Not long ago, when people thought of zombies, they thought of decomposing corpses shambling across a graveyard under the magical yoke of a higher, eviler being. Perhaps this being was a lich or a sorcerer, or even, we are ashamed to say it, a human.
In this disgraceful state, zombies were little more than bipedal fodder for heroes of every class and caliber. These heroes would bash, burn, slice, dice, mangle, or obliterate zombies on their way to treasure, victory, and fame. If adventure were karate, zombies were wooden boards, set up to be knocked down, broken in half, and discarded back into the ground from whence they had arisen.
Boys and ghouls, such a time has passed because the modern zombie is fast, agile, angry, and fluent in conversational Spanish. He or she can leap tall survivors in a single bound and infiltrate the safest sanctuaries while moaning for brains or sesos, all on the go. Not so fast, though! There's more between today's zombies and world domination than loosely boarded shacks or heavily armed agents. Gun proliferation is a serious issue in so-called "unlife," while language barriers can make international travel awkward and confusing for even the most cosmopolitan corpse. We'll address those issues and show you what a certain group of zombies is doing to turn the world's least liked minority into the most feared majority.
And what better day than October 31 to explore these pressing issues?
Stop, Don't Shoot!
While some among the zombie elite pine for the day when zombies will learn to use guns, the editors of this publication would like to point out that the undead soldiers in Doom II were still fodder, even with shotguns.
Truly, the gun is the zombie's worst enemy. No matter how fast you run or clearly enunciate "Por favor, no!" the gun is faster and too often has the last word. Nowhere is this more clearly the case than in the upcoming Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles for the Wii. This game is a rail shooter, most odious of all genres to zombiekind. Where normally fat, out-of-shape nerds would die near the beginning of a zombie apocalypse, they'll be able to recline in the safety and comfort of their La-Z-Boy chairs; Doritos resting securely on their paunches, blasting away with one hand, munching with the other. *Zombie groan*
And it's not like Umbrella Chronicles will feature the vanguard of zombie pride: the fast, the smart, or the Spanish speaking. No, normally progressive Capcom has chosen the slowest, saddest specimens to play the fish in their wicked barrel. Of course, Capcom rationalizes it all, saying Umbrella Chronicles will let players relive many of the most shameful and depressing periods of zombie history in violent glory, also known as Resident Evil 0, 1, 2, and 3. That's great, if you're a human.
Yet it gets worse. Not only will Umbrella Chronicles be a zombie-shooting spree, Nintendo is releasing an accessory to make the carnage even more precise and the headshots as numerous as the undead horde. We speak of the innocent sounding Wii Zapper that will come packaged with the cutesy Link's Crossbow Training. Do not be fooled: This device converts the already intuitive Wii controllers into a veritable submachine gun, and it is not, sadly, prohibitively expensive.
While humanity is armed with cruel new peripherals, helpless Wii zombies will be forced to hobble toward the screen while teenage stoners, middle-aged mothers, and even hip grandmothers (normally a zombie's first and most rewarding target demographic) repeatedly shoot them. Oh the horror... If you've ever wondered whether or not zombies have nightmares, the answer is yes. These nightmares also come in the form of Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles with the Wii Zapper submachine gun grip.
So, what can be done? For starters, no more random milling around in malls: Go for the toy stores and video game shops. Convert the sales clerks and teach them to brainlessly recite preorder deals, future releases, and bonus-card spiels until the customer runs...screaming. Our only other piece of advice is this: duck.
Leave a comment or read more about the issues facing zombies today.
While there is some debate as to whether or not the villagers in Resident Evil 4 are proper zombies, there is no denying the envy and pride our entire populace has for these Spanish-speaking Ganados. After all, a normal zombie moaning for "brains" in Spain is just another whiny tourist.
The modern zombie, on the other hand, can feel confident anywhere he or she goes. This zombie should be ready to consume a culture's people, as well as its music, language, and even some of the dances. If you can shamble, you can salsa, and it's a great way to meet members of the opposite vitality. We can't teach you that here, but we can teach you a few handy phrases for what could be the next stop on Resident Evil's zombie world tour, Haiti.
Capcom has NOT confirmed exactly where Resident Evil 5 takes place. So, we don't know for sure yet, either way--this is all speculation. Nevertheless, Haitian culture and language is something every member of the walking dead should be familiar with because the very idea of zombiism is a product of Haitian voodoo--or vodou. The known mother of all zombies was a Haitian woman named Felicia Felix-Mentor, so by learning the following phrases and familiarizing yourself with Haitian culture, you are broadening your horizons, as well as getting back to your roots.
