The 16 most dangerous types of video game zombies, ranked
If you've been playing video games for longer than a few minutes, chances are you've come across some form of zombie. They are a staple of the medium ...
If you've been playing video games for longer than a few minutes, chances are you've come across some form of zombie. They are a staple of the medium and appear practically everywhere, from fantasy to horror, in a hundred different variations. Fast, slow, intelligent, dumb - no matter what you're looking for, video games have a type of zombie just waiting to bite - or sometimes shoot - you.
But what kind of zombie is the most dangerous? Which variations of the undead are the hardest to kill, the most difficult to survive, and the most adept at spreading their chosen infection?
Updated on September 16, 2023, by Vanessa Esguerra: Zombies have become more terrifying in recent years. They are no longer slow, brain-devouring shufflers; some now resemble aliens. Many of them can fly, swim, and explode. They come in all shapes and sizes, and even their methods of infecting others have become diverse.
The release of remasters and newer games means the addition of even more terrifying zombies that you never want to encounter in the event of an apocalypse. You probably won't be able to escape these zombies, and you will die if you try to fight against them unless you secretly happen to be a character from Resident Evil.
16 Zekes - World War Z
The Zekes from World War Z are a clear example that something is more than the sum of its parts. Alone, a Zeke is a fairly easy enemy to defeat. But when they come together, they become very threatening. And it's rare to find the fast and highly aggressive zombies traveling alone. In fact, they usually attack in large numbers.
Throughout the game, you'll see many of them in huge groups, trying to reach their prey. If you fail to reduce their numbers before they reach you, then you're in trouble.
15 Freaks - State Of Decay Series
In State of Decay, every person permanently disappears once they are killed. Therefore, every adventure outside your base is risky. This risk increases when Freaks roam around. That's the name given to the special types of zombies in the game.
There are SWAT zombies, army zombies, screamers, giants, bloaters, and ferals. All of them are more dangerous than an ordinary member of the undead horde. Moreover, some of them even have their own abilities to make them even more threatening.
14 Blighters - ZombiU (AKA, Zombi)
The ordinary Blighters from ZombiU fall into the more traditional category of zombies. They stagger around and search for flesh, and they are not very intelligent. However, they are deadlier than they sound because these creatures can kill you instantly.
A single bite is enough to permanently join you to the undead horde. Therefore, every encounter with them is a little frightening. And those are just the ordinary ones - there are also special Blighters in the game that are even more troublesome.
13 Wasp Zombies - Dead Rising
The main enemy in Capcom's Dead Rising series, the Wasp Zombies, are classic horde monsters. Infected by modified insects, the Wasp Zombies are mostly slow, unintelligent, and less resilient than a living human.
However, these zombies receive a boost at night: they become superhumanly strong and significantly more aggressive. Even during the day, wounds they inflict do not heal on their own unless one is immune. It's a death by a thousand cuts, which is bad news because there are tens of thousands of them. The infection has decimated Willamette, a city with over 50,000 inhabitants, in less than 72 hours.
They are definitely dangerous, but they often come across some of the best survivors in zombie games ever. As a result, their success rate in killing their targets is not as high as it should be.
12 Ganados - Resident Evil 4
While the newer Resident Evil games have focused more on monsters and mutants, the Ganados show that you can still have your cake of undead parasites and be devoured by it. As victims of the Plaga parasite, the Ganados have a much lower infection rate than many other types of zombies, as they do not spread through particles or bites. But compared to their T-Virus counterparts, these undead are true geniuses.
Ganados can use tools, crossbows, and even heavy weapons, and they regularly demonstrate the ability to speak. They also undergo strong mutations - shooting them in the head might result in an unpleasant surprise in the form of tentacle-like appendages lashing out. Therefore, despite their limited virulence and overall softness, the Ganados will make you think twice about considering a vacation in Spain.
11 T-Virus Zombies - Resident Evil
The classic video game zombie, the T-Virus zombie, first appeared in Resident Evil in 1996 and has been terrifying players ever since. By and large, they are slow and dumb, but the real danger lies in their resilience and contagiousness. A single bite or scratch from a T-Zombie is enough to seal your fate and spread the virus like wildfire. Just look at Raccoon City.
And although they are slow targets, T-Zombies can endure quite a lot. They can withstand shots from the series' best weapons, and some even survive multiple headshots. If you don't burn them after taking them down, they come back a second time as fast-moving nightmares called Crimson Heads. They may not be the most dangerous undead out there, but T-Virus zombies, after 25 years of wandering, still rank among the deadliest zombies out there.
10 Volatiles - Dying Light
The unholy offspring of a zombie and a parkour expert, there is absolutely no escaping the Volatiles in Dying Light. These guys are fast and agile, capable of climbing walls and leaping over obstacles as if it were nothing. They can also endure damage like no other and are nearly immune to falls from great heights. Think you're at a safe distance? Think again. Volatiles can spit deadly acid if they can't reach you.
However, Volatiles have one enormous weakness: they are extremely sensitive to UV radiation. Once the sun comes out, they ignore their prey until they reach the shade, and a special flashlight is enough to temporarily repel them. The Volatiles are a true nightmare, but only for about 12 hours a day.
9 The Infected - Left 4 Dead Series
The scourge of co-op players everywhere, the Infected from Left 4 Dead are victims of a highly contagious, rabies-like disease called Green Flu. The extremely infectious virus is an apocalyptic event, which means there are even more of these guys than in Dead Rising or Resident Evil - and they are fast.
