Reviews by fuller556

85

Over the Top, Gory, and Profane, and Lots of Fun

fuller556 | Jan. 25, 2014 | Review of Typing of the Dead: Overkill

I came into this game really having little experience with these "rail-shooter" types of games. The only shooters I had really played are FPSes like Doom and Painkiller, which of course let you choose your own path through a level.

I was intrigued by the concept from the first time I read about it: A shooter that allows you to literally type your foes into submission. I wasn't totally sure what to expect and was somewhat skeptical when I first started playing, but the end result is actually a lot of fun. The designers did a great job of adapting such shooter mechanics to the keyboard, giving each enemy you encounter a series of "kill words" that you must type correctly to defeat your opponent. The color of the border around the word or phrase to be typed determines that enemy's level of threat. A green border suggests that the enemy poses little threat, whereas a red border means imminent danger.

For the most part, the mechanics work very well. As you type a word correctly, the letters fade out, and you can both hear and see gunshots striking the targeted opponent. If you need to switch to another target, a quick tap of Backspace cancels the word you were typing completely, allowing to start typing the word of the new target. Gratefully, you can make a mistake in typing without starting a word or phrase over again unless you turn on Hardcore mode after beating the game once. You can also make a mistake without losing your combo point bonus. The designers were respectful of players who may be somewhat frantic in their typing first starting out so as not to cause frustration for making mistakes, and there are three difficulty levels to make it fun for everyone. Even the boss fights have for the most part been well adapted to this format, with series of words and phrases used to not only injure the boss, but also to do things like destroy projectiles, interrupt attacks, and dodge out of the way of an oncoming charge. The game also gives you fun stats after each level, such as your overall accuracy, number of perfect words, and longest combo. You're also given a letter ranking based on your overall performance; can you earn an "A" on every course? That's what I'm working on now.

Of course, some adjustments had to be made from the normal shooting format. Weapon power-ups are not available, for example. You don't earn cash for stronger weapons, and there are no grenades or cash pick-ups present. This doesn't have much of an impact, however, as you'll be having too much fun typing out the crazy kill words and expressions the game throws at you. One fault I did have is with picking up items such as Med-Kits and collectibles. There's only a very brief tutorial in the first level to outline the use of the Tab key to nab such items, and it appears to be completely omitted from the instruction manual. A few deaths I suffered during my initial playthrough could have been eliminated had this been made more clear.

I honestly didn't have very much to complain about with this game. My biggest complaint is with the final battle. I won't spoil it, but for me, the rules of that battle are completely inane, and I suffered an extremely high number of deaths before winning, in part because I couldn't find a way to inflict much damage or stop oncoming attacks as I did with every other boss. Let's just say that this battle is much more free-form than the rest of the game. Additionally, while I found very little in the way of bugs in the game, I do occasionally have sound effects and voices drop out completely, especially when repelling the attacks of mutants who grapple with your character to try and bite you.

My only other gripe with the game is with the constant profanity. Yes, I realize this is a game primarily designed to shock and possibly offend, and the characters cursing was not surprising. The LEVEL of profanity, however, is something new to me; Washington and Varla Guns especially cannot say the "F" word enough throughout this game, and I found such overuse of profanity a little too gratuitous, and it also detracts from the overall narrative. In some places, it works, such as during the ending when Washington's personality starts to rub off on Agent G. Other times, I kept thinking that the writers could have given them SOMETHING else to say.

In other areas, however, the presentation hits the mark. There's some excellent and clever alliteration by the narrator in the cutscenes, which are basically presented like horror movie trailers, and this gives an interesting new take on the traditional cutscene format. The graphics are well detailed, and some of the bosses especially are truly grotesque and imaginative in their design.

As a bonus treat, the original The House of the Dead: Overkill is included with this game as well, utilizing either the mouse or a controller to aim your weapons at the mutant hordes. You have full grenade support here and a full complement of weapon upgrades to purchase as the game progresses. Your weapon selection is critical in some stages and can either give you a boost fighting a boss or render you completely ineffective. I found the mouse controls to be very responsive and this version of the game to be fun, though the typist in me almost prefers that version. This is simply a matter of taste, however, and being able to play both games in one release is a great decision by the designers and lets everyone play however they want. One side note: The final boss was MUCH easier in this mode, and I beat it the first time without dying in this mode.

So the final verdict is that this game is a lot of fun. If you aren't turned off by the constant profanity and enjoy horror games and shoot-em-ups, you are probably going to have a blast. I would love to see more DLC dictionaries released to incorporate such themes as superheroes, music lyrics, or movies. The DLC is another smart decision, letting you pick and choose themes that appeal to you for inclusion in the typing aspects of the game; you don't feel like you're purchasing content that should have been included to start with. Overall, I can find very little wrong with this game, and I highly recommend it as a smart revision on the rail shooter format.