(Sega AM1's universe)
The portal to carnage is about to open again...Tagline
The House of the Dead 2 (ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド 2, Za Hausu obu za Deddo 2) is a horror-themed rail shooting game developed by Sega AM1 and released by Sega to arcades in 1998. It is the sequel to The House of the Dead and the second game overall in the House of the Dead series.
Set almost two years after the 1998 Curien Mansion incident, the game follows AMS agents James Taylor and Gary Stewart as they investigate an unnamed, Venetian-inspired city overrun with biologically-engineered creatures.
Most of the original House of the Dead's development team returned for 2. Using the more graphically-advanced Sega NAOMI arcade hardware, Sega AM1 sought including ideas and features that were scrapped from the original game. They also desired a brand-new atmosphere.
The House of the Dead 2 was praised for its graphics, music, and large variety of branching paths. However, it gained notoriety for its poor voice acting. The game is currently the highest-rated title in the series, receiving a 91% approval rating upon international audiences and eventually winning the Dreamcast ULTRA Award in 1999.
The game was ported to multiple platforms. It received numerous spin-off adaptations, including The Typing of the Dead, which became a series of its own. A sequel, The House of the Dead III, was released in 2002. A remake, titled The House of the Dead 2: Remake, is in development by Forever Entertainment, MegaPixel Studio, and TA Publishing under license from Sega.
On February 26th, 2000, AMS agents James Taylor and Gary Stewart investigate an outbreak of vicious creatures in an unnamed city. James and Gary meet their injured partner G, who provides them his field journal of creature weak points.
James and Gary rescue civilians and defeat Judgment, consisting of the armored giant Kuarl and the imp-like Zeal, and the aquatic Hierophant. During a rendezvous with partners Amy Crystal and Harry Harris, the latter reveals that Caleb Goldman, the head of a financial group, masterminded the 1998 Curien Mansion incident; he funded the late Dr. Curien's research, which he then used to engineer the citywide outbreak.
In a phone message, Goldman invites the agents to meet him at the Roman Colosseum; they hesitantly accept and split up. James and Gary enter through the sewers, battling the Hydra-like Tower, while Amy and Harry directly enter the Colosseum. After losing contact with them, James and Gary fight into the Colosseum to rescue Amy and an injured Harry from the chainsaw-wielding Strength.
James and Gary drive Harry's car to Goldman's headquarters, in the process fighting a revived Judgement, Hierophant, Magician, and Tower. The agents confront Goldman, who claims that he wants to protect the life cycle from mankind. He awakens Emperor, a creature intended to be humanity's ruler, who James and Gary defeat. Warning that "a successor will come", Goldman commits suicide by throwing himself off the roof of his building.
While unsure if their actions were correct, James and Gary vow to keep fighting.[note 1]
One of three endings plays at the end of the credits. This is determined by the following:
- If a solo game was finished as either player 1 or 2
- If both players defeated the last boss
- Number of continues
- Points earned
|Normal||Amy, Harry, G, and a group of civilians appear outside of Goldman's headquarters, thanking the player(s).|
|Bad||Goldman appears outside as a creature; James and Gary exclaim his name. The screen fades to white as a gunshot is heard.|
|Good||AMS agent Thomas Rogan appears at the entrance to Goldman's headquarters. He reveals that G and Harry are alright, and says "On we go, to our next battle". This prompts replies from either James ("As long as we have the will to live") or Gary ("As long as there is an answer").|
The House of the Dead 2 plays similarly to its predecessor, tasking players to kill attacking creatures with pistols. Because the arcade version uses sensors around the monitor to gauge where the guns are aimed, one must simply aim the gun off-screen to reload. The player's accuracy is now calculated at the end of each stage, being displayed as a percent, though this has no major impact on gameplay.
The game has a larger and more complex variety of branching paths than the original House of the Dead. Depending on the routes taken, the bosses of the second and third levels are fought in one of two different areas, often with some variations in attack patterns and difficulty. In addition, the third and fourth levels have two possible starting points based on the routes taken in the chapter prior to each.
Depending on the version of the game (Arcade, Xbox, PC, Dreamcast, or Wii), there are a variety of gameplay modes available.
- Arcade Mode: The standard mode of play. It features one or two players playing through the game normally without any bonuses. Each player's gun holds only 6 bullets per round. However, unlike the arcade game, the player is able to set the number of lives and continues on the options screen. This varies from the arcade, where each player's life value depends on what the operator set it to.
- Original Mode: This is similar to Arcade Mode, except that it allows a player to use 2 bonus items prior to starting the game. These items can be collected have a wide variety of uses, ranging from increasing life and credit score to selecting costumes.
- Training Mode: This mode consists of 10 training stages which feature various situations that must be cleared in order to pass. Each training stage has different levels of difficulty.
- Boss Mode: This mode allows the player to play a time attack on the game's various boss fights. Each boss must have appeared during normal gameplay (either Arcade or Original mode) before it appears in this mode.
- Options: The options screen gives the player various controls over game settings such as lives, difficulty, continues, blood color, volume control, etc.
In 1997, The House of the Dead director Takashi Oda and programmer Koji Ooto stated that a sequel would depend on the response to the first game. Oda was interested only if his team was given "at least 6 months or a year" to develop it. Ooto said that with more advanced hardware, they could create "something truly disgusting", but was unsure if the public could handle it.
Developer Sega AM1 envisioned The House of the Dead 2 as continue the original game's story like The X-Files. They also wanted the game to have the same main characters, an altered atmosphere, and as many scrapped ideas and features from original House of the Dead as possible. One idea, in which Thomas Rogan's fiancée Sophie Richards was a boss, was revisited but ultimately scrapped.
