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Elite Zombie

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"Run or shoot? Run or shoot!?" "Both!"

Everybody, both in-universe and out, in a Left 4 Dead game

Okay, a Zombie Apocalypse is cool and all, but the audience is getting tired of the usual zombie, shambling and shuffling and moaning with no variation in their tactics or dramatic potential. So, what does a writer do? Why, give the zombies superpowers, of course! Yes, this very specific combination of Our Zombies Are Different and Elite Mook. When regular zombies aren't enough, they give the zombies special abilities.

These can include strength, stamina, speed, intelligence (from Artificial Stupidity to normal human to Artificial Brilliance) to more esoteric Magic and Powers, such as ranged attacks, usually in the form of bile or acid for the disease and horror theme, the ability to leap huge distances and cling to walls and ceilings for drop scares, and fangs and claws for deadlier melee attacks.

There are a number of recurring elite zombie types used in various zombie media:

  • Brutes - The Mighty Glacier of the zombie world. These guys usually have increased muscle mass and size, and can dish out much more damage than the other zombie forms. They're usually either extremely slow and lumbering or as fast as regular zombies, though there are exceptions.
  • Armored Zombies - Undead Stone Walls. These types were typically once soldiers or SWATs and are still wearing their old body armor. Unlike brutes, they are practically the same as regulars, only tougher, especially against firearms, and will sometimes act (intentionally or not) as meat shields to other more fragile zombies behind them.
  • Elemental Zombie - When the undead are not merely shambling corpses, but wield elements such as fire or ice.
  • Hazmat Zombies - Former doctors and researchers whose protective suits protect them from environmental hazards, most notably fire. Their air tanks will explode under pressure, making them a sort of mini-Boomer.
  • Ferals/Hunters/Stalkers - As the name implies, these zombies act like predators. They love to ambush and pounce on unsuspecting survivors and are usually more quick and agile than their shambling brethren. Due to their predatory nature, they are a bit smarter as well. Sharp claws and teeth mutations seem optional. They are usually seen moving on all fours and acting bestial. Sometimes they can even crawl on walls and ceilings.
  • Runners - In some zombie settings these guys are the norm, but in other, more traditional settings where slow shambling zombies are the norm these guys are pretty much considered a class of elite zombie all their own. They're not as cunning as feral zombies but what they lack in intelligence they make up for in speed. They are especially dangerous in traditional zombie settings as survivors will often be caught off guard as one or a pack of them starts running after them when they're expecting zombies to be slow moving, breaking their routine anti-zombie tactics that they've built up over the years of fighting the undead.
  • Undead Animals - The "animalistic" zombie taken to its logical conclusion. Usually restricted to domestic animals such as dogs and cats (see: Resident Evil and Pet Sematary) and the odd household rodent. Of curious note is that this version tends to be limited to animals one might find around the house, meaning that one is more likely to encounter a zombified dog than they are, say, a zombified chimpanzee. If other animal species are allowed, expect it to be predatory or scavenger species such as wolves, bears, and perhaps carrion birds. Note, however, that a zombified bear would be more of a Brute zombie than a Stalker, and a zombified wolf with enough of its instincts intact might also double as a Screamer, howling to draw in other zombies.
  • Screamers - Their specialization is to call out to any other zombies around, usually via screaming or screeching. They are usually less physically threatening than other zombies, having disabilities like the lack of arms or bound ones (usually a straitjacket), thus forcing them to rely on their calls to defend themselves. Their screams can occasionally cause damage.
  • Turducken Zombies - Two zombies (or more) occupying the same body, like Russian nesting dolls of death. These are rare given the size limitations of most zombies, but do show up from time to time when multiple beings of vastly different sizes are infected by the plague/curse of zombification. (See: Snow White Zombie Apocalypse and Dungeons & Dragons)
  • Vomit Zombies - These zombies use their gastric juices as weapons. Sometimes they produce other fluids that cause a different effect, such as slowing survivors down, making them more vulnerable to attack, or attracting more zombies to them. They usually appear with bloated bodies and/or mutated mouths. Sometimes they are also highly contagious and able to spread the zombie virus very quickly. Their remains are usually highly acidic or toxic even post-"death", and they may even burst into a cloud of poison when destroyed.
    • Boomers/Bloaters - A subcategory of vomit zombies. These guys are almost always bloated. Instead of using their vomit as as projectile (though they still might within limits), they use their gastric juices to build up pressure, making them (un)living water (acid?) balloons that explode when they take enough damage (sometimes even exploding on contact or close proximity), covering anyone nearby with acid or some other hideous liquid. These will definitely burst when destroyed. Keep your distance.
    • Spitters - A more specialized vomit zombie that can spit their bodily fluids with extreme velocity and range. They usually appear with heavily mutated heads.
  • Regenerators - They usually have the same toughness as regular zombies but they heal wounds incredibly swiftly and regenerate limbs. How fast they regenerate varies. Sometimes they must feed in order to accomplish this. Sometimes other elite zombie types have this ability as well.
    • Mutating Zombies - Regenerators to extremes. The longer they survive, the more they feed, the stronger and more dangerous they become, often gaining the properties of the other elite zombie types and more in extreme cases. This is often a sign that these zombies were experimented on.
  • Smart Zombies - These guys are usually very rare but are extremely dangerous. They possess increased problem solving skills (so don't expect a door knob to stymie them for long) and are capable of using tools, usually melee weapons. They sometimes even lead the horde towards survivor camps and help them avoid and overcome traps.
    • Zombie Person - A smart zombie taken to its logical extreme. He or she is just like any other person except for the decaying body and the need to eat people. They can talk, reason and have a sense of morality. Their problem-solving skills and tool-use are almost human, albeit a bit sluggish. Their recall ranges from photographic memory of their human existence to total amnesia. Some of them constantly struggle and fight off the urge to eat humans while others relish it. Depending on the fictional work, their intelligence and memory may or may not gradually deteriorate through time and damage until they become just like the others. Sometimes it's the reverse: a regular zombie becoming smarter and smarter with age and experience.
    • Horde Master - Smart zombies who lead and command a horde. How they accomplish this or how they came to be varies, and is often left ambiguous. You can often see them pointing, moaning and groaning towards things they want the horde to interact with, or alternatively to stop them from doing something. Zombie hordes with a horde master within their ranks are often the most dangerous because they're organized.
    • Soldier Zombie - A cross between the Armored Zombie and the Smart Zombie. Intelligence depends on the work, but they tend to be police or soldiers in origin, and are marked by their ability to use firearms. Their tactical cognizance can range from being just as effective as real soldiers, to mindless zombies holding guns, firing at complete random and usually with no accuracy to speak of. Common in zombie-centric Video Games, providing a ranged variety of zombie to fight, and one that can drop firearms to use as well.
  • Trap Zombies - Zombies that use deception to lure survivors to them or just make themselves seem harmless. There are a number of types depending on what method they use:
    • Possums - The most common one. These zombies like to play dead (very convincingly, since they are technically "dead") until a survivor is close enough for them to catch. Players are almost always wise to this tactic now, but there may not be anything they can do about it.
    • "Help Me" Zombies - Zombies that lure survivors by mimicking a survivor calling for help, usually by crying or by literally saying "help me" over and over again, appealing to compassion to stage an ambush, or outright explode after baiting a survivor to approach them.
    • Zombie Mine - A combo of possum zombie and boomer/bloater. These zombies spend their time lying on the ground often amongst regular corpses or shallowly buried beneath dirt or debris. Once someone steps on them or in close proximity to them they explode and release whatever nasty stuff was inside them onto the unsuspecting victim. This could be something like acid, toxic gas, viscious swarms of grub (which are often unusually ravenous maggots or spiders), infectious substances or even a cluster of deadly tentacles that grab, entangle and pierce. This is often times what boomers or bloaters usually do when they're in a dormant state. Other times it's because they've grown so heavy and bloated that they can't move much anymore and are now resorting to this tactic.
  • Pregnants - Pregnant women who have turned into zombies along with the child they're carrying. Killing the mother would often lead to a nasty surprise as the baby will suddenly burst out of the mother's womb and get any unsuspecting survivors. Frequently the smaller zombie moves with unusual speed, or acts similar to a Possum Zombie.
