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An Island Of The Dead – Spreading The Retro Zombie Love

Love them or hate them, zombies are a staple of horror gaming – as the current popularity of the Resident Evil 4 remake and Dead Island 2 proves. Join Antstream Arcade as we delve into our archive to bring you seven gloriously rotten zombies from our vast collection of retro games, demonstrating there’s still plenty of life left in the undead! Let the shambling begin!

Game: Frightmare

Publisher: Cascade

Platform: C64

Cascade’s Frightmare is a ghastly tale laden with all manner of spooks and undead creatures as the player explores their own sleeping mind. Zombified severed hands haunt several morbid locations, as do demons, wild dogs, enormous trolls and more. Frightmare’s zombies are green and sodden, as if they have literally just emerged from the ground, their arms outstretched and ready to bestow a soul-crushing embrace.

Ant-Fact: Visiting a room adds six minutes to the clock, and if you can make it to 8:12 AM, you wake up and the nightmare is over. However, Frightmare is one of the most brutal C64 games and an almost impossible dream to escape.

Publisher: Data East

Platform: Arcade

One or two heroes take on Zenon, an evil wizard, in this arcade fantasy game. Zenon plans to open the sacred Dragon Shrine, unleashing a torrent of undead upon the land. A legion of gruesome minions, including these gloriously ungainly zombies, stand in your way. Arms raised in the classic undead pose, these creepy rotters are of little threat at a distance – but watch out when they get closer as they need no second invitation to snack on your neck!

Ant-Fact: Wizard Fire is the sequel to Dark Seal (also available on Antstream Arcade). In Western territories, Dark Seal was also known as Gate Of Doom.

Publisher: Codemasters

Platform: Sinclair ZX Spectrum

“Ghost Hunters!” screeches from the speakers as this spooky game from the famed Oliver Twins begins. Your mission: infiltrate the appropriately-named Nightmare Mansion, locate your imprisoned brother and escape together – preferably without losing your slender grip on sanity! Not long after entering the mansion, you will encounter your first zombie, rising improbably from the floor. Better shoot it with the Phantom Splatterer before it has your brains for breakfast.

Ant-Fact: In Ghost Hunters’ novel two-player mode, the second player takes control of the on-screen gun sights while the other moves the character around the mansion.

Game: Search And Rescue – SAR

Publisher: SNK

Platform: Arcade

It’s back to the arcades for our next zombie – this time with a sci-fi twist! A team of tough space marines is rescuing innocents from a stricken spaceship. Aliens have invaded and are turning the inhabitants into remorseless zombies. Thankfully these soldiers are heavily armed with machine guns, rocket launchers and flamethrowers – let’s toast some zombie scum!

Ant-Fact: Search And Rescue is a spiritual follow-up to SNK’s earlier run and gun games, such as Ikari Warriors and Guerilla War. It was also the last game from the company to use its innovative rotary controller.

Publisher: The RamJam Corporation

Platform: Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Meet the bespectacled former accountant-turned-vampire-hunter, Mr Weems. Having forced his way into the towering Mansion Of The She Vampires, Mr Weems is determined to eradicate its undead residents using his rapid-fire garlic gun. But, unfortunately, it isn’t just vampires that this ex-accountant faces up against: zombie-like Frankenstein creatures also haunt his every move, sapping his blood count should they touch him. Fortunately, in this world, garlic is also effective against zombies. That’s fortunate!

Ant-Fact: According to a report in Sinclair User magazine, Mr Weems’s original title was The Astonishing Adventures Of Mr Weames And The Sex Vampires, before it underwent a wise name change.

Publisher: SNK

Platform: Arcade

What’s worse than a city overrun with zombies? Easy. A city overrun with gun-wielding zombies! SNK’s on-rails shooter Beast Busters is quite like nothing else, with the player’s militia soldier battling to escape the zombie-infested metropolis. Fortunately, your rapid-fire machine gun explodes the blue-skinned monstrosities in a pulpy crimson mess, but there’s a whole army of the undead between you and salvation – can you escape this doomed city?

Ant-Fact: Capcom’s famous Resident Evil series evokes many of Beast Busters’ themes and elements. There are rampaging zombie dogs and birds, sinister scientists and their dodgy biological experiments, plus, of course, a horde of rampaging undead!

Publisher: LucasArts

Platform: Sega Mega Drive

The insane Dr Tongue has created an army of undead monsters and unleashed them on nearby suburban areas. Why? Because he’s mad – he doesn’t need a reason! Consequently, two teenage friends arm themselves and patrol the streets and houses of their local neighbourhood, taking the fight to Dr Tongue’s nefarious throng of noxious beasties. Among vampires, werewolves and aliens are the eponymous zombies, lurching their way across the town, arms clamouring for the flesh of Zeke and Julie’s terror-stricken neighbours. With their decomposing grey skin and a narrow slick of blood oozing from their mouths, only you can stop these hideous undead monsters before they gorge on the flesh of the town’s residents.

Ant-Fact: Zombies Ate My Neighbours is a splendid homage to classic horror movies, from its music and visuals to the familiar tropes of the genre. For example, vampires and werewolves are much more vulnerable to crucifixes and silverware, respectively.

All these zombies and more are waiting for you on Antstream Arcade! To chat with fellow Antstreamers about zombies or retrogaming in general, head over to the Antstream Arcade Discord server at - just don’t get bitten on the way in!

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