The Walking Dead Games

Your All-in-One Primer About Telltale’s Series

The Walking Dead is a successful comic, TV, and game series. Fans of both the comics and the TV show are treated to a thrilling story of a man’s attempt at surviving against the insanity-inducing madness of a world that has fallen to the undead and his struggle to keep his family and other survivors alive. The game series tells a similar story, but with completely different characters. This game expands the world of the Walking Dead –with a timeline that runs parallel to the canon story and a setting that places your characters in a different setting, you are given free rein to make your own decisions and plans without affecting continuity. More than anything, this game helps further establish the original story.

With five episodes released in chronological order over a span of months during 2012, Telltale games surprised the gaming industry by successfully pushing the envelope for game cinematography and interactive storytelling. The Walking Dead is being heralded as one of the best games of its year and despite the many issues that it faced during production, it has risen to all expectations and exceeded them. Whether you followed the series from day one or waited till all five are available, the game delivers a very powerful and lasting gameplay experience for all.

What is the Walking Dead?

what is the walking dead

The Walking Dead’s first incarnation came in the form of a comic book released in 2003. It was created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The comic featured a stylized black and white artstyle and slowly gained a cult following. In 2010, AMC premiered the first episode of the Walking Dead TV series. This live action TV show was an adaptation of the comics; with certain elements, events, and other factors adjusted in order to make the series more compatible with the audience.

The Walking Dead game series by Telltale is based off the original comics, but this is not an adaptation. The game follows the lives of Lee Everett and Clementine, two new and completely original characters. They will eventually meet and interact with other characters from the main story (such as Glenn), for the most part, it is assumed that these events happen prior to the appearance of these same characters in the main plot. So far, it is not known if any of the original video game characters will be featured in the comic or TV series.

This entire game series is split into 5 episodes, and each episode is composed of 8 chapters each. The episodes were released individually between April and November of 2012. With the release of episode 5, Telltale also released a complete set featuring all 5 episodes.

How the Game Plays

The Walking Dead is pretty much a third person point and click adventure. You use navigation commands to move Lee around, use an action command on objects and people to either acquire/use/give/take items or to start a conversation. Combat is also done in a similar manner with a few quick time events put in to give players a sense of urgency. Time also observed when selecting responses during conversations with NPC characters. This allows the game to force players to provide more honest and instinctive responses to critical questions (as opposed to calculating each and every statement given). Should a player decide not to make an action or give a response, the NPCs involved in the scene will treat Lee as if he choose to not make a move.

The Five Episodes

Each of the 5 Walking Dead episodes features certain events and highlights, and each one establishes certain aspects about the fictional world of the series and of course, follows Lee’s dangerous quest to ensure Clementine’s safety.

Episode 1: A New Day

Despite this episode’s very hopeful sounding title, the story is actually pretty grim. It opens with Lee on the back of a police cruiser where it is quickly established that he is has been found guilty of murder. During transit, the car runs into a walker. The ensuing commotion causes the driving policeman to lose control of the car and they end up in a ditch. Lee wakes up inside the wreck of the overturned car and is forced to fight off the policeman (who died and turned). After the struggle, he notices someone observing him from afar. Hoping to get some answers, he runs away from the crash and into a suburban area. Here, Lee finds Clementine alone in one of the houses. Lee learns from the answering machine that Clementine’s parents were out of town during the outbreak, and with no confirmation of whether they survived or not, Clementine’s chances of surviving on her own are pretty slim. Lee is determined to keep her safe, and this is where the game earnestly begins.

The two go out, and meet up with a pair of other survivors. And together, all of them travel to the farm of Hershel Greene (who is the first major character from the main series who appears in the game). Hershel provides Lee and Clementine with lodging for the night. The following day, Lee and Clementine are introduced to other survivors on the farm (Kenny and his family). Things do not go well as an accident attracts a couple of walkers and one of Hershel’s sons die as a result.

Lee and Clem then travel with Kenny’s family to Macon, where they find other survivors taking refuge in a drug store. The player later learns that this drugstore is owned by Lee’s family, and that he is estranged from them. The state of the drugstore instantly confirms Lee’s fears that his family have died in his absence. 

Among group of survivors is Glenn, the Korean pizza delivery guy who has a knack for being uncannily resourceful and tenacious when it comes to scavenging items and finding a way out of a tight spot. And he is also a major character in the main plot. It is Glenn who finds and starts the side event which secures a motel for the team to use. The chapter ends with the drugstore being besieged by zombies and the survivors taking refuge in the motel mentioned above.

