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Video Game / Escape Dead Island

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Escape Dead Island is a adventure survival horror developed by Swedish developer Fatshark and published by German studio Deep Silver. It is a spinoff of the main Dead Island series. It was released on 18 November 2014, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360. The game also has a different animation style and has third person game play in lieu of first person.

The game is a survival mystery that follows the story of Cliff Calo, who sets sail to document the unexplained events rumored to have happened on Banoi. Arriving on the island of Narapela, part of the Banoi archipelago, he finds that not everything is as it seems. Haunted by deja-vus, Cliff will have to make sense of it all.

This work provides examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: The game does away with the series' RPG-style progression, loot drops, and weapon selection, focusing on pure combat with a fixed set of weapons. The game also has Regenerating Health, so managing health items is no longer necessary.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: There are a few sections where you must escape from the Mutant, who's too powerful for you to fight outright.
  • All Just a Dream: One of the collectible text logs strongly suggests that Cliff was rescued by Dr. Kimball after hitting his head shortly after landing on the island, and most or all of the game is just a really crazy hallucination he's having while suffering from dehydration, head trauma, and possibly the zombie infection. Though that doesn't quite explain how Cliff is able to dream so vividly about people and topics he had no prior knowledge of, such as Xian Mei or Charon. It seems some Broad Strokes version of the game's events may have occurred previously, but the game itself is one big hallucination.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you die multiple times in a row at the same checkpoint, the game will start spawning ammo near the checkpoint to give you a leg up in combat.
  • Apocalyptic Log: You can find several video logs recorded by Dr. Faith Kimball ending with her being jumped by a zombie as you work your way through the staff village. Additional logs by the island's scientists and Charon himself can also be collected.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The game's final chapter is a full-blown psychotic break from reality taking place entirely in Cliff's head.
  • Art Shift: Though still realistically proportioned, the graphics are in Borderlands-esque Cel Shading.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Linda was either dead all along or not (there's a line in the final mission that suggests Faith did manage to save her) and both Cliff and Devan are bitten and there is only one cure serum. We don't see who takes the serum (although since Devan was already at the "eating human flesh" stage, it wouldn't make much sense to use the serum on him). Cliff releases a floatation case into the ocean containing the data drive (along with hints towards a possible cure to give humanity a fighting chance of stopping the outbreak) and his own narrated account of events. He is then called back into the island by the voice of Linda, indicating that either Faith really did save her, or Cliff isn't done spiraling into insanity.
  • Cel Shading: The game utilizes it to give it a look similar to a graphic novel, which is the way the cutscenes look.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The game confirms that GeoPharma and its leader Emory Crown were not only responsible for creating the virus, but like Umbrella Corp they're engaged in all sorts of morally dubious projects including global surveillance and experimental mind control, all with the explicit goal of world domination.
  • Daddy Issues: Cliff aspires to be an independent journalist on account of his media mogul father promoting his sister in favor of Cliff. It's gotten to the point where he refuses to give his father information of the conspiracy in fear that he will take credit for it.
  • 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.
  • Elite Zombie: You have Bouncers, who are faster, tougher zombies with a flying leap attack, Spitters, who spit globs of acid at you, Sirens, who are fast, tough, and who can scream to awaken sleeping zombies and alert nearby zombies, and Butchers, who are this game's Boss in Mook's Clothing enemies who are faster than you, have lots of health, and who can even block attacks. The Underwater Labs DLC also adds Dwellers, Invincible Minor Minion zombies who are almost impossible to defeat in combat and who cannot be stealth killed normally, requiring you to either avoid them entirely or get creative with environmental noise sources to distract them.
  • Expy: Several of the mutant zombies are expies of ones from the original Dead Island and Riptide: Bouncers are a beefed up Elite Mook version of Infected (the quick, agile zombies of the original game), Spitters are loosely based on a mixture of Grenadiers and Floaters, Sirens are based on Screamers. The Butcher is about the only special infected who remains the same, and even then, it's got a slight redesign (two arm-blades rather than one, not skinless).
  • Gainax Ending: The flotation device floats past the ship Cliff, Linda and Devan where on - with them on it - reenacting the games opening. So was the game in a time loop? Or hallucination?
