The House of the Dead: Overkill Updated Hands-On

Yes, it's another House of the Dead game. No, it's not "just another" House of the Dead game.

69 Comments

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

We know what you're thinking. The second you read the title of this story you considered moving on to another page, or even shutting down your browser altogether, right? Another House of the Dead game? How could that be interesting to anyone? We hear you, but trust us when we say that despite some similarities to previous series entries, Sega's upcoming The House of the Dead: Overkill is a fun-filled retro reboot of the long-running zombie-blasting series that looks to be one of the early highlights on the Wii in 2009. And if you don't believe us, you can just $&@# our &#*@.

OK, sorry about that outburst. You see, it's this Isaac Washington guy. He's one of the heroes of Overkill who, along with the mysterious and handsome Agent G, does his best to rid the world of infected mutants (read: zombies) one bullet at a time. He's also got one of the foulest mouths we've ever seen in a video game--or at least on the Wii--and his racy commentary is just one of the highlights in Overkill. Toss in a grainy film look and an entirely cheesy grindhouse feel to the cutscenes that bookend each of the levels in Overkill, and you've got a charming package that's equal parts zombie-blasting action and chuckle-worthy one-liners.

Mutant zombies? Scary. Mutant zombie back-flipping clowns? Friggin' terrifying.
Mutant zombies? Scary. Mutant zombie back-flipping clowns? Friggin' terrifying.

The back-and-forth between Washington and Agent G is always engaging, but of course it's the gameplay that means the most in Overkill. While the game's look and feel might be decidedly retro, the nuts and bolts of blasting zombies by the bushel are still intact. This is still rail shooting at its heart, with a constantly changing first-person perspective and zombies coming at you from every angle. Your goal is to blast anything that moves by aiming with the Wii Remote and pulling the B button to let loose with your weapon of choice (and reloading with the A button).

Power-ups in Overkill will help you along in your two-man battle against the horde of infected zombies. These include basic health packs, grenade pickups that come in handy when things get crowded, a power-up that lets you temporarily slow down time, and a brain-shaped power-up that acts as a points multiplier. Points play a particularly important part in Overkill's gameplay; when you die, you'll spend a chunk of the points you've earned along the way to resurrect yourself. If you run out of points, you'll run out of lives.

Nearly as helpful as points is the cash you'll earn for completing levels. In between each mission, you can head to the gun shop where you can spend money on upgrades for your current weapon (such as increased damage or a larger clip) or buy an entirely new weapon. You start off with a standard pistol but can upgrade to a submachine gun, shotgun, assault rifle, and more.

The missions we played in Overkill seem to follow an overarching plot of sorts, with Agent G and Detective Washington on the heels of a bad guy known as Papa Caesar. The duo start off in an abandoned house before taking the fight to a hospital overrun with zombies and, later, to a circus complete with a bevy of undead backflipping clowns, which, coincidentally, happen to be the scariest things our minds can conjure. Each mission ended with a boss fight, including one boss that seemed remarkably similar in design to the witch in Left 4 Dead. Presumably the game will feature a big showdown between the duo and Papa Caesar, and the game gives you the option to add extra mutant enemies to a level, which should give it some replay value.

Three minigames will find their way into Overkill, two of which are mildly amusing. Stayin' Alive is a survival-type game that challenges you to defeat wave after wave of zombies. Victim Support challenges you to protect fleeing civilians from mutant freaks; the more civvies that escape, the more points you'll earn. The final, and least inspired, minigame is called Money Shot II and is a standard carny shooting game, with moving targets and a time limit--shoot as many targets as you can within the time limit. If time runs out, it's game over.

So, there are a few things to take away from our time with The House of the Dead: Overkill. First, Isaac Washington is in the early lead for best new character of 2009. Second, the game's '70s feel and outrageous dialogue will keep you giggling in between the gameplay that feels pretty much exactly like the House of the Dead games of the past. Finally, the game is due out in less than a month, so get ready to lock and load.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 69 comments about this story
69 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
  • 69 results
  • 1
  • 2
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for masterds64
masterds64

lebyarules, you don't rule (lolz) ...Ahem, it's like those arcade games, you stand there with a gun and blast the f@##$ out of everything in your way (excluding hostages) and you know what, I'm shocked you never knew what "light gun shooters" are! Btw-I got this, and it's (not saying might spoil it for everyone else).

Avatar image for CazmoV
CazmoV

Actually dudeman07, you are the only person to actually say that.

Avatar image for dudeman07
dudeman07

This looks awesome. Mainly because it's the "Hardcore, you've been f***ing waiting for."

Avatar image for pwner001
pwner001

no its not have u played any of the others,not only that but becauseof this they can make the game longer and grafics better. Duh!

Avatar image for lebyarules
lebyarules

i not reading that whole thing!! so u cant move around?? only the cursor thing.. thats stupid

Avatar image for superflysmooth
superflysmooth

Rare was going bankrupt and yes Microsoft didn't buy them out. They had a forced contract signed with Rare. It's kinda like when they had Bungie who was a brand new company based in Seattle Washington and made Halo. Originally, Halo was going to be released as a PC game until Bungie wanted to get noticed and decided to sell their game to Microsoft and Microsoft liked the idea and decided to go with Bungie and told them you're the only company that will be locked with us and made them sign a contract. Bungie's other games really suck except for Brute Force which had potential if it was co-op on-line but if Rare stayed faithful with the Wii, they would've sold millions of their games.

Avatar image for seaward12
seaward12

if its anything like resident evil 4 then ill probally get it but it has no online ):

Avatar image for so_hai
so_hai

Me think will get. Me like to double-kill dead things. Me like gun.

Avatar image for The-Radiohead
The-Radiohead

Looks great. I'd get it, but my parents probably won't let me since it has some sexual content in it. Unlike Madworld, which is so ridiculous and over-the-top my parents are actually letting me get it (hopefully)

Avatar image for rachkovsky
rachkovsky

Arcadish but it looks fun.

Avatar image for taddia
taddia

superflysmooth said: I agree with rothkoran even though he can't spell decent. However, Nintendo knows that they're still doing well and it doesn't matter how many crappy games they come up with even though they're family games. As long as their system is still selling and it is still for 3 years old. It's still the #1 selling video game console. If Nintendo learns how to make more rail shooters or light gun shooters then I'm sure they will have more positive reviews. Also, Nintendo should sign a contract with Rare which is responsible for making Golden Eye, Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie. Rather than have Rare make Perfect Dark and Banjo on XB 360. Nintendo really needs to step up to the plate and re-think back to the old days of what made the 8bit and Super Nintendo sell so well. How bout Metal Gear for the Wii? Adventures of Bayou Billy 3? Double Dragon 4? Contra 4? Nintendo needs to sign contracts with Konami, Capcom, Taito, Activision, and Tecmo. Without the popular publishers in Japan then Nintendo will suffer really bad by the time everybody has the Wii. Nintendo cannot sign any contract with rareware, due to the fact the entire company has been bought by microsoft. odd huh?

Avatar image for HD360gamer
HD360gamer

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for HD360gamer
HD360gamer

if it turns out to be a good game (unlikely) i will get it. Otherwise this is one of those games where Gamespot is doing their typical crap where they stay completely unbiased during a preview as if the game has potential and then blast it in the review a month later, giving the game less than a 7

Avatar image for Shayde_Shadow
Shayde_Shadow

This is looking good. Finally blood, gore, and zombie clowns. It's been far too long...

Avatar image for einstein_13
einstein_13

the game looks good ;)

Avatar image for superflysmooth
superflysmooth

I agree with rothkoran even though he can't spell decent. However, Nintendo knows that they're still doing well and it doesn't matter how many crappy games they come up with even though they're family games. As long as their system is still selling and it is still for 3 years old. It's still the #1 selling video game console. If Nintendo learns how to make more rail shooters or light gun shooters then I'm sure they will have more positive reviews. Also, Nintendo should sign a contract with Rare which is responsible for making Golden Eye, Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie. Rather than have Rare make Perfect Dark and Banjo on XB 360. Nintendo really needs to step up to the plate and re-think back to the old days of what made the 8bit and Super Nintendo sell so well. How bout Metal Gear for the Wii? Adventures of Bayou Billy 3? Double Dragon 4? Contra 4? Nintendo needs to sign contracts with Konami, Capcom, Taito, Activision, and Tecmo. Without the popular publishers in Japan then Nintendo will suffer really bad by the time everybody has the Wii.

Avatar image for anmvamp
anmvamp

Suffer like G did!(?) greatest line ever.

