"This is state of the art horror."

House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn (ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド 〜スカーレット・ドーン〜) is a horror-themed arcade rail shooter released by SEGA Interactive in 2018. It is the fifth installment in the House of the Dead series.

The game is an interquel between The House of the Dead 4 and The House of the Dead III. Taking place on December 6, 2006, it follows AMS agents Kate Green and newcomer Ryan Taylor on an undercover mission at Scarecrow Mansion. When creatures besiege a dinner service, the pair discover a plan which threatens the world.


Like past installments, players are tasked to kill enemies that are standing in your way with the gun controller, now modeled after the H&K MP7. Unlike past games, the guns are now automatically reloaded once it's emptied, though the standard shake to reload mechanic is still available.

Numerous past gameplay mechanics made a return to the series. Civilians and Partner Rescue mechanic both made a return to the series after being absent from previous installments. The Partner Rescue in particular recieves a change, in which it will no longer occur during specific moments, but rather anytime during the game. The player must save their fallen partner, should the player failed to save the partner before the time ran out results in a life penalty, or in 2 player mode, the downed player's life penalty. The players can also be knocked down similar to "The House of the Dead 4", however the player will no longer be damaged during their downed state, but instead was tasked to clear out the surrounding enemies. Failing to do so before the time ran out also results in a life penalty.

The Stage Select system which first was used in "The House of the Dead III" also made a return. Completing the prologue chapter and the 3 main stages will lead the player to the final chapter of the game.

There are several new features added to the game, most of which were Japanese exclusive. First, the game features two modes: Normal Mode and Master Mode. The Normal Mode is the game's default gameplay setting, however, in Master Mode, the enemies' durability has been increased, the amount of enemies has been doubled, and several weapons that were used in the Normal Mode (with the exception of two weapons) were removed entirely, leaving the player with only the default gun, and the items the player will purchase (more on that later).

New to the series is Quick Time Events, in which the player was tasked to shoot a specific marker in a short period of time. Most of the time, failing the QTE will not result in a life penalty, however, failing the QTE's would effect your rating on each chapter.

Another new mechanic to the series is HOD Coins and the Item Shop. Killing the enemies with a critical shot, obtaining collectible items, saving civilians and completing the QTE will reward the player with HOD Coins. The player can use these coins to purchase items in the Item Shop in the beginning of each level. Up to two items can be bought per stage. The player can switch between items by pressing either the side buttons or the secondary trigger of the gun. The amount of uses for each item is limited and they cannot be replenished until the player completes the stage or by using a credit after losing all of their lives. The items are as follows:

  • Shotgun
  • Shotgun + (unavailable in International version)
  • MGM700 (Insta-kill one enemy)
  • Machine Gun + (unavailable in International version)
  • Machine Gun EX
  • Gatling Gun
  • Laser Gun
  • Heat Ray
  • Hand Grenade
  • Grenade Launcher
  • Incendiary Gun
  • Energy Cannon
  • Rocket Launcher
  • SW Cannon
  • Shield
  • Life (unavailable in International version)

Another new mechanic to the series is Aime Accessibility. By using Aime cards, the player can store their progress, keep their collected HOD Coins, check their highest scores, complete achievements, and partake in nationwide leaderboards. A level system was also added to the game as part of the Aime features. By beating the stages, the players will recieve XP. Once the bar filled up, the player will level up, and will be rewarded with HOD Coins. However, this feature is Japanese-exclusive, and is not available for the International release.

The scoring system for the game has also been tweaked. The ranks are based on 5 categories: Score, Enemies killed, Critical Shots, Accuracy, and Events. A minimum of 4 "Perfect" ratings and 1 "Excellent" rating are required to receive an S rank on each stage. At the end of the game, the player's final rank will be calculated based on the ranks on every stage. The better the player performs, the higher their final rating will be. Just like previous installments, the player's performance will determine the game's ending.

The International version receives major changes to the game. First the game has a single mode, though the player had the option to start anywhere after the prologue chapter, called Training Mode. Aime Accessibility and HOD Coins were removed altogether, as a result, the player will no longer worry about the purchases in the Item Shop, as the player can chose the items as they wish. In addition the criteria of the game's endings has been tweaked.


On December 6, 2006, AMS agents Kate Green and Ryan Taylor (the brother of the late James Taylor) are dispatched to Scarecrow Mansion for an undercover investigation of "Code R". During a dinner service, the party host unleashes hordes of zombies upon the guests; the agents fight to safety. A rescue helicopter arrives, but crashes, and the building collapses. Escaping with no backup available, Kate and Ryan explore the mansion.

