The common zombies of Dead Island

Zombies are the reanimated corpses of deceased humans infected with Pathogen HK. During the zombification process, the pathogen reverts any infected individual to a primitive, cannibalistic state, driven by a hunger for flesh, making them extremely hostile towards non-infected survivors. They can easily identify non-infected persons and will attempt to infect or incapacitate (and eventually consume) them. Showing low brain functionality and little hints of intelligence, they attack mainly with their arms or basic handheld melee weapons. Therefore, Cutting / breaking a zombie's arm or knocking them down will prevent any usage of weaponry - whether a handheld object or their open fist - as they tend to become stunned or drop their current weapon.

Common Zombies



Walkers make up the majority of the undead across Banoi Island and Palanai Island and are visually distinguished by their partly eaten and decayed bodies. They are most dangerous in groups, where their slow speed is less of a disadvantage. Walkers are also fairly quiet at a distance and can be difficult to spot in darker areas. Often, they can be found lying on the ground or sitting up motionless, waiting for an unsuspecting survivor to come within range.

Their speed ranges from a slow shambling movement to a fast paced jog and they may also attempt a last moment lunge attack. A special defense against Walkers is when the Hero is grabbed by one, requiring a quick combo to throw it off without damage (the Walker takes slight damage from a punch to the face). This is an automatic defense and isn't controllable (other than keeping Walkers at a distance). In some areas, this mechanic is actually used as a trap.

Walkers occasionally spawn with melee weapons they will use against the player, which slightly increases their reach and damage dealt to the player. Walkers will often throw their weapons at the player when they get the chance, which can be deadly, especially if the zombie is carrying an edged weapon.

A Walker will die if both their arms, one of their legs or their heads are removed. This is easy to accomplish with a weapon or the "curbstomp" attack. When knocked down, they may also break a limb or even their neck (the latter is rare but kills the Walker instantly). Jump kicks in particular are likely to cause a limb loss and will always knock one down. Even bare fists can break a Walker's arm (easy to do when they are knocked down).


Infected about to run at the player

The Infected appear to be early-stage zombies which are still undergoing the zombification process, leading them to lose their higher brain functions to the point of mindless instinctual rage. They are much faster than their Walker counterparts, but are also significantly weaker, making them weaker in fights. These zombies are easy to deal with when fighting off one or two, but are extremely dangerous in groups, and should be engaged with caution. Their approach is often preceded by a pose where they spread their arms and lean backwards, accompanied by a notable high-pitched screech. They are fast, agile, vicious, and, because of their speed, are hard to keep track of during close combat. Also worth noting is that in Act IV, Infected tend to carry weapons and use them quite effectively. They can also climb low walls and other stationary objects to get to the player. This is especially a threat in the Quarantine Zone area of Moresby, where the Infected can climb scaffoldings and other platforms to reach the player. The Infected are distinguishable by their clean, almost fully human appearance since their bodies haven't yet succumbed to the effects of decomposition.

It is speculated that the Infected aren't actually dead, but rather are insanely deranged living humans in the late stages of infection. This is reinforced by their lack of physical damage or decay. Notably, if one listens closely to an Infected, they may occasionally hear a strangled "Help me!". Other zombies such as the Suicider can also be heard saying this.

Infected are first encountered in the hotel when the player wakes up, but are instructed to run as they are unarmed and unprepared to fight them. The first Infected the player encounters which must be killed are in the quest Exodus, after the Hero leaves the surf shop.

Infected will die if any limb is severed or disabled. This usually requires a weapon to accomplish (or the special "headstomp" attack).

Special Infected


Thug being electrocuted

Thugs are the first special infected the Hero comes into contact with. They are physically much larger and broader than ordinary zombies and deal great damage with every hit. Most of the time, the Hero will be knocked down if a Thug lands a hit on them. They are frequently accompanied by several Walkers. Thugs have an unmistakable roar and can be heard from far away.

In melee combat, the best and easiest way to kill a Thug is to aim for its arms first with a blunt or sharp weapon. If one aims for their head or chest, they will be able to attack the survivor with their undamaged arms. Breaking or cutting off a Thug's arms will force it to attack with a short-range headbutt / bite. Breaking its neck, as well as disabling its arms, will eliminate all of its attacks and will cause the Thug to simply follow the Hero. Attacking them from a distance is safer but slower than hit-and-run attempts (powerful throwables like grenades and molotov cocktails are really effective). Occasionally a Thug will fall down due to collision with a terrain object, which makes it very vulnerable to the special "headstomp" attack. If killed by a "headstomp" the XP received is the same as for a Walker.

Thugs will roar after every second successful attack from the player, creating a window of opportunity for more attacks. However, landing melee hits on a Thug while his roaring animation is playing will sometimes interrupt the animation. In that case, the Thug will be quick to respond with a punch towards the player, so caution is necessary.

In Dead Island, Thugs are first encountered in the Lifeguard Tower during Act I, when the player clears out the Lifeguard Tower during Exodus. However, they can be met at the quest Waterdance before this.

In Dead Island: Riptide, Thugs are first encountered near the end of the Prologue after the Hero meets up with the BIDF Soldiers.


Suicider in Moresby

Suiciders are the second special infected the Hero will encounter. Suiciders are zombies with disfigured, bloated bodies which are pulsing from unknown reactions caused by the virus. They retain a semblance of awareness, their instincts driving them to seek help from the uninfected survivors. When they get close, they will violently erupt in a self-destructive explosion. It is advised to listen for their distinctive distorted screech - which can sometimes include a cry for help ("Help me!") - to avoid being ambushed by them.

If too close to a Suicider when it detonates, death is guaranteed to be instantaneous for zombies and humans alike. Even being inside a vehicle will not shield the Hero from the blast if they are close enough. The best way to kill them is to attack from a distance or walk close until they're about to erupt, then run away. Killing a Suicider by throwing a melee weapon at him will definitely decrease the durability of the weapon, and if it's weak enough, may even destroy it. A Suicider's explosion will also cause nearby objects like propane tanks, explosive barrels or wall-mounted fire extinguishers to explode.

Suiciders are easy to kill with ranged attacks, having even less health than an Infected. They are also very unstable and easily knocked down. If they fall down, their inability to get back up causes them to self-destruct. Any thrown object that hits a Suicider (crate, brick etc.) will cause it to fall down.

In Dead Island, Suiciders are first encountered during the quest Black Hawk Down in Act I.

In Dead Island: Riptide, Suiciders are encountered along with Thugs when the Hero meets up with the BIDF Soldiers in the Prologue.


Ram in the Slums

Rams are extremely tough, tall, strong and determined. These undead were either already crazy before the outbreak or were restrained after being infected in an attempt to prevent them from infecting others. Now, they single-mindedly pursue any survivors in sight and attack them by charging at full-force. If a survivor is spotted by the Ram, it will charge in a straight line towards them while giving off a loud, wild roar. If a survivor gets close enough to them, they resort to a powerful kick attack. Their weak spot is a small patch of exposed skin on their back, as well as their exposed head. They take an extremely small amount of damage - usually less than 20 - anywhere else. An easier way to kill Rams is to drive over them in any vehicle, usually resulting in instant death. However, this is almost impossible in Moresby, where most Rams are encountered, due to the streets being littered with crashed and abandoned vehicles. Rams are especially dangerous in high-threat regions of Moresby, such as Shanty Town, because they will usually spawn together with multiple Walkers, Infected and/or Suiciders, potentially overwhelming players. It is also noted that Sam B is able to knock one down with his Tackle skill, although this is not possible when the Ram still has high health.

Modded weapons are quite effective against Rams. Fire, electricity, poison and bleeding all have full effect on them. Throwables like molotov cocktails and grenades, world objects like propane tanks, and attribute-bearing melee weapons are all great ways to attack a Ram.

In Dead Island, the first encounter is in Act II, where a Ram is attempting to break down the door to Saint Christopher's Church. Note that this Ram will not exit the bounds of the Church's yard to attack the player.

In Dead Island: Riptide, a Ram is first encountered much later in the game, at Henderson's cinema while the survivors are looking for a new safe zone.


