The House Of The Dead

Many casual arcade or console gamers alike will be aware of the series of The House Of The Dead games from SEGA.

The first game hit the arcades in 1996 and proved a hit - enough so that SEGA ported the game to the Saturn in 1998 - a platform in great distress at the time - and as such it was one of the last games to be released in PAL format. It is somewhat rare and prices are around £25 or £40 for the rarer box set which includes the Stunner Gun/ Virtua Gun.

There was later a port to the (Windows) PC.

It success enabled the concept to become one of the largest franchises in all of SEGA's catalogue having 3 direct sequels and other spin off titles.

The House Of The Dead European Case
The House Of The Dead European Case

Case Quote

"The smash hit SEGA arcade game comes to the Saturn in all its gory glory. The House of the Dead offers all the thrills and spills for both one and two players. Not for the feint-hearted only those with nerves of steel and lightening-fast reflexes. Frightfully good...Don't go into the house alone!"

VideoOpening Sequence


The Tale


Reports of research personnel missing at DBR Corporation genetic engineering centre. This clandestine laboratory is governmentally funded to conduct experiments into the weapons potential of artificially-generated and sustained life forms. Due to the sensitive nature of these researches, news of the disappearances was not made public.


A team of special operatives was dispatched to the laboratory to investigate suspicious activities by Dr. Curien, the former director of the DBR. Following is a transcript of the garbled final transmission from the team.

"...Dr. Curien's project is in its final stages...if the media gets a hold of...What the...? Request immediate backup...'re getting creamed out here...the research staff is in danger..."(transmission ends)


The decision has come down from above to send two crack agents, Thomas Rogan and "G", to investigate the status of the missing research lab and the team of operatives. Agent Rogan has taken a special interest in the case as his fiancée, Sophie Richards, is employed by DBR...

Ripped from European Manual


The game is set around the grounds and the mansion of the DBR research lab. You must shoot down everything that comes at you. This will be zombies (and the items they will throw at you), winged dogs and fanged frogs amongst other ghouls. At the same time you must also save the lives of DBR staff (innocents) where possible. This may involve shooting down a pursuing zombie or blasting a lock open.

As with all good zombie encounters the most efficient means of disposal is a shot to the head which will earn more points.

Along with zombies and innocents, each chapter (stage) will also be littered with containers such barrels and crates making plenty of locations for secrets to be hidden. These will be in the form of medals, golden frogs, and will be worth points. There will also be a 1 UP item. Simply shoot to collect.

At the end of each chapter there will a boss fight with some huge creature. You will be informed about the weak spot on the enemy beforehand. When defeated bonus points are then given for staff rescued.

The game can be played with either 1 or 2 players. A second player can join the game at any time. Standard controllers, 3D/analogue controller, Saturn mouse or the Virtua Gun (Stunner) can be used. Obviously the best way to create the arcade experience is to use a gun.

In both Arcade and Saturn modes the course of the game changes depending on how you play. There are several crucial turning points in each stage where your actions will determine your route. These paths will lead you into different areas of the DBR grounds and will be varying in difficulty. There is also a Boss Mode and Ranking Mode.

You take a hit when an enemy hacks, bludgeons, chews on or gauges you. You will loose a torch/life when this happens. You will also loose a life if you shoot a member of the DBR staff.

You can earn extra lives by saving DBR staff (some reward life on the spot), collecting the extra life items hidden through the chapter and at the end when saving 4 or more staff.

Though the game is only of four chapters long these are of some considerable length posing a good challenge and a satisfying blasting experience overall.

In terms of visuals the game is good. The Saturn puts out good visuals that are very faithful to the arcade but unfortunately it does suffer from some slowdown. Although there are several points for the game to load the upcoming section the loading times are brief and do not disrupt the flow of the game. The soundtrack also fits well with the theme and action.

Character Info (Taken from European Manual)

Thomas Rogan

Thomas Rogan

Height: 190cm
Weight: 84Kg
Hair: Blonde
Eye: Blue-Grey
Sex: Male
Age: 32
D.O.B: 2/9/1966
Service: AMS
Codename: Eager Eagle

Agent Rogan has proved his dedication numerous countless times under trying conditions. Despite his reputation for being a hothead, he displays keen judgement and decision-making under fire. Rogan recently became engaged to DBR employee Ms. Sophie Richards, and has met Dr. Curien several times in the past.



