If you’ve already played The Typing Of The Dead then you can skip this. If you haven’t, then you might not know that it’s a recreation of Sega’s blast-the-lumbering-zombies-with-your-lightgun favourite House Of The Dead, except that instead of pointing guns at a screen and pulling the trigger, you have to type pop-up words and phrases really fast, and this blows bits off the zombies and they fall over dead. It’s basically “George Romero Teaches Typing”. (No, really.)
So I told Bob about this and her infectious enthusiasm, um, infected me too, so with a gravelly cry of “KEEEYYYSSS!” I lumbered off to get the PC version. We figured that it would either be crap or completely brilliant. After a mere 20 minutes’ play we can now both assure you that it is, of course, completely brilliant.
- “TYPE OR DIE!”
- Blowing limbs off a zombie with each letter of phrases like “pickled shallots”, “he’s wrong for you” and “a puddle of sick”.
- It’s not that easy: Though I may be not just a Level 12 Gaming Uberlöord with a +10 Walkthrough Googling ability but also a relatively rapid homegrown typist, Bob is the one with proper touch-type training (i.e. actually using the home keys). This means that she gets the badly-animated non-zombies doing the “How can I ever thank you?” routine while my 2:1 right key:wrong key ratio lands me in the bio-degradable Brainz-U-Like container.
- To quote the website:
With humorous words and phrases, a question and answer round and characters walking around with keyboards strapped to their chests, you can be sure that THE TYPING OF THE DEAD is one of the most entertaining games you could ever play!
- In case you missed it, I’ll bold it this time:
characters walking around with keyboards strapped to their chests
Not only that, but they have Dreamcasts strapped to their backs! And this is never explained by the plot! It’s fantastic!
- And your character is called James Taylor! Here he is! (Basically what Sam Neill would look like if his jacket was way too wide and had a Dreamcast and keyboard strapped to it)
- James leads you through the tutorial mode which does all the usual Mavis stuff like teaching about home keys, but before that the merits of good touch typing are stressed with bullet-points such as “Leave work early and spend more time at karaoke”. To emphasise, James says, “This is what happens if you can’t touch type,” followed by a zombie running up to him and whacking him repeatedly while he’s trying to find the right keys. “AAAAH! AAAAH! AAAAH! AAAAH! Get the picture?” (Yes, I get the picture: it’s the most blatant attempt at getting Japanese schoolkids excited about their imminent mutation into salarymen since Go By Train. So that’s fantastic too. I mean, between this, that and Boon-Ga Boon-Ga – a game in which you score points by ramming a large plastic finger into a cabinet-mounted arse – I don’t care if I ever have to sit through a Final Fantasy cut-scene again because the Japanese have already won and unless Jeff Minter stops fondling his ungulates long enough to pull off a miracle then I’ll be looking for funding partners to set up Britain’s first schoolgirls’-used-knickers vending machine franchise. Aythangew.)
- Nice graphics, silly sound, loads of play modes, etc. etc.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen it in any recent issues of Pretentious Industry Gamer Monthly, it’s because it’s already several years old. Like Samba De Amigo this was originally a Dreamcast game created to sell a peripheral – in this case, a keyboard. Given what a disaster such a product could have been, I think it turned out pretty well, though it’s not surprising that Sega decided on a port to a platform that had the distinct advantage of coming with the necessary equipment the vast majority of the time. Here’s a link to the demo (107MB) but why bother? Kelkoo has it for a tenner, as do various US outlets. You know you want it. Hey, it’s either that or get Mavis Beacon a home voodoo kit.