The House of the Dead: Overkill
|The House of the Dead: Overkill|
|Series||The House of the Dead|
(The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut)
|Media/distribution||Wii Optical Disc, Blu-ray Disc|
The House of the Dead: Overkill (ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド オーバーキル Za hausu Obu za deddo ōbākiru ) is a first-person rail shooter gun game developed by Headstrong Games and published by Sega. It is the fifth video game developed in the The House of the Dead series, a prequel to the original House of the Dead chronologically and the first in the series to be released exclusively on a home console. It was released on February 10, 2009 in North America and February 13, 2009 in Europe. The game was later released in Japan on September 17, 2009 bundled with the Wii Zapper accessory. An Extended Cut edition for PlayStation 3, compatible with the PlayStation Move accessory, was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October 2011 and on February 23, 2012 in Japan.
Like previous games in the House of the Dead series, Overkill is a rail shooter, with pre-determined character movement, while the shooting element under player control by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen, moving the aiming reticle. The player can point the reticle near the edge of the screen to move the camera angle slightly in that direction, allowing a further field of view known as "Danger Cam". The story mode can be played solo or with another human player, with one weapon or dual-wielding controls.
Players can also build up a combo meter by killing mutants to receive a score, with further points gained by performing head-shots, shooting bonus pickup, saving civilians and attaining multiple kills without missing a shot. If a player dies, points from his or her overall score can be spent to continue playing. At the end of each level, the player is awarded a grade that depends on his or her final score among other factors such as not dying, and accuracy of shots. Along with score bonuses, other pick ups scattered throughout levels include health packs, grenades and the "Slow Mo-Fo" pick up that puts everything into slow motion temporarily.
New guns and gun upgrades can be bought with cash earned from the player’s end of level score, between levels at the Gun Shop. Upon completing the story mode, Director’s Cut is unlocked providing the same game as story mode but with tougher enemies, extended levels and a limited amount of continues.
- Agent G: Inexperienced but already highly trained and deadly, he graduated top of his class at the AMS academy and is now on his first assignment.
- Detective Isaac Washington: A hard-drinking, ladies' man, Washington is also a habitual rule and heart-breaker. He took the assignment to exact revenge for his father's death. He has a habit of dropping F-bombs. GameInformer ranked him among the "Top 10 Heroes of 2009," declaring that "Foul-mouthed, uncompromising, hard drinking, and unceasingly funny, Isaac Washington keeps everything grounded when the world is going crazy all around him. With tongue set firmly in cheek, Washington is a stereotypical career cop who can't finish a sentence without a few expletives thrown in for color. He keeps the action going, and never fails to say what the player is thinking when the zombie outbreak gets out of hand."
- Papa Caesar: Deranged crime lord Caesar has forced Varla’s brother Jasper into devising a strange compound with mutagenic effects. With the help of Warden Darling he sets to work transforming the innocent inhabitants of Bayou City into mutants and monsters. He also likes Chinese food. GameInformer ranked him among the "Top 10 Villains of 2009," declaring that "Many villains have unleashed genetic abominations and blown us up, but none did it while wearing a stylish ascot. Papa Caesar makes engineering the zombie apocalypse look good. Analogizing Isaac Washington's death to a sweet and sour Chinese dinner seals his position on the list."
- Varla Guns: The hottest stripper on the Bayou City club scene, Varla is also the older sister to crippled scientific genius Jasper Guns. She joins the agents to stop Papa Caesar, and a love triangle develops.
- Candi Stryper A young stripper and former lover of Varla Guns' younger brother Jasper. After finding out the death of Jasper, Candi joins Varla to seek revenge against Papa Caesar and together, they fight off the mutants and seek Papa Caesar to avenge the death of Jasper. Candi is exclusive to the PlayStation 3 version.
- Warden Clement Darling: A strange and unsettling man who oversees a high security prison just outside of town, Darling is involved in gruesome scientific experiments to prolong the life of his elderly mother.
Years ago during the cold war, the military made a new superhuman formula called Formula X. The project for its use failed. The bunker for the experiments was left unaccessed until now.
In 1991, AMS Special Agent G is given his first assignment and sent to a small town in Louisiana to investigate a series of disappearances and hunt down a deranged crime lord, Papa Caesar. Due to the presence of mutants, G is forced to team up with Detective Isaac Washington who is out to get revenge on Caesar for apparently killing his father.
In the first episode 'Papa's Palace of Pain', the pair first storm a mansion owned by Caesar out in the woods. Upon entering the basement, they find Caesar has fled, and the disabled scientist Jasper Guns, whom Caesar used, is horrifically mutated from injecting himself with an unknown substance. Upon defeating Jasper, G and Isaac meet Varla Guns, a stripper and Jasper’s older sister who vows revenge on Caesar.
