The best zombie games I’ve played are the ones some gamers may not consider zombie games at all. They may contain elements of other genres, yet the underlying theme has to do with either raising the undead or killing the undead as a means to save the world. For today’s Monday Mayhem series, I’m going to talk about two games I’ve played that don’t feature zombies exclusively, but are part of the game as accessories.
Silent Hill: Origins—This has to be one of the scariest games I’ve ever played. The story talks about Travis Grady who ventures into an abandoned town in search of information about a girl he’d rescued from a burning house. Aside from the isolated setting, which I found creepy and somewhat unsettling, the player has to fight zombies and other entities in order to progress through the game. The score adds to the horror factor and provides the player immersive gameplay throughout. What shocked me on several occasions though, were the zombie encounters. Dimly lit corridors and the undead mix well, and with headphones on, I lost a few sleepless nights looking over my shoulder.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played this PC classic. For the time, the graphics were phenomenal and the story even more intriguing. I remember the late night deathmatch marathons with folks as far away as Tokyo and even closer to the border here in Canada. The story revolves around B.J. Blazkowicz, an American soldier sent to investigate paranormal activity in World War II Germany. Gameplay is standard with players killing everything that moves and progressing forward from one level to the next. However, the charm of the game lies in the atmosphere for when the player encounters the undead for the first time. I’ve once described it in a post dedicated Return to Castle Wolfenstein as the day I’d gained respect for zombies.
“I jumped from my desk throwing the headphones on the keyboard. I almost screamed, waking everyone in the house. I backed away from the monitor with a dead stare. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. It wanted to rip from my chest. The cold sweat drenched my shirt. All I remembered was the moan to the right behind me that wouldn’t stop. Regaining my courage, I edged closer to the monitor and peered into the fog. I could barely make them out. Hands? Hands. They appeared from the fog. Then I saw the arms and finally their heads. Their gruesome heads lifting from their graves.”
One day I would love to play another round, but before then I have plans to immerse myself in The Last of Us. It’s only a matter of finding time.
Have you played zombie games? Which ones? What drew you into the rich virtual world of the undead?