Maybe it’s because Halloween is just around the corner, or maybe this has been creeping up on me (see what I did there?) for a long time, but it seems like where ever I turn, zombies are coming to devour my brain and turn me into a shambling ghoul. I have to say, I’m rather enjoying it.
First, and maybe most well known is the upcoming new series on AMC, The Walking Dead. It’s the first serial television series I know of that deals explicitly with the zombie apocalypse. And with AMC behind the project you know they won’t skimp on the gore or horror elements of the comic book the series is based on.
While I’m waiting for the Walking Dead to premier on AMC this Halloween, I’ve been sinking my teeth (wink) into the new Left 4 Dead 2 chapter, the Sacrifice. If you haven’t heard of Left 4 Dead, it’s basically the ultimate zombie apocalypse game. It’s you, 3 friends and thousands of zombies, and it’s one of those rare games where you have to stick together in order to survive. With the new school, 28 Days Later style fast running infected zombies and mutated ‘Boss” zombies, the game play can get a little hectic. It all creates a tense, scary and wholly satisfying experience.
Not to mention Dead Rising 2 which sticks to the more traditional Romero style shamblers but throws in the tension of a time limit and a weapon making mini game that lets players crate their own zombie slaying tools of destruction.
Most recently we have Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC. I have a feeling this game is going to work so well becuase it taking the familiar formula of the zombie apocalypse, adding co op multiplayer, and throwing it into the Wild West setting. And let’s not forget that RDR was a solid 3rd person sandbox game to begin with. Speaking of throwing zombies into new settings, ever wonder how the Soviets would handle the zombie apocalypse? Well some at Treyarch did, that’s why they’ve included their wildly enjoyable Nazi Zombies mode in their up coming Call of Duty Black Ops game. Details have been scare, but expect a good mix of tense FPS action and enough sillyness to keep it fun.
I’m not sure what makes zombies so popular, becuase they can mean so many different things. I mean, Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was really an allegory for vapid consumerism, just as 28 Weeks Later was an allegory for the Iraq war (seriously). Zombie movies also tap into that “World gone Mad” feeling of isolation that 28 Days Later nailed so well. The world of gaming can also capture this but I think my fovourite part about these zombie games is how well they balance the horrifying with the hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoy being scared, and I love being immersed in a world that so perfectly convinces me that I am alone in the apocalypse. But I also like Zombie Land, and I like the idea of smashing through zombies with a moose head on, or using a cast iron frying pan to send them back to hell. While the comic books and movies often deal with the dire, and horrific side of the zombie apocalypse, the games offer a little bit humor to lighten to mood. And considering how kind of crazy the whole premise is, I think that’s delicious, I mean, great.