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Dreamcast's House of the Dead 2 is long on gore

October 29, 1999
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT)

by Scary Larry, GamePro

House of the Dead

(IDG) -- Forget the strategic zombie eradication of Resident Evil. House of the Dead 2 plays like Resident Evil on steroids, with its twitchy trigger action and pop-up scare tactics. But if repetitive gun games aren't your bag, you'll find yourself staying out of this house.

The ungrateful dead

You play as a member of the AMS, a special forces unit that is called to investigate the Curien mansion. Apparently Dr. Curien, who previously tried to unleash a plot to destroy mankind, now has a new disciple named Goldman, who has his own plans for the human race. Goldman wants to see his new biologically altered mutants walk the Earth.

Sounds noble and dangerous, but it's just a thinly veiled excuse to blow the crap out of the undead with a light gun (sold separately -- Sega doesn't want any part of THAT controversy), and the excuse works well.

House of the Undead 2 is simply a visceral roller coaster of chills, thrills, and kills. Although there is some replayability with the multi-branching story line, this is not a game you'll be playing six weeks from now. It's just a shoot 'em up with some cool gross-outs and lots of chunky gore.

There are some power-ups strewn throughout the levels to extend the game play, and Sega added some new Dreamcast-only options, like a story mode that allows you to store certain items away for use later, and a mode where you can combine items. But neither one is useful for a game with only six levels that you can beat in about thirty minutes with a rapid -fire light gun.

Moans and leekers, how I adore you

The detail of the graphics is so money that you'll often take a hit just to see the beauty (or the horror) in front of you. You can also blow away chunks of an enemy without killing it, spraying green blood and gore all over the place, which is kind of cute in a David Cronenberg sort of way.

The sound is a mixed bag of horror in itself. You can hear screams, moans, and pleas for help clearly, but you'll also have to suffer through some of the silliest dialogue (and the most effeminate sounding male AMS agent around) in a video game. The sound does have more bright spots than weak ones.

Control is reduced to two words -- light gun. The game is useless with the controller, with cursors that veer wildly for no reasons, and a hard to aim interface especially in the two-player mode. Wihtout the light gun you might as well go after these zombies with a fly swatter.

House of the Dead 2

The game is way too short, the graphics are cool but limited (you see enemies repeated throughout the game), and the game is useless sold as is -- sans light gun. Shelling out more bucks for the gun puts HOD2 in the category of too pricey, and definitely not worth other games the Dreamcast has to offer. Rent this game and the gun, and clear out the house in a weekend.

Graphics: 4.5
Although there could have been a bigger variety of enemies, the cool bosses and total gross-out factor of the chunky gore is satisfying.

Sound: 4.0
The sound occasionally peaks through valleys of mediocrity, but the game doesn't offer anything super-duper-Dreamcast special.

Light Gun
'House of the Dead 2' is a tedious experience without a light gun. The StarFire LightBlaster from Interact retails for $29.99.  

Control: 3.5
Without the gun the game is about as much fun as killing zombies with paper clips and rubber bands.

Fun Factor: 3.0
Too short, too easy, and if you have to shell out extra for the gun, too expensive.

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