The House of the Dead Remake Review: Characters & Graphic Guide

THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is an absolute disservice to the light gun classic. From the pop in to the loading times to the broken control scheme, this re-release would make even Dr. Curien cower in fear.

The House of the Dead: Remake Review

The Curien Mansion opens its doors once again with the release of MegaPixel Studio and Forever Entertainment’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake. 90s kids are no doubt familiar with its shambling undead, but should the past stay buried?

With roots dating back to the arcade and SEGA Saturn, the plot in THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is only deep enough to get the job done. As Thomas Rogan or Agent G, players must take down zombies, frogs, and things that go bump in the night as they set out to stop Dr. Curien and his evil plot.

THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is an absolute disservice to the light gun classic. From the pop in to the loading times to the broken control scheme, this re-release would make even Dr. Curien cower in fear.

The House of the Dead Cast of Characters

This game has a minimal cast of characters due to its nature as an arcade coin-guzzler, so story and characterisation are secondary to the gameplay. However, due to the semi-competent voice acting, we actually get some personality from our heroes (and villains).

Thomas Rogan – the Player 1 character, he is known to be hotheaded and impulsive, and a pathological workaholic. He is Sophie’s fiancée and has met Doctor Curien personally on several occasions, making this mission a deeply personal case for him.

Agent “G” – the Player 2 character, he is Rogan’s polar opposite – calm, rational, and tranquil under pressure. His true identity is a mystery (the instruction manual for the Sega Saturn version implied he was a cyborg, but this has since been retconned out in the sequels), and is committed to his job, accompanying Thomas on his mission to save Sophie.

Sophie Richards – the damsel in distress, it is she who alerted the AMS to the events at the Curien Mansion. Her ultimate fate is determined by which ending the player (or players, in a 2-player game) gets upon completing the game.

Doctor Roy Curien – the main antagonist of the game, he is known to be eccentric and reclusive by his employees. He is responsible for the outbreak at the mansion, having unleashed zombies (really bioengineered creatures, more accurately described as mutants) for no apparent reason.

The House of the Dead Reload

In terms of visual upgrades, The House of the Dead: Remake is the most successful zombie facelift since Resident Evil 2 remake. The Nintendo Switch may not be the most powerful console, but the game’s highly choreographed action lets the designers pack set pieces with detail. It’s a night and day difference between it and the original version. The grotesque mutant designs, including hulking brutes who toss oil drums to agile, little knife guys in trench coats, have tons of personality. You can even read about them in the gallery.

The game offers two graphics settings: Quality and Performance. Quality mode features stark and atmospheric lighting, contrasting nicely with the shadowy corridors. Performance mode sacrifices spooky lighting effects for a higher frame rate.

The House of the Dead Graphics

The House of the Dead: Remake’s graphics are the biggest upgrade by far, but the game has many other enjoyable extras. Partner with a friend to blast zombies in local multiplayer action, and compare scores online. Unlock new weapons for your next playthrough. Earn achievements for winning (or losing) in unique ways. Turn on the new scoring system that rewards you for combo kills. There’s even a remixed horde mode that greatly increases the number of zombies you’ll face during a run.

The House of the Dead Control Woes

All the fancy graphics in the world can’t save a shooter if the shooting doesn’t feel satisfying, though. Just to get it out of the way, none of The House of the Dead: Remake’s control options feel as good or accurate as aiming a light gun at the screen. There are few good solutions, outside of somehow recreating the Wii remote’s sensor bar setup or using a boutique device like the Sinden Lightgun. But it begs the question: Why port a light gun game to consoles if the controls won’t smoothly translate?

There isn’t a single, great control option, but there are many. You can aim using the analog sticks, and adjust the sensitivity (good for playing the game on a Nintendo Switch Lite). You can detach a Joy-Con controller, and use motion controls to aim at the screen, while using the stick to make adjustments or recenter yourself. You can even reduce reload time to zero, so that you’ll never need to stop shooting. That feels like a cheat, but it helps make up for time lost from sluggish aiming.

The House of the Dead Gameplay

The main gameplay mechanic is the on-rails shooting mechanic. The player must clear each area of enemies before advancing to the next area. The first two installments featured pistols, the third featured a shotgun, the fourth and Scarlet Dawn featured a submachine gun. Overkill features different firearms which can be changed to the players’ liking. The instructions on the cabinets note that a head shot is the most effective way to kill zombies.

Successful clearing will result in boss battles. Before most battles, the game will show what the bosses’ weak point is. Final bosses have no identifiable weak point. If the boss is shot enough times, it will recoil; otherwise, it will take one of the player’s lives. In most of the games, the bosses are named after Major Arcana cards. They are also classified by ‘types’, which are shown as either a number or Greek letter.

The first two The House of the Dead games featured civilians. If the player successfully rescued civilians from the zombies, the civilian would sometimes reward the player with an extra life. The fourth did not feature civilians. In the third game, occasionally the player’s partner would get in trouble and the player would be rewarded if he or she saved the partner’s life. Players can also obtain extra lives by shooting boxes, crates, vases and destructible scenery. Scarlet Dawn once again features the civilians from the first two games, alongside the partner rescue mechanics from the third game, alongside new mechanics such as weapon switching and quick time events.

All main games have multiple endings, depending on how well the player did in terms of civilians rescued, shooting percentage, score, and lives left. Every main game excepted the last one have “bad” ending, usually involving one of the characters transforming into a zombie. In 1 the character turning was Sophie Richards, 2 is Goldman, III is Daniel Curien and 4 is, once again, Goldman.

What is the story of The House of the Dead?

Set in December 1998, The House of the Dead follows AMS agents Thomas Rogan and G, who investigate the mansion of genetic engineer Dr. Curien. In a fit of insanity, Curien has produced hostile creatures which threaten mankind. The game was developed in just over a year.

How long is House of the Dead remake?

Unfortunately, as a straightforward remake of a 1990s arcade game, The House of the Dead: Remake is extremely short. You can breeze through the four chapters in less than an hour.

How many House of the Dead are there?

There are six House of the Dead games originating in a first-person light gun rail shooter format. The main series all have common traits including special agents pairing up to take on hordes of biologically engineered undead (referred to as ‘mutants’ in Overkill).

Is House of the Dead game scary?

The idea of scary games intrigues me, but when it comes to playing them I get to the first jumpscare and that’s the end of it for me. However, The House Of The Dead is one of the very few horror games that I can play and I think other scared horror fans will absolutely love it too.

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