Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return (Wii) artwork

The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return (Wii) review


"There's a lot of whys when reacting to this particular release: Why not include the first game? Why these specific titles? Why the absurdly long name? Well, I'm guessing they simply used the Xbox versions, modified them a bit, and slapped them on a Wii disc. That would explain a whole lot... but since I've never touched the Xbox port, I could be waaaaaay off. As for the name, well, the name is just stupid, no matter how you spin it. "



There's a lot of whys when reacting to this particular release: Why not include the first game? Why these specific titles? Why the absurdly long name? Well, I'm guessing they simply used the Xbox versions, modified them a bit, and slapped them on a Wii disc. That would explain a whole lot... but since I've never touched the Xbox port, I could be waaaaaay off. As for the name, well, the name is just stupid, no matter how you spin it.

Regardless, you're still getting two, good light gun titles in this package, which have held up very well over the years. This is especially so for The House of the Dead 2, released way back in 1998, acting as a showcase for the then-upcoming Dreamcast. You have to keep in mind that this was in the same era of the dominating PlayStation 1, when the majority of games had a very pixelated appearance to them; to see this game's detailed zombies with smooth textures coming for you was quite a sight! What's more satisfying was watching their heads and torsos explode when you aim for those sections.

Of course, some of you are probably wondering how a light gun game where zombies walk towards you can be so good. Well, considering THotD2 is a faint memory for some, I can understand that line of thinking. The thing is, it's actually a very tough game. It's not like traditional titles in its genre where bad dudes fire from a distance with delayed shots, it's instead a game where you have to react quickly at literally every turn. Standard zombies will be breathing down your neck, ready to slash, ninja monkey zombies (!!) pop out from doors or sewers and run on walls, and groups of acidic slugs lunge with minor hesitation. Some zombies are going to require more precise aiming than others to take out, because they usually hold or wear objects that protect their vital spots. A fine example is the zombies wielding two axes that block most of their face. The only vulnerable part is the top half of their heads, and if you miss and shoot the axes, instead, they'll go from marching to a full-out charge attack!

It's these types of encounters and situations that make THotD2 a real challenge to complete on the default setting. Fortunately, the game lends you additional lives and credits whenever you lose everything, which you can fiddle around with or reduce once you get more experienced. When it comes down to it, The House of the Dead 2 is just one of those titles that show a game can age well if the play mechanics and graphics are solid enough.

The House of the Dead 3, the obvious other game on this disc, almost acts as a counterbalance to THotD2's difficulty. Whereas, it'll take several playthroughs to even make it to the last stage in THotD2, you'll likely reach the second to last stage in THotD3 on your first try! That's not to say the game is insanely easy, as it has a similar group of zombies to combat, but it goes out of its way to be more forgiving than its predecessor. The biggest example is how easy it is to gain extra lives by rescuing your partner from zombies. What makes this simple is that you can't hurt your partner no matter what, so you can blast away at the zombies without worry. This would have been fine if it was the only means to replenish your health, but you can still find packs hidden in containers, or receive more if you get an A or S rank at the end of a level.

Just because it's an easier zombie shooter, doesn't mean it's a bad one, though. You'll get plenty of zombie action here... just on a less challenging scale. Look at it this way: if you're not in the mood for THotD2's difficulty, there's THotD3 to mess with, and vice versa.

However, there's one issue I keep running into while playing 2 & 3 Return that's a nuisance. Whether it's sloppy coding or whatever, shots in both games are off, even after calibrating. Like, you can aim directly at a zombie's head, shoot, and still manage to miss in some instances. This doesn't pop up that much in THotD2, but it's a frequent problem when battling most of the bosses in THotD3. It's most apparent with the giant, "security guard" zombie that chases you in two stages. The only area you can hurt this beast is its head, and you need to hit the head several times to cancel its charge attack on you. Now, with the off-the-mark blasts, this becomes more a battle of luck than skill. It's such a disappointing flaw in this overall solid package, but it's one you can deal with... You won't like it, but you can deal with it.

Issue or no issue, this is still a good deal, since it's the most affordable version of either games. If you want the other, previous ports, you'll have to go out of your way to buy the games and one or two gun peripherals. With this port, the Wii Remotes already act as light guns. It's also better than getting THotD: Overkill. I mean, that sequel is fun and all, but it's absurdly easy. At least with The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, you can get both a challenging and easy game.

Rating: 8/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (October 24, 2010)

The House of the Dead 1 Story Time: PickHut once saw a guy in an arcade bar make it to the Magician boss battle, and he was fighting him with both guns. While wearing a cowboy hat.

More Reviews by pickhut
The House of the Dead 2 (Dreamcast) artwork
The House of the Dead 2 (Dreamcast)

At last you've come... FRIENDS. The door.. of fate.. shall open.
Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360) artwork
Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360)

Karl Fairburne 2.0: allergic to headgear.
Sniper Elite (Xbox) artwork
Sniper Elite (Xbox)

Karl Fairburne: survived WWII Berlin, Germany despite having to deal with soldiers seeing through solid matter.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.