Review: House of the Dead: Overkill

House of the Dead games seemed to have a plateau in recent years, but the series may have hit a new high with the recent release of House of the Dead: Overkill.

A first-person rail-shooter for the Nintendo Wii, House of the Dead: Overkill is a prequel to the previous House of the Dead games, taking place in 1991.  The game places the player in the shoes of Special Agent G, a rookie that is highly trained in dealing with paranormal entities, and his partner Detective Isaac Washington, your stereotypical short-fused ladies man.  The two are forced to pair up to catch a deadly psychopathic crime lord named Papa Caesar, who has unleashed a disease on a small Louisiana town causing the residents to mutate into zombie-like creatures.

Quaid, open your mind....
Quaid, open your mind....

One of the most noticeable things, and most enjoyable parts of the game, is the way the cut scenes are handled.  Most scenes play out like grind house movie trailers, jumping between characters, and with a deep-voiced narrator explaining the plot.  Some of the scenes actually play out like badly edited movie scenes, one notable scene involves Papa Caesar slapping the glasses off the face of another character, only to have the glasses reappear and disappear in future shots. The dialogue between characters, both in-game and during the cut scenes, is as cheesy as the scenes themselves. Washington’s dialogue is incredibly over-the-top, dropping an f-bomb every other word and making misogynistic comments about one of the female characters.

Before each mission, the player can upgrade and buy new weapons, such as shotguns of small machineguns, for the upcoming mission. Upgrades to weapons range from how much damage the weapons do to the range of their attacks. The upgrades and new weapons are purchased using money the player gains depending on how well the player completes the previous missions.

There are only two things holding this game back, and those are its lackluster graphics and voice acting. Although the Wii, and House of the Dead games in general, are not known for having graphics that can be compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, this writer feels the developers of Overkill could have done better. The graphics seem very much like an early GameCube game, looking decent but leaving the player feeling that there is much more potential. The voice acting, if one can even call some of it “acting,” is almost as bad as the graphics. Some of the dialogue is delivered without emotion, leaving the player wonder if the character speaking is angry or just confused. However, it could be argued that the dialogue is delivered this way to emulate the horrible acting in grind house movies of the past.

Overall, the game is well done, with an over-the-top story and tight controls that make it fun to play. The grind house take on the game only makes it even more fun to play. For those not turned off by the graphics and the bad voice acting, this is a perfect zombie rail-shooter.


  1. Sounds fun! Bad graphics and voice acting are no stranger to the House of the Dead series, I’m sure this one probably has the best in the series. :)

  2. I thought the acting was among the best in the series. Granted, the series has had some straight up atrocious acting (HOTD 2). You want emotionless reading, play that (HOTD 2 & 3 Return on Wii is pretty cheap).