Admit it. You like to show off. Counter-Strike rankings, drawing your own stupid homemade Comics - deep down, abilities like these are just screaming for attention....so, uh, go check out my stupid homemade comic already.
Take, for example, typing. Got blazing fingers of lightning and no outlet to show 'em off? Do you aspire to zoom your hands across the keyboard, stunning the ladies and putting pretenders in their place? Perhaps your amazing typing skills will make you the envy of all your peers and be your ticket to financial freedom. Riiight.
Up until now, typing hasn't been associated with fun. It's a means to an end, a way to get your paper finished or an email written. That doesn't sound like fun. But if you throw a zombie into the mix, suddenly, typing is fun! And educational! Just goes to show you that zombification is the answer to life's problems. Go Umbrella! Make them viruses. Destroy humanity. Blarghh!
Typing of the Dead is essentially a mod to House of the Dead 2, transforming the zombie-fragging shooter into a zombie typing tutor. It's the exact same game footage, from the tricked out zombie animations down to the dorky voice actors, but now, you've got to type or die!
The gameplay is simple. Words and phrases show up on the screen beneath the zombies. Just type that word to kill the zombie. Bosses take even more skill, requiring you to fulfill such challenges as typing the correct answer to a question or typing whole sentences. Take too long to type or make too many mistakes, and the zombies will take a bite. It's not quite like shooting a gun, but strangely, almost as rewarding.
The words you type range from random dictionary entries to references from sources such as The Simpsons, Barney and Ally McBeal. Plus, there are some truly bizarre phrases, like "Fart in a bottle." Add to that entries heavy on the innuendo, like "Mmmm... Nice Pair." Or more blatantly, "boob." A mite shady, but better and funnier than typing "dog" 1200 times.
Typing of the Dead is the kind of creative lunacy that can only come out of Japan. But unlike the creatively outlandish Incredible Crisis, Typing of the Dead is chock full of replay.
Besides the main Arcade and Original challenges (again, the same as the gun version), you've also got Tutorials, Drills, Boss Challenges and the VS CPU mode, where you go mano a mano with the computer.
As an educational product, the game woks nicely. It's good for both the Junior High kid and the oldie who wants to speed up their typing. The tutorials go through all facets of touch-typing, while the drills strengthen and reinforce what you've learned. But the people who stand to gain the most are immediately excluded from this game. Won't somebody think of the children?
I wish that there were more new things added to the HOD2 footage. There are a few minor updates including Big Head mode, and instead of axes and knives, zombies now sport frying pans, maracas and plastic hammers.
There's also an alternate ending that is much better than the original HOD2 (which isn't hard, considering how crappy the original ending was). Nice touches, but how about a total conversion? Why not a whole army of zombie monkeys? Or zombie clowns with circus music on zombie elephants and zombie ponies?
Here's a little lesson in basic economics, GR style. The game costs $30. You can't play the game without at least one keyboard, at the cost of an extra $25, but if you really want to have fun, you'll need TWO keyboards, driving the grand total to 80 smackeroos.
80 dollars can still do lot in this day and age. You can make the first step in saving for an IRA account. Or enjoy 80 tacos. But is 80 dollars worth it for a typing game?
Why couldn't they package the game with the keyboard? Dreamcast keyboards are equivalent in quality to the $10 PC keyboards, which mean they cost even less to make in China. The cost to make this game is less than your standard game - why not pass those savings onto the customer? Why do I feel like I'm being burnt?
If your sole aim is to increase the speed of your typing, you can easily download typing tutors off the Internet for free. But if you want to have fun while doing it, Mavis Beacon has nothing on my zombie brethren.
There's a PC version of The Typing of the Dead out there, but as far as I know, it's only being sold in Europe. What a shame. With the PC, you already have a keyboard and there's supposedly network play for two players. If it has support for a PS/2 keyboard and a USB keyboard (which I doubt is possible), that'd be perfect. Give the demo version a try - at the very least, it'll give you a feel for the game.
As I finish typing this review, I realize that my typing speed and accuracy has improved...and I have zombies to thank for it. The more I played the game, the more I came to like it. Still, a wholehearted recommendation is hard to give. It's the same game footage as HOD2, plus two keyboards and the game itself is a lot to pay. But without a doubt, this is the most fun you can have while increasing your typing speed. Zombies make good teachers.