1) Zombies are being untidy and making an administrative burden of themselves. 2) Sharp-dressed agents of the AMS arrive and resolve to stop the crisis. 3) The villain will mention something about the threat of a Malthusian catastrophe (and the first doesn't even bother with that). 4) But it doesn't matter to the protagonists 'cause they're suffused with the strength to forge on, no matter what! Yeah!
However, if you still feel more intricate details are needed, we've a page for that.Known for its fast-paced shooting and Multiple Endings, the House of the Dead series is one of those games that many play, but few ever beat (at least not without a small fortune in coins, that is). The first two games (especially the second) were infamous for hilariously bad voice-overs that left you thinking the voice actors must have been instructed to sound as bored as possible, as well as an extremely stilted-sounding translation. If you want to play a shooter game which emphasizes horror and uses traditional zombies, then you are looking at the wrong game. House of the Dead goes in the opposite direction: the majority of zombies in these games either are fast, wield weapons, have supernatural powers or are just very fat. Boss fights are a major example of these deviations with boss creatures barely resembling "traditional" zombies at all, often taking the form of some freakish abomination.None of this stops the series from being fun. Just don't stop here expecting a gripping story, nuanced characters, or some kind of social message. But then again, it is an arcade game which rarely have much of a story. Though if you're curious, see here for a brief recap.The series has had ports over its run; House of the Dead 1 was ported over to Sega Saturn, House of the Dead 2 got ported to the Sega Dreamcast, and House of the Dead 3 was ported on the original Xbox* (next to Silent Scope, the only light-gun games for the system). All three of these games also had ports on Windows PC. The second and third game in the series later got re-released in 2008 for the Nintendo Wii in The House of Dead 2 & 3 Return compilation while House of the Dead 3 and 4 got re-released as downloadable games on the PlayStation Network in 2012.The latest game in the series (story-wise), the Wii-exclusive House of the Dead: Overkill, is a prequel that takes the unintentionally bad voice-acting and runs with it, resulting in a B-Moviegrindhouse-style presentation. The game's mere existence could qualify as a Moment Of Awesome for the series as a whole. An Updated Rerelease, House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut, was later released for the PlayStation 3 with PlayStation Move support.This isn't all to the series, as there are multiple side games as well. They are as followed:
Zombie Revenge: A Beat 'em Up released on the arcade and Dreamcast that acts as a side story to the main series with new characters.
House of the Dead 4 Special: A rare arcade that serves as a continuation of the original 4th installment, this time the game being made into a motion ride of sorts with that switches between two screens as the zombies come after you. This included in the PlayStation 3 version of House of the Dead 4 download on the PlayStation Network.
House of the Dead EX: A rather comical departure for the series that puts you in the role of two runaway undead lovebirds as they face against adversaries who try to split them apart. Unlike the last games, this one is more of a mini-game compilation. Sadly never saw a release outside of Japan... Legally *
Unoffically imported units can be found in arcades across Asia
And lastly, the Sega Superstars series features House of the Dead cameos, the most prominent being Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, with three tracks taking place in the Curien Mansion and the aforementioned runaway undead lovebirds as playable racers. The sequel, Sega All Star Racing Transformed only featured one track and dropped the two from the roster however.
So there you have it, 'till the fifth installment.
How could anyone do this?
Achilles Heel: All bosses (even monsters with supposedly "unknown" weaknesses) have these. Usually some form of note would appear to highlight the weakness, although the exact nature of the clue varies from game to game: the first two HOTD games make use of research notes, while HOTD 4 has a PDA scan. HOTD 3 doesn't even come up with an excuse for what's giving the heroes a hint.
One of the best examples: Hierophant, a hideous frog thing whose chest bursts open every time it takes a breath for an easy potshot at its heart. It's one of the easiest boss battles in the series.
However, while each game's final boss will always have an "Unknown" weakness, one glance at them will pretty much give away where you need to insert the bullets.
In Overkill, not only are all the bosses' weaknesses pointed out in a screen before the battle, but a red circle appears around them when it's time to start shooting at them. The vulnerable spot changes depending on when it is in the battle, as in the first phase of the Crawler battle, you attack its claws, and toward the end, you attack its head.
Averted in the PS3 version where they take out the red circle button when it's time to shoot them.
Action Girl: Varla Guns in Overkill, heavily lampshaded in her introduction voiceover. She slowly turns out to be a Faux Action Girl, though, which is itself lampshaded too, but the Extended Cut, in turn, defies that status by putting her and Candi Stryper in spotlight. Of course, via the all-new exclusive Naked Terror and Creeping Flesh episodes.
Lisa Garland in the third movie.
Oh, yeah. And Lisa Rogan in 3.
And Kate in 4.
Always Night: While the first game seems quite dark, all the sequels are closer to "always overcast". Overkill eventually makes it to sunset.
Artifact Title: It's more like "ridiculously huge mansion of the dead", even in the first game. The second and fourth games are more along the lines of "City of the Dead". At the very least, the third game somewhat counts, as it takes place in a gigantic skyscraper.
Ascended Meme: Suffer Like G Did is both Agent G's theme song and a PS3 achievement*
you need to be on your last life bar and then complete the level
An Axe to Grind: In all the games, often in a cross position to force the player to blow off the head or shoot their guts until they keel over. Overkill just makes them more damaging (two points instead of one).
Badass Normal: All of the main protagonists. Lampshaded in OVERKILL a ton.
"The G stands fo' GENOCIDE, muthafucka!"
The Bechdel Test: Almost the games fail this, by having one female character per game. Though OVERKILL has more (and the Extended Cut even arguably passes, considering Varla and Candi trade banter about the mutants), its ending lampshades that the story is not a shining example of feminism.
And in one of The House of the Dead 4's endings, it's implied that there's an even Bigger Bad at work; a mysterious limping man complains that "Goldman was too soft." His appearance in III and 4 have led to a fair amount of Wild Mass Guessing, much of which involves a sequel to 4.
Also, Papa Caesar in Overkill. Sort of. He only appears to be the Big Bad for five chapters (out of seven) of the story. He's later supplanted by Warden Darling.
Big Boo's Haunt: The mansion in the first game could be considered a more "mundane" version of this trope. There are lots of physical undead, but no ghosts or any other type of spirit. However, the Magician possesses psychic powers.
Body Horror: Many of the enemies, especially Nigel and Sebastian (two twins horribly fused together) and the Lobber from Overkill. And from the same game, Varla Guns, after Warden Darling put his mother's brain in her head... and apparently forgot to reattach the back of her cranium.
Bond One-Liner: Lisa Rogan tries to pull these off at regular intervals. Highlights include "I never was any good at gardening", after blowing away a giant evil plant, and "When a lady says no, she means it!", regarding a rather persistent security guard... with a giant stick.
Kate Green has one with "How do you like my low fat, all lead diet?" after dropping a huge clock on top of Temperance's head.
Boss Rush: During the last levels of HOTD 2, you'll have to face a revived Judgement, Hierophant, Magician, and Tower before dealing with the final boss.
The first game made the player re-fight the Chariot and Hangedman in the final chapter before fighting the Magician.
Brick Joke: Washington calls G "Agent Gwendolyn" at the beginning of the "Carny" chapter; G doesn't protest until two chapters later.
Canon Discontinuity: The manual for the Saturn port of HOTD1 made rather blatant references to G having "metallic"-tasting blood and behaving "mechanically", implying he was a robot or cyborg. Needless to say, this was never followed up on.
Chainsaw Good: Ironically for a zombie work, this trope is put to use by the undead; most entries of the series have at least one type of zombie wielding a chainsaw with intent.
Even the bosses get to have some fun, notably Strength and The Empress in HOTD 2 and 4, respectively.
Justifiable, since Overkill had no arcade release and went straight to Wii, so no innocent ears can be corrupted.
On top of that, Overkill had been awarded the Guinness World Record for "most profanity in a video game"... ... until Mafia II came and dethroned it, although the Updated Rerelease may have taken back the title. By their measure, 189 swear words were uttered over three hours, averaging to roughly one f-bomb per minute. Do not play a drinking game with this video game unless you want alcohol poisoning.
G lampshades again when he notices that, of all the things they saw, the only thing Washington didn't call a "motherfucker" was Warden Darling, who was a literal mother fucker.
And now the Extended Cut will play with this: the speech is censored by default, in both voice and subtitles. How do you restore the dialogue to its foulmouthed glory? By shooting the censored words during cutscenes.
