided to unleash his creations on the world, starting with his fellow researchers. One of living occupants of the lab, a girl by the name of Sophie, makes a distressed phone call, alerting her cop/private detective/psycho-with-a-gun-friend who drives over to the lab to find Curien's creations running all over the shop. This is where you come in, and playing as the bloke with the gun, you have to make your way through the labs, set within an old mansion, and kick decaying arse - remembering to scrape your shoes afterwards. Sounds like a cue for a bit of Quake style action - but unfortunately, House of the Dead isn't a patch on any other 3D shooter.
      Railway

      But it's not even a proper 3D shoot-em-up in fact - it is in fact a game on rails, in the vein of Virtua Cop. By 'on rails', I mean that you follow a pre-determined path through the game and can't deviate from that path at all. You don't get the freedom to move in the direction you want to go - you don't control your character's movement, and only get to shoot at any baddies in your path, which is somewhat unsatisfying. This system may have been appropriate for an arcade game, allowing the player to concentrate on using the light gun. In the arcade setting the ability to explore freely would no doubt have increased the play per pound ration that the players got out of the game - something that wouldn't have exactly benefited Sega. But House of the Dead offers no obvious support for a lightgun, and certainly doesn't come with one. The only PC lightgun I know of that exists is the PC Gun but that product isn't supported or usable with House of the Dead. So instead, you use the mouse to control the targeting cursor, the left mouse button to fire, and the right mouse button to replenish the main character's supply of six bullets.


      So, without the novelty value of a light gun or two, you're left with a rather mediocre shoot-em-up. Progress through the game involves, like most other shoot-em-up, blasting your way through a series of areas, taking down baddies as you go. In The House of the Dead, these baddies are largely zombies, with the odd mutant gorilla or strange sharp-toothed frog putting in an appearance. The difference between the zombies and the baddies featured in other games is that you can blow bits off them with your gun and they keep on coming - the best way to deal with the zombies is to aim for their head and blow it off, which usually does the trick. That said, one particular zombie is never usually on the screen for more than ten seconds, so you never get into situations where you find them crawling across the ground to you, their legs blown off.

      There are various different zombies you'll run into, although most of them behave in the same way, shambling towards you. The exceptions are the oddball swinging and axe-hurling zombie who have to be dealt with first otherwise they'll do you a lot of damage. And you can only take three or so hits from a zombie before your character dies (though you can use one of your limited continues to carry on). Life points can be regained by saving some of scientists that will occasionally wander into view, usually pursued by a zombie or other nasty. Or you could just ignore them and let them get their arses kicked as a kind of gruesome punishment for messing with the dead. Would serve them right.

      There are four levels in the game - you start in the grounds of the mansion, and eventually make your way down into Curien's secret lab. Your progress is impeded not only by the zombies, but also by four bosses, two of whom can be damaged by hitting a particular weak spot on their bodies, and two whom are more vulnerable but move around more and are therefore harder to hit. The first three levels contain a 'turning point' where you can momentarily change your path - this can either be two elevator doors (you have to choose which one to take), or a scientist in trouble who, if rescued, will open a door for you, taking you down an alternate route. Unfortunately, these alternate routes only last for a minute or two before you return to the normal route through the level, and this doesn't really do much to spice up the game.

      On top of that, the game isn't really very long - you can go all the way through it in half an hour. Sega have made an attempt to make the PC version of the game an improvement on the original arcade by adding a couple of extra game modes. There's a boss mode whereby you can take on all the game's bosses in sequence, and there's also a PC mode which lets you play the arcade game but with your choice of five different characters. These characters have different statistics, so one may be able to take a lot of damage but may be slow to reload his gun, or another may only be able to take a couple of hits before pegging it, but may be armed with a gun that can make short work of zombies. This is an interesting idea - but it's poorly executed. There are no character endings, and the storyline is not affected in any way by your choice of character. This is really shown up when you play as Sophie, the person who, in the arcade mode, is the one trapped in the mansion - and come to the bit where Sophie is snatched by a flying creature. Who gets snatched when you're playing as Sophie? One of the researchers perhaps? Nope, it's Sophie - an exactly doppleganger of the character you're playing. And to add insult to the poor storytelling the Sophie that you're playing yells out 'No!' in a bloke's voice. Now that's continuity for you...


