How I play The Typing of The Dead: Overkill hands-free

Run down office/library with two people in the distance, behind a desk and armchair.

Editors Note:

This horror game’s theme was inspired by grindhouse and exploitation films, going for an over-the-top B-movie satire. As a result, it contains zombies, gore, loud gunfire, swearing, sexism, ableism, and other offensive and disturbing themes. This includes the “circus freak” horror trope and one scene of violence against a person in a wheelchair.

Most of the offensiveness is in the cutscenes, which can all be skipped with an inputted Spacebar in-game.

This 2013 game is an on-the-rails shooter, where the player is moved from place to place to open fire on small waves of zombies, except that each enemy has a number of words on them that must be typed to destroy them. It includes the 2009 game The House of The Dead: Overkill, from which it was adapted.

1. The Typing Mode

Despite the offensive themes, the Typing mode is very accessible to anyone with voice recognition software for dictation. I have played this with Dragon NaturallySpeaking versions 10, 11, & 12 on Windows 7, and version 12 on Windows 8; I haven’t tried other combinations. I find it helps to run it in windowed mode.

Setting up with Dragon is odd but simple – I have to close Dragon, load the game, then load Dragon, otherwise the game gets stuck in a boot loop. Menu selections are doable with Dragon NaturallySpeaking’s various cursor movement commands, though clicking options is best done with “Mouse double-click”.

I’ve also got this working with Windows Speech Recognition, after installing Vocola 3, AutoHotKey, and setting up appropriate code in each. This skips the boot-loop issue and uses less RAM, but it’s not as accurate as Dragon at single word recognition.

With voice recognition ready in-level, I simply speak the words on each zombie – which feels quite amazing the first time, like it shouldn’t work, but it totally does! I don’t need to do any movement controls whatsoever because of the on-the-rails gameplay.

However, when I’ve been misheard and it has completed only part of a zombie’s word/phrase, I’m locked into it and can’t attack any others; I then need to complete the word using the phonetic alphabet, or with extra words containing the remaining letters. It’s not always easy to come up with those extra words, but with practice, it becomes less difficult, and it’s a skill that helps in other typing games.

The game gives unlimited continues, so dying just means finishing with a lower score, and the score doesn’t mean anything. This is great because it means the experience isn’t abruptly ruined by a slew of bad words, a difficult dictionary, or challenging quicktime events. The pressure can be further reduced using Cheat Engine‘s Speedhack to slow down the game.

There are difficulty settings for each level, adding more words to each enemy (though you can complete the levels at any difficulty for unlocking the next level). Because words in context are recognized better than solo words, the longer phrases at higher difficulties will be better recognized, but there will be more to correct if they go wrong. At the easiest difficulty setting most zombies only have one word, which is when voice recognition will have the most errors, but then it’s easier to compensate with a few extra words or the phonetic alphabet.

There is a “Hardcore” option which resets and changes words whenever a single typo is made. Given that voice recognition is prone to typos, this just makes the game more grueling.

There are DLC dictionaries to buy and free custom dictionaries created by players, which give fun new things to say. It also has a cooperative multiplayer mode, where you and an online friend team up, which is rather fun – particularly laughing together at the incongruous words on the zombies, and trying to “steal” a word before the other player has finished it.
Here is a playlist of playing through the levels with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Inside a commercial freezer, enemy in center of screen, walking toward player.

2. The House mode.

This is the original game which requires that I click on each zombie, often multiple times, which I can’t physically do. But I can still play this using a script in AutoHotKey to click many times each second, and the face-tracking mouse MouSense to do the targeting – though any mouse device would do.

Using MouSense meant that wherever I looked, enemies died, like if Superman’s heat vision were made out of bullets! Each weapon has unlimited ammo with a finite clip, so there are no ammo pickup challenges. Unfortunately, each bullet’s recoil causes a screen-shake, and the firing is constant, so I sometimes found it disorientating. While the recoil of each weapon can be reduced (via farmable currency), it doesn’t go away completely.

There are unlimited continues in the Story Mode, so dying isn’t a bother, and Cheat Engine’s Speedhack can make the game less intense. In the harder Director’s Cut levels there are limited continues, so in those, I find my health variable with Cheat Engine and set it to Inactive so that I don’t die at all. All this effort merely unlocks a couple of extra weapons and a hidden cutscene, so it’s not necessarily worth it!

The rapid-clicking is enough to complete every level, but the minigun carried in the final boss fight is fired by strictly holding down the left mouse button. I made a second AutoHotKey script that keeps the left mouse button held down, causing a fire/cooldown cycle on the minigun, which is enough for victory there.

There is potential in custom voice commands (in VoiceBot/VoiceAttack) for activating those scripts and doing precise bursts of fire from automatic weapons, giving another way to control the game. Voice commands also make it easier to end the scripts whenever the cursor accidentally escapes the window and starts rapid-clicking all of my desktop shortcuts!

Overall, I’m quite happy I got this game. It was a gamble when I first saw it, as I’d heard of the original and was a skilled user with Dragon, yet there was no guarantee that Dragon would work with it. But aside from the boot-loop issue, it was very easy to figure out how to use, and the logistics for the House mode weren’t that complicated. Having unlimited continues was particularly helpful, as was being able to complete levels on any difficulty and with any score.

While the game’s cutscenes do contain a few things I would have preferred not to have seen (I skip them every time now), and while it meets its aim of being very offensive, this is ironically one of the most voice-recognition-accessible games that I’ve come across.

Voiced Gaming is an RSI sufferer who researches applications of voice recognition to video games. He makes YouTube videos demonstrating gameplay, tutorials about the software he uses, and some tips about living with chronic wrist pain. You can follow him on Twitter @VoicedGaming.

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