THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake
Gameplay 6
Graphics 8
Sound 6

The House of the Dead Remake sees the return of the original Sega classic rail-shooter with some brand new visuals. The game looks better than ever, but it is still a very short-lived experience. This makes it great for players who don’t mind replaying the handful of levels while aiming for higher scores, but everyone else might find it a little too bare-bones.

Gameplay: Shooting zombies is fun, but the game sticks to the handful of levels from the original game, which means it can be completed in less than an hour.

Graphics: The new visuals look great and the game doesn’t shy away from blood and dismemberment either.

Sound: The voice acting and sound effects are authentic, but the remake lacks the soundtrack from the original

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THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake

Developer: MegaPixel Studio S. A. | Publisher: Forever Entertainment S. A. | Release Date: 2022 | Genre: Action / Shooter / Arcade | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The House of the Dead originally burst onto the arcade scene in 1996 during a time when players couldn’t get enough of both light gun shooters and zombies. It cast players in the roles of AMS agents, Thomas Rogan and “G” who are tasked with taking down the undead monstrosities created by Dr. Curien. Arriving at Curien’s mansion they find it overrun by the undead and set out to rescue the surviving scientists, which include Thomas’s fiancée, Sophie while blasting everything in sight.

The House of the Dead was a big hit for Sega and playing the version with the 50-inch monitor, in particular, was usually the highlight of any visit to the arcade. Strangely enough, the game was only ported to the PC and Saturn before Sega allegedly lost the source code. The House of the Dead series went on to receive a few sequels and spin-offs over the years, but the original was never revisited until now.

It only took 26 years, but MegaPixel Studio took it upon themselves to remake The House of the Dead from scratch using the Unity engine. In addition to a brand new coat of pixels, the remake also adds a photo mode, achievements, and an armory with unlockable weapons. Other highlights include a gallery that slowly fills up with encountered enemies and bosses as well as a horde mode, which adds even more undead monstrosities to the game.

Even with all the new additions, The House of the Dead Remake remains faithful to the original game, which means it is a very short experience. The game is still a rail-shooter, so players have very little input when it comes to movement. Instead, the focus is on shooting the enemies that pop up as quickly as possible. There’s a nice selection of foes and each of them has its own movements or mannerisms to deal with. As with the original, players can still shoot off limbs, but even a headshot might not be enough to stop some enemies dead in their tracks. Players can’t just shoot indiscriminately either as the scientists who are trapped in the mansion also pop up occasionally. Saving them from the monsters is not only good for a score boost but players who manage to keep them all alive are rewarded with the armory. Here they’ll find new weapons that can completely break the game but definitely make the horde mode a lot more fun.

Visually, The House of the Dead Remake looks great, and apart from the occasional monster that looks a bit goofy in high definition your enemies look a lot more menacing than in the original. MegaPixel Studio added some nice lighting effects to the game, which is great for some of the dark and gloomy areas.

The arcade version was notorious for its blood and dismemberment, but this remake takes it to a whole new level. In addition to shooting enemies to bits while they gush rivers of blood the game now also features some new ragdoll animations. Seeing an enemy that was trying to get the drop on you go down flailing in a hail of bullets makes for quite a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, there are no new enemies added to the game or any new levels, so most players will have seen everything there is in under an hour. The game retains the branching paths found on some levels, but overall the experience is very short-lived. We would also have liked to see a copy of the original game as an extra purely for nostalgic reasons, but unfortunately, this was not possible. The inclusion of the photo mode is welcome, though, as it allows players to pause the action and mess around with the zoom or filters before taking a screenshot.

Since the release of the original game, light guns have fallen out of favor, and for this remake, players will have to be content with using either a mouse or a controller. The game also supports gyro aiming, so owners of the Steam controller can make use of that for a different experience. Although the game was originally designed to suck up as many quarters as possible, the developers of the remake decided to be a little more lenient with players. Along with multiple difficulty settings the game also provides players with enough continues to get through the four levels without too much trouble. Should players run out of continues they can sacrifice some of their score for more. This is even easier to do when choosing the “Modern” scoring setting instead of the “Classic” one as it is much more generous with points. Players can even set the amount of aim assist, which ranges from “off” all the way to “filthy casual.” As with the original game, it is also possible to enlist the help of a friend for some local 2-player action. In this mode, players can choose whether they want to play cooperatively and share everything or competitively where it’s every agent for themselves.

Fans of the original game will notice immediately that this remake does not have the soundtrack of the original arcade version. The new tunes are faithful to the style of the original ones, but not quite as memorable. The game does retain the b-movie style voice acting for the characters, which falls squarely in the “so bad it’s good” category. While the game is packed with lots of sound effects and ambient audio the repeated shouts of “reload” are something that most players will tire of hearing very quickly. Thankfully, all of the audio options can be tweaked so that everything is at tolerable levels.

Overall, The House of the Dead Remake is a fun game, but even with all the improvements and new additions, it does feel a little bare-bones for the asking price. This is not a game for players who are only interested in playing through the levels only once or twice. Instead, it is players who enjoy playing through the game multiple times while honing their skills and reflexes with every attempt that will get the most out of it. It would have been better if this game was included as part of a compilation, but as a standalone title, The House of the Dead Remake is a game that will probably only appeal to a niche audience.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel i5 3570K / AMD RYZEN 3 3300X
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DESKTOP GTX 1050ti / 1650 / AMD Radeon RX 570
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 7 GB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: intel i7-7700 / AMD RYZEN 5 5600X
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1070 / 1660 super / AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 7 GB available space

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