      But it's not just the continuity that's flawed - the graphics and music aren't all that good either. The levels look flat and a bit cardboardy, even considering how old the game is. In addition, you can sometimes see though breaks in the characters' bodies which appear for no apparently reason. And the music isn't much cop either - it's the kind of universal synthesiser stuff that seems to accompany most arcade games, whereas gothic organ music or more subdued tunes would have been far more appropriate given the game's setting.

      The problem with The House of the Dead is, as with quite a few arcade conversions, is that while it may have been worth a quick go in the arcades, it really doesn't stand up to close examination. It's quite repetitive, it's not very big, and once the novelty of shooting zombies wears off, as it will after about five minutes, you're left with a game that is wholly unremarkable. If you want shoot-em-up action, buy a decent game like Half Life 2, and if you want some undead action, then try Dead Rising 2 or picking up one of George Romero's zombie flicks. House of the Dead just doesn't really have anything going for it at all, and is best given a wide berth. Unimpressive stuff.

      (review by me, originally posted on GamesDomain)

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        23.01.2010 15:24
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        arcade classic

        Most people would at some point have gone into an arcade and had a go at one of the many games inside that give you a real gun to hold and a screen in which various styles of bad-guy appear and you have to blow them away before they do the same to you. The House of the dead was one of the very first of these machines and this PC title allows you to simulate the arcade experience on your home computer. Just imagine using a mouse to aim and not as many young kids running around screaming.

        During the game you move along a per-determined path shooting at monsters that require varying levels of reaction time to defeat and eventually come across a series of mini-bosses, most of which involve you having to figure out which part of them is their weak spot and blasting at it until one of you dies.

        Overall its not a game that will win any awards, however it is great when you have nothing to do and want to waste an hour or so of your day without having to put too much effort in.

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        15.07.2003 02:15
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        • "Over too quick!"

