User review spotlight: Carmageddon (DOS). Released in 1997.

The House of the Dead 2 (Windows)

Mature
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
58
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  kvn8907 (180)
Written on  :  Apr 15, 2007
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Summary

Fun game, bad dialogue

The Good

It's a great improvement over The House of the Dead. In that game, you had unlimited credits and your gun automatically reloaded when you ran out of bullets, giving you in essence infinite bullets and no need to reload. However, in this game, first of all, there are power-ups which work the entire game. You start out with only three, but if you shoot certain power-ups during the game, they don't work immediately (as I disappointedly found out when I shot a +10 credit power-up, then soon after lost), but you can choose two in the beginning of the game, usually along the lines of an increase in bullet power, a larger bullet magazine, or more credits. These power-ups are a big help, meaning that while you probably can't win on your first try, finding them and playing the game with them makes it possible for you to actually win. Unless, of course, you're playing Arcade version, which has no starting power-ups. The action itself is the kind of fun you'd expect from a rail shooter, with zombies and other creatures popping up, throwing things at you, jumping at you, etc. bosses at the end of stages, and it mattering where you shoot things, with visible effects (e.g. you shoot something in the leg, it'll show a leg wound and walk slower, something rare in non-rail shooters). It also has some things that are rare even in rail shooters. Who you rescue can make a difference as to where you go. For example, saving a man on a boat being attacked by a zombie can mean you can go a direction which might have been blocked by the exploded boat. This is especially useful because the limited credits and magazines (unless you get unlimited magazines, of course) means you'll probably have to play more than once to win, and it's nice that you don't necessarily have to follow the same path you did before, which can be repetitive in other games. Also, the music's pretty good, and the graphics are a bit better.

The Bad

The dialogue is awful. It's difficult to describe how bad it is, but it's something close to if you made 12 year olds write the script, then the script was given to people off the street who were told to go home and tape record themselves saying the lines. I don't think there was any voice director or anything to tell people about how to say their lines. They say very stupid things like "Don't come! Don't come!" when a zombie's attacking, and say their lines like they're reading a children's story for the first time. But that's only half of it. Instead of actually lip-syncing, their mouths just quickly open and close, like they're saying "BBBBBBBBB". Their lines don't meet up very well, with long pauses between them. The caption's aren't that good, sometimes getting it wrong, sometimes using the wrong punctuation like saying someone said "No~", but that's all you can go on sometimes, such as the cut scene when everyone's in a boat, and you can't hear what the heck they're saying because the engine's so loud and their voices so soft. You wouldn't be able to tell what they were saying without the captions. The dialogue's the worst part, but there are some little things which aren't that great. As with all rail shooters I know, you shoot things to pick them up, you can be hit with a giant chainsaw 5 times and survive, and you can reload in less than a second, all things which really don’t make much sense. Also, the CG animations will sometimes not work quite right, with things going through other things, or the incredibly lame part where someone throws the protagonist some keys, and they slide to his hand like they're sliding across an invisible countertop. And finally, the storyline's pretty confusing and lame. Something about a rich misanthrope being angry at humans for something, so he wants to destroy them. You could play the game 10 times beginning to end and probably still not understand the storyline.

The Bottom Line

Not a great game, but you'll probably have a good time playing it, so long as you can as you can ignore the shoddy dialogue, or better yet, laugh at it. Also, you'll need a hefty amount of suspension of disbelief, because little if anything will be explained by the end. But it can be fun to play for a day or too, and on the plus side, next time you go to an arcade of bowling alley with the game at it, you can impress all your friends by being really good at it, even though playing it at home will cost you no more money than it's initial investment (which can cost you as little as $6 on Amazon.com).