Floater in the laboratory

Floaters are zombies that have been submerged in water for an extended period of time. They can often be found in the sewers as well as at several ponds and lakes in the Jungle and in a small number of areas in the Prison. A Floater's bloated, partially decomposed body produces a corrosive slime capable of hurting, blinding or disorienting enemies from a distance. Melee attacks often work better on Floaters than ranged ones, but it is recommended to be careful of their projectile slime when approaching from a distance. Floaters are impervious to incendiary and poison attacks, but are extremely vulnerable to any electricity-modded weapons. It is unknown if the corrosive slime is infectious.

Floaters have a single melee attack, performed randomly when the players are up close. They also have two separate ranged attacks. Other than being able to fire projectile slime over medium distances, they can also douse anything close to them with a full 180-degree sprayed stream. This attack can be devastating to players attempting to engage Floaters from the front with a melee weapon.

The first encounter with Floaters in Dead Island is during the Let the Waters Flow quest in Act II.

In Dead Island: Riptide, Floaters are first encountered when looking for a boat around Palanai.


Butcher chasing the player

Butchers are highly aggressive, much tougher versions of the Infected that slice and tear through survivors with their sharpened radial bones - the only remains of their forearms. Their leaping attacks and lightning-fast reactions make them rather dangerous and difficult to fight with melee attacks as they are quite adept at dodging them. They are vulnerable to two-handed weapon attacks, as well as firepower. Beware that, if below a certain amount of health, Butchers will perform a self-healing, buff-like move that will replenish all of their health. This happens mostly when the player fights Butchers for extended periods of time.

In Dead Island, they are not found until Act III when the player enters the Ghost Town in the Jungle. After reaching the middle point of the ghost town, a cutscene will play introducing the Butcher where it brutally attacks a survivor, then heads towards the Hero.

In Dead Island: Riptide, a Butcher named Ogre is first encountered when trying to find Marcus. It is found attacking the gates with multiple Walkers, as well as a Thug. Another Butcher can be found before this in a cave. Just like the Ram, they are not that common in the wild areas of Palanai and even more rare to find in Henderson.

Dead Island: Riptide Zombies

Mutated Scientist

Mut 5f08f30177 b.jpg

Mutated Scientists are a type of zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. They only appear inside the laboratory dome and act as normal Walkers. They will attempt to grab or hit a survivor as they walk past and they are easily identified by their clothing and gurgling roars. They are similar in appearance to Grenadiers, but wear white hazmat suits and have no ranged attack. However, like the Grenadier, the oxygen tank on their back can be punctured and detonated.


Drowners in Palanai

Drowners are a type of common zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. They appear in heavily flooded areas and try to kill the player by grabbing them and pulling them underwater. They resemble a Walker or Floater due to their decomposition, as well as green discoloration on their remaining flesh. Drowners are classified as Very Fast in Dr. Kessler's Casebook and attack in a flurry just like the Infected. They are drawn by the sounds of survivors (running, explosives, gunshots) and they also tend to surprise their prey by leaping from the water and relentlessly attacking them. However, most tend to stay close to water and some will even retreat from land back into the water itself, though they will not play dead, instead mindlessly roaming until the player enters their immediate area once again.


Grenadier about to attack the player

Grenadiers are a type of special zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. These zombies are infected scientists in hazmat suits that toss exploding, toxic pieces of their own flesh at the Heroes. In Dr. Kessler's Casebook they are classified as slow in movement. Their weak spot is the oxygen tank carried upon their backs. This will explode and kill them if punctured.


Wayne turning into a Wrestler

Wrestlers are a type of special zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. These zombies have a large, mutated arm that acts as a club to knock down the Heroes; either by swinging it or smashing into the ground. The Wrestler bears immense strength and is able to kill a survivor with 1-2 hits (the damage from a slow overhead strike is roughly half a health bar). It is classified as Very Slow, yet is stronger than a Thug if it lands a hit upon it's victim.

