The Typing of the Dead

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(prices updated 9/22 7:00 AM )

Description official descriptions

This is essentially the same game as the arcade light-gun rail-shooter House of the Dead 2, except they've turned it into a edu-tainment typing trainer. Instead of guns, your characters have keyboards strapped to them, and instead of shooting the zombies that constantly jump out at you you'll need to type out the words attached to the zombies in order to kill them before they crack open your head and feast upon the goo inside. The game ranks you on your typing speed and provides various tutorials and other edu-tainment sundries.

Otherwise it's pretty much the same game as House of the Dead 2. Much like the Resident Evil series, the zombie hordes have gone from infesting a vaguely gothic creepy old mansion to infesting a vaguely gothic decaying city, and its your job to stop them and save the human race (as usual).

Spellings

  • ザ・タイピング・オブ・ザ・デッド - Japanese spelling
  • 死亡打字员 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 死亡打字機 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (Arcade version)

28 People (22 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 69% (based on 35 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 55 ratings with 5 reviews)

WASD is not most dangerous four letter word in gaming

The Good
Revisionism is a tricky thing. To claim what once happened never happened is a magic trick done in plain sight for everyone to see but with nothing to hide behind; it’s the equivalent of Penn and Teller doing their next magic show behind an x-ray machine. To pull off a trick so blatantly, so obviously, done without any semblance of guile… well, then everyone has no choice but to believe you. If you pull it off.

Staying firmly in the world of geek, George Lucas was an aspiring film maker who wanted to set an opera in outer space using cowboys. The result was Star Wars (1977) and nerds haven’t left their basements since. Lucas’ success was also one of total creative control over the Star Wars franchise; armed with 40% control over the marketing rights of Star Wars and the nuclear-powered Skywalker Ranch (with a Deathstar Deathray-proof bunker five miles below the surface—indeed, the ultimate basement), Lucas could do whatever he wanted.

Not satisfied with the visual look of his original trilogy, Lucas would continually make changes to these films while at the same time denying audiences access to the original work. Legally, Star Wars is his creative property to do with as he wished, much to the chagrin of fans everywhere. Lucas would add special effects that didn’t exist at the time, recut scenes, do anything he could to “preserve the original vision I had for the movie”. However, audiences are savvy, and sometimes unforgiving. While the second trilogy may have done very well in terms of sales, the three words that will follow Lucas to his grave is “Han shot first!”

This type of revisionism is common to games as well. Id released DOOM3 as a modern retelling of the classic tale; id would have us believe that this version of the DOOM story is the proper one and the original can all but be forgotten, as though they are embarrassed by the way the graphics look compared to today’s technology. As well, Team Ninja has released the Ninja Gaiden game several times over in different versions in recent years, touting tweaks and new features added to what is essentially the same game.

So it is with The Typing of the Dead. Released four years after the original and just a year after the sequel, this game is essentially the same game but with some very major differences. The original House of the Dead was a light gun game with which you would blast zombies; conversely, in the Typing of the Dead your lethal instrument of death is a keyboard attached to a Dreamcast with a giant “D” battery on top. At no time in the game is this literary BFG explained, nor is it explained why zombies are susceptible to simple phrases like “my foxy wife”.

This is a brilliant reworking of the “classic tale” for us post-modern cynics. The original House of the Dead was a campy gore fest of bad voice acting and nonsensical story. (Also, it had outright tasteless racism. The villain who is responsible for the zombies and all the deaths is none other than Goldman, the Jew!! It’s always the Jew, isn’t it? Does B‘nai Brith know about this?) The player is thrust into to role of the macho hero by wielding a powerful pink plastic light gun; this visceral experience of using in real life a gun replica to do away with your enemies can only be matched by the confirmation that everyone in the arcade must think you have a big penis to match the giant phallic symbol you hold in your hands.

