Kotaku AU Games Of 2009: #7

Kotaku AU Games Of 2009: #7

The countdown of my personal picks for the best games of 2009 is now underway. For the next two weeks I’ll be running down my top ten. At #7 we show respect, charm and under-f***ing-standing…

7. The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

I’ve never been a fan of light gun shooters outside of the arcade. Yet the genre presented me with two of my favourite Wii games of the year. Dead Space: Extraction, which just missed the cut for this list, drew me in with its expertly directed and surprisingly deep narrative – a unique point of difference within the genre – even if its core mechanics weren’t quite as sophisticated.

The House of the Dead: Overkill took a different tack, nailing the score attack compulsion a light gun shooter demands while delivering scene after scene of dizzying violence and exponential absurdity. If you’re going to be playing through the same levels again and again, you need mechanics and a presentation style to not just sustain but encourage repeat sessions.

The points system is genius. Infinite continues give you the opportunity to learn a level, but actually using them will penalise you enough to deny access to the new weapons in shop. Meanwhile the combo system rewards your skill with ever-increasing amounts of blood and gibs, culminating in the delightfully named Goregasm stage. The Director’s Cut, Extra Mutant and Dual Wield modes, the distracting mini-games and multiplayer options all extend the replay value even further.

Much has been made of Overkill’s “grindhouse” aesthetic – and rightly so. It’s pitch-perfect and often genuinely funny. You can’t help but get carried along by its preposterous swagger all the way to the holy-shit-did-they’re-not-really-going-to-show-that-are-they? oh-god-yes-they-did ending.

But Overkill is much more than just cheap thrills, it’s a brilliantly designed game. Forget Rock Band, this is the best party game around.

Kotaku AU’s Games of 2009 are my personal picks for the best games of the year. I make no claim to have played everything released this year, nor do I pretend to be any way objective in my rankings. I look forward to debating my choices with you in the comments.


  • Couldn’t agree more. Loved playing Overkill. Definitely one of the best titles in the genre too. Although, the review board got it wrong with this one. There is no language warning on the box. Of course, he wasn’t swearing. He was saying “Mutha Fukka”.

    • First game we bought for the wii in my house, and has been the best so far. On my copy there is the PEGI 18+ label on the disc. If that isn’t clue enough as what its real rating should be i have no clue what is. Still i love the cut scenes of the game. my favorite one includes the “Conver-Mother-fukkin-sation” line 😛

  • I’ve been writing an article for another website about games that were totally offensive and went under that radar. This was on the list. It’s not everyday a game actually sets a world record for being offensive.


    I also loved the Grindhouse look and feel of the game. You really get the feeling that this was inspired a little bit by the Robert Rodriguez film “Planet Terror” (BTW if you don’t have that film go out and get it, its one of the best movies ever)

  • I haven’t picked this up; namely because my Wii now collects dust as soon as I finished SSBB. I haven’t bothered to unpack it and set it up again. When Metroid: Other M and the Zelda Wii come out I’ll be grabbing them, so I guess it can go downstairs.

    Enough about my Wii, good choice David, though I didn’t expect it. Looking forward to #6!

  • I sold my Wii due to a complete lack of games after Super Mario Galaxy was the last one I actually liked – there’s a couple of games out that make me want to get one again (Super Mario Bros Wii!) but this sounds like another reason to get one again, especially since it’s Wii only?

    • Wait until the end of next year, I’d say. There’s tons of good Wii games coming out that I can’t name off the top of my head. Plus you can pick up old but still awesome games like LoZ:TP, MPT, Mario Galaxy, NSMB Wii, MK Wii, SSBB, and others. But get one now if you want, there’s plenty of good titles there to tide you over until next year.

  • Much like most of the people who’ve posted here, my Wii doesn’t get used a whole lot. Not for lack of good games, because I know there’s a bunch, but for games that better than the ones currently stealing my time on PS3/360. Mario Galaxy is a great game, as are Madworld, Zelda, etc. My time is all taken up as it is though, and sometimes it just seems like too much effort to bother plugging in the Wii.

    What has made me plug in my Wii recently is NSMB. It’s been great having a new Mario game, and the co-op is fantastic. I’ve been playing it with friends, and it’s great fun.

    Interesting read on #7 David – Most of what I’d heard on HoTD was about the huge amount of swearing, but it’s great to see there’s an entertaining game there. I loved HoTD on Dreamcast (one of the few games I still get my DC out for every now and then), but it’s one of those things I’d sort of forgotten about. I agree with Andrew on the mis-classification issue though – if language isn’t mentioned, that’s a major failure from the Classification Board.

    Another game to add to my list of games to pick up when my wallet has recovered from Christmas!

    • I was considering getting NSMB Wii, but hearing some reviews on sites like IGN and on Good Game, it’s made me worry that it’s the same old formula, a few replayability features thrown in (the coin collecting system), and a new coat of paint to make it seem fresh. I loved the NSMB on DS, it was one of my favourite games for a long time, but I can’t get past the niggling feeling that I’d buy this, play it a few times co-op and stop playing. But then I doubted myself, since when I was younger I admittedly made bad impulse purchases and that’s made me really cautious when buying this, as like most of us here, I only make a few purchases a year, so I want to get my money’s worth.

      A question – do the zombies in HoTD actually friggin recoil at your shots? I remember that in the first Resident Evil Chronicles game for the Wii, I had fun for a while, but when I just sprayed machine gun shots at zombies and let them just die, it wasn’t fun. I want challenge where you have to place your shots, take headshots and blow off limbs, my question – does HoTD provide that?

        • Yup there’s definitely some recoil to the shots and loading times to the gun (if your used to the insta loads of previous HotD and gun games your going to have to adjust to the “slow reload” of the basic guns). You’ll notice that the cursor tends to jerk a lot if you haven’t upgraded recoil so you need to be fairly accurate if the guns aren’t upgraded

          Of course this is all kinda moot once you get the Assault Shottie (the normal Shottie can tide u over but reload is fairly slow so u need to conserve/time shots) which practically OHKO’s once properly upgraded in power. xD

          Oh and there’s only one reason to actually bother being accurate on RE:Chronicles… S ranking xD Gawd still working through the RE3 stages @[email protected];;

  • I forgot all about this game – has much as i dislike the Wii, there are few games out there that would pursuade me to buy one. This actually is a party game without you knowing.

    I remember spending a good solid 5 hours straight playing this with a bunch of mates. But i swore this was released in late 2008 – or perhaps i’m just thinking of all the articles going on how this is a MA rated game for the Wii.

    After thinking about it – i would put this in my Top 10 even though i’ve only played this twice and i don’t own a Wii. It definitely ranks higher than New Mario Bros. and Super Smash Bros. for me.

  • I was going to get this a few months back but read reviews saying that the aiming was a bit crap??

    What’s the best gun adapter for this and how much/from where?

      • Yes the 2 hand cannons in the bang bang box are GOLD! I cannot imagine trying to shoot my way thru mutant hordes as a badass Samuel L Jackson with 2 white TV remotes..

      • Well, the Bang Bang box is the limited edition of game plus two guns. The guns are pretty good, replicas of the ones in the game. I’d say a gun adapter is a must for this game. If you’ll be playing with friends, the box is probably for you.

  • Definitely the best wii game of the year, and one of the best mother fucking games of all mother fucking time. Fuck. 😛

    I too was a bit dismayed over the wii’s lack of great titles, but this year had a few pretty good ones, like the aforementioned HOTD: Overkill and Dead Space: Extraction, as well as Madworld and the recent New Super Mario Bros Wii

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