As of 2009, there are five House of the Dead games originating in a first person rail shooter format available. The main series all have common elements of a pair of agents teaming up to take on hordes of biologically engineered undead (referred to as 'mutants' in Overkill). The games are divided into chapters, each of which culminates in a boss battle against usually massive, terrifying creatures. The bosses in games 1-4 are all named after the Major Arcana of occult tarot. The games are all controlled with a light gun in the arcades, but can be played with controllers or a mouse on consoles or the computer. For the PlayStation Network releases of 2 and III', they can also be played using the PlayStation Move controller.
Gameplay elements differ among the different games in the series, with each having different characters, firearms, and types of enemies. In many of the games, there are branching paths (determined by one's actions) and unlockable bonuses, along with different endings based on one's performances.
Several spin-offs to the mainstream storyline have also been produced (including a virtual pinball game, an English tutorial and a typing tutorial), as well as two films. In addition, select enemy characters appearing in the first two games were adapted into fully articulated action figures by Palisade Toys, which canceled the second toy line before street release due to limited returns from the first series.
The main gameplay mechanic is the gun. The type of gun varies with the game. The first two installments featured pistols, the third featured a shotgun, and the fourth featured a submachine gun. Overkill features different firearms which can be changed to the players' liking. The player must clear each area of zombies. The instructions on the cabinets note that a head shot is the most effective way to kill zombies.
Successful clearing will result in boss battles. Before most battles, the game will show what the bosses' weak point is. Final bosses have no identifiable weak point. If the boss is shot enough times, it will recoil; otherwise, it will take one of the player's lives. All of the bosses in the first four House of the Dead games are named after Major Arcana cards. They are also classified by 'types', which are shown as either a number or Greek letter.
There are also some different branching paths in the games, that are usually accessed by shooting a door or an object and sometimes when a civilian is killed.
The first two The House of the Dead games featured civilians. If the player successfully rescued civilians from the zombies, the civilian would sometimes reward the player with an extra life. The last two games did not feature civilians. In the third game, occasionally the player's partner would get in trouble and the player would be rewarded if he or she saved the partner's life. Players can also obtain extra lives by shooting boxes, crates, vases and destructible scenery.
The first four arcade games have multiple endings, depending on how well the player did in terms of civilians rescued, shooting percentage, score, and lives left. Every game has one "bad" ending, usually involving one of the characters transforming into a zombie. The ending will also change depending on if one or two players are playing.
Every game in the main series is an on-rails light-gun shooter and chronologically runs as follows: 1 - 2 - 4 (& Special) - III.
On December 18, 1998, the insane and disillusioned Dr. Roy Curien plans to mobilize his armies of undead against the unsuspecting populace. AMS agents Thomas Rogan and "G" are dispatched to his mansion to stop Curien and rescue Rogan's fiancée, Sophie Richards.
On February 26, 2000, Goldman, the man behind the Curien Mansion case, claims responsibility. Fueled by his detest of humankind's complete lack of responsibility toward its assigned task, Goldman initiates an attack on Venice while his Emperor project develops. Two new agents named James Taylor and Gary Stewart are sent in to tackle this case.
In the post-apocalyptic world of 2019, Thomas Rogan and his team of commandos infiltrate the EFI Research Facility in hopes of finding the source of the planet's collapse. Losing contact with him, his daughter Lisa Rogan and his former partner "G" set out on a search and recover mission, unaware that what awaits them has ties to the distant past and the very genesis of the undead horde. Dr. Curien's son Daniel is also trying to prevent the disaster by destroying the legacy of his seemingly deceased father.
This game is set in the year 2003 and fills the gap between the second and third games. It features veteran AMS agent James Taylor (who was one of the main protagonists in The House of the Dead 2) and newcomer Kate Green, who are investigating the Goldman Incident of 2000. Following a sudden earthquake, they are shocked to discover that the undead from three years prior have returned, seemingly unharmed, and locked in a lab, but they soon break out and wreak havoc once again. Intent on preventing a nuclear disaster, they must once again cross paths with the seemingly deceased Goldman.
The House of the Dead 4 Special, a two-player arcade attraction with events following the end of The House of the Dead 4, was also released, making use of two screens and rotating seats to switch between them.