The two official Haitian tongues are Creole and French; the following are handy phrases in each. Bon appétit!French Phrases
French is a natural language for zombies--with its soft consonants and numerous vowels (when in doubt, just gurgle)--but it can be difficult to understand to the untrained ear. That's why "Parlez-vous anglais?" (pronounced par-lay voo zon-glay) is one of the first questions you should groan when in the company of a lively Haitian or American special forces agent. If they reply with "oui" (pronounced "way" by most French speakers) or "yes," you can cut straight to the business of "brrrraaaains."
That is, unless you're feeling overmatched, in which case you may want to call out with a simple "Ici!" (pronounced ee-see) to tell your cadaverous comrades that "here" is something they should help you kill and eat. Then again, if you're in the presence of too many comrades and find yourself forced to claw through the throng, you can allay any irritation, as well as possibly some painful bites, with an occasional "pardon" (pronounced pahr-dohn, as though you have a stuffy nose).
In the event that you do find yourself in an unavoidable and dangerous confrontation with a heavily armed survivor, try shouting "Je vais a tuer!" (jhe vayz ah tueh), meaning "I am going to kill!" Even if that doesn't look to be true, you should never underestimate the power of positive thought.
Finally, if violence seems like it can only go in your enemy's favor, you can try this clever little phrase, "Ne tirez pas, je suis ivre seulement!" (pronounced nay tee-ray pah, jhe swee ee-vruh sew-lay-mon) meaning "Don't shoot, I am only drunk!" If you pronounce it that way, they'll probably believe you.Creole Phrases
Admittedly, complete Creole phrases are much harder to come across, but we have found a few terms and phrases that might come in handy for the intrepid zombie. Keep in mind the Creole pronunciation is easier phonetically than French, so you can pretty much groan and gurgle these as they're written.
Tactics and Combat
"Ki kote li ale?"--Where did he go?
"Kij an yo di...an kreyol?"--How do you say...in Creole?
"Tout ko mwen cho!"--I'm on fire!
"Nou ta vle manje."--We would like to eat.
"Kote Iopital Ia?"--Where is the hospital?
"Eske ou gen petit?"--Do you have any children?
While there's certainly much more to both languages, hopefully that is plenty for you to sink your teeth into now.
You may have heard of Left 4 Dead, the upcoming shooter from EA and Turtle Rock studios. It will be powered by a high-speed, ferocious zombie menace, as well as the Half-Life Source Engine. From the brief, terrifying looks we had, this game will bring video game zombies up to speed with our brothers and sisters in such movies as 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake.
No more embarassing deaths. No more begging for brains. No one will have time to say "They're coming to get you Bah-bara" because the zombies will already be there, on their faces, tearing off important pieces. Zombie's got your nose!
At its core, Left 4 Dead will be a squad-based shooter, so a team of survivors will be clinging to life on the edge of civilization, rather than simply racking up easy zombie kills on their way to the chopper. Even if they got there, where would they go? In Left 4 Dead, there isn't an isolated Racoon City--the whole world will be Racoon City. Even better, you won't be forced to play as a worthless human. Even though the game will provide nice weapons to the survivors, you'll also be able to roam the streets and rip off limbs as one of the four classes of "infected"--the game's foaming-at-the-mouth take on the zombie epidemic (in this case, it's rabies).
There will be boomers, smokers, tanks, and hunters. The boomer will vomit blood on victims, turning them into zombie magnets. The smoker has an equally disgusting talent, using its 50-foot-long wicked tongue to kill survivors. Eat your heart out, Gene Simmons. Or rather, let them.
While we still know relatively little about this game, you should be sure to devour our previews, screens, and videos here. When we have more, we'll serve it raw and wailing.
Thanks for reading this issue of Modern Zombie. We hope it's been educational, inspiring, and most importantly, evil. Remember: guns bad; French and Creole: good; and Left 4 Dead is the baby's brains. Although the unpredictability of zombie news may keep us from a regular publication schedule, don't be afraid to write in with stories of human conquest ("Ralph eat human! Then, Ralph eat other one.") or suggestions for future articles. Until next time, stay hungry.
Is something gnawing on you that you just have to get off your chest? Speak up, scream if you have to.