In the second episode 'Ballistic Trauma', G and Isaac track Caesar to a hospital that is swarming with mutants. After killing the mutants and a mutant woman called the Screamer, the hospital is set to explode. G and Isaac escape in the nick of time with Varla on a motorbike.
In the third episode 'Carny', they stop at a mutant infested carnival to investigate the mutant situation, in the process defeating former circus entertainers turned horrific creature Nigel & Sebastian.
In the fourth episode 'Scream Train' Caesar escapes on a train with G and Isaac giving chase while Varla is left behind. The pair made their way through the mutant-infested train, defeating a mutated mantis, the Crawler, in the process. The train then crashes in a swamp where Caesar takes Varla hostage and drives off before throwing a tape to Isaac.
In the fifth episode, 'Fetid Waters', G and Isaac make their way to the swamps, finding an alternate way to wherever Caesar and Varla were heading for, and in the process, defeat another boss mutant called the Lobber.
In the sixth, penultimate episode 'Jailhouse Judgment', G and Isaac track Caesar to a high security prison. Before they enter, they run into its strange warden, Clement Darling, who noticed where Caesar and Varla headed but knows nothing about the mutants. As G and Isaac shoot their way through the prison they finally reach the electric chair theater where Varla and Caesar are strapped into the chairs. Clement then appears and, in a plot twist, reveals that he was behind the mutant outbreak and that Caesar was just an accomplice. Clement then executes Caesar, robbing Isaac of his revenge. Clement explains that his experiments were to save his dying mother (Following this, it is implied Clement has an incestuous relationship with his mother). Clement then descends on a giant elevator along with Varla, his mother, and Caesar's corpse. Seconds later, Clement tells G and Isaac to look at the stage behind them where two gigantic, physically enhanced, convicts wearing black masks lumber in through the door. Clement reads the two convicts previous crimes which include murder, assault, rape, and even eating a little boy's puppy. One of the convicts, Brutus, suddenly turns around and beats his fellow convict to death before turning his attention to G and Isaac.
After descending the elevator in pursuit of Clement in the final episode 'Overkill', G and Isaac shoot their way through hordes of mutants inside Clement’s underground lab before finally reaching his center of operations. They discover Varla’s brain has been taken out, kept alive in a jar, while Clement’s mother’s brain has been transplanted into Varla's body. At first it seems the experiment was a success, then Varla’s body begins to vomit and she falls into a pit after being gunned down by G and Isaac, mutating her into a giant monster. G and Isaac draw their guns and aim them at the newly mutated Mother. The duos' statements lead gamers to believe that they are about to play a frantic last stand shootout against the giant mutant, but then the screen cuts to a missing reel screen for a few moments. Once the reel resumes G and Isaac are outside claiming victory over Clement and the giant monster, thanking the use of miniguns they found randomly lying around nearby. However, the monster returns and the pair battle her again. After finally killing it, Clement appears and seeks to atone for all the problems he caused by "returning to the womb".
G and Isaac are picked up by a helicopter along with Varla’s (still active) brain in a jar where Isaac releases the detonator to destroy the facility. G tells Varla of his feelings for her, prompting him and Isaac to discuss the moral and political messages in the game's storyline and potential backlash, particularly from feminists. Soon after, the two realize the helicopter is being piloted by a mutant and points their guns at it, ending the game.
After the credits roll, Caesar's tape recording from before is played, revealing a message to Isaac that Clement's plans were small-minded but he had powerful friends (possibly future characters Curien and Goldman), and that Isaac's father is still alive.
In PS3's Extended Cut, there are two new levels featuring Varla Guns and a stripper named Candi Stryper, who was in love with Jasper Guns. It is a side story during the main game (set after the second and fourth levels). It sees the girls traveling through a strip club and a meat packing plant, fighting grotesque mutant strippers Coco and Sindy, as well as Meat Katie, a minotaur-like female butcher. The side story ends with Candi dying of blood loss after the battle with Meat Katie.
The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut 
On October 25, 2011, the game was released on the PlayStation 3 with PlayStation Move compatibility along with the Sixaxis controllers and DualShock 3 titled, The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut (ザ・ハウス・オブ・ザ・デッド オーバーキル ディレクターズカット Za hausu Obu za deddo ōbākiru Direkutāzukatto , lit. The House of the Dead: Overkill Director's Cut). Extended Cut features the same On-Rails gameplay with all new redone High Definition cutscenes and levels, albeit still identical to the Wii version. The game also has 3D compatibility with the use of an HD 3D TV. Music and audio are still the same along with new music featured.
