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Games that didn't need zombies

GEARS OF WAR 2

What the game called them: "Sires"

How the game tried to explain them: They're not zombies! They're... biological research subjects neglected and forgotten in test tubes for years, decades, possibly centuries. Or they're the horribly botched results of a super-soldier project secretly funded by the COG government. Or they're the missing evolutionary link between humans and Locust. Pick whichever conspiracy theory you like – just don't call them zombies!

Why the game didn't need them: Do you play Gears of War solely for the gore? No, you play for the imagination and intelligence with which that gore is created – these are shooters in which you don't merely shoot, but detonate enemies into bloody bits with explosive-tipped arrows, melt enemies into piles of goo with microwave beams from the sky and pulverize enemies with skull-crushing curb stomps.

That's the trouble with adding zombies to anything – they're always impervious to every weapon except one. In most cases, it's a shotgun; in Gears of War 2, it's the trademark chainsaw rifle which, while fun to watch carve through Sire after Sire after Sire (after Sire), doesn't actually require any effort from the player. Gone is the strategy of carefully choosing the right instrument of death for the right situation. Gone is the need for cover, active reload and co-op coordination. Gone is the fear I originally felt when entering the game's third act – the New Hope Research Facility – thinking I was about to face a dangerous and mysterious new foe.

Instead, zombies. And hours of sleepily holding down the "B" button as the same cutscene plays again and again (and again).

Example of tedious zombie gameplay:


HALO

What the game called them: "Flood"

How the game tried to explain them: They're not zombies! They're... an extraterrestrial race of parasites that spread across the galaxy, feeding on any form of sentient life that they come in contact with. Also, they take orders from what appears to be a giant, talking, philosophizing house plant. So there you go.

Why the game didn't need them: Isn't Halo supposed to be the Star Wars of videogames or something? I have a hard time accepting that analogy when a third to half of each entry in this space trilogy pits your protagonist against an army of multiplying mucus instead of the complex, vibrant and bizarre alien species that the rest of the game spent so many cutscenes making believable.

The Flood are terrible in theory, of course, but also in execution. Remember your least favorite part of the original Halo? It was the Library level, in which Master Chief trudged through unending, unchanging waves of Flood for the very first time. Remember the stupidest section of Halo 3? It was the Cortana mission, which took place in an ugly, gooey, Flood-infested ship that now resembled the inside of a gassy dog's intestine. Remember when you quit trying to follow the franchise's increasingly nonsensical plot? Probably as soon as Gravemind opened his scaly maw to speak near the end of Halo 2.

As disappointing as George Lucas's vision eventually became, at least he never resorted to zombies.

Example of tedious zombie gameplay:

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108 comments

  • necrorraptor - March 2, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    Well... noting the comment about George Lucas franchise on the Flood section I can't help but remember "Death Troopers". A novel in the expanded universe that is about Han and Chewie fighting....oh well... after reading this article you can imagine what.
  • Memph - September 23, 2010 4:39 a.m.

    husk rushes scared the crap outta me playing on insane. hearing that breathy groan before they stampeded over my team towards me, pegging it in the opposite direction
  • Sala106 - September 10, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    Killing the Sires in Gears 2 was fucking awsome
  • SH00T3R495 - August 2, 2010 5:31 p.m.

    idc what any1 says simply killing zombies is fun and sometinmes challenging, its not fun to just take a shotgun and blow away things attempting to gnaw your face off and in some games it makes your heart race a little bit and its intense. truthfully i hate the flood but they are the story of halo
  • stormofdantess - August 2, 2010 9:55 a.m.

    But I like killing zombies, it's fun. What we need less of is bland human soldiers like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor has to offer. I'd rather kill a zombie. Which is why the only part of COD:WaW I play is Nazi Zombies. I personally love everything Zombies though so I didn't really connected with the article, but thanks Charlie.
  • oryandymackie - August 2, 2010 7:43 a.m.

    Zombies make everything better.
  • xthesawnoffx - July 31, 2010 2:56 a.m.

    not to start anything but technically.. sires arent zombies they are just locusts tested and neglected things the reason they SEEM to be zombies is because they werent "taught" anything all their lives thus making them stupid.
  • Sickooo - July 31, 2010 1:14 a.m.

    @governordyrssen dude whats your problem? you seriously need to calm yourself down...jeez
  • Sickooo - July 31, 2010 1:11 a.m.

    yeah i think that batman arkham asylum actually had some of these disguised zombies in it 2. they were the mentally unstable patients who ran up to you and jumped on your head...while scream in oddly zombie sounding voices
  • humpiedumpie - July 30, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    The zombie grizzly was great haha :P
  • theTYTAN3 - July 30, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    I dont know the flood were cool in Halo 1 because you weren't expecting them. You had no idea what was going on they had the creepy music and the covenant all laying dead around you. You watch an eerie video and then BAM theres an endless wave of little popping things, at first your scared and then your like ok these guys are easy wtf. Then wham you have tons of zombies running at you. You fight your way through them then all the sudden theyre shooting you, getting up after you killed them and exploding in your face. That level scared the crud out of me the first time i played it(probably helped that i used the assualt rifle and the pistol to fight them instead of the shotgun). Halo 2 you knew what to expect and you knew how to kill them they were no longer scary or intense and it was the same with Halo 3 and every single game that tried to duplicate what Halo 1 did with the flood. Which is why I'm really happy that theyre well be no flood in Halo Reach.
  • DriveShaft - July 30, 2010 2 a.m.

