Any Excess of What is Required or Suitable, As a Result of Zeal or Misjudgement

Long-time ISB readers may recall that my love of comics is only slightly greater than my love of video games. In fact, if I’d chosen a slightly different crappy retail job a few years ago, I might be spending my time making jokes about Flashman or The Many Emotions of Navi (well, two emotions: “Hey!” and “Listen!”) instead of the beloved four-color comedy that I’ve ended up with. Point being, I love video games, and lately a lot of that love has been directed at one in particular:



House of the Dead: Overkill!


Now, I’ve always been a fan of light-gun games and rail shooters, going back to a childhood of afternoons spent at Aladdin’s Castle in the mall, pumping quarters into Lethal Enforcers, despite the inevitable, poorly modulated end-of-level demotion back to PATROLMAN. By the way, quick Protip for anyone involved in a bank robbery where guys stand up one-by-one and are cut down by a guy moving robotically through the bank, accompanied by a constant voice telling him to reload: Don’t Stand Up. You’ll save us both a lot of trouble.

Anyway, if you really want to get into it, I guess it started–as all things do–with Duck Hunt, although unlike Lethal Enforcers, that was a game that was just as fun if you turned the console off and just pretended you were shooting Televipers or something. But still, there was just something about the tactile experience of holding a gun rather than just a controller, and over the years, it made me a fan of Lucky & Wild, Area 51 (especially after I found out about the Super-Secret Kron Hunter Mode from, I believe, an actual issue of GamePro), Time Crisis, Virtua Cop, Ninja Assault, Police 911 (which, owing to the motion sensor that actually detects how you’re standing or ducking behind objects, is the only game I’ve actually been sore from playing), and of course, House of the Dead.

The latter appealed to me not just because it was a game about blowing away zombies chunk by glowing green chunk, but also because of its hilarious tendency to take itself way too seriously. I mean really, have you played House of the Dead 2? It is trying so hard to be genuinely scary in a game that involves a fifteen foot-tall knight with a battleaxe and a glowing weak point the size of a Volkswagen that it’s just adorable.

Needless to say, this is not a problem in Overkill, which is the only game for the Wii that includes the line “I’m gonna rip your motherfuckin’ balls off!”



So let’s get this out of the way here: Did you guys see Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse: Planet Terror? Because the guys who made Overkill sure as hell did, and they liked it so much that they decided to just go ahead and make the unlicensed video game adaptation of it. Seriously, they put the “aged film” filter on it, the cutscenes are done up like ’70s shlock horror trailers, there’s even a “Missing Reel” gag. Heck, the whole thing starts out with an actual live action stripping sequence. It is downright shameless.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I’m a sucker for a ’70s style aesthetic, and while Overkill wanders off into being a pastiche of a pastiche, it hits the right notes, and the end result is something that’s actually funny because it’s meant to be, bundled in with a game that’s hours of mindless, ultraviolent fun. Or maybe not entirely mindless: The fact that your hits-in-a-row counter goes away at 30 and gets replaced with a waving American Flag? That’s actually pretty clever. And hilarious.

As for the game itself, well, it’s about as deep as a kiddie pool. I mean, it’s a rail shooter. There is literally nothing more to it than pointing and shooting. There’s a nominal attempt at adding depth by letting you unlock and choose between more powerful weapons as the game progresses–and by adding in features like Extra Zombies Mutants and a harder, extended (tee hee) “Director’s Cut” mode–but I’m pretty sure those are just there to make sure the game lives up to the “Overkill” tag. I had a friend over and we decided to see what would happen if we both chose the Assault Rifle and just held down the buttons so that we were never not shooting.

We won.


But again, that’s part of the fun, just tearing through armies of the undead from the comfort of your own living room. And as something to fill the hours between beating The Lost and Damned and the arrival of Chinatown Wars, it definitely did its job. If you’ve got a Wii, check it out.

Otherwise… Well, Detective Washington may have some choice words for you later.

24 thoughts on “Any Excess of What is Required or Suitable, As a Result of Zeal or Misjudgement

  1. Man, police 911 was a brutal thigh workout due to the absurd amount of crouching necessary. They really should figure out a way to port that to wii.

  2. Speaking of Flashman, next time you’re looking for something to read, you might like George Macdonald Fraser’s Flashman books (which have nothing to do with the videogame). They’re incredibly racist and sexist(though in a more-ironic-than-not way), but very entertaining and you read them in basically any order.

    Also, my old roommate used to play the typing version of House of the Dead fairly often.

  3. Chris, have you ever played Typing of the Dead? It’s an absurdly fun typing tutor version of House of the Dead 2.

  4. I know how you feel man, I haven’t played House of the Dead: Overkill because my brother’s Wii is broken, but I need a new typing tutor, so Typing of the Dead might be what it would take to teach me touch typing. I’ve seen some pretty boring typing tutors my parents got me as a kid, but frankly the missing zombie element left a gaping hole in my typing skills.

