Thursday, 18 December 2014

Typing of the Dead - Dreamcast/PC


That's right, TYPING of the Dead.


UltraKey, Mavis Beacon, Typing Instructor, all popular and famous typing tutor programs that people have used through the years. Programs that deal with accuracy, learning the home keys (asdf and jkl; for those interested) while also there's the lovely aspect of online competition for some programs that allow for people to duel off at writing up pangrams, anagrams of pangrams and words that consist of either the left hand, right hand, or specific rows of the keys like Typewriter (Top row only on QWERTY). But did anybody really consider we could use such a program to kill zombies?

Viciously villifying vocabulary there.

Typing of the Dead, a game that takes Hose of The Dead 2 from the Dreamcast and gives you a keyboard instead of a light gun and sets you up to type zombies to death. It is as impressive as it sounds. Though it's on the PC, it's clear that this is a conversion from the Dreamcast as you can see that the characters are carrying keyboards, with Dreamcasts on their back with a GIANT BATTERY atop that. Which also explains why you cannot quit out of the program and have to switch to the Task Manager to get out (or alt-tab) as the Dreamcast would have just switched off.

Dreamcasts and keyboards!

The game is essentially the same, same levels, same bosses, same secrets and bonus routes but there's more. Oh so much more in this game. Firstly, there's a whole tutorial session that lets you practise to improve your skills, there's Arcade mode which is just straight forward typing at enemies and bosses, Original mode that gives you bonus items and power ups from Molotov's that kills all on screen to golden hands that auto type the right keys regardless of what you type. You can also go the route of the tests and boss runs or even play against the CPU (how's that even fair?) and Network modes.

No, it's not Cell phone.

But the gameplay is what really sells this game. The first level will run you with words like AD, R2 and D2 (and not unintentionally I should add) while some of the bonus areas will have things like defeating 10 or so zombies without getting hit, while the words will be specifically focused ranging from all of them having double letters, or all themed on animals, or themed on greetings for a date. The topics and selection of words is very ranged and varied to the point of being outlandishly obscure such as "Everyone's a Schoolgirl". You just have to type the word in the box (spaces are optional) before the monster hits you. Some will be huge sentences, some just words, and the quick fire ones will be a single character from A to Z, symbols and numbers.

"Wasting my life writing shitty articles" isn't an option?

The real gem in this is the outright ridiculous humour and wordplay that comes in the last few levels. Bosses that require you to type out answers to questions. Questions like "What can you not buy in a shop?" and of the three responses, "Body parts" should be your answer. Other questions have all three answers as viable and yet crazy to the point where I've lost hit points as a result of laugh my arse off at the options. Though you can take hits from enemies, it should be noted that with every perfect response (no typos), you build up a refill bar, once that's topped off, you get another free life point. You can also pick up lives from saving people and being quick enough to hit the keys when you're passing boxes and crates with items within them.

You won the game, now type out the credits.

Having to answer the question "What do you do in bed?" and being treated with answers like "Make a bed fort", "Pretend to be sick" and "Have a wan-" ok maybe not that last one, but it's almost as close to the mark as some of the options available to us. The game itself modifies from the original in that zombies will hold back as long as you're typing their words consistently, inaccuracies will cause you to drop score ratings on those enemies while bosses are a lot less forgiving. It's a fascinating idea and the humour is rife through the game with how it's delivered. Play it, if only to laugh at the humour, laugh at the risible notion of a typing tutor that fuses apocalyptic zombies scenarios and keyboard accuracy and laugh at a game that pokes as much fun at you as it does at itself and western society.