House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut: review

The House of the Dead: Overkill began life as a fairly well received Wii game, with the system being perfect for the precise aiming an on-rails arcade style shooter requires. Now the game has been remixed into an ‘extended cut’ and repackaged for the PS3 with full Move support.

House of the Dead games can never really be judged based on plot since it’s far more about the gameplay akin to what you would be looking for in a busy arcade; that said, Overkill does feature one of the worst. Playing as either Agent G on his first mission to track down Papa Caesar and put an end to his mutant experiments or Detective Issac Washington who wants to kill Caesar for revenge, you play through levels with a linked plot but with each pitched as an individual ‘movie’.

As we said: the plot in the game is beyond bad. The thing is though – it’s on purpose. The game is presented in a terrible old B-movie-come-horror-flick style complete with an over the top narrator, stupendously bad acting, writing, plot and music. It will no doubt be a polarising choice as while others might find it amusing, we were in the camp that found the lack of polish and ludicrously bad plot irritating, along with Issac’s constant swearing being a pointless distraction. The game does also border on bad taste at times with jokes about cripples, rednecks, carnival folk and more, all being fair game.

Still, plot is never the main thing here. It’s about the gun gameplay, which does translate as well to Move as it did to the Wii. In this extended cut you can resort to using a normal pad; however even with the sensitivity bumped right up, it will still feel slow in comparison and becomes obvious when at times you have literally only a second or two to fire at one of the many collectables littered around each level.

Besides two levels exclusive to this extended cut bringing the total to nine (Naked Terror and Creeping Flesh which let players take control of Varla Gunns and a new character imaginatively called Candi Stryper), the game is also 3DTV compatible. This adds another little gimmick to help warrant a purchase even for those that had the Wii version, and that applies to those without the necessary 3D compatible television too. Included with the game are two classic red and blue tint 3D glasses. This can then be switched on in-game to give you the 3D effect we put up with as kids, though to be honest it will just hurt your eyes far more than conventional, modern 3D.

Rounding off the new additions are the Director’s Cut mode which opens slightly new routes through levels as well as tougher enemies and limited continues, new weapons, and the four player minigames (which you’d play once or twice at most and like the main campaign is local only).

Graphically the game is far below the standards expected of a PS3 game, though naturally this is because of where it began life. The 3D makes up for this slightly but it is worth remembering going in that this will not be a visual feast for the eyes. There are about four or five basic enemy types excluding the bosses, stages are bland, and enemies don’t react well enough to being shot except randomly losing a limb sometimes.

Getting through all the levels won’t take long either regardless of whether you play alone or with a friend, but the game does try to include ways to encourage replays. Among the various modes you can earn and activate are: a hardcore mode (headshots only), more mutants mode (increased enemy amounts), and a mode where you duel wield two independent weapons. The most unique additional mode is definitely ‘Shoot the sh-t’ in which every cutscene is given subtitles and if a player hits the bad word before it is said then it gets bleeped.

It’s hard to say much more about House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut. The bad taste B-movie style will appeal to certain people but irritate others. There isn’t exactly a huge array of Movecentric titles to choose from as of yet so perhaps now is the best time for something like this to be released. That said, you would need to be really desperate for an on the rails shooter to get any kind of extreme enjoyment out of a game as crass as this, in which characters have sex with their mothers and more often than not the weak point of the boss is the breast.


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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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