G4TV posed the following question yesterday afternoon: Who’s On Your Video Game Zombie Killing Squad? It’s an interesting (read: completely worthless) thought experiment and within seconds of reading the title, I was already formulating my own list.
The article provides none, so before I present my contenders, I’m going to lay out some ground rules and caveats.
1. The Enemy
Firstly, we should define the type of zombie we’d be up against. Gone are the days when the category could be boiled down to “slow zombies or fast zombies?” Sure, you’ve got your classic aimless, shuffling types (Dead Rising) but you’ve also got twitching bags of hell-flesh (Dead Space), Los Illuminados of both the regular and tentacled variety (Resident Evil 4) and even reanimated corpses with a bizarre, unexplained sensitivity to light (Alan Wake). Each with its own set of strategies, hazards, weaknesses, etc. But let’s keep it simple and not get too specific. We are talking about the faster-than-fuck zombies (think 28 Days Later). That means they can be killed by traditional means (“removing the head…or destroying the brain”) and can kill you in the usual fashion. So you don’t have to plan ahead for the Special Infected you’re apt to find in Left 4 Dead or the unnamable horrors that happen when you add the T-Virus to just whatever’s lying around.
2. Body Count
Your team will consist of four characters, plus you, yourself. So it’s Left 5 Dead, basically.
3. Don’t Be A Dick
It’s totally fine to pick a character plucked right out of a survival horror game. It’s fine to draft in someone with the ability to cast magic spells or, maybe, has some kind of God Gun (like Gordon Freeman at the end of Half-Life 2). The odds don’t have to be perfectly even. So please, pick Bayonetta. Bring in one of the Cogs from Gears of War.
Just remember: don’t be a dick.
Don’t pick a character who is immortal or is otherwise all-powerful. Example: If you pick Bahamut from Final Fantasy VIII, you are being a dick.
Now that that’s all established, my list:
Half Life/Half Life 2
In the not-too distant future, the events of the Black Mesa Incident have had devastating repercussions. The Combine have come Xen to Earth. Humanity is enslaved – huddled into work camps set into the facade of cities. The human race has become an endangered species. Still, against it all, a small but noble resistance forms with one man from the past come to drive the alien invaders out, once and for all. Some say he’s the Messiah. Maybe. But one thing’s for sure, whoever he is: there’s a guy at least 10x more competent just standing off to the right of him.
Barney has, for all intents and purposes, gigantic brass balls. He infiltrates the Civil Protection (if the Earth is a prison in HL2, they’d be the guards) and funnels misleading information to the Combine overlords while providing life-saving warnings to the Resistance in their path. He’s like James Bond mixed with a bit of Oskar Schindler. Throughout the game, Barney pops in and out at key moments: to kick a serious amount of overlord ass and, invariably pop a few one-liners in the process…
Wait a minute – so James Bond, Oskar Schindler and like, some John McClaine?Yes.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Here’s my reasoning: Niko Bellic doesn’t give a fuck.
GTA IV was a remarkable experience with an emotionally arresting narrative at its core. And at the core of that core, was an angry Eastern European man on a mission: kill everyone in
New York Liberty City. Oh, and he tries.
But it’s his
Slavic sociopathic demeanor that sets him apart and that is really why I want him by my side. Niko will, for example, blow up a bus and scream “I’ll rip your fucking heart out!” or run a dude over in a cross walk and yelp back “GOD BLESS THIS CITY!”
That’s some professional levels of not giving a fuck right there. Bellic, you’re in.
Samurai from Onimusha:Warlords
I, obviously, have access to the internet but I feel that looking up this guy’s name would be personally wrong. I logged an inordinate amount of time playing this game when I was 12. He was “Samurai from Onimusha: Warlords” then and so, forever shall he be “Samurai from Onimusha:Warlords”
Actually, to be honest with you… I can’t really remember this game’s fucking plot. I just remember a lot of time spent upgrading my sword (“NOW IT’S A FIRE SWORD”) and finding upgrades for my armor (“NOW MY ARMOR IS GOLD”) but not too much else. There was a haunted… pagoda? And like, a lot of dudes with glowy eyes. Oh! And I definitely remember, this guy running about and just stabbing everything.
Japanese Barney has an advantage. Uprooted from his simple life in 16th Century Japan – where the days consisted of harvesting the grain and upgrading the fire sword – he is likely going to be both frightened and angry. JB will doubtlessly be prone to lashing out at the world he did not want in fits of hysterical violence. Between his sobbing and crying out for God in his “language”, Samurai from Onimusha Warlords would be a real blood tornado.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
I’m specifying Conviction for the sole reason that Sam was just so damn angry throughout that game. That’s the Sam I want to team up with. The man whose family was taken from him by the country he used to love. A guy with no more morals, tearing through entire cities, pausing only occasionally to reload, grunt and to bash dudes into things.
But I’ll be the first to admit that Sam Fisher – he might be a liability. His greatest asset is not his seething rage, but his intelligence. And I don’t really know how far that goes in this setting. See, Fisher is rarely the guy who will rip a room open with gunfire. He is stealth incarnate (kinda the point of the game), laying distractions, plotting and executing clever traps. And while it doesn’t take a whole lot to outsmart a zombie, it also doesn’t take much for a zombie to smell you coming up behind it with a knife. Worst Case Scenario, Sam is eaten on the very first day. Best Case, he makes it, but turns the zombie apocalypse into a very long version of the ending to Home Alone — and the zombies are the Wet Bandits.