Revew: “House of the Dead: Overkill”

May 7, 2009 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

When the Wii was first announced, a crazy concept video was released to show what the Wii could be capable of.  There was lots of jumping around and aiming at the screen, and although there have been a few lightgun-style games released already, not too many have been worth writing about.

Sega and Headstrong Games have rectified this with the release of House of the Dead: Overkill.  Done in a 70’s grindhouse style, Overkill is way over-the-top in terms of presentation and style.  The entire game is done with a filter of film grain, as well as 70’s style music, tons of swearing, gore, and plenty of multiplayer options.  In short, a fantastic game that may unfairly be overlooked by the hardcore Wii crowd.

Theyll rip your muthaf***ing balls off

They'll rip your muthaf***ing balls off

The single-player game is good, but short.  You can breeze through the game in an afternoon, as with most lightgun games.  Where this game is really at is co-op.  Grab a friend, and a second Wiimote, and blast away zombies (er…’mutants’ as they are called here) until the cows come home.  My girlfriend and I blasted our way through the inital story in about 3 hours.  That opens up a Director’s Cut mode that features the same levels, albeit longer and slightly more challenging.  Also, each mission is available with a ‘More Mutants’ mode, that adds, well, more mutants.

There’s also upgrade options for the weapons, allowing you to purchase different guns and upgrade stats like reload time, increased clip size, firing rate, etc.  Scattered throughout the levels are brains which unlock bonus stuff like concept art, posters, music tracks, etc.

One of the most addictive elements of the game is the ability to pull off combos.  All this means is being able to kill mutants without missing.  You don’t have to kill in one shot, just not miss whenever you fire. If you string enough combos together, you activate ‘Goregasm Mode’, which doesn’t really do anything except enhance your score, but a bigger score means more money for upgrades.

One of my few complaints about the game is, when playing in co-op, the aiming reticles look very similar.  One has two circles, another has one.  I think different shapes or colors would’ve been more efficient, like Player 1 having a red circle, and Player 2 using a green triangle.  Also, the mutants occasionally have the tendency to ‘glitch’ and screw with your combos.  For example, you shoot a mutant and he’s still standing.  You fire again, but the mutant now magically appears on the ground and you ‘miss’ and mess up your combo.

I wish the game were a bit cheaper.  $50 is a lot to ask for a game that you can beat in a day, even with the extra modes.  $40 is a better price point, but for those only mildly interest, rent it and make sure you play the game in co-op.  Overall, it’s a very well-packaged game with style, humor, and gameplay to back it all up.  Recommended for lightgun fans who miss playing these games at the arcade.

8.5/10

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