The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is considered a serious game: a game which has an objective other than pure entertainment, in this case teaching typing skills and zombie survival techniques in the Grindhouse environment of House of the Dead: Overkill.
Thankfully, The Typing of the Dead is anything but serious, with the hilarity of House of the Dead being brought into this new system, which throws up words for you to type instead of bullets for you to shoot, in order to rid areas of monsters in this on-rails teaching tool.
Those words are almost always funny and tied to the current situation. Fighting an overweight creature? You’ll find yourself typing Jelly-belly. Bang. How about a stripper? Private dance. Pow. Or, hey, here’s a wheelchair-ridden man with low self esteem, who’s just mutated himself into a brain-heavy monster. Four eyes. Bam. Mildly pathetic. Blam. Cat lover. Boom!
I really like typing. I do it thousands of times every day, it’s probably something that I do more than almost every other thing except from breathing, blinking or sleeping. So, to be able to type about a game in which the core mechanic is typing is just about blowing my mind.
And I’ve blown the mind of plenty of zombies just by writing long words, which are a bit of an encumbrance, or even shorter words, which are easy.
But it’s not typing like this, no. It’s untethered, off-the-hook typing. If I was to write “undead bread connoisseur dachshund Edinburgh” here then I doubt you’d be very happy and the article wouldn’t be very coherent, but in The Typing of the Dead that’s okay, that’s absolutely fine. It’s a bit like the strategic combos of Street Fighter compared to the more manic single-fire attacks of Super Smash Brothers.
Perhaps it’s because I spend every day chaining sentences together with complete comprehensibility that going a bit wild and shooting the heads off of zombies in the meantime is just something that’s a bit lovely, while allowing me to further my words per minute speed and genuinely improve an important skill.
Even if you’re not like me and you don’t enjoy writing words on this here internet box, then you’ll still find some enjoyment out of it. It really just takes the original Overkill to the next level, and even then that game’s available – with mouse-controlled pointer action – as part of the package if you get bored of typing all of these words and just want to shoot some mutants instead.
There’s a whole host of phrases, some of which are downright hilarious – “Thanks Obama” is a personal favourite – and there are plenty of references in there too. On top of that, the base game’s really funny anyway, taking cues from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, though something that’s entirely more over the top with its humour.
You’ll never play the same level twice – even though the enemies may attack in the same way, the words are always different, and that’s what makes it stand out from the original House of the Dead: Overkill – you might find yourself replaying just to fight off the zombie hordes in new and unique ways.
There are a few problems though, including the somewhat lifeless animation – but that’s a given considering Overkill’s roots as a Wii game – and the fact that you can’t stop projectiles while you’re mid-phrase, which can prove annoying or even fatal. It does become somewhat repetitive, but that’s an inherent flaw of on-rails games, and not a fault of this game alone.
Gaming is full of these wild and wacky ideas, and although Overkill isn’t the first game under the name of The Typing of the Dead, it comes at a time where these oddball titles are celebrated, with people flocking to YouTube and streaming sites in their numbers to make videos of the likes of Surgeon Simulator. Similarly, it’s a time where educational games are on the rise.
And really, the game is just an interface for you to type these words. There are tons of typing tests online that work exactly the same, but this is above and beyond them because the base game is already so brilliant.
If you like typing, or even if you’d just like to play House of the Dead in a different and unique way, while having a bit of a laugh, then The Typing of the Dead is for you. It’s one of those games with an utterly fantastic core mechanic that sets it apart from other tried-and-tested games on the market.