The House Of The Dead Remake REVIEW (Nintendo Switch)
''DONT DEAD. OPEN INSDE''
Published: Forever Entertainment
Genre: On Rails shooter
Release Date: April 7th, 2022
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
*Review copy provided to me by Forever Entertainment*
The House Of The Dead Remake is a on rail light gun shooter that is developed by MegaPixel and published by Forever Entertainment. Having been tasked with bringing an arcade classic to a modern day console, Megapixel and Forever Entertainment attempt to wash the sour taste of the SEGA Saturn release out of our mouths. But do they succeed in doing so? or should they just take the guts of the disgruntled players and ''CHOKE ON EM!''. Only one way to find out, so lets go!
Oh boy. Where do I start with this one. I have a very fond history with the House Of The Dead franchise and it dates all the way back to my days as a kid playing it in the arcades at places like Peter Piper Pizza or this little arcade center in the middle of the mall where my grandma used to take me after we would get pizza from a nearby shop. Growing up, my arcade habits were always a specific constant whenever I would go to one, my games of choices would always be Simpsons, Mortal Kombat, Silent Scope, Time Crisis and House Of The Dead 1 and 2. I would literally whine and complain to my parents or older brother to give me more money so I can continue my play time, especially when I was so close to beating the end of a game. I remember being so damn obsessed with House Of The Dead, and for years, I always made it my goal to constantly aim to be number one on every cabinet I played on, and I actually achieved this many times over the years, surprisingly enough. My mama always told me I'd be good at something, who would've guessed it would be zombie killing?. This sentiment and my love for not only light gun games, but House Of The Dead, continued on from Arcades, to SEGA SATURN, Dreamcast, PS3 and even playing more recent entries into the franchise like Scarlet Dawn at Dave and Busters. Now the franchise finally arrives back on home consoles with the Switch, and the nostalgia hits pretty hard. But nostalgia aside, is it any good? and does it hold up to its arcade counterpart so many years ago?. ''YEAHHHH BOYYY''. Well.. for the most part at least. When starting your game, you're able to choose between two modes, original and classic, as well as pick your difficulty level that ranges from Easy mode, Hard mode and Arcade mode. The differences between the difficulty modes boils down to the amount of lives and continues you get and the amount of damage the zombies will inflict on you, at least in Original mode that is. Should you choose to play Horde mode, then you'll have to switch things up quite a bit and possibly risk hurting your wee little fingers due to the amount of reloading and trigger firing you'll be doing. Why is that? well, it's because in Horde mode, the amount of enemies on the screen are doubled from the number of zombies you went against on Original mode. This in turn makes you more focused to pay attention to the action, save as many scientists as you can to get more health bonuses and rack up more points so that if you happen to run out of continues, you'll be able to purchase more using your points you have obtained. Which gaining more points is actually MUCH easier, should you choose the MODERN scoring system, as with every combo amount of kills you get, combines and totals the number of points as a reward. So instead of getting 200 points in classic mode scoring, with Modern, you can boost this up to 500-700 points with relative ease. If you're new to franchise or light gun shooters, this is the route I feel you should go. If you're hoping for a long game or even a campaign that stretches a bare minimum of 3-4 hours, then you will be massively disappointed. Playing through this title at best will run you 40 minutes to an hour, depending on how much you die and what difficulty you play on. But that's not a TOTAL bummer, because like all classic light gun games, to me, its quality over quantity.
What the game lacks in length, it makes up for in some just good ol gory zombie killing gameplay. Yes, just like the original, all the gore and guts are here, complete with exploding heads, legs, torso and arms. The overall premise is also pretty simple, a man name Curien is up to no good and needs to be stopped, as he might be the one creating these zombies with radioactive ice cream and turning people into super soldiers. Huh? oh wait never mind, that was the plot from Ahhh Zombies. Well either way, Curien is a jerk face and he needs to be stopped no matter what, so its up to Thomas Rogan or Agent G to find and stop Curien before its too late. Playing as Thomas Rogan, you start off in a court yard of a large mansion after you run over a poor scientist that was just asking for help and then you are given a picture of all the scientists that are still trapped inside the facility. These will be the people that you have the option to save, which in turn for saving them will offer you rewards such as extra health and extra goodies in the gallery on the main menu.
Now is where the core game play actually starts. Using the joy cons or the pro controller, you can use the thumbstick to aim your reticle or choose to use the Gyro motion control to aim wherever you point your controller. Which is the better option overall though? To be honest, I'd say go with the pro controller due to the fact that Gyro Scope aiming tends to come off alignment quite a bit and it causes you to constantly have to press down on Y or your right stick to constant re-align and adjust aiming, which will cause you to get hit several times or even die. However with pro controller, its much easier to aim by holding your controller on your lap and re-loading your gun with ZL and shooting with ZR. It also makes it extremely easy to turn your pistol into a machine gun by mashing both reload and firing at the same time with both index fingers as fast as you can, thus never running out of bullets. There's your life hack. You're welcome. Personally. I used the gun attachment that came with my copy of Chicken Range and used it as my light gun for a more classic arcade feel. It worked extremely awesome.
