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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:

  • Ambiguous Situation: The ending. The fact that Riptide was specifically denied to be "Dead Island 2" has left some believing that the 5 heroes will be back. The fact that Xian Mei appears alive and unmutated in Escape Dead Island, which takes place several months after Riptide, suggests at least some of the team survived the cliffhanger.
  • 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.
  • 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 embodiment of death and Wolverine, but very kind, caring, and helpful. Especially Xian, who can be heard expressing sympathy to special infected. Before killing them.
  • Heroic Willpower: During the final boss of Riptide, everyone displays this when taking the mutagen and going berserk. Except possibly Sam B, who has no problem dealing with it.
  • The Immune: It's the reason they do all the work. This turns out to have ramifications in Riptide.
  • 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.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Subverted; The game establishes that all the characters are working together and the ones you didn't select simply appear in cutscenes. In Riptide, they appear in-game as quest-givers.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: If you believe they were zombified in the ending.
  • True Companions: Definitely so, by the end of the first game. In addition to this in the second game, there's also the group of survivors who you actually manage to shepherd through the entire game.

Xian Mei

Voiced by Kim Mai Guest

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-organized 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 Bookworm: She is university educated, and scored the highest in her class.
  • Back Stab: Has an ability that increase the damage done to zombies from behind. Combined with another ability that decreases the chance that zombies will notice her and her Glass Cannon status, this is probably the best way to play Xian until the higher levels.
  • 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.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Escape Dead Island has her dressed similar to her resort receptionist look, but with proper pants and combat boots. She's more snarky and standoffish, essentially uses Cliff as a patsy to accomplish her own ends (essentially rescue Rob and blow up the island) and rather than seek a cure for the virus destroy the labs it was created in (though she does give Cliff a chance to find a cure himself before blowing up the infected labs).
  • Expy:
    • Whether it's deliberate or not, her background is a lot like Chun Li's.
    • There's also more than a bit of Ada in Escape Dead Island. Chinese Action Girl, Anti-Hero, Deadpan Snarker whose loyalties are unknown, whether she's with the Chinese government, Geopharm, or someone else, and has a few Pet the Dog moments.
  • 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. 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.
  • Going Commando: Not entirely sure how someone found the time to discover it in-game, but apparently Xian isn't a fan of underwear going from her model. Granted, this might be from an oversight or conflicts in development or is otherwise unreliable due to contradicting official art (note how her model has darker skin than her art) since all of the model's lower half behind the skirt looks to be textured similar to the visible stocking covered bits (which don't reach past Xian's thighs as shown in her art). Needless to say, the links are NSFW.
  • The Hero: Moreso than Purna below, she was featured prominently in the first game and works to uncover the truth in the upcoming Escape Dead Island.
  • 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.
  • Low-Level Advantage: Due to her low HP growth, her durability actually goes down as you level up and the zombies level scale to match.
  • Mission Control: Serves as this role first to Rob at the beginning of Escape Dead Island then to Cliff in the main game.
  • The Mole: In Escape Dead Island it's left unclear whether she's working for the Chinese government, the evil Palm Garden Order that controls Geopharm, or some other secret organization, but she clearly knows more about the zombie outbreaks and the global conspiracy behind them than she let on in the first two games.
  • No Respect Guy : Her back-story.
  • Only Sane Woman: In the cutscenes, Xian Mei comes across as the sanest of the four heroes. She 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).
  • 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.
  • Token Good Teammate: In the cutscenes, Xian Mei comes across as the most idealistic of the four heroes. She disagrees with the other three's suggestions to abandon the other survivors and save themselves and agrees with Jin's desire to help everybody. 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.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: In her Survivor skin in the definitive edition of Riptide she changes her receptionist heels and skirt for a pair of sensible boots and shorts. She keeps her skirt as a sort of battle decoration or trophy by tucking it into her shorts.

Logan Carter

Voiced by David Kaye

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.

  • Action Survivor: While all the other player characters have actual combat training (a cop, a covert operative, an ex-soldier, and a rapper who grew up in a Had to Be Sharp environment) Logan's just an ex-football player caught in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Doesn't stop him from hanging tough alongside the other badasses.
  • The Alcoholic: The only hero to gain buffs from drinking whatever whiskey can be found around the island. Side-effects include booze induced strength and more health recovered.
  • The Atoner: Zigzagged. He's not originally out to atone for his sins, but one gets a feeling that he starts thinking of his efforts at helping other survivors as a small payment for the asshole he used to be.
  • Broken Pedestal: His street racing accident did this for most of his fans, on account of killing an innocent woman and violating his contract's morals clause.
  • Career-Ending Injury: in the backstory.
  • Celebrity Survivor: Once a pro-quareterback, his leg injury prevented him from continuing his football career. Lucky for him, his name is still enough to stay in the celebrity life style.
  • Cowardly Lion: In the cutscenes Logan is by far the least confident, least experienced, and most "everyman" of the 4 survivors.
  • 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: 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: 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. His only unique area of specialization are his boomerang ability and other skills related to thrown weapons.
  • 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.
  • The Lancer: He tends to take a secondary command role in the cutscenes.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: He has a special ability that causes thrown weapons to automatically return to his hand. In the first game this was a passive skill with a % chance of success, while in Riptide it's a default ability.
  • 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

Voiced by Phil LaMarr

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.
  • The Big Easy: According to his in-game bio, he was born and raised in New Orleans, and you can hear it in his accent.
  • The Big Guy: The largest player character. His team role as the tank suits him well.
  • Borrowin' Samedi: His artist persona seems to be based on this. His name sounds suspiciously like both "Samedi" and "Zombie", in the opening cutscene of the first game he is performing his hit "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?" wearing a top hat, while Riptide promotional material includes a (live-action) music video named "No Room in Hell", in which he wears skull make-up.
  • Celebrity Survivor: A rapper hired to play at the cruise in the first game. He was hoping that he'd be able to impress some Hollywood big shots there.
  • Drop the Hammer: His specialty is blunt weapons. On the character selection screen, he is depicted holding a sledgehammer (with a Tesla mod.)
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: His Rage attack has him beating the undead up with his bare hands.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Credits his survivability with having grew up learning to fight on the mean streets of N'Orleans.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: According to the two songs he can be seen performing, the voodoo elements of his In-Universe artistic persona are limited to references to zombies and name-dropping Baron Samedi.
  • Horrorcore:
    • Though it's never outright stated, it's pretty clear that his One-Hit Wonder falls squarely under this genre.
    • Now followed up by "No Room in Hell", showing that he got typecasted into this genre.
  • Large Ham: Probably the loudest of the PC's. Being a rapper and hip-hop star, he has a natural combination of uncouthness and gregariousness.
    • Chewing the Scenery: In Riptide, once some mutagens enhance his rage mode, making him even more berserk.
      PVP, MOTHERFUCKERS! This is how we churn BUTTER, N'AWLINS STYLE!
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: In-universe: Sam always wanted to be a socially conscious, political rapper and considers that material to be his life's work. The fact that the only song he ever wrote anyone else wants to hear more than once is the Horrorcore track he wrote as an elaborate joke for a Halloween party has left him very bitter.
  • Nice Hat: The "bayou witch doctor" top hat he wears while performing.
  • One-Hit Wonder: invokedInvoked In-Universe by "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?". Sam was an aspiring rapper who didn't make the charts until he churned out that song, which he had made as a joke. Of course, this one song happens to be the only one anyone wants to hear, and Sam's attempts to distance himself from it fail as he fades into semi-obscurity again after unsuccessfully trying to produce another hit.
  • Papa Wolf: In the novel, he's particularly protective of Jin, acting as a surrogate father to her.
  • Punny Name: Sam B. Zombie. Get it?
    • In "Who Do You Voodoo," he also draws a deliberate line from his handle to Baron Samedi, the loa of the dead. The black top hat Sam wears on stage is one of Samedi's trademarks.
  • Regenerating Health: He's the only character that has this, via his skill tree.
  • 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.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: His in-game bio is essentially a by-the-numbers play on this trope: he generated one song that became extremely popular, spent more than he earned through partying and self-indulgence, realized he needed another hit, and failed to make another hit despite making several new songs.
  • Stone Wall: He's got the most health of the 4 original survivors, and his skill tree has talents focused around damage reduction, health regeneration, and drawing aggro.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Some TXT files have a good one that could have been his closing dialogue. It's essentially his musing over how extreme conditions bring out the integrity and strength of the best of people, and that seeing those gave him inspiration. Once he punches his way out of the zombie apocalypse, he'll have a song to sing.


Voiced by Peta Johnson

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.

  • Action Girl: She's an ex-detective that had to work nearly thrice as hard as the men to get her position. Even after losing her job, she still works as a bodyguard, and is often hired for her skills.
  • Awesome Aussie: Like her voice actress, she's from down under, and she's sending the zombies back there, too.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Her current job, much to her chagrin.
  • 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.
  • Cowboy Cop: She wound up taking the law into her own hands... Naturally, this is the reason she was fired from the Sydney PD.
  • Dummied Out: Purna's last name is Jackson, as given in some files that were removed.
  • Glass Cannon: Like Xian, Purna is designed for pure offense. The closest thing she gets to a defensive skill is the near-100% heal from Guardian Angel.
  • Groin Attack:
    • She didn't kill the child molester she shot. She gelded him. Purna's in-game bio has her say specifically that she "just" blew the guy's balls off. In the novel, however, she killed him, and tells Logan and Sam without any hesitation that she enjoyed doing it.
    • She treats a drunk to this when he gropes her breasts in the intro sequence.
  • The Gunslinger: Of the four, she's the most proficient with guns, and her Rage attack has her pulling out her gun (a revolver, of course) and firing on all zombies in sight, ammo not being an issue.
  • 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.
  • The Leader: Most likely, considering how she narrates the intro for Riptide. Her "aura" skills also make the other player characters fight better when they're near by sharing her boosts.
  • 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 a reliable source of ammo and 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.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Judging by her pic in the bio.
  • Mixed Ancestry: She's half Aboriginal, which means she faced racism in the police.
  • More Dakka: Her Rage attack.
  • 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.

John Morgan

Voiced by Adam Croasdell

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.

  • Apocalyptic Log: Throughout the game you can snippets of a diary John wrote against orders where he describes the outbreak, reacts to the bombing of a village like a Collingwood fan after a loss and his capture after refusing to kill civilians and infection.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Specializes in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Expy: His pose with Wolverine Claws on the selection screen makes it explicit that he is modeled after Hugh Jackman.
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Was the only soldier in his unit to speak out against the "solution" to the Banoi incident. This got him thrown in prison.
  • 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.

    NPCs introduced in Dead Island 

The Voice/Colonel Ryder White

Voiced by Joe Hanna

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.
  • Artistic License – Military: Aside from his methods and Ax-Crazy tendencies Ryder holds the rank of Colonel, an officer who would not be in an active wartime environment (though it's shown the conspiracy were pulling the strings). But his uniform clearly holds the rank of Sergeant and there is no such Sergeant Colonel rank.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: The fourth horseman of the apocalypse is a rider on a white horse (in other words, a White Rider), identified by some as Conquest or the Anti-Christ. So the name Ryder White is rather appropriate for a Big Bad who kicks off the zombie apocalypse. Subverted when you learn that Colonel White was Good All Along and it was Charon who was the real Big Bad.
  • Mission Control: 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).
  • Promoted to Playable: One of the pieces of downloadable content is a campaign that features him as the playable character.
  • 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.
  • The Chick: She's the quietest, meekest, most delicate, idealistic and generally non-combative of the main crew.
  • 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.
  • Genre Blind: Jin fails pretty hard at basic "zombie apocalypse 101". She walks around completely unarmed all the time for starters, and then she tries to go share her supplies with the criminals occupying the police station. They, of course, capture and rape her almost immediately.
  • Human Pack Mule: About her only practical purpose in-game.
  • 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 (and giving her too many items can cause data corruption). At her best moments she's useless, at her worst she is completely holding them back. Technically, she does lead the party to the River Village and introduce them to Matutero, but that mainly amounts to following a road and doing a quick favor for a guy in no position to turn down outside help.
  • Stupid Good: Jin has a good heart and wants to save everybody on the island, but apparently, she thought that going unarmed into a building overrun by dangerous criminals to share her group's supplies with them was a good idea.
  • 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.

John Sinamoi

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). Dead Island: Epidemic shows that he survived Banoi and managed to escape, only to end up on another zombie-infested tropical island.

Mother Helen

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.
  • 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.
  • Good Shepherd: Considers it her duty as a nun to offer all the protection, comfort and succor that she can to any survivors in the city.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Compares the crew to the Horsemen.
  • 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.


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.

  • Abusive Parents: Her father treated her as nothing more than property, and before the outbreak, he sealed her up in the traditional burial ground of their people to starve to death. When he leads the other survivors there, he tries to kill her himself. The novelization reveals he had her ritually beaten and gang-raped by some of the tribesmen for daring to have left the tribe to seek an education in the city. This is how the initial outbreak occurred; her rapists became the first zombies, then her father had the tribe cannibalize them to become "immortal" and they went on to start the outbreak.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Looks down on her father's shamanistic beliefs and practices. Justified because it was his insistence on following the cannibalistic rituals they preached that led to the tribe becoming infected with the disease.
  • Doom Magnet: People tend to die around her. A lot. Partially justified in that she's the source of the outbreak.
  • 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 Super Person/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 or at least may hold the key to a cure. Her being a Typhoid Mary is made explicit/canon with the novelization and the Ryder White campaign; Charon manipulated the survivors to believe she was a cure holder when in fact she was the key to further weaponising the virus.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Starts the infection on the military vessel in Riptide by biting a guy who grabbed her!
  • The Paranoiac: When the party returns to the lab and rescues her, they find she has allowed the doctor who was examining her to be killed. She justifies it as self-defense with claims that the doctor was going to drain her completely dry of blood in order to experiment with creating a cure. It's unclear if she really believes this — perhaps due to the stress she's undergoing — or if she was lying and just making it up so that the crew wouldn't turn on her, or if it's somewhere between the two. The novelization implies she's lying.
    • Ryder's campaign seemingly vindicates her, as it shows that Dr. West was allied with Charon all along. Although West seemed sincere about using her blood to make a cure, he didn't act terribly concerned with her continued well-being either.
  • 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.
  • Typhoid Mary: She's the source of the mutant kuru virons that create the infection. It's uncertain if she knows this or not, depending on how much she overheard the doctor reporting to Charon.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She's taken away by the military in the intro of Riptide and plays no further role in the game. Unless one counts causing an outbreak on the vessel.

Kevin Barrister

One of the inmates on the island prison, incarcerated for an unknown crime.

  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even he knows that Frank Serpo is an untrustable bastard who will sell his own mother.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He seems to be shaping up to be the series' Albert Wesker to Geopharma/the Palm Garden Order's Umbrella Corporation.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's the real Big Bad of the series, and unless you read the novel, or play the Ryder White expansion, you never know it. That's how good he is.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: It's heavily implied that he's Charon, the hacker-for-hire who has worked for everyone from Al-Qaeda to the Yakuza. 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.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Escape Dead Island reveals that the virus killed his father. So he perfected it, seeks to destroy those who created it then unleash it on the whole world.
  • 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 heroes 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.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Escape from Dead Island presents him as this, by revealing tragedies he underwent that give him his motivation, but it's unclear whether it's sincere or simply more manipulation on his part.


An insane hostile survivor living in a shack next to Overpass Camp.

Roger Howard

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.


    NPCs 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.

