The House of the Dead is a rail shooter light gun game. Players use a light gun to aim and shoot at approaching zombies. The characters' pistols use magazines which hold 6 rounds; players reload by shooting away from the screen. A set of torches next to the magazine of each player represents remaining health. When a player sustains damage or shoots a hostage, one of their torches is removed. The player dies when all torches are lost. First-aid packs are available throughout the game which restore one torch; some can be obtained from rescued hostages, while others are hidden inside certain breakable objects. Special items can be found within other breakables, granting a bonus to the player who shoots them.
Throughout the course of the game, players are faced with numerous situations in which their action (or inaction) will have an effect on the direction of game play. This is exemplified in the opening stage of the game when a hostage is about to be thrown from the bridge to his death. If the player saves the hostage, they will enter the house directly through the front door; however, if the player fails to rescue the hostage, the character is redirected to an underground route through the sewers. If the player rescues all hostages, a secret room full of lives and bonuses is revealed toward the end of the game.
Great for ages 8 and up