House of the Dead: Overkill Game Poster Image

House of the Dead: Overkill



Gruesome, semi-humorous zombie shooter for mature players.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

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).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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
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

This review of House of the Dead: Overkill was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • A refreshingly different take on first-person action.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byDaMan15 May 18, 2009

Nasty awsome, though mabye best to rent.

One of the most mature games ever, HotD has constant violence, sex, and actually broke the world record for most swears in a game. Upgradable weapons are a nice addition, and playing co-op is always fun. However, most of the game is suprisingly easy compared to its arcade brethren. Even more so if you have a friend with you, which can suck a lot of the challenge and fun out of boss fights. Couple this with it's legnth of only a few hours, and it might be better to rent this, unless you like going back for better scores.
Teen, 17 years old Written byaurelio February 25, 2009

i got sad

i think it was aight
Kid, 12 years old December 17, 2014

(THOTD1) AR4U Cert: 12A

Contains moderate bloody violence and frequent animated gore.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide