The player character of Dead Island is picked from one of four vacation-goers on the island of Banoi, with the additional option of a quarantined navy-man they meet in Riptide. Each character has a distinct preference in weapons and fighting styles based on their personal history. The four (later five) travel together as a group throughout the island of Banoi (later Palanai) trying to find a way to escape. Their shared immunity to the zombie infection make them go-to errand boys and protectors of many more vulnerable survivors.
Tropes exhibited by all playable characters:
The Berserker: Riptide clarifies that the "Rage Mode" power-up is a side-effect of the zombie virus within them, which becomes more severe in that game. Exactly how this ability gives Logan and Purna infinite throwing knives and bullets respectively is not explained.
Empowered Badass Normal: John counts more than the rest, due to being an expert martial artist and sailor before the outbreak, but the other four are total badasses by the end of the first game. In Riptide, everyone is forced to travel through storage facilities filled with chemical weapons and mutagens, causing the zombie virus to mutate and augment their Rage Mode and make them more explicitly invulnerable.
Emergency Transformation: The player takes an additional dosage of mutagen to take on the drugged-up, insane, mutated Harlow in Riptide, giving them infinite Rage-Mode for a while. Thankfully, the heroes are able to handle the mutation better and the symptoms actually wear off.
Good Is Not Soft: Xian and John, in contrast to the others, are essentially the Chinese embodyment of death and Wolverine, but very kind, caring, and helpful. Especially Xian, who can be heard expressing sympathy to special infected. Before killing them.
The Immune: It's the reason they do all the work. This turns out to have ramifications in Riptide.
Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Everyone except Xian Mei and John Morgan. Sam B and Purna in particular are very rude and aggressive, and Logan is very gruff and coarse. All of them seem to care about other survivors and willingly help out, but those three will blow up at anyone who questions them or slows them down.
Left Hanging: The end of Riptide shows the boat they escaped in, one week later, to be abandoned on deck. The camera then focuses on the handle of the door to the cabin, which turns. What exactly this means has left players and fans confused.
Ambiguous Situation: The fact that Riptide was specifically denied to be "Dead Island 2" has left some believing that the 5 heroes will be back.
And Then John Was a Zombie: This is what the ending seems to imply, possibly due to the extra dose of mutagen they took for the final boss (which they hoped wore off), but the whole thing is so quick and sudden that it's impossible to be sure if it isn't some trick being pulled on the player.
True Companions: Definitely so, by the end of the first game. In addition to this n the second game, there's also the group of survivors who you actually manage to shepherd through the entire game.
Xian Mei was born and raised in China by her father, a Hong Kong police force chief inspector who taught Xian martial arts from a young age, and was murdered by a Triad enforcer. She decided to follow in her father's footsteps and joined the Hong Kong police force, where she was selected to join the first all-female anti-organised crime unit. However, the team and its members were commissioned by the police force for the PR boost rather than their skill. Xian was soon planted undercover at Royal Palms Resort as a receptionist, mostly because they had nothing better to do with her, and feels shame and disappointment that her potential is being wasted.
Action Girl: Her bio describes her as "a passionate sportswoman" who is "quick on her feet."
And then there's her in-game biography, which is totally different. The website and manual make her sound like an idealistic young girl who wants to travel the world. If you pick her off the character selection screen, you get the real story, told to you by Xian Mei herself.
It's been noted that, being an undercover cop, the website is most likely telling the lie from her end, and playing as her reveals the truth about what she does.
Badass: High stamina, expert in bladed weapons and several skills in poison, assassination, slicing off limbs and One-Hit Kill.
Badass Bookworm: She is university educated, and scored the highest in her class.
Bring It: When confronting a zombie with a knife Xian might do a cute little finger wag.
Clothing Damage: Though it's a FPS game, cutscenes and artwork showcase that her skirt has pretty much been ripped to shreds due to the zombie event.
Combat Medic: Her three major Survival skill tree abilities focus on using medkits more effectively.
Combat Stilettos: Xian can actually learn a move that involves driving her high heels into a zombie's head.
Expy: Whether it's deliberate or not, her background is a lot like Chun Li's.
Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Despite being a melee specialist, Xian has no defensive talents and her health pool grows more slowly than anyone else's. It is not unusual for even a high-level Xian to go down after two or three hits from a Thug or an infected with a weapon, which makes her the single worst character to play in single-player mode. You generally want to focus on evasion and jump attacks with her, and pop a medkit any time she's taken any real damage. On the plus side, her specialization in bladed weapons lets her attack quickly for high damage with very little drain in stamina, and in the late game she's absolutely devastating with a katana or Zed's Demise.
Hidden Depths: As well as her profile differing wildly from the one in game, the novel suggests she observes the tourists arriving in Banoi, feels sorry for singles and chats them up.
I Owe You My Life: In Riptide, she'll sometimes say this when you tackle a zombie off of her. Along with "You shall die an honorable death/you will die with honor" (to zombies, not to the players), it makes her come as very refined even when fighting for her life.
Knife Nut: Her Rage attack has her pulling out a knife to carve zombies up.
Only Sane Woman/Token Good Teammate: In the cutscenes, Xian Mei comes across as the sanest and most idealistic of the four heroes. She disagrees with the other three's suggestions to abandon the other survivors and save themselves, agrees with Jin's desire to help everybody, and is the only person to sensibly point out that they have no reason not to trust The Voice, who's been completely helpful and non-threatening, while the others start screaming at the guy because he's an authority figure (Purna) or because they want to make their own way out (Logan). In the beginning of Act III she even gives a Rousing Speech to the other 3 characters to convince them to search for the vaccine and save the world instead of heading straight for the extraction point and just saving themselves.
Overt Operative: Xian's cover is basically transparent. The rest of the survivors figure out something's up when they revisit the hotel in Act 2, although it's never followed up on.
In the Dead Island eight-page promotional comic, Roger Howard discovers the hotel staff knew she was a cop from the moment she landed. In the novelization, Purna figures out Xian can't be an ordinary desk clerk pretty much immediately upon meeting her.
Precision F-Strike: The game does not shy away from swearing, but Xian only does this twice: once after recovering when the kuru virus had made her into a Blood Knight that would have Johnny Gat propose, and to Serpo upon his admission of all the atrocities he is behind.
The Smart Girl: When not expressing sympathy at the disaster she's this, in particularly in Henderson when she sounds like a tour guide.
Logan is an ex-quarterback whose life was destroyed after he got into a nasty crash while street racing, killing his passenger and fracturing his knee. The combination of his crippling injury and the public turning on him ended his career and sent him on a downward spiral into depression. In an attempt to escape his personal demons and get away from the hell of his life back home, he took an endorsement job at the Royal Palms Resort.
Human Pack Mule: The backpack should clue you in. As such, he's the only character who in cutscenes can pull plot-important items out of somewhere without looking ridiculous. And of course, one can only imagine that a Hyperspace Backpack must be exponentially more spacious than the Hyperspace Arsenal everyone else totes (hint: it's actually not).
Improbable Aiming Skills/Precision-Guided Boomerang: With the Economical Throw and Boomerang talents, Logan has a high chance to injure multiple enemies with a single thrown weapon, doing splash damage on impact to anything nearby, and with the weapon returning to his hand afterward. This includes weapons like sticky-bomb knives that theoretically exploded on impact. Even at very low levels, his Fury attack also ricochets, letting him kill large crowds of Walkers or Infected with one or two thrown knives.
Knife Nut: Pulls out a set of throwing knives for his Rage attack.
Jack of All Stats/Master of None: Logan's Combat skill tree provides slight passive bonuses to using blunt weapons, sharp weapons, and firearms, without the additional levels of specialization that the other characters are offered. This makes him very well-rounded, but he doesn't have access to any of the higher-tier skills.
Jerk Jock: To the point where it wound up destroying his career.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Heavily implied when he's the only one looking on at Yerema, who herself is looking to where Jin had fallen dead. He waits for some time before calling to her to get in the helicopter.
Token White: Logan is the only Caucasian playable character in the original game. Riptide introduces John Morgan.
Too Dumb to Live: Only in the novel. Novel!Logan habitually mixes painkillers, antidepressants, and hard liquor, to the point where his being alive at all is a minor miracle. (It's amazing that he was allowed to donate blood.)