While the original House of the Dead was a uber-hetero testosterone-filled macho experience, Typing of the Dead re-evaluates that experience for what it is: a campy shallow experience. But this is where Typing of the Dead transcends it’s limited origins to become the game it was meant to be. This game postulates that the game’s problem isn’t that it is campy, it’s not campy enough! The silliness of changing from a moody first person shooter to a typing tutor can be seen in the outlandish getup of the aforementioned Dreamcast backpack. Enemy weapons have been switched from knives and swords to spatulas and toilet plungers. This game never allows you to forget that you’re playing a parody, albeit one that you enjoy immensely.

Everyone loves zombies, because everyone enjoys killing zombies (says the preacher in Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992) right before he opens the whoop-ass can: “I kick ass for the Lord!”). People do so because zombies by all rights have to be killed, as well as the fact they are so easy to be killed. That’s why it’s so natural to keep plugging away at the waves of undead, all the while fooled into thinking that touch typing is fun. This motivation to type is further encouraged by the very novel use of typing as weapon; every time a key is pressed correctly, a satisfying gunshot is thundered, while an incorrect press only enacts a limp high-pitched miss whistle.

The fact that most gamers are bad typists is very ironic. From reading other reviews I keep hearing how this game is tough; it’s not tough—you get “pwned” because you don’t have “teh mad skillz” required for this game. I’m not a great touch typist myself, but this game encourages me to further my skills. Typing of the Dead teaches a valuable life skill in a most amusing and enjoyable way.

Note: it was my house who Unicorn B Lynx came over to and to whom showed DOOM3 and Typing of the Dead. Typing of the Dead is a much better game. (it’s embarrassing to know I was once excited about DOOM3). It has a soul, a funny and frivolous one; DOOM3 has none; it’s that hot superstar blonde tennis player who never won a game and everyone has since forgotten her name: all style, no substance (well, as least for being a tennis player).



The Bad
Sega, if you’re going to go all the way, go all the way. The lumberjack zombie still sports the chainsaw as he did in the original game. Frightening, yes, but not the camp fun the rest of the game provides. What about arming him with a singing fish, or put an embroidered pillow in his mitts? You’re the geniuses, you figure it out (wait, what happened with that console you put out a while back?)

The Typing of the Dead is a highly creative game that has universal praise every time it is mentioned, yet for some reason seems to have disappeared off the game radar (the Planescape: Torment syndrome—the better you are, the worse you will suffer). There aren’t any sequels or successors of any kind. What ever happened to… Ab-Crunches of the Dead: every sit-up explodes a zombies cranium into goo. Deleting Junk Mail of the Dead: using your mouse you fire bullet after bullet as you empty your mail. Or how about a cross-over: DDR of the Dead: using your floor dance pad you cut the rug of the undead, their demented cries wailing over the unrelenting disco beat.

I’m not kidding here: if you want little Johnny to do something, you won’t have to ask twice if there is decapitation and green blood. Brushing the Teeth of the Dead! Homework of the Dead! Taking Out the Trash of the Dead! I’d buy stock in Sega now if this was true. So what’s the hold up? Or are you waiting again for a good thing to slip through your fingers to tell you that you that you have a winning formula in your hands?



The Bottom Line
Destined for obscurity, this game could have been the one to influence other games to be much more than just a way to pass the time. As such, we can only be content with this gem encased in rotten stinking decaying zombie matter.

Windows · by lasttoblame (414) · 2007

The greatest typing tutor ever programmed.

The Good
This game is hilarious. Basically, it's the same game as House Of The Dead II, except that instead of guns, our heroes are equipped with Dreamcast backpacks, giant Duracells, and chest-mounted keyboards. You are attacked by various undead horrors, and in order to kill them, you must rapidly type the words on the little signs on their chests! The horrible voice acting from HOTD2 actually becomes part of the comedy attraction here, while you furiously try to work your words-per-minute up, and typos can be deadly... Lots of little surprises; items that can be found include the Bighead mod and the Zombie Suit (which makes your character appear to be a zombie). NOT serious at all... but a great motivator for learning to type!

