When the Wii's unusual specifications were originally announced back at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show there were two Sega properties that I could not wait for. The first was the Super Monkey Ball series, which I have been in love with since its inception on GameCube (partially due to my infatuation with a little NES gem called Marble Madness). The second product from Sega I was anticipating isn't so much a franchise, it is a whole genre, the Light-gun genre.
You see the Wii Remote is a built in light-gun, a feature that has never been standard equipment on a major console before. Being a hquarter-pumping, light-gun wielding addict in the glory days of the arcade, I hoped that the massive success of the Wii would rejuvenate the genre. Allowing developers to bring back classic light-gun franchises such as Sega's Virtua Cop and Jurassic Park, Konami's Lethal Enforcers, and Atari's Area 51. Sega's first light-gun title came in late 2007 and was a port of the 2004 arcade title Ghost Squad, a game that never made it to the home market previously. Today, I review their second Wii light-gun title which sees the return of the infamous series The House of the Dead, via House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, a title that we previewed as part of the 10 Interesting Wii Games for 2008 NOT From Nintendo article.
The little bastard is still incredibly annoying.
As much as I do enjoy light-gun games, as Jason said in his Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles review, "these sorts of games are designed to be enjoyed in an arcade setting behind a fistful of quarters." But what is one to do when the machine is moved on to greener pastures or worse, the local arcade shuts down? Go for the home conversion of course. The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return is almost a straight port of the middle two titles in the franchise, complete with terribly voice acting, bad dialogue (grammatical errors intact as well) and a horrendous plot. But hey, at least it is two games at a budget price.
Due to the fact that the title is essentially a straight port, it tends to come off as a cash-in attempt by Sega. They did make some optional changes to the core gameplay, though. The Sonic house took the time to add at least one thing of substance, a new game mode called "Extreme Mode," but this is only applicable to The House of the Dead 3 side of things. The new mode makes the title significantly more difficult by reducing the blast radius on the player's shotgun. At the same time, more enemies are thrown at you than in the standard version. Goodluck.
HoTD2, on the other hand, received little to no changes, and is basically an exact replica of the Arcade/Dreamcast/Xbox/PC version of the title. This includes the original gruelling difficulty, which might as well be "Extreme Mode." Sadly the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dam level difficulty also means that many players STILL won't be able to complete the titles since Sega kept the static amount of credits intact. No quarter guzzling replacement available.
Om, Nom, Nom, Nom
Had the compilation included the original The House of the Dead, the deal would have been that much sweeter, dropping in at $10 per game. As it is, gamers can already play both of these on multiple platforms. The added benefits from the Wii version - that one does not need to purchase additional accessories and you receive two games instead of one - make it far more appealing. In the end I can only recommend purchasing this to those of you who love challenging light-gun games, love The House of the Dead franchise or haven't played or completed the games anywhere else.
continues to wait for a NEW light-gun title to hit the Wii, Virtua Cop 4 please.
Originally written for AnotherCastle.com in March 2008. The site has since gone into administrative mode, hence why I am re-posting the review here on JoeUser. It is timely as well, since Sega has launched the first straight to console title in the venerable franchise, House of the Dead: Overkill. I am incredibly excited to review this title for TheGameReviews.com.
Teaser poster for Overkill.