Sam B is a rap star born and raised in New Orleans, growing up in a childhood racked with violence and poverty. Sam B wanted to be a rap artist since he was a small boy, but always remained small-time due to poor fortune. This all changed when he wrote a song as a joke one Halloween entitled "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?", and the song subsequently shot him into stardom after a surge of unexpected popularity. However, he is resentful that all of his other works are ignored and "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?" is all anyone remembers him for. This, combined with drugs, alcohol, bad business decisions, and his "friends" and advisors taking advantage of him, bruising his self-confidence and causing his career and personal life to fall apart. He booked a gig to play at a party at the Royal Palms Resort, seeing it as his last chance to rebuild his life and career.
Angry Black Man: His rage skill tree heavily focuses on him drawing aggro from enemies and decreasing the amount of rage it takes for him to enter fury mode. He also has a few special abilities to support his rage skill, such as damage reduction or restored health per kill while in fury mode.
Mighty Glacier/Stone Wall: His skill tree focuses heavily on health regeneration, damage reduction, and even drawing aggro from enemies, making it clear he's intended to be the Tank/Meatshield of the group. His focus on blunt weapons means he swings slower and drains stamina more quickly, but he also hits hard and has long reach.
Nice Hat: The "bayou witch doctor" top hat he wears while performing.
Scary Black Man: Sam is easily the most aggressive of the four survivors, and the most inclined to leave others to their fate. He's also the easiest to get to see reason, though, which may count as a partial aversion. He also mellows a bit in Riptide.
Purna is a former Sydney police officer. Embittered by harsh racism, sexism and rampant corruption in the force that prevented her from advancing her career and doing her job, she one day decided to take the law into her own hands, confronting a child molester who had used his wealth and connections to escape prosecution. The man laughed at her and pulled a gun on her, which she turned on him and shot him with. While it was correctly argued to be an act of legitimate self-defense, she was fired regardless. Bitter and cynical, and with no clear future left for her in Australia, she turned to working as a bodyguard for VIPs in dangerous places all over the world. She is hired as much for her looks as her skill with firearms.
Angry Black Woman: Although a somewhat nuanced and not extremely egregious example. She shows an extremely poor attitude towards authority figures, but is reasonably tolerant of her three companions and is quite tender towards Jin.
Combat and Support: Purna has a number of different auras that provide a flat multiplier to her teammates' stats, and you can pick talents that turn her Fury mode into a group-wide instant heal and short-term buff. In the early game, before you can find much in the way of guns, Purna's primary use to the group is as a force multiplier for the melee.
Cowgirl Cop: The reason she was fired from the Sydney PD.
The Hero: The intro narration of Riptide is told by her, and she seems to be the leader.
Kick Chick: In addition to her gun skills, Purna has a number of skills in her fury and combat trees that focus on kicking enemies to death.
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Purna has a reputation as being an under-powered character because firearms and ammunition in both games are very scarce until you get through the opening levels. Once she has the chance to get a blue-quality shotgun or automatic rifle and slap on a shock, fire, or poison mod, an appropriately specialized Purna can stack her auras, damage multipliers, and rage mode together to become a one-woman apocalypse. The other characters have substantial advantages of their own, but as firearms take more precedence in the late game, no one else can match Purna's sheer damage output.
The Musketeer: While her main skill is with firearms, she also has some skills that boost her ability with melee weapons. At least one is specifically for blades, so it fits this trope.
Pet the Dog: Some of her actions and attitudes through the storyline are quite questionable (to say the least), but she shows a soft spot when she comforts Jin after she's been captured and (it's implied) raped by the criminal gang that took over the Police Station.
Reality Is Unrealistic: A lot of people complain about how fake Purna's Australian accent sounds, but her voice actress, Peta Johnson, is actually from Queensland.
Throw Away Guns: It's common at mid- to high level for Purna to carry several loaded guns in order to maximize the amount of ammunition she's got at any given time. She can eventually take points in her Hail of Bullets skill to expand her carrying capacity, but it's still often very useful to double up on her weapons, as switching guns takes much less time than reloading them. It's easy to imagine she's doing a New York reload.
The new playable character, introduced in Riptide, John is a sergeant in the Australian Defense Force, third-generation career military, and a self-taught martial artist.
Good Old Fisticuffs: He was an expert martial artist before Riptide, and his skill tree allows him to augment his unarmed combat skills (which normally do piddly damage) to be a viable alternative to other weapons.