  • Child Zombies - Usually found at playgrounds and schools. They typically move much quicker than their adult counterparts due to their small size and are quite numerous as well. Adding the fact that they're children may cause hesitation in killing them, especially for adult survivors who have just encountered zombies for the first times and/or have children of their own. Sometimes a survivor develops a bond with a child zombie, possibly because it was his/her own child or foster child, and hide them from other survivors. This usually leads to an infestation from inside the camp or the keeper in question going rogue if the other survivors discover their secret.
  • Enhanced Zombies - Regular zombies that have been enhanced by some external means, either artificially (via biological manipulation, cybernetics and/or necromancy), or naturally (via the right environmental conditions or exposure). These types of zombies often overlap with other elite zombie types ability-wise. Sometimes they may even occur naturally due to the nature of the setting in question. These types of elite zombies come in cybernetic, biological, and arcane varieties. A combination of some or all of these aspects may even appear.
    • Cyber-Zombies - A more technological subcategory of the enhanced zombie. Basically a regular zombie put into the chopshop and grafted with various mechanical gadgets, computer implants, bionic limbs, and integrated weaponry. May or may not include machine assisted limbs (or replaced with cybernetics), arm cannons, sharp metal claw blades, chipped brains, bionic eyes (that may or may not shoot lasers) and many other augmentations. Said machinery may be the reason why it's animated in the first place. The operator may have died or was killed, leaving only their mechanical half to drive the body around like a grotesque meat puppet. Other times corporations are responsible for making these abominations (either through captured "wild" zombie or intentionally infecting a test subject) for their own nefarious purposes.
    • Bio-Zombies - The other, more biological branch of the enhanced zombie. Instead of relying on tech to further enhance the zombie's capabilities, scientists opted for a more biological approach. Relying on exotic/experimental drugs, compounds and other substances, gene or behavior altering viruses and microbes, invasive parasites and extensive surgical modifications; sometimes even a combination of all of the above for maximum effect. In some settings where there are other extreme biohazards present, these types of zombies may even occasionally occur naturally in the wild. Their rarity depends on the proximity between the local zombie plague and the other biohazard(s). The closer they are the more frequently these zombie types are encountered.
  • And then there are the less common, but equally plentiful Elder Zombies, which are old, very smart like Horde Master types but less inclined to eat or kill living people. However, they will still curb-stomp your face in if you annoy them or don't leave them to their own devices. These ones may end up crossing over with the archetype Revenant Zombies if they have a purpose.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is the Undead Abomination, the most powerful and dangerous of Zombies. Can take on many forms ranging from either Body of Bodies to writhing masses of decaying flesh and blood to zombified deities. Regardless of which type they fall in, they're easily the hardest zombie type to kill. Decapitating it won't work, shooting it won't work. The only way to down this thing would be to burn every part of it to a crisp, cryogenically freeze it, or straight-up Nuke 'em to kingdom come.

This is most common in Video Games to add variation in combat.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cells at Work! depicts pathogen shifts by making virus-infected cells mutator zombies. Influenza-B causes standard zombies, but if they shift to type A or C, they grow Combat Tentacles and/or bigger muscles.
  • Hellsing has a short-lived appearance of soldier zombies. According to the manga's vampire rules, ghouls are vampire victims that don't qualify for conversion into new vampires, and often are just shambling, brain-dead symptoms of a vampire attack. However, a pair of early arc villains figure out how to suit up their ghouls with tactical equipment, steel shields and submachine guns. They're still dumb as rocks — only able to walk, shoot, hold their shields and refrain from eating humans immediately — but two busloads of them are enough to kill all the armed soldiers at Hellsing HQ.
  • I Am a Hero features pretty much all of these at some point or another. There are fast infant zombies, a pregnant woman later dragged along by her infant after her death, fast "combat-type" zombies, Flesh Golem style brutes, smart zombies that have some of their sanity kept intact to achieve a goal, and Human Zombies who have human level intelligence coupled with super strength and speed. Enormous Flesh Golems called Hives begin to form later, and the series has at least one Horde Master, although she is short-lived.
  • One Piece gives us the General Zombies used by Gecko Moria. Unlike the normal zombies, who are animated by the shadows stolen from ordinary people, General Zombies have shadows taken from elite fighters like high-ranking soldiers and high-bounty pirates. To ensure these zombies can use their borrowed fighting power effectively, their undead bodies are made from high-quality corpses; When Sanji's shadow was stolen, it was put inside a penguin's corpse which couldn't do his attacks properly because Moria didn't recognize him due to his badly-drawn wanted poster. Luffy's shadow was put inside the massive, ancient giant Oars; part of what made Oars so dangerous was because on top of his absurd size and strength, it had Luffy's nimble fighting style.

    Comic Books 
  • Blackest Night uses dead superhumans who, on top of retaining all the powers they had in life, are also granted an equivalent to Green Lantern ring powers as well as high regeneration that makes them hard to keep down.
  • Crossed: The common infected are basically barely sapient psychopaths who will torture/rape/murder anything in their paths. Nevertheless, there are cases of infected who retained human level intellect while still being thoroughly evil and sadistic. The best example is probably "Smokey" who appears in the "Quisling" arc. A large, bald infected wearing a firefighter's jacket, hence his moniker, he was able to keep other crossed of his band on check and was smart enough to plan the launching of a nuclear arsenal of a military base in Florida.
  • In the Judge Dredd story arc "Judgement Day", the Judges are fighting off a Zombie Apocalypse of regular flesh-eating zombies who can be easily mowed down, only being dangerous due to their vast numbers. The necromancer who is controlling them later crafts a group of muscular zombie mooks who are far more durable and dangerous, making mince meat of much of Judge Dredd's strike force.
  • Almost literally invoked with the superhero and supervillain zombies in Marvel Zombies.
  • Rapunzel fights one of these in Snow White Zombie Apocalypse in the form of a Big Bad Wolf Zombie with a granny zombie inside.
  • In Zombies Christmas Carol's Bad Future, with the majority of undead converged into a single mind, Scrooge becomes the zombies' leader.
  • In the Chilean comic Zombies en la Moneda, none other than Augusto Pinochet ends up transforming into an elite zombie. He is very intelligent (he even becomes the new president of Chile), he has an almost-normal appearance with no signs of decomposition, he can apparently control other zombies, and he is very strong and resistant.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Army of the Dead, there are three types of zombie. The shamblers are your normal, slow-moving walkers straight out of the Living Dead Series or The Walking Dead, with the added weakness that they dry out and desiccate in the desert heat of Las Vegas. Above them are the alphas, who can run and retain enough intelligence to organize and show some measure of emotion, functioning more like Space Orcs than traditional zombies. Finally, the alphas' leader Zeus is an escaped military experiment who is stronger and smarter than all the rest. His bites turn people into alphas, and he retains enough intelligence to know to put on a metal helmet to deflect headshots. And Zeus' Alpha "Queen" can be pregnant.
  • The horrible rat-monkey/Freudian symbolism giant mother zombie in BrainDead counts for this.
  • In a mild example, one character in Cockneys vs. Zombies has a metal plate in his forehead due to an old injury. When he gets zombified and the other characters try to shoot him in the head, the bullets just glance off the plate. They deal with him by sticking a small explosive in his mouth and blowing his head to bits.
  • Daylight's End: The Alpha is a ruthlessly intelligent zombie who has organized the local zombies to use tactics to corner and wear down the Dallas survivors, who have been reduced to trying to flee the city. He's also seemingly impervious to bullets (although that turns out to be because he's wearing body armor).
  • Doom has three possible outcomes. If you aren't awesome, you become a zombie. If you're awesome but evil, you become a monster. If you're awesome and good, you just become more awesome.
  • In Frankenstein's Army, a descendant of the original Frankenstein constructs dozens of Elite Zombie variants for the Nazi war machine, using surgery, electrical reanimation, and Diesel Punk cyborg modifications.
  • The Resident Evil Film Series follows in the footsteps of the games, but the only true elite zombies would have to be the ones locked in the crate outside Las Vegas in Resident Evil: Extinction. The second film also features zombie children, and a few Mutant Zombies appear throughout the franchise.
