The House of the Dead
Originally released in the arcades, The House of the Dead is an on-rails shooter, much like Sega's own Virtua Cop, that draws its main inspiration from the zombie-killing fun of Resident Evil. With the exception of the graphics department (which I'll get to in a bit), the Saturn translation was handled extremely well.
In The House of the Dead it is up to you to stop an insane scientist who is hell-bent on taking over the world and furthering his genetic testing of raising the dead. In the beginning you'll have to choose from one of the few different play modes. You can play the arcade version of the game(aptly titled Arcade mode) or you can choose the Saturn version which lets you choose from additional characters. Also, some new monsters have been added as well as various paths. There's also a boss mode that will let you fight all of the game's end-level bosses without having to go through each level.
If you choose the Arcade or Saturn modes, you will be treated to some nice beginning story sequences and then it's time for action. Upon entering the mansion you will notice that this is not your ordinary on-rails shooter. Instead of taking on drug lords or thugs like in most games of this nature, the Resident Evil inspiration kicks in and has you fighting all sorts of zombies with chainsaws, hellhounds, bats, etc. All of the enemies are nasty (in a good, scary way) and will come at you from all sides.
With accuracy you can kill some enemies in one hit. Depending on where you shoot each enemy that enemy will either die or only lose individual body parts. If you shoot them in the chest you'll blow a hole through them. Shoot them in the arms and there is a good chance their arms will fall off. Aim for the head and watch them drop like flies. Location damage really makes the game more interesting and increases the fun factor a great deal.
Depending on how you play the game as well as the number of enemies that you kill, different paths will make themselves available throughout each level. Sometimes you will have to save scientists and other captives. How many you save or how many are hit by friendly fire are major actions that result in path changes. Various paths increase the replay value as each game may lead to a path you have not yet played through. Each path is different in design but just as action packed as the next one.
As I alluded to earlier, the only real problem with The House of the Dead is in the graphics department. While the arcade version had beautiful, sharp visuals, this translation does not. Graphics are often pixelated and grainy. Still, this shooter is a fabulous game and offers a ton of zombie killin' fun. If you're a fan of light gun shooters or loved the arcade version, then you should definitely pick up The House of the Dead for your Sega Saturn. The only thing that will disappoint are the visuals and if can you look past them, you'll have a great time. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide
While not terrible, the graphics tend to be quite pixelated and grainy. Still, the different paths and locations within the mansion and courtyards are fantastic and the level design is quite good. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide
All of the gun sounds and monster effects are rather good. Though the voice acting left little to be desired. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide
The House of the Dead is a great amount of fun. There's tons of action and lots of monsters to kill as well as many different paths to take within the mansion. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide
Different play modes and various paths add a lot of replay value. The inclusion of a two-player cooperative game was a fantastic idea and increases the life to the game. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide
The manual is informative and tells you everything you need to know. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide