Thursday, 4 December 2014

House Of The Dead 2 - PC

There's the dead, it's the second game, but... Not so much the House from the first game.

I have to admit, I'm a big fan of light-gun games. Whether it's the joystick-cum-machinegun in the form of Operation Thunderbolt/Wolf, Mechanised Attack or Beast Busters, or an actual light gun that you specifically aim and shoot such as Point Blank, Time Crisis and this lovely little game, House of The Dead 2. On the PC, without a light gun... Well technically you could buy it with a sort of light gun and it came with House of the Dead 2 and it came with Virtua Cop... It didn't work so well.

This is a boss. This is also how to kill the boss. Shoot the annoying gobby one.

But here it is on the PC, House of the Dead 2 and you get to use the mouse with the game instead of the light gun... Pretty much defeating the point but hey-ho, let's go onwards with the game as it is.

Hold my fire? Seriously???

House of the Dead 2, a game by SEGA where you take it upon yourself as an agent of some sort armed with unlimited clips of ammo and a pistol, to uncover the undead conspiracy (it's a kind of obvious to be honest), and battle your way through armies of the undead, monsters, mutations and all other sorts of nastiness in an effort to... Get to the end of the game and see if you earned some sort of award. At least, that's the arcade part.

Yeah um.... Ooops...

Journeying your way through the desolate and ruined city, you'll encounter other agents and hear more of the plot, not that it matters as you'll be fighting your way through things regardless. What you can do however, is find that fights are easier if you score headshots and hidden in places around the game are a whole host of little bonuses such as extra points, extra hit points and even alternative routes depending upon if you hit the right item at the right time or if you rescue specific innocents before their untimely demise. (Or you shoot them yourself).

Dead in 3... 2... 1...

The levels start out easy enough with relatively few enemies appearing and those that do give you plenty of chance to line up, squeeze off the right shot and move onto the next little confrontation. While later levels and later within levels, you'll be set upon by more and more immediate threats that pop up and require not only quick reflexes but multiple shots to dispatch of your foes. Get far enough through the level and you'll be greeted by one of the game's many bosses. Ranging from "Flying nutcase with a headless knight" to "Giant chainsaw man" to "My cousin as a fish monster" and my personal favourite "The Magician" from the first game. Yes, I actually grinned at the opportunity to fight this little mascot of House Of The Dead again.

Welcome back, Magician. Let's go for Round 2!

What the PC (and home console) version have however, is an abundance of extra options beyond just the game itself. There's the Original mode where players can play through multiple times in order to gain extra powerups and adjustments that give them an extra edge, such as larger clips, different guns, more powerful rounds, unlimited ammo machine guns etc. But at a single use cost for that play through and performing better in levels will net more purposeful and powerful rewards. It does make quite the difference when you upgrade your pistol for a grenade launcher.

The further you get into the game, the more futuristic things become.

Boss mode, Training and Network modes are available for those that want to practise on the bosses, practise at practising the game with various tasks and options and lastly, for people that like to play co-operative not on one machine. There's a little extra here for others that gives a slightly better replay value and the die-hard fans can also get themselves bonus items for 5* ratings on EVERYTHING but you're rewarded some VERY powerful items and infinite use items such as credits too. Though by this point, there's going to be little challenge in the game for those players.

Bonus lessons in Gray's Anatomy did not feature this.

The music and audio are fairly good though don't pause the game as the whole music restarts if you do. It keeps to light little upbeat tempo with an undertone of orchestral accompaniment and doesn't become overbearing on the actual gameplay. Though the final boss fight and magician boss fight feature the more pronounced compositional work, with the Magician in particular being a reprise of the original game's final boss music and a welcome return it is too.

There's a lot of different, varied, and sometimes stupid ways, to lose health. This is the stupid way.

Everything looks a little dated by today's standards. The 3D engine fitting well with the game back in arcades on the AM2 systems and the Dreamcast but the transition to the PC has left things feeling a little hollow, animations and movements come across straight from the uncanny valley and the lack of facial expressions leads us to believe that this city is inhabited by the army of the uncaring bastard when people watch their friends and family eaten alive and still show the same nonchalant expression.

Dead, of the House...2?

It's a fun game but without the light gun and that extra level of immersion, it falls flat on itself, you'd be better off finding it in the arcades (or the later games for that matter) or getting the home console version.