Zombie Revenge is a Beat 'em up that was released in arcades and the Dreamcast. After a zombie outbreak devastates the city, AMS agents Stick Breitling, Linda Rotta and Rikiya Busujima are sent to eliminate the threat using their guns, fists and a variety of other weapons, while uncovering the truth behind the mysterious Zed. The game makes numerous references to the series on which it is based, including the Curien Mansion from The House of the Dead serving as the final stage.
The Typing of the Dead is a revision of The House of the Dead 2 that replaces the game's light guns with QWERTY keyboards. Enemies are defeated by quickly typing out words that appear on the screen, and introduces a variety of challenges. Although designed to improve typing skills, the game has been lauded by critics for its humor and originality. The game was released for arcades, Dreamcast and PC, while a revised version was released for the PlayStation 2 only in Japan.
Similar to its predecessor, The Typing of the Dead 2 is a revision of The House of the Dead III while retaining the typing gameplay elements of the previous title. It was only released in Japan for the arcade and PC.
English of the Dead (2008)
Released in Japan exclusively for the Nintendo DS, the game is designed to help Japanese speakers improve their English language skills. Playing similar to the Typing of the Dead games, enemies are defeated when Japanese words shown on-screen are translated into English. The game makes use of the DS touch screen and speakers.
The House of the Dead EX (2009)
The House of the Dead EX is a more casual spin-off to the main games and adds a more humorous twist to the series. Players play either Zobio or Zobiko, a pair of young zombies in love, who seek to escape from captivity. As opposed to the general gameplay of the series, EX's levels are made up of a series of minigames. Sections are split up into various paths, some of which use the lightgun, such as shooting apples, and others which use a foot pedal on the machine, such as stomping on spiders. The goal of each level is to fulfil a quota within the time limit, indicated by long hands reaching towards each other. It runs on the Lindbergh arcade system and is also the first game in the series to use a pedal. The game was slated for release in December 2008, but was released later in 2009.
In 1991, Agent G, on his first assignment, teams up with local cop Issac Washington to investigate mysterious disappearances in Louisiana. Unfortunately, they encounter hordes of mutants in Bayou City. Overkill is also the first and only game to use bosses that are not named after Major Arcana cards. It was originally released for the Wii in February 2009. An "Extended Cut" version was ported to the PlayStation 3 in October 2011 as a Move-compatible game and to the PC in October 2013 bundled together with The Typing of the Dead: Overkill.
The Typing of the Dead: Overkill (2013)
Released for PC and Steam, The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is the second sequel of the original spin-off game, The Typing of the Dead. Unlike previous installments, there is no arcade version of this game. Like its predecessors, the game replaces the usual rail-shooter gameplay with typing gameplay elements, this time with a modified The House of the Dead: Overkill as its engine.
The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return is a re-release of The House of the Dead 2 and III for the Wii. It is largely the same as the originals, except for some minor changes. A new melee attack can be used to defend oneself and the game is Wii Zapper compatible.
Thomas Rogan: The main protagonist of the first The House of the Dead. Rogan is tasked along with G to investigate the zombie outbreak at Curien Mansion after receiving a panicking phone call from his fiancée, Sophie Richards. He makes a cameo appearance in the "good" ending of The House of the Dead 2, encouraging James Taylor and Gary Stewart to fight on to their next battle. He returns as a brief playable character in the opening stage of The House of the Dead III, where he leads a task force in investigating a zombie-infested facility, but loses contact with the AMS. His daughter, Lisa sets out to find him accompanied with his old partner, G. Later, he is revealed to be alive and well, having been saved by Curien's son, Daniel.
Agent "G": Agent "G" is first introduced as the second protagonist of the first The House of the Dead and is the only character to appear in every game in the series. He is sent along with Thomas Rogan to investigate the zombie outbreak at Curien Mansion. He makes an appearance in The House of the Dead 2, having been injured by the zombie outbreak in Venice and informs agent James Taylor about the situation. He returns as one of the main playable characters in The House of the Dead III, investigating Rogan's disappearance with Rogan's daughter, Lisa. He makes a cameo appearance in one of the endings in The House of the Dead 4 and is a playable character in The House of the Dead 4 Special, accompanying Kate Green in navigating the world-scale zombie outbreak after James's death. He is also one of the main characters in The House of the Dead: Overkill, which has him as a well-trained but inexperienced rookie on his first assignment.
