Out of the Dreamcast's somewhat obscure, but quality library of games, House Of The Dead 2 seems to be the most consistently praised and recognized in everyday conversations. House of the Dead 2 was not as critically adored by the game media as other more innovative games for the system, as the Dreamcast's library was arguably the most prolific in regards to journalistic praise and adherence to "hardcore gamers".
Almost everyone likes video games, and the most habitual in said camp are considered casual gamers. On the more fanatical end of the spectrum are the people who love video-games; the genre sub-culture cliques, the RPG and fighter import fiends, and the heroes who write articles for Defunct Games
The Dreamcast's appeal was predominantly for the latter sub-culture, which inevitably made it defunct. The House of the Dead 2 permeates both camps, its accessible quality making it something of a cross-over sensation. Soul had Michael Jackson; the Dreamcast has House of the Dead 2. People who view video-games as an ambiguously fashionable pass-time and people who view them as an aspiring artistic medium now respectively have a game they can both agree on. Shooting zombies is fun. It brings us together. They may have heard of the Dreamcast, and I have potential fodder to start a conversation in the real world.
Even stripped of its Freudian cultural analysis I just gave, the game is excellent. As a frenetic on-rails shooter it accomplishes everything it's supposed to and a bit more. The dynamic sense of inertia the genre aims to provide to compensate for its gory simplicity is at its cinematic peak here. Zombies pop-up in clever, unconventional places, and the sense of drama is escalated by human civilians that mingle in the chaos. Graphically this is a comely testament to the Dreamcast's technical longevity, considering this was an early game in the systems life and could just as well pass as a launch title for the Xbox. The variety of grotesque zombies you encounter in dynamic situations keep the incessant violence from veering off into mindless repetition, as well as the suspense of what monstrous boss battle lurks at the end of each ride. The soundtrack is particularly strong, with spooky, ridiculously catchy rock-pop that conjures Thriller (haha see what I did there). I would never advocate drug use in a review, but the poorly translated and outrageous dialogue is often unintentionally funny in a spontaneous way similar to "Destroy All Monsters". This, combined with the games minimal demand for problem-solving and motor dexterity may make House of the Dead 2 a sublime affinity for a certain taboo sub-culture.
If House of the Dead 2 has any flaws, than they're mostly innate in the on-rails shooter genre. There may have been a similar cliche to describe what's wrong with great Doom-clone first-person shooters until certain masterpieces were made to evolve the genre and its play-style. House of the Dead 2 isn't the equivalent of a modern first-person shooter, such as GoldenEye, Halo or BioShock, but it's relatively safe to argue that the on-rails genre hasn't conceived anything so equivocally transcendent. This is essentially a game where the screen obligates you to shoot zombies at an engaging pace with spectacular animations, and the execution is substantially better than it's genre contemporaries. This is a zombie game akin to the summer movies it was inspired by. It isn't ground-breaking but who the hell needs it to be, when it flawlessly pulls off a fun, familiar concept accessible to anyone with a brain in their head. House of the Dead 2 isn't low-brow or high-brow it's a great arcade port. The Dreamcast has Shenmue and Grandia 2 for gamers hungry for depth and innovation. If you need a great shooter to feed your id with gratuitous action, than drone on my blood-thirsty friend, to purchase is a no-brainer.