hailinel's The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii) review

Grindhouse Goodness

If there's one genre in particular that's experienced a bit of a renaissance since the introduction of the Wii, it's the on-rails light gun shooter. Games like Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return have proven to sell well on Nintendo's little white box, so it seems only natural that Sega would try to go after that audience again with an all-new game. Thus we have Headstrong Games' House of the Dead: Overkill.

A mad scientist and a stripper with a lust...for VENGEANCE.
The House of the Dead games have always been known for two things; high quality light gun action, and bargain-basement quality dialogue and voice acting. Overkill does a good job on the former, but the game really comes into its own by embracing the latter. Rather than play things straight, Headstrong has infused the game with the style of old grindhouse exploitation films, right down to the film-grain visual effects and a well-timed "missing reel" gag. The voice acting, while never as supernaturally awful as that of Goldman in House of the Dead 2, is appropriately all over the place. The villainous, Italian-accented Papa Caesar is voiced with a low-budget, wooden delivery, while Detective Washington lets the F-bombs fly. It's all very campy, melodramatic, and tongue-in-cheek, but the game is short enough that the grindhouse feel never grows old or feels overdone.

Overkill is structured much like any standard on-rails shooter. The player has no control over movement through the levels and must simply focus on blowing away wave after wave of undead mutant. Items such as first-aid kits, grenades, and golden brains that unlock gallery content can be shot in order to collect them. A boss fight caps each stage, though these fights aren't particularly difficult since the game draws large red circles around active enemy weakpoints. Like other Wii on-rails shooters, the Wii Remote is used as the gun, and the cursor speed and responsiveness works well. There are also a few enemies that will latch onto you, forcing you to shake them off by shaking the Wii Remote.

Nothing a few bullets can't handle.
If there's one real knock against the game, and this is the case with most on-rails shooters, it's that it's short. The story mode can be played to completion in well under three hours the first time through. The game was designed with replaying for high scores and unlockables in mind, and in that sense, there's enough content to keep a House of the Dead fan satisfied. Beating the game once unlocks a Director's Cut mode which remixes the levels by including branching pathways, and beating Director's Cut unlocks a Dual-Wielding mode that allows one player to play the game by wielding two Wii Remotes. Individual stages can be replayed for higher scores, and money earned can be used to purchase and upgrade guns.

The House of the Dead: Overkill isn't revolutionary, but it is a fun game. The grindhouse motif is pulled off well and gives the game a unique look and feel compared to other titles in the genre, and whether you're looking to kill some time with friends or hunt for a high score, it provides good entertainment in quick doses. Most people will probably be satisfied with a rental, but fans of the series or the genre in general will probably find it a worthy purchase.
6 Comments
Edited by Legend

Great review. :)

Posted by Tenshin

Well done.

Posted by Oni

Nice review dude, short yet contained all the necessary info and it read well.

Posted by Irishjohn

Really good, nice tight review.

Posted by bigdaddyjack21

Very nice keep it up 

Posted by Neon941

Nice review, I rented it a couple weeks ago and it's just completely crazy in a way I can really get behind. It was almost worth the purchase for me, but I think one playthrough was enough.

Other reviews for The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

    They met as adversaries... 0

    The Nintendo Wii is blessed with yet another original on-rails light-gun shooter (without the Light-gun) in the newest outing of the House of the Dead series titled House of the Dead: OVERKILL. SEGA left the developing responsibilities to UK developer Headstrong Games for the first House of the Dead game not created by the Japanese publisher house itself. The game is a prequel to the original House of the Dead released all the way back in 1996 and is the first in the series to skip an Arcade rel...

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