So, I got House of the Dead 2,3 Return the other day at Circuit City because it was on sale for $20. A steal I thought to myself. Got home, played it, pretty not bad, after I realized how the calibrator worked. It has one for the IR shooting, and it works very, very well, so that shooting in spot-on, and you can even choose one of a handful of cool reticules.
If you don't know what House of the Dead is: it is a light-gun arcade game that features shooting up zombies of all forms in HofD2 with a pistol and in HofD3 with a shotgun. You are on a rails and don't have any ability to move yourself of course, however, there are branching paths which you either directly choose yourself or go to depending on events you either accomplish or fail to accomplish.
There are two main menu chooses, House of the Dead 2 and House of the Dead 3, each which sport a few special features. House of the Dead 2 comes with the arcade port, "original" version, training mode, and boss mode. House of the Dead 3 comes with the arcade port, ??? which I haven't unlocked yet, and time trial.
The "original" version in HofD2 is the same as the arcade version, although it allows you to use special power-ups. At the beginning, you can choose two...or three...power-ups from the ones you have previously collected throughout the mode. These include extra space in your ammo clip so you don't have to reload so often, extra continues, more damage per bullet, a shotgun, and others that will make the game easier for you.
The training mode is pretty cool, including 10 different mini-games that you unlock as you go. Each of these includes 5 different difficulties which you also unlock by beating the easier one. These are all fun, but each lasts 30 seconds or less, so you wont be spending TOO much time with them, but they are a nice distraction and welcomed inclusion.
Each HofD game features co-op multiplayer, which like the arcade games, where you simply need to press 'A' on another controller to join. The game features the use of the Wii Zapper, but really, the only button you press in the game is the 'B' button to shoot, so you can just use the Wiimote if you like. (You point off-screen to reload). Also, each game features a nice options menu, which lets you configure, to an extent, how many lives you start with and how many continues you get, along with the difficulty of the game and what color the blood is. I have seen thus far, that the more you play, the more you unlock. After playing through the arcade mode a few times, you get more and more lives to use, starting with 3 to the possibility of using at least 5.
There are a lot of cool things in House of the Dead 2,3 Return, but it is basically just HofD2 and 3 ported to the Wii. If you liked the arcade versions, then you won't be disappointed, especially if you have a friend to play with, but don't expect too much more. None of the graphics or voice-acting have been changed, and in HofD2...the voice acting is pretty much terrible. It would have been nice if HofD1 or 4 were including as well, but no such luck, nor is there an online-leaderboard or online multiplayer. Still, it is what it is, and for $30, you may just want to pick this one up.
Overall score - 7/10