The House of the Dead Overkill

If you’re searching for epic quests and complicated storylines, you should look elsewhere, but fans of old light gun games or any gamers wanting some quick, mindless fun won’t go wrong with The House of the Dead Overkill.

What is it with women and zombie blasting? Sure, that may sound like a strange question, but inexplicably, women seem to love unloading a clip into a zombie’s head. Don’t believe me? Let me share some anecdotal evidence to make my point.

The year is 2001, and I am living in North Carolina. A girl I was kind of seeing at the time meets up with me at a mall. We end up at the arcade (yeah, they weren’t as scare in 2001 as they are now). Why did we go to the arcade? There was a game there she wanted to play with me: The House of the Dead 2. Yes, instead of dragging me along while she shopped or watching a movie together or any of the other activities in which we could have engaged at the mall, this girl wanted to put holes in zombies.

Jump ahead to 2009. A friend of mine (this time someone I am not kind of seeing) visits me at my house. If you’ve looked through my video game collection, you will see that I have a lot of games and many games that seem to span the gender gap. However, once this friend learns that I bought The House of the Dead Overkill, she excitedly says, “Let’s shoot zombies.” And the next time she visits? “I want to shoot zombies.”

It seems there is something about blowing away swarm after swarm of the walking dead that appeals to both men and women. Perhaps it is an inherent fear of the dead shared by both. Perhaps it is catharsis without the intrusion of conscience (they were already dead, anyway). Perhaps we were all so freaked out by Night of the Living Dead that we need to shoot zombies for our mental wellness. I’m sure there is a psychological study in there, but I guess that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to discuss whether or not this game is worth buying and/or playing.

The answer to both is yes.

The House of the Dead Overkill is just plain fun. It’s great that the introduction of the Wii has revived the light gun genre (though we’re not really talking about light guns anymore). These games were almost always fun and accessible to a wide audience. Instead of memorizing what a bunch of different buttons do, all you have to remember is to pull the trigger when that zombie is in your crosshairs and occasionally shake your gun to reload (as opposed to shooting offscreen, which tended to be the way to reload with light guns). You don’t even need to worry about controlling where you move, since the game does that for you. It’s a matter of shooting and surviving, outlasting the horde of creatures wanting to rend your flesh.

Before I give this game too glowing of a review, there are some weak spots I need to point out. The graphics in the cut scenes are not great. I know that the Wii is incapable of producing the graphics of the Xbox 360 or the PS3, but the cut scene graphics here are exceptionally poor. The graphics while playing seem better, though I cannot say whether they actually are or if it is just a matter of being too focused on the action to notice them. Also, the storyline can be hit or miss, depending on your tastes. I appreciated that they presented the whole game like a low-budget seventies horror flick, but my friend was very annoyed by the cut scenes and just wanted to get to the action. Part of that may have been that the storyline is more catered to a male audience (for example, the intro to the game includes a live action exotic dancer, presented in grainy footage appropriate for the era this game is trying to capture). Also, the profanity in this game is excessive, and while I don’t believe that really bothered my friend, those of you who find this distasteful might want to avoid this game.

Those issues aside, there isn’t a whole lot to dislike here. This is pure fun and the reason we went to arcades back in the day. What’s even better is that this title can now be found for cheap (I saw it for as little as $13 around Christmas). If you’re searching for epic quests and complicated storylines, you should look elsewhere, but fans of old light gun games or any gamers wanting some quick, mindless fun won’t go wrong with The House of the Dead Overkill.

Highly recommended

Twas the season to be gaming

This holiday season, I splurged a little bit on my gaming habit and picked up a bunch of sale and budget titles. Why, I’m not sure. I have many, many games I’ll likely never get to, but I can’t help adding to my collection when I see games at good prices. Anyway, here are my purchases since Thanksgiving:

Xbox 360
Assassin’s Creed (Platinum Hits)
Battle Fantasia
Blue Dragon
Dark Sector
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Guitar Hero 5
Resident Evil 5
Rise of the Argonauts
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Tomb Raider Anniversary
Tomb Raider: Underworld
Viking: Battle for Asgard

Xbox Live
Castle Crashers
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

The Conduit
The House of the Dead: Overkill
Nights: Journey of Dreams

Dead Space

The Movies

That’s twenty-eight new games, for those of you counting. Now if only I could retire and play games all day, I might get to all of these before I die.

My Nintendo Wii Collection

This list last updated May 30, 2010.

The Conduit
Data East Arcade Classics
Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout
The House of the Dead Overkill
Nights: Journey of Dreams
Rayman: Raving Rabbids
Red Steel
Samba de Amigo
Wii Play
Wii Sports

Current game count: 11