This is a guest review by Caillte
Computer gamers, full of odd terms used to describe the uninitiated, will sometimes use the term, 'rail shooter' to describe first person shooters. However this really isn't the case; the true rail shooter had its roots in the coin-op games of the seventies and eighties, where you (and a friend) could blow your pocket money shooting a plastic gun at an arcade screen. Now, with a Wii and a small outlay of cash you don't even need to catch the bus to the arcade!
Sega released The House of the Dead 2 & 3 as a single game last year on the Wii, and have - quite appropriately - resurrected the title this year as The House of the Dead Overkill. The basic premise of the game is extremely simple; you are faced with a number of zombies moving towards the screen at various speeds and have to shoot them all before they get to you. If you fail they can attack you with each blow costing you a hit point. Run out of hit points and you have to sacrifice half your score to rejoin the game. Once all zombies are defeated the camera pans to another location where you shoot some more zombies. After a number of repeats you fight a boss monster that has lots of hit points and can only be shot in a certain manner - in the head only, or the hands etc - to complete the level. Along the way you can find various objects to shoot that will help you on your way, including golden brains (appropriately) that give you a bonus to your score, grenades and the strange 'Slow-Mo-Fo' object that slows the game down for a period of time. Between levels there is a shop where you can purchase new, and upgrade existing, weapons. If you have ever played Resident Evil 4 then you will know all about this.
So, in gameplay terms at least, that is pretty much it. There are a couple of minigames that pop up from time to time, such as saving an innocent civilian from zombies for a large bonus, and extra modes if you can complete the game. The best part of the game - at least the first time through - is the storyline. All House of the Dead games have a theme and this one, despite being set in the early nineties, is based around seventies detective/ blaxploitation movies. You play either Agent G - the mysterious and deadly secret agent - or Detective Isaac Washington - the toughest, roughest cop on the beat - as the fight against the evil schemes of Papa Caesar and Warden Clement Darling whilst aided by the beautiful Varla Guns (who should really be named Varla McJiggles) and, well, er, that is pretty much it.
Overkill is well animated, well balanced, smooth and quite enjoyable. It is also very short and once you have played it a couple of times quite predictable. For all that it is still a challenge to finish even when you have the encounters memorised and as a lightweight game that you can play after unscrewing your skull and removing your brain is really quite good. However to really enjoy this game to the fullest invite a friend or three around, enjoy a, um, glass of water or three with them, or perhaps a refreshing cup of tea, and then play this game with them in cooperative mode!
Overall, this game is highly enjoyable at the start, especially the storyline with its terrible plot and record breaking (literally) number of swear words. The action is fast paced and the variation in the types of zombies will keep you on your feet. Just do not expect any depth, anything ground breaking, or any lasting appeal as a solo game. It is also not advisable to play it around parents, grandparents, impressionable children or parrots (they WILL pick up the f-word!)