  • In Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, there are two of these who turn out to be the main character's parents. The male has miniguns for arms, while the female has circular saws for hands.
  • Dragonetti becomes one at the end of Die Zombiejager.
  • Zombieland: Double Tap introduces these. First, an inversion with Fat Idiot Dead Weight zombies even less intelligent than regular Zombies, who are called Homer (after Homer Simpson). Then there's smart zombies called Hawking, named after Stephen Hawking. Then there's the Ninja zombies, which are an offshoot of smart zombies, and are stealthy. Later in the film, we see Terminator zombies, which are abnormally tough and able to survive multiple gunshot wounds and appear to be physically stronger as well.

  • Day by Day Armageddon from Permuted Press has much deadlier zombies nicknamed 'The Talented Tenth' by Kilgore (due to 1 in 10 typically being one). They're the result of people killed by nuclear fallout rather than bites and in addition to a body that won't rot (since it's too radioactive for bacteria to break it down), the radiation has preserved their muscles and higher brain functions meaning they can run and possess some reasoning abilities like tracking, playing dead, ambushes, and using weapons. Also, since they're radioactive, merely getting too close to one can result in radiation infection, death, and reanimation as another Tenth.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • All zombies have superhuman strength and endurance, as Harry explains that there's not much point in working powerful and illegal dark magic to create a dead guy that shambles around in the vaguely pathetic fashion of a typical movie zombie.
    • A zombie's power is proportional to A. how much of the 'original' is left, and B. its age. Most of the zombies in Dead Beat are, at most, 100-200 years old or so. To fight back, Dresden animates Sue, the T. Rex skeleton in the Chicago Museum, which is one of the most complete Rex skeletons in the world, and 65 million years dead.
    • Humans are preferred for zombies because they tend to make better zombies than animals, but it's Black Magic of the highest order (like, 'chop your head off'-highest order), hence why the bad guys might not consider Sue in favor of human corpses.
  • There are several undead in The Forsaken Children, including smart zombies, zombies that can teleport as a cloud of ash, zombies that use sea fauna as makeshift armor, et cetera.
  • In Masques, Aralorn faces undead who can talk, in the voices of the people they once were. This is highly unusual, as the standard zombie in that setting is very dumb, has no memory of the human being it was, and the pre-improvement zombie wasn't even able to carry out orders. The ae'Magi has made some improvements. He can even ask the undead who once were Aralorn's friends about her weaknesses.
  • In Night of the Assholes, after becoming an asshole, Todd claims that some assholes are more advanced than others and are acting as leaders in the new world order. Since some of the assholes seen have been Master Race proponents and Adolf Hitler, this is likely just him being an asshole by acting superior.
  • The spy thriller/zombie apocalypse novel Patient Zero features generic Middle Eastern Terrorists planning to destroy western civilization by infecting the president of the United States and members of Congress with the zombie plague, while giving themselves an improved version that gives them all the advantages of zombiedom without turning them into homicidal flesh-craving lunatics.
  • The Radiant Dawn is chock-full of these. "Cavaliers" are the name given to the sergeants, Horde Masters who ride on undead animals into battle and act as conduits for Aaron's psychic control over his horde. "Flesh golems" are Brutes, monstrous creatures created by magically stitching together pieces of many corpses. Then there are the necromancers, Enhanced Zombies that can open portals to summon in undead and cast offensive spells, along with Aaron and Stacie Murphy themselves.
  • In Warbreaker, Kalad's Phantoms (animated skeletons encased in stone statues) are The Brute to the regular Lifeless. Alternately, Lifeless could be regarded as Smart Zombies in their own right, since the chief advantage they have over other Awakened constructs is the ability to take orders and react to their surroundings. Most Awakened items just follow whatever Command they were given during the Awakening.
  • In World War Z, the crew of a nuclear submarine fears the creation of Elite Zombies in the event of a nuclear war, because of the effects that radiation-induced mutations could have on creatures incapable of being killed by them. The trope is averted in the actual plot, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All of Us Are Dead: Gwi-nam, Nam-ra and Eun-Ji retain their sentience, have Super-Strength, Super-Toughness enhanced smell and hearing and don't have to worry about being attacked by regular zombies, however they still have urge for flesh (although it can be controlled, and human flesh isn't necessary) and can spread the virus, although anybody they infect turn into regular zombies.
  • Game of Thrones features undead giants as heavy infantry in the Night King's army, and eventually an undead dragon.
  • iZombie: Most of the named zombies shown in the show so far are of the "smart" variety. Their personality is largely unchanged from when they were alive, but they have to eat some brains once in a while to maintain their higher brain functions, lest they degrade into a typical Romero zombie. As demonstrated with a friend of Liv's, going without brains for about six months turns a "smart" zombie into a mindless one permanently. All "smart" zombies try to maintain the Masquerade by clipping their fingernails short (to avoid scratching and infecting anyone) and generally avoid sex with humans (fluid transfer can also lead to infection). They usually apply make-up every morning and dye their hair (zombies have white hair and an extremely pale complexion) to pass for a human. Liv is an exception in that she keeps her white hair and pale looks, simply claiming it's her new lifestyle. A side effect of eating brains is a temporary transfer of memories, skills, and personality traits of the deceased to the zombie. This usually lasts either for about a day or until a new brain is consumed. This can either be funny (e.g., Liv becoming overly maternal after eating the brain of a woman who has just given birth; Lowell becoming gay for a day) to disturbing (e.g., Liv becoming a remorseless sociopath after eating the brain of a hitman). Additionally, adrenaline can also cause "smart" zombies to go into "full-on zombie mode" (or "rage out"), during which their eyes go red, their strength increases, and they act feral. This is why Lowell no longer performs in public, as going on stage gives him a typical adrenalin surge, which can end badly with a whole room full of cheering brains.
  • The Monster of the Week species of Kamen Rider 555, the Orphnochs, are this combined with Revenant Zombie, since turning into one just gives them a new transformation that they can switch back to human form from with powers without any loss of sapience or even personality, psychological problems aside. Despite originating as humans, they somehow count as Animal Zombie-types as nearly all of them have motifs and abilities akin to their animal forms. Some, like Yuji Kiba, the Horse Orphnoch, can mutate their bodies into having more animal-like traits, in Kiba's case, gaining a centaur form.
  • Discussed in the Legends of Tomorrow episode "I Am Legends". During a Zombie Apocalypse, some soldiers mistake the Legends for zombies and shoot Ava in the head. The Legends try explaining that they're not zombies, but then Ava (having drunk from a chalice of Immortality earlier) stands back up, and the soldiers decide they're dealing with a new breed of zombies that are immune to headshots. When the Legends point out that, unlike zombies, they can talk, the soldiers just conclude, "The super-zombies have become sentient!"
  • The Walking Dead (2010) for the most part does not feature these, but in the third season, Rick Grimes and the other survivors go to a prison and encounter zombies wearing riot gear.
    • Season 11 introduced the "Variant" walkers, who retain human intelligence to climb obstacles and barricades.
  • Z Nation seems to enjoy this trope. You've got glowing, radioactive zombies; zombies that are hopped up on meth, enhancing their speed and aggression; "Blasters", which emerged in the wake of a nuclear explosion and are faster, stronger, and smarter than their brethren; odd plant/zombie hybrids called "Phyto Zombies"; and various flavors of zombie/human hybrid. Murphy, who was given an experimental vaccine that renders him immune to the virus, eventually starts to develop zombie-like characteristics while retaining his intelligence, along with the psychic ability to control nearby zombies. He rarely gets the urge to bite people, but when he does, they don't die; instead, his bite transmits the vaccine, making others into hybrids like himself. These hybrids can be controlled like any other zombie, but their behavior varies. When Cassandra was bitten, she became feral and would often stand on all fours, growl, and sniff people like a dog. A group of humans given a "cure" synthesized from Murphy's blood gained superhuman durability and could survive any wound that didn't destroy the brain. After Murphy impregnates a human woman, she gives birth to a monstrous baby whose cry summons nearby zombies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten contains rules for many different zombie scenarios, with a chapter devoted to customizing the undead. The various settings and fiction pieces in the book include zombie dogs and cows, intelligent zombies, and zombies that can control the weather and/or other zombies.