James Taylor: The main protagonist of The House of the Dead 2 and 4. He is sent along with Gary Stewart to investigate the zombie outbreak at Venice, Italy, caused by Caleb Goldman's experimentation. Later, he is assigned with rookie agent Kate Green in retrieving a file in an AMS Office at Venice, but ends up trapped caused by a world-scale zombie outbreak. The two learn about Goldman's nuclear missile project and, in an attempt to stop it, James sacrifices himself to destroy Goldman's second masterpiece, the World in the game's ending.
Gary Stewart: The second protagonist in The House of the Dead 2. He is sent along with James Taylor to investigate the zombie outbreak at Venice, Italy. He also makes a cameo appearance in a flashback in The House of the Dead 4.
Lisa Rogan: The daughter of Thomas Rogan and Sophie Richards. the main protagonist of The House of the Dead III. Born By Caleb Goldman Incident in 2000(The House of the Dead 2). After her father disappeared in a mission at a zombie-infested facility, she sets out to find him accompanied with her father's old partner, Agent "G". After finding out that her father is still alive, she goes on to confront the Wheel of Fate with Daniel Curien.
Daniel Curien: The Mysterious Son of Dr. Roy Curien and one of the playable characters in The House of the Dead III. He was infected with a disease that ultimately drove his father to madness while attempting to search for a cure. He survived the disease but lamented on his father's experimentation. Daniel is revealed to be the one who saved Thomas Rogan in the opening stage and later teams up with Lisa Rogan to destroy his father's resurrected form, the Wheel of Fate.
Dan Taylor: The Couain of James Taylor and a minor playable character in The House of the Dead III, appearing in the opening stage. He is a member and captain of a task force led by Thomas Rogan who investigate a zombie-infested facility. After most of its members are killed or infected, Dan accompanies Rogan up to the room containing the Wheel of Fate, where he is killed by "security guard" Death.
Kate Green: The second protagonist of The House of the Dead 4 and its expansion, Special. She is a rookie AMS agent sent with veteran James Taylor to retrieve a file at an AMS Office at Venice, Italy, but both end up trapped there after a world-scale zombie outbreak. The two learn about Caleb Goldman's nuclear missile project, which is actually a red herring of his plan to unleash his second masterpiece, the World. After James sacrifices himself to destroy it, Kate teams up with G to navigate through the zombie infestations and find a way to stop it.
Isaac Washington: The second and Non-AMS protagonist of The House of the Dead: Overkill. He is a detective and a hard-drinking, ladies' man who is known for his habitual rule and heart-breaker. He seeks revenge at a crime lord, Papa Caesar for apparently murdering his father and forcefully teams up with then-rookie AMS agent G to battle against the zombies. His chance to kill Caesar is taken by Caesar's superior, Clement Darling however, and in the game's post-credits scene, it is revealed that Isaac's father is still alive. He is known to frequently drop F-bombs throughout the game.
Varla Guns: A major character in The House of the Dead: Overkill. She is the older sister of a crippled scientist, Jasper Guns and known as the hottest stripper in Bayou City club scene. She joins G and Isaac Washington in tracking Papa Caesar after he mutated her brother into a zombie. Varla is later kidnapped by Papa Caesar's superior Clement Darling and her still-living brain is taken out of her body in place of Clement's mother's own as part of his plan to resurrect his mother. Her body mutates into a monster which is subsequently destroyed by G and Isaac. She is made a playable character in two extra chapters in the Extended Cut version, where she teams up with her fellow stripper, Candi Stryper in finding Papa Caesar, until she is left on her own when Candi dies after battling mutant Meat Katie.
Candi Stryper: A side character appearing only in the two special chapters of The House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut. She is a young stripper and former lover of Varla Gun's younger brother Jasper. After Jasper is mutated and killed, she joins Varla to take revenge against Papa Caesar. However, she dies after a massive blood loss in the battle against Meat Katie, leaving Varla on her own.
Zobio & Zobiko is an Intelligence Zombie couple who star as the main protagonists players use in the game, The House of the Dead EX.
Roy Curien: The main antagonist of the first The House of the Dead and The House of the Dead III. He is a mad scientist responsible for creating the zombies and unleashing them on his personnel from the laboratory deep within his mansion. Prior to the final battle, he meets his demise at the hands of his creation, The Magician, but not before arranging a back up plan involing his other creation the Wheel of Fate, which he returns as it in 2019. Flashback segments of The House of the Dead III reveal that he was originally seeking a cure for an illness threatening his son Daniel's life, descending into madness as his findings led him toward power controlling life and death. He would undergo a 19-year resurrection process since his demise, in which he would be reborn as his final creation, the Wheel of Fate. The Wheel of Fate confronts Daniel and Lisa Rogan, who manage to destroy it.
