Review: The House of the Dead III (PS3)

Title: The House of the Dead III
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.1 GB)
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: WOW Entertainment
Original MSRP: $6.99
ESRB Rating: M
Extras: PlayStation Move Compatible
The House of the Dead III is also available on Xbox, Wii, and PC.
The PlayStation Network version was used for this review.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 256 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Born in the arcades in 2002, The House of the Dead III picks up in 2019 with Agent Thomas Rogan and Captain Dan Taylor as the last survivors of a mission to storm a Research Facility linked to the World Collapse. After a brief level as these two characters, you’ll be put in the shoes of Rogan’s daughter Lisa and his former partner G who come looking for Rogan and his team two weeks later.

Being an arcade game light gun game, expect an on-rails experience as you blast your way through the complex. You can use the DualShock 3 or the Move controller and the game even supports the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter. Each work quite well with the Sharp Shooter giving the game a really fun, arcade-like experience.

Shotguns are the name of the game here and they work incredibly well. The nice thing this time around is that the shotgun will reload automatically when you run out of bullets and it’ll do it quite quickly. If you don’t want to wait, you can always hit any of the face buttons at any time to reload or use the pump action on the Sharp Shooter, a nice touch.

The game can be difficult with the default settings of three lives and three continues and the final boss is especially brutal, but you have a number of options at your disposal to suit your skill level. At the start up screen, you can choose between Survival (Arcade mode) or Time Attack. The Time Attack mode gives you a set amount of time to finish a level, with bonus time awarded for quicker and better kills. You can also set the Difficulty level along with the number of lives and credits, 1-9, and you can even unlock Free Play. And lastly, you can set the gore level and blood color, green or red. It’s a good set of options, especially the difficulty, lives and credits to help players get through the entire game.

The branching storyline here allows you to choose your path through the game, though it’s all pretty similar, you will get up to four different endings after the final boss fight giving the relatively short experience a little more replayability. You’re also given a Rank at the end of each level depending on how efficiently you’ve dispatched the creatures.

As far as light gun games go, The House of the Dead III fares pretty well in terms of story and action. The boss battles throughout the game tend to be pretty easy until you hit the final boss. This is really where the extra lives and continues can come in handy.

Playing all the way through the game unlocks Hard Mode along with a Developer Interview about the game and the fact that they never refer to the enemies as “zombies”. It’s a nice addition but it left me wanting more.

Visuals:
Presented in the original 4:3 format, the graphics look great. It’s a 2002 arcade game but the frame rate is silky smooth and the gore is wonderfully nasty. There’s nothing quite like putting a hole in a creature’s stomach or taking it’s head clean off. The blood splatters across the screen when you’re hit and there’s a good enough variety of enemies to keep things from getting too repetitive.

The backgrounds and enemies are all nicely detailed considering the age of the game and the color palette and lighting come together nicely to create just the right atmosphere for the game.

Audio:
The music, what little there is, fits in with the game quite nicely, adding to the urgency or action of the moment. The voice acting is a small step above the usual arcade fare and the one liners, pure action movie cliche, are delivered to perfection.

The sounds of the shotgun, the creatures, the birds, frogs and various pickups are pure arcade bliss. All I needed was some ambient noise of arcade machines around me to put me right in front of the cabinet, light gun in hand, dropping quarters and blasting away.

Online/Multiplayer:
While there’s no online play, you do get ranked leaderboards. When choosing this, you’re given a locked set of options and you’ll play through the game until you die, after which you’ll be able to see your ranking. You can sort scores overall or by chapter and even filter to just your friends list.

While I would have much rather had the ability to join a two player game online, the leaderboards at least give the ability to score chase.

Conclusion:
At $6.99 you really can’t go wrong here. Yes, the game is short, 30 minutes or so, but it’s an arcade game so that’s to be expected. The fun factor is there and it’s definitely one of the better House of the Dead games. While the online leaderboards are a nice touch, giving you more incentive to play the game over and do some score chasing, the lack of online co-op is kind of a let down.

Score:
8.0

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  • ChazzH69

    Well I might not get this straight away but it’s on my list. Shame it wasn’t HD’d.