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File:Deadisland 3497.jpg

The guy swinging from the tree got off lucky.

So you're on vacation, trying to get away from your hectic life back home and have some fun time with your family, when all of a sudden zombies show up. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Dead Island is a Wide Open Sandbox first-person Survival Horror game by Techland, makers of the Call of Juarez series, with action RPG elements (such as skill trees, random weapon drops, and heavy emphasis on 4-player co-op gameplay) very reminescent of Diablo or Borderlands. It is set at the Royal Palms Resort on Banoi, a (fictional) tropical island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. For reasons unknown (a mutated strain of Kuru is hinted), the dead have risen from the grave to consume the living, and the surviving tourists, staff and locals are fighting for survival. Melee combat is the name of the game; since you can't really expect to find that many guns in a luxurious beach resort, you have to make do with the assortment of close-range weapons that you have around you. This is reflected in the game's physics system, which places emphasis on detailed gore, including limbs that may be broken or chopped off and heavy damage that may gib.

Originally, Techland had proposed and designed a much more realistic "layer" system that modeled skin, muscle, bone being independently modeled and deformed in real time. According to Techland, their testers barely noticed, so they went with a much less intensive prebaked damage model.

The game was first announced way back in 2007, with a teaser debuting at GC 2007 and promising a release date the following year. Nothing was heard from the developers on the subject for years, until the release of a new trailer in early 2011, and... holy crap. From the very second that that trailer became a viral phenomenon, Dead Island went from a presumed-dead zombie game to the talk of the entire gaming world, even getting the attention of the non-gaming press in a way that few smaller games ever do. This despite the acknowledgement from Techland stating that trailer would not be indicative of actual tone or gameplay. is currently doing a sponsored movie/miniseries entitled Dead Island: Origins to advertise for the game on their website. A tropes page for the "film" can be found HERE.

A single-player DLC campaign was released on February 2012 starring Ryder White, and it sheds an entirely new light on the events of the main game.