Caleb Goldman: The main antagonist of The House of the Dead 2, and 4. A man who detests mankind's role in the world, he helped finance Curien's experiments in the first The House of the Dead, but after his failure, Goldman began his own experiments, causing a zombie outbreak in Venice. After his "masterpiece", the Emperor is destroyed, he commits suicide, but not before arranging a backup plan involving the Emperor's successor, the World, sets to be released in three years time. He appears in flashback segments in The House of the Dead 4, where he "guides" the agents uncovering his secret plan.
Clement Darling: The Main and True Antagonist of The House of the Dead: Overkill. He first appears as a warden in a high security prison who gives information to G and Isaac Washington about Papa Caesar and Varla Gun's whereabouts, but is later revealed as the mastermind behind everything that had happened in the game. After executing Caesar, he reveals that he wants to resurrect his dead mother (implied to had an incest relation with her) by replacing Varla's brain with his mother's. His mother's mutated form is later destroyed by G and Isaac and Clement seeks to atone his problems by "returning to the womb".
Papa Caesar: A major antagonist of The House of the Dead: Overkill. A deranged crime lord, he forced crippled scientist, Jasper Guns into working on a compound with strange mutagenic effects which eventually spread to Bayou City. He is pursued by Isaac Washington for apparently killing his father, and by Varla Guns and Candi Stryper for mutating Jasper. However, Caesar is later revealed to had merely working for Clement Darling and is subsequently executed afterwards. In the game's post-credits scene, a tape roll shows Caesar who reveals that Isaac's father is still alive and that Clement, while small-minded, has more powerful friends (possibly Dr. Roy Curien and Caleb Goldman).
Sophie Richards/Sophie Rogan: Rogan's fiancé and Lisa's mother.
Harry Harris: A minor character and AMS agent who appears in The House of the Dead 2. He is sent with Amy Crystals to assist James Taylor and Gary Stewart in investigating the incident at Venice, but is mortally wounded by Strength.
Amy Crystal: A minor character and Harry Haris's fellow AMS agent who appears in The House of the Dead 2. She supplies James Taylor and Gary Stewart with information and is later seen tending to Harry's injuries, giving James and Gary her car's key.
The Mystery Man is a unidentified figure in a suit who first appears in one of the endings of The House of the Dead III, picking up one of Curien's mysterious canister while lamenting that he did not understand its true purpose. He also appears in one of the endings in The House of the Dead 4, stating that Goldman is too soft and that the "Pandora's Box" cannot be stopped, and again in the "good" ending of The House of the Dead 4 Special, in which he states that while Goldman's masterpieces were all failures, the Wheel of Fate cannot be stopped.
Most of the bosses in the series, with the exception of those from The House of the Dead: Overkill are named after the Major Arcana cards in the Tarot deck. Currently, the only Major Arcana cards not yet used as names for the bosses are The High Priestess (Tarot No.II), The Devil (Tarot No.XV), and The Moon (Tarot No.XVIII).
The Chariot (Type 27/Tarot No.VII): The first boss of the first The House of the Dead. Originally designed to act as Dr. Curien’s personal Bodyguard, he appears as an armored Humanoid mutation wielding a bardiche. Thomas Rogan and G encounter him inside the mansion, where he resides in a room containing Sophie Richards, who he mortally wounds using his bardiche. The Chariot's primary form of attack is swinging with his bardiche, whilst his weak point is a small red dot in his chest armor. After dealing significant damage to the boss, his armor breaks, revealing an exposed body of flesh, which becomes his weak point for the remainder of the fight. The two agents later confront him once more during the final chapter, in which he is killed permanently.
The Hangedman (Type 041/Tarot No.XII): The second boss of the first The House of the Dead, he is a winged Gargoyle-like Beastman, who behaves like bats and also commands an army of mutated bats "Devilon". He first appears in the early in the game, where he kidnaps Sophie Richards and taunts Thomas Rogan and G to enter the mansion. Later, the agents confront him in mansion's atrium, where he instructs the bats to attack the agents before confronting them himself. His attacks consist of him clawing the agents, while his weak point is his entire body. The agents confront The Hangedman a second time during the final chapter, where he is killed for good. His DNA is later used to create Zeal, a similar gargoyle-like Beastman who appears as a boss in the second game.
