“You can’t negotiate with a zombie. They have only one impulse – that’s to eat us or our brains.”
-Stephen Graham Jones
“The following is a contributor post by the Midnight Mystic Mage.”
There is absolutely no more enjoyable way to practice and improve your typing skills than by playing Typing of the Dead, not that I have ever encountered anyway. I’m a weirdo and always used to enjoy the typing games in school; this takes the satisfaction of completing different typing challenges like those games and merges it with the campy and grotesque rail shooter that most of us know from arcades, The House of the Dead.
What drew me to it was a burst of retro collecting obsession when I was trying to find as many cool games to add to my list for the Sega Dreamcast as I could. I saw one that really caught my eye which was obviously the original Typing of the Dead which you could play by getting a keyboard for the system. I became very fascinated by the idea of killing zombies by typing and began looking around for other versions of it.
I was overjoyed to find that they had this version for Steam so that I did not have to track down a Sega Dreamcast keyboard and a copy of the game which I am sure would have been much more costly than what the key for the game on Steam cost me. That cost by the way is only $20 for the game or $25 for the complete edition with all DLC. If this is a genre you are into it is definitely worth it.
The main story is short at about 5-6 hours but there is plenty of replayability there with the collectibles that you find through the levels such as 3D models, concept art, and comic book pages. You could also crank up the difficulty or download a completely different library of words to type from the Steam Workshop. You get all of that as well as the full game The House of the Dead: Overkill with it. You just select it from the menu and you can play the game as it was originally created.
I have not had the chance to play through in The House of the Dead format yet, but I have my Let’s Play of the full typing main story levels up on my YouTube channel. If interested in getting a closer look check that out here! It is really funny the types of things that they make you type to kill the zombies and it honestly had me laughing out loud when I first started playing. Some of the custom dictionaries seem like they would make it even funnier to play through as well. Just a few that they have featured at the moment include Puns, Rick & Morty, and The Trumping of the Dead. Even without a custom one though the things you have to type can be pretty hilarious at times.
The story has you follow a few different protagonists around as they try to stop Papa Caesar and another villain who is revealed later who are the people behind the sudden outbreak. In the game they actually refer to the creatures as mutants and not zombies, but they are so zombie-like that I struggle to refer to them as anything else when describing it. There are G and Isaac Washington, the two cops who are chasing down the bad guys, one of whom is pretty much Samuel L. Jackson for all intents and purposes. There is also Candy Stryper and Varla Guns who are the two seductive female protagonists with their own personal vendettas against the evil doers.
I still plan to make some more videos on this game when I get the time, to show off the collectibles that you gather throughout the levels and play through the regular House of the Dead version. We will just have to see if time permits, though. So many games and so little time, a struggle that I am sure many of you know all too well. I think I am just about ready to hop into my 8-bit review and break down what I think about the different facets of the game and give you my final score.
The 8-Bit Review
I took plenty of screenshots that you can check out on my Facebook Page or my Instagram. The visuals were very refreshing for a typing game. It is definitely not your average typing instructor game. It is a unique niche that I believe the Typing of the Dead games basically own all for themselves. The levels are perfect when you just want to space out and not be too invested in whatever game you are playing. Just kick back, do some typing, and watch the zombies explode while you unleash the fury of your keyboard.
The gameplay was the strongest part of the game in my opinion. Sure it is just a rail shooter with a typing mechanic, but until you try it you might not understand how entertaining and addicting that kind of gameplay can be. Not to mention the added benefits of working on improving your typing speed while you take down the bad guys. I am not usually one for excessive gore and violence without good reason, but when the reason is because you are stringing together long combos of correctly typed sentences there is just something very satisfying about watching the zombie slaying commence in a very over the top fashion.
The game is not scary, not to me at least. It is very goofy and funny with tons of excessive gore and violence but not what I would consider scary. I will leave the score at a moderate level however because I believe these types of visuals can be scary to some on their own. I remember hearing my wife tell me “That game is so scary” while I was playing Fallout 4 because of the monsters running around on the screen and I just couldn’t understand it. That being said there are definitely different levels as to what some people would consider chilling and what others would just laugh off or not even find scary in the least.
I used to pump endless quarters into House of the Dead at different arcades. Okay, well maybe not endless, but at least as many as my parents would let me have before telling me to give it a rest. This version has that same level design and story that the House of the Dead series does, because they are literally the same games but with different control types. So when you mix that enjoyable gameplay with the fact that you are helping to improve a vitally necessary skill while you play it, there is definitely a high amount of replayability involved. It may not be appealing to just keep playing it back to back but it is definitely something I could see myself coming back to in the future to try and push myself and increase my typing ability while enjoying that nostalgic gameplay at the same time.
Okay so I am in a pickle with this category. I think that it is a very creative idea to use a zombie shooter as a typing instructor and I really love that idea and the uniqueness behind it. I have certainly never heard of another one besides this series. However, all of the games that they have made for the series have been direct clones of House of the Dead games which means this category needs to be just a notch lower than it would be otherwise. No matter this detail, I definitely love that they incorporate a typing version and if they ever decide to release another House of the Dead I hope they make a typing version of it as well. It would definitely be the only version I would consider picking up, unless they made some type of light gun game for the Switch that utilized the joy con’s wiimote-like abilities… hmmmmm.
The narrative actually isn’t so bad for some arcade game like this is. It is also nothing that will blow you out of the water however, not that it necessarily needs to be for it to still be a good game. I explained it partly earlier there are multiple good guys that you follow around in order to stop the bad guys who are unleashing the mutations upon the world. Pretty basic stuff. It has its moments that are pretty funny and everything but there is definitely not much that is very deep or thought provoking.
There were very few times where I was actually struggling. In fact I think I only died less than a handful of times throughout. This could mean that I should have just turned up the difficulty settings but I feel like there should have been a little more of a challenge there in the normal setting as well. I don’t think that it took away from the game being an enjoyable experience, but I think that it could have made it just a bit more fun and memorable if you had to try just a little harder at parts, even if only on the bosses.
My Personal Grade: 7/10
In summary I feel like this is a wonderful, slightly obscure game and genre that if you are like me you might not have even known existed. You get to improve your typing skills while you kill zombies and bad guys. Not too bad in my book. If you decide to check it out do not expect to be doing anything other than typing funny phrases and words as far as controls go. There is a key to pick up collectibles in the levels but besides that it is pretty much straight forward typing the whole way through. I’m aware that this will not appeal to many, but I personally really enjoyed it and encourage anybody who might have taken interest while reading this to check it out. I think it’s a good game and definitely worth a play.
Aggregated Score: 6.8
The Midnight Mystic Mage is the resident writer of sublimereviews.wordpress.com, a reviewer of games, books, and film, and a fan of all things horror and spooky. Follow the link… if you dare!
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Categories: Game Review