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Video Game / Dead Island: Riptide

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Hope is drowning.

Dead Island: Riptide is the follow-up to 2011's Dead Island, and is not so much a sequel as a really big expansion pack. After surviving the outbreak of kuru that transformed most of the vacationers on the Pacific island of Banoi into cannibalistic rage zombies, the five survivors are taken into the custody of the Australian military.

Things promptly go wrong, as usual, and they subsequently wash up on the shore of Banoi's neighboring island Palanoi, which is part of the Australian commonwealth. Due to the one-two punch of the kuru outbreak and a recent torrential monsoon, Palanoi's settlements are both depopulated and flooded. With the help of a reporter for the World Health Organization and the lone survivor of the military blockade around Banoi, the survivors must figure out a way to get to Palanoi's main city and hopefully, find a way off the island.


Riptide caught hell in much of the gaming press for the trailer, the collector's edition, and for being more of an expansion rather than a sequel (consequentially doing nothing to fix any of Dead Island's numerous, notorious flaws). The original game was cut a lot of slack by many players and critics for being a labor of love that spent several years in development hell, so its bugs, cumbersome inventory system, and occasionally bizarre graphics were all part of its barely-made-it-to-market charm. Riptide has all of those problems and a few more besides despite coming out a year and a half later.

With that in mind, virtually all of Dead Island's gameplay tropes also apply to Riptide.


Dead Island: Riptide provides examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Vendors will sell you weapons for thousands of dollars, but only buy it back at a fraction of the cost later on.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Angela Guerra, a Peace Corps volunteer, takes over for Roger from the first game. She loses her husband to the virus in the first recording and things just get worse for her from there. The tenth and final recording, found in the military base, is a tearful goodbye to her parents. Her fate is left ambiguous, but considering what's happened to the rest of the military base, Angela's probably dead.
    • John Morgan has much the same thing which in contrast to Ryder shows him to be a pretty decent guy, if a little upset at the outbreak and military reaction to it.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: When you die in the game, you respawn fairly close to where it happened, with all of your items intact.
    • Though if there were zombies nearby, hopefully they don't immediately jump on you again the moment you can start moving...
    • The Survivor's Pack includes an experience booster that lets you level up much faster.
  • A Taste of Power: Unlike the first game where firearms only started appearing in act 2 Riptide hands the player a nice gun as well as a handful of ammo at the beginning to help get them through the first level. Of course, since said level is set on a rapidly sinking ship they end up losing the weapons after washing ashore on a new island.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Chief Smuggler has a ton of health and is resistant to bullets, pretty much making him a full boss fight, just like Afran from the first game.
  • Bad Ass Crew: When playing in Co-op, otherwise its One-Man Army when soloing. Can be averted however, if one or several players turn out to be The Load, due to either getting themselves killed a lot, or not contributing much to killing the zombies.
  • Bag of Spilling: The main characters are jailed and drugged by the Australian Defense Force at the start of the game, and wake up without any of the weapons, cash, and blueprints they accumulated while on Banoi. However, it's justified as the Australian military would have confiscated anything the survivors had on them, and the ship they're on crashes at the beginning of the game, so it could be HandWaved that your stuff was lost at sea.
  • Body Horror: A lot of the zombies in the game qualify for this.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Headshot damage from firearms has been significantly increased compared to the first game, such that single headshots from a decent gun can now one-hit-kill Walkers, whereas in the first game it could take several headshots from a magnum or desert eagle to put a Walker down.
  • Call-Back: A CD player in Paradise can be heard playing, "Who Do You Voodoo Bitch," Sam B's One-Hit Wonder from the first game.
    • There is actually also a brief sidequest where the player encounters a survivor named Eva who is trapped on the roof of the store she worked at because of the song attracting zombies over the radio, which she didn't bother to turn off before leaving.
  • Car Fu: Surprisingly more effective this time around, as you don't have to be moving as fast to kill them. However you only get to use boats/cars in the first zone in the jungle. Upon reaching Henderson, you'll pretty much have to walk everywhere due to the city not having much in the way of streets big enough for vehicles. And hitting a suicider can still kill you as well, so try not to drive over one.