This game provides the following tropes:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: It's a mini-apocalypse, you've just saved a church and a small village from being overrun by zombies, and they still want to charge you absurd amounts for mundane items.
    • Some of the weapons dealers flat out say things like "I'll be rich by the time this blows over," so it could just be them alone trying to make a buck.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In at least one case, a man who had a young daughter couldn't make it through the game's trailer.
    • Ryder White's campaign plays an even harder fear, especially for those that serve in the military. It's bad enough that your wife is caught in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, but what if you're ordered by a superior to eliminate her?
  • All There in the Manual: Averted. Xian Mei's biography is completely different in-game for some reason, although it explains her facility with edged weaponry.
  • An Axe to Grind: Used by the dad in the trailer.
    • Also one of the rarer (and usually more powerful) bladed weapon varieties.
  • Anachronic Order: The trailer does this with the family's doomed fight against the zombies breaking into their hotel room, basically rewinding through the entire sequence.
    • Not quite, it goes backwards at some points, everything (chronologically)after the girl was "rescued" by her dad), and forwards at before he reaches her, and they meet in the middle.
  • And I Must Scream: The manual states that Suicider zombies still retain some awareness, but they are driven by a primal urge to explode near uninfected survivors. Particularly horrible considering what Suiciders look like.
    • When you get close to them, they say "Help me," or beg you to make the pain stop and end their suffering.
  • Anticlimax Boss: After the enormous amount of build-up he gets, the mass murderer known as the Butcher of Banoi turns out to be the same as a regular Mook and goes down in just one or two hits.
    • After the latest patch, the Butcher of Banoi has been made into a noticeably tougher enemy, about on par with a special zombie like a Thug or Butcher. He's still not as tough as Jason, though, even with the latter being somewhat Nerfed by the same patch.
  • Anti Frustration Feature: When you die, the game will often respawn you near where you died. Although its averted if you died in a swarm of zombies and they haven't broken up enough yet.
    • If an escort dies, while you fail the quest, it lets you replay from the last checkpoint, which is often just a short distance from where they died, rather than repeating from the very beginning. Useful as some escort missions take a while to complete.
  • Apocalyptic Log: You can find tape recordings by Roger Howard/The Journalist scattered across the island, which detail the progression of the zombie outbreak. In the Ryder White campaign, a set of tape recordings made by a BIDF soldier and a set made by Emily White can be found.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. The Heroes don't get any armor, but some enemies (namely police and BIDF soldiers, as well as zombie versions of them) are wearing body armor, and it significantly reduces the damage they take. Enemies wearing helmets or facemasks also don't take extra damage from headshots.
    • Afran, the jungle warlord, has boss-level health and is wearing a full suit of body armor that gives him high damage resistance and also protects him from headshots.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Colonel Ryder White really shows this off in the Ryder White DLC campaign, seeing as how he manages to fight his way across the entire island, solo, without the Heroes' immunity to the virus.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Most of the developer weapons fall under this. Their blueprints are hard to get (and some of the only Lost Forever items in the game), they will almost certainly be very weak compared to weapons you already have by the time you get them, they require multiple diamonds and a boatload of cash to produce and they're almost as expensive to maintain... but when you have a knife that can make enemy's heads pop like cherries and a shove that can send multiple enemies flying back, crackling with electricity, it almost seems worth it.
  • Badass
    • Badass Normal: Virtually every survivor who has fought zombies and remains uninfected. Remember: they're not immune to the virus like the four protagonists. One bite and they're done within a few hours. One character who stands out among the others is Roger Howard, the journalist for whom you can find recordings periodically. He manages to follow virtually the same path as the players, without their immunity, to within spitting distance of the final boss battle. By then, he had been bitten, and is found dead alongside the last recording.
    • Colonel Badass: While Ryder White may not have shown it in the main game, his DLC campaign definitely show him as a definite badass. See Authority Equals Asskicking.
    • John Sinamoi is a natural leader, saving your life and looking after the survivors, but he shows his mettle at the end of the prologue when he risks his own life fighting off zombies threatening the safehouse despite being outnumbered six to one and knowing a single bite would turn him. Bonus Points for nonchalantly tossing a knife into a zombie's head at the end of the fight and greeting the heroes with a jaunty "Thanks, mates."
  • Banned in China: In certain countries the logo has been changed with the "I" being a standing zombie instead of a hanging body.
  • Batter Up: Baseball Bats are among the various weapons you can wield and can be modified to be on fire.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: The official logo and end of the second trailer shows a hanging corpse, implying that the survivor killed himself rather than be zombified.
  • Bland-Name Product: You'll find wrecked, yellow "ETL" trucks in the slums, an obvious pastiche of real-life courier DHL.
  • Body Horror: Pretty much all zombies, but especially the Suiciders, considering they're still somewhat self-aware.
  • Boom! Headshot!: With the exception of boss characters, headshots will always kill Human enemies. Manually aiming at a Punk's head will save you a lot of ammo.
  • Bonus Boss: Jason Vorhees. He's fast (due to being a human rather than a zombie), is armed with a machete, does heavy damage, and has a massive amount of health (even more than a Giant Mook).
    • He's significantly Nerfed by the recent major patch, as he no longer does heavy damage and has less than half as much health as he used to.
