I just ordered the Japanese Virtua Cop Special Set which came with a timed demo of House of the Dead for Saturn.
In continuing their tradition of releasing model 2 arcade games, Sega has begun work on the horror hit House of the Dead. Recently, I ordered the Virtua Cop Value Set which included a timed 2 minute demo of House of the Dead (HOTD). You'll either love it or hate it by the looks of the demo. Obviously if tradition hasn't changed, then Sega of Japan won't make any changes to the final version as the demo shows what looks to be pretty much the finished copy. Alright, as soon as you fire HOTD up, you already notice the MAJOR downgrade in graphics, including the creatures (even though all the creatures look totally AWESOME). It just has a real dry and stale look compared to Model 2. The atmosphere is there though as the Saturn's wonderful VDP processor portrays the dark gray clouds in the background. The environments are pretty pixelly but nothing horrible. The worst case of the pixels is when the guy you are drives up in his car to start the level. I'm sorry, but nothing touches model 2 baby. But once I looked past the inferior graphics, I felt the power of Sega gameplay. This is the best light gun game I've ever played. Though some may crucify me for this statement, I actually like HOTD more than Model 3 Lost World. This is due to the fact that it is so much more fun to shoot zombies and see every body part go to chunks than to shoot countless raptors who get repetitive after a while (though absolutely NOTHING compares to fighting the T-REX). I get crazy when I'm shooting these freakin things. It just feels so good, like you're really shooting real zombies. You just feel so cool when you blow off some freak's face only to see him still come after you. Anyway let's make this short but sweet.
Graphics 1-5? This part is based just on Saturn version, no more comparisons to model 2 (if anyone needs extra info, feel free to email me) (4) I give it a four because as a game by itself it still looks really awesome. By the way, the zombies look AWESOME. Body chunks fly everywhere and it just looks so DARN COOL! Like I said above, when I shoot a hole through a zombies face and chest right in front of me, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. The blood is green but I hear there's supposed to be a option to change from green to red.
Sound 1-5? (4.5) If I remember right, than this game has the SAME EXACT sound quality as the arcade version. From the Zombies creepy groaning to the cheezy "Oh NO" by the victims. The first level has a rock tune that's pretty cool. Overall awesome sound.
Gameplay (5) This game is so fun, it should be illegal. And I mean the Saturn Version, not the arcade. This review is for saturn so..... From shooting zombies to countless bits and pieces to taking the MANY alternate routes, this ones a killer. Granted, I never got past the first 3 minutes in the arcade, this game is pretty new for me soooo.....If the first 2 minutes worth of the game is like this, then I'm in Horror heaven.
(As Jedi turns away, a zombie lunges at his neck.....) To Be Continued (march 12, is the Import release, I think)
Review By: Patrick McManus