Review: House of the Dead III (PSN)


House of the Dead III was originally released for the arcades back in 2002. A year later it got a port on Xbox, then one for Wii as part of a HOTD two-pack in 2008. Now we have the latest port of the game on PSN. How does this port stack up compared to the last two? Is it worth your hard earned cash? Hit the jump and find out!

House of the Dead III takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in the year 2019.  Ex-AMS and Ex-captain agent Thomas Rogan and his team investigate the EFI Research Facility, which seems to be somehow linked to the world collapse. After contact with Tomas Rogan and his team is lost, his ex-parnter G and his daughter Lisa decide to strap on some shotguns  and blast the undead until they find him.

If you are looking for Oscar winning story and performances, this is not your game.  This is an arcade game and like most arcade games the story isn’t much. There are a few cut scenes with awkward voices, something that the original Japanese developed House of the Dead games have been known for. SEGA stayed faithful to the powerful performances in the arcade version and left the bad acting intact. This could be good news or bad, to me this is great news. There are some things that are acceptable to change in a game, original voices and sounds aren’t one of those.

Graphics

House of the Dead III is nearly a decade old, even so the graphics look pretty good. I would say they look about as good as a good looking Wii game. The character models still look pretty good, some of the background textures have shown their age. It’s actually not that distracting, I never stopped the game and asked why the graphics looked dated. I think this title has aged pretty well in terms of graphics.

The only thing I was a bit disapointed in was that the game didn’t offer up a widescreen mode. I know the first thing you guys are going to say is that the game was made for 4:3 aspect ratio and making it widescreen could break the game since the code doesn’t account for the few inches on the side added on in widescreen. That didn’t stop AM2 from adding widescreen support to Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack on Wii. This to me has to be the biggest disappointment, which isn’t that big.

 

Gameplay

The game allows the user to pick between Move controls or regular pad. I decided to play the game with each to see which one I liked better. I think in the end the Move controller did well and reminded me more of that arcade experience we all love. Though the regular controller worked just fine, so you don’t have to go out and buy a $100 dollar Move start up bundle if you don’t want. Since  the game uses a shotgun as the main weapon, it sprays in a large area. You don’t have to be pin point accurate, it’s more about timing your shots. With a shotgun you have less shells. So make sure you don’t misuse them!

If you have played the game on the Wii, then you know what you are in for. You move the glowing ball stick known as the Playstation Move and the cross hair on the screen moves. You point it over a zombie and press the trigger. I found myself doing a bit better with the Move controller after I got the hang of it, the only downside is that you have to shake to reload while on regular controller the shooting button reloads it for you. You can just tap that one key. If you really want to emulate the arcade version, Move is a must.

This game, like the last one, has branching paths. But in this title you choose the path before you play the stage. This will add a bit of replay value to the title, since you will have to replay the game to get all the paths. In the past the game would also allow you to rescue civilians for extra bonuses. In House of the Dead III this was scrapped for the new “Rescue Events”. Instead of saving a civilian, you now have to save your partner. If you succeed, you get an extra life!

You have the options of playing the game in free play or ranked play when you first start. Ranked play is if you want to have your precious score saved online on the scoreboard. Once you beat the game, you will unlock extra content like an interview, higher difficultly and time attack mode (which is pretty cool).

 

Conclusion

House of the Dead III hasn’t aged as bad as I thought. Sure it’s my least favorite out of the main series, but the series is excellent so that doesn’t make this game bad. Actually I had quite a bit of fun shooting down the undead with a friend. Only wish SEGA would have added widescreen support and online co-op instead of Move support. A small percentage of people own Move. More gamers have widescreen television and play online. Regardless of this, it’s not a deal breaker. For $6.99 it’s a damn steal. Do you know how many quarters SEGA stole from me when this game was at my local mall? A lot.

Positives:

  • Best version on consoles
  • Move support works well
  • Controller option is playable
  • Only $6.99!

Negatives:

  • No online co-op mode
  • No widescreen option

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6 responses to “Review: House of the Dead III (PSN)

  1. Kori-Maru says:

    Nice review. I have yet to try it with the move. That’s if I can find it and no widescreen support is a let down. Nice review though. Can’t wait to get my hands on The House of the Dead 4 after 7 years of waiting.

  2. Gagaman says:

    I could be mistaken but I’m pretty sure House of the Dead III on the Wii had widescreen support. Either that or they just stretched it I don’t know.

    • George says:

      Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns Arcade Hits Pack had widescreen but only counted enemy shots in the 4:3 display window. So they didn’t move around code. The Wii version stretched the window.

      Yeah, I wish I could at least do that. Its not a deal breaker, but if they are going out of their way to port it, at least use the features the console offers.

  3. CrazyTails says:

    Yeah i have the 2 pack on wii. I rather play stretched 4:3 than a shrinked 16:9.

    Great review. I like 2 better but i cant say wether its for nostalgic reasons or because the game is actually better. Gameplay wise I hold them both to be thrilling.

    I’m gonna pass on this DLC. HotD4 is the one im waiting for

  4. Craig says:

    I personally thought that whilst this port was great graphical wise there are just so many sound bugs that keep me from calling it the best port.

  5. Geed says:

    I wish I still had a CRT TV to play this (and my other Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast and Xbox light gun games). If they made it for Kinect, would have got it in a heartbeat. Don’t see why they couldn’t.

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