I am not a fan of horror. Usually the plots are too daft to justify the scares from people running past a window or being hacked up in very bloody ways and therefore I stay well clear. This logic applies to both films and games. I also tend to stay away from light gun games because you don’t get very much control and often the controls (especially on wii) don’t tend to feel that good.
Therefore I was surprised by House of the Dead: Overkill (HOTDO). It is extremely violent and bloody but it also doesn’t take itself at all seriously. It is not for the squeamish or faint of heart but it is rarely scary. The film is pitched like a 70’s horror B Movie and bares a passing resemblance to the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature of 2007. The game sees you hunting down a man named Papa Cesar as he unleashes a mutant virus on the world. The game will see you take on a giant preying mantis, a wheelchair bound telekinetic kid and a whole lot of clowns among other more ghoulish things. It also does controversial things which no other game would dare to do and uses extreme amounts of bad language.
That all taken into account though there is not a lot bad about the game, if you can put up with the gore, controversial subject matter and copious bad language you will have a great time with this game and its silly plot. The graphics are pretty good for a wii game and the control are perfect in that they are strong and accurate and you always feel you can pull of a shot. The levels are set in locations such as a hospital, carnival and train and the design is varied (apart from the fact the screen is dark most of the time). The games sound design is good with strong voice acting even if what they say is a bit poor and obscenity filled. The music backs up the games B Movie vide with some very fitting but disturbing music.
The game doesn’t frustrate you with constant death as you are able to restart where you died with some points pull off your total. It is this high score that you are really aiming for throughout the game. Your aim is to try and rack up the points and it helps with the replay value. There is also a two player version available which for anyone who has played House of the Dead in an arcade will be a handy feature. The only real downside with the presentation is the on rails camera, it swings about as if you are the character and it usually works well but often it gets slightly frustrating with its movement.
In conclusion, if you can handle the blood and subject matter then this is the best lightgun onrails shooter game available on the Wii. It is also the most fun horror game I have played and it is the least PC game available in my opinion. The replayability and multiplayer options are appreciated and make for a fun long lasting game. Well done to Sega for putting it out there.