Review by naps

Reviewed: 10/17/06

Oh did you run out of Ammo pistol shooters? I'm dandy with my SMG!

HoTD (or The House of The Dead) finally comes with its 4th installment as it hits the hot spot arcade zones nationwide. Possibly anticipated by first person shooter fanatics like myself, I found HoTD to be worth the long wait since its predecessor came out last 2002. The evolution of games proves its finest here as we experience unzombifying cities to be quite fun, and nasty.

Gameplay 9/10

SMG’s for the win! Even with the arsenal, HoTD “evolved” into a much fun (and rather powerful) way to save your life once you insert your credit. HoTD1 started with a weenie Beretta Pistol, powering up to a much powerful Desert Eagle in HoTD2, and jumpstarting engines to a powerful (and rather heavy) pump-action shotgun for Sega’s 3rd House of the Dead. For this game however we are armed with a nifty-looking 9mm MAC-10 SMG that hold 30 rounds per clip. Sounds way overpowered? Not quite sir. The gameplay’s quite the same for all HoTD’s with the head of the poor zombie being its greatest weakness (not quite sure about HoTD2 where decapitated zombies still chop your arms off you). Some players might use it like a pro and flick the trigger here and there for headshots, or if you are in mortal peril, spray your gunfire like crazy. Caution, noob spraying can be fatal if you run out of ammo when a zombie is attacking you.

One good thing about getting mobbed in HoTD4 is that if you feel really outnumbered, you can even the odds with your GRENADES. Yes, grenades. Not really useful for pro players who whore for high scores, but fun nonetheless and helps out with the bosses. Another thing is that you are also given live decisions (like in HoTD3) and it adds to the already good gaming experience, as well as hidden goodies.

A con however for the new gameplay system is the “shaking your gun.” You need to shake your gun in certain parts of the game, when being held by zombies etc. It gets tiring after a while and your wrist might get sore. But you gotta love the tap the gun lightly to reload. No more off-screen shooting (not to be read for players who use their fingers-lens reload, it’s sad).

No stupid civilians to worry of life loss, yay.

Story 7/10

HoTD4 is actually a prequel to HoTD3. It shows what happened 3 years after James Taylor and his partner Gary fought countless zombies in HoTD2. The protagonists (and the characters you’ll be with) are James Taylor, together with his new apprentice/partner Kate Green. Together they must battle again countless zombies to finish off the result of Pandora’s Box being opened. Sounds exciting? Not really, but what do we have to expect from shooting games like HoTD? There’s no real “extreme plot” involved, but at least there was a bit of effort produced, from the tapes of Caleb Goldman (also the antagonist of HoTD2) during the start of every chapter.

Graphics 10/10

Running on Sega’s new Lindbergh arcade system board (that is comparable to other arcade games like Tekken 5: DR in terms of graphics), the zombies look amazing, neat in terms of pixel and curves (more like a REAL mess physically though since they’re zombies), the backgrounds look realistic and well fitted, the bosses are menacingly good-looking (the fat blob Temperance really bounces well), and even with the huge number of zombies and therefore moving pixels, the game doesn’t lag. If you play this on the small box arcade, the graphics and detail are really really good. As for the widescreen one, still two thumbs up.

Sounds 10/10

Voice acting good, zombie moans good, overall background music good, boss battle themes rock especially for the Chapter 5 Boss. The VA's suit their character well as they give James and Kate their personalities. Only con is you won’t be able to hear almost anything if you’re inside a noisy arcade.

Replayability 9/10

If you’re a tad perfectionist, you’ll be coming back to master this game and finish it with just one credit or aim for high scores, or high ranks, but if you’re just hanging with your pals or your girl or guy and you decide to play this game, play it again! Whenever was it not fun shooting zombies anyway?

HoTD4 is a great game; it inspires the already waning arcade systems bringing life, or rather death to zombies running amok.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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