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The game indicates that Emory Crown, the CEO of GeoPharma, and a global conspiracy known as the Palm Garden Order were responsible for creating the zombie virus in a bid for world domination. Turns out they were all having a meeting on Banoi, which is why Charon released the virus there to kill them all.
  • The Heavy: The mutant monster terrorizing the player throughout the game, revealed to be Dr. Aaron Welles.
  • Heart Container: You can pick up medikits hidden around the island to increase your maximum health. The increase from each one is extremely small, but there are dozens of them scattered around the island.
  • Hero of Another Story: Xian Mei works with Cliff to uncover the truth.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Cliff, and his friends Linda and Devan.
  • Ironic Echo: Cliff first meets Xian when he steps in to help, assuring her he's got this when told it's too dangerous. When he later asks if she expects him to recover key cards by himself Xian snarks, "I assume you got this."
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The Dweller Elite Zombie enemies encountered in underground areas are virtually unkillable in combat, which means you'll have to either stealth kill them, avoid them, or die horribly. Even worse, their enhanced hearing means you can't sneak up on them to stealth kill them like you can other zombies. Instead you need to get creative using nearby machinery or tape recorders to distract them with sound, which isn't immediately apparent and never explained to you. In general it's best just to sneak around them.
  • It Can Think: The mutant/ Dr. Welles. Similar to the protagonists of Dead Island: Epidemic, he's mutated, but retained his intelligence and most of his sanity thanks to having taken an incomplete version of the cure. It's taken a toll on his temper and self-control, though.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Somewhat averted. The katana is faster than the fire axe, but does less damage and has a decreased ability to stun/knock back enemies due to the lower mass. You carry both the katana and the fire axe, but the fire axe seems to generally be better once you fully upgrade it. The katana is, however, objectively better than the crude metal pipe you start out with, and is even a Disc-One Nuke when you start out a New Game Plus with one.
  • King Mook: At one point towards the end of the game, during a hallucination you'll fight zombie versions of Linda and Cliff himself. Zombie Linda is a Siren with a lot more health than normal, while Zombie Cliff is a Spitter with a lot more health than normal.
  • Mind Screw:
    • Due to Cliff losing his mind as the game progresses, the game's events start to become twisted and disjointed, resulting in many scenarios that presumably aren't real.
    • Weird little things can happen in the middle of a mission with no fanfare, like telephone poles sprouting out of a garden in the middle of the staff village.
  • The Mole: While it's left ambiguous which faction she's actually working for, the game makes it clear that Xian Mei knows more about the zombies and the global conspiracy behind them than she let on in the original games.
  • New Game Plus: The ending of the game loops back to the beginning of the game if you sit through the credits, allowing you to replay the whole thing again. You lose your weapons and health upgrades, but get to keep all your ammo. You can also get a katana right at the beginning of the game by opening a closet on the boat that was previously locked.
  • Shout-Out: Many aspects of the game's plot are quite similar to LOST.
  • Technically-Living Zombie: The collectible research notes explain that the Dead Island zombie virus concentrates living cells around the nervous system while the brain and exterior flesh necrotizes, so they're basically dead flesh attached to a working motor system.
  • Title Drop: During the prologue Charon boasts that he will be the ferryman that takes the Palm Garden Order to the Isle of the Dead.
  • Tragic Villain: That mutant that has been chasing you? It's Dr. Aaron Welles, who could retain his intelligence, but it cost him some of his sanity.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Like the first game, this one takes place on a fictional tropical island near Papua New Guinea.
  • Unreliable Narrator: After Cliff gets hit in the face at the end of the first level, it's anyone's guess about how much of Escape actually happened, or happened in the way Cliff perceived it. Even aside from the obvious breaks from reality, such as suddenly getting hit by a subway train in a utility tunnel, Cliff has a habit of waking up from dream sequences with new pieces of equipment, or having a vivid and accurate hallucination of a part of the island that the player cannot yet reach.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: This game presents Charon as this, being motivated by corruption in big pharmaceutical companies that caused the death of his family, but it's unclear whether it's sincere or simply more manipulation on his part.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: It seems prolonged exposure to the virus or possibly any vaccine does something to the vocal chords. Xian sounds rather more Chinese, specifically a strained forced accent compared to sounding more natural in earlier games.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: You think?