    I wanna see RDR zombies :D But agreed that Uncharted didnt need them
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - July 29, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    100th!
  • smiteboy - July 29, 2010 1 p.m.

    Yeah I guess zombies don't fit in the old west of Red Dead Redemption. That world of GPS and teleporting wouldn't seem realistic with the living dead...
  • philipshaw - July 29, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    I have to agree with most of this article but I didn't mind the zombies in Uncharted 1, I thought it was a good change of pace but I can see why some people hate that bit
  • NobodyLikesPaul - July 29, 2010 6:43 a.m.

    lol i knew mass effect would get said XD
  • governordyrssen - July 29, 2010 6:38 a.m.

    PS thats a sh*tload of stuff wrong wit ur review.....FAG!
  • governordyrssen - July 29, 2010 6:37 a.m.

    this comment is for the halo zombie review: for one thing on halo the flood are just as repetitive as any other F*ckin enemy in the damn game and i think its a good thing they added them because if u get bored woth zombies [flood] u would get bored with every other character too which is what bungie probobly thought [in case u dont get what i said: bungie thinks you will eventually get bored with the covenent repetitive elites, brutes, and grunts so they added a new alien to keep u entertained and not bored with the game plus they dont add them until ur over 3 qrtrs through the game, lastly YES THEIR ALIENS] also if you wouldve not just said f*ck this when u saw what u thought were zombies if u wouldve kept on paying attention you would know the story line and it would make sense to you, you would see that they explain the flood and make them believable just as much as the covenant is.... THE HALO STORYLINE MAKES SENSE, WHOEVER WROTE THAT IS A F*CKING FAG, MOST PEOPLE I KNOW HATE SIERRA 117 LEVEL NOT CORTANA, STAR WARS IS SHIT COMPARED TO HALO, STAR WARS IS SHIT COMPARED TO ALOT OF THINGS, THE GRAVEMIND LOOKS MORE LIKE MY BROTHER THAN A F*CKIN HOUSE PLANT, THE FLOOD IF U WOULDVE PAID ANY DAMN ATTENTION IS NOT GOOEY AT ALL, OF COURSE THEIR GONNA BE UGLY TO U THEIR F*CKING ALIENS,THEIR WERE JUST AS MANY KINDS OF FLOOD AS ALIENS IN "HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED", THE FLOOD IF U PAID SOME F*CKIN ATTENTION ARE THE COVENANT CONTROLED BY A PARASITE SO GUESS WHT U HATE THE FLOOD -> YOU HATE THE COVENANT -> YOU HATE HALO -> YOUR A FAG!,UR TV BRIGHTNESS IS F*CKED UP, THE FLOOD HAS WEAPONS, THE FLOOD ISNT SLOW, THE FLOOD HAVE INTELLIGENCE, THE ONLY THING THE FLOOD AND ZOMBIES HAVE IN COMMON IS THEY ARE LIVING DEAD AND LOOK DEAD, UR A FAG, UR RETARDED BECAUSE THEIR CANT BE THREE HALVES, UR A FAG, AND THEIRS A SH*TLOAD OF OTHER STUFF WRONG WITH UR REVIEW THAT IM NOT GONNA WAST ANOTHER 10 SECONDS TO DISCOVER SO I'LL JUST SAY THIS UR A FAG U DONT DESERVE HALO YOU DONT DESERVE TO REVIEW GAMES, UR HAVE HARDLY ANY ATTENTION SPAN, AND LASTLY [NOT REALLY LASTLY BUT I RAN OUT OF CHARACTERS] WHOEVER WROTE IT IS A FAG [WHEN I SAY UR A FAG IN THIS COMMENT IM SAYING IT TO WHO WROTE THE REVIEW!]
  • Danomeon - July 29, 2010 5:50 a.m.

    Don't forget the first borderland's DLC.. I was very dissapointed that none of the iconic bandits of the game came into the zombie lands at all.. I was imaginging tons of new varieties for those guys. I hate zombies in games where they do not belong, but I can't resist actual games about zombies. I bought both left 4 dead games, dead rising (and soon dead rising 2), and even the bikini samurai squad game. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the monotonous zombie combat, because I like killing mindless foes. I don't know why.
  • Chickenfoot - July 29, 2010 4:03 a.m.

    Oh. I see, we should just cut out the entire Flood part of the halo series? Therefore rendering the halos useless, therefore making the halos never exsist, and all that crap!? So what? You want it to take place on one ship, and be called ........: Combat Evolved? You sir, are stupid.

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