(Sega AM1's universe)
The reality was crueler than a nightmare.Tagline
The House of the Dead III (ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド III, Za Hausu obu za Deddo III) is a horror-themed rail shooting game developed by WOW Entertainment (now Sega AM1) and released by Sega to arcades in 2002. It is the sequel to The House of the Dead 2 and the third installment in the main House of the Dead series.
III was developed on the Xbox-based Sega Chihiro arcade hardware. It lifted gameplay mechanics from the 2000 Namco rail shooter Vampire Night; its director, Yoshinori Tomoyasu, was involved in production. III was the last House of the Dead game that WOW Entertainment president Rikiya Nakagawa produced, as he would resign from his position in 2003.
The game received generally positive reviews, with praise for its graphics but criticism towards its linearity and short length. It was ported to the Xbox, Microsoft Windows, the Nintendo Wii (in the compilation The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return), and PlayStation Network. The game also received a spin-off,The Typing of the Dead 2, in 2007. A sequel, The House of the Dead 4, was released in 2005.
In a post-apocalyptic 2019, retired AMS agent Thomas Rogan and his team of military commandos raid the EFI Research Facility for the source of humanity's downfall. The raid is botched, as the entire team is killed, leaving only Rogan and team captain Dan Taylor alive. When the duo finds the source, Death, a behemoth in a security guard uniform, kills Taylor and injures Rogan, who is approached by an unknown figure. Contact with him is lost.
Two weeks later, on October 31st, Rogan's 20-year-old daughter Lisa and former partner G arrive at the EFI building to search for him. They fight biologically-engineered creatures, including Death twice; the Fool, a deformed sloth; and the mutant plant-like Sun. Along the way, Lisa muses about her and her mother's estranged relationship with Rogan.
Flashbacks depict genetic engineer Dr. Curien, the perpetrator of the 1998 Curien Mansion incident, in his pursuit to cure his terminally-ill son Daniel. While successful, Curien went mad after his research team abandoned him, producing Magician and Wheel of Fate to "change the future".
Lisa and G reunite with Rogan, who reveals his rescuer to be Daniel Curien himself. While G cares for Rogan, Lisa and Daniel fight to Wheel of Fate's laboratory. Daniel reveals that Wheel of Fate is his father, whose body has undergone a 19-year resurrection process; he prematurely wakes it through hacking. Wheel of Fate seeks mankind's destruction and resurrection. Upon defeat, he laments world overpopulation and begs for his son's forgiveness; Daniel, refusing to recognize the creature as his father, destroys him with Lisa.
While leaving the EFI building, Rogan and G discuss the uncertain future. Rogan is optimistic, stating that it is up to the next generation "to believe in themselves, and walk their own paths".
There are four possible endings to the game. If the player clears the game in under three credits, one of three endings is played based on which of the three selectable levels was chosen last. Otherwise, the default "normal" ending is achieved.
|Beat the game with three or more credits used.||Outside, Daniel pauses to face the EFI building and bid his father farewell. Swearing to not let his father's efforts go to waste, Daniel promises to return if "[humans] go down the wrong path again." He and Lisa then leave.|
|Beat the game in under three credits, and choose the Information Systems Department last.||Daniel loses the will to move on and acts erratically. His voice turns deep and monstrous, and a close-up of his face reveals that he has become a creature. Lisa screams in the background.|
|Beat the game in under three credits, and choose the BIO Lab last.||Lisa sees her car drive away, yet Rogan and G are behind her. It is revealed that a creature is behind the wheel. Lisa and Daniel give pursuit, with the former shouting "Hey, that's my car you slimy bastards! Say your prayers!" (The arcade version changes the first line to "Let's keep after him!") while the two agents watch.|
|Beat the game in under three credits, and choose the DBR Institute or EFI Genome Ward last.||An unknown man in a business suit limps into Wheel of Fate's laboratory to retrieve Daniel's genes. He mutters, "It appears that [Curien] didn't understand its true purpose," and laughs.|
The House of the Dead III retains the gameplay of its predecessors: as the camera travels a predefined path, players shoot enemies to avoid the loss of lives through damage. Barrels and other objects can be destroyed to reveal bonus items, which will either increase the player's score or award extra lives.