  • Boring but Practical: Your spring-loaded neck boot, or 'mighty foot.' The amount of damage it does is pretty low but it can't be interrupted, and it has a pretty decent knockback. You will use it a lot to make the most common opponents fall before killing them, saving your real weapons for truly dangerous monsters. You need to watch your stamina when using it though, or you really can leave yourself truly defenseless.
    • Since the mighty foot often makes enemies fall down, you can use another boring-but-practical move to finish them off - the head stomp. It's an insta-kill against any zombie with any amount of health - even special ones!
    • You might think machetes never get old, but after you've been playing as Xian Mei and using them for most of the game, you might think again.
    • Blunt weapons. May not have the range of guns, or the raw damage and dismembering capacity of blades, but blunt weapons are more durable, more common, cheaper to repair, and still deal decent damage, especially in Sam B's hands.
  • Boss in Mooks Clothing: Thugs when you first meet them.
  • Breakable Weapons: Melee weapons degrade when attacking enemies, requiring you to periodically find a workbench to maintain them. Broken weapons, while still usable, suffer severe stat penalties, making them weaker than your bare fists.
    • Weapons will also visibly degrade with each hit, though it has no effect on the weapon's performance.
  • Bullet Time: Killing an enemy with a critical hit will slow down time for a second to let you see what part of their body is being blown and ripped to pieces by your weapon. Especially satisfying on Human enemies. Sometimes you'll make their head explode.
  • Car Fu: You can run over zombies and hostile humans in the various vehicles you get.
  • Celebrity Survivor: Two of the playable characters are former rap star Sam B and former American football star Logan.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Anne Snyder, a woman who, despite being a grown adult, is obsessed with finding her teddy bear, feeling that it will protect her from the zombies.
    • Well, she did say she couldn't sleep without it. It could just be that she's extremely sleep deprived which can make anyone a bit loopy...
    • Alternatively, having just barely survived the start of a zombie apocalypse, she's holding on to the one thing that can keep her sane.
  • Chainsaw Good: Dead Island is a rare example of a Zombie Apocalypse where a chainsaw is NOT a common option to kill them with. There is only ONE chainsaw in the entire game, inside Jason Voorhees's hut; it can tear up Walkers and Infected like nobody's business, but it's ineffective against the Elite Zombies, and the fact that you can't repair it makes the chainsaw Awesome but Impractical.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Both played straight and averted. Due to gameplay mechanics, the zombies in this game cannot crawl, so chopping or breaking their legs will instantly kill them. Shooting/Smashing/Cutting their head off is also an instant kill, but this trope is averted with the stronger zombies from Thugs upward. Thugs can have their legs and head destroyed, but only if it actually is the killing blow. Rams, Floaters, and Butchers can't be maimed at all due to their special designs. As for Suiciders, well, they invoke it upon themselves.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Svetlana tells you "I want to Fucking drink 'till I fucking drop".
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Nobody seems too worried about the zombies or the weather system. In fact, most of the NPCs seem content with staying boarded up in their huts.
    • Possibly because the monsoon had already blown over by the time the game starts and because the zombies aren't much of a threat when you're in shelter.
      • Until the elite Zombies show up, that is. Case in point, the Lighthouse gas station has two survivors when you first get there. When you later go back, a Thug has ripped the defenses apart and the survivors have been slaughtered. It nearly happens to the church in Act 2 too, but you kill the Ram before it can pound the doors into firewood.
    • Happens to a massive extent at City Hall, because of you, this time. Restoring the water supply to the church requires activating a pump system that drains the reservoir underneath City Hall, allowing the zombies to enter the building through the otherwise unguarded sewer access tunnels.
    • Svetlana and her compatriots seem perfectly content getting drunk inside a bungalow with an unbarred door, on a beach full of zombies. She'll even give you Diamonds if you fetch champagne for her.
      • They've chosen their hideout pretty well, actually. It's one of the Diamond Beach bungalows, which were built on stilts over the water rather than on land. Zombies can't swim, and they were sure to barricade the docks leading to the bungalows, which stops most walkers and infected from getting anywhere near them.
  • Crapsack World: Moresby, the biggest city on Banoi, had a serious gang problem even before the outbreak. The rich were completely segregated and the slums were barely livable. Finally, the police were so ineffective that a special section of the army, The Banoi Island Defense Force, had to be formed to protect the island. In fact part of the reason you encounter so many survivors, for a zombie game, is that the gangs were so heavily armed.
    • To drive the point further, Colonel Ryder White, a veteran of battles in Iraq, East Timor, and Afghanistan, outright admits that Banoi is the worst place he's ever been in.
  • Crutch Character: Sam B's ability to regenerate, among other skills, certainly make him the easiest character to do solo runs with. He's also proficient with blunt weapons, which are more prevalent early in the game and take longer to break than knives.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: At the end of the game the evil Colonel Ryder is outnumbered six to one by survivors who have killed thousands of zombies and dozens of armed humans, who are more than likely armed with rifles, shotguns, and electrified katanas. For some reason, none of the survivors draw any weapons and Ryder holds them all at bay with a peashooter pistol. Slightly justified in that he's got the vaccine, which means White essentially has a hostage.
  • Daylight Horror: Most of the clips and scenes take place during the daytime, which makes it scarier as it makes the player a more visible target.
  • Darker and Edgier: From the looks of it, it appears to be this to Dead Rising 2. Both games focus on melee combat, are set in exotic, touristy locales, and their titles both begin with the word "dead". While Rising focused more on being an over-the-top Wish Fulfillment fantasy with several winking nods to the films that inspired it, Island is a hardcore Zombie Apocalypse that takes its subject matter deathly seriously, with Player Punch moments appearing right in the trailer and the custom weapons being more grounded in reality [1], It's also significantly harder, as each individual zombie is a serious threat to even a high-level character, making tactics and attention a must for every single fight.
  • Death by Irony: Ryder White's wife, whom he's been trying to save for the entire game, changes, is released, and ends up biting him.
  • Death Is a Slap on 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.
  • Degraded Boss: Each time you encounter a special zombie for the first time it's treated as a miniboss/boss encounter. After that encounter they start appearing alongside normal enemies with Suiciders being by far the most common.
  • Disc One Nuke: Once you have access to Deo-bombs (given to you as a reward for a quest in Act 1 at the Lighthouse), you should buy as many deodorants and duct tape as you possibly can whenever you see a merchant selling them. These babies do 5k damage, and sometimes burns the enemies as well. While it can take you out if you're not careful (aka being too close to it), they're very useful for taking out groups of zombies (especially ones that haven't noticed your presence just yet), and Elite Zombie will often die in 1-2 blasts at close range.
  • Doing It for the Art: Given the many intricacies of the game, it's pretty obvious that the game was a labor of love as much as anything else. Dead Island was in development as early as 2007, but had a hard time finding a publisher until Deep Silver picked it up.
  • Downer Ending: The four heroes manage to escape the island with Yerema and Kevin, but at a high cost: Jin dies, all the other survivors the heroes meet either die or get left behind, and the "cure" they worked so hard to help create turns out to strengthen the zombie virus rather than destroy it. To top it all off, it's implied that Yerema is a Typhoid Mary carrier for the virus, and that Kevin, aka Charon, may be planning to use her for his own purposes.
    • The Ryder White DLC makes it hit even harder: Ryder White was never a villain after all and Kevin (Charon) was just manipulating everybody for his own ends. Ryder never had any intention of calling in a nuclear weapon, Charon made it up to turn the survivors on Ryder. Yerema is confirmed to be the original source of the outbreak and is heading for the mainland (and it turns out the four heroes aren't immune, but asymptomatic carriers). Oh and Ryder White's BIDF soldiers you kill on the roof were just innocent servicemen who got dragged along for the ride. Good job.
  • Dual Boss: A pair of Rams serve as a boss battle of sorts near the end of the Ryder White campaign.
  • Elite Mooks: Warlord Afran's mercenaries, the prison guards, and Colonel White's BIDF soldiers.
    • The "Infected" zombie type. They are essentially walkers that are faster in both movement and attack (they also seem to be in better condition visually), but you can still cut off or crush their heads with a single focused attack.
  • Elite Zombie: Several examples:
    • Thugs, in particular, are not easy to dispatch. They can send you flying with one hit and knock off a ton of health when they do. Even disabling both their arms doesn't make them easy to deal with - since they still attack by headbutting or biting you. Finding a weapon with long reach, like a fire axe or sledgehammer usually means you can sit comfortably just outside their arms reach and bring them down easily. Just make sure you don't miss, or attack while they're attacking at the same time.
    • Rams, on the other hand, can be a pain to fight in enclosed areas or if you get stuck trying to jump onto a car to dodge its charge. And if you let it get too close, his kick does massive damage as well. They can be easy to take down if you're extremely good at aiming for their head, or have enough room to dodge their charge, and then attack their exposed backside.
    • Floaters can die fast, but if you take too long killing them, get stuck on a ledge/car trying to reach them, or get distracted fighting other zombies their green puke can hurt quite a bit.
    • Butchers can be painful to fight in melee, since they're quick, attack fast, have a nasty kick, and worst of all, can dodge your attacks, especially if aimed at its head. Your best bet is to have an elemental weapon and hope that it kicks in. Or just take them out from a distance if possible, such as with a high powered shotgun, or a grenade.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Well, not other survivors, but you never feel safe outside the safehouses.
    • Punks are survivors too. They shoot you on sight. Yeah...
  • Fake Difficulty: The inventory system is arbitrary to the point of distraction! There's no weight limit, so you can carry any amount of pretty much anything you find (although see Game Breaking Bug below). Fair enough, except for health items like an Energy Drinks and Fruit - if you pick these up, you will eat them immediately, so take care to remember where they are in case you need to run back for them when you get clobbered by a Thug. And also, you can only carry up to 12 weapons (expandable up to 18 as you level up), so get used to dropping perfectly serviceable knives and guns as you find new or better ones. And, oh, yeah - Medkits and Alcohol count as weapons too![2] And, of course - Champagne doesn't count as Alcohol, so you can carry as much as you like! What.
  • Fan Disservice: Tons of bikini-clad chicks in this game? Awesome! Wait... they're almost all undead berserkers? Was that one's left breast completely torn off!? Not so awesome...
    • And the ones who aren't, are post-traumatic and weeping on the floor. Good times.
    • Not to mention there's only one body for all the bikini-wearing female npc's, and the texture maps have color variations for race but not age, so the old wrinkled grandma's face and grey hair are topping a mid-20's smooth and perky body... dissonance ensues.
  • Fan Nickname: Left 4 Dead Rising.
  • Fetch Quest: Fairly common throughout the game. By far the most annoying ones are those that ask you to get something you already have on your person. For example, one guy in the church wants you to run halfway across a zombie-infested city to get him a gun... when you probably have half a dozen to spare.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: As evidenced in the launch trailer, the four heroes don't trust each other at first, but quickly realize they'll have to work together to survive.

