Saturday, September 29, 2007


The House of the Dead

is a rail shooter light gun game. Players use a light gun (or mouse, in the PC version) to aim and shoot at approaching enemies. The characters' pistols use magazines for rounds, and are required to reload once each magazine is empty. To reload the magazine, players aim somewhere outside of the play screen and squeeze the trigger. A set of torches next to the clip of each player represents remaining health. Anytime a player is attacked or shoots a civilian, one of their torches is removed, signifying damage. A player is considered "dead" when all of his or her torches are lost. A player may then continue by inserting more credits (if playing on an arcade machine) and pressing the "continue" or "start" button. There are First-aid packs available throughout the stages that will restore one torch, or unit of health. These are found either in the possession of civilians that the player has rescued or inside breakable objects located in the background of the gameplay. Similarly, there are also special items located in breakable objects that will grant a bonus to the score of whoever shoots it.
This game was one of the first to implement the "branching path" game mechanic. Throughout the course of the game, players are given numerous situations in which their actions will have an effect on the direction of gameplay. For instance, in the beginning of the game, a male civilian is about to be thrown off the bridge to his death. If players shoot the zombie and save the civilian, they will enter the house directly through the front door. However, if the civilian dies, players are redirected to an underground route through the sewers. There are other critical points in which the players' actions decide where they go. This branching path system was also implemented in subsequent installments to the series.

On December 18, 1998, AMS agents Thomas Rogan and "G" are sent on an assignment to investigate a panicked phone call from Rogan's girlfriend Sophie Richards and a series of disappearances at the Curien Mansion, home laboratory of Dr. Curien, an acclaimed biochemist and geneticist. Dr. Curien was obsessed with discovering the very nature of life and death, backed by the DBR Corporation and its scientists. The nature of the experiments, however, drove Dr. Curien insane, resulting in him releasing his experimental subjects onto the unsuspecting world.
Amidst the chaos wrought by Curien, Rogan and "G" face many formidable foes, including The Chariot (Type 27), a plated undead warrior who mortally wounds Sophie (whether she survives the wound or not depends on player performance upon beating the game), The Hangedman (Type 41), a gargoyle-like creature which sees to it that she cannot escape the mansion grounds, as well as The Hermit (Type 6803), a mutant spider crab guarding the passageway leading to Curien's restricted research area.
Upon confronting Curien, the AMS agents are treated to his greatest masterpiece, The Magician (Type 0), a humanoid creature with mastery over fire. Ironically, after he releases the creature from its incubation chamber, Dr. Curien is killed by his creation; "The Magician" seemed to have reached a state of sentience in which he feels an inferior being such as a human has no place in giving him instructions. To prevent the Magician from escaping the mansion and destroying the world, Rogan and "G" killed it before any harm could be done.

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