You got your zombie in my multiplayer!

There must have been some multiplayer design summit that our renowned game developers attended a few years ago. Where else could so many devs get the bright idea to throw our new favorite cannon fodder - the zombie (sorry Nazis) - into multiplayer slaughter modes? Not that we’re opposed to the idea at all. We hate zombies! Many GR staffers constantly live in fear of being snacked to death by the corpses of old family members.

Amusing anecdotes aside, shooting zombies is a lot of fun. But slaying the undead with friends and strangers alike is absurdly awesome. As you know, Resident Evil 5 lumbers into stores this week and fans of RE4 will appreciate the return of the arcade-y unlockable Mercenaries mode. And with the recent invasion of similar zombie-themed modes, we thought we’d compare them all to a degree and assign an arbitrary rating depending on how much we like them. Let’s start with:

If you missed out on RE4, then you’ve never experienced the fun, yet punishing Mercs mode. In a nutshell, you choose one of five characters with varying weapon sets and run through different themed-stages, racking up combo kills. The intensity comes from not only the multitude of Ganados (Spanish zombie-things) - everything from simple baddies to the chainsaw-wielders - but also your race against the clock to kill everything in sight as quickly as possible.


Mercs in RE5 is essentially the same mode, but with co-op split screen. Select a character - more unlocked when you find collectibles in the campaign - and rack up as many points as possible. The more points you have, the more likely you are to unlock the next stage. Read all about it in our RE5 super review.

Burst Artery!

These jerks are intense. They run, dodge attacks, and lunge after you in groups. Some even sprout parasites randomly from their blown-off heads and even attack with explosives, chainsaws and miniguns. Your best strategy is to keep moving and lump kills with explosive barrels or grenades. Our favorite moments are when we pop a zom in the leg and he gets all stunned. Then we run up to him and uppercut him into a wall with Chris’s roided-out biceps. Or when you stun a zom and Chris AND Sheva run up for a double melee-attack. Damn, we’re cool.


To be fair, the entirety of Left 4 Dead is about killing zombies in multiplayer… and it’s awesome. We don’t care how you play it: Steam, 360, real life, just play the game that’s shallowly described as Counter-Strike with zombies. One session and you wouldn’t think twice about gunning down the living-impaired once the real zombie apocalypse graces us. But this new survival mode - scheduled for release this spring on Steam and Xbox Live - cleverly mixes up the L4D formula and adds a thick layer of insanity.

As detailed in our latest hands-on, survival strips out the long stages of the campaign and places you squarely in those Crescendo/Finale segments of L4D. Y’know, the parts you trigger and hold your Last Stand against a plethora of walking corpses. Taking place over 16 maps - 15 of which are from the main game and featuring the brand-new Lighthouse map - you fight not for score, but to best your previous time. And with multiple special Infected - how does two Tanks at the same time sound? - we doubt you’ll live past a few minutes.

Messy Headshot!

You ever play Left 4 Dead? The entire game is a mess of “holy crap” moments in the best and worst ways. Best because L4D does a stellar job of keeping the tension high through its “Director” (named for the AI which calculates in real-time when and how many zombies to throw at you depending on how well you’re doing). How many times have you scouted ahead of your buddies, only to be ravaged in a bottleneck by scores of zombies? And at its absolute worst, L4D makes you realize just how useless you’ll be in a zombie holocaust.


  • jedibluerinse87 - March 13, 2009 5:44 p.m.

    can't wait for the survival mode in L4D all of them look pretty cool
  • Thequestion 121 - March 12, 2009 10:19 p.m.

    From all of the Mercenaries I've played in RE4, I think I'm ready for a zombie apocalypse!!
  • CABride - March 11, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    I liked the mercenary mode in RE3nemesis
  • stroypa - March 11, 2009 7:51 p.m.

    they should turn the table and make a game were you're the mindless flesh eating zombie and you have to try and eat someone!
  • stuzimuzipuzi - March 11, 2009 6:22 p.m.

    all games with zombies in are the best.
  • oryandymackie - March 11, 2009 5:22 p.m.

    Saints Row 2 Zombie Uprising ftw! I heard talk of some GTAIV zombie DLC going about around Hallo'ween but nothing seems to have gotten out. Shame.
  • DeadGirls - March 11, 2009 7:44 a.m.

    You should have mentioned Zombie Panic: Source in this article. It got really popular during the wait for Left4Dead. Probably less now that its out. Its a free mod you can download from STEAM. Its only slightly amateur, and in some ways, rivals Left4Dead in fun-ness. Its also more scary than Left4Dead in some ways.
  • Defguru7777 - March 11, 2009 3:55 a.m.

    In Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, the best I did in Mercenaries was with Krauser on that beach level. I got over 100,000 points, and it was some of the best fun I've ever had playing a game. I hope Resident Evil 5's Mercenaries can live up to it.
  • Sly_Fox - March 11, 2009 2:54 a.m.

    l4d is so so good
  • superspaz - March 11, 2009 12:14 a.m.

    10 words: Zombie Sasquatches in Space With Flamethrowers and Shotguns on Ice. Make it so, games.
  • liam_mk - March 10, 2009 10:39 p.m.

    Dammit now I want to get saints row 2 just for the zombie mode....AND I'll see YOU in court Awesomeitude1523
  • iluvmyDS - March 10, 2009 10:19 p.m.

    You always need to prepare to shoot actual zombies.
  • Awesomeitude1523 - March 10, 2009 6:23 p.m.

    I never realized how awesome zombie minigames are. Great article. Oh yeah, First.I felt like it. Sue me
  • Tomsta666 - March 12, 2009 1:19 a.m.

    @stroypa They did!! Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a pulse, for the Xbrick. Fun game too!!
  • reyalejandro13 - March 11, 2009 11:42 p.m.

    Man, as much fn as all these games are, there's one game that doesn't have any sort of Zombie Multiplayer that should-Dead Rising. If I could design Dead rising Multiplayer, It would basically be you and some friends in the sandbox environment of your choosing, starting out with a choice of weapons and power-ups, then just unloading on the zombies. And there would still be weapons you can find on the ground and stuff. and there could be competitive stuff too, like best picture, or most creative kill. ahh, that would be fun.
  • Hobojedi - March 11, 2009 1:44 a.m.

    Timesplitters had some pretty good zombie missions. Oh, and does that zombie on the right in the Saints Row 2 picture look a TF2 spy to anyone else?
  • NelosAngelos - March 11, 2009 12:51 a.m.

    I knew it, It's happening. I've been prepared for this for years!!!
  • bamb0o-stick - March 11, 2009 12:26 a.m.

    I'm not too worried about the apocalypse. I already bought and read The Zombie Survival Guide...
  • Elbo444 - March 10, 2009 8 p.m.

    next thing you know guitar hero is gonna have zombie groupie mode, I can't wait, great article
  • Dr.Mr.Gamer - March 10, 2009 7:20 p.m.

    ive played most of those and Nazi zombies is my favorite.

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