House of the Dead Remake: Above par for the corpse

This enjoyable remake captures something of a lost genre-within-genre

Yeah, okay. It's a light gun game that doesn't support light guns. Yes - look - don't interrupt me - I know about the Sinden Lightgun. That is niche, now, come on. The reality of the matter is that most people who play The House of the Dead Remake will not be playing it with a light gun, particularly on the PS4 and Switch versions. With the PC version, then, you're going to be clicking on the zombies and watching them die. For many, this is just not the same and will see HoTD Remake rejected out of hand. For me, though, this is exactly right.

I never played a House of the Dead game at home with a flippin' light gun. I had the PC ports, from budget labels like Xplosiv. When those zombies burst onto the screen, reader, I clicked their undead asses into meaty chunks. It was like setting a Microsoft Access database... OF DEATH. Or something. The point is that my association with House of the Dead is clicking on zombies, even more than it is shooting them in the grounds of an "amusement arcade", a concept so archaic I can barely picture it in my head.

It's not just House (of the Dead) of course, it's the likes of Virtua Cop and many MAME efforts such as Carnevil, Area 51 and Judge Dredd. And let's not forget Gal Gun! Actually, on second thought, let's. Thanks to this beloved lineage, then, House of the Dead Remake feels right as rain on PC, as far as I'm concerned. The outcry over the controls? Totally missed it. I'm clicking on gruesome greps like it never went out of fashion, which is didn't.

It could be argued, potentially successfully, that the improved graphics of this remake lack the charm of the shonky original. To a point, that's true, but I personally felt that there was plenty of charm to go around, here. Not to put too fine a point on it, shit, this game is fun as hell. It's just a ghoulish parade of zombie carnage, and there's me in the middle of it clicking like the dickens. Click, bam, your head's off. Click-click, bam, your arms are off. Click-click-click, your legs are off and also you had three legs urgh weirdo god I hope you had three legs. It's challenging, it looks ace, it runs beautifully and there are guts all over the place. What more could you want?

Oh yeah, I wouldn't mind if the unlockables were less obnoxious. To even see the extra weapons you've got to unlock the "armory", and to unlock the armory you need to beat the first three levels without allowing any of the innocent civilians to die. Fine, except this means that if you make any mistake it's back to the menu to start the level over in order to achieve this thing that should have been, well, an achievement or trophy, rather than a thing you have to do to unlock the slightest semblance of gameplay variety. And no, gameplay variety isn't really the order of the day when it comes to light gun shooters, I get that. But it's still a daft idea.

All in all, this is a fun remake that gets almost everything right. Some will understandably bemoan the lack of a reasonable light gun solution, but for me the mouse-based light gun game is something of a genre within a genre, a compromise that came to be the default for me and one that I still enjoy. I'm anticipating that the announced remake of House of the Dead 2 will be even better, but little can replace the original in my heart. Please be safe G. etc.