House of the Dead 4 is an interquel between House of the Dead 2 and 3; it is developed by Wow Entertainment and published by Sega. Originally made for the Arcades, it has now arrived on PSN with House of the Dead 4 Special as an unlockable. As expected the game is made with a lightgun in mind so the PS Move is the weapon of choice but it can be played with a standard controller.
The game is an on rails experience but it does occasionally let you choose to go down one of two different paths. Each level starts with three lives, three grenades and unlimited ammo. You make your way through each of the levels shooting mainly zombies but also various monstrous creatures. Enemies will constantly come at you; some will just swing at you, others will grab you or throw things.
Controls are pretty simple with the Move; aim around the screen and the trigger shoots, move button throws a grenade and shaking the controller will reload and shake off enemies that have grabbed you. The controller by comparison is actually surprisingly easy to handle, the only real gripe that I have is that you shake the controller to get out of grabs. It feels just a little awkward having to shake when reload is on X but the screen still will tell you to shake to reload.
Enemies are generally quite courteous and will only attack you one at a time, there are exceptions but a group of standard enemies will attack one by one. If you kill the enemy that’s attacking you the next will jump in and begin to attack, it keeps you on your feet but doesn’t overwhelm you. Some enemies attack in unison but they either throw weapons at you or have different attacks to the others that are attacking.
Enemies that grab you will force you into a controller shaking spree in order to free yourself and stop you from taking a hit. Some enemies will knock you down and before standing up you’ll have to clear any that are going to stomp on you. One other type is the thrown objects which you have to shoot out of the air. These attacks can catch you off guard when they are used while you are battling other enemies.
Boss fights range in difficulty but it depends more on the weak spots size and how much time is allotted to attacking it. Weak spots are only open for a short period of time and there is a cap on the damage you can do to it. If you reach the cap you stun the boss, otherwise you still do any damage you manage to them but you will also get hit by their attack.
The game looks just as good as its arcade version which isn’t updated to HD but looks reasonable nonetheless. The human characters are by far the worst looking but they only appear in cutscenes so it isn’t a bother. Standard enemies do have various models but not a large amount, so while hordes do have the same models there are a few variants.
The voice acting is pretty bad but the rest of the audio is fine. It suits the sort of game that it is though due to it being such an arcade experience.
Presentation and Audio
Everything is kept the same from the original arcade versions and it works well. Some things look a little dated, like the characters in the cut scenes but the monsters and environments fit nicely.
The action comes thick and fast, you’ll have a little breathing room here and there but it does keep you on your toes. Bosses can be a little overwhelming at times and it doesn’t give you much of a chance to get pick-ups but those are the only real gripes. The difficulties are set well and anything short of perfection with some shots can leave you down a life; just like the arcades.
If you are looking for the Arcade experience within your home then this is exactly what you’re after. Move is the optimal weapon of choice is the Move as it’s the closest thing to a lightgun, the controller is still a good option though.
The game is everything that you’d expect from a port but it does lack the same feel that it has in the Arcades. The fact that you don’t have to use money for each life does take tension away from the game. It takes with it some of the thrills you get from trying not to die in order to spend money. It’s no fault of the game but it lacks the gambling rush you get from the arcades.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.