Light-Gun arcade games ring nostalgic bells in the hearts of a certain age group. The concept was simple: you pointed a realistic gun controller at the screen, and you shoot. While naturally combining this innovation with the roaming terror of the undead, quickly made a profit for Sega with the iconic House of the Dead series. In 2022, the seminal classic of the industry got a modern remake, with a new engine, and new ways to (as the old methods weren’t as technologically feasible) in the House of the Dead Remake.
When all hell breaks loose at the laboratory/mansion complex where Sophie works, it is up to her Special agent husband Rogan and/or his partner, G, to go sort it out. The player, armed with only a gun, must traverse the grounds with four chapters of zombie shooting carnage. What you hit and what you miss determine your path through the labyrinthian complex, saving researchers, while dispatching zombies and mutated monstrosities, as you teach those responsible a whole new meaning to the word vengeance and hubris.
House of the Dead Remake gives ample reason to return for newcomers and returning zombie hunters. While the campaign can be finished in under an hour, remaining faithful to its roots, H.O.T.D.R. includes a Horde mode that increases the amount of the living impaired on the screen exponentially. You have an unlockable rogue’s gallery of the zombies that you encounter, and if you know where to look, there are four unique guns you can unlock. These include The Crossbow makes dealing with bosses a snap, and a Grenade Launcher that can obliterate anything on the screen, friend, and foe alike. You can also try to unlock one of over 40 achievements, some are for fun challenges like sending a corpse so far up in the air, or completing the campaign without taking any damage.
The core issue for returning fans is how to handle the controls; Light Guns won’t work, due to the modern displays. The PlayStation 3 used a move controller if you had a camera, but not everybody has one, and the Wii tried a similar technique with its famous remote. Playing on the Switch, you can tap on the touch screen to aim. Alternatively, use the directional buttons, or rely on the gyroscope-based sensors to either move the entire console in a handheld mode or by using the joy-con, resetting the motion by pressing the left-shoulder button. It might be a bit of a learning curve, although one that you will quickly adapt to. The infamous acting is also something that has been redone, but fears should be allayed, the actors strived to produce performances that were both new, and incredibly faithful to the original game’s memorable delivery.
While a lot has changed since the mid-90s, the mansion is just how you remembered it, but the modern additions are welcomed here. The unlockable weapons, the horde mode, and ample achievements give you ample excuses to replay, and experiment in your approach through the mansion. It plays reasonably well on the Nintendo Switch, whether on your own or with a buddy. House of the Dead proves that the franchise isn’t suffering from the decaying effects of rigour mortis.
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