In honor of Halloween, we’re taking a blood-soaked look at the best zombie games to shuffle, lurch, and speed run into the gaming landscape. Certain criteria must be met for the titles to make this list, however. The games have to feature a true zombie story involving infection, drama, violence, gore, and you know, actual zombies. You can’t play the role of a zombie, and you can’t fight “zombie-esque” creatures. No Stubbs the Zombie or Dead Space in this list.
Now, grab your baseball bats and chainsaws and wreck those undead sum’bitches!
This PlayStation exclusive shoot ‘em up, developed by Housemarque, takes place on a fictional Earth that’s ravaged by a zombie apocalypse. Gamers, in either solo or in two-player co-op modes, control characters who fight through several stages of zombie hordes to make their way to sanctuary. Fortunately, armor and tons of upgradable weapons help even the odds.
Be careful! Dead Nation‘s zombies are attracted to noise and light such as car alarms, gunfire, and even something as low-key as a flashlight. For a PSN downloadable title, Dead Nation has an amazing lighting engine, as well as quiet, eerie soundtrack that properly sets the dark tone. PS3 owners in search of high-octane zombie-killing action will find a lot to like here.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2, the best entry in Capcom’s survival-horror franchise, features an engaging storyline, an evil corporation spreading a zombie-creating infection, scares around every turn, and a cast of characters that went on to spawn other Resident Evil games.
Spanning two PlayStation discs, Resident Evil 2 let gamers play as either college student Claire Redfield or police officer Leon Kennedy. Both characters have a similar goal: getting out of the infested Raccoon City alive. That’s no easy task as there are puzzles to solve and monsters to kill with limited ammo. There’s no multi-player mode, but Resident Evil 2‘s “Zapping” system lets you guide the individual characters through simultaneous scenarios from their specific points of view .
Zombie Apocalypse is a downloadable PSN and XBLA arcade style Konami shoot ’em up. It’s thin on story, but makes up for it with delicious video game violence and an immeasurable number of zombies. These aren’t your regular ol’ zombies; Zombie Apocalypse features many special types including Big Boys who take many hits before going down, Dancers who dodge gunfire to get to your brain, and Grannies who have insta-kill throwing knifes. Matters get even crazier in the later levels when zombies become irradiated, which enables them to take even more damage before going down.
In true arcade fashion, Zombie Apocalypse drops power-ups in the form of new weapons and several fun, and sometimes, increasingly difficult, game modes. But you don’t have to face the zombie uprising alone–the game comes with a four-person multi-player that can be utilized online and offline. Zombie Apocalypse is a great way to pass the time and prepare you for the coming zombie war; in fact, it’s like a downloadable version of Left 4 Dead. Speaking of which….
Left 4 Dead
Valve’s Left 4 Dead, released on PC and Xbox 360, is a first-person zombie slayer where you pick up any and everything you can to combat the zombie onslaught. A great single-player campaign and an intense multi-player mode, in addition to an extremely aggressive and intelligent “Director” that manipulates the amount of zombies and their player awareness is what put Left 4 Dead on this list.
It showed up years after Resident Evil, but Left 4 Dead expanded the zombie genre. It brought an amazing lighting system, intense sound, and a zombie army that will do anything it can to rip you apart. These zombies aren’t out for brains and neither are the zombies on our final spot.
“It’s Frank… Frank West. Now remember that name ’cause the whole world’s gonna know it in three days.”
That’s a quote from the best zombie killing photojournalist of all time. Frank West is a photo-taking, zombie-slaying, bat-swinging, civilian-saving, psycho-stopping beast. Trapped in a mall full of zombies and crazed maniacs bent on killing you would drive a normal man to tears, but Frank West takes it in stride.
Camera in one hand and bat in the other, Frank explores Capcom’s Dead Rising‘s zombie infested mall grabbing anything he can get his hands on to fight off the hundreds of zombies for 72 hours. There are numerous entertaining ways to kill, annoy, or even just gently brush aside the impending zombie horde: frying pans, shopping carts, cash registers, and other items are at your disposal. Whether following missions or decimating the dead in a sandbox environment, Dead Rising is zombie game excellence.