The Infected sprint in groups at full speed, although most of them cannot withstand sustained gunfire, even if it's not a headshot. Nevertheless, all the special variants increase their level of danger: from nearly invincible Tanks to exploding Boomers. The Infected have a variety of ways to ruin your day. Most of them may not be particularly resilient or intelligent, but unless you have a lot of ammunition, you might as well kneel down and pray for a helicopter.
8 The Undead - Plants Vs Zombies
Zombies typically appear in dystopian hellscapes, nightmare scenarios, and gruesome horror movies. However, that's not the case with the undead from Plants vs. Zombies. Nevertheless, they are just as dangerous as others, even though they are technicolor cartoons. These resurrected villains are intelligent.
They can strategize, defend themselves, and even use complex tools. In their quest to devour human brains, they will pole vault, dig mines, and even tame dolphins to get what they want. Some of them are giant bruiser types, and others can even control giant mech suits.
Furthermore, there are billions of them in graveyards, waiting to bolster their ranks, as they are reanimated corpses and not infected living humans. They might be even more dangerous if they didn't have a specific vulnerability to armed seeds and corn cobs.
7 Suicider - Dead Island
Dead Island is mostly silly if you have a high tolerance for blood and violence, but the Suicider is definitely a natural phenomenon you hope to never encounter when the world is ending. There are fates worse than death, and one of those fates is transforming into a Suicider zombie from the Dead Island series. These zombies are affected by the Kuru virus variant, and the swelling the infected experience is caused by the rapid production of internal decomposition gases.
If you are repulsed by these self-destructive individuals, you can only imagine the pain they experience when their own gases inflate them to the point of bursting. However, compassion is thrown out the window when these zombies entice heroes to "save" them, only to then pounce on them and explode. It is less of a suicide and more of a double suicide.
6 Behemoth - Dying Light
If exploding zombies aren't scary enough, perhaps giant zombies hurling objects at you are enough to make you run for your life. The behemoth from Dying Light will throw concrete slabs at you, practically any large object it can grab with its gigantic hands to hurl at you. You must also defend yourself against other zombies while the behemoth actively tries to kill you.
Dying Light houses a collection of terrifying zombies, and the game doesn't hold back when it comes to letting guts and limbs fly through the air. However, many in the community agree that encountering the behemoth is a sure guarantee of a forthcoming encounter with the creator.
5 Cordyceps Zombies - The Last of Us
Victims of a deadly fungal disease called Cordyceps brain infection, these fungal monsters appear in various variations, each more horrifying than the previous. These include the spore-dispersing Stalkers, heavily armored Bloaters, and the chillingly eerie Clickers. They are swift and extremely aggressive, and the longer they remain active, the more resistant they become to bullets.
Many Cordyceps zombies utilize echolocation to track their prey, especially Clickers, which means they can detect you even if you can't see them. The CBI is highly contagious and spreads through the air via spores, making them numerically superior in many ways. Their primary weakness is fire, but good luck trying to ignite one when fifty of these creatures are charging at you in a pitch-black room. Mushroom-like, certainly, but fun? Anything but that.
4 The Infested - Warframe
Warframe harbors a multitude of terrifying, otherworldly beings that even eldritch gods would hesitate to confront. If you thought space zombies weren't a thing, technically they are, born out of sheer survival instinct. The Infested takes the concept of zombies to another level, as it not only decays the bodies of the infected and causes them to lose their minds. Instead, they draw inspiration from Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, transforming their victims into unrecognizable monstrosities.
These beings lose their consciousness and are extremely hostile, except for some special victims who were able to preserve a portion of their awareness. However, most creatures are not immune to becoming infected, except for the Tenno.
3 Reaper Soldiers - Mass Effect Series
These terrifying robo-zombies appear in Bioware's Mass Effect series, created by Reaper nanotechnology that transforms deceased bodies into cybernetic undead. Each alien species produces various variations, ranging from swift human husks to armored regenerating cannibals and psionically gifted Asari Banshees. Every single one of them is bad news.
At the beginning of a Reaper invasion, you can expect to encounter thousands of husks, and more will keep coming. They can shoot from a distance, climb walls, and infiltrate your hideout or, depending on your luck, simply tear you apart with their sheer force. What's even worse is that they all have a psychic connection to their Reaper masters, allowing them to employ sophisticated attack tactics. Their flexibility and tactical prowess make them some of the deadliest zombies in the universe.
2 Necromorphs - Dead Space
An exceptionally fleshy breed of space zombies, known as Necromorphs, have been terrorizing players since their first appearance in the 2008 game Dead Space. Necromorphs spread through an infectious agent, transforming their deceased hosts faster than most other zombies. This means that their numbers multiply incredibly rapidly, as seen in Dead Space 2, when they overrun an entire city in a single night.
Even a single Necromorph is not to be underestimated. They possess teeth and claws that effortlessly slice through armor and flesh, along with exceptional agility. Furthermore, a simple headshot is not enough to defeat these mutants; complete dismemberment is the only option. And as if that weren't bad enough, they can also merge into enormous fleshy masses that are nearly impervious to conventional weapons. It can hardly get any worse than Necromorphs.
1 The Flood - Halo Series
The zombies are so dangerous that other beings were forced to invent galaxy-destroying weapons to contain them. The Flood in Halo are a parasitic superorganism that infects and conquers entire worlds, turning the inhabitants into troops and assimilating their intelligence in the process.
The highly contagious Flood parasite overwhelms entire space stations within a matter of hours, and its zombies retain the muscle memory required to use advanced weapons. Flood zombies are extremely agile, insanely strong, and can utilize the armor and defenses they used in their previous lives. In short, they are an absolute nightmare in combat.
There is no cure for the Flood infection, and natural immunity comes with a deadly neurological disorder. While most zombies pose a threat to worlds or even galaxies, the Flood is a threat to the entire universe.