  • Colonel Badass: His uniform reveals Hardy is a member of the US Army Rangers, essentially the elite of rank and file soldiers before going into special operations commandos like SEALS and Delta.
  • 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: Sure, 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.

Frank Serpo

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.

  • Big Bad Wannabe: If not for the fact that he has the entire local military in his pocket he'd probably be long dead by the time the survivors reach Henderson.
  • Consummate Liar: Almost everything he says is one lie over another.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Devoured by the Horde: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hate Sink: Particularly the most despicable person in the entire franchise. While Kevin/Charon has his own agenda, he still helps the Heroes every way he can. Serpo on the other hand is a Dirty Coward who cares only for himself. In fact, he is the culprit behind the outbreak on Palanai.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He alternates rapidly throughout most of his appearances between being genuinely helpful and backstabbing someone.
  • Hypocrite: Tells the Heroes not to trust Hardy and Harlow but this guy is even worse in every way.
  • Irony: His death is ironic considering he left his pilot as a distraction to the zombies.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: All he really does is order most people around and smooth talks others, but he's still the reason things go south in Riptide.
  • 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 the protagonists leave him on Palanoi to the mercy of the undead.

Harlow Jordan

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.
  • Chainsaw Good: She makes use of a chainsaw as a melee weapon.
  • 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.

Markus Villa

A strange man who may be able to help the survivors by providing a way to Henderson.

  • Ax-Crazy: Despite his good intentions and whatnot, he's a few candles short of a candelabra.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: He thinks eating the immune survivors will somehow save the island from the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Machete Mayhem: The only weapon he uses during the one time he fights. Its no match for whatever the player uses to finish him off.
  • Mad Scientist: The collectible documents reveal he was Dr. Kessler's partner and probably the best scientist that was studying the zombie outbreak. Although he's clearly snapped, this does make you wonder if his plan to gain the survivors' immunity by eating them was really as crazy as it sounds.
  • Molotov Cocktail: He uses this to burn Paradise to the ground.
  • Permanently Missable Content: It's fairly easy to progress to the next plot point without taking revenge on Markus for his actions thanks to the game placing the "next story point" location near a couple of regularly-used merchant NPCs, especially if you're playing solo. Doing so will cause you to miss the revenge sidequest and cause Markus to disappear from the plot altogether.
  • The Unfought: If the player fails to complete the sidequest that involves tracking him down before progressing with the game after the cutscene where he sets Paradise on fire, he disappears from the main story and his fate is left unknown.
  • 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.

Dr. Kessler

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.
  • Herr Doktor: He has a noticeable German accent.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As abrasive as he can be, he does take genuine care of the player characters and show concern for their well-being. He's also a hell of a lot more stable than his former friend, Marcus Villa>

    Characters Introduced in Escape Dead Island 

Cliff Cabo

The son of a famous media mogul, Cliff wants little more than to get his father's attention. When he learns how desperate his father is to learn what happened on and around Banoi, Cliff "borrows" a boat and sails out to the island chain.

  • An Axe to Grind: He switches to axes for his upgraded melee weapon.
  • Badass Normal: Although it's arguable as to how much of the game actually happens, if taken as generally true, then Cliff fights his way through an army of zombies despite not being a trained combatant and suffering a severe concussion that leaves him suffering constant hallucinations.
  • Blade on a Stick: His ultimate melee weapon mixes this with An Axe to Grind; it's a fireaxe with two knives bolted onto the head, giving it extended cutting surfaces, a spear-like tip and a backwards-facing hooking edge.
  • Carry a Big Stick: His first melee weapon is a customized club armed with nails.
  • Improvised Weapons: Uses a screwdriver as a stabbing weapon, unless he finds the knife later on.
  • Intrepid Reporter: If Frank West was younger and had a rich, distant dad, he'd be Cliff.
  • Late to the Party: Doesn't arrive on Narapela until six months after the initial outbreak.
  • Mind Screw: Cliff opens the first level of the game by taking his sailboat's boom to the face. The game treats his head trauma as an excuse to get extensively surreal.
  • More Dakka: He carries a pistol, a shotgun and an assault rifle.
  • Unreliable Narrator: It's anyone's guess whether anything after the first level actually happened.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Cliff's entire motivation for going to Banoi in the first place is to make his father notice him. At one point, he hallucinates a radio broadcast that concerns his sister, and how she has a better relationship with their father than he does.

