Who seriously doesn’t like a bit of Zombie blasting? Since the dawn of video gaming time it’s been the dream of every gamer to blast hordes of brain eating undead back to hell where they belong. House of the Dead Overkill like Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead before it make these dreams come true once again, so let’s look up close and personal at Sega’s latest entry into the HOTD series in our House of the Dead Overkill Wii Review. Oh and before I forget am I the only person who thinks the game should be actually be called House of the Undead? Anyway…all on-rails shooter fan will probably already know that House of the Dead Overkill has been developed by Headstrong Games and has taken a radical departure from the first three titles. Instead of trying to create a House of the Dead 4 exclusively for Wii Headstrong decided to throw Sega’s rule book out of the window and start afresh with a new 1970’s Grindhouse movie theme full of over the top acting, voiceovers, violence and gore. If you’ve seen the recent terrific movies; Planet Terror and Death Proof from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino you’ll know exactly what to expect already. You take the role of a hot new special agent named Agent G or to be more precise you take the role of his mutant zombie killing gun. G is paired up with a tough take no shit cop called Detective Washington and with little introduction you’re sent straight into the field to deal with an evil shadowy figure named Papa Caesar as well as the many mutants that follow his whereabouts. Right from the get go you can tell that Agent G and Washington have been thrown together on this case and are not exactly friends but if there is one thing that will cause even more problems between them is the introduction of love interest in the form of a topless motorcycle chick Varla Guns.
There isn’t very much pretext to Overkill as you’re thrown straight into the action in Papa’s Palace of Pain; the first of seven movie chapters all full of over the top language, fun, shooting and gore. Get your Wiimote at the ready as you and Washington are investigating a decrepit house in the middle of nowhere. Soon enough the mutants are appearing in every direction waiting to take a swipe at you unless you put bullets into them first. As mentioned the game is on-rails so all you need to do is aim your crosshair on the screen and pull your trigger, the camera and movement is all computer controlled and moves along a predetermined path. If you have danger cam enabled you can have a bit of extra camera control by pointing at the screen edges.
As well as shooting at the mutant zombies there are 4 different pick-ups to aim at; my favourite is the Slow Mo-Fo icon which starts around 20 seconds of slow motion gameplay to give you that bit of extra time to get some vital head shots in. You’ll also see the occasional health pack which will surprisingly enough top up your health bar and Grenades that you can throw into a huge crowd to totally clean the screen free of the undead. If you’re lucky you’ll spot some golden brains to shoot at – these don’t offer any direct reward but collecting them will increase your score and are necessary to unlock some of the extra content, they’re always placed in hard to shoot locations and the camera will quickly pan away so you’ll have to be quick. Every so often you will get a chance to save a civilian from a few harrowing zombies surrounding them, do this successfully and you’ll be rewarded but accidently shoot the good guy and you’ll be punished with a hefty point deduction, careful on that trigger finger!
At the end of every chapter is a boss and for the most part they’re pretty fun, albeit also a little weird. The first boss you’ll encounter is Varla Gun’s mutated brother Jasper; he levitates into the air and starts throwing large objects at you just as a mutated boy genius would. Dispatching Jasper is a simple case of shooting him in the head as much as quick as possible whilst avoiding the stuff he flings your way. Nothing too taxing but it’s the cut scenes before and after each boss battle that really set the mood. All in all the cut scenes really do make House of the Dead Overkill what it is, they’re all very cheesy, totally over the top and full of more swearing than a Roy Chubby Brown ‘comedy’ show.
Your trusty standard issue pistol is all you have to defend yourself with at the start but the better you do in each chapter the more cash you’ll have to spend in the gun shop before the next chapter starts. There is a nice range of weapons to buy and you can even upgrade them to increase their effectiveness. Reload speed, clip size, fire rate and damage can all be furthered on each weapon turning you into a damn fine monster hunter. My favourite gun has to be the hand cannon; even though it looks like a standard pistol it actually packs a better punch than the shotgun. If you want to be earning the dough to get the expensive weapons you’ll need to rack up the points by performing combos. Don’t worry these combos are easy to pull off, simply keep shooting zombies without sending a bullet wide into the scenery, if you can keep your aim steady and kill enough you’ll get a Goregasm earning you tons of points.
Ok let’s take a break for a moment, all of that was just one chapter – so if we multiply all that hot stuff by the six other chapters then we’re already more than half way towards a classic game. Without giving spoilers away let’s just say you’ll be shooting your way through many typical cliché locations such as a Carnival full of deadly Clowns, a hospital packed with undead Doctors and Nurses and even a prison where the convicts are on the loose and after your brains!
So what could make House of the Dead Overkill for Wii any better? Well how about an instant jump in COOP mode where a friend can grab a Wii Remote for some mutant blasting fun even if you’ve started a one player game. The principles are just the same but everything is twice the fun with a friend (and half as difficult), so turn the volume up the lights down and just get shootin.
It sounds crazy but even the mini games (for up to 4 players) which you’d normally associate with party Wii game are fun.
- Stayin Alive is a simple horde mode where you try to survive as long as you can against an ever increasing number of baddies.
- Victim Support asks you to protect civilians as zombies try to eat them.
- Money Shot 2 is a seemingly simple target practice game which ramps up in difficulty quicker than you think – great highscore fun here.
The fun doesn’t even end there, finishing the main game opens up an extended Directors Cut mode which takes you through the same chapters but via different, longer and harder routes through each location. It’s surprising how many more Zombies appear in Director’s Cut and I have to admit to losing a few lives here on several occasions, I recommend playing through directors cut with a friend if you can.
I could go on talking about features in House of the Dead Overkill but I don’t have the time and let’s be honest, it’s so much better if you experience it for yourself first hand. All you need to know is that it’s only suitable for mature gamers as there are not only many violent references but quite a few sexual references which parents may not want their kiddies asking them to explain. The graphics are great in every almost every respect, yes the character models and explosions may look a little last gen but considering how much is going on in every scene I’m more than pleased with the Wii’s output and the mostly smooth framerate.
The HOTDOK soundtrack is full of pumping tunes all at the perfect beat to keep the tension high and as for the voice acting – it’s really well acted and very rude. The simple pick up and play controls will suit everyone, aim and press the B trigger button to shoot, shake the Wiimote to reload and press minus to lob a grenade – easy!
If you’re one of the people complaining that the Wii needs more mature games then House of the Dead Overkill Wii tramples those complaints in the goriest, sexiest and most foul mouthed way possible. With tons of unlockable extras to keep you going it will be many hours before you’ve found everything there is to find in House of the Dead Overkill for Wii. There’s nothing more to say 5 out 5, go buy it, now!
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