It’s time to shoot hundreds of zombies as you fight for survival in the last House of the Dead main series title released. Taking place in between the events of The House of the Dead 2 and The House of the Dead III, players control James Taylor, from HotD 2, or Kate Green, a newcomer to the zombie apocalypse. SEGA has brought full PlayStation Move support to this PSN title making it even easier to play this arcade title.
The House of the Dead 4 adds a few new features to the series, some that seem more annoying that useful. Grenades can be thrown to take out large groups of enemies at the same time. While you only carry a certain amount of them, you can collect more by shooting barrels and crates. Instead of the standard attack, enemies now have two additional actions – a push and a grab. If grabbed, you are at severe risk of being bitten. The only way to break free is to fill the cancel bar by shaking the controller. If you are pushed you will fall down to the ground, requiring you to shoot the enemies that surround you or risk being at the bottom of the zombie pile.
Branching paths make a return to the series, but once again it will always lead to the same spot at the end. Unlike The House of the Dead III, this time you are equipped with an Uzi to easily spray and pray as the zombies surrounding you and your partner. The gun sounds are much lower than the overpowering shotgun in the previous title, which is good sign, since there aren’t many moments when you aren’t firing at the screen.
After beating the main story, HotD 4’s Special mode is unlocked. This used to be a huge deal in the arcades as it placed players into an enclosed room with them sitting down and making use of two 100-inch screens as well as a five-speaker sound system. The seats would shake when zombies attacked and get blasted with air when they take damage. The seats rotate to each screen depending where zombies are attacking. There are no continues and a new life bar has been added to this mode.
The plot is essentially a side story that takes place after The House of the Dead 4, with Kate Green and G teaming up to destroy Magician, a boss from the first two games. With the PSN version of the special mode, it feels the same as playing the main story ofThe House of the Dead 4 since what made it special was the experience, which is sadly missing.
Graphically the game looks impressive over the previous titles, as it should, releasing originally three years after HotD3. On the PlayStation Network the game looks surprisingly crisp and clean. The amount of characters on screen seems to be increased, as there are a ton of enemies on the screen and in the background at any time.
Lasting for six levels, The House of the Dead 4 is not an overly long experience. While there are hidden treasure rooms that can be accessed by shooting specific areas in the environment or by throwing grenades at certain areas throughout the game, there isn’t much to keep you playing after you have beaten the story mode. The special mode is entertaining, but only lasts a couple of levels and doesn’t add much to the replayability. Once again, SEGA decided against adding online support to the title, so unless you have friends or family that want to play with you, you will be playing alone.
Note: The House of the Dead 4 review was written based on the PS3 version of the game provided by the publisher.