Abstract: The most well-known Chinese supernatural monsters are perhaps the goeng-sis or jiang-shis (殭屍), a stiff-corpse zombie which is usually dressed in grave caps and clothes, and moves by hopping around with their arm outstretched. Heavily influenced by ancient Chinese culture, Hong Kong cannot escape from these monsters. This article will cover their appearance in the virtual Hong Kong of various video games. Impressive is that the games cover a wide variety of topics about the monsters, including when and where they are expected to show up, how they attack people and what is most important, how one can defend himself from them.

A cartoon goeng-si. Source: pchome.com.tw

Appearance in video games

Goeng-sis appear in the virtual Hong Kong of Simple 2000 Series Vol. 65: The Kyonshi Panic (D3 Publisher. PlayStation 2: 2004) and Sleeping Dogs (Square Enix. Microsoft Windows/PlayStation 3/Xbox 360: 2012). The monsters in the video games can be easily identified as goeng-sis as they possess all the distinctive appearance features covering at the beginning: dressed in grave caps and clothes, and hopping around with their arm outstretched.

Title screen of The Kyonshi Panic showing the main character (left) and two goeng-sis in grave caps and garments (middle and right)  
Hopping goeng-sis in The Kyonshi Panic
Goeng-sis in Sleeping Dogs' side story: Nightmare in North Point 
Hopping goeng-sis in Sleeping Dogs
They are found dressed in grave suits as they were once dead bodies. For those taking bodies which has been dead for a long time, the corpses are too stiff to let the ankle bend for walking. They then have no choice but to hop in order to move. The dead bodies are used to having their hand resting horizontally. That explain why the goeng-sis like to outsketch their arms after they are "waken up".

Occasions to show up

In both games, the monsters appear in dark environments -- inside an abandoned building of Kowloon in The Kyonshi Panic and in North Point at night in Sleeping Dogs. Depending on things belonging to the "dark" or "Yin" (陰) including their dead bodies and "power" from the Moon, the goeng-sis will be turned into ash if they are exposed to sunlight, which is a representative of "light" or "Yang" (陽) -- a direct opposite of darkness.

Attacks and combats

While a goeng-si has strong arms and can use them to attack people, one shouldn't forget its sharp canine. Biting as demonstrated in the game Sleeping Dogs is its signature attack. It is believed to be an act to absorb the life force of a living being to maintain their "lives".
A goeng-si biting a human in Sleeping Dogs
How could one counter them? Besides typical approaches such as bare fists, guns and swords, both games show you so unique ways.

The Kyonshi Panic demonstrates the use of rice. Rice is thought to have the power to beat devils.

Rice as a weapon to combat Goeng Si in The Kynoshi Panic
The use of rice to beat a goeng-si in The Kynoshi Panic
The use of rice to create a shield in The Kynoshi Panic
Another tool is a special seal tag called Fu (符). Yellow in color and with supernatural talismans written by supernatural practitioners, the tag is believed to summon or instruct deities and spirits to help combat devils including goeng-sis. In the game, once the tag is posted on the forehead of a weak zombie, the creature vanishes.
The use of seal tag to combat a goeng si in The Kynoshi Panic
Boxart of The Kynoshi Panic showing the seal tags for combating the goeng-sis.
A real seal tag or Fu. Source: Wikipedia
In Sleeping Dogs, the most effective way to beat a goeng-si is to pull it into a fire. Remember, goeng-sis belongs to the dark side and are hence afraid of things on the light side.

Beating goeng-sis by pulling it into a fire in Sleeping Dogs
You could also use the peach wood sticks. Peach wood was thought by the ancient Chinese to possess spiritual properties and can ward off evil spirits. to be effective in combating demons.

Beating goeng-sis with a peach wood sword in Sleeping Dogs 

Final Remarks

Besides video games, goeng-sis can also be found in other Hong Kong pop culture such as TV and movies. In fact, it is commonly believed that the Hong Kong movie Mr. Vampire (Hong Kong: 殭屍先生, Taiwan: 暫時停止呼吸, Japan: 霊幻道士) in 1985 triggered the popularity of the goeng-si genre in Chinese communities and beyond. The movie even spans a video game called Phantom Fighter 霊幻道士 (Pony Canyon. NES: 1988).

The original Hong Kong movie poster of Mr. Vampire. Source: Wikipedia
The American cover art of Phantom Fighter
In-game screenshot of Phantom Fighter
Available items for use to treat goeng-sis in Phantom Fighter (from its instruction manual)
Anyway, definitely goeng-sis can't be found anywhere in the real city. They are fictitious creatures! However, if you are unfortune to meet one elsewhere, I hope my tips above would help.


  • http://www5b.biglobe.ne.jp/~kokuyume/IMAGESP/CPTOP.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiangshi
  • http://mypaper.pchome.com.tw/jasonyeh/post/1236871357
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peach#China

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