The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

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Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Apr 24, 2010
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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The Good

House of the Dead: Overkill, is the fifth game in the franchise. Yet, unlike it’s illustrious predecessors, this installment of the long running zombie slaying series has no arcade counter-part. Meaning, for those keeping track at home, that this is the first original game in the series. Will that spell doom for Overkill?

“It’s like a nice Chinese dinner. You know with the sweet and the sour. Expanding on that analogy, I will smile with delight, that’s the sweet, as you scream for your fucking life…of course that’s the sour.”-Papa Caesar, HOD: Overkill-

Overkill, is actually a prequel to the original game in the series. Set some unknown years before the Curien Mansion case. We find Agent G, a rookie fresh from the AMS. His first case is no investigate reports of strange activities in the small town of Bayou City. Somewhere in the deep south of the USA.

This is where he will meet Isaac Washington, a hard-boiled detective with a foul mouth that would make a sailor blush.(Mess with him and he will rip your balls off!) Isaac is looking to put a cap in the ass of Papa Caesar. A sadistic villain who murdered Isaac’s father. And has a flair for ascots and Chinese cuisine.

It seems that Papa Caesar, is creating an army of zombies.(Or is that mutants?-MM-) That have overrun Bayou City. The boys with the aid of Varla Guns.(A howling hellcat humping a hot steel hog!) If they don’t get to the bottom of this in 24 hours the entire world will be overrun with the undead.

“A howling hellcat, leading a pair of pigs!”-Narrator, HOD: Overkill

If you haven’t noticed, the plot in Overkill is very silly. Like the other games in the series. Yet Overkill takes it a step further and models the game after the infamous grind house films of the 1970’s. Recently brought back into pop-culture consciousness courtesy of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The cut scenes are presented like trailers to the chapters of the game. Which in themselves are all over the top, grind house names. Such as: Papa’s Palace Of Pain, and The Fetid Waters. These are all tied together by a narrator voiced in the typical grind house fashion It works wonderfully. And it fit’s the House of The Dead mythos so well it’s almost eerie.

Mr. Megid Warned You!

I have noticed to my dismay, that a lot of reviewers, professional and otherwise. Don’t often succeed in telling the reader about the game’s shortcomings and other things that might bother some gamers. It is as if their massive ego’s cannot understand that there is not such thing as a game that is for everyone. So from here on out I am trying to be more proactive in this. In a segment I call, Mr. Megid Warned You! Back to the subject at hand. I would caution those individuals whom are sensitive to extreme violence, profanity, and strong sexual content, to avoid this game. As it will likely offend you. If you are like me and not easily offended and actually have a sense of humor, you will most likely enjoy this game. As it achieves it’s goal of updating the HOD franchise, and of creating an authentic throwback of B-grade cinema from a bygone era. Just remember I tried to warn you.

Gameplay, in Overkill, will feel very familiar to anyone who has played a light gun or “on-the-rails” shooter before. Only now the gun add-on is optional. As the game can be played with just the Wii Remote. The gun is more precise and fun, but it’s up to you if you want to shell out the extra cash for the gun. Also note that it is no longer a “light” gun. It uses the same more accurate laser of all Wii accessories. In fact the Wii Remote just gets plugged into the gun itself. So if you are on “the fence” about games of this ilk because of the older ones, fear not the new games on this genre are far more accurate and now you can sit almost anywhere and still play the game. Gone are the days of having to be directly in front of the screen.

You proceed through each level on a predetermined path. Taking out zombies and other creatures. You save innocents cornered by the undead. And while the multiple paths from previous installments are gone, there are now two modes: story mode and director’s cut. Playing directors cut mode is the only way to see other paths, it is also a bit harder to complete, yet not impossible.

Also new to the franchise are combos. These are gained by getting critical hits on the zombies. When your reticule turns red fire to score a critical hit. These not only will often kill a foe in one shot, they also count towards a combo. Five criticals gain “extreme” violence. There are several of these levels. All of which add to your overall score for the level. The final level, colorfully called “goregasm” adds and extra 1000 points to your score per kill. While these can be hard to get it is not impossible. It will take some time to master them however.

I know what you are thinking. What is the point of the combos? Glad you asked. You see the higher your score the better guns and gun upgrades you can get. There are about six guns, and you can carry two plus grenades during each chapter of the game. Like real guns they all have there own strengths and weaknesses. But I find that the shotgun/machinegun is a good combination. Of course the hand cannon/submachine is also good.

Each level ends with a boss. And each boss as in previous games has there own weak spot, taking advantage of this spot is the key to victory. The bosses themselves look great and all fight a little differently.

Interestingly enough Overkill seems somewhat less violent that the earlier games in the series. At least the silly green blood is gone. And perhaps less violence was a trade off for the increase in sexual content and foul language?

“I’m gonna rip your balls off!”-Isaac Washington-

The graphics in HOD: Overkill, are very good. Easily one of the best looking games on the Wii. It’s no secret the Wii is by far the weakest console of the current three. Yet this, and other key titles show it is capable of good graphics.

The characters and monsters all look good, and as realistic as the Wii gets. The attention to detail is very nice also. A good example is the authentic grind house look. Including cigarette burns, and film grain. One funny scene towards the end is particularly well done. I won’t spoil it, but I will say it’s a play on the poor quality of these types of films.

I really enjoyed the music in HOD: Overkill. There are several tracks and they all sound great and have a unique style. Like the funky, “What the Funk”. The jazzy, “Suffer like G Did”. Which is also a reference to House of The Dead 2. There is also a song with a Johnny Cash sound, and silly lyrics.

The Bad

Sometimes in two-player mode, there is noticeable lag. However this is more due to the shortcomings of the Wii than those of the game. Still it can be quite annoying when you lose a combo because of lag.

The game is a bit too easy in my opinion. Anyone who has played a game like this before will have little trouble finishing it. The game itself is very short, but I find that it has a high replay value. Furthermore I only paid about 20 American dollars for it, I could see being angry if you paid full price and finished the game in a few days.

While directors cut mode is more of a challenge it is still not all that difficult to complete.

More modes would have been nice. Seeing as this was an original game, not just a port of an older arcade hit.

While I found the game to be very funny, humor is a difficult thing to get right in videogames. So some may not find it as amusing. Yet I can’t remember any other game from this current era of games to make me laugh this much.

The Bottom Line

I found House of The Dead: Overkill to be a great addition to the franchise. The grind house element fit’s the game very well. I would like to see more HOD game on the Wii. Or perhaps Virtua Cop?

Overkill as helps show all the haters out there that the Wii is not just a kid’s console. But is also capable of fun and violent shooters and other arcade style games, and if Nintendo is smart they will keep the arcade style games coming. After all when is the last time you saw one of those? Unless you live is Asia.