The game was originally titled The House of the Dead 2: Original Sin. Screenshots in a 1999 issue of Dreamcast Magazine also reveal that Tower was originally named Ophiuchus, while Kuarl and Zeal were explicitly named instead of being collectively referred to as Judgment. Kuarl's name is still referenced in the final game's dialogue, but Zeal's name only appears in Japanese guidebooks.
The House of the Dead 2 was ported to the Sega Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows, the Microsoft Xbox (as an unlockable in the port of The House of the Dead III), and the Nintendo Wii (in the compilation release The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return).
- Main article: The House of the Dead 2: Remake
On September 29th, 2019, Polish website Grampospolita reported that Polish game developer Forever Entertainment signed contracts to remake The House of the Dead 2 in addition to the original House of the Dead. The remakes will reportedly feature "new graphics adapted to modern standards and slightly modified gameplay". On October 3, 2019, Forever Entertainment confirmed the news but could not provide further details.
On a March 2020 podcast, Panzer Dragoon: Remake producer Benjamin Anseaume stated that the House of the Dead remake news were leaked; in the future, Forever Entertainment "wants to announce [them] in the proper way" with trailers and other materials. Anseaume's Twitter and LinkedIn accounts indicate that he will produce the remakes.
- Magician is the only boss to return from the first game.
- In its prototype, the game was originally titled The House of the Dead 2: Original Sin. The prototype consists of the first four levels, along with music and graphics that are either removed or improved in the final product.
- The House of the Dead 2 was the first game to use SEGA's NAOMI board arcade system. The board was able to host up to 3,000,000 polygons per second (in comparison, the PlayStation could host only 650,000 polygons per second), making it one of the most realistic looking games of its time, as well as one of the first games ever made that could host over a million polygons per second.
- The challenge of 2's boss fights inspired Yoshinori Tomoyasu, the director of the 2000 House of the Dead-like rail shooter Vampire Night, to design an "attack gauge" gameplay mechanic. This involves a meter which must be emptied within a limited time by repeated shots to boss weak points; success stops attack phases, while failure often results in damage. The mechanic has since been used in the House of the Dead series, beginning with The House of the Dead III, which Tomoyasu was also involved with.
- In single player, only James (player 1) or Gary (player 2) will appear, and some dialogue is altered or removed. Because the lore has both agents being involved, multiplayer is assumed to have the canon version of the story.
- "Out of Print Archive: Dreamcast Magazine 2" (English). Out of Print Archive. Retrieved on December 25, 2020 2020.
- Forever Entertainment [@ForeverEntert] (October 3, 2020). Forever Entertainment on Twitter: "Hi Guys! We confirm the signing of the agreement regarding remakes of the games "The House of the Dead" and "The House of the Dead 2". No platforms or release dates have been confirmed, and unfortunately we can’t say anything more for now. Please keep fingers crossed for us and.." / Twitter. Twitter. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020.
- "The House of the Dead – 1997 Developer Interview" (English). Shmuplations. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved on May 28, 2020.
- Interview: The House of the Dead", Sega Saturn Magazine, issue 23, September 1997, page 63.
- Kori (September 7, 2012). "Website of the Dead’s Exclusive Interview with Takashi Oda" (English). The Website of the Dead. Archived from the original on April 19, 2020.
- Michał Król (September 25th, 2019). "Polacy stworzą remake dwóch części The House of the Dead" (Polish). Gramposolita.pl. “The House of the Dead: Remake i The House of the Dead 2: Remake będą mieć nową, dostosowaną do współczesnych standardów grafikę oraz lekko zmodyfikowaną rozgrywkę, ale w pełni zachowają oryginalny scenariusz. Spółka zapowiedziała, że materiały z pierwszej z gier zostaną zaprezentowane w najbliższych miesiącach.”
- Wales, Matt (October 3, 2019). "Rumoured House of the Dead 1 & 2 remakes officially confirmed". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
- "106 - Benjamin Anseaume from Forever Entertainment" (English). The SEGA Lounge (March 19, 2020). Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
- "Benjamin Anseaume's Twitter page" (English). Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
- "Benjamin Anseaume's LinkedIn profile" (English). Retrieved on July 21, 2020.
- FAQ by Guy Type R" (English). Game FAQs (April 6th, 2000). “HOTD2 is the first ARCADE game that uses the SEGA's NAOMI (Nay-o-mi) board (Same board as the Dreamcast's). This board can soup up to 3,000,000 polygons per second (Playstation only has a maximum of 650,000). So the graphics can be "skin-like", meaning that everything looks real (Just look at the new Magician Type 0!).”
- Kawamoto, Masumi (December 28, 2001). "特別インタビュー" (Japanese). GAME Watch. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved on May 21, 2020. “今は普通のザコ敵も撃てば体力メーターが出ますが、最初は出なかったんです。ボスの攻撃ゲージも出すことは考えていませんでした。見えるようにした理由として、「HOD2」のボスがかなり難度が高かったので、それよりも少し間口を広げたかった。あまりガンシューティングを遊んだことのない人のことも考慮して、なるべくわかりやすいように、というのを意識した結果、何発撃ち込んだからキャンセルできたということが見てわかるように攻撃ゲージを表示させました。「あーっ、あと1発当てればキャンセルできてたのになー」という感じで目安になればと。 あと、遠方にいる小さいボスを狙う場合も多いので、当たったかどうかを視覚的にもわかりやすくしたかったというのもあります。”