House of the Dead II and III Return

By Micah Kolding

Genre:

Shooter

Publisher:

Sega

Release Date:

Now Available

Developer:

Sega

I think a lot of us have had this experience before: maybe you're hanging out with your friend, laughing and talking  and trading stupid jokes, and suddenly he delivers a line that you're clearly supposed to think is hilarious but apparently comes from some movie you have never seen before. After a few seconds of confusion he says something along the lines of, "What, you've never seen Blazing Saddles before? That's it, we're watching it tonight!" Then, after a trip to the local rental store and a good hour and a half of absolutely no laughter, your friend leans apologetically over to you and says, "You've got to understand, I haven't seen this movie since I was ten."

But anyway, get ready for a review of everybody's favorite old bowling-alley-grade zombie shooter as it makes its triumphant comeback on the Nintendo Wii!

Yes, there's no escaping it, House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return takes these two arcade titles, gives them a tacky hairpiece and a Botox injection and sends them back out into the world to compete against games that are too young to have ever been called "the bomb." As a novelty they're terrific, shamelessly flaunting the same bad graphics and hilariously abhorrent voice acting of the original games with acceptable faithfulness, but only a true fanatic of the series would want to pay thirty dollars for such a pop culture museum exhibit. With disappointingly little content, a few frame rate problems, and a frustrating attempt to compensate for your console's lack of a quarter slot, the trip down memory lane is a short drive in a broken car.

A few new features are added to these games in an attempt to flesh out the experience. A training mode,  a boss battle mode, and other simple minigames offer rewards in the form of extra credits, bonus ammunition, and other bonuses that range from the useful to the comical. These are nice additions, but ultimately insubstantial and not enough to make these truly brief adventures worth the asking price.

Indeed, there is a lesson to be taken from House of the Dead: one should always be wary of resurrecting that which has died, lest it should return as a horrible and grotesque abomination of its former self. If only they could have taken their own advice. Save your money, play Resident Evil instead, and always, always keep those games spinning.

Our Score: 4/10

About the author:

Micah Kolding is a teacher, writer, and cartoonist from Davis, California. His sharp and satiric edge has appeared in the likes of The California Aggie and The Sacramento Book Review, as well as on stage.

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