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VIDEO GAME REVIEW: House of the Dead: Overkill

02.12.2010by: Andre Manseau
100%

Published by: Sega
Developed by:  Headstrong Games 
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Available on: Nintendo Wii

BUY THIS GAME HERE

INTRO: Strap yourself in for another trip to the House of the Dead! Well, it isn't really a house, is it? It seems that the whole general country is haunted now. Anyway, in the past the HOTD series has been a bizarre and goofy series of games that involves terrible voice actors playing these straight laced characters who blast away at zombies.

Much has changed, ladies and gents. Although this game is still hokey, it has gotten a complete grindhouse-esque modern makeover to show that the series is still cool. I'm talking about everything you expect- film grain, boobs, buckets of blood, horrible mutants, characters double-crossing one another, deleted scenes and lots and lots and LOTS of swearing. The last point is really worth mentioning because although you play as Agents G and Washington, G is the straight man and Washington is Samuel L. Jackson. I have honestly never heard this much use of the F word in a video game, ever (and I've played all the GTA games and Manhunt and that sort of stuff). I wasn't offended, but it got to be overkill- but that's the point of the game!

GAMEPLAY:

I've always been a fan of the HOTD series because I like shooting zombies and I like playing with a friend who's actually at my place rather than over a headset. It's just plain good old fashioned fun and a good way to kill an evening. With that being said, I've always found the HOTD games to be bizarre and goofy to a point where I was more going through the motions than really getting into them. It's not like this game suddenly drew me in and had me hooked, but let me tell you that the grindhouse motif is a very welcome addition to the game and really breathes new life into something that felt like the same game, over and over again.

This is a game that is meant to be played with two people. There are seven 'chapters' where you go after the evil Papa Caesar and you can control with just the remote (shoot with B, grenade with -, reload with a shake or the A button) or you can add the nunchuck in to share the duties. Get your wiimotes going and start killing some zombies. There really isn't much else to it, that's the main purpose. You get two weapon slots and you can assign them once the game progresses. You have a pretty standard array of weapons but they all work, from pistols to SMGs to Shotguns and so on. As you blast through things and get points, you earn money to buy new weapons and upgrade the ones you have.

As you progress through each level (each level is really well designed by the way..my favorite? An evil carnival!), you're on rails and don't choose where you go at any point. Your job is to kill anything that moves (as long as they aren't innocent civilians), reload and repeat. This isn't a particularly hard game, and the first time I played through it I died only one time, in the last level, on the last boss. I'm not complaining though because I am the most mediocre of talents when it comes to video games and I've got no problem when a game is a little easier. You've still got to be quick and ready though, so maybe I was just accurate. If you ever get caught up close with a zombie, you can waggle out to free yourself.

You'll also be scrambling around to shoot golden brains to earn more points and if you can build up streaks of killing the undead you'll achieve 'goregasm', a true killing spree. You can also shoot icons that slow-mo everything which makes it much easier to pop the heads off the bad guys. And besides, who cares if you blaze through it quickly, you get to play a "Director's Cut" which has new levels and is way harder, letting you continue only 3 times. If that is

Boss fights are huge and hilarious, and you'll find yourself loving every minute of the gameplay. Sure, it's repetitive but if you're in the right mindset it's a lot of fun. In fact, my girlfriend walked in the room at one point and said "What are you playing, it looks fun."  

It is!

Gameplay: 8.5/10

GRAPHICS:

Easily the weakest part of this whole package, this game does not sport the best graphics. Everything looks blocky and low-res and the textures are only okay at best. Now don't get me wrong, it's not for lack of effort. Although a lot of work has gone into this title I just can't say it looks great. The grain works, the zombies can look great from afar but eh, it ain't the prettiest girl at the ball. Not to mention the fact that the game can chug quite a bit when a lot of stuff is going on.

Graphics: 6.5/10

AUDIO:

This game surprisingly has a great psychobilly-rock soundtrack that suits it perfectly  and is even worth listening to in the menus to hear the full version of the song. The voice acting is great too, fantastically over the top and ridiculous and F-Bomb licious. Sound effects are great too, really.

Audio: 8/10

FINAL VERDICT:

Although I had some glitches that caused me to have to reset a few times, that didn't detract from my overall experience with House of the Dead: Overkill. As I was playing it, I was shocked I hadn't reviewed it yet- I struggle every time I write a review because although the games are site-appropriate, that doesn't always mean the games are good. I'm happy to report that this game is a blast to play and is exactly the overhaul the series needed. I know I'm hard on the graphics, but that's more a comparison to bigger systems like the 360 and the PS3- this one is long on style and effort shines through. I highly recommend this one and think that the Resident Evil gun games could learn a thing or two from this title that doesn't take itself seriously for a second. 

Final Score: 8/10

BUY THIS GAME HERE

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1:47PM on 02/12/2010
Andre and Spoonard are dead on, this game is great. I just beat it the other day and i gotta say that I cant believe they took the story in that direction. If you've played it you know what i mean.. and on the wii of all systems. Ha!
Andre and Spoonard are dead on, this game is great. I just beat it the other day and i gotta say that I cant believe they took the story in that direction. If you've played it you know what i mean.. and on the wii of all systems. Ha!
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11:56AM on 02/12/2010

Wow!

This games writing/story is EXACTLY what I look for. This was fantastic from start to finish!
This games writing/story is EXACTLY what I look for. This was fantastic from start to finish!
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