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House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut Review

Looking back, 2009’s House of the Dead: Overkill was certainly an intriguing Wii title. Published on a console usually associated with family-friendly fare, the game combined mutant massacring mayhem, a torrent of foul-mouthed dialog, along with a smile-inducing grindhouse aesthetic. While the title didn’t tamper with time-tested light gun shooter mechanics, it didn’t need to. Overkill’s cathartic shooting and over-the-top delivery were gratifying enough to instigate cross-couch high five’s from the most reserved participants.

Despite SEGA’s claim that the title “absolutely met our [sales] expectations”, Overkill never quite seemed to transcend cult status, mirroring the commerciality of its cinematic inspiration. Fortunately, the recent release of House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut has the potential to seize the attention of decidedly different demographic- PS3 players. With a capable high-definition makeover, two additional stages, 3D support (both stereoscopic and anaglyphic), as well as a bevy of collectables to locate, the title substantiates its forty-dollar purchase price. While those unfamiliar with the genre may bemoan the game’s five hour main campaign, light-gun enthusiasts will recognize there is more to the game than just a quick trek to the closing credits. Skillfully, developer Headstrong Games bolstered the main game with online leaderboard support as well as a pleasing number of gameplay variants. The most unique deviation is “Shoot the Sh*T” which tasks players with bleeping out the game’s endless strings of expletives, pressing the fire button to issue a sanitizing censor tone.

Like the four previous entries in the series, Overkill is an on-rails shooter, moving players through a predestined path of mutants and boss monsters. Gamers are granted a bit of flexibility in their perspective: moving the cursor the edges of the screen allows players to tweak the viewing angle in order to shoot at a trinket of power-up. Although Overkill – Extended Cut can be played with a Sixaxis controller, moving the on-screen cross-hair is slower and more cumbersome than using a Move peripheral. Ideally, players will one of Sony’s sharp shooters available, which replaces the normal ‘rapid upswing to reload’ maneuver with a pleasing shotgun-style pump. Without having to lose a bead on targets, high scores were easily garnered with the device.

Overkill allows players to use collected cash to improve attributes such as the power, firing rate, and clip/magazine size of their weapons, as well as buy additional firearms. While arsenal augmentation may be enough to keep solitary gamers returning to stages, the game’s gratifying local co-op capacity will be the main enticement for duos. With a second player, Overkill absolutely shines, thanks to the elimination of slowdown which sullied the Wii iteration. Likely, every erupting mutant head or successful civilian-saving scenario will be accompanied by a chorus of boisterous cheers.

House of the Dead: Overkill’s simulated film grain, pulpy soundtrack, psychedelic intermission screens, and baritone-voiced narrator endow the game with personality. Likewise, the game’s character’s, from the perpetually lewd ladies’ man, Isaac Washington to requisite sex kitten Varla Guns astutely lampoon drive-in cinema while delivering the occasional chuckle. Although the game graphics can’t compete with top-tier PS3 titles, such as Uncharted 2 or God or War III, the game conceals it’s ancestry well- only during cinemas does the animation revel its origins. Regretfully, load times can be a bit long. Simply examining newly acquired concept art or 3D models is prefaced by a thirty-second wait.

Along with Namco’s Time Crisis: Razing Storm, House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut belongs in every Move-owning, light-gun aficionado’s library. With a constant barrage of gross-out moments, lascivious language, collectables, and encroaching enemies this funhouse ride offers a pick-up and play experience capable of entertaining gamers of all skill levels. With any luck, Extended Cut will sell enough to copies to inspire a new House of the Dead game, as shredding mutants into little red bits is soothing soup for trigger-happy souls.

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.


  1. 1st!

    Is there extra gore in this version?

  2. Wait whats the revolver picture for if the game shows the number of bullets on the side?

  3. I played the Wii version. It was really fun but it slowed down a lot especially with two people. Did they fix that?

  4. shooting zombies never gets old. They are the perfect enemy.

  5. Light-gun rental are perfect rentals. Blow throw them with some beers and never look back. Hopefully, RedBox will get this in.

    • Maybe.

      Redbox’s selection is always sketchy. And they don’t get in multiple disk games, which means RAGE, BF3, and Forza were skipped.

  6. is the co-op not online or did you just think local was better?

  7. Hows the 3D, do the guts fly in your face? that would be pretty damn cool.

  8. I heard the game was really too easy even in the Director’s cut mode. What did you think?

  9. I was never able to play the Wii version of HoTD because I didn’t have the system, only the old Xbox version.

  10. I really doubt this will sell enough to have Sega make another HOTD game. Most of them have been ports, either from the arcade or from the Wii version. There’s just not that many Move owners out there.

  11. Did you guys ever review the sharp shooter? It is worth the $20 that some places are selling it for?

  12. I’ll wait until it hit the $20 mark. I bet that will happen before the new year.

  13. Nice review- BTW is there an install? How big is it?

  14. pretty damn good review. Makes me feel confident that I’d really like this game.

  15. with so few Move games (and even fewer good ones) I’ll probably pick it up sometime.

    I didn’t notice any problems with the Wii versions framerate?

  16. I’m not trying to spam or anything, but I did notice that Amazon has it for $29.99 shipped.

    Yes, bought one. I have a hard time resisting light-gun games.

  17. Can you take cover like Time Crisis?

  18. I wonder if Sega will make a Kinect version where you use your hand like a gun.

  19. Just got it from Amazon. Can’t beat $30.

  20. $30 is the right price for me. Now who has sharp shooters for $20?

  21. I’m really trying to save my money for Skyrim, but you are making it hard!

  22. This is by far one of my favorites games of my childhood. Loved the review and I definitely put this on my wish list 🙂

  23. Samuel L. Asskicker

    Ive probably put more quarters/tokens in the House of the Dead arcade games that any other series.

  24. Mutants? Those are zombies, man!