Height: 185cm
Weight: 77Kg
Hair: Black
Eye: Brown
Sex: Male
Age: -
D.O.B: -
Service: AMS
Codename: Silver Fang

"G" is approximately 35-40 years of age, but little else is known of Agent Rogan's partner's shadowy past. He devotes himself fully to the prosecution of his duties with an objectivity and preciseness that has been described as digital.

Sophie Richards

Sophie Richards

Height: 173cm
Weight: Highly classified
Hair: Blonde
Eye: Green-Grey
Sex: Female
Age: 28
D.O.B: 7/21/1969
Service: AMS
Affiliation: DBR Corporation

Ms. Sophie Richards is employed as a researcher by DBR, and has recently been working on the top secret BioReactor project. She is engaged to be married to Agent Thomas Rogan. She may look like just another pretty genius bio-engineer, but she's got spirit too. And she'll need every drop of spunk she can muster to escape Dr. Curien's clutches.


The default controls using a pad are:

The D-Pad moves the sight about the screen.

BUTTON A - is fire.

BUTTON B - speed up the gun sight.

BUTTON C - is reload.

In order to use the 3D/analogue controller the Mode Switch me be set to O.

When playing with a gun you must shoot off the screen in order to reload.

As you blast your way through, the following is on the screen:

Bullets - how many shots you have remaining in your current load.
Lamps/Life flames - how many more hits you can take before loosing a credit.

Player-1 will have these to the bottom-left of the screen and Player-2 to the bottom-right.

By default you begin the game with 5 credits, each allowing you to take 3 hits ergo 3 lives though you can have a maximum of 5 lives. These can be altered via the games options. Having no credits/continues results in Game Over and you are taken to the name entry screen.

Modes of Play

From the title screen you can select the following types of game to play:

Arcade - Play the arcade version of the game.

Saturn - A Saturn-only mode that allows for a more customised game. You begin by selecting a character to play with. Then the following options can be changed:

Hit Points - The number of life torches the character begins with.
Chamber - The number of rounds the character's weapon holds.
Bullet Damage - The amount of damage inflicted by each shot.
Reload Time - The relative speed in which the character can reload.
Hit Size - The size of the character's gun blast. A bigger Hit Size makes it easier to hit your target.

Boss Mode - Practice against the bosses of each chapter. Your aim is to defeat them in the shortest time possible.

Ranking - For viewing top scores (Arcade, Saturn) of all chapters and finishing times in each Boss Mode levels.

Game Options

General options that can be used to effect the gameplay as desired. These are:

Difficulty - choose the difficulty setting. Choices are: Easy, Normal and Hard.

Life - Set number of lives between 1-5.

Continue - sets the number of continues between 0-9.

Sight Speed - Sets the speed of the gun-sight where 1 is the slowest and 5 is the fastest. This option has no effect when a stunner is used.

Sight Graphic - set either crosshair or pinpoint sight for your targeting. This option has no effect when a stunner is used.

Audio - toggle Stereo or Mono output.

Sound Test - Special Effects: Samples heard in the game or Music: tracks from the game.

Controller Configuration - change the layout of the controls.

Gun Calibration - used to adjust the aim of the Stunner. Essential when playing on another TV for the first time.


There are just four chapters in the game but these get long. Each will have several alternate routes to take and there are alternate endings on offer for how the game is completed.

The House of The Dead Screenshots (Saturn)

Chapter 1: Tragedy

You must battle your way into the house by blasting beasts.

Chapter 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 1
Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Revenge

Fight your way through the main floor of the house to the boss encounter.

Chapter 2
Chapter 2
Chapter 2
Chapter 2

Chapter 3: Truth

Find secret passages and rooms in the upstairs of the mansion.

Chapter 3
Chapter 3
Chapter 3
Chapter 3

Chapter 4: The House Of The Dead

The final test.

Chapter 4
Chapter 4
Chapter 4
Chapter 4


Cheat Menu

On the select screen press L, R, R, L, L, R, then hold L+R and press START.

