The House of the Dead 4
|The House of the Dead 4|
|Series||The House of the Dead|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Cabinet||29" Upright, 52" (4:3 Screen) Deluxe, 62" (16:9 Screen) Widescreen Deluxe|
|Arcade system||Sega Lindbergh|
The House of the Dead 4 is a horror-themed light gun arcade game and the fourth installment of the House of the Dead series of video games, developed by Sega. The game takes place between the events of The House of the Dead 2 and The House of the Dead III, and introduced several new gameplay concepts. Players can control characters James Taylor, from The House of the Dead 2 (on the left side), or Kate Green, a new character to the series (on the right side).
The House of the Dead 4 is the first game to run on the Sega Lindbergh arcade system board. A PlayStation 3 version featuring support for PlayStation Move and the two stages from The House of the Dead 4 Special was released on April 17, 2005 on the PlayStation Network.
The player can reload the gun by shaking it, or by just pointing off the screen. The game also features grenades that the player can throw to destroy large numbers of enemies. Additional grenades can be earned by completing certain tasks or by shooting crates. At some points in the game, players are required to shake the gun vigorously in order to escape certain situations.
The game features branching paths. Most of the paths lead to the same point in the game's story. As with The House of the Dead III, there is an end-of-stage bonus where players can receive extra lives depending on headshot level combo, accuracy, and score. Another returning factor is the presence of the "Cancel" bar.
The game runs on a critical shots counter where the player is encouraged to go for headshots rather than spraying ammo at the enemy. It starts off as Good, Excellent, Amazing and then Perfect. Getting hit, or killing an enemy not by the head resets the counter.
The most common enemies have three attacks. A "normal attack", a "grab," and a "push". The foremost inflicts one point of damage, while the second forces a shaking sequence that, if successful, pushes back attackers for easier disposal, but if unsuccessful, will result in the player being bitten or the player's character being knocked down and vulnerable. Multiple zombies may also pile on top of both players in an attempt to stomp on them (or kick them while they're down).
There are also a number of secrets in the game. Different hidden treasures, such as coins and golden shapes, which increase the player's score, as well as "lives", etc. can be found by interacting with the game's environments. The bonus-life system departs from the previous games, where life is gained by saving hostages; the loss of these events are substituted with an increase of extra-life pickups in the environment. There are also "treasure rooms" that can be accessed using different techniques (such as shooting a certain spot or throwing a grenade in a certain area), which contain multiple items that can be obtained at once within a limited time.
In 2003, three years after the Goldman Case, veteran AMS agent James Taylor, and a new rookie agent, Kate Green, are gathering intelligence at the fifth basement floor of the European branch office of the AMS in Italy (London in the Japanese dub). James still has the events of the 2000 "Goldman Case" on his mind, and believes that the ordeal has not yet ended. A sudden earthquake rocks the room while they talk, collapsing the basement walls and leaving the agents trapped.
Several days later, as the two await a rescue team, James' PDA goes off, and a group of undead are seen on the security cameras. Realizing that they are in danger, James has Kate gather all the weaponry they can find to defend themselves. Soon after, the two travel through the sewers to an information room where they uncover a plot to fire nuclear missiles worldwide within 24 hours' time, facing the four armed giant zombie Justice and a pair of mutant tarantulas known as The Lovers along the way. Taking the subway into zombie-infested streets from an underground shopping district, the agents narrowly avoid attacks by The Empress, a double-ended chainsaw-wielding assassin, and the massive, obese, and nearly impervious Temperance.
James and Kate then learn that the late one-time CEO of the now-defunct DBR Corporation, Goldman, is responsible for the resurgence of undead. All of his messages and current plans were set in motion even before his death. Upon reaching the surface, they find the city completely obliterated. Goldman sends them a PDA message indicating that the launch will occur in one hour. The agents reach the abandoned Goldman Building but upon entering the main foyer, a levitating humanoid named The Star, prevents their advance. After the Star is defeated, the duo continue onward. Ultimately, they arrive in time to halt Goldman's plans, though it is revealed that his true intention is to revert humankind to its original state in order to prevent them from harming the planet further. As such, his final legacy, The World, an insect-like humanoid with powers over ice, is released in the opening of "Pandora's Box" to fulfill its role as the successor to his original Emperor project in 2000, having developed underground since his death. As the AMS agents fight it, the World continuously evolves to become larger and more powerful. Following the World's second defeat, James sets his PDA to self-destruct and, telling Kate not to give up hope, sacrifices himself to destroy the World in the ensuing explosion. A shaken and distaught Kate walks out of Goldmans building.
The game has four endings available depending on the player's performance result during the game.
