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Video games need more satire.  Period.  Every week, store shelves are bombarded with gritty tales of deception, mystery, or saving the universe.  That’s all well and good, but a little more variety, and willingness for the industry to poke fun at itself would be welcome.  It just doesn’t happen enough.   Well, Codemasters appears to be of a similar opinion, and they are attempting to do something about it with their upcoming action adventure, Overlord, for the PC and Xbox 360.


The idea behind the game is that a long time ago there was a terribly evil chap who called himself the Overlord.  He went around causing all kinds of trouble, garnering a reputation for being a nasty, nasty individual.  Eventually, though, the Overlord died, but his legacy lived on.  Now, players find themselves emerging from the ruins of the Overlord’s Dark Tower, barely alive.  From here players must decide just how much they want to fill the dead Overlord’s shoes, being mildly evil, or really evil, as they terrorize the countryside.




Much of what players want to do will be carried out by a number of impish minions who think you are the Overlord resurrected.  There will be legions of these tiny creatures ready and willing to help players along, fighting, gathering resources, and performing other tasks.


All the while, one will be able to see that the game’s developers have


their tongue firmly pressed against their cheek.  Throughout Overlord, the game will poke fun at various conventions in the fantasy genre with liberal splashes of dark humor throughout.  Look at the game, it seems reminiscent of Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper series, which also cast players in the role of the villain, and encouraged players to do away with scores of do-gooders with the nerve to venture into players’ dungeons.  Of course, in this case players are exploring a far more action oriented game than Bullfrog's strategy-based series.


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With all of the sweeping epics, brooding, and sense of importance that has overtaken fantasy games of late, Overlord could prove a breath of fresh air to the genre when it is released later this year.  The world does indeed need laughter sometimes.  We’ll find out this fall just how well Overlord fits the bill for this.


Jeff Nash

February 19, 2007

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