|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|
In a recent panel interview with noted gaming journalists N`Gai Croal and Stephen Totilo, Bethesda's Todd Howard compared the Wii to a "Teddy Ruxpin toy." Now, a game like Fallout 3, without a doubt, offers an amazing journey to undertake. However, sometimes gamers just want a quick burst of entertainment that requires almost no commitment of time or emotion. With The House of the Dead: Overkill, SEGA and Headstrong Games prove that Wii is no mere child's plaything, while simultaneously offering gamers "the hardcore they've been waiting for!"
Overkill is an unapologetic, immature, vulgar ride through guilty pleasure. We love it! The story follows early events in the career of Agent G (the protagonist from past games in the series) and Detective Isaac Washington and a stripper. They're a rag-tag team of foul-mouthed hotheads who are out to save the world from a mutant outbreak. The story is completely ridiculous and 100 paces past irreverent, but Overkill is good fun no matter how you slice it, grind it, or mince it into zombie meatpie.
If you haven't been following the series these many years, The House of the Dead is an on-rails, light-gun shooter. You need not worry about controlling the movement of your character or managing ammo and supplies. For the most part, it all comes down to simply pointing and shooting. That said, Overkill offers plenty of entertainment and replay value.
The main game is broken up into short vignettes, each with a different theme and locale. You'll begin your adventure in Papa's Palace of Pain and eventually make your way through a hospital, swamp, carnival, and more. The camera mostly moves on its own, but the panning is choreographed to mimic how you'd expect the characters to realistically move. The two main characters, Washington and G, are constantly trading banter as you make your way through levels, and the over-the-top cutscenes tie everything together to give the game a wonderful, B-movie-from-the-70s feel.
Overkill requires only the Wii Remote (though you can also use the Wii Zapper control set-up), and you simply aim at the screen and fire with the B button. The A button reloads your weapon, and there is infinite ammo. Occasionally, you'll find grenades, and you can lob those by pressing the minus button. There are health packs, as well as slow-motion power-ups, and any time you want to collect or use one of these items, you just need to shoot it. Every now and again a certain creature or boss will grab hold of you, and you'll have to waggle rapidly to get free. But, (thankfully) motion control doesn't play a large role in Overkill.
Though the gameplay is very straight-forward, it's one of those games you'll want to keep coming back to; that's mostly because of the game's reward system (not to mention its utterly gratuitous nature). The more accurate you are with your shooting, the more your combo meter grows. If you can continue to hit enemies without any misses between shots, you'll eventually reach a "Goregasm," which maxes out your multiplier. The points you earn in the story mode are later converted to cash that can be spent at the gun shop. There's a healthy selection of guns - each offering a different feel and level of power - so there's plenty of incentive to keep going back into chapters to earn points.
In story mode, you can play together with a friend right from the outset. However, you will have to complete the story mode before unlocking the director's cut, which offers a few extra gameplay tidbits, as well as a tougher challenge overall. There are also a ton of achievements, and though not all of the unlockables are noteworthy, there's still plenty here for folks who love to scrounge for endless stuff.