Contemplate Our Navels: The end of Overkill has the characters discuss the true meaning of their ordeal, with Washington thinking it's a postmodernist deconstruction of modern feminism. And swear gratuitously... even G, though he's just mocking Washington.
Continuity Nod: Overkill has a couple: For example, the version of G's theme tune that plays over the main menu is titled Suffer Like G Did.
Also, the final levels of 4 take place in the same area, and play just like, the final levels of 2.
Crippleware: The first game's demo was time-limited; a big timer counted down from three minutes, and the game would quit once the timer reached zero. The hack-savvy player who used a memory location editor to freeze the timer would find out that the timer was the only thing crippling the game; with it out of the way, it was possible to play the game to the end.
Critical Existence Failure: Nearly every single boss and every single protagonist. Taken to extremes in Overkill, as the character doesn't even yell out in pain when he gets hit (aside from the first boss battle, in which Washington will curse about how nasty getting hit with a severed leg or limbless, headless woman's torso is). Taken to less of an extent in 4, since the characters tend to gripe when their health is low.
Cowboy Cop: Isaac Washington from Overkill would probably be this if we saw him do police work instead of shooting mutants.
Cute Monster Girl: Zobiko in The House of the Dead EX is a Cute Zombie Girl. And a protagonist.
Damsel in Distress: Sophie Richards in the first game. Also, you will find those (either civilians or your partner) who will need rescue throughout your mission. Saving them nets you a life bonus most of the time. Subverted in III, in which it's your partner that you rescue, and even then, they're only in trouble for a few seconds, retreating back to you regardless of whether you succeed or fail. On top of that, Thomas Rogan is the one in distress, and it's his Action Girl daughter to the rescue (along with his old AMS buddy, G). Avoided outright in 4, in which there's nobody to rescue. And finally, Varla Guns... twice.
Dead Weight: In the first few stages of Overkill, fat zombies are the earliest kind of Giant Mook, taking a few more body shots than normal enemies. The manual explains that a mutant's health is directly proportionate to its mass. They're also fast.
Same thing goes for the first few games. Oddly enough, along with health, they were faster, too (though nothing a headshot won't fix, though they're at an odd, hard-to-hit angle in the second installment).
In Overkill, G theorizes that bulkier mutants (specifically, the mutant football players that only show up in "Carny") are faster due to the mutant compound altering their metabolism. It's as good an explanation as any, really.
Taken Up to Eleven with the morbidly obese boss Temperance, who runs around and can turn himself into a bowling ball of undead fat.
Deconstruction: Parodied in Overkill, of zombie movies in general. For example, in the ending, G and Isaac wonder what the underlying metaphor of this game was, with G suggesting "love isn't always right" and Isaac calling it a "damning indictment of contemporary feminism", pointing out that there are few other interpretations to "two dick-wielding cop cliches" taking down a "hundred-foot birthing mother". For another, during The Fetid Waters, Isaac asks G why they're immune to whatever it is that's creating all the mutants and nobody else is. They aren't; the compound has a short life-span and, as they weren't exposed to the initial dosing, they simply haven't been infected - G because he only got into town afterward, Isaac because he was at his mom's.
Determinator: Death in 3. He will suddenly pop out of the ground and keep running after you for the first and second levels before finally dying.
Disposable Woman: Varla Guns in Overkill. The trope is lampshaded and discussed by G at the end of the game.
Sophie in the original game gets kidnapped by the Hangedman, and is axed by the Chariot just before you fight him as the first boss, driving Rogan to seek revenge. This can be subverted if you're good enough at the game.
The Dog Bites Back: Jasper, forced to work with Caesar when Varla, who raised him, is threatened, eventually declares that no one threatens his sister and injects himself with a serum.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Papa Caesar is killed in the electric chair by Warden Darling, cheating Isaac out of his revenge. Candi also gets this in the PS3 version when a giant cleaver the boss was using drops from the rafters it had got caught on and slices off her arm. She winds up dying from blood loss.
There's also the scene in the "Overkill" stage where Isaac and G accidentally torch an NPC who is locked in a chamber with a bunch of Pukers, which G writes off as "collateral damage". Quoth Isaac: "You can be one cold motherfucker..."