        HOUSE OF THE DEAD. This game was released in 1998 by sega it was a fairly straight conversion of the same hit arcade game from 1996. Its a one or two player on the rails shooter, you dont actually control the characture just the gun. The game begins with a cutscene, your looking at a desk and a telephone goes off, its your girlfriend, she screams "help! everyones getting killed." So instead of doing the sensible thing, ie phoning the police/ army/ A-Team, you decide to get down there in your car with you tiny handgun! Clever bloke! ------- OPTIONS ------- Before you start the game you might want to play around with the options, so id better tell you a bit about them. Firstly you can change the difficulty, its probably best to whack this up to hard. You can change the colour of the blood in the game, so if your squemish or just dont like the colour red then you can give your enemies a different shade of blood. You can also change the amount of lives and continues that yu start the game with. If you cant be bothered to reload once your gun runs out (This will happen a lot!) you can change this to auto reload. Other than the main options, There are also three different styles of play:- ----------------------------------------------- ARCADE MODE This is basically the arcade version, converted without changing anything. PC MODE This is a pc only version, this hasnt been seen on any other consoles or arcades, it isnt very different from the original mode, basically it gives you a choice of character to play the game with, each character has different stats for amount of bullets, damage caused, reload time and hit points. This adds a bit of variety to the original. There are also a few more enemies in the background but these are the only real differences that i can tell about it. BOSS MODE Does exactly as it says on the tin, gives you a chance to shoot up
        all the bosses in the game, simple! ------------------------------------------------ -------- GAMEPLAY -------- This game is fairly simple to get into, basically all you have to do is shoot at things on the screen, kind of like a shooting gallery. The game is view through your charactures eyes and you control some crosshairs on the screen, you dont actually control the characture he walks around on his own, although sometimes you will take a different path through a level if you kill a certain person or shoot a switch, this adds to the replayability as you want to see every area. The game has four levels which arnt to long and can be completed very quickly, this is one of the main problems with arcade conversions like this and virtua cop, there just isnt enough added to the gameplay. When played in the arcades you get a sense of achievement when you get furthur into the game, whilst its still nice to get furthur you dont get quite the same feel. obviously this game wouldnt be very hard without enemies, and some of these can be quite nasty, there are a lot of different baddies such as bats, zombies, guys with chainsaws and lots more. Some of these move slowly and dont do a lot of damage but the further you get the harder and faster they get, they will be jumping all around the screen making it fairly difficult to get a good shot in. Most enemies will be killed instantly by shooting at their heads, but if you hit them anywhere else it still does some damage, if you shoot a zombie in the arm it will blow the arm off making the zombie less able to hurt you. Also on each level there are a lot of civilian researchers, these should really be saved from the zombies, they sometimes help in the game or give different routes through the house. If you shoot one of these civilians you will lose a life point. Littered around the house are lots of shootable items, such as boxes and crates, these sometimes have h
        idden items inside such as lives, continues and ammo. At the end of each level there is a boss enemy, these bosses need to be shot a certain number of times in a specific area, the game tells you where to hit these which kinda makes it feel a bit spoon fed, id much prefer to have to find out where to hit them without any help. The game can be fairly scary, some of the enemies will jump out when your really not expecting it. But once you've played through it you'll know where all the baddies are as they always come up in the same place. ------- CONTROL ------- The options for controls are mouse, keyboard, joystick and lightgun, now I dont own a lightgun so I cant comment on how good this is, but it was originally meant to use one so it would be quite nice, though you might look a bit silly pointing a gun at your computer montitor! I find its best controlled with a mouse, you can move around quick enough to pick off all of the enemies. You fire with the left button and reload with the right. The keyboard is a little harder to use but is still responsive. ------------------ GRAPHICS AND SOUND ------------------ The graphics are very good for a game from 1998, but they dont need to much hardware making the game playable on older machines like mine! As anyone would know if theve read my previous reviews, i own a very poor computer, its main goal in life is too laugh at me and make me feel silly and ashamed, After that it sulks for a while and crashes out! But even with this ancient calculator that i call a Pc, this game runs like a dream, a very scary dream but a dream nonetheless. They are not a straight conversion from the arcade as they were a bit more lifelike, but they are still passable. Sound, pretty good, does what its supposed to, nice enough music and effects but nothing to shout about. The game can be very gory, with limbs flying off all over t
        he place, so it is recomended to try before letting your children play this. ------------ EASE OF PLAY ------------ This is one of the downfalls of this game and lots of other conversions like this one, its just too easy. You will probably finish this on your first days play. As the arcade was meant to be played in short bursts, it seemed harder on them, whereas on the pc you can just keep playing as often as you'd like without breaking your bank account. ------- OVERALL ------- This game should only cost about 5 pounds and is good value for it. Although its fairly easy its great for a half hour blast and it has enough replayability to keep you going for a while even after completion. For another fiver you could pick up its sequal HOTD2, this is just more of the same with better graphics. Thanks for reading. Kyle

