Zombies are a reliable cultural phenomenon. If you want to sprinkle a little danger and high-stakes drama on your fictional premise, then add zombies.
It’s an approach that’s worked for The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later (yes, they’re not technically zombies, but they fulfil the same purpose) and Sony’s upcoming epic Days Gone, among others. Zombies are a universal villain: they’re unstoppable monsters with no recourse to reason, so they’re a natural fit for villainy.
They’re also a great bad guy for video games. You can dispatch as many of these shambling horrors as you like without feeling guilty, making them perfect fodder for shooters, hack-and-slash games and horror titles.
Our beloved PSP may no longer be the apple of Sony’s eye, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its fair share of excellent zombie games. Here’s our pick of the PSP’s best undead extravaganzas.
We start with a remake of 1998 action-adventure title MediEvil.
MediEvil Resurrection was a launch title for the PSP back in 2005, and with so much goodwill still hanging around for the original it’s not hard to see why. Daniel Fortesque’s quest is as grotesquely funny and compelling as it’s ever been, with sumptuously reworked visuals and updated gameplay which takes advantage of the PSP’s smooth analogue controls.
There are zombies galore to battle in MediEvil Resurrection, but the game also contains a swathe of standard horror stalwarts like skeletons and gargoyles to conquer. If you’re looking for a zombie title for your PSP and haven’t given MediEvil Resurrection a try yet, start here.
Obscure: The Aftermath
We’re cheating slightly here, since the enemies in Obscure: The Aftermath aren’t technically zombies.
The plot concerns an outbreak of spores which infect students and turn them into mindless monstrosities, though, so we’re counting it. Obscure is, appropriately enough, a fairly obscure horror series which began life on the PlayStation 2, before worming its way to the Nintendo Wii and PSP some time later.
Obscure: The Aftermath is actually a port of the second game in the series, appropriately titled Obscure II, and those looking for their survival horror jollies will find plenty of them here.
2006’s Infected is a gloriously edgy third-person shooter that contains some genuinely intriguing and innovative mechanics, so it’s a shame that it’s difficult to find nowadays.
Planet Moon Studios’ game is a violent, gory affair in which you must slaughter hordes of zombies using weapons like pistols, shotguns, and grenade launchers.
Once you’ve damaged a zombie enough with regular weapons, you must finish it off with a secondary weapon in order to make sure it’s dead and gone forever.
The game also featured a rather clever infection mechanic that saw players spreading infections between one another after online matches concluded. It may not have been the most meaningful system in the world, but it was a genuinely fresh idea, especially as online play was nascent in consoles and handhelds at the time.
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
While Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicle may not be a zombie-focused game, it certainly has all manner of undead creatures to slay, so it’s getting a place on this list.
You’ll find two excellent games included in this PSP package: a remake of the underrated Castlevania: Rondo of Blood with new 3D graphics and reworked music, and a port of the masterpiece Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
The former is a more traditional Castlevania experience, complete with linear side-scrolling levels and tightly-tuned action, while the latter is a sprawling exploration-heavy platformer that gave its name to the Metroidvania genre.
The original Rondo of Blood is included here as well, just in case you needed another reason to pick this one up. Seriously, if you haven’t played this yet, there’s no time like the present.
Silent Hill: Origins
Despite the slightly hackneyed subtitle, Silent Hill: Origins has plenty of portable scares to offer the discerning zombie fan.
Again, the enemies in Silent Hill are technically not zombies; depending on the instalment, the nature of the enemy changes, but rarely are the beasties encountered actual undead.
That said, Silent Hill is a veteran horror franchise, and we’d kick ourselves if we didn’t recommend it over a small technicality like that. Origins brings the dual-world gameplay of the series over to the PSP largely intact, and contains the same puzzle solving, slightly clunky combat (that’s a good thing in a horror game) and deep storytelling as its forebears.
Age of Zombies
Many zombie games on PSP are survival horror-inflected, but Age of Zombies isn’t really a scary experience. Rather, it’s a high-octane top-down shooter that just happens to pit you against waves of the undead.
Age of Zombies’ gameplay will probably feel somewhat familiar if you’ve played Vampire Survivors or any of its descendants, although the systems here are markedly more interactive than those of Poncle’s game.
This one’s a twin-stick shooter rather than a “survivor” game, which means you’re more directly involved in the carnage and you’ll have to fire your weapons yourself. What a world, eh?
You’ll fight your way through various themed levels, utilising a variety of weapons to put down zombies, zombified dinosaurs, and other slavering monstrosities. It’s not particularly clever entertainment, but it’s entertainment nonetheless.
Those searching for a slightly more offbeat take on the undead should look no further than Tecmo’s Undead Knights. The game is a fairly standard hack-and-slash affair, playing out like a cross between Dynasty Warriors and Devil May Cry, but it’s in the odd setting and idiosyncratic aesthetic that Undead Knights really shines.
Despite the lack of colour on offer in the game’s actual palette, Undead Knights is a colourful affair, combining action gameplay with real-time strategy in a way that’s not massively dissimilar to cult hit Overlord. Undead Knights won’t trouble your PSP for more than a few hours, but you’ll have a blast with it while it’s there.
Dead Head Fred
Ever wish 1940s noir had zombies in it? Dead Head Fred is the game for you. Developed by US-based company Vicious Cycle Software, Dead Head Fred stars an undead private investigator who can switch the head on his shoulders on the fly.
As such, the game is a sort of mish-mash of action-adventure, platformer and puzzle game, with some Metroidvania-style elements as Fred unlocks more heads to interact with the environment.
Just like Undead Knights, the quality of this game lies more in its presentation and offbeat aesthetic than in its actual gameplay; this isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a curate’s egg, and it deserves to be revisited.
The Sims 2
Hey, don’t look at us like that. The Sims 2 might not seem like your typical zombie game, but it does include zombies in some small capacity, so it counts as a PSP zombie game!
You’ll find zombies stalking the cemetery in Strangetown’s Deadtree area in The Sims 2, but you shouldn’t let your Sims stray too close to these walking abominations, because they’ll go insane if they do.
If you do find yourself falling foul of the undead, you can take out some of your frustrations in a violent minigame known as “Smack-a-Ghoul”, which should help you to relieve the tension that seeing Sims walking after death can build.
Even if you’re not in this for the zombies, The Sims 2 is a pretty solid port of the PC game for PSP; it doesn’t feel like a watered-down compromise, as many console Sims ports can.
This PS1 horror game is an abject classic, and a game that almost needs no introduction, so ubiquitous is its influence.
When the PSP was first released, it was possible to play PS1 games on it through the PS Store, and lucky individuals who still have the games downloaded onto their system can still access them if they’re smart.
Resident Evil is a classic through and through, and although its chunky controls and ripe voice acting mark it out as a product of its era, it’s a masterpiece of atmosphere and B-movie-style scares.
This is the game that gave birth to many of gaming’s most iconic horror moments: the dogs jumping through the corridor window, the “master of unlocking”, and many more we won’t spoil.
Just like Resident Evil, Shadow Tower was available for download via the PSP’s store, and although it’s no longer possible to buy this cult classic thanks to the PSP’s PlayStation Store being shut down, you can still play it if you already downloaded it back in the day.
If you’re a fan of From Software’s punishingly difficult Souls series, then you’ll almost certainly get a kick out of Shadow Tower. It’s a first-person dungeon crawler that contains the larval form of many of the design decisions that would make From Software legendary in future.
We’re jumping through hoops just a touch here, because this game contains all manner of beasties that can’t technically be classed as zombies, but there are certainly undead-like monsters to slay, so we’re counting it as part of our list.
Resident Evil 2
That’s right: it’s another classic Resident Evil game. This 1998 survival horror game stars Leon S. Kennedy, who would later return in the all-time classic Resident Evil 4, as well as Claire Redfield, a mainstay of future Resident Evil games herself.
The game features very similar controls to the original Resident Evil, but this time, you’re exploring a police station, which contains exactly the kind of arcane and bizarre puzzles that you’d think would make the police department’s job very difficult.
The excellent 2019 remake is probably the best way to experience the story of Resident Evil 2, but since that’s not compatible with the PSP, the original is your best bet if you’re looking for a great zombie horror game on Sony’s old-school handheld.