Monday, Feb 26, 2024

Review: The House Of The Dead - Remake - Control Issues Gnaw at Sega's Arcade Classic

THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Remake Review - Screenshot 1 of 5

Captured on Nintendo Switch.

Forever Entertainment, a Polish studio, released a HD remake of the Sega Saturn classic Panzer Dragoon two years ago. We reviewed the remake at the time and found it interesting, but flawed. However, we concluded that it was still worth having so that more people could enjoy it.

Now, Forever Entertainment has remade a Sega IP. This time, it is the arcade light gun shooter The House of the Dead. It turns out that we have the same opinion about it as Forever's Panzer Dragoon remake: it's good, but not great.

The House of the Dead is not available to those who haven't had The House of the Dead as a part of their lives. The game takes place at the Curien Mansion and players must stop Dr Curien and his evil laboratory. Curien has been conducting some very grim experiments that have led to his mansion being overrun by a horde zombies and other mutants. Now it's your turn to rescue your girlfriend, as well as clear Curien's lab.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

The Switch's versatility is amazing, but light gun games can be a challenge for it. There's no perfect way to recreate the experience. Because the Wii's sensor bar tracked the Remote's position, it provided one of our best home light gun experiences. However, without a sensor bar, the Switch must rely solely on gyro controls. This isn't ideal.

You can play with the Joy-Con in any combination of handheld or Pro Controller mode. This is the best way to go, and it's also the easiest to calibrate. Simply push the cursor to the edge and then bring it back to centre will do the trick.

We have a problem with the gyro controls. Every time we fire the button (either the A' or the ZR' trigger), our aim is thrown off by the cursor. Although we aren't certain if it's due to controller oversensitivity, it can be frustrating when trying to hit targets from a distance or at mid-range.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

This is also problematic for boss fights. You want your cursor to be focused on one weak spot, but it's moving all over the place. While we aren't John Woo-style stuntmen, we tried to control the cursor by keeping our trigger fingers and hands as steady as we could while playing light gun games. However, it kept jumping.

Playing with the Pro Controller helped us a bit. It wasn't perfect, but it was enough to make things easier. It's true that you want to feel like you are holding a gun when playing light gun games. The Joy-Con feels more like a gun than a Pro Controller, even though it's only a small gun like the one in Men in Black.

You can also use the Control Stick to move your cursor. This is less intuitive, but it is more accurate. Although the default settings do the job, it can be difficult to react quickly and aim accurately. However, there are many sensitivity settings that you can play with until you find the right settings. It's not ideal, but it's still a good option. One of the key benefits of this genre, however, is that everyone, regardless of their gaming ability, should be able just to pick up a gun and instantly know what they are doing. This level of intuitive control is not possible.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked).

We'd be delighted if Forever Entertainment added the ability to tap the screen to select the location where you want to shoot. This would make the game much easier, but it would also be very accurate. It would also be great for Horde mode. We'll be discussing this in a moment.

If you find a way to control the game that you are happy with, the game is just as fun as House of the Dead. It's still incredibly satisfying to blow away zombie heads and save the scientists from being attacked. You can also enjoy the hilarious voice acting. You can also blast through it together with a friend using local multiplayer.

It's an arcade game but it's very short. Although there are several endings that provide some replay value, the control issues mean that trying to get them all (which requires high accuracy and skill) could lead to you literally tearing your face off.

After you've finished the arcade mode, there's a Horde mode that allows you to play with a lot more zombies in each area. It's fun and exciting in a way, but it exposes control issues more when there are more targets to deal with.

Captured on Nintendo Switch.

Visually, it's... fine. It's not just an arcade version with HD upscale and high-res textures. All characters, locations, and enemies in the remake have been rebuilt completely from scratch. Although they might look unfinished in these static screenshots, it is important to remember that they often appear and attack quickly so that you don’t have the time to look at their quality character models. The images are well-detailed, although the lighting has been improved to make them moody and more moody.

Performance is where the game falls short. The default setting can cause frame rates to judder, which is not ideal for games that require quick responses. You can turn on the 'Performance mode' to bring everything closer to a steady frame rate. However, this will not cause too many compromises when docked. It can also make it look blurrier when you are playing handheld.

The House of the Dead: Remake was made with love and care for the source material. Fans of the original will enjoy how Forever Entertainment has given it new paint. It will depend on your willingness to play around with the settings until it is comfortable with your choices. It can be frustrating to fail to save scientists when you are blasting at them with your rockets. You shouldn't have time to tweak settings and dead zones to make it work.


The House of the Dead Remake is an enjoyable update to a Sega arcade game. Although the performance and controls can be slow, if you are willing to spend the time to make them better, you will find something that you love. It shouldn't be necessary to do this with light gun shooters. The fact that you did has to be considered a failure on the game's end.

Still a brilliant light gun shooter at its coreGraphical upgrade is effective, if basicHorde mode is a fun new additionControls can be annoyingly inaccuratePerformance issues, especially on handheldIt's still a very short game Not bad610 Forever Entertainment provided the Scoring Policy Review Copy

Review: The House Of The Dead - Remake - Control Issues Gnaw at Sega's Arcade Classic

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