Review - Doctor Hauzer

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Trev
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Review - Doctor Hauzer

Post by Trev » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:30 pm

** This game was released exclusively in Japan **

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Doctor Hauzer is among the most well known 3DO imports, if not the most played (fairly rare). The reason for its notoriety? It is a great game! :D Let us check out this lost gem of 3DO gaming and pioneer of the 'survival horror’ genre.

Comparisons must be made to 'Resident Evil', if only because it was the game that evolved this genre and brought it into mainstream gaming (sorry, Alone in the Dark only laid the groundwork). It is worth noting though that Hauzer predates RE by almost two years. Many of the things that were popular in RE are found in Hauzer. Obviously, given the pace of technology, a 1994 release cannot compete with a 1996 release running on newer hardware, at least in the graphics department. But Hauzer holds it’s own when compared to RE in most respects and even emerges ahead in some.

Hauzer begins on a dark night with a car driven by you, the character, approaching an isolated house. These images alternate with the opening credits, making the game feel like a movie. Great opening music really helps to set the mood and the sound effects (feet on the gravel, dogs howling in the background, etc…) also are a nice touch.

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Once you enter the house, you’ll really appreciate the graphics. The game makes good use of color, and objects look quite nice and detailed, as does the main character (with the possible exception of some of his facial expressions). You are able to view the graphics from 3 unique viewpoints. The standard RE style views are present but also included are two other viewpoints, first person and ceiling views. These are nice options and also rather helpful. The first person view allows you to complete some tasks that would otherwise be difficult due to an obstructed view, while the ceiling view gives you the full layout of the room. This is one area where Hauzer proves superior to RE (and several other games come to think of it). Of course there are a few graphical hiccups. The full motion video, although limited, is rather dark. Explosions also look poor. And some of the objects really would benefit by anti-aliasing. But for 1994, this was certainly one good looking title. Bound to please.

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I think the music in Hauzer is great! Yes, it does repeat but it is done so well done, with real good use of the piano and such, that it really adds to the game. Obviously musical tastes vary, but I really doubt too many would want to play this game with the volume down … it is too important an element to the game. It also adjusts appropriately near the end, picking up into a climatic rhythm. Good stuff. :)

Although the game includes weapons like a knife, an axe, and a shotgun, don’t get too excited. These are only used for puzzles. Yes, think of Hauzer as an early RE minus the zombies. With the exception of the end boss, puzzles are the only enemies you’ll have to face. This can cripple an otherwise playable game, as Japanese language skills are necessary to make any real progress. You can of course save constantly and advance through trial or error. Or you can look for an on-line walkthrough (I hesitate to mention the walkthrough I used, as I believe the author is something of an unofficial rival to 3DOKid :oops: ) The only drawback to using a walkthrough is that it reveals the games rather short length (I beat it in about 1 ½ hours). Although this is also due in part to the games fairly quick load times (quicker than RE).

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I’d advise against using a walkthrough, however, at least in the early going. This way you will be able to witness all the amusing death scenes. These can come quickly and unexpectedly, so stay on your toes, and save often. :wink:

Hauzer has some areas that could have used improvement. The control is very slow and takes a little bit to get used to. Also, the ending is awful. It has cut scenes that can’t be skipped and you feel like your character is moving in quicksand. The ending animation is also rather lackluster. These are annoyances but only small ones.

Really, my review doesn't do this title enough justice. Dr. Hauzer is a great game overall and comes very highly recommended. It really is a shame that this game wasn’t released outside of Japan. With no real dialogue to speak of, it would have been an easy title to localize (and check out the newspaper clips in the opening … English! Another thing copied by RE). Don’t let the language barrier discourage you though, this is a game that should be in every 3DO owner’s collection (if you can find it that is ... keep checking Ebay).

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-Trev

P.S. If you like Doctor Hauzer, be sure to check out 'OverBlood' for the Sony Playstation. Somehthing of an unofficial sequel, the game was made by the same development team, RiverHill Soft (who also made the lackluster 3DO game 'Insector War') and shares several things in common with its predecessor.
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Last edited by Trev on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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T2KFreeker
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Post by T2KFreeker » Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:11 am

You are just trying to make me feel like crap because I don't have it, huh?
This is a stick up! Put all of your 3DO games in the bag and nobody gets hurt!

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Post by Trev » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:20 pm

:( Sorry T2K ... I feel your pain. Keep your eyes peeled though, cause its bound to show up eventually.

I'm really just trying to throw some more import reviews into the forum. Coming soon ... Virtual Stadium Baseball, Ultraman, & Sailor Moon.

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Post by Dengar13 » Thu May 10, 2007 10:47 pm

Trev wrote::( Sorry T2K ... I feel your pain. Keep your eyes peeled though, cause its bound to show up eventually.

I'm really just trying to throw some more import reviews into the forum. Coming soon ... Virtual Stadium Baseball, Ultraman, & Sailor Moon.
I would be very interested in the Virtual Stadium Baseball review. Does it stack up to Tony Larussa'a Baseball (the baseball franchise back in the early-mid 90's).

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Post by Trev » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:15 am

Finally posted my thoughts on the baseball game ... after well over a year you'd think it'd be a huge review, but no ... :wink:


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Post by ATARI5200 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:16 am

Ok, I may have lied about not posting another response today but I had time saw Hauzer, my apologies for the earlier typo (different thread). But I was curious as to what Trev had to say about this game.

Everyone has their own personal likings, but sad to say I can figure Trev's for the life of me. Dr. Hauzer's controls have to be as daunting as other games... lets say WOTW. However these similarities somehow doesn't phase his particular objectivity.

I can understand two completely different genres, fighters should be a whisk in terms of pulling of techniques. But as I recall the good Doctor mottled about in a cumbersome way. The character movements could easily be hindered by the corner of an object in its path.

Dr. Hauzer, definitely not choice if a great game, good for that matter. Aside the fact of the language issue. However if you guys like it, I Love it! More than less likely a favorite due to it's rarity, amongst collectors.

I'm I wrong? More than likely, as my position is contrary to the popular. Whatever the case maybe, maybe its so rare cause the producers, or re-distributors ending up destroying copies as the system faded. Either way search till your hearts content, for those interested.

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Post by Trev » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:30 am

I did mention that 'the control was slow and would take getting used to'. In a slower paced game like this though, it just didn't register that high as a dissapointment for me.

Like you said, different genres ... I expect good control in a fighter, where lack of it can lead to a quick death. I'm more forgiving with this style of game, where I can take my time a bit more and learn how to navigate to minimize frustration.

Thanks for the comments.
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Post by Austin » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:56 am

ATARI5200 wrote:I'm I wrong? More than likely, as my position is contrary to the popular. Whatever the case maybe, maybe its so rare cause the producers, or re-distributors ending up destroying copies as the system faded. Either way search till your hearts content, for those interested.
I was once under the impression this was a rarity, but it turns out that it pops up on eBay fairly regularly and doesn't sell for much.

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Post by Trev » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:10 pm

I have seen it appear more recently. At the time I posted this I thought it was fairly rare, but it does seem to pop up w/more frequency lately. I'd still say its uncommon though.
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Post by Austin » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:40 pm

Trev wrote: I'd still say its uncommon though.
Yeah, just like a lot of the 3DO library seems to becoming these days. :(

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