Developed by SEGA AM1, The House of the Dead made its arcade debut in 1997. Using the SEGA Model 2 arcade hardware, arcade-goers zapped light guns and assumed the roles of AMS agents Thomas Rogan and G. Their mission? Rescue missing DBR researchers. Most importantly, Sophie Richards, Rogan’s fiancée, who is trapped in the clutches of the monstrous creatures created by the former DBR scientist turned mad, Dr. Curien.
The House of the Dead series is well known for its fast-paced shooting with cooperative support, cinematic lore, creature designs, pop-synced/horror-mixed techno music, and its iconic voice acting ("Suffer like G did?").
Original House of the Dead 1 Sales Flyer
My first memory of The House of the Dead goes back when I was only six years old. I remember walking into a movie theater and witnessing a huge, deluxe, light gun cabinet. The cabinet art featured the axe-wielding zombie (Cyril) sprinting towards infinity with a bloody, disfigured face. The moment stuck with me, and I feared the franchise for many years, until I played The House of the Dead III on the original Xbox.
When I finally revisited the original game at my local arcade spot and finished my first play-through, I had the time of my life. I really enjoyed the game’s fast-paced arcade action: shooting the limbs off creatures, rescuing civilians from tight, life or death situations, and taking on horrendous—yet iconic—bosses such as Chariot and The Magician. Playing the game cooperatively with a friend was one of the best arcade moments I had experienced in years.
The House of the Dead led me to create my first fan site back in 2012. I interviewed the game’s director, Takashi Oda, on the development of the series, and many other game developers and designers who were involved with the iconic rail shooting series we know and love today.
The House of the Dead is an iconic horror franchise that can be enjoyed by anyone and anywhere—whether that's in an arcade, or at home, alone or with your best friends and siblings.
Even today, I love introducing my friends to the latest House of the Dead titles. In the near future, I'm looking forward to challenging myself and aiming for the highest score rank in the upcoming remake. And to think, a franchise I once feared became my greatest strength.
Kori-Maru (Patrick) is a writer for SEGAbits and the founder of The Website of the Dead. Follow @WeboftheDead on Twitter!