The House of the Dead 4: Special rates your relationship after a zombie bloodbath. How… romantic? Sega included relationship meters in a handful of their games. The House of the Dead EX takes this idea a step further since it’s a light gun game made for couples.
You won’t find a zombie bloodbath here. The House of the Dead EX tells the story of two zombies, Zobiko and Zobio. Zobiko is imprisoned and she ends up falling in love with her guard, Zobio. The two lovebirds break out of prison and their destiny is in your hands. I captured part of the story so check out this video and see the game’s artwork.
While the House of the Dead EX is an arcade game with a light gun it isn’t a light gun arcade game. The House of the Dead EX is a compilation of mini-games that you play with a light gun and the pedal. You choose your mini-games by picking one of the branching paths for Zobiko and Zobio.
I started out with apple shooting. In this game Zobiko and Zobio walk back and forth carrying baskets on their back. You have to shoot the apples so they fall into the baskets while they’re moving. A fraction on the top of the screen tells you how many apples you need to shoot to clear the game. Miss the mark and you lose a life. You and your partner each have your own goal, but if you don’t reach your goal your partner can save you. As you’re shooting the apples Zobiko and Zobio’s hands stretch towards the center of the screen. If both of you exactly meet the goal Zobiko and Zobio will hold hands above the clock and you clear the level. If someone does better that hand stretches out more. So, if Zobio is trying to take pictures while playing the game his partner can shoot more apples, overcompensate for him, and both players still clear the stage.
The next mini-game I played only used the pedal. Zombies jumped on the screen and you have to stomp on the pedal to keep them bouncing in the air.
Then it was time for a boss stage. Justice, the first boss from the House of the Dead 4, appeared with dental issues. Instead of frantically firing at his tongue you shoot infected teeth which are highlighted in red. You have to shoot a certain number of teeth to pass the level and, like the House of the Dead 4, Justice uses his hands to block his mouth.
After Justice was defeated I moved on to a new set of levels. The first mini-game I played here had zombies, regular House of the Dead zombie models, running past locked doors. Shoot the doors to make a hand come out and grab any nearby zombies. If you shoot the door too quickly the zombies get scared and runaway. Something about seeing zombies retreating in a panic makes good entertainment.
The next pedal only game was the bane of my existence. Zobiko and Zobio have to fly on mutant birds and this translates to you stomping on the pedal to keep them in the air. Along the way you need to grab hearts and keep your altitude high enough so you don’t slam into a building. I didn’t mind stomping before, but something felt wrong. We were jamming on the pedal, but our zombies just didn’t stay in the air. We lost the rest of our lives trying to beat the same mini-game our zombie adventure was over.
Since this was a couples game I thought a female partner would be the best way to test The House of the Dead EX. I looked at her after the game ended to see if she liked it. In general she doesn’t usually like zombie things and she isn’t crazy about light gun games either. However, she enjoyed the House of the Dead EX! She told me that the game wasn’t bloody like other zombie games so it was OK in her book, but the zombies didn’t rank high on her cuteness scale. Actually, the zombies were deemed not cute at all. I still think The House of the Dead EX is a success for Sega. They made a zombie arcade game you can play on a date.
Right now The House of the Dead EX is only in arcades, but I fully expect Sega to replace stomping with shaking for a future Wii port…
Images courtesy of Sega. Photos Spencer/Siliconera.