Feature: How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
The Resident Evil way
As we get closer to Halloween and all of the ghouls and ghosts that come with the spookiest of holidays, we feel it’s time to start focusing on what’s important at this time of year: survival. With all of these monsters preparing to rise from their graves, or wherever they’ve been hiding, perhaps we should all plan for the impending apocalypse. To get us started, this week we’ll be homing in on the horrifying Resident Evil series, the franchise that brought survival horror onto our Nintendo consoles. If the undead hordes decide that this is the year that they'll finally rise up to eat our brains, we thought that Resident Evil could be a useful source of survival tips. Taking our cues from Leon, Chris, Jill and company, we’ve come up with some basic rules for staying alive, brains intact.
The first thing you’ll need, in truth, is a comfortable pair of shoes. When zombies, ganados or any other variety of murderous monsters are pursuing you, sometimes the best tactic is to run. If you find yourself in a spooky mansion or urban police station, bear in mind that these buildings are often spacious labyrinths with endless corridors. Cut down on the takeaways and get yourself on a treadmill.
If the undead hordes decide that this is the year that they'll finally rise to eat our brains, we thought that Resident Evil could be a useful source of survival tips
Of course, when monsters roam the streets, the laws of the land go out of the window. If you call the police, army, fire brigade and ambulance (“anything with flashing lights” – Shaun of the Dead) and no help is forthcoming, you may need to rely on yourself for protection; you’ll need weapons to survive. Our heroes from Resident Evil typically rely on a pistol and a knife, the knife being particularly useful when a zombie attempts to feast on your neck. Roam the environments, however, and more weapons will conveniently present themselves.
The final basic provision that you’ll need is something in which to carry your weapons and items – more on the items you’ll need is coming up. It’s in this area that Resident Evil truly shows the way, with Leon S. Kennedy in particular finding a method to carry an enormous number of items all at once. Get yourself to a local travel store and pick up an attaché case, preferably one that will allow you to carry plenty of guns and ammo, as well as a rocket launcher. While Leon has defied science and found a way to carry this case without, um, actually carrying it, you’ll need to haul it around with you. It’ll serve a dual purpose: carrying all of your items and, in case of emergency, functioning as a useful melee weapon.
Understand your environment
A key part of navigating a zombie infested environment is finding secret passages and means of escape. In your day-to-day lives you probably don’t notice all of the engravings, statues, cryptic paintings, keys and levers that are scattered all over the place. They’re there, though, and will be vital for your survival. Wherever you’re stuck, and no matter how innocuous an item may seem, stick it in your pocket (or attaché case) and hang onto it. You never know when a mysterious door or indentation will appear and block your path, so be ready.
Of course, when monsters roam the streets, villages and everywhere else, the laws of the land go out of the window
As well as strange items, you also need to be prepared to raid draws, open random chests and smash barrels to find vital provisions. Amazingly, a lot of these areas will be full of ammo or, if you’re in rural Europe, out-of-date and useless currency. You’ll also find herbs of different colours; these aren’t lying around for you to try in your latest stir-fry recipe. These herbs, yet to be utilised in modern science, will help to cure you of zombie bites, burns or scythe wounds. In fact, if you squish different coloured herbs together they’ll have an even greater healing effect. Just experiment with different plants, and at the very worst you’ll have some nice flavour in your next meal.
You never know…
There are some elements of the Resident Evil series that are even more far-fetched than those we’ve already highlighted, yet a world being overrun by monsters is equally unlikely. Just in case the unlikely does occur, don’t forget to search downed zombies and monsters for useful items. While it makes absolutely no sense for an unarmed creature to be conveniently carrying ammo in their grubby pockets, you never know when you’ll stumble across a handgun clip or box of shotgun shells.
If you do find yourself increasing in confidence with all of these handy items, weapons and ammo, perhaps you’ll do what the police and armed forces couldn’t and target the leader of the monsters, as an attempt to end the undead invasion. Your chances will be boosted if you find someone to pal around with on this quest; ideally they’ll be useful in a tight spot. That said, all of those mysterious passages and doors we mentioned earlier will probably separate you for long spells, just for a bit of added tension. Whatever you do, though, don’t get roped into rescuing any famous children — relations to prominent politicians, for example — as they can be more trouble than they’re worth.
Finally, play it cool
None of us want the end of the world to occur, but the final lesson to learn from Resident Evil is to stay calm, no matter how many terrifying B-movie moments you’re subjected to. Keep ploughing on and boosting your zombie count. If you feel under pressure, simply type the location, date and time into a typewriter – so don’t forget your 'ink ribbons' – and you can simply spring back to life after your grizzly end. Keep your head when confronted by large, mutated beasts, or more importantly when being pursued by crazed chainsaw wielding manics. Finally, when dealing with strange villains and 'bosses' we recommend the Leon S. Kennedy approach: a line of corny dialogue followed by a rocket launcher to their face. What could go wrong?