In general, there are two broad categories of “zombies” in fiction: magic zombies and science zombies. Magic zombies are exhumed corpses whose bodies are manipulated by necromancers, while science zombies are either reanimated corpses or humans driven into a savage mutant fury.
Either way, once you’re a zombie, you don’t usually have a lot of personality, not to mention good manners, but occasionally the negative aspects of zombification don’t quite take hold. This leaves someone who should obviously be dead, but retain both movement and sense of self.
ten Leif – Bug Fables: The Eternal Tree
At a glance, Leif appears to be an ordinary moth, though he has some unusual cryokinetic abilities. In reality, however, the bug that was Leif has been dead for many years. Leif was an explorer who worked as a scout under Queen Elizant I, but when a trip to Snakemouth Den went off course, Leif ended up dying and forgotten in the depths of the cave.
In fact, however, Snakemouth Den was also home to a secret cockroach lab, from which a special species of cordyceps mushroom escaped, found Leif’s corpse and took it over, inheriting his memories and personality in the process. The creature we know as “Leif” is more or less just an empty shell of a mushroom-ridden moth.
9 Harold – Fallout Series
When nukes fell in the alternate history of the Fallout series, many people were unable to get to shelter in time, or their shelters turned out to be inadequate. Those who weren’t immediately vaporized found themselves mutated into ghouls, humans in a near-perpetual state of decay who are cured by radiation.
While it’s not the best way to live a life, some ghouls chose to make the most of things, and Hiccup is a prime example. Despite being a ghoul, and one more old, Hiccup is still a kind and jovial person, more than willing to help wayward travelers.
8 Qiqi – Genshin Impact
Qiqi was raised from the dead by the Adepti as a zombie but was never given any particular order. With no specific reason to exist, she became an apprentice at Bubu Pharmacy. Qiqi is definitely dead but maintains an approximation of life with various tricks.
For example, to prevent rigor mortis from setting in, she maintains a strict calisthenics routine, and to aid her chronically foggy memory, she carries around a notebook full of reminders and memos. Qiqi cares very deeply for those she considers friends; she’s just not particularly good at expressing her emotions because of the whole “being dead” thing.
7 Rottytops – Shantae Series
In a land as rich in magic as Sequin Land, there is unsurprisingly no shortage of zombies. However, even when you’re a zombie, you can maintain your self-esteem quite easily by regularly drinking strong coffee.
Rottytops is one of those self-aware zombies, and although she has a reputation for being a troublemaker and a penchant for two-faces, she is a true, close friend to Shantae. She has threatened to eat Shantae’s brain several times, but she jokes. Most likely.
6 Squigly – Skullgirls
Whenever a new Skullgirl appears in the world, her incredible power automatically animates nearby corpses to serve as her minions. Sienna “Squigly” Contiello was one of the dead brought back to life when Marie became the Skullgirl, but thanks to the presence of the Parasite Leviathan in her body, she was able to resist the call of the Skull Heart and retain her sense of self.
Although Squigly can’t speak audibly because her mouth is sewn shut, those who can hear her inner voice can tell she’s still the same well-behaved young woman she was in life, and Leviathan is more than that. happy to stay with her, alive or dead.
5 Sir Daniel Fortesque – Medieval
When the evil wizard Zarok sought to raise an army of undead to conquer Gallowmere, he apparently didn’t give too much thought to it. who which he raised because one of the corpses he recalled belonged to Sir Daniel Fortesque, the late captain of the king’s army.
Sir Dan wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of chivalry in life, being the very first cause of the conflict he died in, and becoming a corpse did him no favors. Even so, the fire of chivalry still burned in his chest, and he sought to defeat Zarok and save the kingdom once and for all, both to fulfill his duty and to go back to sleep.
4 Tutankhamun – Sphinx and the cursed mummy
In order to take over the world, the evil god Set posed as Akhenaten, Prince of Egypt, intent on assuming the throne and the absolute power that came with it. The problem is that Akhenaten was second in line to become king behind his younger brother Tutankhamun.
To get Tut out of the way, Set kidnapped him and drained most of his life force, leaving him as nothing more than a mummy barely clinging to life. Even as a lanky mummy, however, Tut was more than willing to throw himself into harm’s way if it would help put an end to Set’s plans and restore his life. It definitely helped that his enchanted body was completely immune to physical damage.
3 Auron – Final Fantasy X
Life is a bit of a complicated concept in Spira; when someone dies, a summoner must direct the pyreflys, little energetic spiritual things, that make up their body to a place known as the Farplane, which is much like a tangible afterlife. However, someone with a strong conviction can remain corporeal even after a supposed death. These people are known as the Unsent, and most of them are fools.
Auron is a rare exception, for although he is an Unsent, he is not driven by a grudge like most of them. Rather, it is his desire to protect and help Tidus carry out Jecht’s last wishes that drives him to continue. If you want to get technical about it, Auron is more of a ghost than a zombie, but he has a tangible form, and he’s supposed be dead, so it’s pretty close.
2 Wicked K – Darksiders Series
Although there are real undead in the Legions of Hell, the villains are more like traditional zombies; scattered human corpses left behind by the Apocalypse that were enlivened by ambient demonic energy. The majority of these creatures are vicious and violent, not to mention dumb as a bag of hammers, but there is one exception: Wicked Killington, or Wicked K for short.
Despite being a villain, K not only maintains his sense of self, but is downright gentlemanly. He’s still pretty violent, but he’ll at least greet you with a pleasant bow and a how-to before punching you in the face.
1 Ethan Winters – Resident Evil Series
As revealed in the climax of Resident Evil Village, when Ethan entered the Baker Estate in the previous game, he was quickly infected with Eveline’s Mold. When Jack Baker stomped on him, he should have died on the spot, but the mold in his body quickly absorbed his biomass and kept him going as some sort of…rough approximation of a human being.
While he’s not exactly the same kind of creature as the full-fledged zombies in other Resident Evil games, it’s a fact that Ethan is definitely not meant to be alive. That certainly didn’t stop him from risking it all to save Mia and Rose, and that makes him quite the guy.
NEXT: Best Zombie Game Survivors, Ranked
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