Why do they keep going back to that house?
I mean, it doesn't make that much sense, right? If you know that you're headed toward a mansion filled to the brim with the undead (and I don't wanna know how all of them got in there), who in their right mind would go back… except for maybe a dumb detective (with a particular love for the letters "m" and "f") and a dumber FBI agent with a letter for a name? Or that one chick with the giant bust and a score to settle?
Isaac Washington, Varla Gunns (yup, big chest equals corny name), and Agent G are just three of the characters involved in the "intricate" experience that is House of the Dead: Overkill, the on-rails shooter from a franchise that started in the arcade, was only ever suited for an arcade, and continued to get more-and-more depressing as it left the arcade. Sega and friends were shooting zombies before shooting zombies was "hip" and "cool" as the kids today know (really though, zombies have always been cool, even to me), though this time it's blatantly stated that it's not "zombies" you're shooting… they're mutants. Man-made virus and all that. Boogie woogie woogie. How are we allowing them to get away with calling this "House of the Dead" when you're not shooting the walking dead?
Anyway, have you ever played a light gun, on-rails shooter? Because if you have, you know exactly what to expect: point at the screen and pull the trigger. It's as easy as the best of arcade quarter-munchers. As mutants march towards the screen, it's up to you to shoot them. It's that simple, mainly because when drunks stagger into arcades, they have to know what to do with the funny-looking guns attached to the TVs.
With that transition to a home console comes plenty of more intricate playing options, like upgrades to a faster reload and larger clip and even buying brand-spankin'-new guns which all keep the action and violence fresh. On top of that, every environment is unique with its own set of bad guys. That's not to say that previous baddies aren't constantly showing back up for more punishment, but every space has a batch unique to their region. You'll see some awkward valley girls in the swamp, but they're surrounded by the creepy rednecks with bloody flannel as well.
Throughout the stages are extra items as well. Comic book pages, movie posters, even heads-on trophy platforms, which unlock 3D models of characters throughout the game, are littered across the landscape. Sometimes they're blatantly there, while a few take some sharp shooting (or an Uzi, whichever's easier for you) to capture. They're fun little extras, but similar to those in tons of other games. Still more swearing, but nothing special.
Three mini-games are options right from the get-go, and they're all fun. First is "Victim Support", the goal being to save the limping humans from the attacking hordes of attacking mutants. The further the survivors travel before being munched, the higher the score given. It's the trickiest of the games, and not the most fun since you have to worrying about someone else instead of willy-nilly pulling the trigger.
The second game "Stayin' Alive" is like the main game and involves shooting whatever moves, lumbers, crawls, or throws stuff. Given a time limit and your trusty weapon, you must rip down the fleshy walls until either time runs out or your health does. "Money Shot II", the third game, is the trick-shooting target game. There has to be a touch of everything from the main game, doesn't there?
Developers were striving for second playthroughs, so after playing through the main game, a wealth of new bits and pieces are unlocked. "Shoot the Sh*t" is available, where you must shoot the bad words before anybody gets to say them (which means a lot of bullets are necessary), along with an extended version of the main story called the Director's Cut. They add some replay, which is what a game like this needs, though once a section has been played through and mentally recorded, playing through again can be more of a chore than a privilege. Especially since this started out on the Wii, so on the PS3 the thing is butt-ugly. Realizing that can help with the little graphical glitches and tweaks, but going in blind, it's just awkward and bland, even with drastic changes in environments to help the story along.
But if you're just looking for a reminder of why this franchise just gulped quarters in arcades, this is about as good as it might ever get again on consoles. Plus, since this is obviously an "M"-rated title, it's a great way for classic players to feel like kids in an arcade… but grown up and filthy enough to get into a grindhouse flick and see some nasty stuff go down. Oh, and there's plenty of innuendo, swearing, blood-spewing, and a few of the sickest bosses I've seen yet to keep the creepy-crawlies around for a while yet. Now good shoot those dirty muthaf-
Title exclusive to PS3. Copy provided by the publisher.