Suffer Like G Did?
If anything proves that B-movies and video games work well together it would have to be House of the Dead Overkill. Taking place several years before the original House of the Dead, players take on the roles of rookie AMS agent G and motor mouth Detective Washington to uncover the devious plans of notorious mobster Pa Pa Cesar. Overkill is built around an alarmingly 70s inspired grindhouse feature template. Washingon and G sit under the typical buddy cop stereotype of the time, being two completely different characters fighting the same battle.
Overkill also features intentional continuity errors, a silly plot and enough swearing to pop any innocent child's ear drums. House of the Dead Overkill is much like the rest of the titles in the series, it is an on-rails light-gun shooter where you have to dispose of incoming zombie foes by relying on fast reflexes and intuition. Shoot, shoot and shoot again. Obviously because Overkill isn't designed for an arcade format though, the difficulty is much more relaxed. Players have much larger health bars, grenades and a variety of weapons available to purchase as well. But the levels themselves do have a bit more variety than the regular House of the Dead games furthermore.
Agent G and Detective Washington take the fight against the undead horde to hospitals, carnivals, swaps, trains, prisons and underground military bases. And the number of zombies and zombie types also diversify depending on which part of Overkill you're playing such as clowns on the carnival, nurses inside the hospital and zombie inmates confined within the prison walls. Overkill is not without its secrets as a lightgun shooter either, with hidden powerups like health upgrades and slomo tools yours for the taking.
It probably goes without saying that where House of the Dead Overkill shines is in its presentation and banter between Washington and G throughout play. The developers have done a hilariously good job in designing the ridiculous B-movie motifs of this newest House of the Dead. With typically cheesy B-movie narrative, music and sound-effects all playing their part to create Overkill's enthralling atmosphere.
Visually, it has to be said, that Overkill is one of the more appealing releases on Nintendo Wiii with lavishly detailed levels and objects, the 70s screen effect also works like a charm during play. Overkill also has some quite catchy funk tunes and memorable quotes that helps its sound design stand-out from some of the other titles out on the market. Fundamentally, where Overkill fails is in its lifespan. It would take less than a few hours to complete Overkill's campaign mode and the newly unlocked Director's Cut campaign is just as short.
The developers did add party mini-games to strengthen the game's lifespan and the players skills but they're hardly entertaining time wasters and admittedly a little under-valued in the whole package. The second largest argument against Overkill lies in that the gameplay ultimately is a little lacking in depth and somewhat repetitive – a problem the vast majority of light-gun shooters have in this modern world of video gaming. Yet Overkill is designed in such a way that it is designed for short burst playthroughs, especially with friends at a party than alone at night by yourself.
But on the whole it's possible to over-rule the negatives when considering the new House of the Dead. Overkill omits originality and mature entertainment on Nintendo Wii, where most fail miserably thanks to fantastic design, presentation and sound not often found in a game genre of its type. This game comes highly recommended.