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.