Linda Williams

One of Cliff's friends.

  • Dead All Along: Pretty much everything Linda says after she's bitten is a voice in Cliff's head. It appears she's dead for most of the game, but there's a line of dialogue during the final level that suggests Faith managed to save her after all.
  • Intrepid Reporter: She wants to be a famous journalist, so she was remarkably easy to persuade to come along on Cliff's little adventure.

Devan Mavropani

Faith Kimball

A scientist who was offered a blank check by Geopharm's CEO to work on health research.

  • Apocalyptic Log: You can find several video logs recorded by Faith as you work your way through the staff village. The last one ends as a zombie bursts into the room whilst she's in mid-record and attacks her. Thought somehow she seems to get better later on.
  • Hot Scientist: She's brilliant, and was given a blank check for research by the CEO of Geopharm.
  • Token Good Teammate: Some of the collectible audio logs indicate that Geopharm withheld details about their most unethical experiments from her, although other logs suggest she was involved in at least some of the human experimentation.

Aaron Wilkes

One of the scientists who was working on the island lab belonging to Geopharm. An experimental treatment ended up transforming him into a hulking, giant mutant zombie.

  • Asshole Victim: The collectible logs show that Dr. Wilkes was fully aware of and involved in the unethical human experiments being conducted on the island, which makes his fate of being mutated into a freakish monster quite a lot less sympathetic.
  • Death by Falling Over: At the end of the game, inside Emory Crown's villa, Wilkes will chase you one last time before the floor gives way under his weight and he falls down a single story. If you look down the resulting hole you can see him on the floor below buried under rubble. It's unclear if he's dead or just temporarily knocked unconscious, but given that you never see him again except as a hallucination it's a rather anti-climactic end.
  • Final Boss: A hallucinatory version of Wilkes is fought as the game's final boss. It's unclear what happened to the actual Wilkes, as he falls through a hole in the floor shortly before Cliff reaches Emory Crown's office and kicks off the hallucinatory final level.
  • The Heavy: Other than the zombies, Wilkes serves as the primary threat towards Cliff and his friends throughout the game.
  • It Can Think: Similar to the player characters of Dead Island: Epidemic, Wilkes has been mutated into a monsterous brute by the virus, but retains his rational human mind thanks to the experimental serum he took before turning. Unfortunately, the process is imperfect and while he's still relatively sane, the mutation has given him one hell of a temper.
  • Walking Spoiler: You pretty much can't read anything about him without giving away huge secrets about the game in general and even Dead Island as a whole.


An associate of Xian Mei's, Rob went missing two days before the outbreak on Banoi.



The most common zombie as well as the weakest. They move slowly and don't deal as much damage as the other zombies, but often appear in large groups that can overwhelm their prey more easily. They are generally more mutilated, implying that this is what happens when someone killed by zombies subsequently comes back.

  • 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.
  • Zombie Gait: Walkers are the stereotypical lumbering, slow-moving zombie that only pose a threat when found in large numbers. However, while not nearly as fast as an Infected, they can lumber along surprisingly quickly at times. After they get close enough they can rush the player about as fast as an Infected would for a short burst in order to try and grapple the player.


The least durable type of zombie, but also the fastest. They deal high damage and often attack in groups similar to Walkers. In contrast to Walkers, they are rarely mutilated extensively, and often sport bloodied bandages. This implies that humans who are bitten by a zombie and then escape, only to succumb to the virus, become Infected.

  • And I Must Scream: It's rare, but occasionally you will hear one growl "help me".
  • Ax-Crazy: Hinted in Howard's logs and his infection to be those that were driven to murderous insanity by their fever causing them to hallucinate.
  • The Berserker: They care little for injuries and will keep coming until they are hacked/shot to pieces.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: They may be rated low on the threat level as far as Kessler is concerned but these can easily be the biggest danger thanks to this, they may not kill in one hit but have a tendency to attack in groups, hem you in and gang bash you.
  • Fragile Speedster: A couple hits will put one down... if they don't kill you first.
  • Glass Cannon: They pack a mean punch although they practically fall to pieces when you manage to start retaliating.
  • 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.
  • Screaming Warrior: Holy crap... the moment you hear this, run.
  • Spiteful A.I.: Their lives depend on your death and they are not content to just chase you all over the map or rage if they cannot get at you, they even resort to spawn camp so even after killing you they can rush in and do it again in a vicious cycle.
  • Technically Living Zombie: Unlike the Walkers, which are implied to be those who either died/or killed and reanimated, these guys are hinted to be still alive as their ability to take punishment is about on par with a living, breathing person.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Their psychotic fury is truly terrifying to behold.


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.
  • Determinator: Short of dying or ramming them with a vehicle, they can't be reliably knocked down like the other zombies. One reliable to deal with them alone is by breaking/cutting off their arms. They'll keep coming at you though, attacking with head butts while their arms flail around limply.
  • Mighty Glacier: They move slow, but have lots of health and can deal a lot of damage with just a single hit.
  • Punched Across the Room: Any blow they land will send you flying.


Painfully self-aware zombies whose only form of attack is to blow themselves up next to a survivor and kill them with the resulting blast. Luckily, they can also harm other zombies this way.

  • Action Bomb: The only way they can attack is with a self-destructive explosion.
  • And I Must Scream: Making them quite possibly the most tragic type of zombie in the game.
  • Body Horror: Probably the worst case out of all the zombies; they're covered in pulsing, pustulant tumors. Making things worse, there's enough of their human mind inside to dimly realize how awful their body is and plead mindlessly for help.
  • Glass Cannon: It's the only zombie who can one shot the players, but a couple decent attacks from a distance will easily dispose of them.
  • Hell Is That Noise: When you hear a raspy, creepy voice calling for help that signifies one is nearby, don't run, odds are you'll get too close in a bid to escape.
  • 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. It's implied that they originated from the prison, presumably having been unstable prisoners who happened to be in restraints when they were infected or even prisoners who were restrained because they became infected. 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.
  • The Berserker: It’s not very concerned for its own safety, and will attack any survivor in its line of sight relentlessly with charges and kicks until they or their prey are dead.
  • Bald of Evil: Not a single hair on their heads.
  • Bullfight Boss: Dodge. Attack. Dodge. Repeat until it goes down.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Any survivor hit by its charge is knocked off their feet, which makes them a huge pain to deal with when there are large groups of other zombies nearby.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He's huge and has lots of HP. He also moves extremely fast when charging and will take out a significant chunk out of your HP if he hits you.
  • Ramming Always Works: Works for it, apparently.


Bloated zombies found near water that can spit a strange type of slime at survivors to damage them from afar.

  • Body Horror: Just look at it. His grotesquely bloated body plus transparent skin that lets you take a good look at its innards are not pleasant to look at.
  • Breath Weapon: Nasty acid slime stuff.
  • Dead Weight: Much like a Boomer. They even use similar attacks!
  • 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise: When traversing flooded areas, if you hear a loud roar/gurgle, a Floater is nearby.
  • Kevlard: Besides having lots of health, they're also resistant to most forms of damage, especially bullets or fire.
  • Mighty Glacier: Moves at a slow waddle, takes a large amount of damage before dying.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot/Zombie Puke Attack: Their long range attack.


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. Butchers appear as mini-bosses in Escape Dead Island, albeit with a visual redesign.

