Published on April 27th, 2013 | by Craig Forshey16
The House Of The Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels Review
When it was released back in 2009, The House Of The Dead: Overkill became an instant classic by taking gamers on a wild b-movie inspired zombie killing ride. SEGA’s on rails shooter continued the undead franchise in spectacular f-bomb laden fashion, successfully blending the classic series with grindhouse style cinema.
Overkill re-imagined The House Of The Dead as a bad horror movie from the ’70s. Veteran zombie slayer Agent G from the previous games was now a rookie operative on his first mission for AMS. He travels to Louisiana to hunt down crime lord Papa Caesar where he meets up with detective Isaac Washington, a man out to get revenge on Caesar for killing his father. In the course of their investigation, they discover Papa Caesar has been creating zombies using old military experiments. From there, all hell breaks loose and its kill or be kill with an army of the undead on the rampage.
Dissapointingly, all that exposition is missing from SEGA’s attempt to resurrect House Of The Dead Overkill with its mobile spinoff, The House Of The Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels. Rather than deliver a port of the original Wii title like with The Conduit HD as many gamers had hoped, SEGA has distilled Overkill’s formula down to its basest form and implemented a free to play gameplay structure.
Did I mention House Of The Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels costs $4.99?
To be fair, The Lost Reels does its best to mimic the action of its console cousin, and even succeeds at times, although SEGA’s decision to make a more mobile centric title that caters to weaker powered devices limits the experience significantly. The campy, hilarious, and offensive grind house style cutscenes that gave the original a feel all its own have been replaced with 20 second long graphic novel animations that provide almost no context whatsoever.
From there, players are dropped into an on rails shooter with the choice of using either the accelerometer or a virtual d-pad to aim. They’ll explore environments like a house and hospital with very drab looking textures that tend to repeat. Alot. In fact, nearly every asset in the game, from the music to the enemies, to the level scenery is an exact copy of the one before it. To say this game gives one a sense of Déjà vu is an understatement.
Luckily for The Lost Reels, its core gameplay is its saving grace. The familiar arcade shooter mechanics popularized by light gun games like House Of The Dead and Time Crisis have been adapted into a more traditional first person shooter style control scheme that works surprisingly well for a mobile game. Players will guide a reticle on screen to aim while they move about each level automatically. Head shots and other special condition shots like blocking a zombie attack at the last second will reward the player with a multiplier that can be built up to earn points towards new weapons and upgrades. Quick thinking and planning ahead are critical, since zombies will quickly overwhelm you if you get caught in the middle of reloading.
Much like another zombie shooter gone mobile, Call Of Duty: Zombies, The Lost Reels attempts to replicate the look of a console game at seriously diminished polygon counts, resulting in stiff animations and forgettable character design. Enemies all move and look the same, with the same character model often appearing twice or more on screen at the same time. While The Lost Reels may share similar level textures with the Wii version, its stages are nowhere near as complex and well designed. Each level consists of running around the same repeating sets of rooms until the scripted sequence of zombies runs its course. To make things worse, you’ll keep repeating these sequences due to the games sheer difficulty.
There are three campaigns in the main game, plus an endless survival mode for the masochists out there. However, one of the aforementioned campaigns is paid dlc. IN A FULL PRICE GAME. This kind of pricing scheme is the wrong way to go and further detracts from what could have been an otherwise flawed but enjoyable experience.
Summary: While The House Of The Dead Overkill: The Lost Reels offers nostalgic gameplay and plenty of gore, it has poor presentation, IAP's, and is very short.