This is state of the art horror.


House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn (ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド 〜スカーレット・ドーン〜 Hausu obu za Deddo 〜 Sukāretto Dōn 〜?) is a horror-themed rail shooter released by SEGA Interactive to arcades in 2018. It is the fifth installment in the House of the Dead series.

The game is an interquel between The House of the Dead 4 and The House of the Dead III. It follows AMS agents Kate Green and newcomer Ryan Taylor as they investigate the owner of Scarecrow Manor, who plans to release biologically-engineered creatures upon the world.

Sega developed The House of the Dead 5 in 2012, but due to various circumstances the game was postponed and redeveloped as House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn.[1] It was released in Japan on the 22nd anniversary of the original 1996 game's launch. Scarlet Dawn features an enclosed arcade cabinet with special effects.

In a press release, Sega described Scarlet Dawn as "the most eagerly anticipated sequel in arcade game history"; its release ended a 12-year hiatus on the House of the Dead franchise.[2]




On December 6, 2006, AMS agents Kate Green and the late James Taylor's brother Ryan are dispatched to Scarecrow Manor for an undercover investigation of "Code R". At a dinner service, the owner and host unleashes hordes of biologically-engineered creatures upon guests; the agents fight to safety. Kate uses her PDA to call an unmanned helicopter, but it crashes and the building collapses.

Escaping with no backup available, Kate and Ryan explore the manor. They battle the armored Chariot in the annex, the squid-like High Priestess in a laboratory, and the winged Hangedman on the rooftops. During the mission, Ryan worries that he will join his brother in death.

Kate identifies the owner as Thornheart, a man previously thought to have died from an illness, and reveals that "Code R" is his mysterious "Noah's Ark" project. The agents discover that he was associated with bioterrorists Dr. Curien and Caleb Goldman. In 1880, the trio's ancestors founded an unknown organization; it was the catalyst for various incidents that were previously investigated by the AMS.

Kate and Ryan fight through a church to confront Thornheart, who reveals that the purpose of "Noah's Ark" is "new life to be born in a new evolution." He releases his masterpiece, the Moon, who is impervious to gunfire and constantly grows. Ryan impales the Moon's head with a metal rod, which kills the creature when struck by lightning; Kate believes this was James' divine intervention. With the threat finally neutralized, Kate and Ryan leave Scarecrow Manor as the sun rises.[3][4]


Depending on the player's performance, one of four endings will play after the credits; the words "To be continued in the next HOUSE OF THE DEAD" appear afterwards.

The criteria for getting each ending differs from Scarlet Dawn's Japanese arcade version to the US/European version; these differences are noted below.

Thornheart Ending 1: Thornheart, alive and unharmed, walks among rows of incubation tanks. He claims "It's impossible to change a predefined future."

  • In Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Normal Mode with continues used.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game with rank 3-8 in overall rating with a continue used.

Thornheart Ending 2: In the church, Thornheart states that the ordeal has only begun. He hunches over before smiling at the camera as it glitches out.

  • In the Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Normal Mode without using continues.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game with rank 2 in overall rating with a continue used.

Thornheart Ending 3: Thornheart stands up from his chair and leaves the church. He cryptically states that he "saw out the evolution of envy", and vows to follow up with "arrogance", before noting that "it is impossible to change a predefined future."

  • In the Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Master Mode with a continue used.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game with rank 1 in overall rating with a continue used.

Kate and Ryan Ending: Kate and Ryan discuss James after the Moon's defeat.[5]

  • In the Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Master Mode without using continues.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game without using continues.



House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn is a rail shooter set from a first-person perspective. Players shoot and kill attacking enemies with a H&K MP7-like machine gun controller. Unlike previous games in the series, the guns now automatically reload once empty, though the standard "shake to reload" mechanic is still available.

Player health is measured by lives, which are red and blue flame icons; damage from an enemy or failing a certain sequence deducts one life. There are first-aid kits hidden in destructable background objects that restore one life. Performing well in a chapter (good accuracy, high headshot count, and other factors) yields bonus lives for high grades. Destroying parts of the environment may also reveal special items that award score bonuses.

The game is comprised of a prologue chapter, three middle chapters that can be selected in any order, and a final chapter once all have been completed. The chapters are mostly linear, save for Chariot and Hangedman's chapters, which have an alternate branching path that is triggered either by player action (failing to shoot a drawbridge, as in Hangedman's chapter) or the number of lives remaining (the elevators in the Chariot's chapter).

At any point in the game, creatures may overwhelm and push a player to the ground. The surrounding creatures must be killed within a time limit, otherwise, the player loses a life. Creatures may also target one individual partner, resulting in the other having to rescue them. Failure to do so in the time limit results in a life penalty, or in a multiplayer game, a life penalty to the downed player. This is a modified version of the mechanic used in The House of the Dead III.

The scoring system for the game has also been tweaked. The ranks are based on 5 categories: Score, Enemies killed, Critical Shots, Accuracy, and Events. A minimum of 4 "Perfect" ratings and 1 "Excellent" rating are required to receive an S rank on each stage. At the end of the game, the player's final rank will be calculated based on the ranks on every stage. The better the player performs, the higher their final rating will be. Just like previous installments, the player's performance will determine the game's ending.

