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The House of the Dead

aka: HOD
Arcade Specs [ all ]
Buy on Arcade
Buy on SEGA Saturn
$699.95 used at Amazon
$256.72 used at eBay
Buy on Windows
(prices updated 9/20 11:04 AM )

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 33 ratings)


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

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

Run around a haunted house and deal with hilarious zombies

The Good
On December 18, 1998, AMS agents Thomas Rogan and “G” receive a phone call from Rogan's girlfriend Sophie Richards regarding a series of disappearances at the Curien mansion, whose owner is an expert in biochemistry and genealogy, and has brought the undead back to life. As Rogan, you must go through the mansion and kill any zombies you see.

You do this by hovering a crosshair over a zombie, and pressing the mouse button to shoot at it several times until it goes down. The first time you shoot at it, its head will jerk back, but to make sure that it goes down quickly, you have to go for the weak spot, which is one of its bloody limbs, entirely covered in blood. Besides killing zombies, you also have to be on the lookout for any DBR scientists, rescuing them before they are killed. More often than not, these scientists give you a health pack or a keycard that let you access other areas of the mansion. Besides killing zombies, you can shoot other things such as crates, barrels, and urns to get bonus items. While you are on a killing spree, you also run out of ammo, meaning that you need to reload when both a warning and a voice tells you do, but thankfully these reloads are unlimited. There are four chapters in which you have to make a killing.

There are multiple routes through the mansion, and what route you will take will depend on your earlier actions, but normally rescuing scientists or having them killed, or shooting certain things in the environment will make the game decide which route. When I played The House of the Dead, I replayed each chapter twice just to try out the different routes, and I was amazed what I saw on each route.

There are three game modes. Besides “Arcade”, the mode that lets you to play a perfect conversion of the original arcade game, and “PC Mode” lets you play HOTD as different characters, including Rogan, “G”, Sophie. or one of the scientists. As well as this, “Boss Mode” lets you practice killing all four bosses, so that you can dispatch them as quickly as possible when you play the other two modes. Both Arcade and PC modes have individual cut-scenes, which are good to watch as they show your character make progress throughout the mansion.

The redbook CD audio goes with what you are doing (shooting zombies inside a mansion). The sound effects are excellent.

The best thing that I like about the game is the zombies themselves. They are hilarious to listen to. The zombies you encounter are quite strong, but they make a grunting sound when they are going to chop you in half, as if using an axe or chainsaw is an effort for them. The bosses are twice as funny, especially the first and third bosses. Every time you hit his weak spot, the first boss vomits on the floor, while the third boss uses his own droppings as a weapon. All of the bosses (except the third one) make these dying sound which I'll never forget. I can even remember what it sounds like while I'm typing this review.

The Bad
Just before you go on to fight a boss, you are shown his weak spot and what type he is. For example, the first boss, the Chariot, is Type 27. What does this “type” mean? Can somebody tell me, please?

No matter what characters you select in “PC Mode”, they all sound the same.

The game is too short. If you are an excellent player, you can probably complete the game inunder an hour.

The Bottom Line
The House of the Dead is quite a fun rail shooter where you must kill a whole lot of zombies throughout the mansion while rescuing scientists that are caught inside. There are multiple routes you can take, which means that you can play the game over and over, trying out different routes as you can find. While you are playing, you can listen to the excellent redbook audio that blends well with what you are doing. Besides playing an exact copy of the arcade game, there are two other modes to play the game on, one of them which you can practice defeating a boss. And speaking of bosses, you will laugh at everything they do and what sound they make when they die.

Windows · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2008

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.

Information also contributed by Xoleras

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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, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto.

Game added March 28th, 2000. Last modified August 31st, 2023.