House of the Dead: Overkill

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
House of the Dead: Overkill Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Gruesome, semi-humorous zombie shooter for mature players.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While you work with a partner in the game, you're always bickering at each other. Four letter words abound in conversation. In co-op mode, you'll work together to kill zombies. One enemy character urinates on the ground and himself.


Blood and gore are everywhere when you shoot hordes of zombies using machine guns, pistols, and shotguns. Blood splatters and pools. After being slashed a number of times by zombies, a narrator mockingly says, "You are dead." A shot to the head is over the top, exploding the zombie skull and its contents in many directions.


Some of the female zombies and bosses bare breasts. One gruesome character makes out with his wrinkled old mother. Beware, spoiler: At the end, an enemy literally crawls back into the womb, although most of this isn't seen on camera.


The F word is used constantly by one character (although it's used with such repetition, you almost become immune to it).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a bloody zombie shooter with semi-humorous dialog that is peppered with profanity including "f--k." Blood sprays when you shoot a zombie anywhere on the body, and the game rewards taking head shots and ones that take off a limb. Zombies are sometimes partially nude. In one cut scene, a zombie urinates on the ground. Later, he is seen passionately kissing his zombie mother.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byTheGman447 January 22, 2011

What is this???

Its just garbage.
Adult Written byahmedemy June 7, 2009
Kid, 12 years old December 17, 2014

(THOTD1) AR4U Cert: 12A

Contains moderate bloody violence and frequent animated gore.
Kid, 12 years old June 10, 2014

(The House of The Dead 4) BBFC 15

15: Contains strong violence and horror.

What's it about?

Ever since the invention of the video arcade, games have been inspired by carnival shooting galleries. House of the Dead, the first-person zombie shooting game, which first made its appearance in 1996, is one of the more enduring creepfest shootouts. HOUSE OF THE DEAD: OVERKILL is the series prequel in which two foul-mouthed, crimefighting buddies blast their way through seven short levels, each with a Quentin Tarantino/Grindhouse theme. As funky music plays and bloody zombie brains spew, the team pursues a bearded thug named Papa Caesar. But Caesar is the least of their worries: giant monster bosses abound.

The game works with the Wii Remote (or with the Wii Zapper gun). Point at zombies to shoot with the \"B\" button and reload by pressing \"A.\" Shoot many zombies in a row and you're rewarded with more points for each kill, the most being during Goregasm, which scores a mammoth 1,000 points per kill. One powerup makes zombies die in slow motion. The result? Watching the red-tinged gore arc in molasses-slow detail. Additionally, there's a first aid powerup so you don't die after being slashed. While the game offers two-player co-op mode, there's no online play.

Is it any good?

There's just as much to commend this game as there is to "dis" it. For those who like horror games, shooting zombies has always been a neat distraction, and the graphics here, while never perfect, are certainly monstrous, especially in the carnival level. While the story isn't tightly constructed, it adds a fair amount of humor to keep you going. Each level, however, isn't more challenging than another. In single player mode, you almost never die (unlike some previous versions where you died often and had to begin the game from level one).

The real problem with Overkill? It's never frightening. While it's often thrilling, you never experience fear. There are attempts to shock with cut scenes featuring incest, urination, and tons of swear words. If these somehow fit well with the story, they'd be more forgivable. Yet it's undeniable that Overkill is engaging for mature players, especially when you go back to play the game in Director's Cut mode and try to beat your highscores. Yet it's gore is like cotton candy -- ephemeral and unmemorable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the zombies-meets-Tarantino aspect of the game – but only when those under 17 aren't around. Do you think the Grindhouse aspect of the game works for Overkill? Why or why not? Did any of the over the top themes make you want to stop playing the game, or did they make you want to play more? Which ones and why?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo Wii
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Sega of America
  • Release date: February 11, 2009
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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