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A look at some of the zombie mods to grace the Source engine.

Posted by SteveUK on May 5th, 2009

Over the last few years zombie mods have gained popularity. Zombie mods usually have similar gameplay mechanics and some have their own unique quirks; for example, Zombie Master: Source has an RTS element where a player has control over the zombies.

Garry's Mod

Garry's Mod itself has resulted in a few gamemodes of its own, like a mod of a mod. The most popular of these is Zombie Survival, which is actually very simple. One player spawns as the zombies, the rest have guns. The zombie player must kill all the other players and there's no real way to "win". Most of the time the zombies will win, but in fact, you really have lost.

The developer of an old gamemode ReDead, which as far as I can tell is a buggy and laggy zombie gamemode, has decided to make a new gamemode for the upcoming Fretta Gamemode Base which I mentioned in a previous blog post. This is a lot like ZS in ways, that being if you die you become a human-controllable zombie, and that kills upgrade your weapons; but unlike ZS it has AI zombies to watch out for which I most definitely welcome.

SNPCs (scripted NPCs) are extremely hard to get to work properly 70% of the time due to there being little-to-no documentation on them. However, despite these possible shortcomings this in-development gamemode has done well. You can preview it by getting the Garry's Mod beta (see the Fretta post) or joining from within Garry's Mod.

It's not really fair to critically analyse gamemodes since there's only so much you can do with the Lua scripting implementation inside of Garry's Mod which really does limit how well you can do things. So I'll leave that up to you to decide whether you like them or not.

Zombie Panic: Source

Zombie Panic is one of the few mods that have been released on Steam, and to be honest I don't see how. Well, now that I think about, a mod with Steamworks should not be an indication of mod quality. The mod is quite reminiscent of the Garry's Mod gamemode Zombie Survival which I got bored of extremely quickly, the entire gameplay is a random player spawning as a zombie while the others get guns and try and kill the other zombies and survive in the process.

This game seems extremely easy when you're on the human side, and as you'd expect it's extremely hard when you're the only zombie. As soon as I typed that sentence I can imagine a million 13 year olds commenting on this telling me I'm a n00b and I suck, well unfortunately it's what makes this game hard to get into. Zombies seem to make a lot of noise, a lot more than humans do which I think makes it little bit harder for zombies seeing as soon as a human hears you they'll turn around and pound you with bullets. It's a sight you get used to.

On humans, it still has its fair share of frustrations. The more experienced players will know as soon as they spawn where the uber powerful guns are whilst you're limited to a low powered pistol which requires a couple of magazines to kill a zombie. So, unless you play the game enough you're not going to have much fun at all, once you've played for a few hours you might get used to it but I lost patience.

Final Verdict:
5/10. It has some very nice levels and textures, gameplay needs sorting though.

Zombie Master: Source

Zombie Master is the mod I mentioned above with the strategy elements. These RTS elements are pretty basic and don't really affect the gameplay that much, it would be the same if it was entirely controlled with the AI that already exists in the Source engine; the exact thing that's meant to make it different really doesn't make it feel different unless you're the one in charge.

When I first connected to a server it asks you which genre of game you prefer, if you were primarily a RTS or an FPS gamer. I'm sure if you click RTS you have a chance of becoming one next round, but being the FPS player I am, I clicked the FPS option making it so I would focus on the FPS elements. Though, from here it seems that they focused mainly on the RTS element of the game.

Other than the RTS elements the game is very bland and the rarity of ammo is painfully excruciating at best. If you find a pistol, it's only gonna come with a single loaded mag. Sure it's "realistic" but it sure isn't "fun" is it? On discovering the lack of ammo, you try and find more but none is to be found, which purposely puts the game in favour of the zombies, unless you're brave enough to face a horde of zombies with whatever melee weapon you have available.

I got bored of this in less than a map's time, it really doesn't appeal to me at all as an FPS fan. Sorry guys.

Final Verdict:
3.5/10. That's just for the RTS part.

ZombieMod: Source

ZombieMod is in its youth, and has a lot of problems; unlike the rest of the bunch it's the one I believe has the most promise. The reason I believe it has promise is from the fact it is very simple, and simplicity works.

It has two gamemodes, survival and infection. Both are just as simple as each other.

Infection is the zombie gamemode everyone's used to from the other mods where one player is the zombie and must infect the rest of the populace. However, this does one thing differently, instead of dying then respawning as a zombie you instantaneously become a zombie at the spot which is an interesting twist but on near-empty servers this can result in very short rounds, and as soon as the first zombie is dead and they don't infect anyone, the round restarts – this is a bit annoying.

Now, survival, it's exactly what you would expect; constantly respawning waves of zombies rather dimly walking towards you with the objective of killing you. This mode is very, very easy indeed. You can just aim your automatic assault rifle into the abyss and you're racking up lots of kills in no time, and with kills comes money so you can always get more ammo. If it was a bit harder it would be a lot more fun to play, and maybe with a few teamplay elements (healing teammates and such) it should be very promising.

It's not to say that survival will be on-par with what you get from Left 4 Dead, but it has a lot of potential to be a good mod, and with the release soon, release often model and in addition to that it's doing pretty much everything right so far. It just needs to get from the state its in now with no models of their own (they're borrowed, with permission from FPSBanana
skin authors) and many bugs to the perfect third party modification.

Final Verdict:
5/10, that said this one needs to be watched as it evolves.

And closing…

So in conclusion, mods on the Source engine are currently not very inspired and only one I think has any hope amongst the likes of Left 4 Dead. I think this is a shame, back in the old Half-Life/Goldsrc days there were a lot of mods and many of them experimenting with new game ideas and different tastes on the ones that already exist, why isn't there any more than they are? Is modding getting too difficult or are people just running out of creativity?

A lot of mods are dying within weeks, and it's very annoying to see when some great ideas just get thrown in the trash.

This is an article I originally wrote for my personal blog.

Post comment Comments  (50 - 88 of 88)
Killer_man_1996 May 6 2009 says:

some zombie mods aren't mentioned like OMFGZOMBIESLOL...

+3 votes     reply to comment
UnInvincible May 6 2009 replied:

This man has a point. It is my personal opinion that OMFGZOMBIESLOL completely revolutionized the zombie mod, and maybe videos games as a whole, forever.

+4 votes     reply to comment
SupaNinjaMan Jun 6 2009 replied:

I was going to say they missed omfgzombieslol.

I likes it bunches.
(that's why i'm the only person to release a map for it.)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lucífer May 6 2009 buried:


I have left 4 dead, why waste time on unprofesisonal stuff? Unless the zombies are completely different to that of your average zombie, there isn't much of a difference or point in playing them.

Mortewood Plaza so far looks good, weapon-wise at least so that has some high-expectations.

Gameplay is key, but if there is not enough content it can become stale very fast, which is the constant problem with zombie mods.
The only difference with Left 4 Dead is that the quality is of a higher 'mark'.

-5 votes     reply to comment
bomblol May 6 2009 buried:


fanboy clusterfuck. instead of arguing and burying everything, you should all agree on the fact that all of these mods suck and get far too much attention simply because they feature zombies. if you want zombies, your only REAL option is plants vs zombies

-9 votes     reply to comment
holyknight May 6 2009 says:

ZPS sucks.
ZM is alright
but I don't play any of them because both are boring for me.

-4 votes     reply to comment
violentdev May 6 2009 says:

It's like this guy is a troll but he's serious.

+7 votes     reply to comment
OctaneHugo May 6 2009 replied:

lol, Tanner hits the bulls-eye.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Nokiaman May 7 2009 buried:


GTFO the interwebs please

-6 votes     reply to comment
omegamaelstrom May 6 2009 buried:


It's really amusing how you 'fanboys' bury the comments that either don't agree with you, or.. have no reason to be buried other than they're by the author.

How bloody immature.

-9 votes     reply to comment
Nokiaman May 7 2009 buried:


Yeah so many kids round' here

-8 votes     reply to comment
Rukus_ May 6 2009 says:

Hey guys, guess what, the only one he posted positive about is the game that HE IS A DEV OF!

Zombiemod sucks, all the reviews ive seen of it are bad. Its just a glorified CSS zombie mod (Hence the buying system) with models completely taken from FPSbanana. Its a poorly constructed ZPS ripoff.

Everyone here shares my opinion, take notice how your comment buried -8.

+1 vote     reply to comment
GlitchedSystem May 7 2009 replied:

Rukus, from how I've seen you post here and on the ZM forums. I'd have to say your a immature kid. You create multiple accounts on sites to try and get your point across. It doesn't work! So why don't you quit trolling places and just get of the interwebs all together? Mmmkay? You tried to take over the ZM project and failed hard. People don't like you, if that can penetrate your thick skull.