Secret Characters

Choose the Saturn Mode from the main menu; when the character select menu appears, hold L + R and press Up, Down, X, Y, Z.

Unlimited Ammunition

While playing hold L + R and press Y, Y, Y.

Show Score

Pause the game, hold L+R and press X, X, X.

Clear Pause Screen

Press X + Y + Z while paused. Useful for grabbing screenshots.


Original Arcade Version

The original arcade game used the SEGA Model 2C arcade board which also powered games such as Dynamite Cop and SEGA Touring Car.

Emulation of the arcade version is still in progress though showing promise through the recent advancements in the Model 2 emulator. You can download this from [].

As of February 12, it still can not be played with current versions of MAME.

PC Version

The House of The Dead PC Case

The game was ported to the PC for Windows 95/98. The mouse is used to target the enemies rather than any light-gun device.

It was a very faithful port although no music plays during the game (?). New copies can still be found for a little as £1.

Recommended Requirements:
Pentium 133Mhz, 32MB RAM, 40MB Hard Disk Space, 640x480 16-Bit display, 4X CDROM

At the time, using a low powered 3D accelerator/video card (such as a Voodoo2 or ATI Rage) significantly improved the games performance plus load times were much less.

The simplest method to get the game to under Windows XP is by copying the entire contents of the CD to a temporary folder. Adjust the compatibility mode for SETUP.EXE for Windows 95. Then run the THOTDRUN.EXE and select Install The House of The Dead. Install should proceed as normal.

There is also a "no cd" fix for this game available from


The game is playable using the SSF emulator with the games input being a control pad. (Feb 12). You can download this program from the Saturn Emulators Page.


The House Of The Dead 2

The House of The Dead 2 was released in the arcades in 1998 on the NAOMI arcade board and was ported to the Dreamcast with a few enhancements and then ported to the (Windows) PC.

The House Of The Dead 2 (Dreamcast)
The House Of The Dead 2 (Dreamcast) The House Of The Dead 2 (Dreamcast)
The House Of The Dead 2 (Dreamcast) The House Of The Dead 2 (Dreamcast)

On February 26 2000, secret international agency, AMS, has launched an investigation concerning the cause of the Curien case, in order to prevent the world from experiencing a similar outbreak. Strange occurrences, however, are reported to be taking place in the city of Venice, Italy, the last known location of AMS agent "G," who has gone missing. Agents James Taylor and Gary Stewart are dispatched along with Amy Crystal and Harry Harris to investigate and evacuate the populace. Upon finding "G", alive but wounded, James and Gary are met with an undead horde developed by Caleb Goldman, the president of the eminent DBR Corporation and an expert on the genome theory who funded the late Dr. Curien's experiments.

Apart from the graphical upgrade and more chapters there is not much difference from the original in terms of gameplay.

It has recently been released for the Nintendo Wii in a compilation package entitled The House of the Dead 2 and 3 Return. It also became a spin-off (or mod) title called The Typing of The Dead in which instead of targeting a gun players had to type phrases within time limits in order to kill the zombies. This version was released on Dreamcast and PC also.

The House Of The Dead 3

The House of the Dead 3 was released in the arcades in 2002 and uses the Chihiro arcade board and was subsequently ported to the Xbox. It is backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.

The House Of The Dead 3 (Xbox)
The House Of The Dead 3 (XBox) The House Of The Dead 3 (Xbox)
The House Of The Dead 3 (XBox) The House Of The Dead 3 (Xbox)

Set in the post-apocalyptic year of 2019, civilization has long since collapsed. Ex-AMS agent Thomas Rogan and his team of highly trained commandos investigate the EFI research facility, which may be linked to the world collapse. Thomas' 19-year-old daughter, Lisa, and Rogan's former partner, G, travel there two weeks later with shotguns in hand after contact with him is mysteriously lost.

Aside from the obvious improvement in graphics, the voice acting was much improved and there was more ability to choose the route through the game. There was also no innocents to be saved. Instead these are replaced with rescue events where your partner needed to be rescued.

The default weapon in the game was changed to a shotgun which allowed for nice amounts of scatter and damage to be inflicted. Reloading differs between Xbox and arcade. In the console version the shotgun automatically reloads rather than needing the traditional shoot-off-the-screen action whereas the arcade machine requires a pump action on the gun provided.

