In 1968, George A. Romero changed the world, well at least the entertainment world, when he unleashed The Night of the Living Dead. The classic black-and-white film introduced the world to reanimated corpses known as zombies. While dumb and slow, they became a threat when in hordes. And, they could turn you into a mindless, flesh-craving member of the dead if they took a bite out of you.
Zombies, of course, have become big business and an obsession for people who swear that an impending zombie apocalypse is around the corner. Zombies have made guys like Romero, Max Brooks, and Robert Kirkman household names. Zombies are featured in best-selling novels and movies. Even the most popular show on television right now is about a bunch of zombie survivalists.
But, zombies have infected the gaming world like no other form of entertainment has. For decades, games based on zombies have been some of the most popular and influential games ever. They’re so popular that it seems like there’s a zombie game released every week. But, not all games are equal when it comes to battling and surviving a world overran by zombies.
To prove that point, here are the 10 greatest zombie games ever.
This user-made add-on for the PC military shooter ArmA II went on to become one of the most successful mods ever. So, a standalone game eventually had to be released. Basically, Day Z shows us how the demented hell of the Russian countryside, which is rather dreary and harsh on its own, would become following the zombie apocalypse.
9. Dead Rising 2
Besides being able to see some 7,000 zombies on screen at the same time, you can turn almost anything into a creative zombie killing machine, like the “Paddlesaw” (two chainsaws duct taped to a kayak paddle) or the “Hail Mary” (hand grenade duct taped to a football), and you can even pop up onto a game show. Like the game itself, the plot is campy fun; it’s about a father trying to score the medication ‘Zombex’ to save his bitten daughter.
8. Dead Island
The plot is simple enough, people trapped on a tropical paradise overran by zombies, but there’s more than enough zombie killing to satisfy the hungriest of blood lusts. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s plenty of intense and edge-of-your-seat, first-person combat.
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies Saga
People freaked out when they discovered Zombie Mode had returned to Call of Duty. As the zombie saga continued, fans were treated to Call of the Dead. Sure, it’s a great first-person shooter, but this game made the list because you can play as either Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Nightmare On Elm Street’s Robert Englund, The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker, or Machete’s Danny Trejo. And, you get to battle a zombified George Romero. Doesn’t get much better than that.
6. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Years before zombies became a pop culture phenomenon, and the survival horror genre had been perfected, Konami and LucasArts teamed up for this hilarious and goofy classic 16-bit game. But this ode to monster movies also features villains besides hordes of the dead, aliens, giant babies, and killer dolls. Why hasn’t this been released?
5. Plants Vs. Zombies
Who would have thought that a game where mutant plants protect us from zombies would be so awesome? And, become a favorite even amongst the most casual gamers, kids and adults? But that’s what this game has accomplished by being simple, mobile and having twists like breakdancers to diggers to cone-wearing partiers.
4. The Walking Dead
The Telltale Games’ episodic releases, based on the Robert Kirkman comic-turned TV-hit, did an excellent job in keeping the pace and vibe of the graphic novels. The game has a compelling story, great character interaction and is ripe with suspenseful moments.
3. Resident Evil 4
There’s no denying that the groundbreaking franchise reached it’s peak with Resident Evil 4. By taking the story out of Racoon City and to the Spanish countryside, the game had a perfect blend and balance of action, suspense, and horror. Even by today’s standards, this 2005 release still seems fresh and relevant.
2. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Who cares if Rockstar was just trying to cash in on an over-saturated market? They still managed to pull off a great, albeit goofy, zombie game. It could even be argued that it’s one of the best western-oriented games as well, what with lots of blood, guts, and zombie poker. Yep. Zombie poker. Awesome.
1. Left 4 Dead 2
Valve’s Left 4 Dead pretty much created the team-based survival horror multi-player game. Think about. Has there ever been a game where you needed to rely on your friends so much? While both the original and sequel truly capture the freight of battling your way through a zombie apocalypse, the sequel has to top this list because of its spine-tingling moments, new locations, addition of melee weapon, and the chance to play as the zombies.