Exclusive are two new levels not included in the original Wii release titled, Naked Terror and Creeping Flesh. They both serve as a sidestory in-between the main game featuring Varla Gunns and a new female character, stripper Candi Stryper. They contain new enemy types (strippers, meat plantation workers and skinless zombies), additional bonus materials for you to collect, and two new boss battles. New weapons like a crossbow and a few others have been added to Extended Cut as well as an entirely new in-game screen layout. Extras from the Wii version like the mini games and Director's Cut mode also make it to Extended Cut, along with new content. A pre-order comic book, Prelude to an Overkill is available in-game as a collectible bonus material.
The game was originally intended to follow the same style as previous The House of the Dead games, while other themes such as steampunk were also considered. Headstrong ultimately chose a theme inspired by exploitation films after watching the film Planet Terror, which inspired the art direction, plot and marketing.
Most of the main characters were presumably modeled after several famous individuals. For example, Detective Washington was modeled after rapper Common, Varla Guns after glamor model Vikki Blows, Papa Caesar after Burt Reynolds, Jasper Guns after Stephen Hawking, and Agent G on Keanu Reeves as he appears in Point Break.
The game is also available in a limited collector's edition that includes a graphic novel prequel to the game called Prelude to an Overkill. A special release of the game in Australia, the "Bang Bang Box", comes packaged with the graphic novel in addition to two Wii Remote gun shells modeled after the AMS pistols carried by the main characters in the game (somewhat similar to a Desert Eagle pistol).
In 2010, it was rumored that the developers were working on a continuation of the story. While expansion packs centered on side stories have been released, most recently The House of the Dead: Over Kill "The Lost Reels" for Smart Phones.
|Official Nintendo Magazine||90/100|
Upon release, The House of the Dead: Overkill received a generally favorable response from critics, with an average review score of 81% at Game Rankings and 79/100 at Metacritic. Many critics praised the fast paced balanced gameplay, with X-Play stating "the arcade style shooting is satisfying and provides a challenge for experienced players" yet "easily conquered for those who can’t aim a Wiimote to save their life." Games Radar found the simple gameplay to be "varied enough to keep the momentum going." Although considered to be easier than past games of the series, GameSpot calling the difficulty a "cake walk" at pure gore and bloodiest game times, Eurogamer said the game "almost never tries your patience, and it's made with such infectious and irreverent glee and such obvious pride, you can't help but join in." The over-the-top B movie grindhouse style was particularly praised. Game Informer stated "the parade of F-bombs and one-liners fit in perfect harmony with the grindhouse presentation", even recommending it to Tarantino fans. GameSpot claimed it "reinvents the aging shooter series for the better with an over-the-top grindhouse theme that resonates in its every aspect, from the hilarious story to the fantastic vintage soundtrack." Due to the adult nature of the game, GameDaily called it "a digital slaughterhouse full of carnage that'll make you happy to be an adult Wii owner" and Nintendo Power calling it "one of the Wii's greatest guilty pleasures". Edge stated that Overkill "raises the bar for third party production values on this generation’s best-selling console."
Though 1UP "still enjoyed the game", they did consider that "with its constant stream of expletives and toilet humor, it may turn just as many people away" and started their review with a disclaimer for younger gamers not to play, being strictly an adult game. Another issue critics found was a number of technical issues, particularly with the frame rate, which IGN called "sketchy" and "sad to see in a game that has so much amazing content in it." GamePro also experienced this, notably when "the screen became cluttered with enemies", originally hoping the issue to be fixed before the game’s final release. Another issue were glitches, with Computer and Video Games reportedly experiencing no enemies appearing at all at times and sometimes requiring to restart the console.
It was recently confirmed by Dread Central the game is set to receive a Guinness World Record for being the most profane video game in history. Yahoo! News Canada quoted Jonathan Burroughs, the game’s writer, in an article about the World Record, he said: “It is a dubious honor to receive such an accolade working in an industry where so often the fruits of your labors are derided and dismissed for being puerile or irresponsible." Burroughs went on to say, "But in the case of The House Of The Dead: Overkill, a little puerility was the order of business. Parodying the profane excess of grindhouse cinema was (game developer) Headstrong Games' objective and I am flattered that this record acknowledges that we not only rose to that challenge, but entirely exceeded it." This record was beaten a year later by Mafia II. The game has also been nominated for a writing award.
NPD Group reports that the game sold 45,000 units in the United States in its debut month. Sega of America has expressed satisfaction with the game's sales numbers, claiming that it has "absolutely met our expectations."
On the Special Achievement Award, GameSpot awarded Overkill Funniest Game of 2009, going on to say "The interplay between Washington and Special Agent G is pure gold. Like Martin and Lewis with F-bombs. Mix that up with grindball atmosphere and Overkill cements its place as the funniest game of 2009." 
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