The first Wrestler encountered is when Wayne mutates into one after making your way through the sewers. He tells Purna (who notices something is wrong with him) that someone 'pushed' him. Harlow Jordan informs the group that she pushed him so that she could see what exactly the mutagen would do to someone who was infected with the virus. This means Harlow knew he was infected (she also states such). This seems to be corroborated by a cutscene prior to this boss fight, where Wayne is nearly bitten (or possibly is as he falls, which is also where Harlow may have 'pushed’ him near the boat on Palanai) which can lead to the speculation that he is infected.


First Screamer encounter

Screamers are type of special zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. These zombies have the ability to emit a loud, piercing scream that can blur the vision of the player and disorient the Heroes. Their deafening scream will draw Infected and Walkers to the unfortunate survivor, whom is unable to react unless they move away from the wide range of the Screamer's scream. Oddly, the Screamer bears the voice of a female Infected, but appears as a male zombie (being that the Screamer is topless). In Dr. Kessler's Casebook, the Screamer holds a very fast movement pattern as they travel faster than the Infected. Interesting as well is that the Screamer appears to have been a test subject of some kind due to its appearance: Its brain is exposed and their heads bear an instrument which is used to restrain their neck movement and keep their eyes open. Additionally, the Screamers bear stitches on their shoulders and stomach.

The Screamer also has an alternate form. In Dr. Kessler's Casebook, the Screamer appears to wear a green dress which is torn, bloody and reveals "her" exposed internal organs as well as her knees (bones) and legs. The alternate appearance to the Screamer is topless and wearing green pants. This is speculated to be the male version, although it still uses the female infected voice. The version where it wears pants also shows "its" areola are missing, which appear to have been surgically removed from its body as opposed to being eaten. A small series of dash lines can clearly be seen on parts of its body as an indicator of future surgical plans.

Number of players

The level of enemies are based on the character level of the player, meaning that the levels of anyone else won't matter.

Enemy Health
# Players Enemy Health Multiplier
1 x1.0
2 x1.25
3 x1.75
4 x2.25
Enemy Damage
# Players Enemy Damage Multiplier
1 x1.0
2 x1.1
3 x1.2
4 x1.3

Notable Zombies

Boss zombies

Boss zombies are new, special zombies present in Dead Island: Riptide. Each boss zombie has different abilities. The majority are found in specific Dead Zones throughout the game. There are a total of 13 to be found.



  • The game was not released in Germany due to the amount of violence. Dead Island was sold in some German online stores such as Amazon Germany for a limited time. It was indexed in November 2011[1].
  • Sam B and Angel are the only characters in the game to call zombies by their actual names.
  • While zombies sometimes carry usable weapons, this does not appear to affect the amount of damage they do, although it may slightly increase their reach. When zombies throw their weapons at the player, it should be noted that they will not detonate propane tanks.
  • Despite the Infected being able to climb objects, they cannot climb on top of cars or onto roofs of buildings, and they appear to be unable to use ladders.
  • Zombies are never shown to eat the flesh of any live, moving victims (outside of the game's trailer). They either wait until their victim is incapacitated or dead before consuming them.
  • Also, if the Hero is knocked down, zombies will not attack. They will patiently wait for the player to get up.
  • In the Tape Recording #08, it is mentioned that the car hit an infected orangutan. However, infected animals are never encountered in game.
  • There are no infected children in the game because rating systems like the ESRB disallow depictions of violence against children. Still, there are three examples of undead children mentioned, though they aren't seen in game: the Daughter from the trailer, the ten-year-old boy Andrew Meisner had to kill in Ryder White's Campaign DLC and a six-year-old girl mentioned in Tape Recording #06.
  • Zombies are susceptible to drowning. If a zombie's head is submerged it will take damage over time, but will often not die unless heavily damaged. Fortunately, drowned zombies do not become Floaters or Drowners.
  • Zombies will almost always die when set aflame (apart from Floaters, which are fireproof). Even if the fire doesn’t kill them, they will be left with such little health that one hit from most weapons will finish them off.
  • Though officially unknown, it is speculated that the special infected came to be through existing genetic mutations interacting with their infection or as a result of the locations they were in at the time they were infected.


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