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Okay, a Zombie Apocalypse is cool and all, but the audience is getting rather tired of the usual boring zombie. 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.

Usually this is most common in video games due to the fact that most players are probably going to get tired of fighting the standard zombie at one time or another.

Examples of Elite Zombie include:


Comic Books

Film

  • The horrible rat-monkey/Freudian symbolism giant mother zombie in Braindead counts for this.
  • The Doom movie had 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 the fourth Return of the Living Dead movie, 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.
  • The movies based (loosely) off Resident Evil follow 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.

Literature

  • The spy thriller/zombie apocalypse novel Patient Zero features generic Muslim 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 Zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex from The Dresden Files.In the Dresden-verse, 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.
    • All zombies in the Dresden-verse 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.

Tabletop Games

  • There are many, many different varieties of zombie in Dungeons and Dragons. Justified by the fact that 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.
  • 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...
  • The RPG 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.
  • 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.

Video Games

  • Resident Evil is one of the trope codifiers due to the many, many horrible monsters spawned of the T-Virus, the most notable ones being Lickers and Tyrants. Perhaps the most literal are the Crimson Heads in the REmake, which mutate from regular zombies that you "killed" but didn't either burn or decapitate.
  • Half Life had headcrab zombies... but that wasn't enough. So Half Life 2 introduces headcrab zombies with super speed and one that throws poison headcrabs at you.
    • Opposing Force also introduced a larger, stronger version of the headcrab zombie called a "gonome", that could throw acid.
    • Half-Life 2: Episode One had the zombines, headcrabbed Combine soldiers equipped with body armor who could use grenades.
  • Left 4 Dead has them in the Special Infected, whom you can actually play as.
  • Plants vs. Zombies has 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. To top it all off, the final boss is a mad scientist zombie piloting a giant robot zombie.
  • 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.
  • Crazy Monkey Games' Zombie Horde 2 has Gunarms — armored zombies with built-in ranged weapons.
  • Would the "ultimate zombie" from Disgaea count?

 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!

  • In the third Time Splitters game, there are 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.
  • In Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Game, "evolved" Zombies are equipped with melee weapons, have more health, and cannot be decapitated or dismembered (thus no one-shot kills by headshot).
  • 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.
    • Taken to an extreme with Hunters and Leader 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.
  • 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.
  • Doom 3 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. And then there's the Commando class, composed of gigantic humanoids spawned from human marines, which 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).
  • 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, Floaters, Suiciders, and Butchers.

Web Original

  • We're Alive has "runners," "jumpers," "smart ones," "behemoths," and "little ones" on top of the regular "biters."
  • The Zombie Hunters has a few detailed but due to the nature of the comic are very rarely seen.
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