The House of the Dead: Overkill

  • Melon-farming bad language
  • Plucking off heads in slow-mo
  • Stomach-turning finale
  • More of a kill-spree than a challenge
  • Bosses sometimes underwhelming
  • Incestuous hillbillies

We can only imagine the faces at the ratings boards when they popped their copy of Overkill into the glowing Wii slot. Seeing this kind of gore, language and politically incorrect humor spill from the Wii is like hearing a five-year-old cuss like a sailor – who’d have thought Nintendo’s friendly white box had it in it?

MadWorld may have gained the newspaper wrath, but content-wise, Overkill pushes things further. Aside from the lashings of viscera that spill from each perforated mutant, the game contains censor-baiting eye-openers such as incest and disability gags, not to mention enough naughty words to make Scarface look like Nintendogs. However, the key word is ‘gags’. Everything is done with a cheeky grin, a parody of bad taste that had us collectively guffawing around the TV.

And it’s mostly the packaging that’s shock and awe - the really gross stuff contained in cutscenes that punctuate the levels. Get down to the shooting and you’re on steadier, if jam-smeared, ground. Unlike the arcade House of the Deads, Overkill has grander ambitions. Levels can run up to 20 minutes in length – the time it takes to complete House of the Dead 2 – and feel more like FPS stages played through a light gun perspective.

On one (dismembered) hand, you get more bang for your buck: two hours of mutant slaughter where normally 30 minutes suffice. The extra time lets the level designers show off, taking us through misty swamps, Blair Witch-style houses and a hillbilly camp all in one stage. An even better carnival level sees you popping caps in some clowns before working your way through exploding attractions and a ghost train ride. The action is just varied enough to keep the momentum going.

On the other hand, some of the intensity of the past games has been toned down. Even on its harder Director’s Cut setting (which adds 30% or so to each level’s length), we only needed two of our credits to make our way through. Enemy waves don’t ramp up in difficulty, or at least, not enough to keep ahead of the weapon upgrades you can buy between levels. In effect, the hardest level is the first – get a shotgun and the mutants are history.

This isn’t to say Overkill isn’t a tremendous laugh; it’s just not what light gun fans may have wanted. As a shooting experience it won’t trouble you, but it’ll entertain you. Heads pop perfectly, arms spin off as blood geysers pump icky red all over the walls, chain kills rack up and a gravelly voice bellows the multiplier names with homicidal relish. And if you hit a bullet time pick-up, you can watch it all frame by frame. The adrenaline of arcade survival has been exchanged for the satisfaction of uber-violence. Ghost Squad and House of the Dead 2+3 already have the adrenaline angle covered on Wii, so we can enjoy Overkill for what it is. At last, the Wii comes of age.

Feb 10, 2009

More Info

Release date: Feb 10 2009 - Wii (US)
Feb 13 2009 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Sega
Developed by: Headstrong Games
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
PEGI Rating:

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  • Naruto100234 - March 1, 2009 8:15 p.m.

    When Is HOD4 Coming To Xbox 360?
  • riodoku79 - February 24, 2009 5:28 p.m.

    ...4 player vs.?
  • fionnoh - February 17, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    who are you to tell me what i hate, i love incestuous hillbillies!! with their cute webbed toes and their funny little accents... ah!
  • adrenaguy - February 15, 2009 10:18 p.m.

    house of the dead 4 is already in arcades, you know, these games (not including overkill, of course) where designed to sit in the arcades, originally, and addictive veritable money making machines, their difficulty levels high due to the fact that they neeed to be or people would be like "well that was easy, but fun" and probably play it only as couple times after that, being able to complete them on only a few credits is what people pay and pay and pay to get to, which is why they where so damn hard. now with overkill you've bought the game so their's no need to keep you hooked and trying to get better every time because you've already paid for it so you complete it pretty much first time. imo anyway :P
  • Cyd14199625 - February 11, 2009 10:36 p.m.

    how much is it
  • Grenade - February 11, 2009 5:30 p.m.

    I don't even care if it's short. I love Area 51 in the arcades. My dad and I play it everytime we see it, and on-rail shooters are pretty much made for playing through again and again.
  • pat_thestarfish - February 11, 2009 12:53 a.m.

    First? Nicely done, looks alright, a probable buy for me.
  • thochaos - February 27, 2009 11:36 a.m.

    Just finished this game tonight. Tons of fun.
  • rockingamer247 - February 22, 2009 3:46 a.m.

    Yay!! Wii learned a new word. or a few for that matter. might wanna get this.
  • AyronrocksGR - February 16, 2009 1:58 a.m.

    god....i want this game.
  • Naruto100234 - February 15, 2009 4:06 a.m.

    Is It Good? Because I Am A Fan Of The Past House Of The Dead Games. But This One I Think It Is A Little Stupid. Does Anyone Know When HOD4 Comes Out
  • looting - February 14, 2009 11:42 a.m.

    got my copy yesterday played it last night and went to bed laughing if you want a good laugh shooter get this one
  • climbing wolf - February 11, 2009 9:55 p.m.

    I'm just concerned if there's any replay value here
  • supersmurfybob - February 11, 2009 5:32 a.m.

    Even though it sounds short, it sounds like a reason to turn on my Wii.
  • Wave360 - February 11, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    Nice to see this turned out to be a good game =D Wii owners are in for a treat