The House of the Dead: Overkill Review
The House of the Dead: Overkill box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Headstrong Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 11, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Wrapping up the gameplay package are three mini-games that can be played with up to four players. The first one is a timed shooting gallery; then there's a survival mode where you simply try to stay alive for as long as possible, facing wave after wave of mutants; and the last mini-game tasks you with protecting as many civilians as you can before a timer runs out. The mini-games are a nice extra, but they wear thin pretty quickly. We'd much rather have seen some type of online multiplayer, no matter how simple or abbreviated.

The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot

The presentation for Overkill, however, packs a real punch, and it's almost as fun to tinker with the menu presentation as it is to play the actual game. You're first greeted by a pole-straddling stripper as the opening credits roll. The menu selections are pop-up stills of various characters and creatures from the story mode, and there's plenty of novelty here for B-movie buffs.

The in-game visuals are a bit of a mixed bag. Most of the character models are really gnarly looking, though some lack detail and animate a bit stiffly. There's a visual noise filter that mimics artifacts from old film, and though it's a neat touch that helps nail the 70s motif the game seems to be going for, it would have been nice to have the option to turn it off. The framerate definitely jumps around a bit, and we missed a golden brain (which gives you extra points) here and there due to occasional bouts of lag. That said, framerate drops never caused any real frustration, and the game has a fun, grimy look overall.

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In many respects, Overkill is like a really exciting rollercoaster that hasn't been inspected thoroughly. There were certain areas of the game where mutants got hung up on environmental objects, and some bugs might even cause folks to have to restart chapters from time to time. Additionally, a few areas in the game get so dark that it's almost impossible to see enemies until they're right up on you. But, the game's blemishes - even if unintentional - almost serve to add even cheesier flavor to this ridiculous lampoon fest.

The game's soundtrack stands up a fair bit better. The music is simply perfect alongside the rest of Overkill's presentation, and you can unlock tunes for playback in the game's jukebox. The voicework, though, is truly the aural centerpiece, and though Washington is neither believable nor necessarily likeable, he's always good for a laugh. The "F" word is purposely overused, and the two characters come off as overgrown tweenies letting loose while no grown-ups are around - but it's also part of what makes the game so undeniably endearing.

The House of the Dead: Overkill isn't an epic adventure, and it actually lacks a fair bit of polish - purposely or otherwise. However, it's just the breath of putrid air the Wii needed, and in many ways it speaks to exactly what the system is all about: short bursts of great entertainment. The straight-forward, arcade action offers both a wonderful novelty for old-time gamers and an easy entry for mature newcomers. Though it's a bit light on content, there are plenty of incentives to keep you coming back, not least of all is its subversive charm. Overkill is raunchy, morally comatose, and about as thematically deep as Debbie Does Dallas - almost everything you want from a game like this.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.2
Graphics
The game is both technically impressive and disappointing, but overall, it achieves the 70s-drive-in-movie look and feel it's going for - very entertaining.
4.4
Control
It's a light-gun shooter, so there's not much to it. However, reloading is smartly mapped to the A button, the moderate use of waggle is appreciated, and IR control works great.S
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Sound effects and music are cheesy and repugnant - simply a perfect match for the gameplay and presentation. However, the sound effects emanating from the Wii Remote made the guns often sound like toys.
3.7

Play Value
Overkill is a definite "buy" for those folks into this sort of over-the-top, shooting action, but for the price, it's still fairly light on content.

3.9
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Pulp funk horror: Zombie cool at its finest as one of the most popular shooter classics returns injected with a whole new retro b-movie look.
  • An utterly in-your-face zombie-dismembering blast: Non-stop light-gun shooting action on the Wii as you blow apart zombies for high-score thrills.
  • Gripping co-op action on the Wii: Grab a friend and play the game as intended in your own buddy action movie as two of the coolest characters in video gaming.


  • Screenshots / Images
    The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge The House of the Dead: Overkill screenshot - click to enlarge

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