THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake Review – Review
Raise your hand if you have fond memories of hitting up your local arcade, sliding your choice of currency into THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD machine, unholstering the blue or pink plastic gun, and taking aim at the ‘START’ option, ready to unleash chaos on zombies and monsters. Everyone’s hand is raised, right? Well, with THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake, you can do almost all of this from the comfort of your own home – minus the pink and blue guns, of course…
Developed by MegaPixel Studio, THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is an incredibly faithful remade version of the 1997 arcade game of the same name. This classic rail-shooter ticks all the boxes of the original and then layers on so much more to accommodate the modern gamer and their expectations. Updates include enhanced graphics, achievements, new characters, horde mode, and different control options – yes, including gyro controls. You can use your Joy-Con or Pro Controller as a gun to aim and shoot!
While THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD is known for its chaotic rail-shooting goodness, a story is woven in among the mayhem. Players receive a call from Sophie, Agent Thomas’ fiancée, stating that Dr. Curien’s mansion is overrun by undead monsters because of an experiment gone wrong by the mad doctor. It is up to you to defeat the creatures, stop Dr. Curien, and save Sophie. In all honesty, the story is pretty bare-bones, but you’re not going to purchase THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD for its narrative.
One of the great things about THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is its accessible controls. As this is a rail-shooter, you needn’t worry about moving your character around. You have three controls to learn, which depend on how you like to play. Two consistent controls are the shoot and reload buttons: the A button shoots, and the B button reloads. You can turn auto-reload on in the settings and even adjust the time it takes to reload – so if you’re having a tough time, slap that auto-reload on at 0.1 seconds! Keep in mind that the voiceover shouting, “reload!” every time you need to reload does not stop even when auto-reload is turned on. You’ll be hearing this man every few seconds, which can be very annoying, but you’ll be so focused on not missing your shots that it’ll just fade into the background.
THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is just as fast-paced and action-packed as it feels when in the arcade, but this time when you lose, you can just pick back up where you left off without spending more coins. If you’re so inclined, the option of unlimited credits can be turned off, and you can treat your playthroughs as if you’re at the arcade. One of the main drawbacks of this version is the painfully long load times when starting or continuing a save file. These occur between chapters and take much longer than they should; however, the entire ride is smooth, fluid, and hectic once you are loaded into each chapter.
The main story mode isn’t the only option that THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake has to offer on Switch. You can select horde mode if you want an extra challenge, which brings even more chaos than the original arcade version. This mode essentially turns one creature into seven creatures, and even on the easiest difficulty, you will suffer. Horde mode is definitely saved for veteran shooters or for some co-op chaos with a partner, which is how I enjoyed this mode the most. Outside of the main game modes, you can also access your personal statistics and check out leaderboards of your completed campaigns (a great way to see how awful your aim is!). The final area outside of the settings is the Gallery. The Gallery takes you into the home of Dr. Curien, where you can view collectibles, information on killed creatures, and your completed achievements. This is a nice space to view further details on the creatures, who mostly have regular names – my favorite being Sam, the most common creature you encounter (it’s always a Sam…).
As a remake, the graphics have definitely been upscaled and look great. You’re in for a bold and fierce-looking shooter, especially in handheld mode (on the OLED) and using gyro controls. Couple this with the rocking and heavy soundtrack, moans, groans, and cries of the creatures, shattering glass, walls crashing down, bullets flying everywhere, and the voice shouting “reload,” and you’re in for complete sensory pandemonium – in the best way possible.
THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake is precisely that, a remake of one of the most iconic and best rail-shooters of all time. In terms of core gameplay and story, there isn’t much; however, the touch-ups are all that was needed for a perfect refresh. To add to this, the gyro controls are surprisingly great and the best way to play. Grab yourself a joy-con and a willing partner, and shoot your way through bullet-hell in THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD.