House of the DEAD: OverKill ‘Extended Edition’ Review

I love me some classic gaming, House of the Dead is an all time favourite in the video arcade.  So having my own copy in the comfort of my own living room was something I was not going to miss.  HDO (House of the Dead OverKill) is actually a re-release from the original Wii version.  Since I am not a 9 year old girl I do not own a Wii so the HD remake to PS3 Move was a welcome treat.  Headstrong games are the developers in the driving seat on this one, published by Sega.  I’ll be honest I did not have high hopes for this classic style shooter, more of a time killer than anything I thought.  However I was pleasantly surprised in how well this game looks and feels.  The easiest way to describe it is a cross between the movies ‘The Devils Rejects’ & the ‘Evil Dead’.  This game knows exactly what it is, a cheesy B movie shooter and thankfully doesn’t try to be anything else.  In fact it plays on the fact that people will not take it that seriously, corny lines, ridiculous character personalities and plenty of outrageous gore.  Awesome!

Taking into account the fact that this is HD re-make it does look fantastic, everything has been worked on in this shooter from the original.  Its not at all basic (which is what I was expecting).  the graphics look great, the background is awesome and the enemies constantly change.  Plus your targets will react depending on where you hit them, no more shoot them in the foot and the head is thrown back?!? No no no, you shoot a ‘mutant’ (they don’t use the ‘Z’ word) in the arm and the arm

Now there's a man who doesn't care for flossing

comes off.  I knew the developers had done allot but I was even more surprised as the game went on, there is a level where you have to take out football players (american football that is) and if you shoot them in the head their helmet falls apart piece by piece.  There has been no cutting corners anywhere.  HeadStrong games really want you to keep playing this one, so a nice little feature built in if you die is you buy yourself back into the game with the points you earn from killing off the bad guys.  Nothing is more irritating than if your playing with a trigger happy friend who cant shoot for shit and keeps dying.  Some of the bosses really do need two people or your just going to get trigger finger cramp.  So this ‘you will never die’ feature is a great idea, you could argue that it makes the game too easy but with games like this they are not designed to make you frustrated but to simply KEEP PLAYING!

A great deal of thought has been put into making sure you come back for more in HDO, there are bonuses achievements galore along the way.  3D character models, Comic book pages, Juke box music (tracks from the game) and more.  This is a very clever element for the gamer who likes to see the 100% completion box ticked on the games they play.  Other bonuses you can pick up are the super awesome slow mo feature which does exactly what it sounds.  Great for scoring those head shots and the always faithful grenades.  Some of the in game music by the way is bloody hilarious, listen out for the track which begins by a boy asking the man who is mum is seeing if he is his daddy, the reply is no. I just fuck your mum, sweet.  As well as this during the game you pick up points and cash, cash can be used in-between levels  to either upgrade your current weapon or buy a brand new one.  I recommend upgrading to an automatic weapon as quickly as possible.  You can carry two weapons at a time too, double sweet.  Its a good idea to upgrade each weapon every chance you get.  The first automatic weapon you will be able to afford pumps out plenty of rounds but lacks the power of the pistol.  Upgrade the damage and you are good to go.  You will begin your mutant killin’ fun as Agent ‘G’ accompanied by the stereo typical militant black guy detective Isaac Washington who is a huge fan of the ‘F Bomb’.  Seriously he drops it like every second word.  Plus he is a master of fitting it in to almost every kind of sentence imaginable; As a transitive verb, a transitive verb, an adjective, an adverb, a noun, as part of an existing word (Un’fucking’believable) or simply used for every single word in a sentence.  So if you were thinking of getting this little gem for your 10 year old nephew this Christmas I was seriously reconsider.  Unless you hardly ever see them in which case you will be the coolest auntie/uncle on the planet to them.  After you have played through your first level as agent G you are introduced to the ladies of the game, Varla Gunns & Candi Stryper both smokin hot and wearing not that much.  Plus you get the bouncy effect we all know and love.  Again this is another system in the game that is designed purely to keep you interested and it works very well.  Each level takes the game in yet another direction, as long as you change and upgrade your weapon pretty regularly this game will keep you nailed to your gaming chair.  Its not all just about point and shoot either, well it is but there are lots of different things to shoot at.  One system which can be annoying if your playing with a trigger happy friend is the ‘Save the Civilian’ feature.  Basically some Muppet who is about to be a mutant feast cowers in a corner and you have to make dead all the bad guys.  What is really annoying is these guys will die from a bullet to the little toe so shoot straight kids.  HDO I imagined to be a cheesy shooter that I would only break out when a buddy comes over, however I could not put it down.  The fact that I was gaming with the awesome Flex Fire (catch up on the flex fire review here) just added to the whole experience.  At one point my darling wife said “are you reviewing this game or just playing it, you haven’t written anything for ages?”.  Before the invention of TV when people still read books this game would be referred to as a page turner.  Its an all round classic railshooter game, you beat a level followed by a boss and there are plenty of bonuses along the way.  OK there isnt much need for thinking while gaming on this one but from time to time thats exactly what you want right?  It kept me thoroughly entertained, its both gory as hell and funny as shit.  The voice over guy plays his part excellently, doesn’t take anything too seriously and knows its a cheesy story line but that’s what its all about.  My personal favourite line was “Holly hell cat humping a hot steel bar”.  

Dont wear these out home boy

The gameplay does have its moments of pure genius to keep you going, some mutants will grab you and stop you from using your pistol to blow their brains out.  You must pick up what ever is closer to make them dead, hammers, blocks of wood, mallets etc.  Its pretty sweet.  The game is as gory as you like, it even features mutant babies to blow away.  Even someone like me who has been totally desensitised to on screen horror knows that’s pretty offensive but hey, fuck it!  The main campaign is not where it ends however, there is plenty more to choose from to enhance your gaming experience here.  Including a fairly awesome new feature of ‘3D mode’.  Now this is not only for you money bags who own a shiny 3D TV, but the classic red and green glasses style (yes they come in the box).  Even with the old skool glasses its pretty awesome but does give you a headache after a while.  You can also choose to have extra mutants, dual wield weapons, classic mode, shoot the shit and something called profanity.  Most of which you will unlock after the first run through.  But from the developers point of view thats a good thing as you will play more and more rather than trading in after you complete once.  But who would really trade this one in, its great fun both on your own or with a mate… Much like masturbation.  More game modes still are the option for extra bad guys during the campaign (‘extra mutants’), hardcore mode which is head shot only time, classic mode which only allows you to use the AMS magnum and shoot the sh*t.  This comes into play during the cut scenes where the only way to silence Mr Washington’s potty mouth is to literally shoot the foul words from the subtitles.  Finally there are three mini games for up to four players to get your teeth into.  Stayin Alive (if you cant work out what this mode is your really stupid #justsayin), Victim support where you must save and help the civilians escape the waves of mutants and money shot II where you are pitched directly against your fellow agents to shoot the targets and win with the highest amount of points.

House of the Dead: Overkill Extended edition is aimed at gamers who have already played the arcade versions and ready to take the fight home.  Its gory and cheesy but that’s on purpose, don’t take this game too seriously and you will have allot of fun with it.  Allot of work has been poured into this shooter to make sure its as up to date as possible.  This one is a surprising win for me, doesn’t mess around trying to be something its not, its great fun and looks awesome.

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Barrie Matthews

Head & Official PSN Writer - No one tells it like it is, like he does. Follow him on Twitter @Bazil81

2 thoughts on “House of the DEAD: OverKill ‘Extended Edition’ Review

  • December 11, 2011 at 6:34 PM
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    Nice review! not sure about the ‘money bags’ bit cause I have a 3D tv 😛 nice work

  • December 11, 2011 at 7:08 PM
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    Ah thank you kind sir, guess the money bags bit came from the fact that my 50″ HDTV is barely out of the box and the wife said buying another one so soon would be stupid. Translates to ‘your not having one’.

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