The House of the Dead

aka: HOD
Moby ID: 1218
Arcade Specs
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Description official description

The House of the Dead is a rail shooter. Go through the four chapters with branching paths and kill all the zombies, avoid killing the humans, and rescue the girl. Shooting various special targets along the way or in a certain time period give the player temporary health and weapon upgrades.

The Saturn version of the game contains two extra modes called Saturn Mode and Boss Mode. Saturn mode plays like the arcade game, but offers the player different characters to choose from. Character selection matters since they each have varying attributes such as their reload time and how much damage they can take before dying. The Boss Mode allows the player to fight one boss of their choosing or all of the game's four boss monsters consecutively.


  • ザ ハウス オブ ザ デッド - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

34 People (28 developers, 6 thanks) · View all



Average score: 67% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 78 ratings with 5 reviews)

A decent railed shooter, Dont expect anything more

The Good
Many people go on about how there is nothing you can do apart from shoot at the 'baddies' but one thing that i liked was that there was no need to walk around for half an hour to find a door or key or get stuck because you couldnt time a jump properly. So you see, I liked being able to just concentrate on shooting at whatever came in my way without the bother of moving.

The Bad
One thing you will notice is there are very few enemies, Zombies and a few others. The end level bosses too are not all that great. The graphics while good in the arcade, felt very dated on my pc. And finally the gore is downright ugly, with the zombies coming at you even after you shoot off their arms. Sick Man.

The Bottom Line
As i noted earlier this is a decent railed shooter and good for a few moments of mindless gore, thats all dont go expecting Half-Life hey or even quake, come to think of it i had a more fulfilling time finishing wolfenstein 3D.

Windows · by Andrew Hartnett (2205) · 2001

Not by Dostoevsky…..

The Good
Released in 1998, as the Saturn’s sun was setting, The House of The Dead, is a port of the wildly popular, arcade coin-op. But back in the 32-Bit era, consoles could barely run 2D arcade games. So is the port of HOD any good?

In, The House Of The Dead, you play as either Rogan, or G. They are agents from the AMS. They go to investigate, the rumors of paranormal activity, at an old mansion, just outside the city limits. What they find will prove to be worse than anyone imagined.

HOD, is a rail line shooter. Meaning, that the player has very limited choice of movement. Only when choosing a path can you control where you go. This is done by shooting the area, you wish to explore. There are many winding paths, some more challenging than others. Which helps to add to replay value. (What is a arcade game without it?-MM-)

In either one or two player mode, you move through out the house, killing zombies, and other horrors. All the while trying to rescue any scientists that were left behind. Saving scientists gives you extra lives, and more points, the more points you have, the better ending you will earn.

Gunplay in HOD, is extremely violent. And all of the violence from the arcade version has made it to the Saturn in tact. Blow open, a zombie’s chest and you can see the internal organs. Shoot the top of their heads off, and they will continue to come at you. Remove limbs, take off heads. It’s all gory fun.

There are other modes of play in HOD, besides Arcade mode, there is also Saturn mode, in which you choose your character, and they all have different stats. Like bullet damage, and reload time. And boss mode, let’s you re-challenge any boss, and try and get the best time.

Speaking of the bosses, they are all huge and each offer, an unique challenge. As they all have their own attack patterns and weak spots. Taking advantage of these is the key to victory.

The graphics are not great, in HOD. But the sound and music is pretty much intact. And the game’s booklet is hilarious, with it’s silly notes from the mad Dr. Curian.

The Bad
The final boss, Magician, is insanely hard. Even if you know his weak point. It is still almost impossible to avoid his attacks. He will eat up a lot of your credits, and using unlimited credits is not a bad idea.

The graphics are not great. Unlike, Virtua Cop 2, which looks damn close to the original. Of course HOD, was a cutting edge game at the time.

There could have been more to the Saturn mode. But at least there are other modes unlike many arcade ports.

The Bottom Line
Overall, if you can look past the poor graphics, and have a Stunner, you could do worse than pick this game up. If you can get it at a reasonable price. The graphics may not match the arcade original, but the fun sure does.

SEGA Saturn · by MasterMegid (723) · 2009

A great arcade shooter gets a horrible, horrible port.

The Good
The manual is written as if it was the journal of the game's villain, Dr. Curien, which is amusing.

The Bad
House of the Dead is overflowing with visual problems. The environments are sparsely detailed compared to the coin-op. If the zombie models were any lower-poly, they'd be flat sprites. The textures are garbled and full of fist-sized pixels. All the colors are bland and washed-out. Characters will routinely clip through walls, individual polygons will flicker in and out of existence constantly, and many of the models appear to be missing sides (many of the zombies' severed heads have no bloody neckhole on the bottom, for instance). And despite all this lack of graphical detail, the game engine moves like a shambling corpse, struggling to maintain a framerate in the low 20's.

Shoddy graphics could be overlooked to some extent if the game at least played like its arcade counterpart, but Saturn HOTD falls down here too. The slow, constantly fluctuating framerate basically ruins the gameplay - not only will your targets almost pop from place to place onscreen when the action gets even moderately heavy, but the choppy screen updates also cause sounds to lag or drop out entirely. And more importantly, the slowness affects your aim. There can be a half-second interval between pulling the trigger and seeing the shot onscreen in some of the heavier sequences, and the white flashes that accompany each shot last roughly twice as long as in games like Virtua Cop (making 2-player mode nearly unplayable in spots).

Add to this the fact that, despite the game's "M" rating, you need to enter a code in order to see red blood, and you have a serious contender for the worst arcade port of all time.

The Bottom Line
Sega's Saturn was by no means a 3D powerhouse, although it was capable of some impressive graphics in the right hands - search the Internet for the demo reel of the unreleased Saturn version of Shen Mue for an example. But getting good visuals out of the console was supposedly a serious headache, and not every developer could be expected to put in the same amount of work as Yu Suzuki and AM2.

But Sega's port of Virtua Cop 2, released two years before HOTD, runs at a constant 30fps and looks and plays a great deal like its arcade counterpart. The apparent lack of effort in HOTD is, therefore, inexcusable. It could never have been an "arcade-perfect" conversion, but it should be a hell of a lot better than it is.

SEGA Saturn · by Ludicrous Gibs! (38) · 2005

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


German version

On January 30, 1999, The House of the Dead was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.


The movie version of The House of the Dead has next to nothing to do with its game counterpart, but it has an interesting twist: one of the survivors of the zombie rampage was named Curien (the villain of The House of the Dead), and AMS agents Rogan and G appear at the film's end.


  • EGM
    • March 1998 (Issue 104) - Arcade Game of the Year Runner-Up (Readers' Choice)

Information also contributed by Xoleras


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  • MobyGames ID: 1218
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Derrick 'Knight' Steele.

SEGA Saturn added by Kartanym. Arcade added by The cranky hermit.

Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, tarmo888, Alaka, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto.

Game added March 28, 2000. Last modified January 14, 2024.