October 26, 2011

Review – House of the Dead Overkill: Extended Cut

Review House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut
The return of the infamous 2009 Wii addition to the House of the Dead series represents the latest effort toward Sega’s goal of preparing gamers for the zombie apocalypse a significant number of scientists cite as inevitable. Perhaps more importantly, the PlayStation exclusive HD revisit offers those gamers who invested in the PS Move fresh reason to charge their glow sticks.

This extended cut of Overkill supports both the Move and the standard PS3 controller, but honestly, the idea of playing it with the latter loses plenty of the fun that justifies giving up standard movement controls to the rail that controls the camera and guides players through this mutated funhouse of horrors.

Review House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut
Anyone familiar with Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 film, Planet Terror, will be well prepared for the grindhouse aesthetic that lends life-extension here. Players step into the shoes of the appropriately mismatched duo of Detective Washington and Agent G as they pursue the evil Papa Caesar, who leaves a trail of mutated monsters in his wake. Relieved of controlling anything beyond the crosshairs of a gun, players will proceed to fill all manner of monstrosities with lead while riding this rollercoaster of cheap degenerate thrills.

Overkill isn’t shy about using the eccentric license provided by grindhouse dressings either, dipping a mighty big toe into depraved waters to bathe players in obscenities, sexual deviations, and creations which, not unlike swimming, beg one to consider waiting at least one hour after eating before diving in.

Providing the visual expectation of grindhouse tradition means that the requisite degrading film effect is ever present, and Overkill finds the means to marry this with the gameplay through a particularly handy bonus, which when shot during stages, slows down the on-screen action as if the film might break apart to provide extra time for precise targeting. Such clever bits create a game more earnest in its efforts to be bad in all the right ways.

Review House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut
This release brings two new stages to the table, taking the total number up to nine. The strip club antics of Naked Terror and a trip to the slaughter house via Creeping Flesh gives Varla Guns the opportunity to step beyond her side-character role, and spout some truly terrible dialogue while mashing mutants with dance partner Candy Stryper.

Inserting stages can be tricky, but both of these late entries slide rather smoothly into the game, acting as a side-story detour that breaks from the primary narrative convincingly enough – anyone not familiar with the original release likely won’t notice the difference. Both additions serve up boss encounters worthy of a game that already provided some memorable battles, as well as the appropriate dosage of gore and sex, and yet the energy isn’t quite the same for the time lapse. Naked Terror comes across as a stage trying very hard to push the envelope with sexual exploitation, and Varla and Candy’s interchanges don’t hit the same notes as Washington and Agent G. Whether this owes to time, Varla’s character, or the way Candy’s village idiot mentality stretches cut-scenes a bit too thin is open for debate.

Anyway, Overkill delivers douchebag villains, stripper sensibility, and plenty of bad acting, offering comedic exploitation as reason enough to ride the rail. In that way, Overkill can become quite a bit like a joke that gets less funny each time you hear it. The game was visually dated when it originally released in 2009, and this release can only smooth out the corners so much on the PS3. Luckily the core experience of dismembering mutant freaks with heavy artillery while buckets of blood splash the screen remains as fun today as it ever was – grindhouse style excuses the absence of shiny things, and Overkill looks exactly as good as it needs to.

Review House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut
While Overkill isn’t a particularly tough game, and easily completed within a few hours, getting through the story mission does require using some of the cash earned along the way toward upgrading at least the standard issue pistol. Actually, the dual boss nature of the second stage made it necessary to upgrade mine right away. Other weapons can be purchased – machine guns, shotguns etc., and unlockable items can be gained by shooting objects throughout stages to claim comic pages, music tracks, and artwork. It’s important to mention here that Overkill has a remarkably great soundtrack, one of my favorite videogame soundtracks, truth be told.

Once the story missions are completed, players can tackle a director’s cut mode, which changes up those stages. The game also provides mini-games and stage challenges, stressing replay as the key to enjoying this release. And while I don’t normally care for leaderboards, there’s something alluring in the idea of being ranked high when it comes to killing mutant freaks. If I’m going to be known for something, I think I’d like it to be killing mutant freaks with deadly accuracy.

I can’t say that anyone who already owns the Wii release needs to run out and grab Overkill’s Extended Cut. But anyone who already owns a Move would be well served in finally checking out the depravity at the discounted price attached to this release. Overkill merits at least one viewing per life time based on the presentation and spectacle alone, and the emphasis on high scores via excessive gore does beg for continued revisits.

Headstrong Games


PlayStation 3

Singleplayer, Co-op

Release Date
October 25, 2011

*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review


  1. Does it support the Guncon3 for the PS3 so you can play it like a proper light gun game?

    Comment by Ken Edwards — October 26, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  2. I didn’t have one to check myself, but I’ve since been told officially that it does not support Guncon3.

    Comment by Jamie Love — October 26, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  3. For a similar feeling you can get the Move Sharpshooter to allow you to play this as a light gun game.

    Comment by EdEN — October 27, 2011 @ 2:41 am

  4. Seems really odd that it wouldn’t support that… even if the Wiimote… I mean Move… is really just a better version of the Light Gun. Heck… it’s the only thing the Wiimote is good for… on rails light gun games.

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — October 27, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  5. Now, now. Leave the Wii Aloooooooneeee!

    Comment by EdEN — October 27, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  6. I played the Wii release non-stop and must have finished it over 10 times. I’ll be getting this once I’ve got a Move to enjoy the new levels.

    Comment by EdEN — October 26, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

  7. Catch me on the leaderboard, I have a feeling that’s gonna keep me replaying for awhile.

    Comment by Jamie Love — October 26, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress