The House of the Dead: Overkill – hands-on

As we decorated the walls with mutant (blood flows in Carrie proportions) and left the odd leg comically littering the floor, we found ourselves moving deeper into the hospital. Along with patients and the occasional shirtless obese man, we found plenty of the staff turned by the mutagen: nurses with blood-splattered scrubs and grey-haired doctors with murder in their eyes, their expensive medical educations vaporized in a shotgun instant. It would have been grim if it weren’t for Detective Washington by our side, spilling out sweary exclamations with each takedown.

A third of the way in we caught a glimpse of the level boss. As we edged towards a shrouded figure in a darkened corridor, she turned around to reveal a face we can only describe as dog food and let out a wail that sent us reeling back to the floor. The tumbling viewpoint is one of many nice touches that havebeen added to give a sense of a human perspective, rather than an automaton on rails. There’s a similar moment later, when Agent G and Washington dive and roll through a window – a nice little FPS technique.

The level cut out before we were able to meet up with the screamy boss, but even at this halfway mark our rampage was longer than most stages in previous House of the Dead games. One dev clocks the game at just under two hours with over 500 mutants per stage – so, exactly the length of a grindhouse flick. No matter where you look you can find similarities between Overkill and the films it’s aping. Although where grindhouse is rough and ready, Overkill is one of the better looking titles on Wii. The desire to show off beats fidelity, it seems.

Bradley Crooks wasn’t surprised at the gelling of ideas. As he told us: “A lot of what makes grindhouse fun and funky – the over-the-top gratuitousness of it, the humor, the grainy B-movie effects – works well with House of the Dead. A lot of that is there already in House of the Dead – the slightly cheesy dialogue, the emphasis on characters. It just fitted really well.” Our first hands-on would agree.

Jan 12, 2009