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The common zombies of Dead Island

Zombies are the reanimated corpses of deceased human beings infected with Pathogen HK. When resurrected, 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 incapacitate (and eventually consume) them. Showing low brain functionality and little hints of intelligence, they attack mainly with their arms or handheld weapons. 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



Xian Mei fighting a basic zombie

Walkers are the majority of the undead across Banoi Island and Palanai Island and are visually distinguished by their partly or significantly eaten bodies. Their movement speed ranges between slow to medium, but become more dangerous in groups where their 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 a survivor to come within range, not moving until the survivor is very close, where they will rush and attempt to strangle them to death.

Their speed ranges from a fast paced speed walk to a slow shambling movement every few moments and they may also attempt a last moment lunge attack. A special defense against Walkers is when the Hero may grab one, requiring a quick key 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.

While Walkers do carry usable weapons, this does not appear to affect the amount of damage they do, although it may slightly increase their reach. Occasionally (especially after knocking a zombie back), the zombie will throw the weapon at the hero (a glitch prevents enemy hurled weapons from being claimed by the Hero for some time) and apparently, will not appear to detonate propane tanks.

A Walker will die if both their arms, one of their legs or their heads are removed/decapitated. 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 (Female)

Female Infected in the Resort.

The Infected are newly awakened deceased corpses that are much faster than their Walker counterparts but possess lower durability, 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 fought with caution. They are fast, agile, vicious, and, because of their speed, they 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 objects. Curiously enough, they can't climb on car roofs (it's likely that they can only climb scripted locations such as the barricaded center of Moresby. Considering that if the Hero gets on a wall, they don't normally climb then they appear unable to climb on it). They are distinguishable by their clean, almost fully human appearance. Their bodies haven't yet succumbed to the effects of decomposition. Their approach is often preceded by a high-pitched screech.

It is unknown why Infected are much faster and louder than Walkers. It is speculated that this is because they haven't decomposed as much as Walkers. Other speculations suggests that the Infected aren't actually dead, but rather are insanely deranged humans caused by the virus. This is reinforced by their lack of physical damage or decay. Notably, if one was to listen 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 in which the player wakes up, but you must run as instructed as you are unarmed. It is likely that the first Infected you encounter that you must kill are in the quest "Exodus", after you leave the surf shop. You will be warned of their presence by a single screech, and you will see them running at you from across the beach.

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

Special Infected



Thugs are the first special infected you come into contact with. They are much larger and broader than ordinary zombies and deal massive damage — as well as knock-downs — with almost all swipes but luckily, they are slow moving. 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 weapon or edged. If one aim 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 simply follow you. Attacking them from a distance is safer but slower than hit-and-running (powerful weapons like grenades and molotov cocktails are easiest). Occasionally a Thug will fall down due to collision with a terrain object (or Sam B can knock one down) which makes it very vulnerable to the special "headstomp" attack (they are slow to get back up). If killed by a "headstomp" the XP received is the same as for a Walker rather than the higher amount received for a more usual takedown.

Thugs get easily frustrated and after every other attack sequence or kick dealt to them, they will yell and shake allowing a window of time for another free attack.

In Dead Island, Thugs are first encountered in the Lifeguard Tower during Act I, when the player helps John Sinamoi. They can also be met at the quest "Waterdance" before this.

In Dead Island: Riptide, Thugs are first encountered near the end of the Prologue after you meet up with the soldiers.


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

Death is guaranteed to be instantaneous, being highly lethal to zombies and humans alike if too close to a Suicider when it detonates. Even inside a vehicle will not shield them from the blast if 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.

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 anxiety causes them to self-destruct. Any thrown object that hits a Suicider (crate, brick, Propane Tank, etc.) will cause it to fall down. Its eruption will rupture Propane Tanks in range as well.

Suiciders are first encountered during the quest "Black Hawk Down" in Act I of the base campaign and just after the rescuing of St. Christopher's Church in Ryder White's Campaign. In Dead Island: Riptide, Suiciders are encountered when you meet up with the soldiers in the Prologue.



Rams are extremely tough, 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 eliminate them out by charging at full-force. If a survivor is spotted by the Ram, it will charge in a straight line and if a character 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 <20 - anywhere else. An easier way to kill some of the Rams is to drive over them in any vehicle and hit them in their weak spot.

Probably the best way to kill Rams is with special effects. They may be impossible to knock down by any survivor other than Sam B but fire, electricity, poison, and bleeding all have full effect on them. This makes molotov cocktails, grenades, propane tanks, and the like ideal Ram killers.

The first Ram encounter is in Act II, where it is attempting to break down the door to Saint Christopher's Church.

In Dead Island: Riptide, a Ram is first encountered at the cinema when finding a new safe zone.



Floaters are zombies that have been submerged in/under water for an extended length 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 shock-modded weapons. It is unknown if the corrosive slime is infectious.

Floaters have a single melee attack, done 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 or anyone in front of them with a full 180-degree sprayed stream of bile. This attack can be devastating to players attempting to engage Floaters from the front with a melee weapon.

The first encounter with Floaters is in the beginning phase of the first Sewers mission in Act II.

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


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Butchers are highly aggressive and 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 have a chance 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 have a chance of performing 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.

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 attacking the gates with other zombies, as well as a Thug. Another Butcher can be found before this in a cave. Just like the Ram, they are not that common on Palanai and even more rare to find in Henderson.

Dead Island: Riptide Zombies



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 long enough to run out of oxygen. They resemble the appearance of 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 as 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 the land back into the water itself, though they will not play dead, instead mindlessly roaming until the players enters their immediate area once again.



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. They are classified as Slow in movement and bear pulsating exposed flesh. They have a main weak-point which is the oxygen tank carried upon their backs. This will instantly kill them if shot.


Wrestler 02

Wrestlers are a type of special zombie introduced in Dead Island: Riptide. These zombies have a big, mutated arm that acts as a club to knock down the Heroes; either giving a swing or a massive smash unto 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 it 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 (as she also states such). This seems 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.



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 down. 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. Interestingly enough 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 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 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.
  • 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. In fact they will walk away.
  • In the Tape Recording #08, it is mentioned that their car hit an infected orangutan. However, undead 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 the 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 does not finish them off, the zombies 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.


  1. PCGamer- Dead Island banned in Germany