Thursday, 19 February 2009

House of the Dead: Overkill - Zombie Videogame Review (Nintendo Wii)

What is this? A decent game on the Wii? What the heck?! The Wii unfortunately has a real lack of good games, and even less so called 'hardcore' games. It does have an increasing number of zombie games though.

House of the Dead: Overkill is a prequel to the four House of the Dead games already out. Story has never been the series strong point, basically it is Agent G's (AMS agent featuring in the last 3 HOTD games) first mission. He teams up with a very foul mouthed Detective Issac Washington to pursue a man known as Papa Ceaser though a small town in Louisiana. There is plenty of story before and after each level, and lots of play off between the hot headed Detective, and the almost emotionless G. There is lots and lots of adult language, with one phrase in particular being repeated often. The story is funny, and worth seeing a few times, though as everything it does grows stale after repeated views.

The game is split up into 7 levels, each set in a different location in the town. The variety is nice, each level completely different from the others, and the levels are of a decent length. The characters comment on the action as you progress which leads to some hilarious lines. The game is a light gun game, like the others in the series. The wii-mote works great for this, especially with the hefty feeling 'House of the Dead:Overkill Hand Cannon' attachment which the wii-mote slots into. Each level introduces new enemies into the mix which helps vary them even more so.

After each level you receive cash, based on score, skill and other factors. There is a shop you can visit where your gun can be upgraded in a variety of ways, and new weapons, such as Shotguns, and Uzis can be purchased. This helps with the replayability. Also to help this is the unlockables. Depending on different factors in the levels you can unlock music, artwork, and trailers. Also in addition to the main game, there is a 2nd 'Directors cut' which features slightly extended levels, and more zombies, and some mini games which can be played with up to 3 other people. I don't have any videogame playing friends, but I assume this, and 2 player main game would be a lot of fun.

Onto the problems. While the soundtrack is good, and has a grind house sound to it, many of the tunes are repeated from level to level, and also the tracks are too short for the levels, so there's times when the song ends when there's just silence on screen until it starts from the start again. The game has a few issues of loading when the frame rate drops at certain points during the game. Being a Wii game it looks good enough, and has a cool grainy look going on, but I wish that the environments had been a bit more destructible, and the enemies as well. Previous games let you blast holes in the enemies and destroy lots of back ground objects, but here the enemies pretty much just fall apart when you shoot them, and windows are the only destructible objects.

The enemies show far less variety than the previous installments, mostly just being a variety of slow and quick moving zombies. The bosses are really easy, and not at all memorable unlike the previous games. Lastly; there are no alternate routes through the levels, this was kinda a hallmark of the series, so is missed.

Don't get me wrong, the game is fab, it just doesn't feel like a House of the Dead game really, but as a zombie game it is really good, and would probably be fantastic in 2 player.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Splatterhouse - Horror Videogame Review (Virtual Console)

I was a huge huge fan of Splatterhouse 2, well, I still am. In fact I think that game was a contributing factor into getting me into horror films, it is littered with references to the classic horrors, most obvious being 'Friday 13th' due to the hockey mask the main character wears (yeah, I know it's supposed to be some ancient power giving demonic mask rather than a hockey mask).

When I got my Virtual Console...I mean Wii, Splatterhouse was the first game I downloaded. The game is really good, it feels like a basic version of Splatterhouse 2, which it is. The music, graphics and everything are just as good.

The game sees you fight your way though 7 levels of monster filled madness to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend, main enemies being various types of zombies. There are multiple routes through most the levels, more routes than are present in the sequel in fact. The bosses like the sequel are fantastic show stopping events mostly. Everything from a room full of possessed furniture to a sack wearing corpse wielding dual chainsaws.

I had hoped the game would be the uncensored version, but alas it was not to be. The biggest fault of the censored version (apart from Rick having a stupid red mask instead of white) I believe is the 4th level boss. Originally you had to fight a floating crucifix surrounded by severed heads in a church. After beating it Rick walks up to an alter and church music starts playing as the church lights up. In the censored version you instead fight a floating blue blob surrounded by severed heads. After beating it Rick walks up to an empty space (where the altar should be), church music starts playing as the place your in lights up (still blatantly a church) and makes no sense whatsoever.

Regardless of this the game is fantastic. I really hope they release Splatterhouse 3 as well on the Virtual Console, that games like gold dust and I have only played it on an emulator before. Also there is a new sequel being created for 360 and PS3, looking forward to that definitely!


Zombie Game Month!

February is the month of zombie games! On the 13th Feb (and my birthday) there is House of the Dead: Overkill coming out on the Wii. I have also ordered the offical House of the Dead: Overkill Hand Cannon gun attachment for my wii-mote. Really looking forward to that. The gun should enhance my experiance of the fantastic Umbrella Chronicles as well.

On the 27th Feb comes not one, but two Onechanbara games! One for the 360, and it's sequal for the Wii! Both at budget prices, so I have ordered both. The Onechanbara games pit you as a
bikini wearing, sword weilding 'babe' against a literall army of the dead, they sound great!

Also on the 27th Feb comes the long delayed Silent Hill 5, I am a massive massive fan of the Silent Hill series, so despite mixed reviews am damn looking forward to this! I'm still annoyed that the game was delayed by near 4 months in the UK just so that it would compete with Resident Evil 5 (Whats the point?).

