Wednesday, 10 April 2013

House Of The Dead: Overkill Wii

Never has killing zombies been so tongue-in-cheek since a 70s low budget horror flick and feel so satisfying.

The House Of The Dead (HotD) series was one of the most iconic arcade series in the 90s along with Time Crisis, which cemented the new age of shoot ‘em up games. However, the Sega series took a bit of a turn for the worst after the second instalment and was forgotten about quite quickly which coincided with the depletion of arcades and was slow to capitalise on the home console market. Trying to resurrect the series, Sega released House Of The Dead 2 & 3 bundled together for the Wii in 2008. With the memories coming back and interest in the series increasing once more, Sega took some time and created the not so serious prequel of the series in 2009 entitled House Of The Dead: Overkill for a new refreshing twist to what was a strong story.
The story and the characters is really what sells this game. On the surface, it’s just another light gun shooter which uses the Wii remotes capabilities very well, but when you add the odd duo of the series protagonist Agent G and an African American police officer by the name of Issac Washington along with a number of cheesy horror references, a quirky storyline and many outrageous lines, you will no doubt be laughing your arse off non-stop.
Set 7 years before the first game, you find our man Agent G on his first assignment for AMS. He teams up with Officer Washington while investigating a crime lord called Papa Caesar in Louisiana after a number of people have been reported missing, one of which is Washington’s father. These people have been experimented on with the superhuman formula called Formula X and in the process; they are attacked by a number of fresh eating zombies. You meet a lot of strange people along the way including the first boss Jasper Gunn who is a disabled scientist. What proceeds is probably the easiest boss sequence of all time and in the process, you meet Agent G’s love interest, the feisty Varla who assumes the damsel in distress at the end finale where you meet probably the strangest character ever conceived in video gaming history, the main villain of the game Clement. You first meet him taking a leak outside the prison where the final level takes place. He gets most of his urine on his trousers and doesn’t seem too bothered and tries to make out he is backing up both Agent G and Issac. When you later realise Clement is the baddie, he has Varla hostage and plans to transport his mother’s brain in the young beauty. You think that’s weird but when you find out he wants to do this because he wants have sex with her, you can’t help but laugh out of sheer awkwardness. The ‘openly loving’ mother/son relationship is the cringiest sequence of events I have ever witnessed on a video game and fits into this over the top game perfectly.
The games structure needs to be applauded. This is the first HotD game to be exclusive to home consoles and so ditches the normal arcade style of playing the game through with continues. You play this game in a total of 6 chapters which breaks the gameplay down and also helps you upgrade your weapons. The only problem with the game is that it’s quite short and doesn’t invite you back with much replay value. There are a couple extra levels in the Playstaion 3 version which was released a year later, but with the difficulty level not being very high, you will only be playing the game for around half an hour longer.
Apart from this small disappointment, HotD Overkill delivers in many ways that will give you more pleasure then watching a ‘bad movie’. The corny jokes and the grotesque graphics that poke fun out of the horror genre and even at themselves is a breath of fresh air.

The Verdict: Recommended at the current price you can find on ebay, between £5-£10. You will be chuckling for a couple of hours but not for much longer after that. 8/10

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