Boss zombie! Shoot it harder!
Other than the fickle reload method, the game is very similar to HotD 3. Part 4 is missing its predecessors' rescue events, where you could save your partner from impending doom. Those have been replaced by enemy grapples. If you don't waggle your controller hard enough, you'll take damage. Sometimes you can even be pushed to the ground and have to shoot your way back to your feet. Getting knocked down by a herd of zombies can keep things interesting.
Boss fights are fun as always. Once again, you're shown their weak point at the beginning of the fight. The game is kind enough to highlight it for you during the actual battle. The "Cancel" meter returns from part 3. When a boss is charging up for a big attack, a meter appears below his health bar. Hit him in his weak spot before he can launch the attack to avoid taking damage. If you find that you're having a tough time you may increase your life meter and credits in the Free Play mode options, making yourself nigh invincible. If you want to be ranked on the online leader boards you'll have to play by the preset rules, which are three bars of health and three credits.
Question: Zombies? Answer: Shoot'em!
HotD 4's best quality is that it is graphically superior to other HotD games. It's even a marked improvement HotD: Overkill - Extended Cut. The game was one of the first light-gun arcade cabinets to use an HD display. You won't have those black bar bookends from HotD 3 or the underwhelming Wii graphics of Extended Cut. It's longer than HotD 3, but nowhere near as lengthy and fully realized as Extended Cut. Most of you will beat it in about an hour or two, depending on how your wrists hold up. If you want to see all the paths, unlock all the secrets, and like to chase high scores, you'll get several more hours of entertainment from the game.
The House of the Dead 4 is a great addition to any light-gun enthusiast's library. However, if you're not a fan of the franchise, this won't change your mind. The reload mechanic can be a little annoying at first, but it gets easier with practice. For $10 measly bucks, I highly recommend it.
CONTEST: We have one PSN code for the House of the Dead 4 to give away. Simply leave a comment below mentioning your favorite video game cannon fodder. Do you like shooting zombies? How about blasting aliens, or scrapping robots? Maybe you like squishing demonic little mushrooms? Let us know. We'll pick a winner at random on, oh, let's say April 30th.
The House of the Dead 4 is available exclusively from the PlayStation Network. A review code was provided by the publisher.
The Co-Op Experience: Two local co-op players take out wave after wave of horrific zombies as they travel different routes and advance the story line, uncovering new secrets and hidden areas along the way.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.