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Deja Review: House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut

Justin McElroy

House of the Dead: Overkill was something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a game defined by its grindhouse, B-movie trappings and, when it arrived on the Wii in February 2009, it developed the sort of cult audience that builds around the films the game set out to emulate.

Of course, by definition, cult audiences aren't particularly large, so Sega's attempting to reach a new crowd with House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut, a beefed up version of the hilarious, well-built on-rails shooter. Yes, Agent G and Isaac Washington have made the transition to PS3 and -- fair warning -- they still work pretty blue.

Gallery: The House of the Dead: Overkill - Extended Cut (8/31/11) | 7 Photos

What's new this time around? The Move-enabled release is exactly the sort of thing you'd want for an extended return visit. The film grain and quick cuts look even more stylish now that graphics have been boosted to HD, and you can even get that authentic late-night matinee feel with added 3D visuals.

In addition to revamped boss fights and new modes like "Hardcore" (which requires headshots for kills) you've got two entirely new levels featuring femme fatale Varla Guns and stripper Candi Stryper. Though they lack the chemistry of Isaac and G, their levels are a treat, especially the demented cow that waits at the end of "Creeping Flesh."

How's it hold up? Though Overkill was released two-and-a-half years ago, the rail shooter genre has moved forward very little in the interim. So the smart scoring system (which doles out huge bonuses for concurrent shots without misses) still feels plenty fresh, especially if this is your first time checking it out. Moreover, the genuinely hilarious, occasionally self-aware presentation is still without peer.

In fact, the only real problem is the Move controller itself. There's a lot more pull in the Move trigger as compared to the button-like one on the Wii, meaning that laying into bosses is far more cramp inducing. It also makes for more "recoil" as you fire, which is annoying in a precision-centric game like Overkill.

That said, as soon as you learn to compensate for it (or just buy an automatic weapon) you'll be all set to enjoy one of the most profane, surprisingly smart shooters of the generation. Welcome to the cult.

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