Dumb Blonde: Candi, the second player who accompanies Varla the PS3 version of Overkill
Dynamic Difficulty: Playing with a second player makes the games MUCH harder. So if you don't want to die twice as often, don't play with a second player unless said player is just as competent as you.
Also, the better you play in a stage, the faster the boss will be. It's not very clear how it works, because sometimes he'll slow down when you fail to survive an attack. (It's most notable with the Magician, whose movement aura is a different color based on whether it's in "easy" or "hard" mode.)
Game-Breaking Bug: Overkill has an irritating one in the Crawler boss fight, wherein the circle highlighting the boss's weak spot is marked too high on its arm, and trying to shoot there won't do anything. Shooting it in the same spot it said to on the other side will cancel its attack and deal damage.
The "Carny" chapter itself is very glitchy compared to the rest of the game. Its boss fight in particular is difficult to get through without the game freezing for whatever reason.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Candi which she explains that she was taught "don't have anything nice to say don't say nothing at all". She took it literally as she swaps the word "nothing" for expletives.
Giant Spider: The Lovers are two huge tarantulas (a small male one atop a larger female). Also the Hermit in 1.
Government Agency of Fiction: The AMS, which almost every protagonist and heroic supporting character works for. It's never explained precisely what they do.
Guns Akimbo: Isaac in Overkill has a habit of dual wielding his Desert Eagles AMS Magnums, and it's actually a requirement that you dual-wield Wiimotes for some gallery achievements. Not to mention that there's nothing stopping a player from sinking two credits into a machine and commandeering both guns.
Overkill goes a step further: one of the post-game bonuses is a "Dual Wield" option, wherein a single player plays, using two guns as normal, but instead of switching between the two using both at the same time. This includes shotguns, assault rifles, and even miniguns.
Hannibal Lecture: HotD 4 employs a heavy retcon to give Caleb "loyfe cycle" Goldman a lot more menace; the start of each chapter flashes back to the events of HOTD 2, showing Goldman quietly seething behind his desk about how mankind's arrogance and greed will doom the entire planet. The final level reveals he's actually been speaking to James Taylor and Gary Stewart, who have him at gunpoint.
The Wheel of Fate aka a resurrected Dr. Curien, the final boss of HOTD 3, attempts to give one of these, only to be silenced by a volley of shotgun blasts.
In HOTD 2, the revived Magician gives one to James and Gary before the fight starts, again followed by their Shut Up, Hannibal! speech after they beat the crap out of this Humanoid Abomination.
Headless Horseman: In HOTD 2, the first boss, Judgement, is a headless suit of armor (Kuarl) controlled by a flying goblin (Zeal) that you have to hit.
Heroic Sacrifice: James blows himself up along with Pandora's Box at the climax of 4's story, but did he really need to? May overlap somewhat with Stupid Sacrifice.
Hostage Spirit Link: In 1 and 2, shooting a civilian takes off one life. Overkill doesn't deduct health, but points. Averted in III, where shooting your partner in a rescue scene does nothing. 4 has no one for you to rescue.
Infinity+1 Gun: In the Extended Cut remake of Overkill, it's Isaac's favorite guns, the Gwendolyn. It has the power of the automatic shotgun, the range of the handgun, and it has INFINITE AMMO. Slightly mitigated by the fact that it doesn't have the crowd control of the shotgun, but why would you need it anyway? To get it, one must clear the "Classic Mode" where you're only allowed to use the default AMS Magnum.
Kevlard: Temperance (a morbidly obese zombie) from House Of The Dead 4. Even though you could actually stop him from attacking you by shooting his head, it was impossible to do any real damage to him via your bullets. You had to drop a clock on his head to beat him.
Obese enemies in the second and third game also tank in more damage. A headshot was needed or they'd ram you.
The Overkill manual suggests that a zombie can take damage proportional to its body fat.
Kick the Dog: Papa Caesar is introduced as a bastard from the beginning, but the way he treats Jasper (who is almost totally paralyzed) is downright assholish. He calls him an "impotent cripple", whacks him in the face with his cane and warns him that continuing to insult him will jeopardize his sister Varla's safety before calling him a "fucking cabbage."
Ludicrous Gibs: In every game, but intentionally taken to ridiculous extremes in Overkill.
