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The House of the Dead 2 

Developer Sega
Publisher Sega
Genre Light-gun game
Players 1-2
Rumble Yes
Extras err.. light gun!


Today's lesson is History. Hey quiet at the back of the class.

Light gun games are probably the most linear games available, but over the last few years we have seen many changes. Mike, a friend of mine had a game called Duck Hunt on his NES. Each time I visited we use to play this, it was amazing I enjoyed it a lot even though I was rubbish at it. Fast forward some years and we were introduced to the 'real' FMV light gun games like Lethal Enforces and the dreadful Area 51. Just when light gun games had disappeared into the light, Sega stood up and shouted from the roof tops.  In other words they released Virtua Cop.


Even though in all honesty the Virtua Cop games were still linear, they built realistic scenes then coloured them in garish shades of the primary colours. Sega released a sequel imaginatively titled Virtua Cop 2, the sequel looked better and the Saturn conversion had a new route at the end of the 3rd level. The public demanded Virtua Cop 3 but instead Sega experimented with new ideas and created ‘The House of the Dead.’


This game injected some weak but highly enjoyable plot segments, but the biggest excitement point was that it had various different routes through the levels, this added to its reply value. Was Sega listening to the public, or was it another way to get more money from their £1 a go game? A Sega Saturn conversion blessed the last few Saturn owners, the game was great. It obviously lacked the graphical malarkey of the arcade version, but it played great. The House of the Dead 2 [HOTD2] was released in the late 90's on Sega's N@omi arcade board, and now in the age of the Dreamcast you can play it at home.  Prepare to die!


HOTD2 was one of the first wave of Dreamcast games released, but thanks to the American media the game and gun packs were very hard to come by. This resulted in many people ignoring the game, which was a shame.  HOTD2 amazed me when I first loaded it up.  The graphics and stages are incredibly well designed and have real depth. All the zombies from the first game are back along with a few new arrivals.


Is it just me, or does that guy bear some resemblance to 'Kane' from WWF?

This time 'G' and 'Rogan' from the original game have been disabled in the sudden zombie outbreak, it is up to you to sort this zombie infestation out and find out who is behind this latest zombie plot.


As you would expect from a sequel the game plays near identical to the original, except as is the rule for sequels: everything is bigger. Hostages are still there to be saved, and one near the beginning is impossible to rescue, and that I am sure of. Sega have obviously hired the people who did the voice acting for Resident Evil 1, as they are all very uncharismatic and sound very dumb, they have also developed the excessive hand movements from the Resident Evil series. It sounds pretty dreadful, but somehow it all fits in perfectly creating a linear interactive B-movie.

Linear interactive? Yes! The levels still feature huge end of level bosses which all have their various weak points and are easy to dispatch when you have learnt their attack patterns. Playing with the light gun is much better as you would expect over the pad, but the pad setup is also very good. The analogue stick controls the cursor whilst button "A" fires and "B" reloads. So by pressing both "A+B" simultaneously you have infinite auto reload, this makes destroying the second boss real easy.


To try and boost HOTD2’s lastability Sega has added several exclusive home modes like ‘Training’ and ‘Original’. Sadly Original is not the first game from the series but a custom version of the main game where you can earn extra characters, weapons, costumes and more. The Original mode is very hard as your default gun only holds 3 bullets. Training mode is excellent, basically you are given certain tasks to complete with certain limitations, be it time, ammo, or accuracy. You are also able to practice your boss 'techniques' as long as you have faced them already in Arcade mode.

It's your pecky gun against that massive axe.  Better get shooting then!



When you first play HOTD2 you will get virtually nowhere, this is because HOTD2 is very hard even on the easy difficulty level with 9 continues at your disposal. Seriously this game will take you a while to finish….properly.


Finish the game properly? What do I mean? Well as in the first game there are several different endings which are dependant on your score when you manage to complete the game. Points are added for zombie head shots and deducted when you shoot hostages, just like real life!


To add to the already high difficulty level the final boss from The House of the Dead 1, The Magician, appears as the penultimate boss, worst still he is even tougher than before. But compare him with the final boss -The Emperor and he seems a doddle in comparison.

Okay, so I think you have realised that the game is hard, what about the sounds? Well the music is atmospheric with some real haunting tracks on the later levels. The zombie moans are spot on, as are the additional sound effects of the bullets ricocheting off metal objects and barrels.


In short this game is the same as what you play in the arcade. The game is very enjoyable, and even more so when you play in 2 player. However as in any light gun game you will not be playing it all the time, more likely you will return to a spot of zombie shooting a little and often. Purchasing the game and the gun may seem expensive, but how much would you be spending on the Arcade machine at £1 a go? Well? How much?

A lot.

Sam Smith




Excellent 3D models and set design. HOTD2 is still the bench mark light gun game.
Sound 7 Music is atmospheric and the sound effects range from average to good.
Gameplay 7 Repetitive but that’s to be expected. Good fun blasting zombies. Many different routes, and play styles.
Lifespan 7

Games like this you buy because you enjoy them, it is not about finishing them and HOTD2 is no different, the game is good shooting fun!


"Empty your barrel and shoot your load, only in The House of the Dead 2."

By Craig

I agree with what Sam says here. The graphics are more detailed than the arcade but personally I think the sound is awful. When will companies get in real scriptwriters? There is little point in buying a ‘gun’ game without the gun; Like going fishing without a rod. Really, once you had completed the game they should have given you a level select like ‘Virtua Cop’. You will play the first level so much that you will hate it with passion. And Sam is right about the two hostages at the beginning! They just can’t be saved…you need two players! Why? Who knows? 

7/10- "At the end of the day it’s a great shooter. Nothing more, nothing less.”


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Sam Smith




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