The Best Undead Slaying Video Games of All Time: Chapter I

It’s October, Halloween is approaching, and just like every year people go about making their lists which usually have something to do with their scariest films, games, etc. There are even a few which talk about the best games with zombies in ‘em.

Now this list is a little different. I’m not only talking about zombies, which have been a trend for years and years now, but I also want to include games which feature other undead. Zombies are undead creatures, but so are vampires and ghosts – and let’s be honest: these creatures need just as much love as zombies do.

So I’m going back to all my favourite games that have featured the undead in some form or another. There are likely a lot of others that I haven’t played, and I’ll list those too as honourable mentions, seeing as I don’t really like to comment on games I haven’t played. There will also be some that I have played, but were cut from the list or didn’t make it on for some reason (including the fact that they were on the other list – I didn’t want the two to be too similar).

18. Wolfenstein 3D

You probably don’t remember there being any undead in Wolf 3D. It was a long time ago, and maybe not all of you have a habit of replaying games from the early nineties – but I assure you there were indeed undead in there.

You wouldn’t have seen them if you’ve only played the shareware episode, but in the second episode, you were on a mission to track down the maniacal Dr. Schabbs, and put him down for good, inside Castle Hollehammer, in the mission Operation Eisenfaust. The only thing is that you’re not only battling against mere guards and the elite SS this time.

The opening level sees you fighting Schabbs’s undead abominations. They have pistols surgically grafted in to their chests, and do a little dance when they shoot, which is quite funny. What’s not so funny is that they aren’t as easy to hear coming as the guards, and they also tend to be somewhat harder to spot – especially against backgrounds that have colours like green, or such on them, due to their green outfits, and pale skin.

The regular soldiers tend to stick out like sore thumbs most of the time, and are heard when they shout “Achtung” or some such. The only sounds the undead soldiers make besides shooting noises, is when they die. A satisfying gurgle is emitted from their drained lips.

In the sequel, which was actually a prequel to the events of Wolf 3D, Spear of Destiny, the mutants appeared, but in the Lost Episodes, they were replaced with… bats. Bats that have guns - which actually reminds me of a developmental weapon that was never used during World War II (look up Bat Bomb). BUT, there is one boss creature, and that is the Ubermutant. This big bugger has four arms which each hold a damn butcher’s knife, and on top of that he has not a pistol, but a chaingun grafted into his chest. Chainguns are the main weapon used by bosses in these games.

Still, that was a turn up for the books.

17. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

The Elder Scrolls series has always been known for its magical, fantastical creatures, and Morrowind was no different. In this game you had a few pasty faced parasites walking around to make life hard for you. One of these would have been the skeletons.

Often these skeletons were found down in tombs, crypts, catacombs and the like, and they came in different levels of skill. Somehow when you come up against an enemy devoid of emotion, like this foe, who reminds me of the Terminator, I often would retreat rather than face them. There’s something about skeletons that makes me behave in this manner.

I reckon the most memorable of all the undead in the game was the vampire. There were several locations, mainly in vast, uninhabited landscapes, where one would find them. And often players wanted to visit the locations where they hid, to become infected with Haemophilia. If left untreated, the player would end up experiencing strange dreams when sleeping. Eventually they would become vampires, and would have incredible strength, but also incredible weaknesses.

16. Quake

Ah, Quake. It was a game that contained some weird and wacky worlds, that were more often than not rather terrifying. There is no end to the creatures that you’ll encounter in each dimension that will have you panicking for your virtual life – least if which include the colossal, lighting beast known as the Shambler.

Among this bunch of otherworldly opponents is the zombie. You’ll first come across these in the first few levels of episode 1, while swimming through some waste, usually. They tend to spring up out of the murky water and come after you. They aren’t like some zombies that need to get up close to hurt you, seeing as they often take pieces of their own rotting flesh and throw at you instead, which causes a bit of damage.

And it’s no good just shooting them or even attacking them with an axe. The only way these things stay down is if you blow them up with a grenade launcher or a rocket launcher. Failing that you could always try firing off a lightning gun in the water, but this not only tends to kill the zombies, but it also kills you.

You’ll sometimes see zombies squirming on the walls, particularly in the beginning in the level select area, where there are two zombies on each wall surrounding the lava pit leading to the “Hard” difficulty portal. Then along the way to the second episode’s slipgate, you’ll also see a couple of zombies on the wall.

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15. Call of Duty: World at War

The Call of Duty series has evolved tremendously over the years. What started out as just another World War II shooter franchise gradually started looking towards more modern conflicts as a setting.

World at War came after the first Modern Warfare, and was essentially the last major WWII CoD game (and probably one of the best at that). But after the main campaign, similarly to Modern Warfare, you got to play one last mission after the credits had finished rolling. Except this time, we saw something that we hadn’t in any other CoD game.

You started off in an abandoned building, equipped with some small arms. To your horror, you had to start defending yourself against zombies. They weren’t just any undead though. They were Nazi zombies – the very foes that had been killed during the campaign.

This mission was known as “Nacht Der Untoten”, German for “Night of the Living Dead”, and it became World at War’s biggest attraction. Fierce multiplayer battles ensued for months afterwards which saw you and a team of others boarding up doors and windows to help slow the horde, and being able to use points accrued by killing zombies to purchase bigger and better guns. The game carried on and on through endless rounds, seeing the zombies getting faster and harder to eliminate, until inevitably you were overwhelmed, and the game ended.

This mode became so popular that a separate game for the iPhone called Call of Duty: Zombies was released, and Treyarch, the studio who worked on WoW, has even revealed that their next big hit, Call of Duty: Black Ops, will also feature a similar zombie-slaying mode. Except this time it won’t be Nazis. What will it be? Undead Vietcong? Communists? Stay tuned.

14. Doom

Zombies played a much bigger role in Doom than they did in the game’s predecessor, Wolf 3D. They cropped up in the very first level alongside the imps. Some would say they’re the weakest enemies in the game – but there are two different types of zombies this time. You get the green-haired, khaki wearing one who fires what looks like an assault rifle but sounds like a pistol. Then you get the bald-headed, darker clad zombie that wields a shotgun. You really don’t want to get too close to this particular one.

In the sequel, Doom II, you have a third type of undead human: the Commando, or heavy weapons guy. He’s a fat dude with a chaingun that will mince you up quickly if you don’t deal with him immediately.

That covers the zombies. I think you know the next undead creature I’m going to mention. He’s tall, bony as a supermodel, and likes to play catch with rockets. That’s right: the Revenant. I’ve long considered these walking skeletons to be among the most annoying of all the demonic creatures in doom. And it’s pretty obvious why he qualifies as being undead. It’s a human skeleton with its guts hanging out, and with two water wings attached to his shoulders. You’ll quickly find though that these aren’t for fun in the sun by the poolside, as they shoot rockets at you – and these are homing missiles, which follow you around until they get a direct hit, which is up your left nostril.

© 2010 ANDR01D

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