Dead stuff makes a vastly under-rated contribution to the world of videogames. Sure, the heroes are usually a living, breathing, virile lot, with pulses and all that boringly conventional malarky, but dead things bring a much more varied array of coolness to the table. We're not necessarily talking dead characters here. We're not even necessarily talking complete corpses with all the parts. After all, you don't need to be anatomically complete or in a pre-decomposition state to have worth.
With Valve's splendid Left 4 Dead out this week, zombies are of course everywhere right now (seriously, look behind you), so we felt it was about time to shed some limelight on the less obvious members of the living-impaired community; the less traditional, less conventional heartbeat-shy who nontheless bring their own unique brand of festering to the table. Read on, and see if we've included your favourite living-challenged lump of inanimate stuff.
(There may be one or two zombies, but only really cool ones)
Pinata Guy - Manhunt 2
Notable for: Death by hanging just as you reach his cell. Making us curse the lack of a baseball bat on the first level. Mmmm, sugary innards.
Dead birds - Condemned: Criminal Origins
Notable for: Teaching kids that collecting animal corpses is an 'achievement'. Disgusting mothers and ruining carpets worldwide.
Burning cop and Axe-in-the-face woman - Resident Evil 4
Notable for: Making us go "Uurgh!" and "Cool!" at the same time. Confirming British prejudices against mainland Europe.
Decapitated barbarian - Castle Crashers
Notable for: Being dead and cute in equal measure. Proving once and for all that you can get away with any level of gore and dismemberment as long as it's cartoony. If only Manhunt 2 had been cel shaded!
Dangling corpses - Gears of War
Notable for: Giving us a cheap, ghost train scare early in the game. Splattering beautifully when shot. Making us wonder just what the hell's been going on in that prison anyway. Who's running it? Why's it empty apart from Locust and dangling corpses? What the hell kind of correctional institute is it!?
Player-controlled zombies - Metal Slug 3
Notable for: Being soul-destroyingly slow. Obliterating everything on screen with a burst of over-powered blood vomit. On balance, being the best status change in videogame history.
Skeleton - Oblivion
Notable for: Looking like a basic bit of environmental detail until you realise you can use the axe like a golf driver and whack its skull off down the hall. Fore!