Lastely we have had the announcement of Dead Rising 2, this one seems to be set in a Las Vegas style setting, should be great, the first one certainly was.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I'll always know what you did last summer - Horror Film Review

In 'I know what you did last summer' a group of young adults accidentally kill a stranger while joy riding on the 4th of July. They dispose of the body and swear they will never reveal what they did. A year later a killer wearing a fisherman's raincoat, and using a hook starts killing them off one by one. Eventually they discover the killer is actually the stranger they thought they had killed a year previous. During an exciting last battle on a fishing boat the stranger (a middle aged man called Ben) has his hand severed off and is cast out into the ocean. The film came out around the same time as Scream, and was a much more intelligent slasher than that one.

Next came the sequel 'I still know what you did last summer'. In this film the survivor of the previous film wins a holiday on a tropical island, so heads out to it with her new friends. Once there they discover they are virtually the only inhabitants due to it being off season. There are a few skeleton staff running the hotel, and also a killer fisherman with a hook for a hand...after much bloodshed and mayhem it turns out that it is the fisherman Ben who had not died in the first film, and this time he was helped by his son who was masquerading as a friend of the heroines and whose telltale surname was 'Benson' (as in Ben's Son, lol). At the end of the film the son is accidentally killed by Ben, while Ben himself is shot to pieces and falls into an open grave. This was another good film. I saw this one at the cinema.

Recently I discovered the third film in the series 'I'll always know what you did last summer'. I watched it in a dubious mood. Surely this would be utter tripe, and completely unrelated to the previous ones?

It actually was nearly quite good. A group of kids playing a prank accidentally get their friend killed. Like the original a year later they start being killed off one by one by a killer in a fisherman's coat, and with a hook for a hand.

It's the usual (but good) whodunit slasher until near the end, and this is where it gets barmy. Massive spoilers! It turns out the killer is once again Ben from the first 2 films, but this time he's a zombie! He has glowing red eyes, rotten skin, able to teleport, and unkillable, even when chopped into little pieces he comes back. What the hell!??! Heh, the first two films were 'realistic' in that it was all plausible, but this is such a total curve ball, and fits in really badly to the tone of the film. Frankly it is just ridiculous! But enjoyable all the same.


Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Club - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360, PS3)

The Club is a vastly under rated Sega game on the X-Box 360 and PS3. It is a 3rd person shooter and feels much like Manhunt on Speed. The game is very arcade like, and score obsessed.

The game features over 100 short stages which involve various different challenges. There's Gauntlet where you have to get your character from the start of the level to the finish before the time limit expires, there's Sprint which is basically the same, but no time limit. Siege places you in a section of a level where you must survive against hordes of enemies until the time expires, Survivor is nearly the same, but you are contained in a much smaller area. Finally there is Time Attack where you have to do laps of a course.

I love stories in my games, and this is where the game kinda disappoints. The premise of the game is that The Club is a secret world wide organisation where rich people can bet on underground blood sports. The contestants have usually been forced into competing, with survival being their reward. The 8 characters you can choose are all varied, and each have their own back story. Unfortunately the back story is not very well explained. There is an intro sequence which kinda hints at each characters introduction of them being forced into The Club, as well as a vague description for each character. It's only really the endings for each character which slightly makes the characters motivations become apparent.

Each of the 8 stages is set in a different location round the world, there is everything from nuclear bunkers to Ocean Liners, and the variation is one of the best things about the game, with each stage feeling fresh. Each stage is split up into 6 or 7 different events, with a score board used so you can see your position in relation to your rivals after each event.

I really enjoyed this game, and could see it as being a great party game to play with mates.


Monday, 2 February 2009

The Grudge 2 - Horror Film Review

I hated The Grudge. First I saw the Japanese version. I had no idea what the heck was going on, I found it very boring and confusing. I got the American remake thinking that would be better, but no. The American remake was near identical, it was very boring and confusing. I brought The Grudge 2 a long time ago purely because it was cheap, it hadn't even had its packaging removed. I finally decided to watch it last Saturday, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised.

The Grudge for those who don't know is a Japanese based haunted house story basically. There is a house which curses any who enter it. All visitors to the house become haunted by strange apparitions everywhere they go of the family who were murdered in the house.

The film has 3 different story lines going on. The first storyline sees Sarah Michelle Geller's character currently under police guard in hospital. Her sister heads over to Japan to take her back to America. The 2nd storyline concerns a group of school girls who head into the house from the original film to play a prank on their classmate. The 3rd storyline is set in an apartment building in America, and the spooky goings on there. The story lines seem at first unrelated, but are cleverly interwoven.

The films story is nowhere near as confusing as the original, and is all the better for this. It's also a scarier film than the original, though it only made me jump on the one occasion.

There are quite a few extras on the disc, of which I didn't actually watch. I did see the alternate ending though, and it really is an alternate ending. I can understand why they decided not to use it. I really hope they make The Grudge 3!


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Zombie Fest 2009!

I'm internet famoose! heh. Just seen the trailer for Zombie Fest 2009, about 32 seconds in I turn up for a split second shumbling towards the camera, check it out...