Back into the main game play, as Thomas pushes through the opening section of the game, you see your woman named Sophie, who is exhausted laying down on the ground, but as you go to talk to her, you spy a large flying gargoyle heading your way and you scream to her, ''THEY'RE COMING TO GET YOU BARBARA''. I mean Sophie. But its too late, she's taken away before you can save her. Oh well. Pushing through the level and other subsequent levels will allow you to take on various different zombies and monsters that range from generic zombies, little suction worms, barrel throwing zombies, fat chainsaw wielding zombies that look like a zombie version of Bear Hugger from Super Punch Out - and multiple boss fights. Most enemies can be downed in three to four hits, but others, its best to keep shooting them because they'll fall and get back up again in a hurry. Some seem like they'll never die and feel almost impossible to kill, but its always good to remember ''Nothing is impossible to kill, It’s just that sometimes after you kill something, you have to keep shooting it until it stops moving.”
Advancing through the first levels mansion, since its an on rails shooter, you will be automatically taken in a very linear path for the most part, with some places for a detour here and there that opens up alternate routes to the end of the level, such as shooting out the mansion floor to reveal a trap door that leads to the basement. After you fight your way through the innerworkings of the mansion, killing scientists who get in your way because lets me be honest, YOU ARE IN MY WAY. MOVE. POW. You find Sophie. Don't worry Sophie! Your hero is here to save You.. never mind you're dead. Sigh. ''Ok bucko, its time to die'', you say as the enemy boss, Chariot, makes his attack. It is here where you get your first taste of the boss fights. Each boss fight in the game having their own attach patterns and weak points to damage in order to slay them, such as shooting the red mark on their chest, breaking down the yellow flesh on their bodies, shooting in the shoulder, etc. They're all short but sweet boss battles and can be pretty tricky if you don't pay attention.
As you beat Chariot, you tend to Sophie, who with her dying breath tells you ''You got red on you''. What!?. Sophie? no!. I just got this shirt cleaned. Ugh. Curien. You'll pay for messing up my nice suit. This is the general format that you will follow for all four chapters. Yup that's right, there's only four. Bummer right? well kind of. Even though there's only four chapters, it still feels like more than one level in each chapter due to the way the way the on rails takes you through each stage, with each stage having multiple layers of basement, downstairs, upstairs and even rooftops, all taking you through mansions, research facilities, sewers, run down labs, and even has you taking on really fun boss fights against Hanged-man Gargoyle and a gigantic spider that chases you through narrow corridors as you frantically shoot him in the face to escape. When you finally make it the final section of the game, you proclaim ''ITS OVER CURIEN, YOUR TIME HAS COME''. Never mind. You're dead too? sigh. I never get to do anything around here. As revenge for stealing your kill and ruining your kill death ratio, you take the fight to the big baddie named Magician. This sucker is fast and has projectiles from the front and sky that are pretty annoying. But overcoming all odds, you survive and with one last bullet, you hit your mark and slay him for good. Yeah!. How's that for a slice of fried gold!?. With Curien gone, Sophie gone, Magician gone. Thomas vows to live his life in his friends memory and goes and buys a happy meal since the new Ham burglar toys just came out. This brings and end to the main campaign. But don't give up, complete it multiple times with Thomas, Agent G and save scientists so you can see the three multiple endings that game has for you. Trust me, they're pretty cool.
So alright, I haven't really talked about my negatives have I. Well, Its actually because I don't really have too many if I'm going to be honest. If I had to break them down though they would involve the reticle hitting a dead zone and coming out of alignment, thus forcing you to have re-adjust constantly using just the joy con controller set up, which is why I choose to use my gun add on or the pro controller. Another issue that pops up from time to time is frame rate dips that happen on the first few levels. They aren't game breaking, but you do notice the slight freeze and pausing of the game from time to time. Other than those? I can't really say I hated too much. The graphics are greatly improved over the original title, game length doesn't bother me as multiple playthroughs are a blast and cooperative game play with a buddy can change things up a bit too. So yeah, overall, its got enough flesh for me to sink my teeth into.
At the end of the day, House Of The Dead Remake remains just as fun as ever and as great as I remember it from the days of the arcades. Sure again it has issues with frame rate drops, reticle issues or game length not being up to modern day standards, but still, with its intense on rails action, great enemy variety, head bopping music, multiple play modes like classic scoring, modern scoring and original and horde modes that offer variety to the existing game play, multiple playable characters, more than one ending, different pathways, really fun boss fights, and even keeps intact the super cringe and funny dialogue, all of this just makes for a really fun package. Re-visiting this title has been an absolute treat and as the saying goes, ''When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth'' and here's hoping the dead will continue to walk amongst us as we head towards House Of The Dead 2 Remake in the future. So with all this having been said, my verdict is clear, GAMENCHICK SAYS BUY NOW