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The House of the Dead

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

The House of the Dead (1996) 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 (2022) Switch, PS4 and Xbox One

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked The House of the Dead 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 5 months ago.
Kids not old enough for this yet? There are lots of games similar to The House of the Dead (Series). Here are some similar younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is an Action and Shooting game. You can play with 1 to 2 players in the same room or as a 4-player online game. 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 2 players, with each requiring a Joy-Con controller.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: 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.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

House of the Dead Overkill rated PEGI 18. This game features frequent realistic violence towards human-like and fantasy characters. Some of the violence is graphic, including characters' heads exploding when they are shot. This results in an explosion of blood and gore. There is sight of dismemberment, which is also accompanied by blood effects.
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.

Rated for younger players in Australia. House of the Dead Remake is rated Mature Accompanied (MA 15+) for Strong Horror Violence, Blood and Gore.

Account Rating

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


The House of the Dead usually costs £22.49.


Steam Store PC £22.49

The House of the Dead

Switch Store Switch -
PlayStation Store PS4 -
XBox Store Xbox One -
XBox Store Xbox X|S -
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/1996, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Xbox, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Players: 1-2 (4 online)

Genres: Action and Shooting

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: 3D First-Person

Developer: SEGA (@SEGA)

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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