It’s the zombie hall of fame!

Zombies are everywhere! No, I don’t mean that the apocalypse that we all dread (or secretly look forward to) has arrived. I mean that no matter where you look in video games, there are zombies. Of course, zombie games have their own delightfully gory and gratuitously violent genre, for which I’m very thankful. From the classic games like “Zombies Ate My Neighbors,” to the campy arcade “House of the Dead,” to the incredibly creepy “Resident Evil” games, there have been quite a few gems in the zombie game universe. But you can also find zombies in the strangest places, from Minecraft to Ninja Gaiden to Zelda to even Mass Effect! There is something alluring about the undead that game creators latch on to, and in any game where you have a means of killing the enemy (aka NOT games like Cooking Mama or Animal Crossing), you will find that a stereotypical zombie-like thing will be cleverly (or not-so-cleverly) inserted, for the simple, gleeful pleasure of massacring them. Hooray for zombies!

But I think we can be honest with ourselves: some games do zombies better than others. While many games have the shamble-y, groaning noise making zombie things, that fall easily to your sword/sniper rifle/spear/bow/automated-harpoon-gun, the games that prominently feature zombies as an enemy have to do something a little more creative to give the game variety. And that’s where you get the FUN zombies! You know, the ones that terrify the crap out of you. So, today’s post is about two things: the best zombies that the creepy minds of gamedevs have created, and some wicked awesome zombie games for you to play in your free time! What could be better?

First off in the zombie hall of fame is an oldie but goodie: The ReDead. If you ever played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the N64, you know what I’m talking about. These freaky, slow-moving zombie-like enemies freeze you in place with their eerie scream, and then proceed to strangle you. Also, you have to kill them twice, as they just get back up the first time. Go, Zelda!

I can still hear the screams now. What was that Dampe guy keeping in his graveyard??

Now on to the zombie zombies! There are a lot of completely creepy and scary and just awesome, but there are a few that really take the cake, in my opinion. I have not played every zombie game ever, but in the ones I HAVE played, I always remember there being a baddie where I would just think to myself, “I do NOT like the sound of that. Better run.” Running, of course, is generally futile, and you’re often forced to face these overachieving undead head-on. In the case of Pyramid Head, that might be a little more painful than some others. He is a recurring baddie in the Silent Hill games (and movies!), and he is perhaps the creepiest of the creepy in that game. He walks around with an enormous sword, screeching across the ground, and when you hear it… well it doesn’t mean good things for you. Ironically, when you fight TWO of them (there are two of them??) in Silent Hill 2, they both use spears, not swords. What the heck? Also, Pyramid Head’s boss music is among the most hauntingly awesome in the game. Bonus points!

Following in the tradition of many before him, of carrying a sword bigger than his body. Thanks for that, Cloud.

The third baddie that deserves some hall of fame recognition is the lovable necromorph. These delightful little cuties make their appearance in Dead Space, which, like it sounds, is a zombie game in space. I love it when people say “Necromorphs aren’t zombies!” They are, instead, dead things that have been brought back to life. Wait a second…  Anyway, all joking aside, necromorphs are the main bad guys in Dead Space, and they come in a ton of totally creepy varieties. Often times they are made up of an amalgamation of several dead humans, and boy, does THAT look fabulous in those HD Xbox360 graphics! They’re tough, they can attack you from almost anywhere, and the boss necromorphs are among the most horrific things ever to come out of a game in this genre.

This adorably huggable variety is called the "Slasher." No relation to the Guns n' Roses guitarist.

When speaking of awesomely designed zombies, we can’t leave out one of the most definitively amazing zombie games in the existence of the universe: Left 4 Dead. In this game, there are three tiers of zombies: you have your regular zombies, you have your special zombies (Jockey, Spitter, Hunter, Smoker, Boomer, and Charger), and then you have the two big baddies of the game: the Tank and the Witch. I know I already talked about the witch in the “scary games” post, but she deserves a mention here, because let’s face it: she’s just that awesome. So, last but not least in the zombie hall of fame: a joint prize for the happy couple. The witch, of course, is by all accounts a weeping little girl. You must avoid her at all costs, not shine light into her face, do not look at her for too long, and for crying out loud, don’t shoot her. Whoever upsets a witch gets instantly incapacitated and pretty much torn to shreds, generally turning “survivors” into “ex-survivors.” The tank, however, shows up out of nowhere, wreaking havoc and destroying everything in his path. You don’t have to do ANYTHING to piss this guy off. True to his name, he’s an unstoppable juggernaut of zombie goodness, and can toss little things at you… like cars. Or chunks of buildings. And both of these baddies have the wonderful quality of being very, very difficult to take down. In the grand scheme of Left 4 Dead, I’d say that these two superzombies are the single biggest reason why you have to all work together or die. More bonus points for inspiring teamwork!

One of them needs to lay off the juice, and I'm not going to point any fingers (or dangerous-looking claws)...