III introduces pump-action shotguns as the standard weapons. They can hold up to 6 bullets before reloading and can hit multiple enemies at once, especially those approaching close together or in a line. The arcade version has physical shotguns which must be pumped to reload; console versions either have automatic reloading or require players to point their aiming device off-screen instead.
Instead of civilians, there are "partner rescue" sequences where one player character will be isolated and trapped by creatures, requiring the other to save them. The most dangerous creatures are highlighted in red before the event begins. Success results in a bonus life; failure does not, although there is no life penalty if a trapped partner is attacked or accidentally shot. In multiplayer games, the captured player's weapon will be disabled during the sequences. Successfully finishing all "partner rescue" events unlocks a secret stash of bonus items at the end of the game.
Boss battles now have a smaller meter beneath their health bars. This meter must be emptied via repeated shots to boss weak points so that their attacks are disrupted. Some bosses also appear in the middle of levels, rather than at the end.
Other features III introduced to the series include:
- An End of Level Ranking System
- A total of four endings
- Being prompted to choose your own path
- A Time Attack mode, where Dr. Curien would give his analysis of the player's performance
- The Wii version adds the ability to use the gun as a melee attack to block enemy blows, but must be reloaded after every use.
The House of the Dead III consists of 6 chapters, with the first (chapter 0) being a prologue:
Chapters 2 through 4 take place in three player-selectable areas. Because of the game's branching path mechanic, each area has two versions; these vary depending on the route taken in chapter 1, and the order of which the three areas are chosen.
The Typing of the Dead II is an education game and the sequel to 2001's The Typing of the Dead. While the first game was a reworked version of The House of the Dead 2, replacing the light guns with keyboards but otherwise retaining the same graphics and story, The Typing of the Dead II uses The House of the Dead III as a basis. Characters now wield keyboards shaped like shotguns, and once again wear a battery back with a Dreamcast on their backs. The game was released in arcades in 2007 and ported to the PC in the following year, but only saw a Japanese release.
The House of the Dead III was developed on the Naomi 2 arcade hardware before ultimately being released on the Chihiro, an Xbox-based arcade board. It was originally marketed as The House of the Dead 3 (lacking the roman numeral) and had cartoonish cel-shaded graphics. This art direction was reworked to be more realistic.
This was the last game where Rikiya Nakagawa served as a producer before stepping down as the head of Sega's Wow Entertainment division. Nakagawa was the producer behind several titles developed by AM1, including the previous two House of the Dead installments, The Typing of the Dead, and Zombie Revenge. Seen as the face of the House of the Dead series at the time, it was also reported that both he and Peter Moore (the CEO of Sega of America at the time) made cameo appearances in the 2003 film as zombies.
Sega held a "Become a Zombie" contest from October 25th to November 23rd, 2001. Participants submitted photos and short explanations of their zombie (creature) costumes, with the winner becoming an enemy in the final game. Finalists were selected on November 30th of that year and were judged by The House of the Dead III staff members. The winning submission was used for a creature named Meat Man, who appears once in the EFI Genome Ward level.
To celebrate The House of the Dead III and 4's release to PlayStation 3 in 2012, Sega's English blog held a contest wherein fans wrote haikus as an "ode" to the creatures. PlayStation Move controllers and download codes for III were offered as prizes.
The Xbox port was released on October 24th, 2003, and the PC version was released in 2005. The Xbox version was notable for being only one of three games for the console that supported a light gun controller, with the other two being Silent Scope Complete and Starsky & Hutch.
The PlayStation 3 port was announced by Sega on January 5th, 2012. It was released on February 7th of that year. Due to a restructuring of the PlayStation Store ahead of the PlayStation 5's November 2020 release, as of October 19th and 28th, 2020 The House of the Dead III is no longer purchasable on web or mobile-based devices, respectively; players must instead access the store directly from a PlayStation 3.
