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Blown Away- House of the Dead: Overkill Reviewed

From early skeet-shooting simulations which were little more than motorized transparencies projected on a screen, to the latest entries in the Time Crisis series- we’ve played our fair share of shooting games. With the exception of the deceptively multifaceted Link’s Crossbow Training, few games in the past half-decade have held our interest like the shooters of yesteryear.

With the infrared capabilities of the Wiimote, shooters should work amazingly well on Nintendo’s system. Sadly, both Ghost Squad and Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles suffered from design problems that limited each game’s enjoyment. Recent release House of the Dead: Overkill looks to remedy this situation by offering an entertaining and delightfully bawdy addition to the popular series.


                             For touching my HDTV, I’m going to have to shoot you where it’s going to hurt.

As the first non-Japanese developer to work on the series, Headstrong Games has created quite an enjoyable diversion. Players are sent through predetermined pathways besieged with the lumbering undead. Pressing the “B” button fires, while “A” initiates a firearm reload. Owners of the Wii Zapper will probably want to alter the control scheme, as reloading was awkward in the default layout. Overkill adds one interesting and functional facet to the archetypical shooting mechanic- bringing the cursor to the edge of the screen allows the player to move the game’s perspective slightly.

Players are encouraged to take every shot count via a compelling combo system- each successful hit raises the player’s point value, while a single miss resets the meter. Gamers will be pressured between a slow but safe series of body shots, and a single skull buster. Player must strategically decide when to reload, as the this process leaves to player open to attack for a brief moment.


                        “Nurse, please wash your uniform after infant delivery. It’s scaring the patients!”

Whereas recent Wii shooter Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles floundered due to its frustrating difficulty, Overkill wisely avoids exasperation. If a player’s health bar is drained, the gamer is allowed to continue- although they forfeit half their score. Points are used for unlockables- everything from weapon upgrades to arsenal expansions, creating a nice balance to the game. Once all seven missions of the game’s story mode are completed, a director’s cut becomes available. This variation offers alternative pathways, tougher enemies, and an overall increased challenge to the player.

Sonically, House of the Dead: Overkill offers a continuous stream of some of the saltiest language we’ve heard in a game. Isaac Washington’s character manages to channel the bravado of Samuel L. Jackson, fitting an f-bomb into the shortest of sentences. While clueless parent will undoubtedly be shocked at the language emanating from their typically family-friendly console, we thoroughly relished the vulgarity. Stylistically, Overkill nails the grindhouse vibe; the simulated celluloid is filled with dirt, scratches, and pops and hisses realistically. Occasional moments of overexposure cement the sensation you are playing an interactive recreation of a 70’s drive-in flick.  Our main complaint we had with the game was the game’s occasionally sputtering speed, typically triggered when during the game’s most hectic moments. Secondly, some of the boss fights slowed the overall momentum of the title; most of the level-ending monstrosities had predictable patterns and resilient life-bars.


                                            “Allright, enough of the peek-a-boo. I know who it is already!”

Between last week’s release of Tenchu: Shadow Assassins, and now, House of the Dead: Overkill, adult Wii owners have a reason to rejoice. Overkill represents one of the best light-gun games in recent memory, offering a wonderfully enjoyable shooter with a marvelous presentation. Talk of the Wii suffering from a lack of ‘hardcore’ titles, is beginning to seem no longer relevant, with addition like Overkill to Nintendo’s library.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

38 comments

  1. First, and DAMN this looks so awesome.

  2. Between this and the Sonic collection, you are some Sega loving fanboys.

    And I like it.

  3. Don’t forget Sega’s also bring out Madworld next month. I hear that’s the shit.

  4. Whats up with the black bars on the bottom of some of the pics?

  5. Sega’s making good games again? wat?

  6. Really nice graphics for the Wii. How bad is the slowdown, tho..

  7. Can I assume its rated “M”? LOL

  8. Please stop using the term ‘F-Bomb.’

    It’s so f^*&king cliche.

  9. That game looks hot, son.

  10. Two good Wii games in a month? What the hell is going on?

  11. Are the old games unlockable in this one?

  12. These light-gun style games get old so fast.

  13. I saw in another review, it’s really only when you use the shotgun and blow a bunch of zombie away at once. No big deal..

  14. Cinemas? Thats what I think, cause not all the screen have them.

  15. You sound soo cool!

  16. Does someone know what the lollipop joke is?

  17. Are there real weapons? Or just generic

  18. Good review, better score that I would have thought.

    What other shooters do you guys enjoy?

  19. This is 59.99 Canadian, which really sucks.

  20. Hopefully the death of casual gaming.

  21. Looks and sound delightfully graphic. I’m surprized Nintendo allows this.

  22. Wow that sounds very fun. I like the whole grindhouse feel

  23. A can’t beleive those are wiu graphics

  24. Widescreen? 480p?

  25. No those are available on another disk.

  26. What’s not to love about two great games.

  27. I rented it- Widescreen AND 420P. Hell yeah!

  28. I bought the last one at Gamestop, and they forgot to put the damn disk in the case. Get off the damn phone, you idiot!

    I can’t play this until tomorrow now.

  29. Aren’t those images just a bit too violent?

  30. C’mon dude. Seriously, you’ve got to be joking.

  31. Buy American!!!!

  32. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a bit cartoony- and not too realistic. It would probably be had to find a screenshot for the game that didn’t have blood in it. That’s how we know they are zombies.

  33. So is this or Tenchu the better game?

  34. Sold out everywhere I looked today

  35. And Wii graphics, too 😉

  36. Useful info. Hope to see more good posts in the future.

  37. Top post. I look forward to reading more. Cheers