How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse (According To Games)

Dave Cook


Starring Dead Island, Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil and more

Published on Sep 8, 2011

Dead Island is out this week, and to celebrate, we wax theoretical about what we would do if we were stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

We wouldn't know where to begin to be honest, but with the help of our favourite zombie games, we've formulated a guide to help you survive against all odds.

Let us know how you would survive in the comments section below.

Work Together

As seen in Left 4 Dead

When your back’s against the wall and the dead start walking the streets, you really need to patch up any bad feelings between people you know, put aside your differences and work towards one single goal: survival at any cost.

After all, who’s going to watch your back when a zombie bursts out of the darkness unexpectedly, or worse still, incapacitates you on the ground. If that happens, you better pray you have a friend nearby who can revive you. Left 4 Dead preaches this message so well, especially on the top-tier difficulty settings, as you won’t last ten minutes without proper teamwork.

Although it’s common that there’s one lone wolf who gets impatient, or spies a bottle of pills off in the distance, only to run off like a moron and get killed by being foolish. They should be left to rot so that they learn a harsh lesson.

Stockpile Resources

As seen in Dead Island

Food, water, medical supplies are all taken for granted these days, but when the zombie apocalypse begins, these items will suddenly become gold dust. When playing Dead Island, it’s always wise to hoard supplies like crazy, because you never know where the next safe area will be, or when the next crafting table will pop up.

The more crafting items and cash in your possession, the better weapons you can make. Oh, and don’t get us started on using cash to repair weapons. While absolutely essential to ensure survival, who exactly is taking payment for this service during a zombie invasion?

It’s an odd, totally knee-jerk bit of entrepreneurial activity, but when you’re staring the end of the world in the face, people get greedy, and with good cause. When the whole world is being bathed in red, the colour green still rules all. Start stocking your secret zombie bunker now people!

Fortify Your Safehouse

As seen in Call of Duty: World at War

If the zombies did start taking over the Earth tomorrow, where exactly would you hide? It’s all well and good to say that you’d hide in a prison, or a building of equal fortitude, but zombies – as mindless as they are – will not stop at anything to fest on your yummy brain.

Call of Duty’s zombie mode demands that you fortify each area by nailing planks of wood over zombie respawn points. Fail to do this, and you’ll be overrun in no time. Attempting to balance shooting zombies, unlocking new parts of the map and nailing new planks over the spawn points is tricky indeed.

Players often get confused, panic, and then die a horrible death, proof that their DIY skills definitely need some work. But it’s a viable solution for slowing zombies down, and depending on what advice you listen to, the best defensive tactic is to go up to the top floor of a building, barricade the door and destroy the staircase. Zombies can’t climb you see.

Grab a Flashlight

As seen in Silent Hill

If a zombie outbreak takes hold of the inner cities, then you can bet hard cash that the power grid will turn off shortly after. Your flashlight then becomes your best friend in the whole world. Although not strictly a zombie series, every Silent Hill game has a flashlight item, and it’s usually – but not always.

It’s always one of those torches that magically pins onto the lapels of whatever outfit your character is wearing. Now, we’ve never seen one of those L-shaped torches in our lives, especially the kind that magically pins to whatever clothing you’re wearing. They must be a myth.


OK, well it’s still a fallacy, because Silent Hill characters never seem to change the batteries of his or her torch, because then you’d just end up with Alan Wake, and no one wants to see his moaning face again do they? The rule here is that if you want to survive a zombie attack, wear something that has lapels. Simple.

Conserve Your Ammunition

As seen in Resident Evil

If the zombie menace attacks, it’s too easy to assume that taking the pesky head-biters out at a distance with guns is a viable option. Consider that a standard handgun holds anywhere between 6-15 bullets per clip, and that there are hundreds of people in your local vicinity at any given time, you would need a shit-load of bullets to survive.

One member of Team NowGamer found this rule out the hard way, courtesy of Resident Evil. After making it through the mansion, slogging their way beyond the guardhouse outside and into the tunnel network leading to the Umbrella labs, all seemed well. Except, a tarantula the size of a Jeep bore down on them and ‘click click’, they had completely run out of ammo.

It was a rookie mistake, but Resident Evil demands that you simply run around zombies wherever possible, and that is a solid gold rule for when the real-world undead invasion begins. Plus, guns make noise, noise attracts zombies, zombies kill you dead. It’s not rocket science.

Develop a Good Aim

As seen in The House of the Dead

But if you absolutely must use handguns to get out of a jam, you better make sure your aim is straight and true. The golden rule is to aim for the head, taking out the brain and stopping the zombie dead once and for all. Only a clean shot will suffice.

The House of The Dead’s tougher enemy types are proof of this concept, taking a bucketload of slugs to take down. However, aim for the cranium and you’ll have them off in just a round or two. Once you had that trick nailed down, the only challenge facing you is to suffer through the game’s horrific dialogue and voice acting. Suffer like G did.

Bring a Camera

As seen in Dead Rising

Who would have thought that a camera would become a vital tool in the never-ending battle against the shuffling hordes? Dead Rising’s Frank West that’s who. If you’re concerned that you’re not strong enough to survive the invasion, simply take a bunch of pictures of them. Not only will you get stronger, but you’ll learn wrestling moves.

After a few well-frames snaps, you’ll earn such exciting new abilities like the crushing double lariat, the suplex and more. Once the dust has settled, you could probably make a killing in the pro-wrestling circuit too. Who said photos were just the realm for the media and emo kids?

Use Any Weapons to Hand

As seen in Plants Vs Zombies

You really can't be too picky about what weapons you use to fight off the undead. After all, they don’t care, so neither should you. From blunt melee weapons, firearms and incendiary devices to the household plant, everything can be used to dish out pain on zombies.

Plants Vs Zombies doesn’t discriminate either, with everything from the sunflower to the lowly mushroom playing a pivotal role in fending off zombies. It also helps if you have a crazed nut job living next door with a penchant for wearing a cooking pot on his head.

Improve Your Typing Speed

As seen in The Typing of the Dead

Perhaps the oddest weapon in the fight to reclaim earth is your words per minute typing speed. As showcased in Sega’s House of the Dead spin-off, The Typing of the Dead, you could fight off the zombie massed by simply typing words.

We can see it now; pack of survivors holding Bluetooth keyboards, taking to the streets with their devices, furiously hammering out words in a bid to win the day. OK, so the idea is utterly ridiculous, but still, the game wasn’t half bad.



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