  • Autocannibalism: Its heavily implied that the reason it has arm stubs is because it ate its own hands sometime during or after infection.
  • Bald of Evil: Their scalp is peeled off in the original and Riptide games.
  • The Berserker: Like the Infected above, once they spot you they will pursue you relentlessly until you or themselves have been killed.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Their forearms have been reduced to one (or two, in Escape Dead Island) curved, sharpened bones, which they use like knives.
  • Elite Mook: In Dead Island and Riptide, closer to mini-boss status in Escape Dead Island.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Uses its own arm bones as weapons.
  • 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.
  • You Don't Look Like You: The Escape version is quite different in appearance. It lacks the flayed look of the classic Butcher, instead having gnawed-off lips and a few gashes on an otherwise untouched body, and it has two curving bone-blades emerging from each gnawed limb-stump.


A common type of zombie introduced in Riptide that lays face-down in water, waiting for victims. Only appears in Riptide.

  • 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. Only appears in Riptide.

  • 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, which are visibly bulging through its suit, but imagine becoming one. Every Grenadier seems to have been the result of someone's moon suit tearing or proving insufficient.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: In their case, the gas mask is broken, partially revealing their badly decomposed face.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: The Grenadier attacks by pelting enemies with organic grenades grown from their own decaying flesh.
  • Hazmat Suit: They wear the remnants of one; it makes them a lot harder to hurt.


A huge, lumbering zombie with a massive, mutated arm that he slams into the ground to create a powerful area-of-effect attack. Only appears in Riptide.

  • Attack Its Weak Point: Like the Ram, it takes more damage when attacking its back. It will also take much higher than usual headshot damage if you shoot the wound on the right side of its head, although this is quite difficult to do.
  • Expy: Of the Charger from Left 4 Dead
  • Mighty Glacier: You can kite a Wrestler around more or less forever, but if it hits you, you'll be knocked over.
  • Punched Across the Room: Its punches can knock the survivors to the ground.
  • The Right Hand of Doom: It has a very large right arm that it use to attack.


An emaciated zombie with claw-like hands, the Screamer races directly at survivors and attacks with a disorienting, well, scream. Only appears in Riptide.

  • Enemy Summoner: Its screams can also alert a bunch of zombies.
  • 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.
  • Lean and Mean: Extremely emaciated and a vicious opponent.
  • 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.


The common zombie of Narapela, perhaps due to their age they have developed differently from the Walkers of Banoi and Palanai.

  • Zombie Gait: Averted, despite their name; Shamblers are capable of running to try and catch up with you.


A hyperactive, snarling zombie that moves with far greater speed and agility than most. Only seen on Narapela.

  • Elite Mooks: Bouncers are much nastier than other zombies, and only found in rare occasions.
  • Expy: To an extent, of the Infected from Dead Island and Riptide (being a faster-moving zombie), but more of the Hunter from Left 4 Dead (springing attack).
  • In a Single Bound: They can make powerful jumping attacks at you from a considerable distance. Fortunately, these are pretty obviously telegraphed.
  • Lightning Bruiser: They're quick, but unlike the fast zombies from Dead Island and Riptide, they're also pretty tough.


Zombies whose bodies have mutated to produce a steady supply of toxic pus or mucus, which they spit prodigiously through the air at potential prey. Only seen on Narapela.

  • Body Horror: They have faces that look half-melted and lungs that are so full of glowing green poisonous pus that they have burst through their backs.
  • Super Spit: They attack by gobbing green toxic slime at you.


A zombie whose body is covered in bloody scratches, the Siren calls zombies to its location with its alarm-like shrieks.

  • Enemy Summoner: Like the Screamer, they call more zombies when they shriek.
  • Expy: Of the Screamer above.


An especially mutated zombie found only in the Underground Labs of Narapela. Having adapted to life in the darkness, their eyes are near-useless, but they have incredibly acute senses of hearing.

  • Elite Mooks: The most dangerous zombies in the game, with a massive amount of health and damaging attacks. Their incredible hearing also means you can't sneak up behind them to stealth kill them. Overall it's best to just try to sneak around them entirely.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Extremely tough, extremely hard-hitting... and extremely quick.


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