The Typing of the Dead
|The Typing of the Dead|
|Developer(s)||WOW Entertainment, Smilebit|
|Designer(s)||Rikiya Nakagawa & Shun Arai (Producers)
Masamitsu Shiino (Director)
The Typing of the Dead (ザ・タイピング・オブ・ザ・デッド Za Taipingu Obu Za Deddo ) is an arcade game that was developed by WOW Entertainment and published by Sega for the NAOMI hardware. The game was released in Japanese arcades in 1999 and was ported to the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 by Smilebit. A Windows version was released in 2000 and a PlayStation 2 port followed in 2004.
The Typing of the Dead is a modification of Sega's 1998 light gun arcade game The House of the Dead 2 in which the gun is replaced by a computer keyboard. The player takes the role of a secret agent in a zombie-infested Venice and must quickly type letters, words and phrases in order to kill fast-advancing enemies.
Despite falling under the criteria of "edutainment", the game was lauded by mainstream game critics for its humor, difficulty and originality. The PC version of The Typing of the Dead sold 120,000 units in 2003. An iOS remake has been announced as a mobile app entitled Flick of the Dead.
The Typing of the Dead has been described variously as a remake or as a mod of the original House of the Dead 2. It retains the original's first-person rail shooter style, but instead of shooting zombies and other enemies the player must type out words or phrases to kill them. The required word, sentence or phrase is displayed in a box that appears with the enemy. The phrases' length and complexity increase as the game progresses. Other features retained include the rescue challenges that alter the path the game takes to its final destination and the secrets and bonus items hidden throughout the game.
All levels contain specific challenge areas in which the player is required to kill a certain number of zombies in a limited time. These end with a boss battle that uses some altered form of usual gameplay, such as a long phrase or a question whose answer must be correctly typed. The console ports have "Original" and "Arcade" modes for the main storyline and "Tutorial," "Drill," and "Boss" modes for additional typing training. Most other changes are superficial, such as replacement of the weapons wielded by zombies with harmless items and equipping the AMS agents with keyboards attached to backpack Dreamcasts with oversized batteries.
The plot of the game closely follows that of House of the Dead 2. The story begins on February 26, 2000, when several AMS agents have been dispatched to investigate a zombie outbreak. The player can control two characters, James and Gary, who are sent to find the original game's "G" and then tasked with restoring order. Responsibility for the outbreaks is soon traced to "Goldman," a banking tycoon and scientist who attempts to end human control of the earth. Much of the game revolves around destroying Goldman's creations, concluding with the final boss of "the Emperor." One of three possible humorous ending sequences occurs, depending on the answers given to the questions asked to defeat the Emperor.
There are three possible endings:
- Explosion ending: The character defeats the Emperor, then sees Goldman committing suicide by falling off the building. An explosion is seen as Goldman hits the ground. This ending is achieved by typing honest answers to questions asked in the boss fight.
- Bungee ending: This is similar to the first, but a bungee cord can be seen attached to Goldman's leg. Goldman returns to where he was and laughs. This ending is achieved by typing a combination of honest and untruthful or strange answers to questions asked in the boss fight.
- Superman ending: This is similar to the first, but as Goldman bids farewell to the narrator, he raises his hands and rises into the sky. This ending is achieved by typing untruthful answers to questions asked in the boss fight.
A player who types out the entire credits is rewarded with a dancing zombie that breaks out from a test tube. All of the zombies are freed if the player types the full credits with no mistakes. The dancing zombies will then be shown from various angles.
The Typing of the Dead was originally released for arcades in Japan in 1999 with a special cabinet equipped with dual QWERTY keyboards. The game was one of the first developments by Smilebit, a team of Sega developers that had recently spun off as a new company.
The first home console release was for the Japanese Dreamcast market on March 30, 2000. The North American release took place the following January. A PC port was produced by Empire Interactive and released in September 2001. It was made available on GameTap in October 2007.
The most recent port of the game was The Typing of the Dead: Zombie Panic for the PlayStation 2. This version was released exclusively in Japan in late December 2004 and was packaged with a USB keyboard. The game was mostly unchanged, a disappointment to observers who had hoped for an update of the graphics, although the Dreamcast backpacks were replaced with PS2 backpacks and new minigames were incorporated into the main story.
A sequel, The Typing of the Dead 2, was released to arcades in 2007. This version was a revision of The House of the Dead III and, as of 2008, has only been released in Japan. Sega has announced production of English of the Dead, another revision of House of the Dead 2 for the Nintendo DS designed as a language-learning game. A revised PC version of the game, The Typing of the Dead: Featuring Minna no Shuushoku Katsudou Nikki, features a "Job Hunting" mode designed to help people find jobs.
The Typing of the Dead was regarded overall by critics as an enjoyable game. Famitsu magazine rated the Dreamcast version of the game a 35 out of 40. Reviewers appreciated the absurdist humor of the game's format, especially in the unusual phrases the game generates during later levels. The sub-par voice acting of the original House of the Dead 2 was considered to enhance this aspect of the game.
The quality of the graphics was criticized to varying degrees, as they had not been updated from the original House of the Dead 2 arcade version. PC World was so unimpressed with the game's premise that they listed it as a runner up on a "Top Ten Worst Games" list.
Game Informer has named the game the weirdest of all time.
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- "The Top 10 Weirdest Games of All Time," Game Informer 180 (April 2008): 28.
- site for the PlayStation 2 port (Japanese)
- The Typing of the Dead at MobyGames
- The Typing of the Dead manual
- Audio Atrocities - Voice Acting samples