  • Celebrity Survivor: Two of the playable characters are former rap star Sam B and former American football star Logan.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Your characters suffer from this from various characters, each who accuses another of taking advantage of you. Serpo tells you Harlow is a terrorist who wants to sell the virus and antidote to the highest bidder. While Harlow says that Serpo is using you as a test subject, and that his group are deliberately infecting remote places to test out a zombie virus as a weapon. They all eventually meet a grim fate, either at your hands, or of the zombies.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: The "Dead Zones" are all templates, and for some reason, Henderson features something like seven recurrences of an identical hardware store.
  • Darker and Edgier: To a degree, compared to the first game, due to factors such as fewer deliberately silly sidequests and the darker ending.
  • Daylight Horror: The game takes place during the day, which can actually make it a bit creepier especially in Henderson and near dead zones as you generally hear random zombie noises while exploring in or near those areas.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The playable characters had evolved into this since the outbreak on Banoi.
  • Death from Above: A new move is the ability to take out zombies by jumping on top of them if you're above them. Its best used sparingly or when there are only 1-2 zombies however, as you're vulnerable for a few seconds after executing this move, during which time the others will happily maul you until you get up.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: Most of the elite zombies and Elite Mook zombies are like this, having such a huge pool of health that usually takes you a while to deplete.
  • Death Is A Slapon The Wrist: Despite the relatively hardcore nature of the game, dying entails nothing more than losing a certain fraction of your money, which can really hurt your wallet once you start building up beyond $10,000. Otherwise played straight if you carry little money on you.
  • Downer Ending: Both Cecil and Jacqueline's shelters are invaded by zombies as the survivors escape the island. It's implied that the main cast were killed by zombies or succumbed to a mutated version of the virus. If it's the latter then Harlow was right and her efforts to stop them from leaving stings. On top of that, the boat your characters are on hits another island a few days later, but no one is up on the deck. On top of that, the boat was drifting listlessly, implying that your characters may have succumbed to the virus and killed the other non-immune survivors. The latch leading inside the ship opens as the scene ends.
    • The accompanying song, "No Room in Hell" implies that they may lived...
    • Escape Dead Island, which takes place 6 months later, seems to show that Xian Mei is still alive and human, which does give some hope for the other player characters.
  • Degraded Boss: The first Wrestler you fight is a named King Mook main quest boss with tons of health, and is pretty much a full boss fight. Subsequent Wrestlers, while still very tough, have less health and are much closer to the other Elite Zombie enemies in terms of how much damage they can take.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: When you finish bringing gas to Jacques, he "thanks" you by closing his house off, along with playing loud music which attracts zombies to the area. Fortunately you can cover his vents and smoke him out, and then he agrees to sell you stuff.
  • Early Game Hell: Fleeing the ship is made, well...challenging as the Infected are much tougher. Justified as instead of holiday goers you are dealing with Australian Navy zombies.
  • Elite Zombie: Some of the ones from the first game are present in this one. This game however has new ones as well.
    • Elite Mook: In addition, there are "boss" zombies which are essentially the same as the regular walker/infected ones, except they have much more health. These ones are usually inside a dead zone, which means cramped, limited fighting space for players.
  • Expy: Picture Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine in a Zombie Apocalypse based in Australia. Perfect, you know who John Morgan is then.
  • Failed a Spot Check: One mission is to lure the infected with music, and when it plays several characters will muse that it sounds familiar but can't put their finger on it. Despite it being clearly labelled Sam B and he was with the survivors all through both games.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Given the French flags, island setting and close proximity to Australia Palanai is a stand in for Numeia and Mauri Island.
  • Flare Gun: One of the first ranged weapons the player receives to blow up a bridge leading to a survivor outpost. Unfortunately, its about as effective at fighting zombies as its Real Life counterpart would be.
  • French Jerk: Pierre, he promises to open a shop if you bring him fuel. However he instead locks himself in his hut and starts playing music, attracting the infected. Once you have smoked him out, he does trade with you, but still acts like a jerk.
