Zombies. The rotting, ghoulish, (usually) slow, and brainless undead that we love to kill, maim, destroy, burn, and decapitate. Zombies have long been a staple in video games, from everything to generic enemies to main characters. As All Hallow’s Eve lazily lurches towards us, what better time is there to go over some of the most fun zombie-centric games out there? Many of these titles aren’t horror titles. Most won’t make you jump out of your chair or make you gasp in horror, but you can bet that you will still have a really fun time with them. With the Halloween season upon us, what better time to take a look at some of my favorite zombie-themed titles. Regardless of what sort of game genre interests you, you are bound to be able to find a zombie game that fits the bill; these are just some of the best ones I have played.
Left 4 Dead 2
Oh Left 4 Dead, how many hours I have spent shooting mobs of the undead with you. For this list I have included the second title for the main reason that you can download (as a pack) the characters and maps from the first game – so it’s like 2 games in 1. Both titles share the same simple but incredibly fun premise: Survive and kill all the zombies you can as you and your friends make your way to safety. With up to 3 friends you can incinerate, explode, dismember, and shoot zombies to your heart’s content with all manners of weapons such as katanas, shotguns, and Molotov cocktails. Though it was released on Xbox 360 and PC, PC is certainly the best way to play, with the insane amounts of custom fan mods that are out there to enjoy. Do you want to play as Deadpool wielding the Master Sword from Zelda and fending off a large brutish zombie while the Power Rangers theme plays? Well at long last you can, with Left 4 Dead 2 and the power of mods!
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
I have a lot of fond memories of playing this game growing up. My older brother and I would rent the Super Nintendo version (it’s also available for Genesis and the Wii Virtual Console) from our local video rental store and do our best to get as far as we could in this top-down arcade-ish shooter. What makes Zombies Ate My Neighbors unique is that you play as a teenage boy and girl that have to rescue clueless civilians from being devoured by the zombies all around them. As teenagers, you don’t have access to the traditional array of zombie slaying goodies like guns and swords. Instead, you must use what any self-respecting teen from the ’90s had – squirt guns, 6-packs of pop, creepy inflatable clowns and magic Ankhs from Egypt (I know I never left the house with my Ankh), among other goodies. With 48 levels to play through, this is a perfect game to team up and play co-op with a friend. Just enough challenge, and just catchy enough of a soundtrack to keep you humming after you’re done.
I would argue that ZombiU was the best of the Wii U launch titles. Incorporating notes from the vicious perma-death roguelike genre, the survival horror genre, and first person shooters, ZombiU was perhaps the only title at launch that really demonstrated an enjoyable way to utilize the tablet controller. The tablet acted as the view into your backpack and provided a number of other tools that left you defenseless as you took your eyes away from the main television screen. It was a tense romp of scavenging for resources and reclaiming your resources from previous runs. The fact that you had to eliminate your previous character to get your stuff back was a great departure and fun addition that set the title apart. It was later released on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, but without the interesting tablet mechanic. I still have my fingers crossed for ZombiU2, where you have to hunt down the zombified versions of the band, U2.
Resident Evil (Remastered Edition – but who are we kidding, if you like the RE series, you have your own favorite!)
If you want horror with your zombies, Resident Evil is the granddaddy of the survival horror zombie video game genre. For those that are new to the series, the remastered edition of the first title (available on the PlayStation 3, 4, and Xbox One) is the best place to start. The biggest obstacle I had getting into the series growing up was the tank controls. The mythos and the world always interested me, but the controls always stopped me in my tracks. Luckily, the remastered editions of RE1 and Zero introduced new control schemes that have helped me enjoy the games immensely, but for the purist, the original controls are still available to use. There are a lot of great titles in this series, and everyone has their own favorites, but for new players, this is a great game to start with!
You’re locked in a giant mall with thousands upon thousands of zombies. What is a photographer to do? Rummage through all the stores for weaponry and doohickeys to kill the zombies with, of course! The original Dead Rising was one of the best early examples of what the next generation at the time could do, over the previous generation of game consoles. With the newly infinite cosmic power of the Xbox 360, the screen could be packed to the brim with the mindless zombie flesh-bags. The game had a fun B-movie vibe with its story, but the real fun is just seeing how long you can survive and what manner of silly items you can find to deal with the zombie horde. Recently a remastered version of this was released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, so if you are in the mood for mass zombie genocide, be sure to pick this up and get ready to return to the mall with Dead Rising 4 next year!
Walking Dead: The Telltale Series
Not everyone is interested in the thought of dismembering, decapitating, or destroying zombies. When the Walking Dead television show took off and became a gigantic phenomenon, Telltale decided to throw their hat in the ring, bringing their expertly done branching story to the Walking Dead universe. The end result was a fantastic and interesting episodic story, following complicated, flawed, endearing characters that players have fallen in love with. The original release spawned additional “seasons” of the game and spinoff titles. With heartbreaking decisions and many possible results, Walking Dead is a great title for fans of the television show or comic, or gamers who just want to enjoy a great story and characters.
Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare
Undead Nightmare is an expansion add-on to the phenomenal Red Dead Redemption for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It retains the same wide open world gameplay, tight controls, interesting characters, and incredible gameplay. The expansion, however, is its own standalone episode, telling a 6-hour-or-so story of John Marston trying to find the cure for the zombie plague and where it came from. All of the quality you can expect from a Rockstar title is present in this spooky expansion and it’s as much of a joy to play as the original Red Dead Redemption title. I mean, you can be a cowboy riding around on one of the four horses of the apocalypse!
Dying Light took the open world, crafting, and exploration of Far Cry 3 and added in parkour and zombies. This created a fun and fast-moving new IP that surprised many people upon its release, myself included. Its focus was more on traversal and running from zombies than taking them head on. Weapons broke, ammo was scarce, and guns were rare, so your ability to run and jump from rooftops or jump-kick zombies are much more crucial to making a viable plan. Being able to do all this with friends just adds to the fun factor of Dying Light and really can make for a grand ole time!
Out of all the games on the list, I feel like this may be the least well-known. Dead Nation is a top-down arcade shooter. Where you point your right analog stick is where you shoot as you weave your way through an apocalyptic landscape full of undead monstrosities. You can tackle the levels with a friend for added buddy firepower as you upgrade your weapons and armor, loot vehicles, and eliminate the zombie threat. One of the really unique aspects of Dead Nation is that you can see how well your nation is doing against the zombie hordes compared to others around the world. This is a Sony exclusive, though, so unless you have a PlayStation 3, 4, or Vita, you are unfortunately out of luck.
House of the Dead
I couldn’t in good conscience have a list of zombie games and not include a light rail shooter on here (I was tempted to have Typing of the Dead in this game’s place). This game was and still is a mainstay at most arcades or Dave and Buster type locations. Despite cheesy voice acting and dated (by today’s standards) visuals, House of the Dead is still a fun shooter that you can play with your friends. Although you have to buy a GunCon to play many of the home ports on older consoles, you can pick up Wii ports of the first 2 titles. But if you have the chance, the original arcade version is the best way to go!
Are there any zombie games you would recommend or fun memories you would like to share? Comment in the section down below!
If you love horror games, check out our Top 10 Horror games HERE