Sega's House of the Dead franchise first blasted its way into arcades in 1996, long before zombies became the video game mainstay they are today. These light-gun shooters were incredibly popular, with their physical peripherals still proving a real draw at a time when home consoles were beginning to emerge as dominant.
Before they were cool
This third installment, House of the Dead III, was no exception. The arcade game had a plastic pump action shotgun for you to blast the onscreen zombies, adding a sense of involvement that you just couldn't find on a home system. Problematically, however, none of this tactile appeal translates to the PC version.
Moving a cursor around the screen with a mouse or controller (assuming you are not one of the handful of people out there with a PC light gun) does nothing to reproduce the joy of the arcade game. While this port does make some interesting additions to help make the game feel more involved (your character’s gun and hands are modeled on screen), it just cannot make up for what has been lost.
Technically, though, there is nothing wrong with this port. It looks good and runs well, with enough video options to ensure that even if you are playing on an old, none-gaming PC you should be able to find some way to run it. Once that’s done, you can start blasting apart zombies however you fancy, and enjoying the satisfyingly graphic, head-popping animations.
Unfortunately, even as a trail, this offers very little actual game. It is a teasingly tiny taster of the full product that doesn’t even let you finish the prologue. If you just want to make sure House of the Dead III will run on your machine then it is certainly worth a go, otherwise you will find it disappointingly short.
Technically competent and kind of fun, this House of the Dead III Trial unfortunately comes up lacking thanks to its brevity and the concessions that have had to be made to bring it in to the home.