  • From Bad to Worse: We escaped to the military blockade, but now the government wants to experiment on us. Okay, now the ship's got zombies aboard. Now it's sinking. Now it's about to run aground. We survived that, but now we're on another island and we're even further from civilization. And the tunnels underneath the island are full of old Japanese chemical weapons which react in strange ways with the virus. Also, we're not immune. We're resistant.
  • Gorn
  • Grail in the Garbage: You can occasionally find a very good weapon in random chests, or once in a while, off a dead zombie.
  • Guide Dang It!: It is impossible to complete Wayne's crew quests on your first run through the game. The particular kind of tape required for the third step is a rare drop found in Dead Zones in Henderson, and Wayne dies before you reach the city proper.
    • The "Twins" achievement can only be unlocked in a specific part of a very small map and requires you to go well out of your way. One of the two named zombies only appears if you climb up a well-hidden ladder behind a billboard to a secret weapons cache.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Largely played straight, since the game is still more focused on melee combat in general, and there aren't as many gun-toting human opponents this time around compared to Banoi in the first game. Ammo is also scarce early on until you reach Henderson.
    • That said, there are nailguns and harpoon guns, which work like guns except you can reclaim the ammo from the dead zombies, although these are rare. There is also ammo strewn about in places around Henderson, probably to make up for the lack of gun-toting human enemies. And unlike the first game, headshots against zombies do quite a bit of damage if you're using a gun around the same level, and upgraded it.
  • Hold the Line: There are various missions focused around defending a base from waves of zombies, complete with being able to set up defenses and arming your fellow characters.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Harlow ends up trying to keep the survivors from escaping when it turns out there is no cure, and at the end of the game tries to kill them.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Marcus Villa, who at first seems like a friendly NPC and gives you quests. However, shortly afterwards you find out he wants to eat the immune so as to gain their protection from the zombies. Naturally, this doesn't go over well with them. Interestingly enough, the actual zombies in the game don't seem interested in eating you should you die. Instead they seem more focused on beating you up.
  • Improvised Weapon: Like the first game, you can mod your weapons to give them status effects or damage over time effects.
  • The Immune: Only you eventually learn that they are carriers for the virus, and it's mutating
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Despite the addition of several new bladed weapons, including a Chinese War Sword (which is actually a polearm), the katana is still by far the best bladed weapon in the game in terms of stats and performance.
  • King Mook: Taking a cue from the Diablo series, Riptide has a number of special named zombies that are essentially much tougher versions of one of the normal enemy types. 13 of them are optional assassination targets, and several more appear as part of various quests.
  • Land Down Under: Close enough, Palanai could easily be a Queensland holiday resort, many of the survivors are Australian rather than New Guinean, the BIDF is removed and the Australian military is trying to contain the plague (the Navy wears Australian camouflage and a few of the infected are wearing the jellybean version used in the bush) and Purna, John and Ryder White from the first game are from Australia.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Can be invoked by players should they constantly rush towards large hordes and zombies, and get themselves killed or at least seriously hurt in the process. When one player does it constantly in a co-op game, they turn into The Load, particularly if the other players are competent and constantly have to save their teammate.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: A special Zombie Bait edition of the game was available, in some places. The statue was considered too graphic and removed but you were still free to obtain the collectors tin, cards, art and DLC codes.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: If first game's trailer made you cry then Riptide's will likely have genuine depression set in.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Riptide is essentially an expansion pack of the first Dead Island with a new character, a couple new enemies, and a new singleplayer campaign.
  • More Dakka: Heavy machinegun emplacements are usable during defense missions.
  • Nail 'Em: One of the new weapons unlocked near the beginning of the game. Unlike most other video game portrayals it acts less like a mini SMG and more like a small makeshift bow. The player can even retrieve the nails that they embed in the zombie hordes after each battle to use again.
  • Nitro Boost: The boats you can find and use allow you to speed up and ram the infected or chop them up on the motor.
    You're fish food!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: That guy on the cover remind you of anyone? No? Read the Expy and Shout Out tropes for a big clue.