The Xbox version contains a trailer for The House of the Dead Movie and The House of The Dead 2 as an unlockable game!

It was also released for the PC (a demo is available online) with gun support and has recently been released for the Nintendo Wii in a compilation package entitled The House of the Dead 2 and 3 Return with a superior HD release for PSN in 2012.

The House Of The Dead 4

The House of the Dead 4 was released in the arcades in 2005 and uses the Lindberg arcade board. A 'special' version was released a year later.

The game is set between the events of games 2 and 3. In 2003 James Taylor and newcomer Kate Green are gathering intelligence at the fifth basement floor of the AMS European branch office. A sudden earthquake collapses the building. They learn that Goldman, who committed suicide in 2000 has a plan to launch nuclear missiles in 24 hours and is responsible for the resurgence of undead that have obliterated the city.

The default weapon is a mini uzi submachine gun which makes for some frenzied zombie shooting and there is the ability to throw grenades to take out clusters of threats. As well as biting, zombies can also attack by pushing and grabbing. The gun has motion sensors which when shaken reloads the gun and also used for escaping zombies who have grabbed onto you.

It is believed to be the best of all the games in the series and one of the best on-rails gun games produced.

It has since been ported to the Playstation 3 in 2012.

The House Of The Dead: Overkill

The House of the Dead: Overkill

'Overkill' was released for the Nintendo Wii for 2009. It was developed by London-based studio Headstrong Games rather than SEGA. It is a prequel title that differs in presentation style (graphics, music) to the other games. It was the first to be developed specifically for a console release.

The House of the Dead: Overkill
The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii) The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

It scored well with gamers and critics alike no doubt thanks to some rather graphic but amusing content and some welcome tweaks to the typical on-rail shooter.

Check out the Official Website for more information

It can now be found for around £10 with a special collector's edition costing slightly more.

The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut

This was an extended version released for the PS3 in 2011. Enhancements include full re-mastered HD graphics, 3D support and two extra levels unveiling two angry and armed strippers and a new crossbow weapon.

Its official website is at

The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut (PS3)
The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut (PS3) The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut (PS3)


The House of the Dead

A movie based on the game was released to theatres in the US in October 2003. It was planned to be released in other countries but dire reviews meant the plans were cancelled and it quickly became available on DVD.

The story involves a group of teens arriving on a tropical island for a rave only for things to turn horribly wrong. What ensues is non-stop gratuitous zombie killing.

The House of the Dead Movie
The House of the Dead Movie
The House of the Dead Movie
The House of the Dead Movie
The House of the Dead Movie

You can still view the trailer for the movie here or rent it on Youtube.

A director's cut was released on DVD on September 9, 2008. The movie is the same running time, but the new version features new dialogue, alternative takes, pop up commentary and animation from the original game

The House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim

Dead Aim was made in 2005 and shown on Sci-Fi Channel where it is occasionally rerun. It was released on DVD shortly after. It ties in more with the games that the first movie does and has a more developed story but still rather dire. There is substantially more nudity and has allot of crass language.

The House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim Movie
The House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim Movie
The House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim Movie
The House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim Movie
The House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim Movie

The plot centres on an outbreak at a university where a scientist Dr Curien is obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. After he succeeds in creating hyper-sapiens (or zombies) government agents are sent in to obtain a blood sample to create a possible cure.

It was released on DVD and Sony's UMD format.

Another movie was announced in 2006 but no news has since surfaced.



The House of the Dead 2 Page

The House of the Dead Games of the Month Archive (May 2005)

The House of the Dead 2 Games of the Month Archive (October 2004)

The House of the Dead 3 Games of the Month Archive (March 2003)


The number one unofficial The House Of The Dead Fansite

A great website that has lots of high quality art from the games and related SEGA news such as new light-gun arcade releases.

The House of The Dead at IGN

Article about the whole series at IGN.

Info at SEGA Retro

Details the credits and has case art for all regions.

The House of the Dead at Racketboy

The game is part of the most rare Saturn collectibles. This page details more of them.

Review of Saturn Version

A Collection of reviews


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