Avatar image for rothkoran
rothkoran

GOD gotta love my girlfriend man, i just know she is gonna love this game, she is a beatiful doctor that loves videogames, shooters and blood. what better combo can you get. i know she is gonna flip when i tell her about this game. finally a good game for the wii. KEEP EM COMING like that and i garantee you that wii sales will go to the roof. the only reason i havent gotten a wii yet is because i have been waiting for a game like this one to come out

Avatar image for rothkoran
rothkoran

finally!!! a game worth buy the wii for. this is what i have been waiting for. took you long enough to put a desent shooter on the WII. at last blood thirst gamers like me will be interested in buying the wii

Avatar image for ocdog45
ocdog45

dont know how many copies this will sell. it is a family console and its not a family game.

Avatar image for Jarltheafro
Jarltheafro

I sure hope it'll come for pc and have a light gun extension in it, else I will say n/c

Avatar image for ewmgreendawg
ewmgreendawg

See this is an example of how crappy this website can be. These guys are practically begging people to buy this game and yet the game isn't out and they haven't reviewed it yet. How much is sega paying you guys to create this hype? huh? Sorry but this is pretty blatant. Yes the game looks promising but come on guys be professional about it.

Avatar image for -insert_coin-
-insert_coin-

How could anyone do this.... G's blood. well, im a die hard fan and this doesnt look like a bad choice overall.

Avatar image for elozl
elozl

well, lest wait and then play!

Avatar image for macrules_640
macrules_640

falconclan - Yeah you're right without those elements the HOTD series wouldn't be what it is and I hope Overkill keeps it up.

Avatar image for Ghidoran
Ghidoran

Nice. I hope the boss battles are as interesting as the earlier ones.

Avatar image for falconclan
falconclan

macrules_640 - The dialogue was laughable? Good, it did its job. The game is supposed to be campy with terrible voice acting and other oddities, it wouldn't be HOTD without such things. If this one doesn't have those things, it won't be the same. In the bad sense that is.

Avatar image for macrules_640
macrules_640

I have high hopes for the game, but I just hope they have better English voice overs for the game because the last few games had laughable dialogue.

Avatar image for fel_rossi
fel_rossi

lol

Avatar image for Trevor360
Trevor360

yeah, I remember this game it used to be on pc, actually its still on pc but its an older version.

Avatar image for maverick_76
maverick_76

They should have written %!$$ our @$$

Avatar image for maverick_76
maverick_76

I still love playing this game in the arcades.....classic.

Avatar image for Norgavue
Norgavue

Love me some house of the Dead action.

Avatar image for Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

No wonder SEGA went under...

Avatar image for Wings_008
Wings_008

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for LtPrino
LtPrino

I will enjoy it. Loved Umbrella Chronicles, and like the genre overall. The wii has some nice games coming. Go N 2009!!

Avatar image for crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

I'm just not able to get excited about yet another lightgun type game for the Wii.

Avatar image for travisstaggs
travisstaggs

Looks alright.

Avatar image for SuperMarioByte
SuperMarioByte

Just wonderful, I will try to get it *--*

Avatar image for mrkalamazoo
mrkalamazoo

These games are best enjoyed at the Arcade of course, but putting it on the Wii actually causes this to maintain its fun factor at home.

Avatar image for Goomba_Lord37
Goomba_Lord37

Lookin good.

Avatar image for Franke_51
Franke_51

im surprised they arent making you buy some sort of new controller with this game... or are they

Avatar image for Angre_Leperkan
Angre_Leperkan

Meh, looks okay at best.

Avatar image for Shadow_Pro
Shadow_Pro

circus? xD LOL good game!

Avatar image for kcweezkid
kcweezkid

This should be fairly entertaining.

Avatar image for Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

Looks alright.

Avatar image for residude
residude

amen mandalore 15 lol the graphics are ATROCIOUS, and fatass21 i think ur thinking of dead rising :).

Avatar image for fattass21
fattass21

after left 4 dead, what possible game other then re ones can compete in zombies anymore :/ no really, i cant think of one lol but anyone can give me some names, please do, all that i can come up with is that gta like zombie shooting on the 360, dont recall the name, god i want to play that one :p

Avatar image for Mandalore_15
Mandalore_15

Jebus, these graphics make PS2 games look cutting edge... How does the Wii SELL anything?

Avatar image for Sepewrath
Sepewrath

This looks like a quality entry into any Wii owners library. Early this year I'm going to contribute alot to Sega and Capcom getting rich with pickups like this, Madworld, SFIV and RE5.

  • 69 results
  • 1
  • 2