  • The d20 Modern sourcebook d20 Apocalypse introduces the Viral Deathspawn template. Viral Deathspawns can infect others with the zombie virus, and they actually only have a -2 intelligence modifier. It means your average zombie has an IQ a bit below the human average.
  • There are many, many different varieties of zombie and other undead in Dungeons & Dragons; they're basically magical constructs pumped up with bad energy from the Negative Energy Plane/Shadowfell.
    • One of the oldest types is the juju zombie, which retains most of its intelligence and personality from when it was alive. The zombie lord is basically a zombie "boss" that can create and control other zombies.
    • Then there are monsters like undead dragons. All the power of a dragon with none of the squishy weaknesses of the living! (Of course, Revive Kills Zombie is still an option...)
    • The Bleakborn, or Moil Zombies from Forgotten Realms is a particularly nasty variant of this. It often lays dormant, albeit obvious due to the frozen appearance of the corpse. The problem is its Heat-Draining Aura ability, which deals 2d6 Cold damage to every living thing per turn while healing the zombie for the same. This aura also makes it immune, and in fact healed by fire attacks. And even if you take it down, the Aura will remain active as an attempt to heal itself and given enough time and living creatures to drain heat from, it will stand back to its feet.
    • The skeleton warrior is a more powerful variant of the basic skeleton that retains more of the combat skills it had in life.
    • There also are several kinds of undead that aren't particularly strong but have unusual abilities. The crypt thing is a smart skeleton that can teleport other people. The eye of fear and flame is a smart skeleton with two magical gems placed in its eye sockets that give it fire-based and fear-based attacks. The slaymate is an Undead Child that boosts the power of necromantic spells cast near it and so is very sought out by necromancers.
    • For humanoid undead some of the most powerful are Death Knights and Liches and a handful of other similar monsters that are the undead forms of high-level humanoids that fully keep their minds and skills in undeath.
    • Even more powerful are creatures like the atropals, which are the undead forms of divine beings who were stillborn, and the dreaded Atropus himself, who is an undead creature the size of a small moon that also has several kinds of elite undead just living on its surface.
  • Last Night on Earth features multiple flavors of this — the basic game had the fallen Heroes rising as tougher, faster-moving Zombie Heroes, the first large expansion offered Grave Dead with unique abilities (extra toughness, speed, or attack power), and then later powerful zombies wielding weapons and special traits of more pronounced nature — such as the Crawling Torso, or the rather dense zombie who died carrying dynamite...
  • Magic: The Gathering has many cards under the Zombie creature type that fit this trope. Some of the many effects Zombies can have include reanimating other creatures as zombies, making zombies hurt your opponent when they die, reanimating themselves, sacrificing other creatures to do something useful, and granting all Zombies abilities or a boost in power.
  • In Nechronica the players take on the role of Dolls — undead girls capable of thought and feeling — and fight against the Necromancer and his minions, even though it is the Necromancer who created the Dolls in the first place, as simple amusement or decoration for this rotting, undead world.
  • Red Markets:
    • Aberrants can be nearly any type listed above and then some, such as one that stalks a person who they were close to in life, and another whose Blight grows into the ground and shoot up at anyone who comes too close.
    • Vectors are something of an inversion, they're Runners who are the first stage of any normal Blight infection, but by the time of the game setting most Vectors have died and risen as shambling Casualties. The addition of a newly infected Vector, or an Aberrant who remained a Vector, can greatly complicate a mission that was only expecting Casualties.
  • Unhallowed Metropolis has the zombie lords — animates with intelligence that can telepathically coordinate normal animates. Three or four of these working together can field a virtual army of the undead capable of coordinating their attacks for maximum effectiveness.
  • In Zombicide, the Walkers are your typical, slow-moving zombies. Then, there are the Fatties, who are basically Walkers, except they can take way more punishment. The next steps up are the Abominations, which are basically tougher, slower Fatties; and the Runners, who are fast versions of Walkers. The Toxic City Mall expansion adds toxic zombies, who are divided among the four categories and release a cloud of toxic gas upon dying, causing injuries to every survivor in the same area as them unless they have a skill making them immune, or are carrying a gas mask. The Prison Outbreak standalone expansion adds Berserker zombies, who are also divided in the four aforementioned categories. Berserker zombies are zombies who are Immune to Bullets and can only be hurt in close-quarters combat.

    Video Games 
  • Bloody Zombies, being a video game where all onscreen enemies are zombies, have some powerful varieties:
    • Teleporting zombies, which can appear and disappear across the area repeatedly, porting around you to take potshots, which is undesirable when you're already busy fighting assorted undead.
    • Muscular Zombies, one who serves as the first boss before becoming degraded to Giant Mook level. Their limbs alone are larger than low-level zombies, they can deal a lot of damage as well as taking a lot of punishment before dying.
    • Tentacled zombies have the ability to stab their tentacles into the ground, which causes dozens and dozens of smaller tentacles to burst from the surface. You can lose a lot of health from getting skewered repeatedly by these enemy types.
    • The zombie bosses all towers above you, being multiple bodies stitched together, most of them having multiple limbs all at once.
  • Cataclysm has standard shambling zombies as your most basic monster, but includes more powerful Left 4 Dead expies, electrified zombies, zombie animals, and just about all the others on the list as enemies, with a few twists:
    • All zombies are Regenerators. Do enough damage, and they'll fall down and stop moving. But unless the body is destroyed, after some time they'll get back up. Zombie Necromancers can also quickly heal downed zombies.
    • All zombies are also Mutating. Over time, the rate at which standard zombies show up goes down while the rate at which Elites show up increases, until most of the zombies encountered are some sort of Elite. Zombie Masters can cause zombies around them to rapidly Mutate.
    • Most of the various Brute types are actually faster than regular zombies.
    • Skeletal zombies are the primary Armored zombie — they're covered in tough bone plates that at higher tiers can deflect everything that isn't high-powered weaponry. There's also an enemy called the Armored Zombie, which is a soldier who died while wearing power armor.
    • Hazmat zombies do not explode when killed. That honor goes to Gasoline and Napalm zombies.
    • In addition to the carnivores listed in the main entry, non-carnivore animals that are large enough, such as deer or moose, can become Undead Animals.
    • Ferals are Technically Living Zombies who are Smart enough to use melee weapons, throw rocks, and open doors. In very rare instances, they still can use firearms that they were carrying when they were infected.
    • Another kind of Smart zombie are Zombie Bio-operators, undead soldiers who can still use their martial arts training.
    • Shady Zombies are a strange type of Trap Zombie. They're capable of hiding in darkness and can sneak up on survivors who are trying to use nighttime or shadows to sneak or hide (other zombie types need light to see).
    • Shocker zombies are described in older lore as Cyber-Zombies. A human with electrical-powered prosthetics or cybernetic enhancements becomes a shocker zombie, with their artificial limbs twisted into a Lightning Gun.
  • Dead County has a huge, hulking brute zombie who used to be your uncle as the Boss Battle at the end.
  • In Dead Island, you encounter some special zombies that are tougher than the average ones, or take some different tactics to defeat, such as Thugs (slow but towering zombies strong enough to send you flying with one punch), Floaters (bloated zombies puking a flammable vomit), Suiciders (kamikaze zombies that explode if you kill them or approach them, also moans "help me" to bait survivors), and Butchers (HP and strength of a Thug, but capable of running and dodging attacks). Dead Island Riptide adds the Grenadier, an infected scientist that throws exploding body parts at you, the Screamer, a fast zombie with a special scream that stuns you, and the Wrestler, a massive zombie with powerful smash attacks. It also goes From Bad to Worse with a number of Diablo-style King Mook zombie bosses with enhanced health and regenerating health. Imagine a zombie fan who turned himself into a Butcher because he thinks it will save the world, or drug trafficker who had become one of the Infected. They are tougher, faster, deal more damage and that particular zombie's hat is turned up and their weaknesses are turned into strengths.
  • Dead Nation has these in a similar vein of Left 4 Dead. There are fat zombies and soldier zombies who take a couple hits to go down, along with morbidly obese "boomers", colossal "tanks", and horde-calling "sirens".