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          16.10.2001 18:16
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          Got a fiver to spare?, then give it to me then, oh you want to spend it on yourself!, well have I got a reccomendation for you! Go into any hostelry of Computer Gaming worth its name in salt and you should be able to pick up a copy of the Sega produced arcade game House of the Dead ready and waiting for you to blast away some evil mutants all from the comforts of your very own home. For those of you that don't know the premise of this game then let me attempt to explain - what you have is a first-person shooter without any of the complications, so you don't have to worry about positioning yourself in the perfect position to shoot without getting shot, you needn't lose any sleep over which is the perfect weapon and theres no limit to the amount of bullets you can shoot the only things you can do is position the crosshair, shoot and reload nothing more, nothing less. But if its that simplistic then why is it that I love playing it so much?, now thats an easy question to answer - it is pure brainless fun, and its even more fun after you've just destroyed someone at one of your more thinking mans kind of game such as Civilization or Command and Conquer as it helps to wind you down from all that thinking (ouch!) that you've just done. We do have a storyline (of sorts), apparently its December and theres some fishy business going on in the labs of the DBR Corporation which all revolves around the evil (well he couldn't be good could he?) Dr Curien, you play the special agent sent to investigate whats happening and upon arrival you see one of the lab technicians being attacked by a mutant, as you run in with your trusty pistol and save the lab-guy it becomes obvious that the House/Lab is over-run with these beings and its up to you to kill them all before being killed by them yourself, sounds confusing? well it isn't! There are a total of 3 game-modes on the PC version, Original Mode, PC Mode and Boss Mode
          - in PC Mode this is where you get to be a tiny bit tactical, you can choose between agent Rogan or agent G, depending on which one you choose you could have more health, bullets before reload or basic power of shots, after that though PC Mode and Original Mode are both the same, take your gun - and go shooting crazy, although not too crazy as there are innocent lab assistants around, every so often one of them will run onto screen being chased by one of the mutants, shoot the lab assistant and you'll lose a life, shoot the mutant before he gets to the lab assistant and you gain a life - shoot neither and nothing happens, along with this there are extra lives and lab assistants hidden away in the scenery just waiting to be discovered by yourself, so its worth shooting that pile of Skulls as you never know what might be lurking underneath them. New Paragraph time, now then it isn't just mini-mutants you need to deal with there are also some uber-baddies that you need to be killing as well - these appear at different moments in the game and you get a quick note telling you where the weak-spot is, but unlike the other mutants they take a little bit longer to kill - fancy taking these on and nothing else? then thats where the boss mode comes into play, you get to take on all the uber-mutants without any of the other bits of the game to get in the way. A warning for you here though - it does have the elspa reccomendation label on it that says you should be over 11 if you're going to play this game and it is quite qory for the youngster if I was being honest, I mean when I was a little younger I don't think I'd have liked playing a game where you shoot a mutants face off and it still comes after you (mind you I was a weiner as a kid), but then thats just me. The last paragraph leads me onto my next point - in open play (i.e. not one of the boss characters), accuracy does get rewarded - shoot a mutant direct between the ey
          es and watch how his head goes flying off in one direction as his body slumps to the ground, get a mutant running at you with a chainsaw then shoot his arms, and watch as the armless (but definitely not harmless) body runs at you and trys to give you a 'Glasgow Kiss' (also known as a head-butt to all you englishmen out there), its fun to try and discover which bodyparts do which damage! Before you wonder if controlling this is going to be hard I can promise you they aren't - you move your mouse to position the cross-hair, click on the left mouse button to shoot and the right mouse button to re-load, if you're playing a 2-player game then its similar controls via the keypad on the right-hand side of your keyboard. A 2-player game it has to be said is a barrel of fun, you get to argue over whos going to kill which mutant and then realise its too late as the mutants killed you and the only competitive thing about 2-player is who'll get the higher score. Next onto the graphics of the game well for a game that was made in 1998 and only costs £4.99 now you'd expect them to be pretty poor but they're not, they aren't the best graphics you'll get on your PC but its got that arcadey feel to it and they work well, theres no slow-down as the screen gets filled and the mutants do lurch towards you in a menacing rather than humourous way. Finally theres the sounds - which aren't too great, you get your standard Sega fare for background music but more often than not its over-ran by an annoying American accent telling you to re-load, but still they hold up enough to keep the game quality high. All in all at £4.99 this is a game that you can't go wrong with - its easy enough to pick up and doesn't need a high-spec machine to play it, next time you're perousing Electronics Boutique why not put that copy of Quake 3 Arena down and buy this instead, you never know you might like it! <
          br> Minimum Spec Desktop PC Windows 95/98 P90 (or equivalent) processor 16MB Memory 256 colour resolution 4-speed CD rom drive.

