Video Game Review: House of the Dead: Overkill
Last year, Sega tested the waters for Wii rail shooters with ports of Ghost Squad and House of the Dead 2 and 3. Now it's enlisted Headstrong Games to create the all-new House of the Dead: Overkill. Does it stink of rotten flesh or make a mother proud?
This tale is definitely not to be taken seriously. Embracing the cheesiness of the previous games and infusing it with a grindhouse vibe, Overkill is practically a parody of itself. Even Agent G's enigmatic name is made fun of multiple times.
Every conceivable element goes way over the top. G's partner Isaac Washington constantly drops the F-bomb. There's a hot chick on a motorcycle named Varla Guns, and villain Papa Caesar makes hardly any sense with his bad accent and off-beat analogies. In one scene, G has to shove his hand into the gut of a defeated monster to answer Caesar's enormous cell phone, and the shocking final boss has no fear of sexual depravity. It's vulgar, it's disgusting, and it's hilarious.
Overkill's action unfolds over seven episodes, about 20 minutes each. It isn't huge by any means, and you have unlimited continues for the price of half your score. Completing the game unlocks a director's cut, which does limit you to three lives and theoretically includes longer versions of each level, but you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Player two can jump in at any time, and unlockables do their part to extend the experience. You can add extra mutants to levels you've beaten or turn on dual-wielding, to let a single player shoot with a Wii Remote in each hand. High scores are converted into cash to buy new weapons and upgrades to boost attributes like recoil or clip size. Players can also tweak options to calibrate aim or turn off the crosshairs. The game also includes a few quick fire mini-games that provide four-player support, but don't add much.
Overkill has most of the options fans are looking for, but it's still quite short for a game designed to be taken home instead of munching quarters at the arcade.