10 Most Terrifying Video Game Zombies

The gross, the bad, and the ugly.

Resident Evil Crimson Heads

While the zombie mania that gripped pop culture over the last decade seems to have somewhat subsided now; shambling corpses - and the various exotic flavours they come in - are still a video game mainstay.

And there’s good reason for their popularity: it’s a fun foe to face off against when it’s done right, but on the other hand, bad examples make for the most uninspiring cannon fodder.

The best examples come about when devs get creative with these living cadavers and invent horrific scenarios to explain why the dead have been reanimated. Too often though the zombie apocalypse is phoned in and gets chalked up to black magic or some ill-defined biohazard.

We’ll be looking at the various designs that stand out from the rest, the ones that go further than throwing some tattered clothing on a desaturated character model. It might be just one disgusting detail that makes a particular zombie more memorably grotesque than others or some especially blood-curdling audio cue which tips you off to their presence long before you see them rear their rotten heads.

10. Volatile - Dying Light

Resident Evil Crimson Heads
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Dying Light has an entire rogue’s gallery of zombies, including the usual slow shamblers, energetic fast zombies, and super-sized tank undead. However, it’s the Volatiles which appear at night who pose the greatest threat.

These zombies are insect-like in appearance with their mandible-like jaws and chitinous armour covering their bodies. They are capable of dealing ludicrous amounts of damage to the player and will require the use of the game's strongest weaponry if you’re hoping to kill one.

It is advisable to try to stealth your way past these enemies rather than engage them in combat; if you are discovered, running is your best strategy.

While most Dying Light enemies can be easily evaded by using a combination of parkour and speed, Volatiles can match you in both respects and will doggedly pursue you until you either reach a safe zone or sunrise scares them off, at which point they’ll retreat and hide themselves in a dark cave to await nightfall.


Ben is an avid fan of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. He also loves video games but is alarmed at his steadily growing back log; he hopes to finish Red Dead Redemption 2 sometime around 2030.