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The House of the Dead III – Xbox

The House of the Dead III – Xbox

XBOX - House of Dead IIIPlatform: Microsoft Xbox

Developer: Wow Entertainment

Publisher: Sega

Release Date(WW): October 24, 2002

Genre: Rail Shooter

Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10

The House of the Dead always seemed like an iconic franchise to me. Just about every arcade I ever went to that had a light gun machine had a The House of the Dead machine, that’s just how it was. Even though it wasn’t the greatest rail shooter series out there, something about shooting zombies and other mutated creatures with crappy plastic guns in a darkly lit room was pretty fun. The first The House of the Dead game for the arcade was the very first light gun rail shooter I ever played, and it set into motion a long lasting enjoyment for these fixed shooters for me. But this isn’t about the first The House of the Dead, or the many strange spinoffs, like The Typing of the Dead or English of the Dead, this is about the third installment of The House of the Dead…on a console.

Oh boy, can’t wait to play as Rogan’s sassy daughter.

This isn’t to say The House of the Dead series is perfection or anything, to be honest, if you’re playing it for anything besides the gameplay, well, you’re doing it wrong. The story is pretty ridiculous, starting with the “Curien Mansion Incident” where the series antagonist, Dr. Curien somehow bio-engineered an entire zombie apocalypse from his personal mansion or some shit… Then the second game moved everything to Venice where the world has gone to shit, with acting that makes everything on PornHub look like Oscar bait. Now it’s The House of the Dead III, which has such a paper thin plot that if you don’t pay full attention to it during the forty minutes it takes to complete the game, you’ll probably miss it.


You can choose which of the three middle stages to do in whatever order, with the difficulty going about left to right.

If you cared to know, The House of the Dead III stars Lisa Rogan, the daughter of the first game’s protagonist Thomas Rogan (who you play in the Intro), who is devoid of a personality but still has the majority of the game’s lines. Then there’s G, Thomas Rogan’s partner in the first game, once again back in the player two role for the majority of the game. Luckily that flying fucker Zeal was killed off in The House of the Dead II so he’s not around to be obnoxious.

But now for the actually important part; the gameplay! The House of the Dead III doesn’t change much up from the earlier titles; you can still expect the same choreography typical of most rail shooters. The camera moves you forward a bit, stops and turns to some scenario with a couple zombies, you kill the zombies, camera moves forward a little move, rinse and repeat. What’s new however is the ability to actually choose which of the three middle stages you want to complete in whatever order. That’s about it though. It would’ve been cool if the stage order determined your ending or at least mattered in some way, but it doesn’t. You still get the same elevator dialog between stages and opening cutscenes featuring Dr. Curien to his dying son Daniel.


One of the game’s better bosses, The Sun, a giant mutated plant with enough attack scenarios varied enough times to keep repeated fights interesting.

The House of the Dead III doesn’t have much to truly boast about. The bosses in The House of the Dead III, the four that there are, are pretty boring to fight, save for The Wheel of Fate and The Sun. I definitely felt like the bosses of the previous games were more involved and tougher than most of these.  In fact, even the stages felt a little less tense. And I would probably rate this game lower if I was only rating the third The House of the Dead game in this, but here’s the kicker: The House of the Dead III is actually two games in one.

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, The House of the Dead III for the Xbox includes not just the third game in the series, but The House of the Dead II in all its glory!

Of course, in order to unlock The House of the Dead II you have to play through The House of the Dead III, but it’s so worth it to play the second title in all its cringe-worthy glory.  Yes, good old The House of the Dead II, where the story actually changed a bit if you, for example, failed to rescue a civilian. And not just that, you also have access to The House of the Dead II’s Arcade, Original, Training, and Boss Modes, versus The House of the Dead III’s two modes (Survival and Time Attack). Basically, thanks to the inclusion of The House of the Dead II, not only is The House of the Dead III for the Xbox worth buying, but there’s enough replay value to keep me entertained for more than a day.

The Xbox controller works surprisingly well in the absence of a regular light gun, especially now that to reload you only have to press B.

Now, by this point you probably assume I absolutely hated The House of the Dead III (the actual game, not the compilation of both games), which isn’t particularly accurate. I’ll play just about any rail shooter, it really is one of my favorite gaming genre, and The House of the Dead III is no exception to that. It, like all rail shooters versus first person or third person shooters, still forces you to think and act quickly, which challenges my careful and slow approach to shooters. However, also like all rail shooters, when you’ve played it once, it usually isn’t as challenging because you already know the choreography of each scenario. You know where to aim, when to shoot, reload, it just isn’t as fun the second time around. Usually the best way to overcome this, however, is to adjust the settings each time you play, make the difficulty higher, set as few lives and continues as possible, etc.

Overall though, The House of Dead III is a pretty decent buy. If you can get it though, I recommend getting The House of the Dead II & III Return for the Wii instead. Although the regular Xbox controller was an acceptable substitute for the Mad Catz Blaster peripheral, the Wii, in my opinion, is much better suited for playing light gun games on.  That, and the Wiimote plus is much easier to aim with.

But overall, decent game for a decent console.

Written by Doc Croc

Doc Croc aka Kelly is Nerd Bacon’s Editor-in-Chief and resident narcoleptic. In the off-chance she isn’t already asleep, you can find her here at the Bacon!


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One Comment

  1. I never played this one! I played the first two in this series, but unfortunately this one passed me by. Maybe I didn’t miss too much, though.


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