Typing of the Dead

The premise of this game is is simple; a Dreamcast keyboard replaces House of the Dead 2’s lightgun. This combination of whacky yet effective gameplay cements a picture of the sort of development Sega encouraged during the Dreamcast era, and the results of this are laughably brilliant.

How to play

Typing of the Dead looks remarkably similar to it’s predecessor, but very quickly the differences become clear. The game remains an on-rail shooter, but with keyboard presses replacing the lightgun.

Fighting a zombie holding a sword.

Words appear over zombies, and to defeat them the sentence must be typed correctly within a certain timeframe or you lose a life, points are awarded for words typed perfectly which are added to a running total.

Fighting two zombies by typing latex bra and don't blame yourself.

The game also records how accurately and quickly words are typed, ranking each kill based on responsiveness and speed. A full series of perfectly typed words means another free life to play with.

Two zombie attack and only one is stopped as the other hits.

Ongoing hilarity

While the original lightgun game was zany, the typing version only adds to this, with bullets sounds flying out of the screen as you type frantically, as a result the pacing of the game is much better than the original.

A close up of the boss information screen.

There is a definite humourous streak to the game, particularly with some of the funnier word selections needed to defeat the zombies. Then there is the weird localisation and voice acting that we’re all used to.

Partway through a single zombie enemy word.

Moments of the game have clearly been influenced by American culture. Words are spelt based on American spellings, sayings, objects and products giving a very unique feel to a already bizzare Japanese game.

The mission complete screen with a diamond reward.

Breaking the fourth wall

While the original game overused bosses, in Typing of the Dead each boss needs a certain tactic to beat them. This one requires the correct answer to a quiz question, and another needs long lines of silly prose to win.

A three headed snake boss asks a question.

The entire game breaks the fourth wall, it’s very aware of being a pastiche of both the lightgun and educational gaming genre. The gameplay and story are even more tongue in cheek than before.

A typical arcade story cutscene.

Often the words and phrases you have to type bear some relation to what you’re seeing on screen, the bosses can mock you in prose, and the smaller ememies make you type out words of surprise complete with punctuation!

A boss flies around and states; eat my dust.

Gameplay improvements

The difficulty of the words you need to type increase as the chapters progress. Easier enemies may only require a single character to avoid damage, but trickier types will need a long sentence or particularly difficult word.

The Typing of the Dead chapter select screen.

Two player is a real joy, particulary as there aren’t many Dreamcast games that still make use of the keyboard. The ability to collect and use items easily using function keys is a clever touch.

The screen turns red as a molotov cocktail is used.

As with the original game, there are extra bonus features to unlock and the added joy of typing through the game repeatedly to see different vocabulary, so there is far more replay value in this typing version of the series.

The continue screen countdown.