Enemy statistics
Game(s) Dead Island Dead Island: Riptide Dead Island 2
Danger Level 3/5 skulls
Speed Very Slow to Slow
Aggression Low
First Encounter When clearing out the Lifeguard Tower Dead Island

When escaping the ship Dead Island: Riptide

Level Health
1 280
3 840
12 1736
20 3080
25 4480
50 11200

The Thug is a special zombie encountered throughout Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide. It is the first special zombie that is encountered, and fought in the game. In Dead Island it it first found in the Lifeguard Tower during the main quest Exodus. In Dead Island: Riptide, it is first fought during the prologue.


Thugs are large, brutish variants of Walkers. They are far larger than Walkers and tower over them when in the same location. However, they emit a loud, low roar which alerts nearby zombies to someone in the same area, making them a sort of early warning system to let other zombies know that that there's food entering the area. They are far slower than Walkers, however, only capable of shambling around and they are still just as susceptible to getting their limbs broken/cut off and the head is still a weak spot.


Thugs are physically larger and much tougher than most of the other zombie types. They exhibit increased muscle and bone growth, making them tower over their lesser brethren, but otherwise differ little visually from most Walkers and Infected. They are perpetually enraged, and will roar periodically, giving away their position.


Upon seeing a survivor and recognising it as prey, the Thug will emit a loud, low roar before shambling towards the survivor. This roar not only tells the survivor that they have been spotted, but also alerts other zombies in the area to possible prey being around. The Thug is slow and easy to avoid, but when it gets into combat it is a force to be reckoned with. The Thug is the heavy hitter of the zombies, capable of dealing out a lot of damage with a single punch, able to throw a survivor several meters onto their back causing a lot of damage. If a Thug looses both their arms, it will remain undeterred and instead try to headbutt or bite the survivor instead. However, like their Walker friends, if it looses a leg, it will be unable to move and will subsequently die. The Thugs on Palanai are slightly different, in that that they have a new attack where they will flail their arms around them three times while moving forwards at an increased pace, causing massive damage and knockback to anyone hit. It will then roar out in success.

Do not underestimate these enemies. While they are slow, lumbering and easy to manoeuvre around, getting hit even a few times can easily result in death.

Notable Thugs

* Special thug model.


  • When fighting a Thug, it's best to make sure all other enemies in the area are dealt with, so as to not have any interruptions during combat. Thugs are, however, much slower than regular zombies and can be considered low priority in open areas. Kicking a Thug can also make it roar quicker than normal, leaving itself vulnerable to attacks. Note that in many cases a jumping kick attack will knock them down, making them much easier to deal with, and one can stomp on their heads. Also, a Thug's attacks are predictable enough for the player to jump backwards and avoid them.
  • If you are new to the game, one of the best ways to kill a Thug is to find a weapon that has a longer reach than his arms, then if he gets close enough for him to hit the Hero, one should either jump back or kick him. If using a longer melee weapon type, such as a baseball bat or long bladed weapon, the player can crouch and strike the Thug with little to no retaliation. One could run around the thug, repeatedly striking him for a quick kill. Certain weapons such as the large sledgehammers or fire axes have such a long range that a careful player can beat/chop at Thugs with complete impunity while remaining out of their reach. Just remember to eliminate any other enemies first.
  • Another effective tactic is to take a blunt or sharp weapon and attempt to cripple or sever both arms. Wait for him to swing, jump to a certain side then swing directly at the arm (best done with a cleaver, machete, sledgehammer or morning star). Once both arms are crippled the Thug is a much easier opponent, although he may still attempt to bite the player.
  • It is often most efficient to kill Thugs with thrown explosives or firearms. If a Thug is standing near an explosive item such as a barrel, a vehicle, or a propane tank, exploding the item will typically kill him.
  • A good technique later in the game (when Thugs have significantly more health) is to make use of the Sticky Bomb Mod. When used they can easily dispatch a Thug in one shot, providing you aim well. Another good technique is to throw a Plague Bearing Military Knife (No. 4 Craft) at a Thug, then hit it with an incendiary weapon. This will set the Thug on fire, and prevent it from doing damage for a substantial period of time. Other elemental weapons have similar effects, allowing the player to attack without risk while the Thug is incapacitated by the elemental attack.
  • Vehicles can also be used to attack Thugs while incurring little to no damage.
  • If playing as Logan, activate his Rage and one should kill the Thug within a few knife throws.
  • A Thug can be killed in at least 6 hits with a blue highlighted weapon or purple weapon, if properly aimed.
  • If you manage to critical strike a Thug with an electrical weapon, you might "freeze" it in place. This gives you a time of uninterrupted attacks. Even better yet: there is a chance that you can, with the help of a shock-modified blunt weapon (such as a sledgehammer with the Magic Wand Mod), send him to the ground on a critical hit, thus leaving him vulnerable to stomps.
  • When using a shotgun, aim and shoot at the head of the Thug. This usually causes a critical hit scoring an instant kill.
  • A Thug can easily be taken down by using one hit from the Left hand of glova, then kicking him once you've regained some stamina and then stomping his head after recovering more stamina.


  • When a Thug hits a wall with its arms, there is a chance that it may fall to the ground. Also, when climbing up stairs, they may fall as well. Both of these can grant easy kills for the hero.
  • If the players throw sharp weapons at the Thug impaling him and then get killed, when they run back to the Thug to kill him and get the weapons back, the Thug may be gone and the weapons can be levitating in the air where the Thug was.
  • During the quest Make Yourself at Home the Thug may just stand at his place, even if you are constantly hitting it.


  • A Thug appears to be the Dead Island counterpart of the Tank in Left 4 Dead, seeing as both are depicted as undead, large, muscular beings who can knock the player down with one hit.


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