I Have a Family: One of his diaries mentions that his wife and two young daughters lived in Palanoi and he has no idea where they are.
Military Brat: A benign example. Morgan's grandfather was a World War II veteran who married a native, and his father reached the rank of sergeant-major in the ADF. John followed suit and enlisted as soon as he could.
Mr. Exposition: John records a series of diaries describing the madness of his squad operating in Palanai and the events leading up to his infection and eventual capture by the army. Listening to them you really cannot blame Ryder White going off the deep end.
Punched Across the Room: Morgan's unarmed attacks are strong enough to punt a zombie through the air and send it flying across the room.
Simple Staff: His fury is him swinging a staff against the undead.
Stone Wall: John begins the game with the least health of any survivor, but at high levels, can be built up to have the most, along with talents that regenerate health after a kill and give him a chance to heal back up and keep fighting instead of dying upon taking a fatal hit. This is designed to help him get in close, where he's able to do the most damage.
NP Cs introduced in Dead Island
The Voice/Colonel Ryder White
The first person you "meet" in the game, The Voice contacts you through the hotel's intercom system and guides you to safety through the prologue level. Throughout the game, it's mentioned that he has been contacting the various groups of island survivors (most prominently John Sinamoi's group) in an attempt to coordinate a response to the zombie outbreak. When the players eventually succeed in making radio contact with him, he reveals his identity as Colonel Ryder White of the Banoi Island Defense Force, the leader of the military contingent sent to contain the outbreak on the island. He requests that they help him by retrieving a vaccine for the zombie infection before meeting him in person to escape the island. His primary motivation is to save his wife Emily, who has been infected by the zombie virus and is slowly turning into one of them. At the end of the game, he knocks out the heroes and steals the vaccine from them, becoming the final opponent of the game.Ryder White serves as the protagonist of Dead Island: Ryder White, the second DLC for the game, which sheds new light on many aspects of the main campaign's plot. The campaign reveals that not only was Ryder not the Voice (It was Kevin/Charon, impersonating him in order to manipulate the heroes), but he actually did not order in a nuke. Kevin had manipulated the heroes into believing Ryder had betrayed them, leading to his desperate act of stealing the cure and ultimately his death.
Anti-Villain: Subverted. He has the exact same goals as the Survivors: make an antidote out of the vaccine. Unfortunately Kevin/Charon manipulated the Survivors into thinking he was going to nuke the island and hoard the vaccine, and as a result the main campaign paints him as a monster. However, he never had any intention of harming the heroes, nor did he call down a nuke. Sadly, he loses his temper at the wrong moment, and in an act of desperation turns himself into the monstrous Final Boss without ever explaining himself.
Badass Normal: Ryder White does not have the immunity to infection that the 4 heroes do as is clearly shown in the final battle, yet the DLC campaign shows that he managed to fight his way across the island alone without getting infected.
Colonel Badass: Being the task force commander, Ryder could have easily tried to evacuate himself after his helicopter crashed. Instead, upon learning that contact with one of his teams was lost, he singlehandedly proceeds on foot through the heavily zombie-infected city to complete their mission objectives himself.
Bullet Time: His Rage ability triggers this, and also gives him an infinite ammo super-pistol, similar to Purna's Rage ability.
Elites Are More Glamorous: Ryder's profile mentions that he was a member of the SASR, a.k.a. the Aussie version of the British SAS, and even fought in Iraq, East Timor, and Afghanistan.
This is done interestingly in Ryder White's campaign. Mission Control gives Ryder objectives over the radio, but Ryder is clearly the one in charge and issuing orders. It's an unusual dynamic that doesn't seem to have been done before in another game.
Poor Communication Kills: If he had just told the Heroes that Kevin was The Voice/Charon all along, it might have gone a long way towards defusing the whole situation (assuming he could convince them to believe him, of course).
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The man went through sheer hell trying to cure his wife, but it turned out he was too late. Even then, he had the hope of producing a full antidote out of the vaccine, and thus shared his main goal with the heroes. Unfortunately, Poor Communication Kills and, well, that was pretty much the end of it.
Tragic Monster: The DLC campaign certainly puts the final boss fight in a whole new light.
