There are a few moments in life when more of the same is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, when you’re at the bar and have had your first cold beer and your best mate offers you more of the same. Or you’re feeling a little fruity with your loved one and they offer you more of the same. You get the point. Well, the same rule pretty much applies to House of the Dead 3 on the PS3.
This grand daddy zombie stomper made its debut back in 2002 when having a Wii in your living room was still frowned upon and internet was something you got at the hairdressers. A lot has changed since then. But, thankfully House of the Dead has remained impervious to the ravages of time.
Set in the post-apocalyptic year of 2019, mankind is on its last legs with most of the population being turned into hairy unwashed, undead zombies. The game picks up after secret agent Thomas Rogan and his team of highly trained commandos (including his assistant young captain Dan Taylor) are sent to investigate a research facility, which may be linked to the world’s collapse. Thomas’ 19-year-old daughter, Lisa, and Rogan’s former partner, G, travel there two weeks later with shotguns in hand after contact with him is mysteriously lost.
It’s fair to say that if you’ve played House of the Dead on the Dreamcast or Wii, then you’re on very familiar ground with this port of the classic franchise. Even after ten years the game is still a heart pumping, white knuckle thrill ride that will have you holding your breath and gritting your teeth as you dish out lead poisoning to misshapen zombies and a gruesome assortment of night creatures.
The game has of course received the obligatory HD spit and polish but, to be honest, the graphics are not a world away from the 2002 incarnation.
The major differences you’ll notice with the PS3 port is the introduction of the auto-reload. In previous games, players had to shoot off-screen in order to reload their weapon. Now the re-load function is automatic. A subtle difference perhaps, but one that can shave nano-seconds off your response time. House of Dead 3 has also done away with its terrified civilians that, at various stages of the game, you were tasked with rescuing. Now the only non-zombie characters are you and your partner. On occasions you will have rescue challenges. But these involve rescuing your partner and, if successfully completed, reward you with an extra life.
House of the Dead 3 on the PS3 also features a new rank and grade system. Players are now graded on how fast they dispose of the zombies, ranging from Excellent, Good, and Faster. At the end of each stage a letter grade is also given ranging from S, A, B, C, D and E.
Developers Sega say that if you complete a stage with an A rank you’re rewarded with a bonus life, while an S rank will reward the player with two. We, on the other hand, consistently sucked like an industrial Moulinex and scored straight B’s and C’s. So we’ll have to take Sega’s word for it.
Like previous games in the franchise, the branching pathways make a welcome comeback. This essentially means you get to choose the route you take through the level although the bosses are pretty similar irrespective of which way you go. The game also suffers from the same ground hog day syndrome where zombies pop up in the exactly the same place and time every time you play. A flaw which means that completing the level relies on having a good memory as well as lightning fast hand and eye coordination.
Despite its many minor flaws, House of the Dead 3 is an old school blast from the past for your a***. We polished off the game in 45 minutes and you will probably do it in the same time if not faster. But, with so much fun to be had blasting holes into the undead, you will soon be picking up the controller eager for another shot at the zombies. And then another. More of the same? Yes please, bar man.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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