Dr. Roy Curien (キュリアン 博士) is the main antagonist of The House of the Dead. Once a renowned scientist, he was driven mad by his own research and unleashed a horde of zombies upon his staff and threatened the world with destruction. Curien later returned in The House of the Dead III, which explores his past motives involving his relationship with his son Daniel through a series of flashbacks. He was "resurrected" as the game's final boss, the Wheel of Fate.
Born of a noble family, Curien lived with his son, Daniel, in a mansion built in medieval times. In order to cure his ailing son, Curien began to conduct research to remove the barrier between life and death. World renowned financial figure, Caleb Goldman, eventually learned of Curien's research took an interest in it. Goldman founded the DBR Corporation, named after the research conducted by Dr. Curien, dubbed the "Bio Reactor project", in order to mask the doctor's research from the public. Curien was assigned as research director, whose aggressive direction gained the admiration and respect of his staff. Curien carried out the project within the DBR research facility that was located within his mansion in order to keep the project's secrecy. Among his researchers was Sophie Richards, who was engaged at the time to AMS agent Thomas Rogan. Rogan also met the doctor on several occasions. Due to the inhumane nature of the project, most if not all of Curien's own researchers began to abandon him. Despite this setback, Curien continued to conduct his experiments until he underwent a sudden transformation and suddenly went mad. Curien then began to use his own personnel as test subjects, raising the suspicions of the AMS, who had been observing his activities for some time. On December 18, 1998, he released his creations upon his staff. Seeing that everyone around her was getting killed, Sophie made an urgent call to her fiancé for help before being cut off. Rogan and his partner "G" arrived as quickly as possible, and infiltrated the zombie-infested mansion to stop Curien's plans and his creations from causing more chaos.
After battling through hordes of the undead and the mad doctor's experiments, the agents finally encountered Curien in person in his lab deep underground, where he complimented their efforts before escaping and leaving Hermit Type 6803 to take care of them. The agents defeated the creature and chased him further underground, where he awaited them in one of the laboratories below.
When the agents had him cornered with no way out, Curien once again complimented them, but boasted that they would never stop him, letting them bear witness to the awakening of his Magnum Opus, the Magician. However, the Magician did not recognize Curien as his creator, and, refusing to take orders from him, betrayed and attacked him. Grievously wounded, Curien expressed his confusion over his creation's loyalty before succumbing to his injuries.
The tragic event would be referred to as the "1998 Curien Case" or "Curien Mansion Incident" in later games.
In the home releases of the game, including The Typing of the Dead, the opening demo is extended to two parts. The first is a flashback depicting the first game's events. After Curien was killed, the Magician was destroyed and the AMS agents took their leave, Curien would receive a personal visit by the head of the DBR Corporation, Caleb Goldman. The attract demo as seen in the arcade version is then shown.
On February 26, 2000, when a second outbreak took place in Venice, it is revealed that Goldman had financially backed Curien's research, either as a partner or used Curien further his own goals, making Goldman the mastermind behind both incidents. Like Curien, Goldman would meet his demise when his own plans failed to come into fruition with the defeat of the Emperor, but not before arranging a backup plan that would lead to the world's collapse in 2003.
Curien and his discoveries play a large role in The House of the Dead III, which explores his past as well as his previous motives through flashback segments. It is shown that several years before the Curien Mansion incident, Curien was seeking a cure for his son Daniel, who was terminally ill with doctors claiming he had no hope of recovery. Curien, portrayed here as a loving father who would never give up on his son, was willing to step into forbidden territory if it would save his life. He soon descended into madness, claiming that he had discovered the key that would remove the barrier between life and death, and there was no need of fearing death any longer. He later appeared to his comatose son again, asking him if he had overstepped the bounds of human morality, confused and vexed that many of his researchers had left him. Later on, Curien would once again storm the room, claiming that he had discovered the genes that would change the future; "The Magician" and "The Wheel of Fate", laughing maniacally as he had discovered the ability to manipulate life and death.
During the time of The House of the Dead III's actual events in 2019, it is revealed that the Wheel of Fate was Curien's final creation and the last thing he left behind. After his death, Curien would be used as a testing subject and undergo a resurrection process that would take nineteen years to complete. His son Daniel, who had spent his whole life in the facility and was now cured of his disease, had witnessed this evil grow for the last nineteen years and was finally prepared to put an end to it. Before awakening the Wheel of Fate, who had become one with Curien himself, Daniel had hacked the program to give him and Lisa Rogan an opening advantage. When Lisa questioned if Daniel really wanted to fight his own father, Daniel claimed he was ready to carry the burden of his father's crimes, and that the future belonged to the people alive here and now.
With the Wheel of Fate awakened, it identified itself as Curien, and claimed that it would destroy and resurrect everything before engaging the younger generation of zombie hunters in a final duel. Upon its defeat, it claimed that the current collapsed world was the world the humans wanted, and they should realize that it was overpopulated. It attempted to make one final appeal to Daniel, saying that his son needed him. Angrily refusing to recognize the being as his father, Daniel opened fire alongside Lisa, putting his father to his final rest. For once in his life, now that he was no longer bound by the past, Daniel began looking toward the future.
As G and the Rogans were leaving the facility, Daniel looked back and bid his father a final farewell, saying that he wouldn't let his efforts for him go to waste, and that if humans went down the wrong path again, he would return. Meanwhile, inside the lab where the Wheel was defeated, a mysterious man picked up the vial which Curien had shown to his son years ago, with the man remarking that Curien didn't appear to understand its true purpose.
During gameplay, portraits of Curien can be seen in the EFI Genome Ward in the beginning of the stage. Curien also appears as himself in the game's Time Attack mode, providing an analysis at the final results screen and commenting on the player's performance, the average kill time or kill distance.
Curien is depicted with contrasting personalities in the games that he is featured in. In the first House of the Dead, Curien appears to be intelligent as he is mad, concerned with nothing more than the destruction of mankind and the completion of the Magician. He expresses no guilt or remorse over what he's doing, and treats the struggles of the agents as if it were nothing more than a game, so confident in his success that he doesn't even consider them a threat to his plans. In the instruction manuals for the home ports of the game, it was mentioned that he had a son, but no further information was given beyond that.
In The House of the Dead III, flashbacks depict Curien with much deeper and sympathetic intentions as a loving father who would step into forbidden territory in order to save his son's life, and that his discoveries to control life and death were all for Daniel's sake. It was only after he discovered the genes that would change the future of humankind that he descended into complete madness. When he is shown in the present, resurrected as the Wheel of Fate, it bore very little resemblance to the father Daniel knew. When the Wheel pleaded to Daniel that he needed him, Daniel refused to recognize it as his father.
In the Time Attack mode of the game, Curien encourages the player to do better and compliments them on their performance, but expresses sympathy for his poor zombies.
- Dr. Curien's name is likely derived from that of acclaimed French physicist Hubert Curien.
- Dr. Curien was originally named as Dr. A in a early development of the original House of the Dead game.
- The same concept art was also used as a portrait of Dr. Curien in The House of the Dead III, as seen in the EFI Genome Ward.
- Dr. Curien's movie counterpart also appears in the House of the Dead 2 movie, addressed as Professor Curien, portrayed by Sid Haig.
- Dr. Curien appears as the main antagonist in Loving Deads: The House of the Dead EX with a slightly different look where he commands his creatures to imprison Zobiko in the dungeon.