Also subverted in the same game with bosses: normal mutants will blow up into gooey pools of blood and flesh, but the bosses (even those who seem quite prone to explode into pus like the Lobber and Mother) simply fall down.
Male Gaze: In Overkill, the camera lingered at Varla Gunns's cleavage before going back up to her face. Not to mention the live-action pole dance featured over the opening credits.
Mad Scientist: "Yes! ...These are the kinds of breakthrough results that are possible when experiments are carried out scientifically, without undue mushy sentiment for the Human test [subjects] or other ridiculous ethical qualms..." (Journal Entry). Dr. Curien speaking of some of his zombie creations from the PC version of the first game's manual.
He got even worse, as the flashbacks to before the incident in HOTD 3 show, complete with mad laughter.
The Man Behind the Man: Goldman and some shady G-man in the best ending you can get for HOTD 4; Warden Darling, for Papa Caesar in Overkill.
Monstrosity Equals Weakness: Almost every boss in any given game will be some form of mutant freak, but the final boss will look like a shiny humanoid. The exceptions are the original game's Magician and Overkill's Mother.
Mook Chivalry: Some zombies will wait until you kill the largest threat (like axe-wielding zeds or barrel-throwing fatties). Only one zombie can typically be in attacking range at once, so it's possible to disable one, quickly reload, then finish it off with the rest of the new clip used for the ones behin dit.
More Dakka: 4's default weapon is a machine pistol.
Nintendo Hard: By far one of the most difficult Light Gun Games around. Many a player has witnessed the second game's continue screen no less than 10 times in a single run.
In the actual arcade stands, at least. The PC versions are easy with practice, since you can see where you're aiming and there are shot types in the first game (such as G's extremely powerful derringer).
Noodle Incident: The first phase of the final boss fight in Overkill, which is skipped over in an alleged "missing reel". The dialogue immediately afterwards suggests that it would have been a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Subverted in the Director's Cut of the Playstation 3 version where they reveal that they did find the miniguns and fought Mother by destroying pillars. It was definitely a Moment Of Awesome.
More seriously, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing uses "creatures" instead of "zombies".
Oh Crap: Wonderfully and suddenly averted (from the player's perspective) at least once in Overkill: during the boss intro of Jailhouse Judgement, Warden Darling unveils two super-size reanimated convicts, explaining that they'd had many violent and horrific crimes to their credit before being electrocuted. They approach Agent G and Isaac, about to messily tear into the cops one-on-one... ...and then Brutus sucker-punches and head-stomps his partner, leaving only one boss for the player to defeat!
"You ever gonna tell anyone what the fuckin' G stands for?" "...No."
Isaac walks right through that open door when he once calls his partner "Agent Gwendolyn" in the intro movie to "Carny", and later on in "Jailhouse Judgement, he is quoted as saying "The G stands for 'Genocide', Motherfucker!". See Fire-Forged Friends above for the touching endcap to this Running Gag.
Parental Incest: Warden Darling almost definitely had this relationship with his mother, transplanting her brain into the body of Varla Gunns and making out with her. In the end, after the main characters kill the giant mutant version of his mother, he insists on returning to the womb in order to undo his wrongs. Agent G then notes the irony of Washington referring to everyone and everything as "motherfucker" except for Darling, which he translates into Washington not meaning anything he says, and therefore actually liking G as a friend.
Postmodernism: In the ending of Overkill, the characters discuss the symbolism of their adventure, a Mythology Gag regarding the fact that zombie media often has some sort of symbolism regarding culture, politics, or some such.
Raising the Steaks: This series has undead fauna all over the place: bats, owls, spiders, sloths, leeches, crows. The first game even featured winged zombie dobermans.
Revenge: Rogan and Isaac's driving motives in the first game and Overkill, respectively. The second chapter of The House of the Dead, after Sophie's death, is titled "Revenge."
Revolvers Are Just Better: Overkill lets you buy a Hand Cannon that comes with its Firepower maxed out, which equates to everything that isn't a boss dying in one shot. A tad subverted - you need to be really fucking accurate with it. The automatic shotgun is better at chaining combos and ammo capacity.
Sand Worm: The Tower is a roaring, five-headed worm-dragon-snake-hydra-thing. After you kill four of his heads, the main one will slither away to the next arena, where you'll have to finish him off. Depending on the path you took, the arena could even be a large sand pit that he burrows through.