Unwitting Pawn: It turns out he was never the Big Bad at all, and spent the entire outbreak simply fighting to survive just like the Heroes.
Voice with an Internet Connection: He's the first (living) contact encountered in the game, and he communicates to the survivors through radios on the island while they try to reach him for salvation. Subverted in the Ryder White campaign, where it's revealed the Voice was Kevin impersonating Ryder all along.
A mechanic's daughter first encountered at the end of Act I while the heroes are looking for a mechanic to help them modify their armored truck so it will be capable of safely punching through the barricade blocking the way into town. She accompanies the four heroes for most of the game and serves as their sidekick of sorts. The players can store their excess inventory with her while she hangs around at the various game safehouses.
Break the Cutie: Ignoring everyone's advice, she attempts to help the gangsters who have taken over the police station by giving them some food. They repay her kindness by capturing and (it's heavily implied) raping her. Afterwards she's heavily traumatized and also much more cynical, agreeing with Sam B, Logan, and Purna that everyone on the island can just go straight to hell (Xian Mei convinces the other 3 to save everyone after all, but Jin has simply stopped caring). To make things worse, she's later forced to mercy-kill her infected father. It's understandable she's more than a little bonkers by the time the final confrontation rolls around.
Driven to Suicide: Jin is clearly on the edge of a total breakdown throughout the final stage in the prison, is visibly wracked with self-loathing after shooting her father, and her actions towards Ryder White are hard to interpret as anything other than a blatant suicide attempt.
The Load: Really, she never actually does anything to help the survivors. She doesn't drive, she doesn't fight. She can carry items for you, but you don't really need it. At her best moments she's useless, at her worst she is completely holding them back.
Too Dumb to Live: Jin makes several inexcusably stupid decisions, like bringing supplies to the police station that is overrun with criminals, despite the main characters and even the criminals themselves warning everyone to stay away.
Wrench Wench: Her outfit and the fact she's the daughter of a mechanic heavily imply this, although she doesn't do any repair work during the story itself.
A hotel lifeguard who took charge during the crisis and brought together all the survivors he could find in an attempt to save them from the zombie outbreak. Besides keeping his group of survivors alive, his main goal is to make contact with The Voice, who has promised to provide a means of escape from the island. He gives you the majority of the main quests for the first half of the game. He eventually manages to escape Banoi and reach the island of Amanai, only for that island to also fall prey to the zombie outbreak. Meeting up with a new band of survivors, he becomes their Mission Control, coordinating the team's efforts to combat the zombie hordes and secure supplies from rival scavengers.
Badass Normal: His opening scene has him fighting a half a dozen zombies, and save you from the last one with a very accurate knife throw. And he doesn't have the fancy viral immunity the protagonists have, so a single bite would have resulted in his death.
Gentle Giant: He's muscular, imposing, and sports rather intimidating tattoos. One survivor even says that he was afraid of going to the lifeguard tower because of Sinamoi's facial tattoos.
Heroic BSOD: He likely suffered through one when he witness the survivors turn on and then kill a young girl because she was running a high fever and they suspected her having become infected. His voice even crackles under the pressure when telling the Heroes this, showing that Sinamoi is greatly affected by this. This also maybe the reason why What Happened to the Mouse? happens to him, because Sinamoi is too shell shocked to speak.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite being by far the most prominent quest giver in the first half of the game, after Act III he completely disappears from the plot (you can go back to the starting map and revisit him, but he has nothing to say).
A nun in the city of Moresby, she and several other survivors have taken refuge in the church. Throughout the second act, she gives out several missions.
As the Good Book Says: Less in her dialogue and more in the missions. Practically every mission from around the church has some form of religious pun in it.
Never Mess with Granny: Sure, she doesn't actually perform combat within the story, but considering the large amount of very dangerous weapons she hands out for doing chores, you have to figure that she hasn't survived on luck.
The Fundamentalist: A benign example, she sees the outbreak as end of days and heavily invokes religion, constantly, her quests essentially setting things right for Judgment Day. Nonetheless she opens her church to survivors and outside of doing the Lord's work her sole focus is on helping anyone still alive.
A member of one of the native tribes of Banoi, Yerema ran away from her village to attend school in Moresby, and has since returned home in the wake of the outbreak. She's crucial to the attempts to cure the disease that's turning people into zombies, as by the time you run into her, she's one of the only living uninfected members of her tribe.