The Hermit (Type 6803/Tarot No.IX): The third boss of the first The House of the Dead, it is the only non-human boss, being in the shape of a mutated Insectoid (Crab Spider). It appears in Chapter 3, where it blocks Thomas Rogan and G from reaching Curien. It attacks the player with its clawed feet and later, a series of poisonous white liquid, while its weak point is its head. Notably, after its defeat, the Hermit does not confront the agents again in the final chapter, unlike the Chariot and Hangedman.
The Magician (Type 0/Tarot No.I): An Android that is said to be Roy Curien's masterpiece is the principal antagonist of the series. The most intelligent of his creations, the Magician has the power of pyrokinesis and can dash around quickly. His weak points, as revealed in the second game, are his exposed muscles. Introduced as the final boss of the first game, this recurring boss has made numerous appearances in the series. Refusing to take orders from an inferior being, he turned on his creator and set out to destroy the world, but met his demise at the hands of Rogan and G. He is resurrected by Goldman in the second game, confronting James and Gary to prevent them from stopping the birth of the Emperor. He is mentioned in one of the flashback segments in The House of the Dead III, before reprising his role as the final boss once again in The House of the Dead 4 Special, with the intent of unleashing his army of clones throughout the world. A variant of this character also appears as the final boss in the spin-off game Zombie Revenge under the name Black Magician Type 01. The Magician possesses some similarities to another video game character known as Jubileus, The Creator, the final antagonist of the Bayonetta, Non-stop Climax Action video game, as both had killed their creators after being released and soon went on a destructive rampage.
Judgement (Type 28/Tarot No.XX): The first boss of The House of the Dead 2, it is one of few dual-bosses in the series, consisting of a 10-tall headless Armored Golem carrying an axe called Kuarl, who is controlled by a small gargoyle-like Beastman named Zeal, being a clone of The Hangedman from the first game, and is the sole weak point of the two. James Taylor and Gary Stewart confront them in the middle of Venice, where after dealing enough damage, Zeal would lose his control of Kuarl; he would proceed to attack the players personally. The agents later confront them again in the parking lot of Goldman's building during Chapter 5. Like other bosses in the second game, Judgement also appears as a boss in the spin-off The Pinball of the Dead.
The Hierophant (Type B 05/Tarot No.V): The second boss of The House of the Dead 2, The fish-like Beastman (Merman) is a wielding a trident, whose chest opens up periodically to reveal his beating heart, which is his weak point. He appears in a river of Venice, attacking the players in one of its broken bridge. Later, Hierophant is confronted again in the middle of Goldman's Bridge in Chapter 5, where he creates a giant hole to prevent the agents from passing. He also appears as a boss in the spin-off The Pinball of the Dead.
The Tower (Type 8000/Tarot No.XVI): The third boss of The House of the Dead 2, it consists of mutated four reddish female serpents, who are controlled by a larger, blue male Serpent, The Reptile has all of whom are conjoined together. It is confronted in the sewers of Venice, where the agents must defeat the red serpents first, while the blue serpent would escape to the deep waters to confront the agents. The agents later confront it again during their climb of Goldman's building in the final chapter. Besides appearing as a boss in the spin-off The Pinball of the Dead, The Tower also makes a cameo appearance in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
Strength/Fortitudo (Type 205/Tarot No.VIII): The fourth boss and first Cardinal virtues of The House of the Dead 2, he is a giant humanoid mutant wielding a Giant "BLAME" Chainsaw and 2 Throwing Axe, and his weak point is his head. James Taylor and Gary Stewart confront him in the coliseum; having wounded Harry Harris. Strength proceeds to battle them in a cat-and-mouse game. He is notably the only boss who is not confronted again by the agents in the final chapter. As with other bosses in The House of the Dead 2, he also appears in the spin-off The Pinball of the Dead. His name is English for "Fortitudo". The House of the Dead 4 also features a chainsaw-wielding boss, known as the Empress.
