The House of the Dead movie might give The House of the Dead 2 a run for its money in terms of bad comedy, but the contest for most-hysterical sound design between The House of the Dead 2 and The House of the Dead III easily goes to the former. The voice acting in The House of the Dead III is technically more consistent, but it lacks the charm of The House of the Dead 2. And while there's no shortage of bad dialogue and stilted delivery, it's rarely so bad that it's funny--instead, it's just boring. The rest of the game's sound design follows suit, with generic shotgun sounds and a pastiche of zombie moans and groans.
The game's visual presentation definitely fares better, and it's easily the most well-produced aspect of The House of the Dead III. Early on in the game's development, Sega revealed that The House of the Dead III would be rendered using the cel-shading technique, but this plan was apparently nixed between then and now, as the final version of the game only shows minimal traces of this cartoon-inspired technique. Without this sharp divergence in style, the game evokes the same dark, grimy look of its predecessors, and most of the zombies look like upgraded versions of the zombies you've probably seen in previous House of the Dead games.
You'll be able to breeze through the game in about an hour, though a port of The House of the Dead 2 is included as a bonus.
On the other hand, the bosses you'll encounter have gone from inventive and macabre to absolutely absurd. Excellent examples of this include the enormous, club-swinging security guard abomination in the first level, or the gigantic zombified sloth you encounter shortly thereafter. And we won't ruin the surprise for you, but the final boss in the game is downright laughable. Still, design choices aside, the game's graphics are technically sound, sporting detailed textures, crisp character models, and a fair amount of atmospheric lighting. One of the most effective uses of lighting plunges you into complete darkness, giving you only a flashlight to guide your way through the level.
It could be argued that being able to disable the otherwise unavoidable auto-reload feature in The House of the Dead III would have made it a significantly more challenging endeavor, and this might be true. But honestly, the mere fact that this is a light-gun game is going to dissuade more people from playing it than any specific mechanics it might have. With no similar competition on the Xbox, The House of the Dead III should satiate players looking for a light-gun fix, especially considering the inclusion of The House of the Dead 2 as a bonus. It could even serve as a passable introduction to the genre for players who haven't touched a light gun before. But if you're already worn out on the gameplay of other rail-based light-gun games, you'll find little to draw you back in House of the Dead III.