This is one strange bird. Typing of the Dead
uses--rather, abuses--both the engine and the content of House of the Dead 2
, turning it into a typing challenge. Think of it as MasterType
on speed, for those of you old enough to remember that program. Of course, instead of goofy little spaceships coming towards a space station, in Typing of the Dead
you're blowing messy chunks into various zombie-type things in an attempt to save your bacon. And you do that by typing the words that appear in front of them.
Because this was originally a gun-based shooter, the game is entirely on rails. You're going to be automatically moving between the areas, and while it's a good idea to keep a look out for the environments, for the most part you want to concentrate on the screen so that when word bubbles appear you can start hammering away at them.
Most enemies take simple words or basic sentences, depending on how far you are into the game. Each correct letter is a 'hit', and each incorrect one is a miss. Fortunately the words don't reset if you typo, so you can bang away until you get them. If you need to switch what you're attacking--if something throws a weapon at you, for example--you can hit escape and start typing the next thing's starting character. In reality, that ability isn't necessary (for me, at least) until the last levels, when most zombies have five-word sentences for their shots and you don't have enough time to finish one before another pops up closer.
It sounds utterly bizarre, but it works very well. The game tracks your accuracy and reflexes, like any good gun game, only now it's with the keyboard. There's something appealing about wailing away on the keys in an attempt to defeat a boss, and I found myself more satisfied with Typing of the Dead than many other games I've played recently. In addition to the 'standard' mode, there's an Original Mode which lets you use items at your discretion, a Drill mode that lets you practice various skills (speed typing, accuracy, and the like), and a Boss Attack mode that is pretty much self-explanatory. There's also an unsupported two-player mode, which I unfortunately did not have a chance to try out.