Jordan N.
ZM:S Dev

+5 votes     reply to comment
omegamaelstrom May 6 2009 says:

Actually if you read the whole thing, he objectively said they ALL suck in one way or another. The only positive thing he said about zombiemod is that 'it has potential'. Whether he's a dev of it now or not (afaik he's only been on the team for a week, and he actually _wrote_ (not posted) the article before he joined)

But burying a comment because someone DISAGREES with you, or as one comment in particular was about his WRITING STYLE and was buried for the sake of being buried shows nothing but Immaturity. and the more you try to bury both of my two comments, the more it proves how immature you really are.

-4 votes     reply to comment
Daystranger May 7 2009 replied:

The fact you care about your e-peen and people "burring your comments" only proves YOUR immaturity, seriously.

+2 votes     reply to comment
omegamaelstrom May 7 2009 replied:

I don't care if a comment is buried for a valid reason. but burying them for the sake of burying them, or because someone doesn't agree with you is childish ;)

-2 votes     reply to comment
Knights May 6 2009 says:

Exactly why this whole blog should be buried deep in a grave... :P His Blog just comes off trolling, there's Opinions which everyone is entitled to say and then there's "OMG why they GET STEAM? DIS MOD SUX" and so on... Play what you want to play

+2 votes     reply to comment
KilroyNZ May 7 2009 says:

I wish this guy played the games before broadcasting his opinion of them on frontpages.

+2 votes     reply to comment
OkeiDo May 7 2009 says:

Someone deleted my post when I said he should play the games for real before reviewing them and that he didnt mention ZPS objective mode etc. Also that ZPS is a remake of Zombie Panic for HL1 that was back in 2004 before the CSS and Gmod zombie addons. Why was my post removed?

Anyways, atleast youve learnt a very important and obvious review lesson for next time; Play the games for real, get your facts right. Good luck in the future!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Daystranger May 7 2009 replied:

Thats BS as well.
Zombie Mods for CS 1.6 was long before 2004.
Zombie Panic is good mod, but no way its a gameplay revolution.

P.S. Agree with your other arguments. But not about ZPS and 2004.

+3 votes     reply to comment
OkeiDo May 7 2009 replied:

IT IS! Hehe nah seriously, I've never heard of zombie mods for CS 1.6. Doesn't matter who was first, just wanted to point out that we didn't copy them or CS 1.6 (since we didn't know it existed), so in a way we are unqiue :D.

+2 votes     reply to comment
um-tiki May 7 2009 replied:

Well, looking at the actually ZPS part it doesn't say anything about CSS zombie mod. But it does say it is like "Garry's Mod gamemode Zombie Survival" which came after the original ZP. So execpt for the CS 1.6 you were correct

+2 votes     reply to comment
ginger_lord May 7 2009 says:

lol modDB e-drama.

+3 votes     reply to comment
sawo May 7 2009 says:

This review is just awful.
"So in conclusion, mods on the Source engine are currently not very inspired and only one I think has any hope amongst the likes of Left 4 Dead." - This just doesn't make sense.
Also most of the other statements are just wrong.

I can't agree more with OkeiDo - ZPS is by far the most successful mod for source - it has long history (since hl1), it has different game modes, tons of custom content, interesting ideas, big community etc. etc. etc.
IMO the author of this review has no idea what he's talking about.

+2 votes     reply to comment
N1ck_284 May 7 2009 says:

Great job bashing the other mods and plugging your own.

Why is this ******** on the front page.

+6 votes     reply to comment
violentdev May 7 2009 says:

ITT Bury Comments is Fun

+4 votes     reply to comment
Otreum May 7 2009 says:

lol, what the hell is the point in a review if all that is said in the review is negatives?
If you want to write a good review, write the positives and negatives, even if the positives are very minor. If you can't bring yourself to find positives, then there is absolutely no point in writing a review at all.

As for the conclusion, you're comparing mods to ONE SINGLE RETAIL GAME MADE BY AN ARMY OF DEVELOPERS, and the game (left 4 dead) in MY eyes, is literally left 4 dead, because once you finish a map on expert...thats it, it's done, it's old, the challenge is gone.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see how Dead Island goes whenever it gets released sometime this century. As it SEEMS like it may actually be a half decent zombie game.

How bout comparing apples to apples...not apples to a fruit basket.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Daystranger May 7 2009 replied:

Yeah. Same "army" which once made mods for HL like CS and got money for them. (Turtle Rock Studios)

-4 votes     reply to comment
sawo May 7 2009 replied:

The original dev's of CS has nothing to do with VALVe or Turtle Rock.

0 votes     reply to comment
worbat May 7 2009 says:

OMFGZOMBIESLOL Was actually in its' own right a decent mod.

