House of the Dead 3. Wow Entertainment (2002) Xbox

Along with Time Crisis 1 I think House of the Dead 2 is one of the most overrated light gun games, so going into House of the Dead 3 I am wondering if it will be better or worse than either of those average games. So which is it?

Gameplay

HotD3 is a light gun game so pointy shooty, clicky bang bang with a plastic gun…

In game, your gun is a shotgun, which while satisfying in sound is a bit of a chore to us. Since your gun is a shotgun the reload is a little longer, which makes sense, but it will mean you will get frustrated by the many deaths you suffer from premature reloads as most of the lives you will lose are because you have reloaded at the wrong time.

Unlike HotD2 you choose the branches or the level before a level starts and once you beat Chapter 1 you then choose the order to do the next 3 levels in. Again, is slightly strange, and depending on the order you choose to do level 2, 3 and 4 in, it will alter the paths you take within each level and the also difficulty of the enemies. It means you are not really encouraged to experiment, and will most likely choose levels in the order you find easiest as the paths don’t really alter. If there was a choice of 3 of 4 or 5 levels it would add a tonne of replayability. With 3 almost identical versions of the same level it feels very flat redoing levels.

Story

You know what? I kinda like the story, it isn’t “stupid”, but obviously it is a little over the top. One thing I like is that during Chapter 0 there is a cliffhanger and if HotD3 was as poorly written as later Resident Evils this cliffhanger would be anticlimactic AND overly obvious. However, the game devs actually had a good idea, and you don’t really see it coming when the cliffhanger is revealed on Chapter 5.

Other than that, you take on the roll of Agent G (who I thought he died at the start of HotD2) and Lisa Rogan, the daughter of the first games protagonist Thomas Rogan.

Lisa and G head to the EFI Research Facility to go in search of Thomas who went missing on an earlier mission.

No really, you fight a sloth

Stuff

The branching paths don’t really make sense to me, I likeD the system in HotD2 as it was often clear what achieved a new path. Choosing a path and then having the level alter based on the order you chose changing things doesn’t really add much, and actually annoys me more than anything.

Replacing the “Save the hostage” situations from HotD2 is rescuing your partner. If you save him in time you’ll get extra lives, failing results in no bonus lives (and no lives lost) but means once you know the game, or the optimum path you’ll be swimming in lives.

Also newly appearing in this game series, is a boss attack meter. Shoot the boss’s weak point enough during the attack animation and you will prevent the attack (orange bar), this will also take health away from the boss’s health (green bar).

The final boss is basically the Magician with a spinning shield of frustration.

Difficulty

HotD3 is frustrating in the difficulty curve, the way the game works is that you start with 3 lives and 3 continues, but when you game over you’ll get 1 more life, until you hit 5. Then, you’ll get more continues. The problem is, I can get to the final boss on less then 10 lives. The problems then comes from the final boss being too hard. I can burn through 20-30 lives on the boss, which as you can imagine, isn’t fun and basically means you’ll spend 4-5 hours beating a 30 minute game.

Once you finally beat the game, you unlock Very Easy (and Very Hard) and 9 credits. It is honestly the most backwards ass unlock I’ve ever seen.

Yeah, this boss is a tree…

Conclusion

There isn’t really much to say. This is the only light gun game on the Xbox, so buying the game and potentially two guns isn’t really worthwhile. The guns are accurate, but not worth buying two for two player. It means the game will most likely miss out on the co-op play, as it is relatively expensive for what you get.

The reload time for the shotgun is infuriating for somebody used to twitch reflex shooters, and some of the boss design really does suck, especially the sloth. As it is, the game isn’t good, but it certainly doesn’t drop down into the “bad” category.

Play it at a mates, or find in the arcade but don’t bother wasting your money on the light guns.

Pros: shooting is accurate.

Cons: probably a bit too hard because of the reload times, you fight a giant sloth…

59%

Back in the Day:

Scores were all over the place scoring as low as 3/10 and up to 8/10.

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2 thoughts on “House of the Dead 3. Wow Entertainment (2002) Xbox

  1. Nice write-up. I’m not big on light gun games and considering I’d need to spend more than I’d want to give this one a try, I’ll avoid.

    Liked by 1 person

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