I am always skeptical about cult classics, there is a reason they are “cult”, and not just “classic”.
But enough about that, what is House of the Dead 2 like?
The House of the Dead series eventually ran with the B-Movieness of the story and gameplay. But I am not sure if the developers had become self aware at this point.
The animation/voiceacting is poor, even when compared to Resident Evil or Resident Evil 2. The story is generic as hell, and there is no ryhme nor reason for the events of the game, and they are not explained.
Having said that HotD2 is a fun on-rails-shooter, and includes everything you could imagine of a game from this genre.
- Terrible plot (Michael Bay Generic Action Story Award nomination)
- Awful voice acting
Seriously bad voice acting
I think there is one.
The game follows the fictional events of February 26, 2000, fourteen months after the Curien Mansion incident in The House of the Dead. Strange occurrences are reported to be taking place in the city of Venice, Italy, the last known location of AMS agent G, who has gone missing. Agents James Taylor and Gary Stewart are dispatched, along with Amy Crystal and Harry Harris, to investigate and evacuate the populace. Upon finding G alive but wounded, James and Gary converse with him and G gives them a field journal showing the bosses and weak points. The pair are then met with a massive undead hoard, similar to the kind from the Curien Mansion incident. They continue on, trying to save the town’s civilians from the zombies.
Ripped directly from Wikipedia.
Seriously, I played the game, and can’t tell you anything other than:
You start off in a “location” looking for “G”, G dies, and rather than turning around getting in your car and leaving, you decide to go towards all the zombie/monster type things.
At the end of the level you get cutscenes of the “really really evil man” (Goldman) where he says evil things about the “time will come” “soon we’ll be more evil”, stuff like that. He bad, you good. That is the depth of the script.
As mentioned, HotD2 is an on-rail-shooter, so you point the gun at the screen, and make varying “pewpewpew” noises with your lips. You reload by shooting off screen, and you get branching pathways.
It isn’t always obvious how to branch, but it is always to do with rescuing a survivor.
You’ll need to bring your twitch reflexes, or know the game inside out to do this, as survivors will pop on screen for a second or two, and you need to kill the enemies attacking them before they die. Rescue them, and they either reward you (extra health) or tell you a “shortcut”. I quote the shortcut, as it isn’t always shorter, just a differing path/route.
The differing routes offer some replayability, but ultimately there isn’t much meat on the bones here…
You also get THREE different endings, but you either have the be totally FUCKING awesome to get the good, or be so utterly terrible you get the bad (have like 10 extra credits and use them all) that you will most likely see the “normal” ending.
The boss battles are the best feature, and luckily there is a “boss mode” on the Dreamcast, where you fight just the bosses.
They are all simple enough, shoot them in the area you’re told too, but they are hard, and somewhat vexing on harder difficulties.
The 5th level boss (The Magician from HotD1) is probably the hardest, he just flies around the screen, and I can’t kill him without using 1 or 2 continues. The final boss (The Emperor) is awesome. He literally throws the previous bosses at you.
A little unfair at times
Some sections are specifically designed for you to take damage (meaning you put more money in the machine) it was a cheap and annoying feature arcade games used, and I hate it. Here, on a home version, you can learn the twitch reflex you’ll need, but on the whole it leaves you feeling a little dissatisfied. This occurs specifically on the 5th level boss, but also when trying to rescue some survivors.
On the Dreamcast home port you got “Original Mode”, I’ll be honest, this IS NOT original. It is arcade mode, with “perks”… At the start of the game, you can choose things such; a machine gun, extra clip capacity, extra continues, extra lives, extra points.
Basically, this is pointless. You can find bonuses as you play, and use them on the next playthrough, but there really isn’t any reason you’d do this instead of the traditional arcade mode.
Having said that, I am not sure if there is much point of you tracking down a copy of HotD2. If you are in PAL regions, you only get 2-3 games that were Light Gun compatible for the Dreamcast, so overall it might be cost prohibitive once you take the price of a lightgun into account.
Pros: Fun, making pew noises.
Cons: Short, voice acting, Light gun accessory is a bit expensive and not well supported, Original mode adds nothing