Kick the Dog: Yerema's entire life sucks. Women in her tribe are considered possessions, to the point where her father traded her away to another man in order to settle a bet. She apparently bonds with Jin almost immediately, right in time for Jin to get shot dead.
MacGuffin Girl/Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: It's heavily implied that Yerema is "special" and closely tied to the virus, with the possible implication she's a Typhoid Mary carrier of the virus (this is made explicit in the novelization of the game, as well as the ending of Ryder White's campaign).
Heavily implied in Riptide, too...where she STARTS the infection on the military vessel, by biting a guy who grabbed her!
Stripperiffic: Yerema's wearing face paint, jewelry, and a brown bikini. To be fair, every member of her tribe that we see is wearing the same thing, including her father.
One of the inmates on the island prison, incarcerated for an unknown crime. It's heavily implied that he's Charon, the hacker-for-hire. This is confirmed in the Ryder White DLC, where Kevin is revealed as the true identity of The Voice and the true villain of the entire game.
Badass Bookworm: Sure, he literally writes himself off as not being one of "the badasses" at the endgame, but he managed to escape alive from the three-way battle between Titus's crew, a group of other prisoners, and the undead to then rescue the protagonists from the elevator.
In Ryder White's campaign, it's heavily implied that he killed a Thug and tossed its body into the sewers just prior to you reaching his control room.
Consummate Liar: He plays every major character in the game like a cheap fiddle. He impersonates Ryder White to manipulate the 4 Heroes into doing his work for him, and lies to the Heroes and Ryder about Dr. West's compound being a vaccine for the virus, when in fact it's actually a super-powered version of the original virus that creates uber-zombies.
Sequel Hook: At the very end of the game, just before fading to credits, he gives a sinister smile when looking at Yerema (who's heavily hinted to be a Typhoid Mary carrier for the zombie virus) and promising the heros that "the world will never be the same again". Of course, it's not followed up on in Riptide as he and Yerema are dragged off and detained by the military.
Becomes Fridge Brilliance, when you remember that Riptide is not Dead Island 2...he's still a Sequel Hook...just not for this game!
The Smart Guy: He's all right with hacking doors that use electronic locks, but considering that the only two groups he spent any visible length of time with were maximum-security prison inmates and the four protagonists, he's basically the tech-savvy one by default.
What Happened to the Mouse?: He's quickly taken away by the military in the intro of Riptide, so whatever plan he had cooking doesn't pan out in the game.
A reporter who came to Banoi to investigate illegal logging, and ended up getting a lot more than he expected. He has a wife and son (Karen and Jakob), and the recordings he leaves that the protagonists can find are often addressed to them as a last will and testament.
Badass Normal: He manages to travel virtually the same path as the protagonists, without their immunity. He even makes it to the prison island, but by then has been infected, succumbs, and is killed.
Hope Spot: One recording is made as he is holed up in a small store, with the undead swarming outside. He knows that the door won't hold, and says goodbye to his wife and son, apologizing that he wasn't home as much as he ought to have been. And then... they leave, apparently having detected better prey. In fact, he escapes his apparent death in virtually all the logs, which tend to end in curses or screams of the undead. And then the player finds the last two audio logs in the prison, the last of which having been recorded after he'd turned and contains the voices of the guards who had to shoot him.
NP Cs introduced in Dead Island: Riptide
Colonel Sam Hardy
The Colonel in charge of the military contingency that picks up the heroes at the beginning of the game. He's essentially the Palanai counterpart to Ryder White, although his role in the story is completely different. After his ship is overrun by zombies in the first chapter, Colonel Hardy ends up shipwrecked along with the heroes, and travels with them in an attempt to escape the island.
Just Following Orders: The reason he gives for his treatment of the main cast at the beginning of the game. The survivors don't really see things his way...
Hardy: "I'm a soldier. I follow orders."
Logan: "Here's an order: Go fuck yourself."
Killed Off for Real: With the five immune to back him up, he tried to intimidate a lower ranking soldier to rescue all the survivors. Unfortunately, the soldier deferred to his standing orders and shot Hardy.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He repeatedly tries to treat the immune decently when they're taken prisoner, expresses relief when they survive the crash, and along with Harlow does his best to lead the survivors safely.
