The House Of The Dead Remake
Time To Enter Curien Manor Again
When The House of The Dead Remake was first announced, I remember being mildly interested in the game itself. On paper, it seemed like a no-brainer to remake a game where the main enemies feast on brains. The game was slated to release on the Nintendo Switch first and all other consoles later that month. One of the first signs of caution I've had in its development was its developers, MegaPixel Studio. This wouldn't be the first SEGA IP that they would revive on the Switch as the Panzer Dragoon Remake was one of their first projects.
Unfortunately, it was considered a let-down not because it wasn't fun but because it wasn't the best title performance-wise. I recall waiting close to a minute in-between levels just to play three minutes' worth of content. It got to a point when I'd spend less time playing an otherwise great remake and more time staring at the words "NOW LOADING." With my expectations already low, how does The House of The Dead remake compare to MegaPixel Studio's previous efforts?
Don't Play This Expecting The Original
From the moment the player reaches the main menu, they will already sense that something is wrong. Very wrong. Let's begin with the music. I'm admittingly not the biggest fan of the first HotD, beginning the series with the second onward. Even I knew that something was terribly wrong when I heard something that was less House of The Dead and more Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy. It wasn't that classic 90s thriller soundtrack I've grown to love at the arcades, but rather some weird cartoony-sounding music. Thankfully the music in-game fares better but it attempts too hard at "modernizing" the sound. I wish the option for the original soundtrack existed.
The graphics are what you'd expect from a B-Grade remake as they aren't the highest quality but it captures the aesthetic of the original. There are some aspects the original does better as it allowed players to wander in a gritty manor with actual horror elements. The Remake feels like someone took the level designs and enemies of the original while eliminating the grotesque horror factor from it. It's a pretty game that doesn't compromise itself too much on graphics, but it lacks what made the original great.
RELOAD RELOAD RELOAD RELOAD
Alright, so the music and graphics are average at best. What about the gameplay? This is something that I can recommend to players in that turning the dialogue off will save you a headache. Unless you want to hear the protagonist yell "RELOAD!" twenty times in five seconds, the dialogue is absolutely annoying and dreadful. I understand this was intentional as the original dialogue was full of camp. It didn't capture the "B-Movie dialogue" of the original well at all. It came out more as 'Let's be annoying because the original was known to be intentionally bad."
I'd also recommend changing the aiming speed, sensitivity, and fine-tuning some settings with the controls. By default, the aiming is abysmal and it's alleviated only slightly by using the Switch's gyro sensors. It took a bit of tinkering to find the sweet spot between the sticks feeling sluggish and the sticks moving too fast. Shooting at the enemies requires near perfection as even the slightest delay will cause casualties and unnecessary damage taken. Those who remember the original will know how important it is to keep the scientists alive.
The House Of The Dead Remake's Extras Are Passable
Aside from the "Classic" mode, there's also a "Horde" mode where the number of zombies increases tenfold, making the already stressful gameplay even more hectic. I appreciated the increased number of zombies to shoot. I didn't appreciate that this just amplified my problems with the original gameplay. As the player defeats zombies, their biographies and models will appear in the Gallery mode. Any achievements the player earns in-game, whether it's saving or killing a scientist, clearing a stage, or getting X number of kills, are also featured.
There's not much else I can say about The House Of The Dead Remake as it's the definition of "What you see is what you get." It's not necessarily a title I can say a lot of love and care was put into it. It's a half-baked "safe" title that does the bare minimum to reference its source material. It's not a quality remake in the same vein as Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, which also had its fair share of issues. Unless you're a die-hard House of the Dead fan, I would pass on The House Of The Dead Remake. I give the developers credit for at least attempting to fix the issues present on other platforms, but I wasn't left impressed with the Switch version.
The House Of The Dead Remake is available on the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.