The Bad
HOTD2 is an arcade port; it's basically a shooter on rails. You make very few decisions (although if you save certain people along your path, they will provide you with special items, or allow you to take a different path). But, since this is a typing tutor, not an adventure game, this hardly makes a difference.

The Bottom Line
This is a crummy PC port of an Arcade game that was once a Dreamcast game... or it's the funniest, goriest, most-fun typing tutor ever made. Take your pick.

Windows · by Dr.Bedlam (55) · 2002

type or die... but for experienced typists only

The Good
When I tried this game out I was surprised. It took me a couple of minutes to find out you had to use the keyboard to shoot the zombies. I really liked that on my first go. It is a fresh idea and it is kind of addictive. If you are familiar with the house of the dead 2 arcade game, it is just the same but with a twist. It is one of the most original games I have played over a decade and there also seem to be life span expanding options such as network play and boss battles so this will hold your attention for a while.

The Bad
I asked my brother if he would like to have this game too, and he answered no. Why did he say that? Well, because there is no way to input the words of your own choice. You see, we are computer users since the early nineties and we are true typing prodigies. But when we look at the screen we see the most annoying sentences and in particular Latin and English ones that make us freeze for seconds and screw most of the shots. That sucks away a lot of fun as English is not our native language.

Maybe it is me, but TOTD doesn't run too smoothly on a modern PC. Why? Because the program is sensitive and needs a clean system memory to run on. So be prepared to kill all your windows activities such as internet browsers, your current downloads and virus scanners etc. Believe me, nothing is more frustrating when quick reaction is required, but you simply can't focus because the frame animation is disturbed by other windows activities.

What irritates me most is that there is no beginner mode for inexperienced typists. Sure you can switch the game's difficulty to very easy, but that doesn't give you more time to complete the sentences or more chances to recover from typing errors. No, this only makes the words a little shorter but it is still required to react quickly. I kind of hate it. How would you like this if I said to you it is not necessarily to play the guitar, but still you have to play a tune without making a fault and you had to play the melody in time? It is that stupid.

Another point is the annoying boss battles. Thankfully you can skip a lot of the worthless cutscenes, but not when you encounter a boss. When this gargoyle appears you cannot press away his monologue and this monster you will be fighting next takes so many moments of grunting animation that it is destroying it's replay value. It doesn't help either that you have to defeat them.. err...TWICE!

Another problem is that once you progress through the stages you can get exhausted. There are so many tough words on the normal setting and due to quick required typing I usually need to take a break after the third or fourth stage. You can play the game stages in a different order, but the last ones are locked so you need to play this game if a rush if you would to like to complete it. And why do you have to enter a name for a high score every time you complete a stage? It is so annoying, wouldn't it be good idea if they waited a little while and let you do this when the game is over? Here again I must conclude that the lack of a real easy mode damages some of it's replay value.

Things to keep in mind is that you need a good keyboard for this and second you need to configure your keyboard setting to US or UK because this game doesn't support EURO keyboards. There will be a lot of words that require the special keys in this game, and you are simply screwed if some special characters don't correspond to the your keys.

The Bottom Line
Despite all my complaining (hey somebody had to say it), this is a great game for all typing masters out there. Think you are good at typing? Then this game is definitely a challenge. In these days it is quite an original game so please be sure not to miss this. Also be aware that this is not meant to learn typing but only for those who already have typing skills.

Windows · by tante totti (14) · 2007

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Typing of the Dead appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

M-Rated

Quite possibly the only M-rated typing game (or edutainment for that matter).

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3268

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Alan Chan.

Arcade added by Kohler 86. Dreamcast added by Adam Baratz. Macintosh added by Ms. Tea.

Additional contributors: Indra was here, J. Michael Bottorff, lasttoblame, DURIAN, Gordon Chang, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added February 5th, 2001. Last modified February 27th, 2023.