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House of the Dead III Review

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House of the Dead III Review
Exercise your right to bear arms as well as your right to shoot zombies in the face with Sega’s House of the Dead III. This game is intended for use with a light gun peripheral and the experience isn’t nearly as fun without one, so make sure you grab either a Pelican Light Rifle or Mad Catz Blaster if you intend on playing House of the Dead III. This is a game that self respecting zombie buffs and light gun shooter fans need to have in their collections.

Story and Features

House of the Dead III does have a story behind it, but it is so unbelievably unimportant that it isn’t worth the effort of describing. Basically, there are lots and lots of zombies and monsters running around and you have to shoot them. ‘Nuff said.

The features you’ll find in House of the Dead III include the standard one-player mode along with a time attack mode. There is also an extended preview of the hilariously horrible House of the Dead movie. This game was released in late 2002 and it was already obvious at that point that House of the Dead was going to be a really bad movie. A considerably better extra is that once you beat the single-player game you unlock the House of the Dead 2. House of the Dead 2 includes all of the features of the Dreamcast version of the game, and is actually a better, more feature-rich game than House of the Dead III. Getting both games for less than $20 is a great value.

Gameplay

The gameplay in House of the Dead III (and 2) is pretty standard light-gun shooter fare. Movement is handled automatically so all you have to worry about is blasting zombies. The game uses an auto-reload feature when you run completely out of bullets, but you can also reload at any time. This is different from previous House of the Dead games where you had to shoot offscreen in order to reload. Other than the reloading stuff, the gameplay in House of the Dead III is just point, shoot, and watch enemies turn into green goo. It really is as simple as that, but there is something absolutely wonderful about holding a light gun in your hands and blasting stuff.

I used a Mad Catz Blaster with the game and it performed well. I have no complaints about the accuracy or ease of use and the construction of the gun is pretty solid. It is a better product than the Pelican Light Rifle, even though it doesn’t have as many fancy features, so I would recommend getting the Mad Catz over the Pelican.

Graphics and Sound

Visually, House of the Dead III is a surprisingly good looking game. Everything is very, very sharp looking and the enemy designs are great looking. The game runs at a perfectly smooth 60 FPS and is still pretty solid even though it is three years old. By contrast, House of the Dead 2 isn’t nearly as sharp and detailed and it is a pretty shocking change to go from playing III to 2 when you unlock it. There are some framerate issues with House of the Dead 2, but it is still very playable.

The sound in HOTD III, in typical House of the Dead fashion, is a mix of decent monster sounds, forgettable music, and horrible voice acting. The bad voice acting is the fault of poor writing rather than a lack of effort on the part of actors, and it actually adds to the charm of the House of the Dead games because you look forward to hearing what silly things they’ll say next.

Bottom Line

House of the Dead III isn’t on the same level as some PS2 light gun games, but Xbox owners don’t have many other options when they want to get their arcade shooter fix. If you are a big zombie fan (like me), House of the Dead III is a very enjoyable experience overall because there is nothing better than taking your frustrations out on some stinking, slimy, braindead zombies. It is a solid shooter that light-gun fans will enjoy, but it doesn’t offer anything new or different than other games in the genre. The best part of House of the Dead III is that you are actually getting two games for the price of one since a port of the Dreamcast version of House of the Dead 2 is included, so this is a very solid buy. You can find House of the Dead III for under $20 now and a light gun for around $30, so I think it is a pretty solid purchase. Zombie fans definitely need to have this in their collection.
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