Too Dumb to Live: Xian Mei will consider his final act of trying to climb onto a chopper while a soldier repeatedly ordered him off as this, but under the circumstances it was a gamble that might have been worth making, even if it was desperate.
A representative of the shadowy Consortium that seems to be somehow manipulating the zombie outbreaks for their own ends, Serpo has authority over all government activity on Palanai, including bossing around the island's military contingent.
Dirty Coward: It quickly becomes clear that saving his own ass is his top priority. Near the end of the game he even shoots one of his own men to serve as a distraction for the zombies after the heroes crash his helicopter.
Eaten Alive: After successfully avoiding the consequences for his actions for nearly the entire game his karma finally catches up to him and he is abandoned by the survivors who leave him to be a snack for the approaching hordes of zombies.
Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He shows no remorse for his actions and doesn't really seem to care how many people die so long as it suits his goals.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: He alternates rapidly throughout most of his appearances between being genuinely helpful and backstabbing someone.
The Sociopath: He shot his pilot to distract the infected while he escaped,He shows absolutely no remorse for the experiments that lead up to the devastation of the outbreak on Palanai and finally doesn't give a shit at how many lives he ruins or causes the death of as long as it leads to his personal goals coming close to fruition.
Villainous Breakdown: Suffers a short one after[[spoilers: the protagonists leave him on Palanoi to the mercy of the undead.]]
Irony: His death is ironic considering he left his pilot as a distraction to the zombies
The first person the Heroes meet after being shipwrecked on Palanai, Harlow is a reporter for the World Health Organization and the unofficial leader of the Paradise survivor camp. She travels alongside the Heroes for most of the game and has a central role in Riptide's plot.
Action Girl: She can handle herself pretty well in a fight. Just look at her boss battle.
Ambiguously Jewish: If you check Harlow's bio in the Crew screen, it lists her as a former member of the Israel Defense Forces (as is, to be fair, any Israeli who's older than twenty-one). That and her occasional hint of an accent are the only clues you'd get as to why she's a badass and where she's from.
Big Damn Heroes: Does this after the cannibal doctor torches Paradise. She attempts this again after finding out details of the infection, becoming infected herself then doing whatever it takes to stop it from spreading.
I Did What I Had to Do: It's kind of hard to argue against trying to keep the infection from spreading off the island, and when the survivors do she forces the issue by attacking them.
Psycho Serum: She injects herself with an experimental mutagen at the end of the game to kill off the survivors. The fight afterwards is completely one-sided... until the players inject some of the same stuff into themselves and overpower her.
Shoot the Dog: When Wayne becomes infected she pushes him into the tunnels where chemicals are causing the kuru virus to mutate from the very real zombification into the Nightmare Fuel that had swept Banoi and Palanai, to find out more about it. She tries to justify this after the survivors kill him, and then there's the trope above.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Turns on the Heroes in order to prevent them from spreading the infection outside the island. Frank Serpo claims she's secretly a terrorist and mercenary, but there's nothing to indicate that he's trustworthy, and quite a lot to indicate that he's not.
She only saves Wayne on the way to Henderson because she wants to see what happens to an infected host upon exposure to the chemicals in the tunnel system.
A strange man who may be able to help the survivors by providing a way to Henderson. Unfortunately, he attacks the survivors and burns their outpost to the group after he finds out where it is.
Ungrateful Bastard: After saving his life and helping him out he demands the immune survivors offer their flesh to be eaten in the hopes that it will save everyone from the virus. Then he throws a Molotov at them and burns up one of the only safe havens they had at that point.
What Happened to the Mouse?: After the cutscene where he sets Paradise on fire he disappears from the main story and his fate is left unknown. Subverted, if the player completes a brief sidequest available right afterwards where they hunt down and kill him.
A doctor holed up in his laboratory on the edge of the jungle. After clearing out some of his assistants who fell prey to the virus and recovering some chemical samples for him he examines the player and gives them advice about their condition.
Dr. Jerk: He is fairly rude and egotistic, but his advice and information is usually spot on.
The most common zombie as well as the weakest. They movie slow and don't deal as much damage as the other zombies, but often appear in large groups that can overwhelm their prey more easily.
