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House of the Dead: Overkill

House of the Dead: I spent many hours in the arcades playing this title, numerous shiny coins entering the slot of enjoyment allowing me to plough bullets through the skulls of the zombie-like denizens which inhabit the game. So when the opportunity to review the latest incarnation of the franchise arose, I naturally jumped at the chance.

Overkill

To begin with I must place a disclaimer warning that if you are easily offended by things in this world then simply stop now, walk away and never purchase or play House of the Dead: Overkill. It has the BBFC 18 certificate for a reason people.

Now having said that, you're probably intrigued to why I placed the disclaimer in the first place. Well Headstrong Games were given the task of creating a new House of the Dead title and were allowed free reign, which is obvious as soon as the game loads in your beloved Wii console. I kid you not, during a quick 30 minute bout before the arrival of my Chinese food, I encountered no less than 25 iterations of 'F**k', 6 'S**ts', 2 'A******s' and a toothless crack whore who wanted a chicken dinner.

House of the dead

The profanities are free flowing which surprised me for a couple of reasons.

1. I've never experienced this amount of profanity in House of the Dead.
2. I've never known Nintendo to slap a seal of approval onto something like this, EVER!

Seriously, this could be the title that removes the sheen of being clean and child friendly to which Nintendo is accustomed to, and in all honesty something the company needs to attract even more consumers to the console.

house of the dead

Now the Wii platform just seems to be the natural decision for on rails shooters, hence Headstrong adopting the Wiimote as the weapon of choice for the game. While not being as accurate as an arcade light gun, it works extremely well nonetheless, though I do recommend usage of a Wii Zapper or other 3rd party Zapper attachment to get the best experience.

The story of the game is set before the first House of the Dead instalment as we are introduced to Agent G as a rookie to the AMS on his first assignment. He then teams up with a Detective Washington to unravel the mysterious happenings of Bayou city. The overall theme of the game is a mishmash of Tarantino-esque grindhouse and 70's exploitation films, the effect of which works extremely well. Add a slice of funky riffs with meaty bass lines, alongside some sort of country music and you'll be grooving away while blasting the mutants with your boomstick.

House of the Dead

Graphically, the game is nothing to sing home about, while being functional and covered in a film grain effect to keep it within the grindhouse theme. I did encounter a couple of moments of slowdown when facing multiple enemies and at one particular section of the game I was forced to restart the Wii due to having no enemies spawn, becoming frozen at a section requiring kills to progress.

The gameplay itself is very simplistic meaning you can literally just pick up and play, the only problem being trying to put the controller back down. While playing you have the ability to switch between two weapons, once you have purchased a second at the gun shop. Each weapon is customisable in five areas, Damage, Rate of Fire, Reload Speed, Recoil, and Capacity.

House of the Dead

While there are a handful of weapons available, the only ones with any real purpose is the shotgun, or the even more devastating automatic shotgun. Even at range these weapons devastate the mutants, they are also quite adapt at building up your combo meter to score extra points.

Though with that being said, I did personally find the assault rifle quite gratifying when I was past caring about a high score. Just unleashing the dogs of war into a wave of mutants certainly beats trying to be accurate in my book.

House of the Dead

It's also worth noting that the mutants do have separate animations depending on where the bullet strikes, for example, shoot a zombie in the arm and it tends to shoot off in some random direction stunning the mutant slightly, before resuming its path to your brain clutching the stump.


Whilst the story is relatively short in length, only 7 levels spanning 3 to 4 hours or so of gaming, it's the replayability factor of this title which makes it rather compelling. Once you have completed the normal storyline a Director's Cut edition of the game unlocks, allowing you a different path and extra level content to what was previously played. This essentially doubles the lifespan of the title. For an extra challenge you may click on the extra mutant button before entering a level to increase the hordes you face.

House of the Dead

However, the ends of level bosses are terribly lacklustre and provide little challenge whatsoever. It's quite the letdown after surviving 20 to 30 minutes of mutant slaughter to face a foe which is swiftly dispatched with consummate ease by simply shooting the circled "weak spot" at the appropriate moment. I was left with that horrible taste of "Is that it?" in my mouth after every level with its only saving grace of another dose of ham acting and barrage of profanities from the lovable characters.


The usual two player affair is available in both story mode and Director's Cut, but there are three mini games which are also available for up to four players, "Money Shot II", "Victim Support" and "Stayin' Alive". Money Shot being a simple game of accuracy with moving targets, Victim Support tasks you with the protection of civilians and finally Stayin' Alive just throws wave after wave of Mutants at the screen until you die or the timer runs out. Finally after conquering story mode and Directors Cut you are then allowed to blast through the game dual wielding the weapons which is very satisfying indeed.

House of the Dead

Even though the humour and profanities do get old quite quickly, and there are the occasional graphical mishaps, the good points of the game outweigh the bad making Overkill a very enjoyable title indeed. As the critics' choice soundtrack suggests, "House of the Dead: Overkill, It's not just good, its f**king delicious".

Game Trailer
 

Pros: 
  • A great laugh in multiplayer.
  • Profanities and gore ahoy.
  • Awesome soundtrack.
Cons: 
  • Short life span.
  • The odd slowdown and glitch
  • No online support.

Playability:

8 out of 10

Replayability:

8 out of 10

Graphics:

6 out of 10

Sound:

9 out of 10

Overall:

8 out of 10
Wedgeh | 26th February, 2009
Platinum's picture
Nice review, I enjoyed the lan session, killing the cripple was fun
Beanz's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Platinum View Post
killing the cripple was fun
Now you know what it's like for us
JK Ferret's picture
I thought of Plat every time I saw that particular invalid.

At first I couldn't think why.

Might have been the swearing though.
Rasher's picture
top game, really breaks from the norm
seeing how much people enjoyed this at the LAN wasn't unexpected, but i didn't expect Wedge and Plat to be playing it for as long as they did (i am sure Wedge fell sleep while playing)

this is on my list to pick up next month
Rasher's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Platinum View Post
Nice review, I enjoyed the lan session, killing the cripple was fun
He looks alive to me still...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasher View Post
He looks alive to me still...
Just.
Platinum's picture
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasher View Post
top game, really breaks from the norm
seeing how much people enjoyed this at the LAN wasn't unexpected, but i didn't expect Wedge and Plat to be playing it for as long as they did (i am sure Wedge fell sleep while playing)

this is on my list to pick up next month
We were on a mission to finish it but thought **** it after level 6 lol, didnt see any people telling us to get off it

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