The "standard" ending has the view return to Goldman's computer. a recording of him saying that "the human race has not been eliminated", instructing to "travel north" while musing that "hope is such a splendid thing" as he leaves the room. The "bad" ending is essentially the same, though the camera pans on Goldman's face showing him changing into a zombie.
Another ending has G appearing outside the building and states that the zombie crisis has not yet ended while telling James to rest in peace and he will assist the heroes to face what awaits, setting off the events of The House of the Dead 4 Special. The fourth ending features the mysterious man previously seen in one of The House of the Dead III's ending, declaring Goldman to be soft and that humans have no need of hope, before stating that the true end shall soon begin and that there is more than one Pandora's Box. At the end of either endings, the screen displays "The story continues in The House of the Dead III".
The House of the Dead 4 was the first arcade light gun game to feature a high definition widescreen display. The different displays used for each of the models are as follows: Mitsubishi's 2005 62" rear-projection DLP 16:9 ratio widescreen model for the "Super Deluxe" cabinet (although later models of the game would use Toshiba, Zenith, and LG rear-projections), LG's 2005 52" rear-projection DLP 4:3 ratio model for the "Deluxe" sized cabinet, and Sanwa's 29" CRT 4:3 ratio television for the "upright" cabinet (although it is a CRT set and can only accept a 480i signal, it has a high screen resolution of 676 dots by 625 lines). The game runs in 1080i on the Deluxe and Super Deluxe cabinets and in 480i on the standard cabinet.
The video signal is connected via a DVI to HDMI adapter for the Super Deluxe cabinet, VGA for the Deluxe cabinet, and S-Video for the Standard cabinet.
The House of the Dead 4 Special
The House of the Dead 4 Special is a two-player attraction based on The House of the Dead 4. Players enter an enclosed room, sit down, and buckle up. The game makes use of two 100-inch screens, one in front of the players and another behind, as well as a five-speaker sound system, giving the impression that enemies are attacking from all directions. The seat shakes when zombies attack, and players are blasted with air whenever they take on damage. The seat automatically rotates to face the players towards whichever screen zombies are attacking from. The game also features a new addition of a life bar. As the players are hit the life bar diminishes. If the life bar is reduced to zero the game is over. There are no continues.
This game features a side story in The House of the Dead plotline, taking place shortly after The House of the Dead 4, with Kate Green teaming up with Agent "G" to destroy the zombie infestation at its source, leading them to confront the Magician, a boss character who returns after having been obliterated in the two first installments. This game only features two bosses, Justice (Type 0053) and The Magician (Type 0), whom "G" and Kate encounter in a room of a building (which "G" believes it to be the source of the zombie infestation, and the building's interior is similar to the EFI research facility in The House of the Dead III). In the end, players have to blast a button with a grenade. The button itself will activate The Magician's clones if it's not blasted with the grenade, and the players receive a "bad end".
If the players successfully blast him with a grenade, The Magician will once again be destroyed, as he says "Nothing can erase my pain". After Kate and G leave to fight on, the Mystery Man limps into the room, saying that Pandora's box has been closed, but ponders if there is any hope left for the humans, remarking that "the Wheel of Fate cannot be stopped".
In a two-player game, players are judged on how compatible they are based on performance alone.
In America, there are currently no locations that this version of the game can be seen: The machine at GameWorks in Schaumburg, Illinois, was retired due to constant breakdowns, while the machine that GameWorks in Las Vegas, Nevada, has since been sold to a private collector. This game has also been spotted in Europe, Japan, Brazil, Russia, Dubai, the Macau Fisherman's Wharf, and in Hong Kong Mega Box.
The House of the Dead 4 Special is also included in the PlayStation 3 release of The House of the Dead 4 as an unlockable upon completion of the main storyline game.
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The original arcade game received positive reviews when it released. In July 2005, IGN said it "may be the most visually impressive arcade game ever made," noting the improved lighting and the zombie and environmental details. They also praised the gameplay, including the increased number of zombies on screen, "intense" experience, boss battles, the use of machine guns, and the light gun's new shaking detection feature. The same month, 1UP praised the "next-gen visuals" and the improvements to the gameplay, such as the new "shaking" gameplay mechanic and the "hordes of zombies on screen at once." Arcade Belgium praised the arcade game, including the graphics, noting "thirty or so enemies at the same time" with each "very detailed" and "behaving his own way", as well as "bump mapping (seen for instance on enemies' visible muscles)," complex lightning effects such as reflections, particle effects on impact, "fog (in the sewers)," high polygon counts for each monster, realistic water, and elaborate scenery. They also praised the gameplay, including the new lighter gun, "emergency grenades, new reloading method" and the "gun shaking" trick. They gave it ratings, out of 20, of 17 for addictiveness, 18 for graphics, 16 for sound, and 17 for gameplay, with 17 out of 20 overall.
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