The House of the Dead: Overkill
Review by bigbadman000
"Best rail shooter ever!"
This game was the ultimate rail shooter. By staging the presentation in the format of a Grindhouse movie, there was finally a legitimate excuse for an outlandish story and lousy voice acting often found in HOTD titles. The presentation really makes the game exceptional. The game starts up with a nice little go-go show that sets the stage for violence and vice that is typical of the grindhouse film. The storyline is very simple in its arc but has a few twists and turns that make it rather interesting and surely (I hope) a sequel is inevitable.
As far as game mechanics go, there is relatively little that is new here. Some of the more intresting features are the shootable targets that offer small benefits. Brains are scattered throughout each board and are used to unlock extra videos, audio tracks, and other extra points. Small green targets (they look a bit like DNA or something) cause everything in the game to go in slow motion. It's a cool effect that makes it easier to pull off headshots and allows your relexes a few momoents to recover. Another interesting addition is the idea of achieving a "Goregasm" for shooting accurately. By making about 25 kills in a row without being hit, the announcer calls "Goregasm" and an american flag waves near your health bar. The duration of your goregasm can unlock more videos, etc and each kill made while having a Goregasm nets you extra points.
There is also a gun shop you can access prior to starting each board that allows you to upgrade your weapon using in-game currency awarded for completing missions. There are at least 6 weapons ranging from hand guns, to shotguns and fully automatic weapons. Two weapons may be carried throughout the stage and players can switch freely between the two at any time. Upgrades available include larger clip size, more damage, faster reload times. It is acceptable that there is no ground-breaking invention introduced to the rail-shooter genre but it does add its own style to the game mechanics. Since the rail-shooter has been around for over a decade now -- most avenues have been explored.
The absolute best way to enjoy this game is with a friend. With two players, the games becomes much easier and can be more competetive as each player tries to achieve a longer Goregasm and get more points.
Mini games are included for a diversion, but they are not particularly engrossing in themselves. The real draw of the game is the storyline, the dramatic voice-overs, and the lovable cop caricatures. Beating the game unlocks a "Director's cut" which is basically the same game with more zombies. I was a bit disappointed that more was not offered in the Director's cut.
It would have been nice if there was an extra side story or some way to branch off the beaten path, just for some variety, but everything that is included is extremely well done and adds to the theme of the low budget zombie movie.
The soundtrack is outstanding. If I were to characterize it in a genre, I would say it tends to be a mix of funk & surf music. There is a nice grindy guitar, the kind that is typical for the grindhouse movies, along with a solid drum and bass line.
Any fans of Quentin Tarrantino or movies that are over-the-top in violence and f-bombs will certainly appreciate this game. It's an easy game to learn for non-gamers, and the coop mode fits well with the storyline. I would recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor and/or is mature enough to appreciate the Grindhouse theme.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/09
Game Release: The House of the Dead: Overkill (US, 02/10/09)
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