So that’s the best zombie-dom has to offer right now. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. Now, as promised, some zombie flash games that are both entertaining and… well, entertaining. They won’t leave you emotionally fulfilled, if that’s what you’re hoping for. But they are quite fun! Zombie games usually fall into one of three categories, and I’ll give you a great example of each:

Category 1: You, Alone in the World, Against Zombies

In this game, there is a dude... and zombies.

 

 

 

 

Dude and Zombies is the epic quest of a dude who is trying to fix his truck. What’s the twist? The ZOMBIES, of course. Enjoy the campy 2-D graphics. Also:

It's not really a sequel to the above game, but it does involve a dude, a truck, and zombies. Coincidence? I think not!

 

 

 

 

 

Earn to Die’s title is a parody of that game, “Learn to Fly,” only this time there’s no penguins. Only you and a vehicle and some zombies, who will quickly become roadkill (or road-re-killed?) if you do things well enough. An interesting take on the whole post-apocalyptic thing. Very addictive!

Category 2: You, With Others, Against Zombies

The Last Stand is a pretty serious game about trying to escape during a zombie apocalypse. Recruit survivors, scavenge for supplies, and fight off ever-increasing waves of zombies every night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Stand is a game by ConArtists, which is actually a really great flash game developer. It’s a series about a guy who is trying to escape to a place called Union City, a safe haven against the zombie apocalypse. Pretty intense for a flash game. Play the others in the series if you like it!

Category 3: You, Playing as a Zombie

A classic turn-based RPG, but you're a zombie. Yep. This game is awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, you’re a zombie. Deal with it. This game is one of the most incredibly epic RPG games to ever hit the flash game world. It’s voice-acted, has amazing music, a pretty decent plot, it’s fun, engaging, and c’mon! You’re A ZOMBIE. How much better can it get?

In case you haven’t been satisfied by my selection of zombie games, there is a website dedicated solely to promoting zombie games. You can find it here, or at ZombieGames.net.

So there’s a lot of zombie-ness going around these days. Everyone loves them, everyone loves killing them. Everyone loves using them for world domination, too, apparently. If you think about it… there are zombie games in every imaginable genre. Perhaps the plan for world domination is succeeding already! *dun dun dunnnn*

~Another Gamer

P.S. By the way, I went the entire blog without saying it: “Braaaiiiiiiiiinnnnnsss…”

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About Isaac Smith

I write about music, technology, video games, and probably many other subjects that don't bear mentioning here. Either way, most of it's worth reading, and you may even enjoy yourself!

Posted on April 23, 2012, in Flash Games, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Honestly I think the time of adding zombies to games is coming to a close. It’s been in vogue for the past few years, but I’m fairly certain that many people (myself included) are pretty tired of them. I’ll give D3 a pass because it’s been in development for years, though.
    Also Re-Deads ruined my childhood.

  2. Oh, I meant to express this: Great post! I really enjoyed this trip through zombie evolution.

  3. christinedonath

    Just to clarify: The monsters in Silent Hill are no zombies or undead, they are manifestations of fears and the fucked up mind of whatever protagonist you are playing with. That’s why they mostly resemble extremely twisted human body parts. Btw I find it very sad that PH was used in the movie and in other games. It just doesn’t make any sense, it’s just for the fanbase.

    Are there really people that are scared when a necromorphs crosses their way? 😀 The only situation where I literally jumped while playing Dead Space was when the tomato sprinkler system suddenly started to wet the plants. The necros are just so easy to foresee (which doesn’t mean they are always easy to kill, haha).

    And OMG L4D! Best zombie game as fast zombies are always superior.

    • Indeed. I was considering including “Horde of sprinting zombies” in the hall of fame, as it’s so much more unnerving than simple shambling ones.

      And, again, I dunno. I’m skeptical about the whole “twisted things out of imagination” deal. I mean, take PH for example. Shambling? Check. Extremely evil with an unreasonable lust for violence? Check. Monstrous and grotesque, yet still humanoid? Check. Previously deceased? Okay, so 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. If it walks like a zombie and talks (or groans unintelligibly) like a zombie…

      • christinedonath

        Well, the artists themselves said this in the making of. The monsters are not real, they just stand for your own suffering. So James feels guilty all the time for killing his wife and wants to be punished but he can’t remember it (he thinks Mary died because of her illness) and PH is just the manifestation of his guilt, punishing him because he pushes it aside instead of admitting and regretting it. PH kills Maria several times throughout the game so that James can remember the murder. James even says something like “I needed someone to punish me for my sins” at the end and THEN he sees clearly and fights the two Pyramid Heads as now he understands what he did wrong. And what do they do at the end? They impale themselves because they have no place in his mind anymore.

        Nothing PH does is unreasonable when you think about it. He has a very clear task.

      • Gah, you’re right. No self-respecting zombie game would ever introduce the psychological elements of Silent Hill.

        But also: my guilty conscience never chopped me in half with an enormous sword…

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