Game Modes

The Japanese and International versions each have different game modes:

  • Normal Mode and Master Mode are included in the Japanese version. The Normal Mode is the game's default gameplay setting; the Master Mode has larger enemy spawns and health, and several weapons available in the Normal Mode are unavailable, leaving the player with only the default gun and any items they purchase with HOTD Coins.
  • Story Mode and Select Path Mode are included in the International version. Story Mode allows the player to enjoy the whole game, including the prologue; Select Path Mode skips the prologue, making the middle three chapters available from the beginning.


Throughout the game, there are "Events" in which the player must shoot a target reticle on a creature or object within a short time. Completion of Events is recorded in the player's end-of-stage ranking. Events include:

  • Civilians: In three of the chapters (the prologue, Chariot's stage, and Hangedman's stage), party guests of the Scarecrow Mansion are being attacked by creatures; rescuing them counts as an Event "success".
  • Environmental Hazards: The most common Event. Players can shoot objects like chandeliers to use against hordes of creatures. The success of this event either helps the player take out multiple members of a horde or preventing the player from losing a life; failure means the player must battle the horde themselves, or in some cases, a life penalty.

Item Shop and HOD Coins

Another new mechanic to the series is HOD Coins and the Item Shop. Killing the enemies with a critical shot, obtaining collectible items, saving civilians and completing the QTE will reward the player with HOD Coins. The player can use these coins to purchase items in the Item Shop at the beginning of each level. Up to two items can be bought per stage. The player can switch between items by pressing either the side buttons or the secondary trigger of the gun. The amount of uses for each item is limited and they cannot be replenished until the player completes the stage or by using a credit after losing all of their lives. The items are as follows:

  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun + (unavailable in International version)
  • MGM700 (Insta-kill one enemy)
  • Machine Gun + (unavailable in International version)
  • Machine Gun EX
  • Gatling Gun
  • Laser Gun
  • Heat Ray
  • Hand Grenade
  • Grenade Launcher
  • Incendiary Gun
  • Energy Cannon
  • Rocket Launcher
  • SW Cannon
  • Shield
  • Life (unavailable in International version)

Another new mechanic to the series is Aime Accessibility. By using Aime cards, the player can store their progress, keep their collected HOD Coins, check their highest scores, complete achievements, and partake in nationwide leaderboards. A level system was also added to the game as part of the Aime features. By beating the stages, the players will receive XP. Once the bar filled up, the player will level up and will be rewarded with HOD Coins. However, this feature is Japanese-exclusive and is not available for the International release.

The International version receives major changes to the game. First, the game's modes have been changed. Aime Accessibility and HOD Coins were also removed altogether, as a result, the player will no longer worry about the purchases in the Item Shop, as the player can choose the items as they wish. In addition, the criteria of the game's endings have been tweaked.


Scarlet Dawn is divided into 5 chapters, with the first serving as a prologue. The three middle chapters take place in one of three player-selected areas; thus, the order will vary.



  • Rogers
  • Allen
  • Santana
  • Bryant
  • Wilson
  • Suzuki
  • Park
  • Mac
  • Smoker
  • Bruce
  • Samson Jr.
  • Janish
  • Ratstar




Shelved House of the Dead 5 project

Around 2012, Sega and The House of the Dead series director Takashi Oda began developing a fifth game under the working title The House of the Dead 5. The project was shelved due to being technologically ambitious and costly. Only the creatures and the introductory part of the story had been completed. There exists a production script dated March 26, 2012, but its contents have not been made public.[1]

Oda considers the scrapped House of the Dead 5 project a sixth "phantom" entry in the series.[1] He has denied plans to revive it, in order to focus more on future titles.[6]


The project was redeveloped as House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn. The name was chosen to appeal more to new players, although Oda maintains that it is still the fifth game in the series.[1] The game was built on Unreal Engine 4 and runs on the PC-based Sega ALLS hardware.[7][8]

A company named Agni Flare handled Scarlet Dawn's graphics.[8][9] President of Agni Flare Takeshi Inaba and art director Nobuhito Iwao were previously involved with The House of the Dead 4.[10] The human characters were played by English motion-captured actors, with translators helping them communicate with the Japanese developers.[11] Gore effects, in which creatures showed burn marks and skeletal framework, were prototyped but ultimately scrapped.[12]


House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn was announced by SEGA Interactive on January 14, 2018, with a promotional website launching shortly thereafter.[13][14] The return of civilians, the "Partner Rescue" mechanic from The House of the Dead III, and the Chariot from The House of the Dead, as well as new weapons, were reported.[15]

Preliminary location tests were held in multiple Japanese arcades, including the SEGA Akihabara Building 3 in Tokyo, Japan from January 19 to the 21st; Round One Arcade in Yokohama from March 3rd to March 5th; and Rakuichi Rakuzen Arcade in Kawaguichi from March 16th to March 18th.[16][17][18]

During JAEPO 2018, Sega released an official trailer revealing new scenes and a glimpse at a new boss, the High Priestess (or simply Priestess in the Japanese version).[19]

On July 9th 2018, another location test with more content was held in three places: High-tech Land Sega in Shibuya, Sega Tokyo Dome City, and Sega Shinjuku Kabukicho.[20] Kevin Bachus, the Senior Vice President of restaurant and video arcade chain Dave & Busters, announced that all locations would receive Scarlet Dawn cabinets that fall.[21]

In September 2019, Sega and Universal Space announced an exclusive Chinese version of the game. The game, now renamed as Haunted House: Scarlet Dawn, features the same mechanics as the Global version, with several changes, such as UI changes and Chinese subtitles. A Korean version of the game was also spotted.[22]


Takashi Oda desires to make three more games in the House of the Dead series.[6] He has stated that he would like to give players more freedom in movement; if there is enough demand, he wants to develop a House of the Dead first person shooter.[6]


  • House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn is the first House of the Dead installment to be released in the 2010s (the last game being The House of the Dead: Overkill in 2009).
    • Excluding Overkill, Scarlet Dawn is also the first canon installment in the franchise to be released in the 2010s, after The House of the Dead 4 in 2005.
  • This is the first game in which Player 1 and 2's colors (traditionally red and blue, respectively) are switched.
  • The title noticeably drops the word "the", reading simply as House of the Dead.
  • This is the first game in the series to feature automatic reload (the ammunition will be automatically filled once it's emptied) as a default function, similar to Sega Golden Gun's auto-reload function. As such, the standard "Reload" sound effect and notification are removed.
  • Scarlet Dawn's level structure is similar to The House of the Dead III; both open with a prologue chapter and feature 3 selectable chapters.
  • With an overall total of 5 chapters, this is the shortest House of the Dead game since the original game.
  • Bosses in Scarlet Dawn do not have "type numbers", unlike prior games in the main series. This is the second game in the franchise to do so, following Overkill.
  • Scarlet Dawn uses the short version of the "Stage Clear" theme, previously used in the original House of the Dead. It is followed by a remix of "Ranking" from The House of the Dead 2.
  • Unlike previous games, Scarlet Dawn's route map is shown regardless if the game is completed or not. In contrast, the first four entries only show route maps at game over.
  • This is the first game in the entire canon series to not include a "Bad Ending".
  • House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn has similarities to The House of the Dead 4:
    • Both games featured a "veteran" character and a "rookie" character (James Taylor is the veteran and Kate Green is the rookie in 4, while Kate is the veteran and Ryan Taylor is the rookie in Scarlet Dawn).
    • Both games feature a similar plot: In The House of the Dead 4, the AMS agents attempt to stop a project called "Pandora's Box" orchestrated by Goldman, and in House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn they attempt to stop another project called "Noah's Ark" orchestrated by Thornheart, a character who happens to have a connection to Goldman.
      • However, the motivation behind the actions of each game's antagonist is different. Goldman wants to restore "the natural harmony of the world" which "humans broke" but "were once subject to" like other organisms, and deplores how humans "came to know greed like no other species." Thornheart feels, however, "Arrogance, greed, envy, rage, lust, veracity," and "laziness" are "all great expression" and, contrasting his view of it from Goldman's, considers evolution "to be truly about the human mind." Undercutting nature's system of "biological adaptability" that Goldman valued, Thornheart also states, "We need to get rid of the dead."
    • Both games have a second chapter that begins with a flashback sequence, and the remaining chapters of both games feature the main antagonist.
    • Both games utilize machine guns, however The House of the Dead 4 uses a lightweight Uzi (ingame the model is based on a modified Brügger & Thomet TP9) whereas Scarlet Dawn features a standard assault rifle-like gun based on the Heckler and Koch MP7.
  • There are several differences between Scarlet Dawn's International and Japanese version:
    • The Japanese version has 2 difficulty modes: Normal Mode and Master Mode. The International version removes both.
    • The international versions remove the Aime card accessibility, in turn removing the HOD coins, player levels, and achievements.
    • Three items (Lifes, Shotgun +, and Machine Gun +) are exclusive to the Japanese version's Item Shop.
    • In the Japanese version, getting S rank awards 2 bonus lives. The International version changes this to 1.
    • In the international versions, boss names have the word "The" in front (e.g. The Chariot, The Hangedman). In addition, Priestess is renamed "The High Priestess".
    • The international versions lack subtitles for most of the dialogue. The exceptions to this are Hangedman and Moon's speech, Ranking monologues, and the A.I. voices used for the helicopter and laboratory doors.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2
  8. 8.0 8.1
Kate GreenRyan TaylorThornheart
Rogers • Allen • Santana • Bryant • Wilson • Kageo • Suzuki • Cyril • Park • Mac • Ebitan • Smoker • Simon • Bruce • BentleySamson • Samson Jr. • RubinDrake • Janish • MurrerDevilon • Ratstar
ChariotHangedmanHigh PriestessMoon
Scarecrow ManorKate and Ryan (Annex - Laboratory - Elevator Lobby)Homo sapiens (Annex - Laboratory - Elevator Lobby)Pandora's Box (Annex - Laboratory - Elevator Lobby)A Glimmer of Hope
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