It’s funny, it’s trashy, it’s grimy, and it’s brilliant.The House of the Dead: Overkill (in future I’ll just say Overkill) is one of a group of video games brought out by Sega in recent years to go in the direction of adult video games, other games including Madworld, Bayonetta, Condemned amongst others. Sega as a video game publisher has proved in the past that it’s not just about Sonic the Hedgehog, but can actually publish heavy themed video games and entertain the adults as well. But this isn’t the first in the series; in fact it’s a prequel of four House of the Dead games that came out between 1996 and 2005, with only the first two coming out on Sega consoles, being the Saturn and Dreamcast respectively. The latter two were only available in the Arcades, with Sega going bust console-wise. So The House of the Dead series has a relatively decent cult following with the Sega and Arcade fans, popular enough for two films to be made (they’re supposedly bad, I’d avoid).
For years things were quiet, and it never looked like another HOTD game would be made, so Sega decided to port the second and third games to see how interested the Nintendo fan base would take to the games on the Wii, with its Wiimote function a rail shooter would be ideal for its console. The reception was decent, and pressure was made by fans for a new HOTD game to be made. This is where Overkill comes in.
Overkill is set 7 years before the first game, where it seems the origins of the zombie (sorry, mutants) outbreak seems to stem. Agent G, who is a regular character in the game series, is a young rookie agent on his first assignment. After a tussle with Detective Washington, who is basically playing the typical foul mouthed black cop role, they agree to work together to find Papa Cesar, one of two main antagonists of the game, who is responsible for the outbreak. Along the way they also meet Varla Guns, an ex-stripper with a quick wit who also has her personal vendetta against Cesar. There is the second antagonist that I will not name for spoiler reasons, who is the best character in the game, and is a complete nut job, and is one of the most controversial characters in recent video games.
I’ve said the above paragraph in a very serious tone; however this game is not serious. In fact, it’s one of the funniest games I’ve ever played. The game is set to a Grindhouse theme, so if you are a fan of the 1970’s horror films, or most recently, the Grindhouse film series by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and it fits in perfectly. The game has the imperfect film rail look, with lines and blurs appearing in the film frame, the places you go to are all Grindhouse specialists, like the hospital, the carnival and of course, the swamp. This added with all the cheesy bad acting the incredulous amount of gore and a swear-a-thon, make it a game not for the faint hearted. In fact, this game apparently uses the word “fuck” 189 times, and holds the record for the most use of the word in video game history. The constant bickering between Agent G and Detective Washington is just absolutely hilarious, and Varla Guns adds to the fun when she is around. To add more to the overdramatic tone of the game, we have a narrator who deep voiced and sarcastic, who makes the game complete in terms of giving us the most cheese I’ve ever seen in a video game. And that actually, is what separates this from the original game series, the other four games had terrible acting (especially the second), but was unintentional. This is as obvious as can be, and it’s fantastic.
|I'm sure I've seen him in Portsmouth somewhere.|
That being said, there is a lot to do. There is the basic storyline, which follow the same format of “railing” through all the mutants, listening to the bickering between G and Washington, getting to the cut scene and beat the boss. As simple as that sounds, Overkill do it so well and the bickering is so funny you won’t get bored. There are other things to shoot besides mutants, like golden encrusted brains which give you a bonus score, health and grenade packs which speak for themselves, but most entertainingly, something called “Slo-Mo-Fo Mode”, which slows down the video game and increasing the air in mutants heads so you can shoot them there and hope for them to pop off with ease. Slo-Mo-Fo mode is absolutely satisfying, seeing all the heads pop or the limbs drop (I sound really sick but who cares!) in slow motion. It’s also great so you can reach Goregasm quicker, so they walk hand in hand. All of this is in one level, and you have many to complete the game, so that’s the main thing.
|Harry and Dave hate fare dodgers, especially with guns.|
My favourite thing about this game is actually the soundtrack. It follows the same Grindhouse theme, and it’s just brilliant. I’ll go as far as to say it’s possibly my favourite original soundtrack I’ve ever heard. When you’re playing the game the songs are all instrumentals, however the same songs in their entirety are played in the menu screens and listening to these songs with the lyrics are just so funny. The best song is the Carnival song because it’s a typical Country song with horrible lyrics, it’s just wickedly brilliant. So there are two ways to listen to each track because even as instrumentals the songs are good.
One thing I’d like to bring up is the ending. This ending is very controversial, it’s sick and twisted, and I’d recommend you really consider the game rating if you were to play this game, I don’t think any game can say their ending is as controversial as this. I’m surprised they got away with it. That being said it works well with the theme and if you don’t mind gore and the controversy then you’ll be fine.
|I swear, that's not my One Eyed Monster!|