The Emperor (Type α/Tarot No.IV): The final boss of The House of the Dead 2, he is Goldman's masterpiece and Wheel of Fate (or The World)'s Prototype, being in the shape of an Android made of water-like substance and having developed specifically with God-like abilities to rule over nature and humanity. He has the power over levitation, telekinesis, as well as metamorphosis, which allows him to shape-shift and use the previous bosses' abilities. His weak point is his pink, heart-like substance. However, due to being released in his alpha state, The Emperor has been deemed an incomplete creation and is easily destroyed by agents James Taylor and Gary Stewart. After his defeat, Goldman commits suicide, but not before hinting that he has developed another masterpiece in the same liege as The Emperor, but has hidden its development to complete itself safely, which is later revealed to be The World. He also appears in the spin-off The Pinball of the Dead.
Death (Type 0011/Tarot No.XIII): The first boss of The House of the Dead III, he is a large Brutish Outer Security Zombie who acts as the "security guard" of the Curien facility, complete with security uniform and chains, and wields a club made of human flesh and skulls. His weak point is his head. He is first seen during the prologue chapter, being the one who causes the death of Dan Taylor. Lisa Rogan and G later battle him during Chapter 1, in which he is defeated but is not yet dead; the player will confront him again inside the facility as either the second, third, or fourth boss, depending on the choices.
The Fool (Type 0028/Tarot No.0): One of the bosses of The House of the Dead III, The Mammal-like Beast (Sloth) is a who has sharp claws and resides in a cage containing dangling human corpses. He can be fought as the second, third, or fourth boss inside the Curien facility, depending on the choices. During the battle, the player descends through a set of stairs while The Fool jumps through the cage before clawing at the player. He can also shakes the cage to drop human corpses to damage the player. His weak points are his claws.
The Sun (Type 8830/Tarot No.XIX): One of the bosses of The House of the Dead III, it is an Inner Security mutated Plantoid that consists of a large red flower with a mouth, several human skulls protruding from its stem, snake-like protrusions, and two flower-like tendrils that would continuously follow the player around. It can be fought as the second, third, or fourth boss, depending on the choices. Due to its construction, all of its parts are potential weak points; however, the tendrils have unusually fast attacks compared to most other bosses.
Wheel of Fate (Type 0000/Tarot No.X): The final boss of The House of the Dead III, he is the mutated version of Dr. Roy Curien, who had been resurrected specifically to undergo this transformation. He has become a cyborg with a large ring-like construction around him, which shields him from gun shots, and has the power of electrokinesis, which he manipulates with great dexterity. His weak point, however, is an exposed blue star-shaped reactor in his chest. Lisa Rogan and Daniel Curien release him from his confinement, where he announces his plans to destroy and resurrect everything. However, the combined forces of them manage to destroy him before he can do his plans.
Justice/Iustitia (Type 0053/Tarot No.XI): The first boss and second Cardinal virtues of The House of the Dead 4 and its expansion, The House of the Dead 4: Special. He is a large four-armed Humanoid with constantly-dangling tongue. He mainly attacks the player by biting, although sometimes he also stomps the player with his feet. His weak point is his tongue. James Taylor and Kate Green confront Justice after he grabs them to the AMS Office Sewers. In the Special edition, Kate and G battle him again, this time in the parking lot of a mysterious facility. He also appears as the final "challenge" of Chapter 1 in the spin-off The House of the Dead EX, where the player must brush his teeth while re-enacting his chase scene from The House of the Dead 4. His name is English for "Iustitia".
The Lovers (Type 6805/Tarot No.VI): The second boss of The House of the Dead 4, it is a dual-Insectoid that consists of a small mutated male Tarantula residing over a giant, female Tarantula. The agents battle them during their elevator escape, where The Lovers grabs through it as it attempts to reach the inside. Its weak point is the male tarantula, although the female one would constantly shield it from the player. Its attacks mainly consist of claw attacks from the female tarantula, mating to produce many smaller tarantulas, and spreading webs to attack the player.
The Empress (Type 1210/Tarot No.III): The third boss of The House of the Dead 4, she is a blue-skinned humanoid with glowing red eyes who wields a large chainsaw; An Kunoichi (or Assassin) is the first female boss of the series. Her weak point is her entire body. James Taylor and Kate Green confront her during their attempted train ride, where The Empress cuts through the train, forcing them to battle through the zombies inside while avoiding and attacking the boss. The Empress would attempt to attack the player from above in addition to the front, where her weak point is obscured through her chainsaw. Physically, she resembles Strength, a boss from The House of the Dead 2. She also appears as a boss in the spin-off The House of the Dead EX.