  • No Hero Discount: Averted if you pick up the skill that reduces item prices and/or do their team quests. Otherwise played straight. Just saved a merchant from a horde of zombies? Great, except they're still going to charge you full price for those medkits and weapons you desperately need to survive. Pierre also promises to halve the cost of his wares to you, except they're still the same price as similar gear other merchants sell you. This after saving his butt from zombies, as well as hauling gas over to get his generator going.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: During sieges, if you allow an NPC's health to drop all the way down while they're caught in a grapple with a zombie, the game ends and forces you to reload a previous save. If soloing and multiple NPC's need help, a swift kick to the zombie is often all you need to break the grapple.
  • Obvious Beta: If anything worse than the first game. Several examples include:
    • A slight delay between attacks.
    • Leveling up much faster occasionally.
    • Occasionally dying from one hit for no reason.
    • Grabbing two health items quickly will result in only one registering.
    • Using your last medikit prevents you from using weapons (a bug that was never corrected in the original game either).
    • Occasional issues with rage mode. It can kill you, though you still take damage. It might also mean instead of being able to fight you have your hands up to your face and cannot fight: ala what happens at the harbor: a side effect of the virus?
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Largely played straight, as sometimes zombies will seemingly come out of nowhere and make a mad dash for you. Other times averted, where at some points they may literally spawn right in front of you, especially during some quests.
  • Old Save Bonus: You can import your character's level from the first game if you've played it. However, they still lose all of their items and skills from it. The first one is justified in-universe, as you're apprehended on a military ship the moment the helicopter lands on it, and the ship crashes shortly afterwards. The second one is because the skill tree has been changed, so the developers did this to allow you to choose new skills.
    • That said, even if you don't import a character, all of them start out at level 15. The in-universe explanation is that having survived Banoi, your characters would have some battle experience on them, so should have developed some skills during that time.
  • One-Man Army: Played straight when soloing. In co-op, it turns into Bad Ass Crew.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies in this game are PlagueZombies. Interestingly, while some do try to bite you, most are satisfied with merely punching, kicking, or shoving you. Infected rush towards you often, while walkers lumber or wait until you're close enough, then ambush you. As a result, it's usually a good idea to kick any suspicious looking bodies before you get too close, or shoot them in the head with a gun to kill them before they ever get the chance to ambush you.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • You really want to finish up the crew quests for Harlow and Hardy the moment you reach Henderson, as events subsequently take place that render them impossible to complete.
    • Like in the first game, if you throw your weapons at the zombies, make sure you pick it up before you wander off too far. Otherwise they will vanish, and you'll lose that item forever. The game usually tells you to pick it up or risk losing it as well.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Can be done to zombies that are standing close to a wall using a harpoon gun.
  • Precision F-Strike: After everything Serpo had done what else would Xian say but tell him to fuck off? Given the circumstances a Laser Guided Precision F Tactical Nuke.
  • Put on a Bus: After all of the buildup in the first game, Kevin/Charon and Yerema promptly disappear in the beginning of Riptide after they are arrested by the ADF. The only thing we know of Yerema's fate is an offhand comment of how she was moved to a different facility.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: After spending a big chunk of your time in Henderson chasing down Marvin's ex-wife Sylvia, you can finally find her at the makeshift hospital near Cecil, wounded but alive on a bunk bed. It's a surprisingly upbeat ending for a side quest in this game... until you reach the end of the main story and the hospital gets overrun as you drive away in the cutter.
    • Made even worse by the fact that the boat with the survivors in it washes up on another island, with a dead hand trying to claw its way out. The survivors have spread the disease even further
  • Shout-Out:
    • For whatever reason, Jacqueline Phantom shares her name with a character from Alan Moore's Top 10.
    • David Foster Wallace, of all people, gets a name-check alongside John McCain, in the form of a bunch of whiteboards strewn around the Henderson military base.
    • John Morgan kind of looks like Hugh Jackman and his specialty is hand to hand fighting. There's another character called Logan. And one of the weapons in the game are Wolverine Claws. The only way to make it more apparent who this refers to would be if Steve Blum returned from the first game. Somebody at Deep Silver's a fan.