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            01.07.2001 21:42
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            In the story line its December and theres some fishy business going on in the labs of the DBR Corporation which all revolves around the evil Dr Curien, you play the special agent sent to investigate whats happening and upon arrival you see one of the lab technicians being attacked by a mutant, as you run in with your trusty pistol and save the lab-guy it becomes obvious that the House/Lab is over-run with these beings and its up to you to kill them all before being killed by them yourself, sounds confusing? well it isn't! There are a total of 3 game-modes on the PC version, Original Mode, PC Mode and Boss Mode - in PC Mode this is where you get to be a tiny bit tactical, you can choose between agent Rogan or agent G, depending on which one you choose you could have more health, bullets before reload or basic power of shots, after that though PC Mode and Original Mode are both the same, take your gun - and go shooting crazy, although not too crazy as there are innocent lab assistants around, every so often one of them will run onto screen being chased by one of the mutants, shoot the lab assistant and you'll lose a life, shoot the mutant before he gets to the lab assistant and you gain a life - shoot neither and nothing happens, along with this there are extra lives and lab assistants hidden away in the scenery just waiting to be discovered by yourself, so its worth shooting that pile of Skulls as you never know what might be lurking underneath them. New Paragraph time, now then it isn't just mini-mutants you need to deal with there are also some uber-baddies that you need to be killing as well - these appear at different moments in the game and you get a quick note telling you where the weak-spot is, but unlike the other mutants they take a little bit longer to kill - fancy taking these on and nothing else? then thats where the boss mode comes into play, you get to take on all the uber-mutants without any of the othe
            r bits of the game to get in the way. A warning for you here though - it does have the elspa reccomendation label on it that says you should be over 11 if you're going to play this game and it is quite qory for the youngster if I was being honest, I mean when I was a little younger I don't think I'd have liked playing a game where you shoot a mutants face off and it still comes after you (mind you I was a weiner as a kid), but then thats just me. The last paragraph leads me onto my next point - in open play (i.e. not one of the boss characters), accuracy does get rewarded - shoot a mutant direct between the eyes and watch how his head goes flying off in one direction as his body slumps to the ground, get a mutant running at you with a chainsaw then shoot his arms, and watch as the armless (but definitely not harmless) body runs at you and trys to give you a 'Glasgow Kiss' (also known as a head-butt to all you englishmen out there), its fun to try and discover which bodyparts do which damage! Before you wonder if controlling this is going to be hard I can promise you they aren't - you move your mouse to position the cross-hair, click on the left mouse button to shoot and the right mouse button to re-load, if you're playing a 2-player game then its similar controls via the keypad on the right-hand side of your keyboard. A 2-player game it has to be said is a barrel of fun, you get to argue over whos going to kill which mutant and then realise its too late as the mutants killed you and the only competitive thing about 2-player is who'll get the higher score. Next onto the graphics of the game well for a game that was made in 1998 and only costs £4.99 now you'd expect them to be pretty poor but they're not, they aren't the best graphics you'll get on your PC but its got that arcadey feel to it and they work well, theres no slow-down as the screen gets filled and the mutants
            do lurch towards you in a menacing rather than humourous way. Finally theres the sounds - which aren't too great, you get your standard Sega fare for background music but more often than not its over-ran by an annoying American accent telling you to re-load, but still they hold up enough to keep the game quality high. An excellent shoot em up game for only £4.99

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            14.02.2001 20:11
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            The house of the dead uses a number of interesting, but well documented techniques, such as indistinct whirling camera shots to create a real fear in the player. The game also sports a story-line with emotional hooks to try to involve the player at every point of the game. The game comprises of the usual zombie-blasting chaos followed by the end of level boss, which makes for good structured gameplay. In addition the inclusion of a dynamic and strictly non-linear storyline adds that vital addiction factor that all games need for you to keep coming back again and again. However, the game is fundamentally undermined by the outdated graphics and poorly rendered textures although much of the zombie animation is impressively convincing. In conclusion this is a good game, a bargain price at that, which can provide hours of blasting fun: amusing yet is ultimately dispensable.

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