In the annex, the agents discover a computer room with a world map, and are ambushed by a resurrected Chariot. After they kill Chariot and rescue hostages, Kate reveals that "Code R" is a mysterious project called "Noah's Ark".

In the underground laboratory, Ryan accidentally triggers an alarm, trapping them and activating the self-destruct system. The agents fight to the control panel and stop the countdown. Ryan finds a picture of the party host with Dr. Roy Curien and Caleb Goldman. Kate recognizes the party host as Thornheart, previously thought to have died from an illness, whose ancestors founded the DBR Corporation. The agents fight a squid-like creature named Priestess and they eventually burn it with flammable chemicals.

In the eastern house, Kate and Ryan discover Thornheart's room and learn that he is at a nearby church. They fight to a helipad, but a resurrected Hangedman destroys the chopper. After killing Hangedman, the agents rush to the church; Ryan worries that he will die like James.

Fighting through the church, the agents find monuments dedicated to Curien and Goldman. They confront Thornheart, who reveals that the purpose of "Noah's Ark" is "new life to be born in a new evolution." He releases his masterpiece, Moon, who is impervious to gunfire and constantly grows. Ryan impales Moon with a metal rod, which kills the creature when struck by lightning; Kate believes this miraculous event was a divine intervention from James. With the threat finally neutralized, Kate and Ryan leave Scarecrow Mansion as the sun rises.[5][6]


Depending on the player's performance, one of four endings will play after the credits; the words "To be continued in the next HOUSE OF THE DEAD appeared afterwards.

The criteria for getting each ending differs from Scarlet Dawn's Japanese arcade version to the US/European version; these differences are noted below.

Thornheart Ending 1: Thornheart, alive and unharmed, walks among rows of incubation tanks. He claims "It's impossible to change a predefined future."

  • In Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Normal Mode with continues used.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game with rank 3-8 in overall rating with a continue used.

Thornheart Ending 2: In the church, Thornheart states that the ordeal has only begun. He hunches over before smiling at the camera as it glitches out.

  • In the Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Normal Mode without using continues.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game with rank 2 in overall rating with a continue used.

Thornheart Ending 3: Thornheart stands up from his chair and leaves the church. He cryptically states that he "saw out the evolution of envy", and vows to follow up with "arrogance", before noting that "it is impossible to change a predefined future."

  • In the Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Master Mode with a continue used.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game with rank 1 in overall rating with a continue used.

Kate and Ryan Ending: Kate and Ryan discuss James after the Moon's defeat.[7]

  • In the Japanese version, it is earned by clearing the game in Master Mode without using continues.
  • In International versions, it is earned by clearing the game without using continues.


Chapters & Bosses



  • Rogers
  • Allen
  • Santana
  • Bryant
  • Wilson
  • Suzuki
  • Park
  • Mac
  • Smoker
  • Bruce
  • Samson Jr.
  • Janish
  • Ratstar




Following a 12-year hiatus on the franchise, House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn was announced by SEGA Interactive on January 14, 2018.[9] The game will run on Unreal Engine 4 within an enclosed "deluxe" cabinet featuring vibrating seats and motion sensors. A preliminary location test was held at the SEGA Akihabara Building 3 in Tokyo, Japan from January 19 to the 21st.[10] SEGA released a promotional website as promotion featuring gameplay screenshots.[11]

It was announced that civilians will return, as well as the "Rescue Mechanic" from The House of the Dead III. Multiple weapons could be equipped, including shotguns and grenade launchers. The Chariot, a boss from the original House of the Dead, was revealed to be returning. [12]

During JAEPO 2018, Sega released an official trailer for the game, revealing new scenes, including the confirmation of a new boss.[13] Sega held more location tests: one in Round One Arcade, Yokohama on March 3rd to March 5th; and another in Rakuichi Rakuzen Arcade, Kawaguchi on March 16th to March 18th[14].

On July 9th 2018, another location test, featuring new stages, enemies, and bosses, was held in three places: High-tech Land Sega in Shibuya, Sega Tokyo Dome City, and Sega Shinjuku Kabukicho. On the same day, it was confirmed that Scarlet Dawn is directed by Takashi Oda, who had worked on previous games in the series.