    For now, Elite Beat Agents is my bag. A game where dancing secret agents solve everyday but desperate problems. And they have afros and microphones. Believe it.

  5. I think that comics and video games in inseparably tied at some unknown level. I seriously laughed at the Navi joke btw.

  6. I almost picked this up the other day, but went with Mario Kart instead. This looked fun, but I was afraid it would be too short of a game. Sounds like it might be worth a second look.

  7. It actually holds the world record for most uses of the word “fuck” in a video game. What more do you need?

  8. Chris, have you tried the “Point Blank” series for the Playstation? Great series of shooting games. Non-violent, which is unfortunate, but creative as hell in all of the different shooting challenges that it had. (There were the usual “shoot bad guys, don’t shoot good guys” challenges, there were light-gun versions of Missile Command where you had to shoot incoming missiles, there were steadiness tests where you shot a seris of progressively smaller targets–there was even one mini-game where you had one bullet, and had to shoot a leaf falling out of a tree!)

    Great party game. I wish they’d re-release that for the Wii.

  9. When this game came out last month (or so) I decided to hook my Dreamcast up again to play “House of the Dead 2” and “Confidential Mission”… wouldn’t you know that old lightgun games wont work on plasma or LCD TVs… so now I’m currently playing “Typing of the Dead” and “Skies of Arcadia” on my 10 year-old Dreamcast instead. Oh, and the Dreamcast is by far the most underrated gaming system ever!

  10. Yeah, the girlfriend and I loved this for an hour or so, but the cutscenes got way too long and boring. We really need to just suck it up and finish the game off at some point so we can skip them next time.

    But yeah, the gore is great, the controls are solid and the graphics are better than what you’d expect from the Wii. I still can’t believe it got released on the Wii, for that matter. ‘The hardcore you’ve been waiting for’ indeed.

  11. Oh, great, a Dreamcast fanboy. Although I’m pretty sure it’s all in self-aware fun. (Skies of Arcadia on Gamecube was much better, mostly because it was on a system that was still alive phbbt). Seriously, though, Overkill is one of those games I’ll never trade in, because it’s 1)always fun to shoot zombies, and 2) it has multiplayer. My biggest problem with Umbrella Chronicles was the lousy way they locked out the multiplayer until you’d beaten the whole game. Light gun games are supposed to be inherenly multiplayer! It’s a huge part of what makes them fun!

  12. You had me at Aladdin’s Castle. Man, that brings back memories. The one I grew up near (and the Jolly Time a few blocks away) are long gone now. I don’t know what kids do at the mall between movies there nowadays. Shop, I guess?

  13. Any of you jokers ever played the House of the Dead 4 Special in the arcade? It’s literally the best $5 I’ve ever spent on anything in my whole life.

    Here’s what some other guy said – “The House of the Dead 4 Special is a two-player attraction based off The House of the Dead 4. Players enter an enclosed room, sit down, buckle up, and experience zombie blasting like never before. The game makes use of two 100 inch screens, one in front of players and another behind, as well as a five-speaker sound system, giving the impression that enemies are attacking from all directions. The seat shakes as zombies attack, and players are blasted with air for every bullet that penetrates their defenses.”

    The awesome part is that you’re not always pointed right at the screen. The seat will stop at a 45 degree angle and you’ll be forced to shoot at the bad guys over your shoulder. It’s absolutely amazing.

  14. I’m really surprised you haven’t run a feature on MadWorld yet… it’s probably the most insanely violent game a Wii owner could hope for!

  15. MadWorld is pure awesome. Seriously, it’s like a combination of Running Man, Death Race, and Battle Royale. The commentary is hilarious, the art style is perfection, the game is pure fun, and the boss fights are over the top. Best WII game since No More Heroes.

  16. Seconding the MadWorld praise. Definitely one of the most fun games out there in a while. It’s really like NMH without the gameplay flaws.

  17. I’m a huge fan of the Time Crisis series, which also “suffer” from trying to take itself too seriously, with the whole “it’s just like an action movie” thing.. Every time I see a news article with Wild Dog (the second most awesome being to have carried that name) a little older and with his machine g-arm a little bulkier from whatever the fuck he’s stuffing in there now (an acid dispenser? a seagull gun?) I can do nothing but glee.

  18. I laughed pretty hard at the first “Typing of the Dead” comment above. Then I slowly realized Metz77 was serious. Even after seeing the game’s Wikipedia page, I kinda feel like someone’s playing a joke on me.

    Man, I know nothing about video games anymore.

  19. I’ll second the motion on Typing of the Dead. It is not at all hard to find, and it’s well worth looking for.

  20. Chris Sims reviewing a video game? Next he’ll write a review of the DOOM album.

    Please tell us what you think of the DOOM album.

  21. I am a weak shooter fan, but so far, Dead Rising on XBOX 360 has been fun. Pick up flower pot; bash zombie. Pick up cash register; bash zombie. Pick up chainsaw…well, you get the hint.

    And I want to buy Mad World so badly. If only I wasn’t broke. It’s and white. And AWESOME.