Typing of the Dead: Overkill is the product of several paternity tests gone amiss. Based on the re-release, extended cut of House of the Dead for the Wii, the game is also inspired by the 1999 The Typing of the Dead, a title which follows a similar premise. Originally, this game was in development by Blitz Game Studios before it was liquidated in September 2013. Fortunately, the development team was able to convince Sega to let them release the game under a new license.
So, let’s talk about the positives: this game is hilarious. Its fast-paced play in both typing and arcade mode feature clever, fourth-wall breaking words and phrases as well as some truly epic, cheesy dialogue between the two sets of protagonists. Whether or not their dialogue and voice-acting is purposefully done to be extra cheesy and campy is difficult to say but we’re going to say yes, based solely on the fact that one of them is essentially Samuel L. Jackson.
The protagonists are Isaac Washington, a foul-mouthed detective, and Agent G, a returning character from the House of the Dead series who plays straight arrow to Washington’s off-the-handle anger. Two other campaigns also feature Varla Guns, a tough, motorcycle riding stripper who supports her handicapped brother named Jasper. At her side is the ditzy, dirty Candy Stryper, Jasper’s well-meaning dummy of a girlfriend. The four of them interact once or twice throughout the story mode and these interactions are about as humorous as you might expect.
One of the standout aspects here is the soundtrack. It takes an interesting approach between several different styles that make it fun and stylish to listen to. Some of the boss fights have tracks that keep us coming back, coupled with the loving homage to the horror genre in general.
Now, again, this game is full of cheese. It practically oozes it, so if you aren’t a big fan of the gun-toting, Evil Dead-style of movies from the late seventies to early eighties, this game may very well not make a lot of sense in its references. However, fan or not, Overkill still has a lot to offer.
The gameplay is pretty engaging on both a casual player’s level, and as someone who wants to set fire to their hands by challenging the game’s harder modes. The enemy types are also varied in speed, attack style and general difficulty. The downside to this is that you’ll get a Dead Rising experience in that a lot of people look like clones of one another. The game appears to take place in the deep South, so make what jokes you will on that one.
The level design as well is fairly well done here. It borrows a lot from horror movie tropes as well, but never takes itself seriously enough to do much more than nudge you playfully (except for the circus level, perhaps. Zombie clowns not your thing? Tough nuts, buddy, you’ll be killing a lot of them there). Even still, there are a handful of collectibles you can nab during each campaign if you are paying attention enough or are just a master of jamming on the TAB key between words and phrases. Really, the only downside is that the repetitiveness of the zombie placement and encounters makes it a bit tedious with enough playthroughs. We always find ourselves more amused by the phrases the game spits out, so this barely hurt the experience for us, but it does have the potential to annoy other gamers.
Once you get tired of the typing campaign, the game also offers the full, Extended Cut version of House of the Dead: Overkill. This mode has support for both a controller or the classic keyboard /mouse method.
The shooting is just as satisfying as the typing. The placement and collectibles are all still in the same place, but the game is a carbon copy of the Extended Cut, anyway, and it’s nice to be able to see all the extras thrown in here. Money is the big goal in the arcade mode, as it allows you to buy new guns and upgrade them with some pretty awesome perks to make the game a bit easier. There also three mini-games that involve shooting moving targets, protecting survivors and a timed survival game to set those fingers ablaze once more.
This game is not for the easily offended. It features lots of swears, sex, nudity, blood and some pretty disturbing topics laid out in the open. This game is raunchy and disturbing at times, but the overall tone (except in certain parts) is that it is all in good fun.
Overall, The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is a ton of fun. It plays well, looks good and had us cracking up until the very end. We still play it casually when we feel like punishing our wrists a bit and enjoy it every time. If you’re a fan of horror movie cheese, typing games for adults or just a fan of those old school arcade shooters, we highly recommend it.
As an afterthought, why no CarnEvil typing remake? Someone please get on that – we still have a major vendetta with that game!