The House of the Dead series will always be remembered by arcade goers who played it during a time when kids asked their parents for quarters to play on the machines instead of their credit card numbers for buying DLCs. The games were good fun and cheesy as hell, with bad voice acting and irreverent humor that actually enhanced the feel. However, it was the spin-off game released in 2001 for the PC and Dreamcast that truly captured the off-beat style, and the gameplay was actually quite good as well. Plenty of people learned how to touch type with it, and that makes it a good educational game. With this new title in the series, that same gameplay is now being introduced to a new generation.
For those who have never played the first Typing of the Dead, here is a video review that shows how it was.
There was also a sequel, but The Typing of the Dead II was only released in Japan.
The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is basically The House of the Dead: Overkill with keyboards instead of guns to kill zombies by typing the words on them. Just like in the first Typing of the Dead, you play the game with your keyboard and it will demand you to be good at touch typing. If you can’t touch type, then this game will make you learn quickly. But this game is not entirely about being a teaching tool for typing as it really focuses more on the ridiculousness of the setting, the characters, and the script. Its presentation retains the 70′s grindhouse exploitation style that combines gratuitous amounts of violence with tongue-in-cheek treatment of plot and characterizations.
It’s not a game that requires a hardcore gaming rig, so it’s more accessible to a wide audience. Even those who aren’t that into video games will take to this quite well since everyone who uses a computer would know how to type words on a keyboard. Sega had originally created the first game to showcase the keyboard peripheral for the Dreamcast. It then got ported to the PC and it gained a cult following, so it was quite nice of them to remember that they created such a gem over a decade ago and gave us this follow-up, which plays just as well but is now presented to a newer audience, and it’s just in time for Halloween.
The reason why this weird concept works is not only because it’s hilarious, but it’s actually fun. The gameplay is engaging and requires the players’ full attention as they try to type out the words to kill the zombies as fast and as accurately as possible. It helps players practice their typing skills by putting them under stress and time pressure, which are good motivators for learning. To think that something like this can be an educational game can be funny for those who are less familiar with video games, but that’s exactly how it is here. But most players only realize that after having played it for hours at a time.
It’s rather short with only 9 levels that can be played through in a few hours, which is quite similar to the first game. It also has some other gameplay modes on the side like survival and precision modes, as well as a port of House of the Dead: Overkill where you kill zombies with the mouse. That gameplay mode can help with your mouse accuracy, which can be as helpful as learning to type faster. If you’re someone who likes to play games like first-person shooters, MOBAs, or real-time strategy games competitively, then this game can actually help you with your ability to use the keyboard and mouse.
Most people may think that this game is just a passing fancy with novelty that won’t last long, but some may not be so cynical about it. Due to its gameplay, it serves as a testament to video games as a learning tool. It could even be a warmup game that you can play before playing a more intense game or to liven you up after waking up in the morning. Soon enough, it goes beyond mere novelty entertainment and could become a staple in your game library as a supplement for your overall gaming experience. If you are willing to pay $20 for it, then get it by all means. For those who are still skeptical, give it a chance whenever you see it on sale.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7.5/10