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The Typing of the Dead

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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)

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

I don't think I've seen anything more bizarre in my life...but I sure as hell liked it!

The Good
Usually it's a known fact that if a company is going to create a spin-off of a beloved series, something terrible always happens and the end result is nothing more than a stinking pile of dog poo. Thankfully, that didn't happen here. Sega's spin-off of the House of the Dead series, The Typing of the Dead, is just as fun as HOTD, even though instead of pounding the trigger of a plastic light gun, you're banging away on a keyboard, hoping those zombies don't decide to feast on your brains. But how does it stack up to The House of the Dead? Let's find out.

First off, TOTD is a spin-off of HOTD2, and actually IS the same game in essence. So I'll describe quickly: the action in HOTD2 is a lot faster and more frantic than HOTD1, with more hostages to rescue and better items you can grab (zombie tranquilizers, zombie steroids, bombs, etc...), as well as often smarter opponents and of course, huge, powerful bosses. But with all these enemies, how are you going to defeat them? Type words out! As each enemy appears, a word or phrase appears on top of them, and you have to completely type out that word or phrase as quickly as possible, and with as few mistakes as possible. The bosses, however, are much more powerful, and also have long sentences or even paragraphs to type in order to destroy them. That said, if you're not exactly a typing person, you may have severe trouble playing the game. But hey...sure as hell beats having to play "Mario Teaches Typing", eh?

The game's graphics, sounds, and music? The graphics are excellent, looking exactly like its arcade counterpart (but that's expected; after all, the arcade version is running on Naomi hardware, which is the same chipset as the Dreamcast), and there's no slowdown or breakup of the graphics. The sounds are appropriate: zombie moans, loud thwacks from an axe slamming into your skull, glass shattering, and your keyboard letting out gunshots with every letter you type! The music is also well done, although it's not exactly what I'd call "listen in the car" music. Big deal, though.

Also, added to the Dreamcast version of TOTD is a Typing Tutorial mode, which is excellent and really does help you get into the feel of typing. You also get a Boss Attack mode (fight the bosses), and an Original mode (the Arcade mode with new items you can use).

The Bad
One thing that kinda bugged me was that the voice actors and writing are incredibly cheesy, but that's probably done to give the game a little B-movie feel.

I should also add that you really have to know how to type in order to play this game, otherwise you'll never get anywhere in the game. Thankfully, there's the Typing Tutorial mode in the game to help you hone your typing skills.

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for an oddball alternative to House of the Dead 2 (that or you can't get a Dreamcast light gun), The Typing of the Dead is a hell of a choice for your Dreamcast library!

I'll end this review with an excerpt from my favorite boss fight in this game:

Jack and Jill went up the hill to settle a dispute. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill got 5 years for assault. Try typing that while a giant undead gladiator is chasing you through a labyrinth!

Dreamcast · by Satoshi Kunsai (2021) · 2001

This quirky and clever "Port" is a fun time waster

The Good

  • Ingenious and clever idea
  • Some of the stuff you type is inane and hilarious
  • Boss fights are still challenging and get more creative down the road
  • The quirky charm found in the awful acting and story is still intact
  • Multiple difficulty modes and drills help shape less skilled typists


The Bad

  • Just as short as the original arcade game
  • The alternate paths are harder to find
  • No ability to change graphics settings means you are stuck in software mode
  • You have to modify a file to get the blood working right
  • Network mode is a hassle to set up and there is no other way to have two players
  • You have to Ctrl+alt+Del to quit the game


The Bottom Line
If you've ever been to an arcade in the 90s, you've no doubt run into a House of the Dead cabinet. House of the Dead was arguably one of the best Arcade gun games, thanks to exciting gameplay and bad but hilarious acting and translation. The series has always had a strange and quirky charm about it. Being popular it was ported to home consoles and these ports were fine enough, assuming you owned the gun for your Saturn. The games simply aren't as fun without a gun.

Sadly, this truth is what ruined the DreamCast port of House of the Dead 2. Unfortunate timing meant that the port was released shortly after the Columbine Massacre, and I don't think anyone will argue that it probably wasn't the best time to release a gun - no matter how fake - into the market. This meant there was no gun and they removed compatibility with the Japanese gun, meaning you had to import both the Japanese gun and the Japanese version of the game to play it that way. Luckily though when porting the game to the PC Sega had an idea.

