THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 22, 2019
And we're back, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. After a very interesting two weeks on my part, it is finally time to take the ol' Big Red Timemachine for another spin. I've taken the liberty of upgrading our trusty machine somewhat by installing a lavatory, the reason for which I shall probably first have to explain to you.
As you might remember, two weeks ago, I ate what I thought to be a very smelly, yet very tasty piece of thoroughly aged cheese. Now, being somewhat of a cheese fanatic, I gobbled it up and thought nothing of it. I mean, cheese is for eating, is it not? Well, not this particular piece, it seemed. In his own amusing and slightly childish way, Dennis gave me no warning but, instead, just handed me a folded up note and told me to give it to my wife later that evening and muttered something about him calculating the time of some occurrence that would, according to him, be somewhat amusing.
Well, amusing it was not, let me tell you! Upon returning home, my normally tranquil bowels and stomach stared to act up a bit. Seeing as how it had been a very "matured" piece of cheese, this sort of thing can happen. I handed my wife the note, just not after 6PM as Dennis had instructed. And, not a moment too soon, she read it. After we cleaned up the house, she showed me the note and it consisted of just one word: "DUCK!" Dennis had planned for me to hand over the note after the fact, as a sort of slapstick attempt at humor. Luckily, I gave it to her upfront. Why? Well, I will not go into the details here, but have any of you per chance seen the movie "The Excorcist"? Well, let's just say that the possessed girl's projectile vomiting in that movie was just a slight dribble in comparison with what happened to me that very moment...
Nevertheless, it was good for something; I finally managed to lose the extra few pounds I had been carrying around since the holidays! The only thing that is a bit of a nuisance is the fact that my bowels still aren't quite back to their normal state, hence the lavatory. Don't worry, I'm fine otherwise, so let's go on an adventure! Strap yourselves in, because we're blasting off towards 1998! Once there, we'll pick up our light gun and start blasting monsters like there's no tomorrow. Get ready for: The House of the Dead 2!
Released for arcades in November of 1998 by Sega, The House of the Dead 2 is a zombie/monster themed light gun rail shooter. It picked up the story fourteen months after the events that occurred during the first game in the House of the Dead series. One of the investigators that thwarted the monster invasion of the Curien mansion, called "G" has gone missing in Venice, Italy and it's your job to find him. So you and your partners catch the next flight over there and land smack-dab down in the middle of yet another zombie and monster outbreak! What are the odds, right?
Well, as you will soon discover, someone named Goldman was behind the Curien mansion incident and is also responsible for the undead mess you find yourselves in today. He literally hates mankind and wants to see it eradicated. Hmm, with him being human as well, wouldn't it have been easier if he first started to wipe out himself? That would have saved us a lot of trouble... oh well. If he did that, we wouldn't have an awesome game to play, am I right? So, back to the game at hand. The House of the Dead 2 was, as far as I'm concerned, meant to be played in a two-player coop mode, with both players handling a light gun and working together in order to eradicate any threat coming their way. The game was presented in a first person perspective and your enemies would come walking, running and jumping towards you. The object of the game is to kill all enemies before they kill you.
On the screen, one or two (depending on the number of players) would be shown wherever you aimed your light gun. You didn't have to walk, the game did this for you. All you needed to do is shoot at the screen. Now, I don't know about you but, personally, I always had a soft spot for light gun games. There's something enormously fun about standing in front of a cabinet with an actual (plastic) fun in hand, seeing the enemies come your way, and making their heads explode with a few well aimed shots.
Of course, as is custom with all guns, you will run out of bullets in your clip. When this happens, the game would give you a warning on-screen, which said "Reload", as well as an audio cue along the same lines. When this happened, you only needed to aim your gun off-screen, effectively reloading your gun. On your travels through Venice, you would also come across normal humans who needed saving. These people were often chased by, or were in the clutches of the monsters that roam the city. If you managed to save them, you would get items like health and such. Also, throughout the city, there would be secret items to find in barrels or crates. By shooting at these containers, you would destroy them, revealing the treasure inside. By shooting the item you would pick it up.
The game had a branching path system, which enabled you to choose between two paths that, however different, ultimately lead to the same destination. This gave the game a higher replay value than it would have had with a single path approach. Not that it needed this in my opinion, because, even if you played the game more often, it stayed a really fun experience. The graphics looked really cool at the time and the monsters and zombies were varied enough to keep you entertained for many hours. When having played the game multiple times, you would normally start trying to gather all the hidden items and save all the citizens from their otherwise gruesome fate.
One of the most amusing features of The House of the Dead 2 was definitely the voice acting used in the game. It was so atrociously bad that it could almost be called an art form! The human characters delivered their lines without ever feeling like they fitted the situation and the sound the monsters made was hilarious. Especially the very first monster you'd come across, a small winged demon type enemy delivered its lines with so much squeaky grandeur and without any natural inflection that it sounded like a chew toy somehow got caught in the gears of an ancient water pump! Now, some people thought it was just bad, but I always felt that it somehow added to the fun there was to be had from playing the game. It was truly so wrong that it managed to transcend the realm of bad and became something else... something awesome I might add!
All in all, I can only come to the conclusion that The House of the Dead 2 is still a really fun game that, if you ever have the chance, you just must play. The game was ported to the Sega Dreamcast in 1999 and to Microsoft Windows in 2001. It was even ported to the Wii in 2008, bundled together with its sequel, The House of the Dead 3. The Windows version which exchanged the light gun controls for mouse controls. The Dreamcast and the Wii, however, did eventually have a light gun system and enabled players to experience the arcade feel in the comforts of their home... Speaking of the comforts of home, we really must return to the Big Red HQ. Now, I will be gone for a little while, but don't worry; I've set the auto pilot to take us home safely and up till now it hasn't failed us... yet.
In the meantime, I must really visit my new porcelain throne, for nature calls once again. I think the remnants of the ancient cheese are finally ready to leave my body for good and I, for one, am glad to get rid of it! So, thank you for joining us on this lovely Friday. I trust you had fun and hope to see you all again in two weeks when our resident Cheese monger, Dennis, will take you on a trip through time and space, in search of the forgotten and less-forgotten gems of video gaming!
THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2