Temperance/Temperantia (Type 0483/Tarot No.XIV): The fourth boss and Third Cardinal virtues of The House of the Dead 4, he is a blobbed Amphibian-like Beastman (Toadman) who behaves like a frog; his entire body is composed of gelatinous fat which deflect any shots of the player. His attacks consist of him trying to stomp the player, rolling through the streets, and later bites with his mouth. His weak point is his head, however, due to his impervious ability, the player is unable to actually damage the boss; instead, the player can only stun him while attempting to reach a building containing a clock machinery, which can be used to press through the boss. His name is English for "Temperantia".
The Star (Type 0001/Tarot No.XVII): The fifth boss of The House of the Dead 4, he is a humanoid wearing an open-hooded long red coat and wielding an energy sword; he is the most physically human-like boss in the series thus far, barring The Magician. The Star first confronts agents James Taylor and Kate Green inside Goldman's building, where he challenges them in a "test of strength". He has the ability to levitate, which he uses to advantage in blocking the shots, as well as the power of his energy sword, which can inflict strings of purple energy. His weak point is the large scar in his chest. The Star also appears in the spin-off The House of the Dead EX as a comic relief character, initially appearing as the boss of Chapter 2, before being attracted to the main character, Zobiko, and proceeds to help the main characters in their journey.
The World (Type β/Tarot No.XXI): The final boss of The House of the Dead 4, he is Goldman's second masterpiece, hinted before his suicide in The House of the Dead 2, and is intended to be the successor of The Emperor. Due to The Emperor's premature release, The World had been confined to develop for three years, which gave it the ability to mature whenever it is defeated. In his beta state, The World physically resembles a clear-skinned dragonfly-like humanoid with cryokinesis ability who is trapped in the ground, he later matures with his wings changing to tendrils in his gamma state, and later completely able to break free from his confinement in his delta state. His power varies; he originally can only summon ice structures in his beta state, but later can summon dragons made of ice in his gamma state. His weak point, like The Emperor, is his heart-like structure. He eventually reaches delta state after being defeated twice, but before he can mature again, he is destroyed after James sacrifices himself using the PDA. The World also appears as the final boss in the spin-off The House of the Dead EX, where uniquely, the player can fight his delta state, which was previously impossible in The House of the Dead 4.
Non-Tarot Bosses (The House of the Dead: Overkill)
Jasper Guns: A side character of The House of the Dead: Overkill as well as its first boss. He is the younger brother of Bayou City stripper, Varla Guns, and the former lover of stripper Candi Stryper. Due to neuron disease, Jasper is crippled; he is unable to move or speak. He works as a scientist under crime lord, Papa Caesar, who forces him to develop a highly contagious mutagen that would spread to the entirety of Bayou City. Fed up after being constantly abused by him, Jasper decides to inject himself with the mutagen, which caused him to transform into a mutant with oversized brain, which grants him the ability to levitate objects to attack the player. His weak point is his brain.
Coco and Sindy: Rival strippers from Varla's workplace, who borrow Varla's motorcycle to go to thebar for extra money, but end up horribly mutated. In her first bonus chapter, Varla is forced to fight them to retrieve the keyring to her motorcycle, which Coco wears as a navel piercing. While Coco has turned into a huge, bloblike mutant who throws barrels and launches shockwaves to injure the player, Sindee has mutated into a skeletal, monkey-like form that jumps around erratically before attacking.
Screamer: The second boss of The House of the Dead: Overkill. She is a zombie whose screams are highly damaging. She also has the ability to summon zombies to her aid. Her weak point is her entire body. Before the actual fight with the boss, Agents G and Isaac Washington catch glimpses of her throughout the second level. They eventually confront her in the theater's hospital.
Nigel and Sebastian: The third boss of The House of the Dead: Overkill. They consist of a large zombie called Nigel who is controlled by his "conjoined twin", Sebastian, who resides in his stomach like a tumor. Being the more intelligent of the two, Sebastian has the ability to speak, uncommon through the mutants, and commands the unintelligible Nigel to attack the player this way. He is also able to live even when Nigel is already dead, while Nigel is constantly dependent on Sebastian's survival. Therefore, Sebastian himself serves as the weak point of the two. The agents confront them in a mutant-infested festival.
Meat Katie: The boss of Varla's second bonus chapter. After investigating a lead at a meat processing plant, Varla is confronted by Meat Katie at the end of the level. Meat Katie is a towering minotaur mutant who wields a gigantic axe as a weapon and wears a tattered apron. She also charges to attack.