It was announced in 2021 that PlayStation 3, PSP and Vita games would be discontinued from the PlayStation Store on July 2nd, 2021. This meant that The House of the Dead III would be unavailable for purchase, though those who had already bought and downloaded the game could play it. However, Sony reversed this decision on April 19th, 2021, with PlayStation 3 and Vita games remaining available while the PSP will discontinue as planned.
Xbox version bonus content
The Xbox version includes the PC port of The House of the Dead 2, which can be unlocked after beating The House of the Dead III. When the player(s) go from III to 2, a unique mini-game is played that features new additional cutscenes and dialogue from the characters. This feature would be retained in the Wii compilation The House of the Dead: 2 & 3 Return, which borrows heavily from the Xbox port.
The mini game starts with Lisa Rogan and G bidding the player(s) farewell as they enter a "time-travelling" elevator. The elevator will stop at the years 2015, 2010, 2005, and 2000. During each of these stops, the elevator door will open and the player(s) are greeted by hordes of creatures.
The player(s) must kill the creatures before the doors close and depending on their performance, the player(s) are rewarded with bonus items used of Original Mode. The elevator will make a final stop at the year 2000 where the player(s) see James Taylor and Gary Stewart preparing themselves to face the incoming creature horde.
The Xbox version also included a 13-minute preview at the then-upcoming film House of the Dead, including a behind-the-scenes look with input from director Uwe Boll.
- The new Attack Bar seen during boss battles, in which players must shoot their weakpoint multiple times and deplete it completely in order to disrupt their attacks, is a mechanic that was taken from 2000's Vampire Night, a light-gun arcade shooter co-developed by Sega's Wow Entertainment and Namco. Vampire Night shares enough similarities to The House of the Dead 2 that some considered it a spiritual successor or worthy spin-off prior to The House of the Dead III's announcement. Along the same vein, the "Reload" voice clip from Vampire Night is reused in this game.
- Several quotes can be found on The House of the Dead III's arcade cabinets. It is unknown if these quotes are from an actual character, or were only made just for the cabinet:
- "A false look, a false expression and a created world. The virtual reality has become real (true). The world you desired. And the world has become one with me."
- "When I was born, the world died. When the world died, a devil was born. The birth of the devil killed our future."
- "They're all coming back, with insanity and desire to destroy! Who will be exterminated? The human species? Or...?"
- "You don't understand, do you...By losing, you will understand...understand the grim despair."
- The House Of The Dead III Xbox version manual, pg 8
- The House of the Dead III - First flashback
- The House of the Dead III - Second flashback
- The House of the Dead III - Third flashback
- The House of the Dead III - Fourth flashback
- IGN Staff (April 16, 2008). "IGN Interviews Rikiya Nakagawa" (English). IGN. Retrieved on June 25, 2020.
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- "House of the Dead 3 Contest" (English). Archived from the original on October 27, 2001. Retrieved on November 26, 2020.
- "SEGA Blog (English). GameSpot (January 9, 2012). Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved on March 4, 2021.
- Moriarty, Colin (January 5, 2012). "The House of the Dead 3 and 4 Coming to PSN" (English). IGN. Retrieved on October 11, 2020.
- Mole, Anthony (January 5, 2012). "House of the Dead 3 & 4 Releasing in HD Only For The PS3" (English). Game Rant. Retrieved on March 9, 2021.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (October 9, 2020). "PlayStation Store on web and mobile to stop selling PS3, PSP and Vita games this month" (English). Eurogamer. Retrieved on October 11, 2020.
- McKeand, Kirk (March 22, 2021). "Report: PS3, Vita, And PSP Stores To Be Permanently Closed In A Few Months" (English). TheGamer. Retrieved on March 25, 2021.
- Ryan, Jim (March 22, 2021). "PlayStation Store on PS3 and PS Vita Will Continue Operations" (English). PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved on April 19, 2021.