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The House of the Dead III is a 2002 light gun arcade game with a horror theme, and the third installment to the House of the Dead series of video games, developed by Wow Entertainment and Sega. It was later ported to the Xbox in 2003, Microsoft Windows in 2005, and the Wii in 2008, in a compilation with The House of the Dead 2. The game continues the story of the previous games and introduces new gameplay concepts. The game's main protagonist is Lisa Rogan, daughter of Thomas Rogan, the first game's main character, and players control either Lisa or Thomas' former partner, G. This game was the most violent entry in the series until the release of The House of the Dead: Overkill.
The House of the Dead III departs from the original games in many ways: the most obvious being weaponry and story branching. The former is immediately apparent upon playing the Xbox version. The shotgun used in the game no longer requires the traditional "point off-screen" reload, but rather reloads automatically. Reloading still takes time, but happens without prompt as soon as the gun needs it. The arcade version differs here, because there is the presence of light guns, allowing for similar speedy reloading. A reload is achieved by pumping the shotgun controller. While playing the game on Xbox, the light gun controller released by Madcatz may be used; however, the traditional "shoot off-screen" reload was reintroduced in the Wii version.
A branching storyline existed in the previous games, but was handled differently. In The House of the Dead III, the player is given options for navigating through the game prior to the start of most stages, ultimately going through the same areas with different results dependent on the order chosen.
Another important difference is the absence of civilians. Unlike the first two The House of the Dead games, in which players could rescue various people in peril, The House of the Dead III contains no extra personnel beyond those central to the plot. Instead, "Rescue Events" occur during each stage in which the player will need to rescue his or her partner from attacking zombies. An extra life is rewarded for each successful rescue.
A new concept of the series comes in the form of a "Cancel" bar. In previous installments, the bosses' weak point would only need to be shot once to stun the attack. In this game, the bosses' weak point must be shot repeatedly to drain the "Cancel" bar and stop the attack.
Another major change to the gameplay comes in the form of a new rank and grade system. Players are now graded on how fast they dispose of the zombies, ranging from Excellent, Good, Faster, and Twin Shot, the last taking place if two zombies are killed with the same bullet. A letter grade is also given at the end of each stage, ranging from S, A, B, C, D and E. Completing the stage with an A rank will award the player with one bonus life, while an S rank will reward the player with two. A final grade is given at the end of the game, and depending on how many S ranks were received for each stage, the player may be given a "SS" rank as his or her final grade.
Extra lives and bonus points are also handled differently. In the previous arcade installments, nothing would happen if a player had all five lives and gained another. Now the player can have up to nine lives at a time, and any additional lives are turned into bonus points. In the previous games, bonus points could also be gained by shooting hidden objects such as a golden frog, or coin. The House of the Dead III expands upon this, introducing a silver coin that can be shot repeatedly, a wind-up robot that must be shot several times, and a golden miniature version of recurring boss the Magician. Decaying zombies and weak points on stunned bosses can also be shot repeatedly for extra points.
On the Xbox, PC, and Wii versions, there is a "Time Attack" mode where the player's lives come in the form of a timer, starting at 45 seconds. Excellent, Good, Faster and Twin Shots give extra time, as do clocks in the background, successful rescue events and end-of-stage bonuses. Getting hit by a zombie subtracts 7 seconds, projectiles subtract 5, and bosses subtract 15. Stunning a boss grants the player 10 seconds. Every successful hit on the final boss also grants two seconds, and does not require a stun. The game cannot be continued if the timer reaches zero, and at the end of each game Dr. Curien gives his analysis of the player's performance. The player may also note the average distance at which they managed to hold back the undead in metres.
Template:Plot Set in the post-apocalyptic year of 2019, civilization has long since collapsed. Ex-AMS agent Thomas Rogan and his team of highly trained commandos investigate the EFI Research Facility, which may be linked to the world collapse. Thomas' 19-year-old daughter, Lisa, and Rogan's former partner, G, travel there two weeks later with shotguns in hand after contact with him is mysteriously lost.
Notorious for his role in the creation of the original undead horde, Dr. Curien's motives are explored through flashbacks. Several years before the Curien Mansion case, in an effort to discover the cure to his son's seemingly terminal illness, he began researching the nature of life and death. Over time however, he got so wrapped up in his research that he planned on using it to change the future, and began to lose his mind. Living in the shadow of her well-known father, Lisa muses with G about how she is often the subject of comparisons between her father and herself as the two explore the facility, only to come into contact with undead creatures such as EFI's giant one-zombie security force Death, who makes two appearances in the game, through the building entrance or parking area and then through the information systems department, a giant deformed sloth known as The Fool which had taken over the D.B.R Institute, and the EFI Genome Ward, and a mutant tendril-plant known as The Sun that had taken over the building's biological laboratories and plants.
At last, Lisa is reunited with her father. After that, a man wearing glasses named Daniel Curien (as seen from the flashbacks at the beginning of every chapter) walks in from behind the doors that G threw open. He told Lisa, Thomas and G that Dr. Curien was his father and Thomas told the others that he saved his life. As G leads Rogan to safety, Lisa and Daniel Curien [who has been seemingly cured of his illness] set out to destroy The Wheel of Fate, a metallic humanoid surrounded by a spiked wheel and the final legacy of Dr. Curien (which began around the same time as the Magician project in the first game.) The genes of both the Magician and the Wheel of Fate, according to Curien, would change the future. After the scientist's death, he underwent a resurrection in the EFI research facility that would take nineteen years to complete. Daniel hacks the Wheel of Fate's programming, and together with Lisa, put it to rest once and for all as a sign of their readiness to confront the uncertain future.
At the game's conclusion, Ex-AMS agents Thomas Rogan and G are shown leaving the facility at night. Rogan thanks G for taking care of Lisa, but G denies it, saying that Lisa did a great job taking care of herself, and that she's starting to sound a lot like her father. One of four endings is then shown.
The game's standard ending shows Lisa and Daniel walking out. For a brief moment Daniel pauses to face the building and bid his father a final farewell, and swears he will not let his father's efforts go to waste. He also mentions that "If humans go down the wrong path again, I'll come back to this place." Afterward, he and Lisa leave together and go home.
In the game's second ending, Daniel begins to go insane and loses the will to move on, questioning his future. Despite (or maybe because of) the antidote that has cured his illness, a close up of Daniel's face (and an ominous change to the tone of his voice) reveals that he has become a zombie. Lisa screams in the background. It is uncertain what happens to her in this ending.
In the third ending, Lisa sees the car driving away, thinking that her father is leaving her and Daniel behind. However, Rogan and G are behind them, leaving Lisa and Daniel completely confused. It is then revealed that a zombie is driving away in it. Lisa begins to give chase after the stolen vehicle, yelling, "Hey! That's my car, you slimy bastards! Say your prayers!" We also see Daniel briefly going after Lisa.
In the fourth ending, a mysterious and unidentified man in a business suit wanders through the laboratory where the final battle with the Wheel of Fate took place. On the floor, he finds one of the small glass vials containing the genes used as Daniel's antidote. Limping on his right leg, he picks up the vial and leaves, saying to himself, "It appears that he didn't understand its true purpose." and chuckling eviliy. This man makes an appearance in House of the Dead 4 (It is worth mentioning that the only plausible guess to this recurring mystery man is Harry Harris, due to his curious behaviour and the damage he had received in HOTD2, but this is only fan-based speculation).
- Sega's official Japanese The House of the Dead III page
- Sega's Wow Entertainment English The House of the Dead III page
- The House of the Dead III at Museum of the Game