Review: House of The Dead: Overkill
Who doesn't love Tarantino films? A lot of people actually. Oh dear, what a way to start this review. Let's just move right along.
- Worth The Time?Yes
- Things LovedCaptures the Tarantino grindhouse style, outrageous in its subject matter, fun to play and hilarious most of the time.
- Things HatedVisuals could have been better, despite its fun factor, Overkill feels dated.
- RecommendationAny Tarantino fan or indeed fans of rail shooters will have a great time.
- Name: House of the Dead: Overkill
- Genre: Shooter
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: co-op
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Wii
- Developer: Headstrong Games
- Publisher: Sega
- Price: R350 (PC), R600 (PS3), R500 (Wii)
- Reviewed On: Wii
Set in 1991 before the events of House of the Dead, AMS Special Agent G is given his first assignment and sent to a small town in Louisiana to investigate a series of disappearances and hunt down a deranged crime lord, Papa Caesar. Due to the presence of mutants, G is forced to team up with Detective Isaac Washington who is out to get revenge on Caesar for apparently killing his father. The pair first storm a house out in the woods. Upon entering the basement, they find Caesar has fled, and the disabled scientist Jasper Guns, whom Caesar used, is horrifically mutated from injecting himself with an unknown substance. Upon defeating Jasper, G and Isaac meet Varla Guns, a stripper and Jasper’s sister who vows revenge on Caesar.
I can hear people say 10/10 impossible! House of The Dead: Overkill does not win any awards for the most original story. But were it shines above any other title I have played on any console is the over-the-top B movie grindhouse style it is presented in. The parade of F-bombs and one-liners fit perfectly into the story and you can see that the developers took their ideas strait from the early 70`s and late 80`s grindhouse movies.
Not to mention the fact that if you are a Quentin Tarantino fan you will feel right at home when it comes to the story and two main characters of House of The Dead: Overkill. And like I stated earlier it might not be the most ground breaking story for a rail shooter, but what it does do is totally reinvent the franchise for the better with over-the-top humor and violence. On a side note, due to the adult nature of the story I highly recommend keeping this away from the kids.
Like previous games in the House of the Dead series, House of The Dead: Overkill is a rail shooter, with pre-determined characters and paths you can take during the game. You control your character by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen, moving the aiming reticle which can be disabled in the game options. You can also point the reticle near the edge of the screen to move the camera angle in that direction, allowing you to view more of the surrounding area and this is known as the Danger Cam. The story mode of House of The Dead: Overkill can be played either solo or with another player, with one weapon or dual-wielding if you are feeling brave.
You can also build up a combo meter by killing zombies to receive a score, with more points gained by performing head shots, shooting bonus pickups, saving civilians and getting multiple kills without missing a shot. If you die during the game, points from your overall score can be quickly spent to continue playing. At the end of each level, you are awarded a grade that depends on their final score among other factors such as not dying, and accuracy of shots fired. Along with score bonuses, other pick ups that can be found throughout the levels include health packs, grenades and the Slow Mo-Fo pick up that puts everything into bullet time.
New guns and gun upgrades can be bought with cash earned from end of level score, between levels at the Gun Shop. After completing the story mode, Director’s Cut is unlocked providing the same game as story mode but with tougher enemies and a limited amount of continues. You also get a selection of one off mini games; Stayin’ Alive where you must survive a continuous wave of mutants, Victim Support where you must help a group of civilians escape and Money Shot II, a competitive mode where up to four players were you must achieve the highest kill score.
House of The Dead: Overkill is one of the most graphically impressive third party games on the Nintendo Wii with some great environmental affects like shadows, explosions, blood splatters and character animations. With almost everything around you being destructible. But having said that the game does suffer from frame rate hiccups every now. And especially when playing two players, but not so much when you are playing the single player or the mini games. But I do feel that Headstrong Games could have done a better job on optimizing the game engine for the Nintendo Wii given a bit more time. But House of The Dead: Overkill still manages to raise the bar for third party developers on the Nintendo Wii.
There is one way to describe House of The Dead: Overkill soundtrack, and that is a classic 70`s vintage soundtrack. The music is all straight from the 70`s era of films it depicts, and was preformed and written exclusively for the game, so take careful note on some of the lyrics contained in some of the songs. And just like the in game dialog, the music lyrics are filled with gross out predicaments and F-bombs. Some of the song titles even spoof infamous lines from the franchise such as Suffer Like G Did. And as expected from a game such as House of The Dead: Overkill the voice acting is dramatic, over the top and sometimes downright cheese, which in this case only adds to the atmosphere the game creates.
Gameplay is pretty much a straight forward light gun affair. You aim with the Wii remote and shoot with the B trigger button. You can reload by pointing off screen or pressing the A button. To cycle your weapons you press the [?] button and to use acquired grenades you press the minus button. The one and minus buttons seem a rather odd choice as it takes some time getting used to using those buttons, but luckily you won’t really need to use them often during the course of the game.
Overkill is the most offensive, outrageous game I have ever played and I loved it, fun to play from beginning to end and it will have you laughing throughout the whole game. Especially when Agent G and Isaac Washington drop the one liners and F-bombs. And I can highly recommend it to fans of the House of The Dead franchise or anyone looking for an awesome light gun title for the Nintendo Wii, which will keep you and your friends entertained for hours.