Episode 2: Starved for Help

The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 2

After a couple of months in the motel, the Macon survivors are running low on food. This episode focuses on the group’s lack of a proper leader figure, with Kenny and Lily struggling against each other. Before things get any worse, the addition of new survivors to the group and a chance meeting with a couple of traders changes the focus of the characters.

The traders bring some of the Macon survivors to the St. John’s farm (the others stay behind to safeguard the motel), which is protected by a high power electric fence for keeping the undead out. The farm is apparently self sustaining in terms of food, but the electric fence requires fuel –so they use food to trade for fuel.

As Lee tries to work out some of the group’s internal issues while they are in the farm, Kenny starts investigating the area. This eventually leads to the survivors learning of the farm’s dangerous secret: that the St. John’s family have resorted to cannibalism. This results in a clash between the two sides and ends with the farm being overrun by zombies and the survivors rushing back to the motel.

Episode 3: Long Road Ahead

The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 3

With the motel surrounded by bandits and food growing ever scarcer, the Macon survivors make a desperate decision to finally leave the motel. This agreement does not come lightly, as the struggle between Lily and Kenny has grown to a major fight following the tragic events at the St. John’s farm.  It actually takes an attack from one of the bandit groups to force the survivors to jump into the RV and drive away.

They all decide to take the journey to Savannah, a nearby port city in the hopes of finding a sea-worthy ship and try to survive without the danger of having to deal with walkers all the time. Clementine is looking forward to the trip as well, as that city is the last known location of her parents.

The trip is not without its dangers, and more importantly, tension causes Lily to flip and turn upon the group. Not all is lost however, and despite running into a dead end, Lee and the others manage to salvage a train that heads straight into Savannah. Forced to confront the reality of having more danger around them, Lee teaches Clementine valuable survival techniques –such as knowing how to properly shoot a gun. 

Episode 4: Around Every Corner

The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 4

Savannah is not as safe or as promising as they had hoped. There are zombies in almost every area and worse of all, it appears as if there are no usable ships left on the harbor. The survivors run meet, Molly, who appears to be familiar with the area. She warns them to stay away from the inner part of the town, which appears to have been fortified with a massive defensive wall. The area is called Crawford, and it the base of operations for a group of people whose ideal is survival of the fittest; they expel and banish any member of the camp who is unfit, sick, or elderly. Worst of all, the people of Crawford are very averse to dealing with outsiders.

Lee also encounters a small group of cancer patients holed up in a morgue connected to the sewers. This group has been avoiding the Crawford citizens as their critical sicknesses makes them targets for removal. Their leader, Vernon, aids Lee out of the sewer area and back to the safety of a manor where the rest of the Macon group have made camp. They also discover a small boat in the garage.

In order to get the boat working, they will need parts and fuel that are stored within the premises of the Crawford base. Doubting that the people inside would be keen on trading supplies with them, Lee and the others hatch a plan in order to infiltrate the base.

Their efforts end up wasted as they discover that the place is no longer the strategic fort that it once was. Crawford has been taken over by the undead, and Lee’s group must rush to find everything they need before the walkers completely trap them.

The mission is eventually successful, and the everyone makes most of the evening to recover their strength. However, when Lee wakes up the following day, he finds Clementine gone. Worried that Vernon might have taken her, he rushes out of the manor in search of her. Before he gets far, he spots Clem’s walkie-talkie on the road and picks it up. As he does, a walker lunges at him –Lee is able to kill the walker, but not before it bites his wrist. Now Lee must contend with the reality of dealing with a zombie bite while he tries to figure out a way to save Clem.

Episode 5: No Time Left

The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 5

The fifth and final chapter of the story takes Lee on a desperate quest to save Clementine. He communicates with her captor through the walkie-talkie, and takes it upon himself to find a way to get to her through the zombie filled town. Depending on the player’s actions and decisions throughout the past 4 games, Lee’s party may be composed of various members or none at all. Unlike the previous episodes where the focus has been on survival, Lee must now put all his remaining energy and time left to getting Clementine back.

With much effort and sacrifice, Lee does make it to the place where Clementine is held, and there he is faced with her captor, a man who has lost a lot thanks to the Macon group (Lee’s involvement is determined by your past decisions). This confrontation is slow, dark, and bitter, with Lee being forced to face the anger of another person who has pretty much been through a similar hell like he has.

Download the Walking Dead Season 1