The year is 2003, three years after the events of House of the Dead 2. AMS agent James Taylor is back, and he now has a new companion with him, Kate Green. They are gathering information in the 5th basement floor of the AMS offices, when suddenly the floor collapses due to an earthquake, leaving the agents trapped. A week later, James' PDA goes off, and he finds out that there are undead in the AMS office building. They gather all of the weapons they can find, and fight their way to the sewers, and try to find out more about the "Goldman Case".
The standard gun for the game is a Mini UZI fully automatic submachine gun. The guns in the arcade version have motion sensors in them which forces you to shake off enemies if they get too close and try to bite you. The common enemies also have two other attacks, a normal attack which deals one point of normal damage, and a push attack which will knock the player down for a few seconds, leaving him vulnerable. In addition to the normal fire, the player also has grenades that he can throw, as well as branching paths to travel through. Boss fights are a lot like House of the Dead III, in that they usually involve some sort of chase, and there is the return of the "Cancel Bar", which are certain spots on a bosses' body that you must shoot repeatedly to stop the attack. Another returning factor from House of the Dead III is the End-of-Stage bonuses, where you can get extra lives depending on your score as well as critical shots and accuracy.
There are a few different versions of the arcade cabinets available, let's take a look:
House of the Dead 4: Special
This version varies greatly from the other ones in that it is much larger, features a different storyline, and players actually enter a room and sit down to play. Players buckle themselves into seats that shake when zombies attack, and spray air in the faces of players whenever
they take damage. The room also makes use of two large 100-inch TVs, one in front of the players, and one behind. The seats will rotate to whichever TV the zombies are attacking from, giving the impression that zombies are attacking from all sides. At the end of each mission, in a two-player game, players are judged solely on how well they preformed together. The storyline differs in that it takes place after the events of House of the Dead 4, and instead of James and Kate, we have G and Kate teaming up to take on the zombie threat, and eventually leading them to confront Magician Type Zero, who has come back to life after being destroyed in two previous games.
The house of the Dead 4 will be coming to a console for the first time as an HD Remake for the PlayStation Network on April, 17, 2012 for $9.99. The game will now include PlayStation Trophies and have support for the Move. In addition to the regular arcade scenario, it also contains the scenario introduced in the Special-version.
- When James and Kate enter the Goldman Building Kate says "It's almost like we're being invited in..." which is a reference to House of the Dead 2 where one of the main characters, James Taylor, proclaims "It's like they're inviting me in" when entering the same building.
- Gary Stewart, the other main character from House of the Dead 2, is seen briefly in the intro/flashback to chapter 6 despite not appearing anywhere else in the game.
- In July 2005, IGN declared The House of the Dead 4 "the most visually impressive arcade game ever made". Publications later said the same thing about Virtua Fighter 5 after it debuted in November 2005.