Fan Disservice: They tend to be dressed in revealing swimwear... and are also missing large chunks of flesh in various places... one wonders how some of them can even manage to stay standing...
Mook Chivalry: A rather nasty aversion. As soon as one of them grabs you every other one within 30 feet or so will gleefully mob rush you without hesitation. God help you if an Infected is nearby when this happens.
Press X to Not Die: The only advantage Walkers have over the elite zombies is a grapple attack that can hold the player in place for a few seconds. If the survivor fails the button prompt they lose health and stay trapped.
Super Drowning Skills: Depending on the level the player is at its possible for them to be knocked into a shallow pool of water and die in just a couple of seconds.
The least durable type of zombie, but also the fastest. They deal high damage and often attack in groups similar to Walkers.
Off with His Head!: Probably the best way to kill them is to decapitate them with a single well-timed blade slash. The game will even encourage players to do this by offering an achivement for killing 5 infected in a row with one attack.
Ax-Crazy: It is heavily implied from the last of Roger Howard's diaries that the virus causes it's victim's to degenerate into a feral state due to neural degeneration
Tall, muscular zombies that can send survivors flying with a single punch. They're the unfortunate end result of what happens when guys who were really big when they were alive fall victim to the virus. They move extremely slow and rely solely on brute strength.
Battle Cry: If you hear a really loud roar... keep moving.
Mighty Glacier: They move slow, but can deal a lot of damage with just a single hit.
Hoist by His Own Petard: If the survivor has a gun they basically serve as a "wipe out this zombie horde" button. Boom.
Made of Explodium: Their bodies have some built up gases inside which causes the explosion. If you manage to get close to one without it blowing up first, you can hear some cries of pain coming from them, suggesting they're not very happy in the situation they're in.
One-Hit Kill: If a survivor is too close when one goes off it kills them instantly.
Taking You with Me: If you're unlucky enough to kill one while standing too close to it...
Huge zombies strapped inside straightjackets. As their name implies, they attempt to rush the player with a powerful charging attack.
Attack Its Weak Point: It only takes one point of damage unless you attack the exposed flesh on its back.
Fan Disservice: Maybe even worse than the Walkers. This thing is almost naked like most of the other zombies, but as its name implies, it's fat and bloated. Also, its skin is transparent and its guts spill out when it dies. Lovely.
One of the strongest types of zombies in the game. Butchers move fast and deal heavy damage with the sharpened, exposed bone on their arm stumps, which can make them a pain to deal with when other zombies are nearby.
Autocannibalism: Its heavily implied that the reason it has arm stubs is because it ate its own hands sometime during or after infection.
Lightning Bruiser: Like Infected, they sprint at you and can deal a huge amount of damage in a short span of time. Unlike Infected, though, they have a lot of health and can't be stunned, save for with elemental effects or knockdown modifications like the Magic Wand.
A common type of zombie introduced in Riptide that lays face-down in water, waiting for victims.
Lightning Bruiser: The Drowner is a Walker on the Infected's pure adrenaline high. It is capable of running in waist-deep water fast enough to catch up with a boat unless you engage the turbo boost.
Playing Possum: You'd think a water-logged body floating face down in the river would be a long dead corpse. Some of them really are corpses but most are just Drowners playing dead.
Super Not-Drowning Skills: However the Kuru virus mutated them they now have the ability to survive while floating face down in large bodies of water. They won't even try to attack unless the player gets really close to them.
A zombified scientist in a hazmat suit who pelts targets with bloody, explosive chunks of his own body.
Attack Its Weak Point: The Grenadier has a tank on the back of its hazmat which will explode and kill it if shot at.
Body Horror: Not only is the guy flinging weaponized tumors at you, but imagine becoming one. Every Grenadier seems to have been the result of someone's moon suit tearing or proving insufficient.
Interface Screw: Their scream blurs the player's screen and takes away their ability to fight and use medkits for a few seconds. It can even cause them to trip and fall backwards while they are trying to get away.
Lightning Bruiser: It can move fast, and if it manages to melee you during a stun, it can drop an equal-level Xian or Purna in seconds.
Make Me Wanna Shout: Its scream causes the players to temporarily cover their ears preventing them from fighting back.
Shout-Out: Its design is clearly based on a similar creature encountered near the beginning of Space Quest IV.