I was starting to think that the Wii was nothing but a dumping ground for massive party game packs of mini games, and then something happened to change my entire perspective. It’s called The House of the Dead: Overkill, and it’s a whole lot more fun than I ever expected.
See, The House of the Dead: Overkill plays like a massive collection of seventies drive-in movies unified by one basic script. You play as Agent G, aided and abetted by Detective Washington and a stripper with the unlikely name of Varla Guns, all after a madman with chemically driven plans for global conquest via an army of mutant humans and animals. Most of the mutated humans in question look almost EXACTLY like zombies. You’ll be chasing said madman, Papa Caesar by name, through a series of nightmarish challenges, including clearing out a plantation house of zombies, blasting your way through a prison, hospital, and carnival of the dead, and taking on horrific bloated monstrosities in a swamp.
Seriously, there’s probably enough basic fodder here to make a dozen or more direct to video splatter flicks, and they probably wouldn’t be half bad, either. Carny alone would give me the galloping creepsies, and there have already been some pretty solid zombie prison movies. Even The Asylum could do one right back in the day when they weren’t churning out sad retreads of blockbusters one right after the next.
The graphics are appropriately splattery, and the voice acting just screams seventies drive-in, in fact, the level of profanity in this game was probably approaching unnecessarily high levels but that’s nothing adults can’t handle. But where this game really got me was in terms of sheer gameplay. The Wiimote is surprisingly well placed to handle shooter games—all I could think while playing was that the Wii desperately needed a Star Trek-themed shooter. I believe that the Wiimote would make an excellent hand phaser.
Of course, there’s a down side to all this, too—if you’re not into splatter flicks and blasting zombies then you’re not going to get anything out of this game. I happen to fall into both those categories, both loving watching other people blast zombies and doing the blasting of said zombies myself. This game is tailor-made for people like me, but if you don’t happen to fall into the category of a horror enthusiast then it’s not going to be the game for you. All you’ll do in this game is shoot zombies with a variety of weapons.
Speaking of which, I loved the variety of weapons in this game. I further loved that they were upgradeable based on level performance, which provided the infusion of cash necessary to have my hardware tricked out and to get my shotgun and assault rifle and whatnot up to their highest levels. I do somewhat resent that combo scoring seemed to be affected by my use of an automatic weapon, but this was a minor irritant at best and certainly didn’t get in the way of the game’s sheer blistering fun factor.
The House of the Dead: Overkill should provide plenty of fun and plenty of action. Better, it’ll do that in a shooter package that doesn’t depend on you hovering above a gun barrel for once. Excellent, smooth gameplay and fun dialogue make this one one to pick up if you’ve got even the slightest horror buff tendency.