When House of the Dead Overkill landed on Wii back in 2009, it was one of the first games hinting that the Wii might be home to more mature games. Overkill abuses its namesake with juvenile humor and excessive amounts of profanity wrapped in a Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse package that is almost too outlandish not to love. Now, PS3 owners are getting a chance to see what the game is all about complete with waggle support in the form of Sony’s Move controller. The PS3 version arrives with all of the content of the original game plus two new levels and a plethora of other new content to keep us blasting zombies (and mutants) until the wee hours of the morning.
For the uninitiated, Overkill is a straight-up light gun game. The action is completely on-rails from point to point, leaving you to worry about aiming at the screen to mow down zombies. Throughout the game, there are plenty of off-screen jumps and surprises mixed with hidden collectibles and, of course, an uncountable number of undead and other ghoulish creatures. The game supports Move and, honestly, the accuracy is phenomenal. You will be landing headshots one after the other in no time. You can opt to play with the Dual Shock controller, which is nice, but the accuracy simply isn’t there. Besides, this is light gun game and should be played the way it was intended.
The draw here is the over-the-top scenarios and excessively vulgar language. I love the 70s Grindhouse vibe, complete with film grain and cheesy intermissions. The game feels like it was modeled directly after the Tarantino/Rodriguez feature from a few years back. The dialogue is borderline offensive at times, tossing out more f-bombs than the South Park movie and featuring such classic lines as “Don’t f— with him or he will cut your balls off”. Yeah, like I said the game never takes itself seriously, and neither should you. Still, it is hard not to have a blast playing with a buddy on the couch for an afternoon.
An afternoon is also all you will need as the game, even with two added missions, still clocks in at less than five hours. That might sound like a crime but, in fairness, it is how these games work. The idea is to go back and collect items and, of course, shoot for a higher score. Extended Cut also throws in a few new features, including more mutants in each stage and those addictive Trophies.
What it lacks in substance it makes up for in style, and I can honestly say that I loved the cheesy dialogue and ridiculous set pieces. The new additions to Extended Cut add missions featuring Varla (from the original) and her stripper friend, Candy. The conversations found in these two new levels are absolutely outlandish at times and, of course, feature plenty of focus shots featuring up-skirt action. The game goes out of its way to offend you, just to see how much it can get away with.
Once you complete the main game, you’ll unlock director’s cut mode, which throws in tougher enemies but lets you keep your upgraded weapons. Speaking of which, you collect cash throughout the game and use it to purchase new hardware to up the kill count. There is also a ton of stuff to collect including artwork, 3D models and much more. The game also supports 3D (both stereoscopic and anaglyphic), and the game has even been reworked for it. Items come flying out of the screen at you much like the generic additives used in 3D movies. Still, it is a neat effect, and one that serves more as a novelty than anything else.
Visually, the game has received a nice overhaul since it appeared on Wii, but you can still tell it wasn’t designed for PS3 from the ground up. Character models are blocky, and clipping issues are rampant. The new HD coat of paint does help in some ways, though, as the frame rate is not rock solid and the cheesy effects are better realized. The audio is pure cheese, from the disco funk soundtrack to the excessive vulgarity, and, personally, I love it. The presentation definitely feels borrowed, but it works.
House of the Dead – Extended Cut is a fantastic diversion that basks in its ridiculousness far too much. If you already took the plunge on Wii, I can’t say the additives are worth a second dip, but if you have yet to partake, there has never been a better time. For the price tag, this is one wild ride you will not regret, so long as you are not easily offended in any way, shape or form.
Review copy provided by publisher.