The Typing of the Dead is an educational typing game based off The House of the Dead 2 released in 1999 as an arcade game, developed by Sega's Smilebit division. It was later ported to the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 and Microsoft Windows in 2000. It was released in Japan for the Playstation 2 under the subtitle "Zombie Panic" in 2004. The graphics and story are identical to The House of the Dead 2, but the gameplay was overhauled.
It it requires players to utilize and improve their touch-typing skills to be successful, and has been praised by critics primarily for its comedic content despite being marketed as an education game. However, it was also criticized for using the same graphics seen The House of the Dead 2 without improvements.
Rather than using a Light Gun like its predecessor, The Typing of the Dead requires the player to type short phrases in order to kill zombies. At certain locations, the player will need to complete a certain mission (e.g. "Kill ten zombies in thirty seconds") in order to receive a certain reward. Boss battles require the players to meet certain criteria in order to damage the bosses and keep themselves from getting hurt (such as choosing and typing the correct answer to a question, or typing a phrase without making a mistake). The gameplay is otherwise identical to The House of the Dead 2, including the branching paths and rescuing civilians.
The player can either play a short demo of the game or play through the game from start to finish in the same manner as the arcade port.
Besides being able to choose the level to start on, the Original Mode offers a few enhancements to the Arcade Mode. Powerups, rankings, typing ability tracking, and unlockables are a few examples of what this mode has to offer.
A humourous tutorial on how to touch-type with the QWERTY keyboard.
A series of minigames which track and improve specific typing abilities: Speed, Accuracy, Reflexes, and Special Keys. Each skill has three minigames associated with it, and progress is tracked by the record book.
Allows the player to play a competitively or cooperatively online with his or her friends.
vs CPU Mode
This unlockable mode pits the player against one of several AI controlled players in a single chapter of the game. Whoever gets the highest score by the end of the level wins.
Configures options like difficulty, lives & continues, keyboard type (UK or US) and includes a sound test.
The Typing of the Dead had a much lighter and more comedic tone than the game it was based on, perhaps reflected best in the multiple endings. Depending on how many questions answered correctly when fighting against the Emperor, one of three endings will occur:
- 0: After bidding farewell to the agents, Goldman leans back and falls off of the building, just like in the original game. Goldman's fall is now accompanied by an appropriate cartoon sound effect, and the impact results in a large fiery explosion, leaving the agents speechless and dumbfounded.
- 1-2: Goldman leans back and falls off the building, but a bungee cord is tied to his legs. He is sprung back up, lands on the edge of the building, and burps.
- 3: Instead of leaning back to fall, Goldman raises his hands and farts as he flies straight into the sky. The agents look on, speechless and bewildered.
The credits sequence consists of a mini-game where players are challenged to type the names of the developers before they disappear from the screen. If enough names are typed quickly, zombies are freed from their tanks, after which they begin to dance.
Chapters and Bosses
Overall, The Typing of the Dead was well-received by critics as being an enjoyable game. Reviewers appreciated the absurdist humor that the game's format created, especially in the unusual phrases the game generates during later levels. The sub-par voice acting of the original The House of the Dead 2 was also considered to add to this aspect of the game.
One area of the game which was generally criticized, to varying degrees, was the quality of the graphics, which had not been updated from the original House of the Dead 2. PC World was so unimpressed with the game's premise they listed it as a runner up on a "Top Ten Worst Games" list.
Game Informer has named the game the weirdest game of all time.
Revisions and Sequels
Aside from the PC release in 2000 and the Dreamcast port in 2001, the game received several revisions, many of which were only released in Japan.
The first among these was The Typing of the Dead 2003 for the PC, which still used The House of the Dead 2 engine. This version introduced Master Mode, which included new challenges, and VS Expert Mode, where players could compete against opponents whose skills are taken from the top players across the country.
The next year, The Typing of the Dead 2004 was released, also for the PC, which added and tweaked gameplay elements to make the game much more accessible for children, making it easier for them to play along with older players. A Kids Mode is added that turns the player characters into young children, which also adds a Japanese Dub for the story dialogue. A network mode was added that allowed players to play competitively or cooperatively online with others, but the service was discontinued on June 30, 2008. VS Expert Mode was updated and additional keyboard support was added.
The game was ported to the Playstation 2 in 2004 under the title The Typing of the Dead: Zombie Panic.
The Typing of the Dead would be the first educational spin-off based on The House of the Dead 2. English of the Dead, released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS in Japan, uses a similar concept, now having players draw letters to English words on the touch screen using the stylus. It also uses The House of the Dead 2 for its setting, and the characters retain the comical Dreamcast Battery pack.