  • The Dead Rising series normally averts this. In keeping with its homage to George A. Romero, nearly all of the zombies are standard shamblers who are easy to defeat one-on-one and rely on strength in numbers to overwhelm the player, while Humans Are the Real Monsters in both story and gameplay terms. Later games, however, do throw in some exceptions.
    • Gas Zombies in Dead Rising 2. Compared to normal zombies, they're twice as durable, twice as fast, do twice as much damage, are harder to escape from after they grapple you, are immune to Queens, can scream to draw in more gas zombies to attack, and have a spitting attack that can stun you. They make up about a third of the zombies near the eleventh hour, turning the game from a mindless zombie-killing party into a living hell where keeping yourself alive is a huge chore.
    • Dead Rising 4 introduces Fresh Zombies, created by a sped-up process of zombification that occurs within mere minutes of infection. Compared to normal zombies, "freshies" can sprint, and are very fast, strong, and aggressive.
  • A large chunk of Dead Space consists of running into new, more powerful, and increasingly hideous Necromorphs, which are weird zombies (being corpses reanimated by a hive-minded alien microorganism that mutates them in all kinds of unpleasant ways) but still fit under the archetype. The series contains most of the examples at the top, with the smart zombies being ones who were infected by eating Necromorph flesh out of desperation, the Hunter boss being an experimental zombie and regenerator at once, and brutes, stalkers, spitters, bombs and the like popping up at intervals.
  • Decision:
    • Most zombies are stuck with melee attacks, but some are capable of throwing debris at you. Many can play Possum, though only when first encountered and stay up afterwards.
    • Special zombies can be found: a construction worker with a gas bottle (explodes, but can take other zombies with it), a construction worker with a yellow helmet (armor), a sheriff (shotgun), and riot cops (armor and a gun).
    • Zombie dogs and later werewolves are found in most levels. The werewolves in particular can come out of sewers and basements and can't be shot during their exit.
    • In the first and second games, the bosses come in three variants: two are huge Brutes with a leaping and a charge attack, and one with the same abilities and a grenade launcher. The third game makes the final boss lay mines.
    • The orc-like mutants use more advanced weapons like shields, bows, and rocket launchers.
  • The "ultimate zombie" from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
    Aramis: The fists of a Dark Karate master... The legs of the fastest demon in the Netherworld... The brain of Mahogany, a famous sorcerer... The iron body of Hercules... And a horse wiener!
  • Doom features zombie soldiers as one of its most common Goomba-type enemies. They vary across games but are mostly seen as former UAC security or space marines, resurrected by demonic spells or simply possessed while alive.
    • In the classic games, they walk around slowly and stopping to take potshots at you, with a number of different weapons. The scariest is the Former Human Commando, or Heavy Weapons Dude, who totes a chaingun and won't stop firing once he starts unless he flinches or you move out of his sight; multiple Commandos at once can whittle down the player faster than most tough enemies.
    • Doom³ has your fair share of Romero-esque zombies that normally originate from civilians. Then you step up to the Z-Secs, the zombies of possessed security guards and marines, which can run, communicate and fire guns. There's also the Chainsaw Zombie, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and is encountered exceedingly rarely, with its first appearance being solely to give the Marine the chainsaw.
      And then there's the Commandos, gigantic, burly humanoids and demons in all but classification, which are spawned from human marines and come in two flavors: Combat Tentacles and Gatling Good. This class can also verbally insult the marine, as their speech is the only one of the bunch that is recognizable as English (zombies only moan and Z-Secs send garbled, unrecognizable messages by their intercoms). They're also the only kind of former human encountered that burns away when killed like demons do.
    • Doom (2016) ones have advanced movement skills plus a degree of tactical cognizance.
  • There are many types of special infected in Dying Light. Firstly, there's the virals (runners) zombies that are capable of climbing objects to reach the Player Character, large abominations called Goons (that are equipped with a large, melee weapon) and Demolishers (that wears body armour as well) child zombies called Screamers, suicidal zombies with exposed guts called the Bombers and the annoying, spitting Toads who spew poison from their mouths. The most notable elite zombies in single player, however, are the Volatiles, the game's mascot. These Lightning Bruisers will only come out at night and make the streets nearly impassable in the early part of the game. Once you are seen by one, it will scream out to its brethren and you will make a mad, frantic dash to the nearest safehouse as a group of monstrous pack of beasts are chasing you endlessly. Not to mention that they are also very agile, capable of parkouring over obstacles with relative ease. The rooftops don't seem so safe now, do they? Exaggerated with the Night Hunter, who appears in the online "Be the Zombie" mode and is a human-controlled character capable of fast-travelling with tendrils and killing human beings in one pounce.
  • The Endless Nightmare series have it's share of undead, ranging from garden-variety walking corpses, to the nurse and warden zombies who chases you relentlessly even after getting shot several times. The third game also have zombies capable of using swords and bows.
  • Fallout:
    • The feral ghouls of Fallout 3, though Technically Living Zombies, come in a variety of subtypes that fall in the Naturally Enhanced category due to ghouls being horribly irradiated humans. Most prominent are the Glowing Ones, which glow with intense radiation and can release radioactive blasts to deal damage while healing and even reviving other ghouls around them. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Broken Steel DLC then added Reavers, ridiculously fast, durable and strong super-zombies that have a lethal ranged attack, to boot (they rip out parts of their body to throw at their victims).
    • Fallout 4 thankfully drops the Reavers but piles on loads of nasty replacements. Glowing Ones are back worse than ever, Stalkers fill the Possum Zombie niche, and the top rung of the feral evolution chain is now occupied by the Charred, old ferals covered in thick layers of hardened dirt and cancerous growths that act like natural armor, making them extremely durable. What's worse, these types aren't mutually exclusive, leading to the lovely Charred Glowing Ghoul showing up every once in a while, usually as a miniboss at the end of feral-infested dungeons.
  • Fever Cabin: In addition to the usual shambling corpse zombies, there are also bigger, stronger, less humanoid-looking zombies that take more bullets to put down.
  • Gynophobia: In the "Dead Hunger" video game you play at the start, when you reach the above-ground level, you're constantly pursued by a very big zombie carrying a sledgehammer.
  • Half-Life:
    • The first Half-Life had normal shambling headcrab zombies... but that wasn't enough, so Half-Life 2 introduced Fast Zombies, headcrab zombies with super-speed and Le Parkour abilities, and Poison Zombies, another variant that could soak up over three times as much damage as a standard zombie and throw poison headcrabs at you. Standard zombies also like to play dead (giving them traits of Possum zombies) and have some enhanced abilities compared to normal humans, including greatly enhanced strength, resilience, and durability. Standard zombies can soak up as much damage as a fully armored soldier, can come keep coming at you after being cut in half (indeed, some zombies seem to do this intentionally so they can catch prey in the vents) and in various scripted sequences are seen doing stuff like killing humans in one hit and tearing through solid concrete.
    • Half-Life: Opposing Force also introduces a larger, stronger version of the headcrab zombie called a "Gonome" that can throw acid, soak up twice as much damage as a standard zombie, and sprint. Zombies made from former soldiers can also soak up more damage than standard zombies, but it's hardly noticeable.
    • Half-Life 2's episodes have the zombines, headcrabbed Combine soldiers equipped with body armor who can use grenades. They can also sprint, unlike normal zombies.
  • Halo: The Flood start out pretty simplistic, but even in their most basic forms they are fast, have whip-tentacles to inflict heavy melee damage, and barely enough intelligence to operate firearms. As the infestation spreads, the Flood begin building new bodies out of pure Flood biomass rather than infesting pre-existing lifeforms. These "Pure Forms" can shapeshift between several different forms: a stationary living turret, Fragile Speedster, and a Mighty Glacier. As the overall Flood infestation grows in size, the Hive Mind also starts getting smart... really smart. Like "outsmarting A.I.s designed to coordinate entire galactic war efforts" smart...
  • Heidelberg 1693 revolves around a zombie outbreak in 17th-Century Germany. And nesides the standard, shambling undead, you also battle zombie musicians whose violins can shoot deadly musical notes, zombie riflemen, undead harlequin, lady zombies who blows lethal kisses on you, giant zombies armed with hammers, and assorted unique undead monsters.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III was planned to get zombies cybernetically enhanced with chainsaws in the Armageddon's Blade expansion, but a negative reaction to the science fiction elements in the series going from covertnote  to overt led to the Forge town it would have been in being dropped. Several of the Might and Magic games do have enhanced zombies of some form, but none really fitting any of the types mentioned above, just stronger, faster versions of the base zombie/walking dead.
  • Kingdom of Loathing's Zombie Slayer challenge path sets you up as a Zombie Person and Horde Master trying to find the person responsible for unleashing a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • In Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green, "evolved" zombies are equipped with melee weapons, have more health, and cannot be decapitated or dismembered (thus no one-shot kills by headshot). The game also mixes things up with crawlers, vomiting zombies, exploding zombies, and screamers.
  • Zombies in Last Empire: War Z are usually your standard zombie, but they can sometimes be randomly encountered as "mutant zombies" that include Brutes. The Speakers summon a horde of random zombies, which include crawlers as well. There is also a building that lets you GMO-ify zombies into Super Soldiers.
  • It seems that the Cordyceps Infected in The Last of Us grow Stronger with Age. The most recently infected aren't that much of a threat, at least when not in groups, but the Clickers are older zombies that kill in one hit and take several rounds pumped into them to kill, and don't flinch when shot. Then there's the Bloaters, which are incredibly old Infected from the original epidemic 20 years ago, and they are faster and tougher than Clickers while also capable of killing in one hit, and they are the only Infected that have a ranged attack. Fortunately, molotov cocktails and the flamethrower are very effective against them.
  • The Last of Us Part 2 introduces Shamblers, which release a huge cloud of spores if Ellie or Abby get too close and have a devastating ram attack, and Stalkers, a midway evolution between Runners and Clickers that don't make sound and can quickly sneak behind you. In addition, Bloaters are now far more rare and appear as fully-fledged boss fights; the first one Ellie encounters is in a flashback where Joel is drawing all the aggro, but she encounters another one in a Seattle arcade which does not go down easily. Then there's the Rat King, a huge shuffling amalgamation of infected stalking the hospital's lower levels that Abby has to face off against which makes Bloaters look harmless.
  • Left 4 Dead has these in the Special Infected, whom you can actually play as. They include:
    • Smokers and Hunters, as well as Jockeys and Chargers in the sequel, who ambush and then incapacitate their target in various ways before the target's teamates kill them. All are of the Feral variant, and the Charger doubles as a Brute.
    • Boomers are, well, Boomers. Their vomit inflicts a rather severe Interface Screw which severely hampers vision until it wears off, and the smell attracts a huge swarm of common infected. In the second game, you can use this to your advantage with Bile Bombs, which can be used to trick zombies into fighting each other.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 adds Spitters, who can spit the zombie equivalent of the Molotov Cocktail.
    • The Tank is a Brute, and the Witch is a Trap Zombie with a characteristic crying, extremely dangerous when provoked. Both are the toughest enemies of the game.
    • In the second game there are the lesser Uncommon Infected, who comes in several variants, like Hazmat zombies (fireproof suits), clown zombies (squeaky shoes that attracted Common Infected), mud men (screen-obscuring mud and motor oil), and riot zombies (bulletproof riot armor).
  • Metal Slug 3 and 4 feature various zombie types in the Zombie Apocalypse levels, all of which are Plague Zombies.
    • Standard zombies are "vomit zombies" whose Zombie Puke Attack will zombify survivors as well as the player characters. Among them are fat zombies that are incredibly resilient, to the point that they can tank a grenade or two.
    • Zombie Rebel soldiers are really resilient, sightly faster than the other undead, and attack with a Deadly Lunge that ends in them exploding into infectious vomit.
    • Tar Men (named and modeled after the infamous sludge corpse from The Return of the Living Dead) are the most elite infectious zombie type, they attack faster and are often found in trickier situations that makes them harder to kill. Finally, they throw a huge arc spray of vomit compared to single globs.
    • The player characters themselves count too if they get zombified. Firstly they stay as smart zombies, retaining their sentience and can fully act under player control (albeit with only standard pistol, no melee attack, crouch, and a very low jump), secondly they become completely immune to conventional damage (but zombifying fluids and boss attacks will kill them), and last but not least, their "bomb" button makes them vomit up a sweeping devastating stream of blood that destroys pretty much any non-boss enemy instantly.
    • Finally, the deadliest enemy zombie type in the game is the Alien Zombie Clones of the player characters, only found in the final part of the final level. They have a massive amount of health, and they use the same blood vomit sweep that the player characters had as zombies (which doesn't turn player characters into zombies, it just kills/damages and is difficult to avoid).
  • Metro Exodus features Humanimals, a form of Technically Living Zombie descended from irradiated human survivors of the nuclear war. There's not a lot of variation in form, but the ones in the Volga region are led by bigger, tougher "Silverbacks" who fulfill the Brute role, while the Caspian Desert's Humanimals like to play dead or hide in the sand like classic Ambush/Possum types. Meanwhile, all of them fit to an extent into the Smart Zombie role, using rudimentary tactics to hunt humans and having the intelligence to pick up and use objects as weapons.
  • Minecraft has standard shambling zombies, who are the game's weakest enemies. Later updates added elite variations, all of which have a rare chance of randomly spawning.
    • Any zombie may be spawned with one or more pieces of armor, increasing its defense, or holding a weapon, increasing its damage output. These may be of any rank, from basic leather armor and wooden weapons to high-end diamond versions, may or may not be enchanted and may be created in any combination. Zombies will likely only have a couple pieces of mismatched armor and a low- to mid-grade weapon at most, but it's theoretically possible (albeit fantastically unlikely) for one to spawn in a full set of enchanted diamond gear.
    • Baby zombies are a baby version of any other zombie type with all associated traits and stats, except they are so small they can fit through 1-block gaps and are 30% faster. They have a unique elite version of their own: some baby zombies will spawn riding chickens (and are appropriately called Chicken Jockeys), which makes them immune to fall damage.
    • Zombie villagers can be cured by being force-fed a golden apple while under the effect of a Weakness potion. It takes more or less a day for the cure to finish. Baby zombie villagers also exist, acting like baby zombies and being curable like zombie villagers.
    • The third type is the spawner zombie, which only exists on Hard or Hardcore mode; it looks and acts just like a standard zombie, but it will randomly spawn two or three or more zombies when near death.
    • The fourth type is the husk, a zombie with a desiccated, mummified appearance that only spawns in deserts. They do not burn in the sunlight, and their attacks inflict the Hunger status effect on players, making you exhaust your hunger bar more quickly than normal. If they drown, they become regular zombies.
    • There's also the zombie pigmen found in the nether, which travel in packs, moving faster and hitting harder than most monsters, but they only attack when provoked.
    • The 1.13 update introduced the Drowned, zombies that spawn in water, make watery gargling noises, and can sometimes carry very valuable Nautilus Shells or throwable tridents. Regular zombies that drown become Drowned instead of dying, "soldier" ones drop any item they picked up before turning (or have a chance of dropping an item if they spawned with it). Drowned can't spawn naturally with armor.
  • Not Dying Today have its share of unique, powerful zombies, from Giant Mook zombie quarterbacks, to screamer zombies whose skulls are grafted with loudspeakers capable of damaging you by shouting, zombie nurses holding syringes which can paralyze you, flamethrower-wielding zombies in Hazmat Suits, insect-headed zombiemen with an Overly-Long Tongue capable of ensnaring you from a distance, and gigantic zombie behemoths larger than you.
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • There's nothing but zombies as enemies, so naturally some of them have special abilities to mix things up. Several of them just have armor for added toughness, but there's also zombies with pole-vaults and pogo sticks to jump over your defenses, miner zombies who can tunnel under them, a dancing zombie who can summon backup dancer zombies, a Zamboni-driving zombie that freezes the ground behind him, among other things. The most elite of zombie mooks, however, is the huge, mighty Gargantuar who smashes plants in one hit and hurls imps into your defenses. To top it all off, the final boss is a mad scientist zombie piloting a giant robot zombie.
    • The sequel, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time takes this to extremes. There you will encounter zombies with torches which burn your plants, zombies rolling barrels (with zombies inside of them), zombies who releases flocks of chickens (these are zombies too), zombies driving giant, robotic football helmets, wizard who turn your plants into sheep, zombies with surfboards (using them as weapons, of course), zombies riding dodos, Indiana Jones zombies using ropes, rappers who spins microphones to kill plants, cavemen with rocks tied to their fists, and the list goes on. And of course, every world has their own variation of Gargantuar.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], advanced infected have superhuman speed, Le Parkour abilities, and enhanced health when compared to the basic zombie-like infected. You can still kill them in just a couple punches or one swipe from your blade, spikes, or hammerfists, though, so they're still hardly a threat even in large groups. Prototype is just that kind of game.
    • The standard zombies would also be considered this by most standards; they can run faster than a normal human and have a degree of super strength, letting them kill a human in one hit.
    • Taken to an extreme with Hunters, if they can even be called zombies; basically, imagine a Tank, except several times more agile with the ability to run up buildings and jump hundreds of feet. And they hunt in packs.
    • Leader Hunters are a particularly extreme example, being able to soak up several anti-tank rockets and destroy armored vehicles with their bare hands.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] ups this to extreme levels. There are Brawlers, Juggernauts, and the massive-sized super-fast Goliath who is completely unhindered by his size and is comparable to a bulldozer and a race car. This is pushed even farther as many of the enemies in the game are Evolved, individuals infected by the same virus you are with the same powers. In addition, there's always Alex himself.
  • ALL the zombie enemies in Remorse: The List are far stronger and deadlier than common depictions of the undead. Even the weakest of them can tank plenty of punishment, and the flavors went from Boneless Zombies who slithers on the floor like snakes, only to move lightning-speed at you, to the Wall Zombies who's embedded on surfaces (like their namesake) but can spit acid as a ranged attack, to flying zombies and other enemies. It's worth noting that the zombies in this game are results of a curse instead of a viral strain, though.
  • Resident Evil is one of the trope codifiers due to the many, many horrible monsters spawned from the T-Virus, the most notable ones being Lickers and Tyrants. Perhaps the most literal are the Crimson Heads in Resident Evil, which mutate from regular zombies that you "killed" but didn't either burn or decapitate. For an exact listing by subtype:
    • Animal Zombies, predominantly Zombie Dogs, are recurring elements throughout the series, even going so far as to show up repeatedly as bosses. Their abilities range from inflicting Death of a Thousand Cuts to inflicting damage-over-time effects to being a straight-up Fragile Speedster Glass Cannon, depending on the species.
    • The Feral archetype is also extremely well-represented, courtesy of the many Hunter variants, the Crimson Head, the Chimera, the Licker, the Brain Sucker and the Drain Deimos. All are notably tougher than the average zombie, do a lot more damage, and most of them have the ability to close on the player very quickly. Although with the exception of the Crimson Head, most of these aren't zombies at all, but living, genetically engineered Bioweapon Beasts.
    • The Whopper, Shrieker and Bloodshot from Resident Evil 6 are examples of the Brute, Screamer and Feral respectively. Whoppers are lumbering bullet sponges, Shriekers invigorate the zombie horde around them, and Bloodshots are quick, tough and agile.
    • The Ganados from Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 are Smart Zombies, as are the Afflicted from Resident Evil: Revelations 2. All make use of melee (and thrown) weapons and crude tactics.
    • The Regeneradors and Iron Maidens of Resident Evil 4 are, as the name suggests, Regenerator types. Unless you use a special weapon mod to target their weak points, they will soak up massive amounts of ammo, including repeatedly growing back limbs and heads and filling in torsos.
    • The J'avo from Resident Evil 6 are a very dangerous cross between a Mutating Zombie and Zombie Soldier. Already equipped with guns, they can develop unique mutations that enhance mobility, defense and offense options.
    • Enhanced Zombies include the Bandersnatch, the Jabberwock, and pretty much all of the non-Animal Zombie bosses.
    • Sploders from Resident Evil: Revelations 2 are a classic Boomer type zombie, with no real attack beyond self-detonating to kill the player.
    • The Leech Zombies from Resident Evil 0 are a weird combination of Brute (very tough to kill, high damage) and Boomer (explode on death), with an extremely long ranged melee attack thanks to their elastic arms.
    • Resident Evil 2 (Remake) has "Ivy Zombies", corpses reanimated by G-virus-infected flora. They are an Enhanced type of zombie that are largely impervious to nearly all forms of damage. It's possible to knock them out by inflicting enough damage on them, but they will continue to get back up. The only way to permanently defeat them is to Kill Them with Fire.
    • The "Ghost Survivors" DLC from Resident Evil 2 (Remake) has a unique variation of zombie for each campaign: No Time To Mourn has toxic zombies that can inflict poison through bites and release clouds of gas when killed, Runaway has "Pale Heads" that can regenerate most damage except for cranium-destroying headshots and fire, and Forgotten Soldier has armored zombies that are impervious to damage inflicted anywhere except for small unarmored parts of their body. The unlockable campaign No Way Out forces players to deal with all three of the above.
  • 7 Days to Die: Besides the standard zombies, there are Infected Policemen (who are combination Vomit/Boomer types), Screamer Zombies (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), Fallen Soldiers (Armored), and some more unique ones like Burn Victims (who are on fire and will try to share the "warmth" with survivors). There are also some like the Frozen Lumberjack who have higher HP but are otherwise identical to the standard shamblers.
  • In Sonny, you play as the eponymous zombie, who falls under Zombie Person. More examples appear as you play on.
  • StarCraft's infested terrans. In the first game, they explode. The ones in StarCraft II have a ranged attack as opposed to the standard Infested Colonists claws, and Abberations (which fit into the Brute subtype,) are massive, centauroid infested terrans with huge zits all over them. Due to the Zerg Healing Factor, all three also count as Regenerators. StarCraft Adventures by Alternity has mutates, which fit into Person Zombies and Test Subject zombies.
  • State of Decay has Screamers, Exploders, Armored Zombies, and the two deadliest zombies in the game, the Feral Zombie and the Juggernaut. The Feral is insanely fast, exceptionally strong, and can instantly kill downed survivors. The Juggernaut is a huge zombie that can soak insane amounts of damage (running into it with your car will do more damage to your car than to it), can charge at high speed, and like the Feral is also capable of dealing out instant-kills.
  • Survivalist has varying tiers of zombies based on the different strain of The Virus, all Color-Coded for Your Convenience via their irises. Then you have the Living Infected, which a combination of Smart, Zombie Person, and an inversion of Possum; they're usually as strong as the highest-tier zombie, and are able to plan, talk, and use weapons.
  • In Team Fortress 2, there is a mod called 'Zombie Fortress'. The zombie classes are Scouts, Heavies, and Spies. Every zombie has a default 'rage' perk that grants them overheal and increased speed but can only be activated at 80% health or higher. Zombie servers with perks take the abilities a step further and also grant perks to the Survivors.
  • They Are Billions features multiple different types of zombies, and even the "standard" zombies come in different levels of health, speed and attack power. Then there are the three "elite" variant zombies...
    • "Chubbies" are a Dead Weight variant, with massively upgraded health compared to any other zombie breed. Worse, unlike most examples, they're as fast as a standard zombie, making them serve as walking shields for their companions.
    • "Venoms" are Vomit Zombies, spraying an area-of-effect projectile of acidic bile that can quickly kill off multiple troops.
    • "Harpies" are a lethally fast Glass Cannon variant of the Brute Zombie, capable of closing across the map faster than any other creature in the game as well as leaping defensive walls, whilst also being capable of killing almost any trooper in a couple of hits. Fortunately, they're not much tougher than the "Zombie Executive", the toughest of the baseline zombies, but they can tear through the player's army really quick if provoked.
  • TimeSplitters Future Perfect has several different types of zombies. There are some that are on fire and will burn you if you fight them in melee range, there are some that can run at damn near lightning speed, and there are some that shoot lightning at you. Later in the second zombie-themed level, you enter the lab where the special zombies were made and can experiment on giving two subjects these abilities as well as many others. If you give them every ability at once, they'll just explode.
  • Unkilled features five types of Super Zombies that get upgraded as you progress in the game.
    • Minesweepers/Bombstrucks/Detonators are obese naked Zombies with naval mines strapped to their bodies, similar to the Kamikazes from DT2. If you get too close or the Zombie is killed, it will explode.
    • Nukleons/Uranions/Raydions wear hazmat suits and emit radiation that hurts the player. It can even extend the range of its radiation for a short period of time.
    • Dodgers/Linebackers/Quarterbacks are giant zombie football players whose main attack is charging at you, knocking you to the ground if the attack connects. Since they have helmets, a headshot won't cause much damage.
    • Butchers/Carvers have giant blade arms that they use to cleave the player and shield themselves from bullets. However, their heads are always unprotected but given their height and range advantage, trying for headshots is easier said than done.
    • Sheriffs have a large build that allows them to take considerable damage and their ground-smashing attack packs a mean punch from close quarters. It becomes worse when the Deputies and Marshalls, their upgraded versions, can also generate a shockwave that shoots fireballs at you.
  • Warcraft:
    • The Undead Scourge seen in Warcraft III and later World of Warcraft. The first units you fight are usually skeletons, zombies, ghouls and the necromancers that raise and control them. Later, you face abominations, crypt fiends, death knights and frost wyrms.
    • The Forsaken in World of Warcraft are basically a whole playable faction of Zombie Persons. They don't actively try to eat people, but they have no problem eating humanoid corpses to heal themselves.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order's expansion, The Old Blood, features the "stupid" variant of Soldier Zombies, in the form of Nazi Shamblers who died while holding their weapons and are able to spray automatic fire in your general direction, but little else. If you get close enough, they'll abandon it for a conventional melee attack, shared by the rest of the "normal" Shamblers.
  • The War of the Chosen DLC for XCOM 2 introduces the Lost, a neutral faction of aggressive zombies created through alien NBC weaponry during the initial invasion twenty years before the events of the game. Most of them are stereotypical shamblers, but the Dashers neatly fit the Runner subtype while Brutes are, well, Brutes.
  • Zombie Army Trilogy has a surprisingly diverse array of Elite Nazi Zombies, each with their own terrible abilities.
    • The first type to be introduced is actually called the Elite Zombie in the original trilogy but is renamed the Gunner in Dead War. It's a zombified Giant Mook carrying a heavy machine gun; slow-moving but requiring the equivalent of 10 headshots to defeat. Zombie Army 2 introduces the Chainsaw Elite, which swaps out the heavy machine gun for a bloodied chainsaw and tries to hack the players up in melee. Zombie Army 3 introduces the Fire Demon, which hurls fireballs, can transform other zombies into a faster-moving "burning zombie", and is only vulnerable to damage immediately after using its powers. Dead Army introduces the Flamer, who carries a flamethrower, reworks the Chainsaw Elite into the Butcher by replacing its chainsaw with an oversized buzzsaw, and drops the Fire Demon.
    • Zombie Snipers are undead German snipers who can still target the player with lethal precision, and also make supernaturally long leaps to move to new vantage points. They appear both in the Trilogy and in Dead War.
    • Heavy Armor Zombies, renamed "Armored Giants" in Dead War, are zombies which have been nailed and bolted into a full-body covering of thick armor plate. This makes them extremely difficult to damage without the use of explosives or high-powered weaponry.
    • Suicide Grunts, renamed Suiciders in Dead Army, are fast-moving, screaming zombies strapped in explosives that launch kamikaze attacks on the player.
    • Occult Generals are undead necromancers who only appear as bosses in the original ZAT. They summon endless waves of undead and must be defeated in a Puzzle Boss manner; destroying the three floating skulls that power their protective wards, then headshotting them whilst they are vulnerable. This is process that must be done three times before they die.
    • Summoners are a lesser version of the Occult General; they lack the warding skulls but can only be destroyed with a headshot.
    • Occult Generals and Summoners are replaced with a new collective of elite zombies called "Zombie Officers" in Dead Army. All share the distinguishing feature that they can only be killed with a heart shot, rather than a head shot. Necromancers revive slain zombies around them until destroyed, Commanders summon hellish spirits in the form of skulls that possess zombies and turn them into fast-moving "Enraged Zombies", and Suicide Generals summon Suiciders.
    • Creepers are one of the variants only found in Dead Army; these are skeletal, withered zombies that slink about on all fours like animals and leap at the player to attack.
    • Spitters are one of the variants only found in Dead Army; these are a variant of the Water Zombie (a cosmetic reskin of the standard zombie) which can vomit globs of noxious fluid at the player from afar, which damage them and create zones that slow the player's movement. When slain, they explode into a similar puddle of slime.
    • Screamers are one of the variants only found in Dead Army; these are heavily mutated, blind, fast-moving but exceptionally tough undead.
    • Finally, Dead Army introduces literal zombie warmachines, in the form of the Zombie Half-Track and Zombie Tank. These are wrecked Nazi vehicles that have been repaired by ripping out their interiors and mashing zombiefied flesh into the gaps to provide reinforcement and motive power. The result is a disturbing amalgam of flesh and metal that looks more like a meat-construct that has had armor plating, weaponry and wheels crudely jammed into it. The Half-Track spits out a slow but steady stream of zombie reinforcements until the player can shoot off one of its protective side plates and shoot out the zombified heart that serves as an engine. To disable the tank, the four turrets must be blown off and the two armor plates protecting the hearts that power its tracks removed so both hearts can finally be destroyed. The Final Boss of the core game, the Hell Machine, is a mobile battle fortress built in the same manner as the Zombie Half-Track and Zombie Tank.
  • Crazy Monkey Games' Zombie Horde 2 has Gunarms — armored zombies with built-in ranged weapons.
  • A rare protagonist example, RTS title Zombie Tycoon 2 features the intelligent leader zombie Archibald Brainhov commanding one of the game's two zombie factions, the speedy, blue-skinned Ferals.

  • Gawain the zombie from The Adventures of Wiglaf and Mordred is a fusion of Regenerator and Person Zombie. He seems to operate much like a Revenant Zombie, but there's a bullet in his brain that makes him forget his reason for hunting the story's Big Bad, so he's decided to work for him until he can figure out why he was so pissed with him to begin with.
  • Com'c has Jane, a smart zombie of the zombie person variety. She is in fact one of the smartest characters in the comic.
  • The Decrypted of Erfworld fit more or less into the "smart zombie" trope. Unlike regular Uncroaked, they retain all the strength, powers, and intelligence they possessed in life, but still don't need to eat. They are also Loyal to Lady Firebaugh instead of whoever they were Loyal to previously.
  • In Sluggy Freelance zombies mostly vary by how much intelligence they've retained. When the heroes made an assault on the zombie base the dumb zombies moved forward in a standard shuffle; the smart zombies set up an ambush; the really smart zombies pulled out automatic weapons; and the really really smart zombies snuck out the back and drove away in the heroes' car.
  • The Zombie Hunters has a few detailed but due to the nature of the comic are very rarely seen.
  • Zomgan: Zombies ended up evolving into Zomgans, which are half-human, half-zombie hybrids. Zomgans retain their sentience and are rather powerful, leading to them destroying civilization and dominating over the remaining human survivors.

    Web Original 
  • Subeta has mostly the 'Zombie Person' type. In fact, users can be bitten, which will turn their avatars into one of several types of Zombie Person ranging from standard-looking ones to ones that resemble Venus Flytraps, depending on which type bit them.
  • We're Alive has "runners", "jumpers", "smart ones", "behemoths", and "little ones" on top of the regular "biters".
  • The Zombie Knight has the zombies all being smart. They look normal, at least until their reaper turns off regeneration to boost their super strength, then skin hollows out, and they look... extra creepy. Also, if the zombies' reaper is killed, they lose all higher brain function, while keeping their ridiculous powers, and just want to consume, for a few minutes before death. Cue one turning his legs into makeshift rockets and heading right for a population center.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Special Zombie, Super Zombie, Special Infected



Hawkings are a type of zombie notable for being smarter than usual zombies, capable of figuring out obstacles that normal zombies cannot.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / EliteZombie

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