Sequel Hook: The ending of Overkill establishes that, at the very least, Bayou is not even close to mutant-free. And the poster for the last level says "They're just getting started."
Justified Trope, at least in a strict chronological sense: Overkill is a prequel.
Not only that, the tape which Caesar leaves to motherfucking Washington says...
Caesar: You know of Clement Darling, yes, the cretin prison warden? It was he who originally discovered the mutant compound in a secret lab beneath his prison. Clement's ambitions are small minded, Isaac. But he has friends, powerful friends. (Curien and Goldman, if you haven't guessed it yet.)
One of the ranks for making consecutive kills without missing is "Ultra-Violence".
Shut Up, Hannibal!: The final chapter to HOTD 4 reveals that Goldman (in flashbacks) has actually been ranting to James Taylor and Gary Stewart; the original protagonists who ruined his plans in HOTD 2. James's response to Goldman's elaborate rant?
James: Is that all you have to say, Goldman?
Lisa Rogan and Daniel Curien, son of the infamous doctor delivers her own retort to the final boss of HOTD 3, punctuating it with a shotgun blast to the face.
Lisa: This is our future, we'll handle it ourselves.
Something Completely Different: The House Of The Dead EX. You have light guns, but that's about as far as the similarity goes. It's not only lighter and softer, but is filled with childish cutscenes which are mostly 2D anime/manga style stills, toned down violence, and aside from that, there's the genre change from rail shooter to minigames.
Washington: Frankly, Casanova, I'd be more worried about reading the last 24 hours as a damning fucking indictment of contemporary feminism.
G: Beg your pardon?
Washington: I just think two dick-wielding cop cliches taking down a hundred-foot birthing mother is a statement fairly limited in its interpretations.
Spiritual Successor: Vampire Night, a joint effort between Sega and Namco that utilized similar gameplay and boss encounters and was similarly goofy in terms of voice acting and translation. "It was the girl. She gave us the strength of that of a human."
The Stinger: Overkill ends its credits by playing the tape Caesar left for the protagonists at the beginning of The Fetid Waters, which reveals that "powerful friends" (presumably Curien and Goldman) have access to Clement's compound, and more surprisingly, that Washington's father isn't actually dead...
And, well... at least they have acting. Unlike Goldman.
Tarot Motifs: Every boss in games 1 through 4 is named after a tarot card of the Major Arcana. As of the fourth game, only three Tarot cards have not had their names used: the Devil, the Moon, and the High Priestess. The bosses in OVERKILL don't follow this pattern — but they weren't developed by Curien or Goldman.
Tattooed Crook: Varla has a red, lipstick-kiss tattoo on her left breast.
Theme Naming: The bosses of the first four games are named after tarot cards.
Transformation Trauma: The bad endings have Goldman or a character close to the protagonists turn into a zombie, who is usually promptly shot off screen.
Jasper turns himself into the first boss of Overkill by injecting himself with the virus. (Given that he starts the game as a quadriplegic, his status as a boss is justified by his new Psychic Powers.)
Twenty Minutes into the Future: The House of the Dead III is set in the year 2019; the first two games were simply set in Next Sunday A.D.. Confusing matters is the fact that the fourth game takes place in the year 2003 and was released in 2005, and that Overkill takes place in 1991 and was released in 2009.
Warmup Boss: Each game has one boss with a relatively easy weak point and predictable movements to start you off, and often has the basic types of zombie before that.
Ironically, in Overkill, Jasper is one of the bosses that takes the longest to take care of when first fighting him, due to the player's basic pistol not being as rapid-fire or strong as the other weapons and taking forever to knock away his debris forcefield.
In the second game, James Taylor and Gary Stewart serve as the protagonists. In the fourth game, James returns, but Gary seems to have simply disappeared.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted in Overkill. As soon as Clement reveals himself as the Big Bad, Isaac Washington immediately shoots him... only to discover that there's a pane of bulletproof glass between them.
Played straight at the start of Scream Train when all three protagonists have Caesar right where they want him, but their arguing over who gets to kill/arrest him allows him to get away. It goes on for minutes, before any of them notice. Issac does manage to nick his arm though.