As a Kid, I used to beg my dad to go on his PC and play some of the games I watched him play. I recall loving the look of The Typing of the Dead as it was a game that I remembered from arcades at the seaside, and wanted to revel in this myself. Being only 13/14 at the time, I wasn’t very good at typing, and had to look at my keyboard every time a new word appeared on the screen so I could find the appropriate keys and press them. I was terrible, but it was still fun to play the game that I played in the arcades, albeit with a different control method. Does the new, “improved” Typing of the Dead live up to my expectations from yesteryear? Read on my friends.
Being that the original Typing of the Dead was just a rehash of The House of the Dead 2 with typing elements instead of a light gun, The Typing of the Dead Overkill does the exact same trick as it’s precursor, going so far as to include the original shooter as well. Being that I didn’t own a Wii, I wasn’t able to play the original, so all the gags, humour and characters seem completely original to me. The game starts you out by introducing you to the protagonists of the game: Agent G and Detective Isaac Washington. Its through these two characters eyes (and others along the way) that you’ll see a crazy world where mutants (they make sure to remind you that they aren’t zombies, and are in fact mutants) are roaming free, killing and devouring all that stand in their way. Agent G and Washington’s only hope is to find the serum to cure this outbreak, which it seems is in the hands of Papa Caesar, the crazy old man that started this outbreak.
Levels are played by just shooting the mutants by typing in the text that appears below them. The game is a rail-shooter, which means you don’t control the movement on the player, you merely watch as you’re taken on a tour throughout a level and shoot zombies as fast and as accurate as possible. Being that the whole game centres around this one core mechanic, the developers have managed to push it further than I’d have thought, with each word being sensitive to the surroundings or current predicament occurring. It makes for some witty chuckles as you progress through stages, and allows you to have a laugh whilst doing something that most people would find tiring and boring on a day to day basis. You finish each level with a boss fight, which consist of typing faster than usual, or typing the correct words that are coming at you. Bosses are varied enough to keep the stages entertaining, with fantastic design that makes you appreciate how much effort went into creating detailed, original mutants without being too grotesque.
There are many collectibles to be found throughout each stage, ensuring you keep your eyes on the screen at all times whilst typing the mutants words. The whole game kind of pushes you into learning how to touch type, for the sheer reason that you’ll die if you don’t. There just isn’t enough time between seeing a word or letter on the screen and looking down at your keyboard to type it. This could be seen as a weird attempt to teach children and others how to touch-type whilst having fun, but maybe I’m just stretching the premise a bit too far.
The typing mechanic isn’t the only point on the spec sheet to keep you playing though, with The whole game featuring a 3 hour campaign that tells the story of Agent G and Isaac Washington hunting down the cure to the mutant outbreak, and putting a stop to the evil Papa Caesar that’s managed to destroy so many lives. The story is brilliantly funny, with the game taking the Mick out of it’s own ridiculousness every two seconds, a sense of irony isn’t amiss here. Certain groups of the gaming community may not like the jokes that are told, as they are used as the butt end of the joke, thankfully these jokes are rare and uncommon. You may at times take control of other protagonists, but these are only side missions, as the main story is all based around the problems Agent G and Washington find themselves in.
Being a rehash of the Wii Overkill game isn’t a detriment to the typings success, as many players like myself have played the original. If you enjoyed the original Typing of the Dead released in 2001, you’ll enjoy whats on offer here. With more touch typing goodies at your finger-tips, Typing of the Dead: Overkill both challenges you and entertains you at the same time. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Overkill, and may go back again in the future to improve my typing skills.