The Typing of The Dead
Platform:  Dreamcast (also available for PC)
Players:  1-2

    OMG, the TOTD!  What a great concept!  This has got to be the most enjoyable typing game ever.  Killing zombies at 70 wpm, saving civilians from their premature demise, and a combination of badly translated dialogue and horrible voice acting; what more could you want?  Enough gushing, on to the review!  "At last, you've come...friends."

Description:  If you've played The House of the Dead, you know the storyline.  This is a modified version of The House of the Dead that replaces your light gun with a keyboard.  When enemies and items appear on screen, a series of letters, words, or whole sentences will also appear in a box in front of the item or enemy.  You then type what appears in the box to gain the item or kill the enemy.  The game is pretty much a set path, with the only deviations or alternate paths being opened by saving a civilian from being killed by a zombie.  Upon reaching the end of the level (there are 6 in all) you fight a boss, which will force you to type in a certain fashion.  Items, once gathered, can be used by pressing the corresponding key.  Most items will kill one normal enemy or damage a boss, but the "helping hands" item takes the cake for best item.  Once this is used, a pair of white-gloved hands appear at the bottom of the screen.  While these hands are visible, you can press any key to finish the word or phrase.  I personally like to save these for some of the last boss fights in the game since I'm usually either low on or out of continues.

Graphics:  As far as graphic quality is concerned, the Dreamcast version is great.  The game also runs at a full 60fps, faster than a lot of the games back then and even some now.  The PC version, depending on your system, is a bit choppy when loading sound effects and changing background music during cutscenes.   There is a good variety of enemies, making each level interesting and unique.  Some of the last bosses, like The Magician and The Emperor, are especially well designed.  The Magician looks like something straight out of Resident Evil, with long fingers, a missing eye, and worm-like flesh tubes pulsing through its open wounds.  The Emperor is a nice change from the other enemies in the game.  This being is made up entirely of energy and has a reflective, pearlescent look.  It also morphs into prior bosses while retaining its reflective, metallic look.  The scenery is nicely done. However, I do have two gripes about the water in this game.  First, despite the fact that most of the city is overrun with zombies, the water is crystal clear.  This wouldn't be so hard to believe if the rest of the city wasn't covered in nasty.  Second, the water movement is badly programmed.  For a game released in 2000, this isn't too bad of a shortcoming, but it annoyed me all the same.

Sound:  First off, the voice acting is so bad, it's good.  This is one of the reasons I play through this game so often.  The voices were done by Japanese actors and do not have the American accent quite right.  Additionally, some of the translations are not exactly right (I hope).  Actually, one particularly bad translation occurs twice in the game.  I won't quote it here but, if you play the first level, you will encounter it just before the well.  The sound effects are of good sound quality, but some are used too often.  A good example of this is the zombie death moan.  There had to be enough space on the disc to include a couple of extra sound files in order to mix it up a bit.

Play Control:  Hopefully you've had some experience on a keyboard.  If not, there are training modules that will get you going.  There are also drill modes that will attempt to help you increase your speed if you're having trouble getting past the last level.  The PC version has a nifty cheat that will give you infinite helping hands.  That way you can experience the game without having to be a typing prodigy.

Replay:  This has a very high replay value, even if you just want to test your current typing skills.  I've owned this game for a few years and I usually play it about once a month.  The two-player ability on the Dreamcast version will have friends that say "I suck at video games" playing right along with you.  In fact, I've seen video game novices get hooked on this game because you don't have to be great at video games to play this game well.  There are some things that can be unlocked in the game if you play multiple times, such as an alternate, comical ending, the "big head" mode, and five coins that you can earn in each level as an achievement of sorts.

Final Verdict:  Awesomeness.  If you don't like this game, I don't even want to know what's wrong with you.  I should not see copies of this game on the shelf because it should be as popular of a game as Symphony of the Night.  If you come across a copy of this for the Dreamcast, PC or, if you're very lucky, the arcade cabinet, buy it.  Even if you don't have the Dreamcast or a PC that will run this game, I'm sure someone you know will, and they'll have fun playing it, too.  "I am... I am..." done with this review.

Written on 04-12-06 by Shane,

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