Crawler: The fourth boss of The House of the Dead: Overkill. It is a grotesque spider-like mutant, whose half of its body consists of crawler's legs, while the other half is that of human feet, which grants it the ability to jump around. Its hands are conjoined inside two talons, which are also its weak point beside being its main form of attack. The Crawler is confronted inside the train, where it rips through the train car to attack the player.
Lobber: The fifth boss of The House of the Dead: Overkill. He is a blobbed mutant with toad-like characteristics, much like the The House of the Dead 4 boss, Temperance. He can launch parts of his blobs to attack the player, which would regenerate itself over time. His weak point is his hands, and later on his head. Before the encounter with Lobber, G and Isaac Washington humorously play rock-paper-scissors to determine who would attack the boss first, although the two decide to cooperate when the Lobber spits on Isaac.
Brutus the Ruthless: The sixth boss of The House of the Dead: Overkill. He is one of two former convicts who were sentenced to death by electric chair six months before the events of the game. His appearance, as well as that of his partner, is that of a large man with tattoos all over his body who wears a skintight mask. He wields a crossbow with six arrows contained at once, conjoined with his armless hand, which also serves as his weak point. G and Isaac Washington confront him after they discover that Clement Darling is the man behind all events in the game, who proceeds to send the two zombies to attack the agents, although Brutus quickly kills his fellow mutant before battling the agents.
Mother: The final boss of The House of the Dead: Overkill. She is the deceased mother of Clement Darling, who is implied to had an incest relation with her. Clement manages to preserve her brain and spends the majority of the game trying to find a vessel to rebirth his mother, eventually finding Varla Guns' body to be perfect for his plans. In the final chapter, Clement switches Varla's still-living brain with that of his mother, but the plan eventually fails when Mother starts spewing acid, eventually mutating into a giant monster, who proceeds to attack G and Isaac Washington. Mother primarily throws debris at the player as her main form of attack, although she would also do a swing attack if the players get too close. After the players manage to deplete most of her health, she would send several mutants to attack the player, who would burst into acid that could damage the player if destroyed. Her weak point is her head. After she is defeated, Clement decides to atone his problems by "returning to the womb" of his mother, whose body is destroyed along with the entire Clement's facility.
Appearances in other games
The House of the Dead appears as one of the mini-games in the EyeToy game, Sega Superstars, in which players move their body to attack zombies.
The series is also represented in Sega Superstars Tennis, where the mansion is a playable court and there is also a minigame in which players must aim their shots to fend off a horde of oncoming zombies. In this game, the series is referred to as "Curien Mansion" instead of The House of the Dead because the series is banned in Germany.
Again represented as Curien Mansion, the series is represented in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with three race tracks, and the rider's duo Zobio and Zobiko (only Zobio on the Nintendo DS) from The House of the Dead: EX. During their All-Star move, Zobio drinks a magic potion which makes him grow in size and he then slams his opponents with his strength while Zobiko rides him.
A brand new racetrack appears in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, with zombies and various monsters making appearances. Zobio and Zobiko make cameo appearances in the stage as well. Once again, the series is called Curien Mansion.
Zombie Revenge's Rikiya Busujima appears in Project X Zone with references made to the House of the Dead franchise, as House of the Dead.
In 2004, a sequel to the first film was greenlit but direct-to-DVD. The previous director was unable to direct the sequel due to commitments to his other films, and Michael Hurst was chosen to take his place. the sequel is closer to its source, featuring AMS agents going to a school to stop a zombie outbreak from spreading. however the film was also poorly received.
Another sequel was announced. Mindfire Entertainment co-founder Mark Altman has stated in discussions that "It's a completely different approach to the material than the first two films." It was also stated that it may not be called House of the Dead 3 as Sega wasn't releasing the latest installment on home consoles." Eventually Mindfire Entertainment released Dead and Deader starring Dean Cain and the House Of the Dead name was not attached.
In Walt Disney Animation Studios' 52nd Animated feature length film, Wreck-It Ralph, a Zombie with axes based on Cyril (the hatchet-wielding zombie) appears with numerous other video game villains in the Villain's support group Bad-Anon. The Zombie tries to reassure Wreck-It Ralph that labels won't make him happy and that good or bad, he must love himself for who he is.