I have had a strange fascination with zombies since the age of 6 after I watched ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and so began my lifelong obsession with the walking dead. From films to games, even literature, I can not help but feel that zombies is a great concept and always a joy to watch, read or dismember in a joyful display of gore when playing games.
Resident Evil truly delivered the zombie into games, not forgetting ‘Zombies ate my Neighbours’ of course. Whilst Resident Evil temporarily quenched my thirst of killing zombies, eventually the puzzles became tiresome and I yearned for the day when a zombie apocalypse game would throw me straight into the fight and leave me battling for my life as hordes and hordes of zombies come at me and my trusty shotgun.
So, skipping many generations of gaming where zombies have appeared, zombies games today do deliver on what your typical horror/zombie fan would want. Even now I know that most gamers reading this will be saying “Left4Dead!” which is a true, Left4Dead is the ultimate zombie experience, throwing you and three other survivors into a zombie infested world where you must work together and killing thousands upon thousands of zombies to escape. I would go as far to say that Left4Dead is arguably one of the finest shooters in a long time if you have four friends that are willing to play through the campaigns with a mic.
The zombie game that has had me hooked for the past few months is, strangely enough, Call of Duty: World at War. Now, I know people will be saying “but that’s not a zombie game!” and they would be right, it is not a zombie game, it only features a mini game called ‘Nazi Zombies’. So why has this had me hooked more then Left4Dead? Don’t get me wrong, I think Left4Dead is fantastic but Nazi Zombies just feels gritty. It is far more gory, the shotgun is immensely satisfying to use, most of the weapons available in the game you can use on zombies and it also includes a ray gun for the Nazi Zombie mode alone. As well as this, Nazi Zombies is beautifully made. Chunks of flesh blast off your opponents as they lumber towards you, arms outstretched as you blast them with another slug. I feel the desperation to survive when playing this, I feel closed in, outnumbered but for course, never out gunned.
Treyarch did such a fantastic job of this, I feel they should move the idea into more expansive realms. In 2006 Max Brooks, writer of ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’ released his novel ‘World War Z’. World War Z is a fantastic read because it has been written to sound scarily believable. The premise of book is as follows. Max Brooks is an agent for the United Nations Post-war Commission. Moving from country to country, Brooks takes individual statements from people, leaders and soldiers involved in the war and their own personal accounts of how they and their country survived, escaped and later in the book, fought back to reclaim the planet from the zombie uprising.
So why Treyarch? Like Infinity Ward, I feel they as developers can truly make you feel you are in a complete war zone. It is chaotic and at times leaves you breathless as you push forward towards your goals with your fellow soldiers by your side. Treyarch, when they did World at War, made the game far more grittier then Call of Duty 4 (which is still an amazing game) and that is why I feel they could truly make World War Z into a great zombie shoot ‘em up.
Of course to truly understand what I mean, you would need to read the book because I mentioned this idea to people before and they have simply told me to play Left4Dead. The idea involved, first of all, is that it is head shot kill only. Destroying the body will not work, no matter how ‘mashed’ up it gets. The closer they get, your hand should shake.
Consider the scenario for a level. You are a solider. You and your friends stand apart from each other, weapons surround you all. The roads have been cleared and news crews stand ready for you to fight, to catch on camera the battle that would defeat the zombie uprising. Zombies start to show up, lumbering towards you. The tank behind you blasts out a shell and sends shards of metal into the bodies of the undead and they tumble and fall and everybody cheers. Only then, you realise, there are more. The few that got hit with the blast still lumber at you, dragging their decapitated body with their eyes fixed on you. It is then you realise that these weapons are useless. Weapons that would of worked in a war of people, do nothing to the undead. You start firing, aiming for the head. You take some down, you see your friend get taken down, the news crew is already dead. They get closer, you hand is shaking and you can not seem to get the shot you need to survive…
Make it happen, Treyarch!