(Sega AM1's universe)
Watch your back...Tagline
The game was released to arcades as a two-player arcade attraction, featuring a spinning ride vehicle and special effects. It is included in the PlayStation 3 port of The House of the Dead 4 as an unlockable for completing the original game.
In 2003, AMS agent Kate Green wanders the abandoned city alone, acting on her promise to fallen partner James Taylor to keep fighting and never give up hope. She encounters agent G, who claims that the battle is not over. Together, Kate and G fight the infestation of creatures to its source.
The agents drive to an unidentified building, killing a revived Justice in the parking garage. In the core of a secret laboratory, they discover a reawakened Magician. Recognizing and welcoming the AMS agents, Magician seeks revenge for the pain he has endured.
Upon defeat, Magician attempts to open Pandora's Box, which appears before him.
A quick time event occurs, during which the player must aim and throw a grenade to destroy the box. The player's success or failure, along with their score, impact the scenes which follow.
|Bad||Failing the quick time event.||Magician activates several clones of himself, laughing as G says "Who's next?" The words "BAD END" appear on the screen.|
|Good||Completing the quick time event.||Pandora's Box is destroyed; Magician claims "Nothing can erase my pain..." before exploding. As they leave, G tells Kate that the fight is about to begin. The words "THE END" appear on the screen.|
|Bonus ending scene||Achieve an A rank or higher in both chapters, score over 70,000 points, and attain the Good ending.||This scene follows the good ending. A mysterious man limps where Magician was fought, remarking "So, Pandora's Box has been closed. That is, if there is any 'hope' left. The Wheel of Fate cannot be stopped."|
In the arcade version, up to two players enter an enclosed room with the ride vehicle inside. The room is equipped with a surround sound system and two 100 XGA projectile screens: one in front of players and another behind them. After players sit down and buckle in, the attendant will lower the safety bar.
The ride vehicle can spin 360°, shake when creatures attack, and blast players with air whenever they take damage. It features holsters with two light guns, along with a large "action" button to use during escape sequences and an emergency stop button. Unlike The House of the Dead 4, the machine guns have recoil.
Gameplay is identical to The House of the Dead 4; players shoot enemies, bosses, and hidden bonus items in background objects. The game consists of two stages that each have branching paths. The differences are the following:
- Instead of lives, players share one large life bar. The game ends when it is emptied; there are no continues.
- Rather than shaking the gun, players must escape enemies and bosses by repeatedly hitting the "escape" button on the control panel.
- At the end of the game, players are judged on how compatible they are based on performance alone. This mechanic was previously used in Sega's mounted gun game Let's Go Jungle (and returns in its sequel, Let's Go Island).
The PlayStation 3 port of Special adds continues, replaces the life bar with traditional lives, and removes the compatibility mechanic.
The game consists of two unnamed chapters (as revealed in The House of the Dead 4's PlayStation 3 port).
The idea of an immersive House of the Dead experience was considered as early as the original 1996 arcade game The House of the Dead. In this concept, dubbed the "Reflection System", the player stood between two monitors and shot creatures who approached from multiple directions. Developer Sega AM1 scrapped the idea and was unsure if it would be unused in future installments.
The House of the Dead 4 Special was developed by The House of the Dead 4 director Takashi Oda and producer Yasuhiro Nishiyama. Nishiyama admitted that the original House of the Dead 4 could have simply been ported with some changes, but Oda decided to add a new storyline to the game. Because 4 Special is a two-player game, couples were a target audience.
Sega unveiled The House of the Dead 4 Special at the 2006 AOU (Arcade Operator's Union) trade show in Tokyo, Japan, which ran from February 17th to the 18th. The game began arriving at Japanese arcades in July of that year.
The House of the Dead 4 Special's arcade version is rare. Most locations have been in foreign arcades, and some locations have removed the game over time. The following is a list of known current and former arcade locations for 4 Special:
- Nasu Highland Park (Nasu, Japan)
- Tokyo Joypolis (Tokyo, Japan) - Closed on February 2nd, 2020 to be replaced by House of the Dead-Scarlet Dawn-THE ATTRACTION. The 3D-sculpted 4 Special sign was recycled for the ride, with a flat-screen television displaying House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn imagery being mounted over the old logo.
- GameWorks (Schaumburg, Illinois) - Seen pictured at a 2009 pinball tournament.
- "Urgent planning SPECIAL! The House of the Dead", Sega Saturn Magazine, August 1997, page 194.
- "ゾンビがいっぱい『HOD4』" (Japanese). Sega Voice. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020.
- Niizumi, Hirohiko (February 21, 2006). "Spot On: The 2006 AOU Show" (English). GameSpot News. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020.
- Gantayat, Anoop (February 17, 2006). "AOU 2006: The Return of G" (English). IGN. Archived from the original on December 25, 2014.
- Wyman, Walt (July 7, 2006). "House of the Dead 4 Special reaches arcades" (English). GameSpot News. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020.
- 東京ジョイポリス [@TokyoJoypolis] (January 22, 2020). 東京ジョイポリス on Twitter: "「ザ ハウス オブ ザ デッド4 スペシャル」稼働終了まで、残りわずかポリ。。。😱 2020年2月2日（日）までなので是非遊びに来るポリ‼️‼️" (Japanese). Twitter. Archived from the original on May 13, 2020.
- "PINBALL TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS 2009" (English). Pinball News. Retrieved on February 15, 2021.