Kevin Bachus, the Senior Vice President of restaurant and video arcade chain Dave & Busters, announced that all locations will receive Scarlet Dawn cabinets in October.[15]


  • House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn is the first House of the Dead installment to be released in the 2010s (the last game being The House of the Dead: Overkill in 2009).
    • Excluding Overkill, Scarlet Dawn is also the first canon installment in the franchise to be released in the 2010s, after The House of the Dead 4 in 2005.
  • The Japanese release date (September 13th) marks both the release of the original 1996 game and the franchise's 22nd anniversary.
  • This is the first game in which Player 1 and 2's colors (traditionally red and blue, respectively) are switched.
  • This is the first game in the main series not to feature the character G.
  • The title noticeably drops the word "the", reading simply as House of the Dead.
  • This is the first game in the series to feature automatic reload (the ammunition will be automatically filled once it's emptied) as a default function. As such, the standard "Reload" sound effect and notification are removed.
  • Scarlet Dawn's level structure is similar to The House of the Dead III; both open with a prologue chapter and feature 3 selectable chapters.
  • With an overall total of 5 chapters, this is the shortest House of the Dead game since the original game.
  • Bosses in Scarlet Dawn do not have "type numbers", unlike prior games in the main series. This is the second game in the franchise to do so, following Overkill.
  • Scarlet Dawn uses the short version of the "Stage Clear" theme, previously used in the original House of the Dead. It is followed by a remix of "Ranking" from The House of the Dead 2.
  • Unlike previous games, Scarlet Dawn's route map is shown regardless if the game is completed or not. In contrast, the first four entries only show route maps at game over.
  • This is the first game in the entire canon series to not include a "Bad Ending".
  • "House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn" has similarities to "The House of the Dead 4":
    • Both games featured a "veteran" character and a "rookie" character (James Taylor is the veteran and Kate Green is the rookie in 4, while Kate is the veteran and Ryan Taylor is the rookie in "Scarlet Dawn").
    • Both games featured "the ground shaking" during the opening cutscene.
    • Both games introduced the Player 2 character first (Kate Green in both 4 and "Scarlet Dawn").
    • Both games featured a "glass scene"; zombies breaking through the glass during the opening chapter.
    • Both games feature a similar plot: In House of the Dead 4, the AMS agents attempt to stop a project called "Pandora's Box" orchestrated by Goldman, and in House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn they attempt to stop another project called "Noah's Ark" orchestrated by Thornheart, a character who happens to have a connection to Goldman.
      • However, the motivation behind the actions of each game's antagonist is different. Goldman wants to restore "the natural harmony of the world" which "humans broke" but "were once subject to" like other organisms, and deplores how humans "came to know greed like no other species." Thornheart feels, however, "Arrogance, greed, envy, rage, lust, veracity," and "laziness" are "all great expression" and, contrasting his view of it from Goldman's, considers evolution "to be truly about the human mind." Undercutting nature's system of "biological adaptability" that Goldman valued, Thornheart also states, "We need to get rid of the dead."
    • Both games have a second chapter that begins with a flashback sequence, and the remaining chapters of both games feature the main antagonist.
    • Both games feature the same death animation in the route display (P1 laying down with one arm holding the chest, and P2 falling down with one arm extended upwards)
    • Both games utilize machine guns, however House Of The Dead 4 uses a lightweight Uzi (ingame the model is based on a modified Steyr TMP) whereas Scarlet Dawn features a standard assault rifle-like gun based on the Heckler and Koch MP7.
  • There are several differences between Scarlet Dawn's International and Japanese version:
    • The Japanese version has 2 difficulty modes: Normal Mode and Master Mode. The International version removes both.
    • The International version removes the Aime card accessibility, in turn removing the HOD coins, player levels, and achievements.
    • Three items (Lifes, Shotgun +, and Machine Gun +) are exclusive to the Japanese version's Item Shop.
    • In the Japanese version, getting S rank awards 2 bonus lives. The International version changes this to 1.
    • In the International version, boss names have the word "The" in front (e.g. The Chariot, The Hangedman). In addition, Priestess is renamed "The High Priestess".
    • The International version lacks subtitles for most of the dialogue. The exceptions to this are Hangedman and Moon's speech, Ranking monologues, and the A.I. voices used for the helicopter and laboratory doors.


Kate GreenRyan TaylorThornheart
Rogers • Allen • Santana • Bryant • Wilson • Kageo • Suzuki • Cyril • Park • Mac • Ebitan • Smoker • Simon • Bruce • BentleySamson • Samson Jr. • Rubin • Drake • Janish • MurrerDevilon • Ratstar
Scarecrow Manor • Kate and Ryan • Homo Sapiens • Pandora's Box • A Glimmer of Hope