Halloween Dorklyst: The 10 Greatest Zombie Games in Videogame History

October 27, 2010


Long before the Internet fell in love with them, zombies have been a fixture in videogames. And though they all fall under the general zombie game umbrella, the games themselves couldn't be more different. From the silly "Braiiiins"-chanting zombies to the ones who wipe out entire cities, here's our tribute to the virtual undead.

10. House of the Dead

There's a lot to be said in favor of the survival horror genre, but sometimes it's fun to just grab your gun and blow away some undead. And for all its mindless fun, House of the Dead actually has some complexity to it: The game re-writes the story based on how well you're playing. Failing to save a civilian from getting thrown off the bridge means you have to go through the sewer instead of the front door. Progressing through the game with a low rating means your fiancee dies. I've spent so many quarters beating the arcade version over and over that I probably should have saved that money for something more important.

Like my own House of the Dead arcade cabinet.


9. Plants vs. Zombies

Not every zombie game has humans fending for their lives and being forced to put an end to their undead loved ones. Some games are more…adorable. Plants vs. Zombies is a tower-defense game featuring (occasionally) disco-dancing zombies battling peashooters, potatomines, and sunflowers among other plants and food stuffs. But don't let the cuteness fool you: Plants vs. Zombies is just as fun for hardcore gamers as it is for casual ones. You might scoff at it at first, but you'll change your tune when an army of flesh-hungry zombies eats through your walnut defense shields.


8. Zombies Ate My Neighbors

The first of many zombie games with a sense of humor, ZAMN allows you to blow away zombies with squirt guns and soda cans. And as much fun as it is battling evil dolls and chainsaw-wielding maniacs, it's even more fun watching your hilariously nonchalant neighbors being mowed down by undead (remember, you only had to save 1 to progress the level). Come to think of it, why is there a cheerleader doing routines in the middle of a zombie apocalypse? Who is that dude grilling for in the middle of the night? And why the hell would someone let their baby walk around by itself with no supervision? The game itself is just as fun as the neighbors are stupid: Very.


7. Hunter: The Reckoning

Long before Left 4 Dead held the trophy for "best video game to feature four heavily armed mortals vs. the undead apocalypse," Hunter: The Reckoning was the defending champ. Released back in 2002, Hunter is a thing of simple beauty: Just park yourself and three friends in front of the TV, equip an arsenal of magic spells, shotguns, and everything sharp and explodey in-between, and then let loose the high holy smack-down on wave after wave of shambling corpse monsters. Besides the obligatory zombie hordes, you also get to fight your way through creative enemies like gargoyles, ghosts still dangling from spectral nooses, and giant possessed teddy bears (seriously). The source of all this unspeakable evil is even better: Turns out a bunch of teenagers decided to have a rave at the old abandoned prison and ended up waking the forces of hell, proving that even in the video games targeted at them, stupid teenagers ruin everything.


6. Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse

Not all zombie games are about killing them. Stubbs is notable for giving you your own undead brain-eater to pilot and unleashing you on a city. You can eat people's brains. You can take off your hand and use it to possess people. You can stun your enemies with atomic zombie-farts. As you kill civilians, they join your undead army. It's zombie wish-fullfilment in a hokey '50s setting with a healthy dose of humor. The gameplay in Stubbs isn't amazing, but the well-written jokes make it worth a play. For example, one cut scene features Stubbs re-enacting the speech from Patton by yelling "Brains!" over and over in front of a large American flag. Also, I repeat, you get to command your own zombie army.


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