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The House of the Dead (Series) Review
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Posted: 4 months ago, last updated 8 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


The House of the Dead is a horror-themed shooting game where you control the targeting but not the movement. Unlike general on-rails shooting games, this was controlled using a light-gun pointing at the screen (or similar controller). This gives the game a novel fairground attraction feel. Add to this the branching paths and stories, the prestigious history and arcade legacy and this is a notable and unusual series.

Play involves targeting the different undead enemies in a range of locations. You need to shoot them before they get to you. This differs in the various games that offer different characters, firearms, and types of enemies. Later games offered a branching path and a range of endings determined by your choices, as well as unlockable bonuses.

Your task is to the area of enemies to advance through the story. Hitting zombies in the head will dispatch them more quickly but you also need to make choices about which weapons to use in each scenario. Clearing a level often brings in a boss to battle. The first two The House of the Dead games featured civilians to rescue that offer a reward. You can gain lives by shooting boxes, crates, vases and destructible scenery.

The following games are available in the series:
  • The House of the Dead (1996) Arcade, PC
  • The House of the Dead 2 (1998) Arcade, Wii
  • The House of the Dead 3 (2002) Arcade, Xbox, Wii, PC, PS3 (Move)
  • The House of the Dead 4 (2005) Arcade, PS3 (Move)
  • The Typing of the Dead 2 (2008) PC, PS2, iOS, DS (English of the Dead)
  • The House of the Dead: Overkill (2009) Wii, PS3 (Move), PC
  • House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn (2018) Arcade
  • The House of the Dead: Remake (2021) Switch

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 01/01/1996, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS2, PS3, Switch, Wii and Xbox

Genres: Action and Shooting


Duration: This game will take between 1 hour and 2 hours to complete. Although you can complete the games in a couple of hours, the multiple endings and items to find make them ideal for multiple playthroughs.
Players: You can play this with 4 players online. The number of players varies in each game and system. The House of the Dead: Overkill offers 2 players, with each requiring a Wii Remote (Motion Plus compatible) or PlayStation Move controller. The House of the Dead: Remake offers 4 players, with each requiring a Joy-Con controller.


Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.  

You don’t need a platform subscription to play this game online.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

House of the Dead Overkill rated PEGI 18.
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

In the US, ESRB state: Players use firearms (pistols, shotguns, and machine guns) to kill swarms of attacking zombies, earning higher scores for shooting off zombie limbs (arms and legs) and going for headshots. Red blood splatters from injured zombies, while blood stains are often seen on the floors and walls. The two main characters often engage in dialogue that contains strong profanity (e.g., "motherf*cker" and "a*shole") and sexual references (e.g., mention of hookers, breast size, jokes about sex with one's mother). During one scene, a humanoid female monster is depicted with "mutated" breasts that jiggle when it moves.

Account Rating

You don’t need a platform subscription to play this game online.


We haven't documented accessibility features for this game yet. Our The House of the Dead Accessibility Report details system-wide settings that may help, and suggests similar games with accessibility features.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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