That idea evolved into The Typing of the Dead. It's an absolutely absurd idea but believe it or not... it works. The Typing of the Dead is an ingenious way of making a rail shooter fun without the gun, and is a wholly unique idea on its own. The game is a direct port of House of the Dead 2, the difference being that instead of guns you have keyboards. Instead of killing zombies with bullets, you kill them with words.

That's right. This is a typing tutor. If it weren't for the violence and gore, I'd encourage schools to use this. It would certainly be more fun than Mavis Beacon. The game has drills, which help you build your typing skills as well as give you some extra challenges and the game also has a boss mode which allows you to practice on bosses. Then of course there is the game itself which can be played one of two ways, "Original" or "Arcade."

They are more or less the same, but in Original mode you have an inventory of up to 5 items such as tranquilizers, Molotov cocktails, and sulfuric acid to help you along the way. Original mode also has a challenge at the end of each level that will award you up to 5 coins, if you successfully get all 5 coins you will unlock new challenges as well as bonuses like the ability to start with a few extra lives or carry a couple Molotov's from the get go.

Arcade mode doesn't have the inventory and all items are activated immediately, you also don't get coins or anything like that. You just try and get the highest score on each level and then enter your initials.

Blasting zombies with your keyboard is just as fun as it is with the gun, and it helps that some of the phrases they have you type are just as inane and bizarre as the terribly translated dialogue the game was already notorious for. The boss fights also get clever, the level 3 boss asks you questions and you have to type the correct answer or get bitten. The level 4 boss is my favourite. Really all you have to do is type his sentences, but his sentences are absolutely hilarious. He often likes to talk about things, be they ribald anecdotes about his girlfriend, his favourite restaurant, or even philosophical questions about life. Sadly I can't memorize all his lines, but trust me once you get to him you will be laughing too.

The games biggest flaws are its length, visuals, and some truly lazy programming. There is no ability to change graphics settings, so you are always locked at 640x480 with software graphics. Computers at the time were perfectly capable of making the game look like it did in the Arcade or the Dreamcast and an option would have been nice, since the game is heavily pixellated and looks more like it belongs in the year '96 rather than the year 2000. You also cannot quit the game without using Ctrl+Alt+Del. I know this is a silly argument, but there's also the issue with the blood. The game retains an M rating, it should give us blood. Instead zombies fall over into bubbling pools of nothing and while their corpses blow apart there is no detail. The blood IS in the game, and it IS supposed to be visible and there is an option for it in the menu; but unless you modify some game files you won't get blood. At least they let you pick your poison while you modify said files and let you have green goo zombies or ketchup red ones.

It's also a shame that you can't just plug in a second keyboard and play with a friend. In arcade mode a "Player 2: Press Enter" button always flickers, but it is only for effect. To be fair this came out before USB keyboards were common and computers very rarely came with two Keyboard ports and the Mice ports rarely seemed to recognize a secondary keyboard. You can play multiplayer, but you have to do it through Network mode and a second computer.

The length of the game is also crippling. To be fair, it is because the game was designed for arcades and as such was designed in a manner that you could beat the game in one go once you had a good aim and so that it wouldn't take a player forever to beat. However, this means that the game can be beaten in a mere hour and a half and for a PC game that is much too short. The various modes, alternating paths, and drills/boss modes help balance it out and there is no denying the game is fairly replayable whenever you need a good time waster, but it would've been nice if they had added a few levels. Hell, what would've really been cool is if they had The House of the Dead part 1 in the game as well. You'll have to make do with what you have though.

Typing of the Dead is good fun, and whether you are an elite typist or a newbie trying to get up to scratch, Typing of the Dead is a smart port of a good arcade game that also serves as a very entertaining typing tutor and the novelty and quirkiness of the concept is handled very well. You can download the game off of GameTap and I'm sure there are still copies lying around on the net. There is also a sequel, that is also a ton of fun, but sadly if you don't have a Japanese keyboard and knowledge of the Japanese language as I do, you are out of luck with #2.

Windows · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2010

[ 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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  • 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.