The House of the Dead 2 is a light gun arcade game with a horror theme and the second game in the The House of the Dead series of video games, developed by Sega for video arcades in 1998 and later ported to the Dreamcast and Microsoft Windows, and also found on the Xbox as an unlockable bonus in The House of the Dead III. The game appears in the compilation The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return for Wii. The Dreamcast version became one of the few Sega All Stars titles.
The House of the Dead 2 is a rail shooter light gun game. It includes an auto-reload feature that allows players to point their guns off-screen to reload their weapons without pulling the trigger. It also incorporates a branching path system that allows players to take a variety of different routes leading to the same point in the game's story.
The game served as the springboard for the arcade, Sega Dreamcast, and PC release The Typing of the Dead, the Nintendo DS release English of the Dead, as well as the inspiration for the Game Boy Advance game, The Pinball of the Dead.
The flashbacks to the first House of the Dead in the game's introductory sequence were recorded using the game's engine.
The game follows the fictional events of February 26, 2000 fourteen months after the Curien Mansion incident in The House of the Dead. Two years after the incident, the secret international agency, AMS, launched an investigation on the Curien case, in order to prevent a similar outbreak. Strange occurrences, however, are reported to be taking place in the city of Venice, Italy, the last known location of AMS agent G, who has gone missing. Agents James Taylor and Gary Stewart are dispatched along with Amy Crystal and Harry Harris to investigate and evacuate the populace. Upon finding G alive but wounded, James and Gary converse with him and G gives them a field journal showing the bosses and weak points. The pair are then met with an undead horde developed by Caleb Goldman, the president of the eminent DBR Corporation and an expert on the genome theory who funded the experiments of the late Dr. Curien.
While converging on Goldman's headquarters, James and Gary face many formidable foes, including Judgment consisting of an imp-like monster Zeal and his giant, headless, axe-wielding puppet Kuarl; The Hierophant, an aquatic beast which heads an assault on Venice's waterways and Central Plaza; segmented serpent-like beasts known as The Tower; and Strength, a giant, chainsaw-wielding zombie which wounds Harry and chases James and Gary throughout the Roman Colosseum. Curien's masterpiece, The Magician, is resurrected by Goldman to oversee the birth of The Emperor, a horned, transparent being designed to rule over nature and "destroy and hate mankind". In its prototype stage, the Emperor is not as strong as Goldman had hoped, and falls to the AMS agents. In order to evade being arrested, Goldman commits suicide by throwing himself off the roof of his building.
Players are given different endings based on the following conditions:
- If a solo game was finished as either player 1 or 2
- If both players defeated the last boss
- Number of continues
- Points earned
- James Taylor: An AMS agent sent to investigate strange occurrences reported taking place in the city of Venice and locate agent G.
- Gary Stewart: An AMS agent sent along with James Taylor.
- Caleb Goldman: CEO of the DBR Corporation and an expert on the genome theory who funded the experiments of the late Curien, he unleashed all the zombies to Venice to destroy humankind. He commits suicide at the end of the game.
- Amy Crystal: An AMS agent sent to evacuate the populace, it's hinted in the game she likes Gary.
- Harry Harris: Another AMS agent sent to assist Amy.
- G: An AMS agent investigating strange occurrences in Venice. He is found seriously injured by James and Gary.
- Thomas Rogan: An AMS agent and the returning protagonist from the original House of the Dead, known for his heroic actions during the Curien Case. He is only seen in one of the game's alternate endings, informing James that their friends and allies have survived the outbreak.
Good ending: James/Gary leave the Goldman Building and meet Thomas Rogan who says that their friends survived the outbreak and that they should head off to their next battle. "As long as we have the will to live." In James's case or "As long as their is a answer." In Gary's case.
Normal ending: James/Gary leave the Goldman Building and are greeted by all the civilians they saved.
Bad ending: James/Gary leave the Goldman Building and meet a zomified Goldman standing outside. The screen fades to white as a gunshot is heard.
This game was later ported to the Dreamcast, Xbox (as an unlockable on the Xbox port of the House Of The Dead 3), PC, and Wii. This was also the second, and final game in the House Of The Dead series to appear on a Sega console, with the first House Of The Dead for the Sega Saturn being the first.