Learning to touch-type is boring. No-one has ever thought that sitting in front of a computer typing the same words over and over again is fun. Mavis Beacon (first released in 1987) tried to change this with a program that would include both lessons and games to encourage children to learn. Unfortunately, the program lacked true enjoyment and there was no real incentive in playing the games, (only for getting away from the lessons) but everything changed in 1999 when Sega released The Typing of The Dead.
Typing of The Dead was an exact copy of The House of The Dead 2 (1998) but with a major difference, instead of shooting zombies with a gun, players had to quickly type words that flashed up on the screen. Despite the poor graphics, voice acting and educational twist, the game was praised for its ingenuity and humour. It was therefore unsurprising that a year after the release of The House of The Dead: Overkill in 2009, The Typing of The Dead: Overkill was released for PC.
The game style, dialogue and voice acting have been purposefully designed like a B-movie in order to match the tone and humour of the previous games. The art-style certainly hasn’t aged well but blood splatters combined with ‘Psychotic!’ being yelled by the narrator merge perfectly with the terrible story. Everything comes together in such a way that instead of labelling the game as ‘bad’ it becomes something charming and humourous.
The story follows Agent G (‘Immaculate, intelligent, a rookie.’) and playboy cop Issac Washington in their revenge quest against Papa Caesar (‘A sadistic crime lord, master of a perverse science’). Also on the hunt for revenge is Varla Guns (‘A doting sibling to a crippled brother, forced into a life of vice.’) and Candi Stryper. It’s obvious from the character descriptions that the writing is beautifully terrible. It’s also important to note that, although educational in style this game is not for children, holding the Guinness world record for its 189 times usage of the F word (until beaten by Mafia II in 2010). While the story was pretty awful, this actually pushes gamers to play more, in order to discover exactly what crazy thing will happen next. Let’s just say that the ending certainly pushes the weird factor of the plot points to new heights.
The gameplay is pretty self-explanatory, kill the zombies and bosses in order to survive by typing the correct words into the keyboard. There is a large plethora of words and short phrases that are randomly selected from the games dictionary. Levels tend to have a word theme based on the place the characters are in but they are still random so players can’t predict what they’ll have to type next. Most zombie types only require one word to kill them but others might require a phrase, have to be typed extra fast, or a string of words may have to be entered in a row. Health packs and Time-slows are also dotted about each level which adds things to look out for while playing.
The game is short with only nine story stages to choose from but the option of three extra difficulty modes, mini games and the original version of the game (with a mouse-controlled gun rather than the keyboard) included, there is plenty to keep players interested. There is also a large amount of achievements and collectables through-out each stage that encourages replayability – artwork, soundtracks and comic book pages are well hidden through-out levels. For players who want even more variety from the dictionary there are a number of available dlc packs .
The Typing of The Dead: Overkill is an absurd on-rail keyboard shooter with a plot-line and dialogue that will have players laughing from disbelief. It is that special kind of B-movie style that we love to watch, even though it probably shouldn’t have survived through time. The addition of fast typing skills used as a weapon boosts the comedy, and creates a style of game that there really should be more of.
The Typing of The Dead: Overkill -Sega