Using games to increase productivity is a great way to get better at something while still having fun. It’s a practice that turns self-improvement activities you might otherwise resist into tasks you happily take on.
Sega’s The Typing of The Dead: Overkill is a fantastic PC game to test your typing speed in a world of Grindhouse Cinema zombie blasting. If its over-the-top exploitation homage to a genre recently reinvigorated with films like Machete and Drive Angry doesn’t turn you away, you’re in for hours of fun by yourself, or in online cooperative play.
But hide your children. It’s lurid! It’s savage! It’s… well, frankly, it’s completely ridiculous.
A Shocking Tale of Revenge
The bulk of Overkill’s story follows Agent G, a by-the-books rookie secret agent, and Isaac Washington, a jive talking, shoot first cop out for revenge. The two find themselves thrust together when Washington’s mission to hunt down crime lord Papa Caesar crosses paths with G’s investigation into packs of flesh eating mutants (not zombies, as G is quick to constantly remind us). You’ll also enjoy some side stories with female leads Varla Guns and Candy Stryper.
I know, I know. Groan-inducing names for sure, but they’re totally in play for the genre.
From there, the two find themselves thrust into one bizarre situation after another, hitting every stop on the exploitation flick checklist along the way. You’ll blast your way through strip clubs, sadistic labs, doomed carnivals, prison complexes, and more. Every moment of the game is accompanied by a spectacular soundtrack of funky drum and bass, and deliberately cringe-worthy writing and voice acting. It replicates the cult classics all the way down to the deep voiced, hype-driving narrator who promises each level will be more wildly over the top than the last.
Collect Your Point Blank Prescription
Whoever had the bright idea to take an arcade style light gun game and substitute typing for shooting was some kind of visionary genius, because Overkill is a blast. Zombies pop out of the environment and start barreling toward you from various angles. Every letter you type from the word or phrase in front of your target shoots it with a bullet until you finish the segment and drop the monster. The more of them you take out without getting hit, the higher you drive your score. It feels completely natural, and the stress of trying to finish before you get bitten is more than enough to tangle your fingers from time to time.
The game would be fun enough with ordinary things to type, but the little bizarre phrases and references in the game’s library are often surreal, referential, or hilarious. It’s hard not to smile when a zombie runs at you bearing “Call of Dirty” in front of it, and you might struggle to kill the one that approaches, arms wide, bearing “Free Hugs”. Some even bestow valuable nuggets of wisdom, like, “Lobsters Are Fancy Crabs”.
Good to know.
Most of the shooting is pretty straightforward, but the bosses mix things up a bit. For some you may need to shoot projectiles out of the sky before they reach you. In another, you’ll have to pick the real monster from a pack of illusions to keep it from hurting you. The twists are good, and add solid tension to the climactic moments.
A Dark Secret
As you play, you’ll also be on the lookout for glowing power ups and collectibles scattered throughout the level. Pressing Tab when you spot one might net you a health refill, throw the game into slow motion, or just unlock some concept art or soundtrack entries for later browsing. There’s even comic pages to collect, all drawn in a striking palette of black, white, and red.
Aside from the campaign, which can be played at several different difficulties, there’s a set of mini-games to challenge you if you don’t have time to take on an entire level. Try the shooting gallery, which challenges you to pick single letters attached to targets out of groups of others labeling bombs, or protect civilians running to freedom by picking off the closest zombies to your charges first. There’s no tutorial to teach you to type from square one, though. For that, you’ll need to count on other touch typing tools.
If that wasn’t enough, you can play the game as a normal action game too if you like. Just switch out to House of The Dead mode and take the zombies on with your mouse or Xbox 360 controller. There’s no local co-op available, but talk a friend into picking up the game and you can fight side-by-side online.
A Real Double Feature
If all The Typing of The Dead: Overkill had to offer was fun goofy zombie blasting, it would still be more than enough. The fact that playing it builds a transferable, productive skill that you can use in the real world is the icing on the cake. Pick it up and put your fingers to the test. If anyone asks, you’re just practicing typing.
Played any other cool games lately that build a real world skill? Recommend your favorites in the comments.
Typing of The Dead: Overkill is available now on Steam for $19.99.
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