What do you get when you take House of the Dead 2, remove the gun support, and add support for the Dreamcast keyboard? That's right, it's Typing of the Dead, Sega's typing tutor for the Dreamcast. The concept sounds extremely strange, but in practice, Typing of the Dead is extremely fun. And like Bill Cosby used to say, "You just might learn something by the time we're done."
Typing of the Dead has most of the same modes as its gun-based counterpart, including arcade mode, boss mode, and original mode. The game also features a tutorial mode and a drill mode, which can be used to assess and enhance your typing skills. The game behaves just like House of the Dead 2, giving you a constant barrage of zombies and other bad guys to take out. But instead of using a light gun, each zombie has a letter, word, or phrase attached to it. You take out the enemies by correctly typing the phrase before time runs out, which results in your being attacked. Boss fights add new twists. Magician, for instance, attacks you if you make a mistake while typing the phrase. The three-headed monster actually asks you questions, and you must choose the correct answer from three possible choices in order to land hits. In two-player mode, the points go to the person who finished the phrase first.
Probably the coolest feature about Typing of the Dead is its sense of humor. It would be easy for the words and phrases contained in the game to be extremely dry and meaningless, but the game has tons of different phrases - some of the boss fights even tell a little story with the phrases as you type. Phrases like "yellow zebra" and "internet crime" are fairly common, but the game mixes up its phrases enough to give the game a lot of replay value - perhaps even more than the original House of the Dead 2.
Graphically, the game looks just like House of the Dead 2, with a few exceptions. Instead of running around with guns, your posse members are each strapped with a keyboard at chest height, and they each have a Dreamcast unit and large battery strapped to their backs. Instead of axes and other gory elements, some of the monsters are packing maracas, mallets, and other cartoonish weapons. The soundtrack is identical to House of the Dead 2, complete with the amazingly horrible, yet horribly funny, voice work.
The concept of a typing game might not sound appealing right off the bat, but Typing of the Dead is lots of fun, has lots of replay value, and, perhaps most importantly, provides yet another great use for the Dreamcast keyboard. On top of the game's fun nature, the tutorial and drill modes can actually go a long way in teaching you how to be a better touch-typist. Keyboard owners should definitely check this one out.