The Typing of the Dead: Overkill Review

You sometimes won't believe the sentences you have to type

  • Developer: Modern Dream
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Release Date: 29 October 2013
  • Time played: 4 hours

The original The Typing of the Dead, which came out in 2001 on PC, was one of those games you had to double-take just to be sure you weren't imagining things. A zombie shooting game where you used keyboards as weapons? What were the developers smoking? Strangely enough, it's exactly the kind of game that appeals to me. I consider myself a reasonably fast typist so a game that takes advantage of this skill is like a godsend. Finally, I can be good at a game even though the game might as well be called Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing... with Zombies! Another reason I loved the game was that it was basically a port of the Sega Dreamcast's The House of the Dead 2 which had such poor voice acting that it was really hilarious.

So fast forward over a decade later and we now have another Typing of the Dead based on the most recent House of the Dead, The House of the Dead: Overkill. Thanks to a Steam sale, I didn't hesitate to get the game and its DLC hoping it would be as good, and hopefully as funny (intentionally or not) as the 2001 Typing of the Dead.

Plot (4/5)
The Typing of the Dead: Overkill acts as a prequel to the entire The House of the Dead series, going back to 1991 when Agent G (a character that is featured in every The House of the Dead game) is fresh out of AMS Academy (the organisation tasked with hunting down the baddies in the first two The House of the Dead games). Agent G is paired up with a foul-mouthed detective named Isaac Washington and both are given orders to seek a criminal named Papa Caesar, who is working with a young disabled scientist named Jasper Guns, and arrest him. Unfortunately, Papa Caesar evades arrest thanks to Agent G and Isaac having to kill a horrifically mutated Jasper after he injects himself with an unknown substance. Varla, Jasper's stripper sister, manages to arrive on the scene only to witness her brother dying and vows to avenge his death by hunting down Papa Caesar too.

The plot is surprisingly good at times which is not what I'm used to playing a House of the Dead game. Unlike The House of the Dead 2 where it was unintentionally funny thanks to some poor voice acting, The House of the Dead: Overkill and indeed The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is intentionally trying to be funny. Most of the humour revolves around parodying the usual stereotypes, tropes and clich├ęs of the B-movie horror genre as well as buddy cop films. I actually found some of the jokes genuinely funny with only a few coming off as forced. It's definitely the best scripted House of the Dead game I've played, but that's probably not saying much.

Gameplay (5/5)
The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is basically The House of the Dead: Overkill - a rail shooter where you progress through levels by killing lots and lots of zombies. The only difference is the method used. In The Typing of the Dead: Overkill instead of light guns, controllers or mice, you use the keyboard in order to obliterate your enemies.

Weird? Yes. Crazy? Yes. Do I love it? You betcha. As mentioned earlier, since I'm actually not too shabby when it comes to touch typing fast, this is a game I have a chance to be good at. Screw those guys and their APMs on Starcraft II or those camping snipers with 40x scopes on Battlefield 4, I kill zombies with a keyboard and I'm damn good at it! Also, the words that you'll have to type out are often silly and hilarious so don't be surprised if you let off a few snickers and giggles along the way.

Finally, I really like what they did with the ultimate boss bottle, but you'll just have to experience it for yourself since I don't want to spoil it. Let's just say it helps if you've been concentrating on the plot!

Oh and before I forget: if you're not too good at typing, you can always revert to The House of the Dead: Overkill which is bundled with the game free.

Probably one of the only sentences in the game without Isaac swearing

Sound (4/5)
Voice acting is actually pretty good considering I've never heard of the voice actors before. Special mention must go to Anthony Aroya for his excellent work as Isaac Washington managing to almost sound like Samuel L. Jackson, except instead of snakes on a plane, he's complaining about zombies in Bayou Country. The only criticism I have is that the audio seems to cut out occasionally especially when performing hand-to-hand combat with the muscular zombies.

Music (4/5)
The music in the game would fit right in a 70s B-movie or blaxploitation film thanks to quite a number of funky songs - which is exactly what you want for this kind of game. What is the icing on the cake is the inclusion of a track called "Suffer Like G Did" which is obviously a reference to the really poor voice acting in The House of the Dead 2.

Graphics (2/5)
The House of the Dead: Overkill, the game that this one is based off, was released a few years back in 2009 on the Wii, and unfortunately it shows. The graphics look really dated. Even Mass Effect, a game released a year before The House of the Dead: Overkill has better graphics than this. I also experienced graphical issues with the zombie models in that half of them never appeared or only some of them appeared visible. Apparently, ATI video card users are more likely to suffer this issue and even upgrading to the latest drivers failed to help my situation.

Replay (3/5)
The game took me about 4 hours to complete but that's to be expected with a rail shooter. However, there are several things that will entice the player to replay the game, such as completing Steam achievements, playing the game again except in its original, non-typing tutor, format The House of the Dead: Overkill, playing it at a harder difficulty, beating your friend's high score, unlocking collectibles (e.g. concept art, 3D models, comic book pages and music), and playing mini-games. This is actually one of the first games in a long time where I'm almost certain I'll be playing it a few more times, even though I've finished the single player campaign.

Polish (2/5)
See Graphics. Basically too many graphical issues.

Score – 7/10

The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is looking really dated nowadays and it's a bit rough around the edges, but this has to be one of the most funny and unique zombie shooters available. Definitely recommended if you're a touch typist and if you're not cut out with the typing stuff, you can always revert to the original The House of the Dead: Overkill which is included with the game.

The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is available from these retailers:

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[ LINK: Official The Typing of the Dead: Overkill website ]