- "Face your worst fears."
The House of the Dead 4 (ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド 4) is a horror-themed rail shooting game developed by WOW Entertainment (formerly SEGA AM1) and released by SEGA to arcades in 2005. It is a prequel to The House of the Dead III, and is the fourth game overall in the House of the Dead series.
The House of the Dead 4 was praised for its gameplay and graphics. A PlayStation 3 port with PlayStation Move support was released in 2012; The House of the Dead 4: Special, a spin-off arcade attraction, is included as a bonus.
A follow-up and another prequel to The House of the Dead III, House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn, was released in 2018.
In 2003, veteran AMS agent James Taylor and rookie Kate Green gather intelligence at the fifth basement floor of the AMS' European headquarters in Italy. James suspects that events of the 2000 Goldman case have not ended. A sudden earthquake rocks the room, collapsing the basement walls and trapping the agents.
Several days later, while awaiting backup, James' PDA goes off; hordes of creatures appear on the security cameras. James and Kate arm themselves and escape. In a classified information room, they uncover a plot to fire nuclear missiles worldwide within 24 hours' time.
In the sewers, James and Kate battle the four-armed Justice and the Lovers, a pair of giant tarantulas. Evading the Empress, a double-ended chainsaw-wielding creature, the agents take the subway to an underground shopping district. Reaching the creature-infested streets, they defeat the obese, nearly impervious Temperance. They find the city obliterated.
James receives a PDA message from the late Caleb Goldman, CEO of the DBR Corporation and the mastermind of the 2000 incident. Goldman, whose messages and current plans were set into motion before his death, begins the nuclear missile launch countdown. James and Kate head to Goldman's abandoned headquarters, defeating the Star, a levitating creature.
The agents stop the launch, but Goldman states in a pre-recorded message that he only wanted to revert self-destructing humans to their "natural state". His final legacy, the World, is released from beneath the building courtyard in the opening of "Pandora's Box", fulfilling its role as the Emperor's successor. The World continues to grow and revive itself. James sets his PDA to self-destruct, telling Kate not to give up hope, sacrificing himself, alongside the World, in the following explosion. A shaken and distraught Kate leaves Goldman's premises.
Depending on the player's performance, one of four endings will play after the credits. The words "The story continues in House of the Dead 3 [sic]" appear afterwards.
- Standard ending: The view returns to the computer in Goldman's office, continuing the former president's pre-recorded message. Goldman gives a final statement as he walks away: "Ah yes, there is one thing I forgot. The human race has not been eliminated. Travel north... hope is such a splendid thing."
- Bad ending: It is the same as the above ending, except when Goldman mentions hope, he takes off his glasses and the camera zooms on his face. His eyes are glowing red, and his face is pale.
- "G" ending: Accomplished If an "A" average is maintained and an "S" is earned in Chapter 1. AMS agent "G" appears in front of the smoking crater where James destroyed the World. He tells James to rest, vowing to fight the threat back to its source. As "G" walks out, the camera pans on Goldman's building before it cuts to black.
- Thornheart ending: Accomplished if an "A" average is maintained with at least one "S" in any Chapterother than the first. A mysterious and unidentified man (previously seen in one of The House of the Dead III's endings) sits at a desk in the corner of an office, stating: "Goldman, you are soft. These wretched humans have no need of hope. Soon, the true end shall begin. ...There is more than one Pandora's Box."
In The House of the Dead 4, players use a Mini Uzi submachine gun which allows fully automatic fire. The gun also has a motion sensor that can detect when the player shakes the gun. The player can reload the gun by shaking it. The game also features grenades that the player can throw to destroy large numbers of enemies and heavily damage most bosses. Additional grenades can be earned by completing certain tasks or by shooting crates. At some points in the game, players are required to shake the gun vigorously in order to escape certain situations, and in some cases alter the path.
The game features branching paths, but as in House of the Dead III, the player is prompted on which path to choose. However, alternate paths can still be taken by succeeding or failing prompts to shake the gun to open doors or by destroying certain objects. Most of the paths lead to the same point in the game's story. There is also an end-of-stage bonus where players can receive extra lives depending on critical shots, accuracy, and score. Another returning factor is the presence of the "Cancel" bar during boss fights. Civilians are absent once again, and the partner rescue mechanic from the previous game does not return. To compensate for the above two points, one life is awarded for every B or A rank (as opposed to the previous game in which one life is awarded only for an A rank) and two lives are awarded for every S rank (like the previous game).
The game runs on a critical shots counter where the player is encouraged to go for headshots rather than spraying ammo at the enemy. It starts off as Good, Excellent, Amazing and then Perfect. Getting hit, or killing an enemy not by the head resets the counter.
The most common enemies have three attacks. A "normal attack", a "grab," and a "push". The foremost inflicts one point of damage, while the second forces a shaking sequence that, if successful, pushes back attackers for easier disposal, but if unsuccessful, will result in the player being bitten or the player's character being knocked down and vulnerable. Multiple zombies may also pile on top of both players in an attempt to stomp on them.
Chapters & Bosses
- Chapter 1: Escape - Justice (Type 0053)
- Chapter 2: Lost - The Lovers (Type 6805)
- Chapter 3: Emptiness - The Empress (Type 1210)
- Chapter 4: Despair - Temperance (Type 0483)
- Chapter 5: Reunion - The Star (Type 0001)
- Chapter 6: Hope - The World (Type β)
The House of the Dead 4: Special
- None of the zombies in this game bleed any blood when they are shot or when they die, despite blood being literally everywhere and having large bloody holes and scratches all over them.
- Despite this, the game still has a sort of "skin damage" mechanic, in which when an enemy is shot anywhere, bullet holes are visible in the enemy, revealing red flesh underneath. This can be clearly seen when an enemy grabs the player.
- The televisions used are Mitsubishi's 2005 62" DLP 16:9 ratio widescreen model for the "Super Deluxe"-cabinet, Mitsubishi's 2005 52" DLP 4:3 ratio model for the "Deluxe"-sized cabinet, and the smallest version uses a Sanwa 29" 4:3 ratio television for the "upright" cabinet. The game runs in 1080P.
- The last two stages in the game take place in the same locations as the last two stages in House of the Dead 2, Point A0063 and Goldman's headquarters. The background music for both stages are remixed versions of the original HOTD2 songs, also remixed by their original composer, Haruyoshi Tomita. They are respectively titled "Dawn (Remix of Year Seventh)" and "Original Sin (Remix of Year Seventh)" on the game's soundtrack, referring to the seven years since the song's debut at the game, as House of the Dead 2 was released in late 1998 and House of the Dead 4 at the end of 2005.
- According to the Japanese Wikipedia page of the game, it was set in London (Which is confusing as Point A0063 is apparently in Italy as seen in House of the Dead 2).
- During the game there is a flashback in multiple parts where Goldman spells out his motive; in the final part it is revealed he is speaking directly to James and Gary, thus depicting a scene in House of the Dead 2. The speech Goldman has been giving throughout the flashback is notably different from the actual speech in the previous game.
- The fourth chapter's name is the same as the fourth chapter's name of The House of the Dead 2.