    • One achievement is The King of Kings. God, or God?
    • The trophy you get for killing 25 zombies with a chainsaw is called, Better Than The Arm.
  • Shovel Strike: Early in the game the player can gain access to a fairly powerful shovel as a quest reward. Since they are also likely to have a handful of useful mods for it at that point its quite a potent weapon for the early missions and sidequests.
  • The Siege: Happens a couple of times. Every playable character will usually be present, whether controlled as NPC's, or by other players.
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted with some explosives, if they make a concussion like a Marines mortar strike then even when out of blast range you will be temporarily deaf.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: Henderson is full of unattended, respawning first aid kits and convenient stashes of ammunition. This helps to compensate for the regular appearance of Thugs and Rams, as well as swarms of up to ten Walkers and Infected at once.
  • Take That!: A subtle but amusing one. The Jerkass French stereotype Pierre has a fenced off shack in which he holes himself up after going back on his word to help the heroes in exchange for fuel (and smoke him out of by blocking the ventilation with used underwear he left littered around). By and in the trashcan are always guaranteed drops of soap and deodorant.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: While it can be played literally straight with a bladed weapon, this trope also works on other stuff like hammers and clubs.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Hardy, you were warned not to climb up the ladder or else you would be shot to death. Did you think the guy was joking around?
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Pierre, who the hero saves from a group of zombies surrounding his house. He then promises to sell you stuff if you can get gas for him to run his generator. You have to stop at two locations, and after getting the gas, he initially refuses to help you. This forces you to "smoke him out" by covering up his vents with clothing, and although he promises to reduce the prices in light of your threats, his wares are still really expensive.
  • The Virus: The kuru disease hinted at being behind the infection came from Palanoi, mutated by old army supplies store on the island.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Played straight in the last scene of the game where your characters are shown leaving the island with some of the other non-immune characters who stuck out with you throughout the game. But when the boat finally reaches a human settlement, there is no one aboard, and while they may be inside of it, the fact that the boat was drifting listlessly suggests something may have happened in those few days on the boat.
      • Escape Dead Island, which takes place 6 months later, seems to show that Xian Mei at least survived, so it's possible the other player characters did as well.
    • Played straight with Yerema and Kevin, who escaped with you in the first game, only to vanish completely this time around, with little explanation as to what happened to them. The collectible secret files indicate the two were transferred off-island before the crap hit the fan on Palanai.
    • Averted with the remaining survivors you helped out on Palanai. Unlike with the first game, where Sinamoi and Teresa's fates were uncertain note  the game plainly shows you what happened this time around. First, the hospital is broken into with one of the survivors desperately trying to hold them back by the door. Second, a ram breaches the shutters at the theater. It shouldn't take much to wonder what happened to them without your characters around to fight them off.
    • Just before the ending...well ends, a radio broadcast indicates Banoi and Palanai are on the road to recovery with rumors of the infection being quashed. This gels with the first game where late in Australian biohazard can be seen stationed around Moresby and quarantine zones set up.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: This is how the new playable character in Riptide, John Morgan, meets the others.
  • Your Head Asplode: A powerful gun can blow off a zombie's head.
  • Zerg Rush: Infected are prone to this, rushing at you from far away once you get within a certain range of them. Walkers will try to rush you if you're close enough.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Here's a sick wrinkle to the entire thing: the strain of kuru that started this mess is native to Palanoi. Kessler mentions that the indigenous tribesmen had mentioned there were multiple outbreaks of this throughout history, including an incident in the 1950s where it interacted with stored Japanese chemical weaponry and mutated the virus into its present form. The only reason Palanoi wasn't swept off the map then was because the Australians dynamited the tunnel entrances with the survivors still inside, sealing them up in the old WWII-era tunnels.
  • Zombie Infectee: Wayne ends up getting bitten right before the Paradise survivors meet back up with the player. This would be bad enough on its own but due to the characters passing through tunnels filled with decaying chemicals left over from WWII he mutates into a powerful Elite Zombie.