Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Great Playthrough - Game 49: House of the Dead III

Firstly, may I say a huge F*** YOU to the blogger app - as I had written half of this blog post and then saved it on there, and it has now decided that it no longer exists. So let us take a moment to mourn the nuggets of well-written criticism and humour that I am now never likely to recover....


And now, let's get on with it!

*Waits for a cry of "Yes, let's get on with it!*

House of the Dead IIIReleased on: Arcade, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3
Played on: Nintendo Wii
Release date: 2002

Hands up who likes zombies? I don't mean those of you who actually like zombies (i.e. those who think that zombies are nice) I mean those of you who like zombie-related media (especially games where you get to shoot them in the face!)

Given the demographic of those of you who read my blog (which I don't have any hard or fast data on - I just make things up to fit whichever blog I'm writing) - I'm guessing that a lot of you are entertained by zombie-related media.

Which is good - because, lets face it, House of the Dead III is all about Zombies. No two ways about it. It's not even about a House anymore...

So a more accurate title would be Zombies Zombies Zombies Zombies (Zombies Zombies Zombies) - Or, alternatively, Boom! Make the Zombies heads explode!

As you may (or may not) have guessed - there is a lot of zombie killing that goes on in this game. And just because I'm a 32 year old video gamer, doesn't mean that I think killing zombies is big OR clever.. however, it is fun. Lots and lots of gory head explode-y maniacal fun.

And that pretty much sums up House of the Dead III for me. It is the second best of the House of the Deads that I have ever played (I also own House of the Dead 2, and House of the Dead: Overkill - and I have played House of the Dead as well) - and that is simply because they have got all of the elements perfectly streamlined.

Big guns? Check.

Zombies that explode when you shoot them? Check.

Different type of Zombies? Check - in fact, this game has standard zombies, slimy zombies, lady zombies, FAT MAN zombies and many many more

Zombie versions of other animals (most notably the bloody zombie vultures?) Check.

A completely nonsensical plot? Check.

So as far as this review goes, this game should be perfect, right?

Well unfortunately,there is an elephant in the room. A giant hulking zombie elephant.(Zombie elephants - thats a great idea!) And that elephant's name is "difficulty."

This was designed to be an arcade game that kept you entertained, and then ate your money - which I can appreciate. However, for this home port, did they give you the option for infinite credits? No. When you first boot up the game, you start with five credits. Which, if you are playing two-player, are shared. Then, every time you play through and die, if you get far enough, you earn another credit....

And this wouldn't be so bad, but the bosses are designed to be almost unbeatable... (And I only know this, because in a previous playthrough, I used a cheat for infinite lives, and it took me and a second player about half an hour to kill the final boss - and we died about twenty times each!) - so it gets very frustrating that you slam your way through the level, and then have to deal with the ridiculous boss at the end of each one!

Apart from all that, though, I did enjoy it. And my enjoyment was increased by playing in two-player with my gorgeous wife! Not only does that just make it loads more fun, but also it meant I got to listen to her wonderful comments on the cutscenes.

Now, bear in mind, that both Neety and I have a love for awful cutscenes in games (why else would we play Resident Evil games so much?) but in this game in particular, she came out with some absolutely cracking lines - mostly due to the ridiculousness of the situation in which all the cutscenes happen.

Basically (for those of you who don't know), all the cutscenes show Dr Curien (the mastermind behind pretty much everything in the HOTD-verse) talking to his terminally ill young son, Daniel, in flashback. But what makes it so ridiculous is that he is asking him hugely philosophical questions, which Neety then kept coming up with comedy responses to. But the best was this one.

CURIEN - "Daniel, have I overstepped the boundries of human morality?"

NEETY (IN VOICE OF DANIEL) "I dunno Dad, I'm eight. I like the Power Rangers!"

This made me laugh so much that I had to pause the game, so I thought I ought to share it with you.

As far as the rest of the game goes - there's loads to enjoy (if you like on-rails lightgun shooters, which I most definitely do!). The graphics appear to be an arcade-perfect port, and the controls are accurate and responsive - so it's great fun all the way through - it's just too damn difficult!

But if you've got the game, and fancy a bit of zombie shooting, mindless fun - there's very few games that offer the simplistic visceral thrills of this one.

Rating: 7.5/10
Time played: About 45 minutes - I couldn't bring myself to start again after dying.
Wouild I play it again? Often!

Next time - it's back to the SNES for the wonders of Street Fighter II: Turbo - join me, won't you?