The House of the Dead: Overkill

House of the Dead enters the relentlessly vulgar world of low-budget Grindhouse cinema with Overkill, a crusty, hyper-grisly homage to 70's exploitation horror films.

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Sega The House of the Dead: Overkill
  • Sega The House of the Dead: Overkill
  • Sega The House of the Dead: Overkill
  • Sega The House of the Dead: Overkill

Pros

  • A refreshing cult-horror movie twist on classic House of the Dead, great zombie types

Cons

  • Humour gets annoying fast, game gets laggy at times, limited replay value

Bottom Line

Fans of House of the Dead and horrendously cheesy 70s horror flicks will definitely get a kick out of House of the Dead: Overkill, a flawed but tremendously fun shooter for the Wii.

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House of the Dead enters the relentlessly vulgar world of low-budget Grindhouse cinema with Overkill, a crusty, hyper-grisly homage to 70's exploitation horror films like "I Spit on Your Grave" and "Cannibal Holocaust". It's basically a video game equivalent to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' "Grindhouse". The good news is that the game still plays like a regular House of the Dead game-the dev team just cranked up the abundance of gore, f-bombs, and cleavage shots.

Grindhouse of the Dead

Overkill takes a more novel approach to pumping bullets into the rotting flesh of zombies, one that embraces the aesthetic of sleazy gore movies of the 1970s. As soon as you boot up the game, a grainy video plays where a stripper gyrates around a pole to cheesy porno-esque music (which also happens to be how the movie Grindhouse begins). This opening cinematic pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the game.

Levels in House of the Dead: Overkill are broken up into chapters that work as mini-horror movies, each with their own hammy title and theme like Papa's Palace of Pain, a mission where you storm a dilapidated house swarming with zombies, and Carny, a mission that takes place inside a Carnival inhabited by undead clowns and other zombified carnival folk. There's also a Louisiana swamp, a hospital complete with decomposing wet nurses, and a prison level where you have to take out both zombie prisoners and zombie guards fully-clad in riot gear.

Zombies Ate My Wii Remote

The level design in Overkill is also one of the game's biggest strengths. No two levels are alike and there's an impressive amount of variety in the enemies you face in the game. Each mission also ends with a boss fight, and while the vast majority of these battles are a bit too easy, most of them are quite memorable. The carnival-themed level, for example, ends with a showdown against a grotesquely deformed freak with a small creature growing out of its belly that resembles Quato from Total Recall. And for horror movie buffs, without spoiling the final boss fight in Overkill, I'll just say that it features an obvious tribute to Peter Jackson's splatter classic Dead Alive.

I also liked the variety of firearms at your disposal, including two types of shotguns, an assault rifle, and more. Each of the weapons in the game can also be upgraded for more ammo capacity and damage. There's also a power-up in the game, called the "slow-mofo" that briefly slows down the game to a snail's pace a la Max Payne, giving you plenty of time to get those headshots in and watch a zombie's face slowly explode into chunks of goo, brain and skull fragments.

Dead Or Alive

There are a few aspects of House of the Dead: Overkill that didn't work for me. My main grumble is the Detective Washington character who does a bad Sam Jackson-impression from Snakes on a Plane throughout the entire game. Washington is funny but he eventually starts to grate on your nerves. I also encountered some lag and slowdown when the screen became cluttered with enemies. I'm hoping they tweak that out when the game releases because it definitely cut into the gameplay. Despite these issues, Overkill is one of the better on-rails shooters I've ever played. It's a solid game and should please any horror movie addict who owns a Nintendo Wii.

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