Review: The House of the Dead 4
I haven’t played House of the Dead since High School where a buddy and I used to marathon the hell out of House of the Dead 3 and 2 for the original Xbox. I knew House of the Dead 4 existed, but I never saw it in an arcade. This PSN version delivers a lot of the same old standbys that make the series such a staple in the shooter genre.
You control the purposefully awfully voiced AMS Agent James Taylor as you run through the city fighting off zombies with a sub-machine gun. The sub-machine gun is an interesting departure from the classic pistol, but shots still need to be precisely placed or you’ll just be emptying a clip at nothing. The better you shoot the better combo rating you can get, with a tally of how many “Excellent” kills you had at the end of each level, along with the classic victory music no less. Reloading is no longer point away from the screen and shoot, but a simple flick of the wrist with the PlayStation Move controller. This works well and you’ll find yourself getting into reloading rhythms, especially during some of the later boss fights. Oh and hey you have grenades this time too, those are fun to do.
During your adventure you’ll see the usual sites including but not limited to an abandoned train station, underground catacombs, and a driving portion. You’ll even see a bunch of HD’d up old pals like those swamp thing looking guys and the little piranha worms that you can never seem to kill all of before one hops up and bites the screen. The graphics are aged but have that House of the Dead arcade look that makes the action on the screen crisp and fast paced. I was talking on the podcast last week that I preferred the visuals to this game over House of the Dead Overkill, which I had picked up about the same time. I can only describe the visuals as bright and arcadey over Overkill’s muddy looking Wii-ported polygons. Just a thing to note, I put my TV into passive 3D mode and the game looked awesome with it turned on.
There are six levels which take five to ten minutes each. In between each are horribly voiced cut-scenes that are super reminiscent of House of the Dead 2. Bosses are kind of lame, with few of them being memorable. They also highlight the weak-point during the fight which I thought was cheap and far too easy. And as always, you’ll run into some cheap attacks from some that always seem to hit. After you beat it you’ll unlock the harder SP mode that will tack on another 2 levels. You can tweak with credits and life so it leaves you some options for replayability. I had some success with my DualShock controller which was surprising, but you and a buddy are going to both want Move Controllers to get that classic zombie killing dynamic going.
It’s over in a flash and I wanted more. Yeah there is some replay value there, but you’re not gonna get all that many miles out of this one by yourself. Play it with a friend.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- HD Graphics
- Move AND DualShock were both responsive
- Your name is literally James Taylor
What I Dislike:
- Some cheap attacks
- Bosses dumbed down
- Very Short