0 votes     reply to comment
UnInvincible May 7 2009 replied:

It was actually pretty fun for a bit, in that "O MY LORD THERE'S NO WAY TO ESCAPE, WTF ARE THOSE HEADCRABS EXPLODING?!?" kind of exciting gameplay. I think it could have actually gotten a lot more attention with some polishing up and good maps.

+1 vote     reply to comment
wazanator May 7 2009 says:

ROFL how can you even compare zombie mod: source to ZM and ZPS? If you knew anything at all then you would realise that Zombie Mod: source has so far shown nothing special they accept donated maps that are **** and they steal other peoples work with out asking.

What has Zombie Mod: source even done so far in uniqueness? The infection mode is almost the same as ZPS sure you can buy guns but thats no fun at all for the zombies when every player has a sniper rifle and takes your head off.
Survival is a version of HL2:DM that has NPC zombies spawn and mass charge you. It takes no skill to point and shoot the npc zombies there's even exploitable areas on the maps that zombies cant get you at or are very hard for them to get you.
Holdout is nothing new either once again its survival except dont let the zombies get through you can make a map like this in zps easily and have it be twice as much fun as actual players dont take the same route every time.
Escape is just like zps its almost a exact rip off of it complete an objective to win NOTHING NEW.

ZPS is about team play. How else is someone supposed to be zombie unless they are randomly chosen? And did you know that if your the first zombie your the carrier who has 250 health thats 50 more then a regular zombie along with the ability to infect survivors who in about 45 seconds turn into a zombie also?

Zps and ZM deserve there spots on steam they are both fun and enjoyable you seem to me the kind of person who can't stand winning every round, when that is the point of both ZM and ZPS survivors are supposed to win something like 25% of the time on official maps. Lets face it Zombie Mod: Source is so easy its not even a challenge, buy a gun and start shooting zombies i found myself having to go into the zombie spawn to even have a good time on that mod.

Hate to tell you this but you lost all respect anyone ever had for you.

+5 votes     reply to comment
wazanator May 7 2009 says:

Oh and just to point this out to anyone who really cares about this guys opinions still look what he wrote on his blog but was to scared to put on here
A direct quote from his blog
"Edit: This article was slammed pretty hard by fanboys on Moddb. That was fun. Zombie mods seem to have a very immature audience, which is understandable; thus the immature comments. I appreciated all the constructive feedback I received and such but ya know…fanboys, with only two factual inaccuracies (L4D is a lot older than I thought, so no inspiration, and Zombie Master was incorrectly referred to as Zombie Master: Source) I don’t think I did too badly to say it was written on a whim.

The unconstructive **** posting is not really that discouraging, just that I picked the wrong subject to criticise."

+6 votes     reply to comment
CSargeP May 8 2009 replied:

What a jerk. He really needs to work on his reviewing style.

+3 votes     reply to comment
UnInvincible May 8 2009 replied:

I know right?
It's not that he reviewed the wrong subject, it's that he was completely incorrect in everything he said about the subject.

+3 votes     reply to comment
CSargeP May 9 2009 replied:

Oh lol. It's one of those blogs that have their comments filtered by the blogger. I made a comment, which I feel wasn't offensive, to give another side to his "the comments where **** because I did nothing wrong" statement, but I doubt it's going to show up.

+3 votes     reply to comment
AlCool May 9 2009 says:

I like it when a reviewer doesn't even understand what he is reviewing.

You sound like your new to mods in general with that attitude you put towards these apparently "terrible" selection of source zombie mods. You barely played any of them but decide to write a review with unjust "facts" and without any understanding of what you just played in the first place.

You call these mods unoriginal and boring when you call the one that YOUR ON THE DEV TEAM OF a good mod with potential. Your biasm is not appreciated and neither is this entire mod bashing review. If you want to make a review, at least put some effort into playing the games first, and at least make an effort to TRY and enjoy yourself on something that you didn't take part in making.

It isn't a problem with "fanboys", it's a problem with people who appreciate good games with good content, and KNOW what they are talking about when they reply to complete lies that are posted infront of them.

Oh, and if your going to go off and insult everyone who disliked the review (namely near 90% of moddbs 40000 ppl community), grow some balls and post it here instead of in your safe and secure "blog".

+7 votes     reply to comment
Mr.John Jun 14 2009 says:

L4D IS NOT A COMMERSIAL GAME! Its more of an indie game/mod for the source engine, as TF2/CSS

0 votes     reply to comment
Nokiaman Oct 11 2010 says:

It's really funny how most people with +10 on 1st page are wrong.

0 votes     reply to comment
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