House of the Dead To See New Life

Vital Remakes, or Overkill?

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A remake of House of the Dead has been confirmed as in production. The first two games in the series are being worked on. No platforms, release dates, or any other gory details have been revealed. The arcade shooters were one of Sega’s most recognisable franchises back when ‘zombie shooter’ was a less competitive category. The series has been largely overshadowed by Resident Evil in recent year – particularly when Capcom started making light-gun and co-op spin off titles. Maybe it’s Resident Evil‘s return to critical form with its lauded 7th entry that has prompted the resurrection of House of the Dead?

The remake is being made by Forever Entertainment, a Polish team who seem to be making a name for this type of revival. Forever Entertainment are also handling the remake of Panzer Dragoon. We’ve seen a trailer for that project, but there’s still no release date beyond ‘winter’. Still, Sega must be pleased with what they’ve seen if they’ve given Forever Entertainment House of the Dead to work on as well.

Origins

Its interesting that its the first two games being worked on. The Wii collection, House of the Dead 2 & 3 Returnexcluded the first game for its ‘fan favourite’ follow-ups. We don’t even know yet if these games are going to be sold separately or as a single package. None of them games are particularly exhaustive in length. Like many arcade games their difficulty is what made them tough to get through. A full-package of all 3 sounds like a more tempting package. Hopefully this means these remakes are substantial enough to justify the price on frenetic arcade fun alone. One of the burning question I have is about the series terrible voice acting. Will they fix it? Or is it now part of the appeal?

Later Life

Weirdly, you might recognise the series for one of its off-shoots. Typing of the Dead is pretty old now, but it enjoyed a renaissance in the YouTube era. A games where you kill zombies by learning to type was a natural choice for Let’s Play videos and streamers. If you’re unlucky you may have also seen the House of the Dead movie. Directed by the king of awful video game adaptations, Uwe Boll, the reviled film didn’t exactly launch the series to new heights. Thankfully the series did see an impressive new title in the Wii era. House of the Dead Overkill pretty much lived up to its name. Inbetween its over-the-top humour there’s a wonderfully postmodern re-positioning of an aging zombie franchise. Much like zombie movies, it showed with a little reflexivity the genre could be made refreshingly enjoyable again.

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Matt Crofts
Matt is the SFFN's Retro Editor, focusing on all things old but interesting, including (but not limited to!) books, movies and video games. As a researcher in Gothic literature Matt also has an affinity for black cats, Hammer horror, and all things Dracula.