zombie games

The House of the Dead Remake Review: Nostalgia Making a Comeback

By Dakota Cantwell

Following the minor success of their 2020 Panzer Dragon remake, Forever Entertainment sought to capitalize on the nostalgia train by releasing The House of the Dead remake. Thriving on the memories of Light Gun arcade shooters of the 90s, The House of the Dead shambled onto the scene in April of 2022. 

The House of the Dead got its start in 1996 as a B-Horror shooter in many arcades. It follows the adventures of agents attempting to stop the mad experiments of Dr. Curien. It was a light gun shooter meaning that it relied on the control to ‘shoot’ light at the screen to signal a hit. While this technology has all but died out in the video gaming industry, the love of first-person shooters has not. With the remake of many video games becoming popular, Forever Entertainment decided to remake The House of the Dead for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Computer.

The console for this review was done on Nintendo Switch to see if Forever Entertainment could capture the true experience of the classic arcade game.

Controls are a large factor in a game like this, given its light gun lineage. You have three options when playing on the Switch: Controller, free-standing gyro controls, and Joy-Con or Joy-Con-like gyro controller. Using the controller plays this like many first-person shooters, given that you control the cursor to aim where you want to shoot. Since the whole game is a scripted path and the player has no control over anything but the cursor, this style of play can feel a bit limited. The other two options rely on the gyro controls of the Switch console to move the cursor based on where you point the controller. 

It sounds simple on paper, but the actual practice of this takes plenty of getting used to. Since the gyro controls are extremely sensitive to movement, even pulling the trigger moves the cursor. Not a total deal breaker, but it adds unneeded challenge to the boss fights, which require precise shooting to defeat. Thankfully, Focus Entertainment thought far enough ahead to create a button that would align the cursor back to center when the gyro controls got too far out of alignment.

Free-standing gyro controls are manageable with time, but the real highlight of controls for this game is the Joy-Con controller. I was able to order a set off Amazon and found that switching to a controller that felt similar to the original light gun style made the game loads more entertaining. Allowing the player to use the gyro controls in a more intuitive way really helped to capture the nostalgia of the original game. Unfortunately, no version of the game comes with these controllers, however, having a set will prepare for the hopeful revival of many of the light gun games of the arcade era.

Speaking of the arcade era, the graphics have been updated from the original game, but it still holds its B-Horror classic appeal. Much of the game is good enough for what’s being played, and the pace of the game keeps limited time for sightseeing.

Adding to the original arcade mode, Forever Entertainment has added a horde mode which is the same level progression, but adds in hordes more zombies for players to shoot at. With a co-op mode and four extra weapons to unlock, there is plenty of gameplay to keep you and your friends entertained. 

Overall, The House of the Dead creates an experience that is great for parties and solo gaming alike. While a short game with okay graphics, the expanded options of gameplay and multitude of paths to take will keep nostalgic gamers going for a long time and hopefully bring the trend of arcade shooters back from the dead.

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