Set in the far off future of…2019, the world has gone to hell and in the forefront of this disaster is the EFI Research facility, which may just be the cause of the civilization’s destruction. Two weeks after Thomas Rogan, the protagonist from the original House of the Dead, and his partner venture into the facility, his daughter Lisa and his former partner G travel to the facility after losing contact with him. And yes, they have shotguns in hand. Through the use of flashback sequences shown in-between the different chapters we finally see Dr. Curien’s motives in exploring the nature of live and death.
Originally, House of the Dead III was a light gun arcade game released in 2002. Arcade games are not designed to last for hours, and HotDIII is no exception. The game’s 5 chapters, plus a chapter 0, can be beaten in just under 30 minutes. You can play through the game in either Free Play mode or Ranked Play. Free Play has multiple options that can be changed such as the difficulty, the amount of lives and credits to start the game with. Ranked Play has 1-2 players playing through the game on a single credit. Upon reaching the end your score will be placed on the online leaderboards.
Each of the chapters are full of different types of zombies seemingly coming out of any openings: doors, walls, ceilings or anything the undead can squeeze themselves through. Throughout each of the chapters you will be faced with multiple branching paths. While these add a touch of difference between playthroughs, in the end, they all lead to the same boss in the same ending area.
Visually the game has a super smooth, solid frame rate with a unique and good looking enemy design for a 10 year old game. From ninja flipping zombies, swamp thing zombies and knife throwing doctor zombies to special forces zombies, HotDIII has plenty of different types of enemies to keep the chapters from feeling stale. Each of the bosses has specific weak points that need to be hit in order to take down their health bars. Speaking of varied, I never would of thought of facing a monstrous sloth with hundreds of hanging bodies from the ceiling.
The downside of the game’s audio is the shotgun’s sound effect. As you want to hit the button as fast as possible it leads to a choppy almost broken sound effect repeating over and over. It wouldn’t be as bad if it didn’t over power everything else in the game.
For only $6.99 on the PSN store and even cheaper for those of you that are PlayStation Plus users, HotD III is decently priced for those looking to play through the game multiple times or want to top the leader boards. There aren’t many extras to be found in this game. Beating the game the first time will unlock a Behind-the-Scenes video and the hard difficulty. Each play though will yield the same exact experience — there is no randomization of enemies or surprises waiting for you the second time around.
Even with the minimal difference between runs, you throw in full move support, an online leaderboard and the inclusion of a Time Attack mode and HotD III is an excellent arcade game on a home consoles. The game is still in the original 4:3 ratio, so expect to see black bars on both sides of the screen. HotD III is a fun arcade game to kill some time — it doesn’t do anything special, but what it does do, it does really well.
Note: The House of the Dead III review was written based on the PS3 version of the game provided by the publisher.