 Sam B Yeah, I hear you, we a crew.

  • Foregone Conclusion: The Ryder White DLC if you've already finished the main story.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a few hints foreshadowing the fact that The Voice is really Kevin/Charon impersonating Ryder White. One of the Heroes mentions that The Voice could easily be a convict impersonating a military officer. The Voice is only ever shown in shadow, and never explicitly shown as Ryder White. The Voice claims to be with the BIDF when we are told early on the real Ryder is serving with the Australian Defence Force and at the very end of the game, Kevin is encountered prominently standing in front of the radio control booth that the Voice was using throughout the game.
  • Game Breaking Bug: If you have too many items in your inventory, it corrupts your save game, destroying all your progress. Worst of all, it usually happens after you've already put in a few dozen hours into the game since it takes that long to stack your inventory to the point the bug occurs. This is a universal bug and always occurs if the proper conditions are met, on all versions of the game. This was finally fixed in one of the latest patches, but many of those who bought the game in the first few months after launch still lost a lot of progress.
    • More annoying than anything else, but as of the latest patch for the PC version, nearly all of the sound effects aside from some select examples (voices, door ramming and drinking) to be corrupted and no longer work, and this is notoriously hard to fix.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Even if you're going it alone in single-player mode, the cutscenes will still feature all four heroes together as if you've got a full co-op roster.
  • Genre Savvy: Jason Vorhees enjoys himself way too much. He knows what's going on, and loves every moment of it.


    • Kevin seems to be playing on the genre savviness of the main crew by the end, claiming that the Australians are planning on detonating a nuclear weapon to contain the outbreak (a classic zombie film cliche) which they believe without a second thought. The Ryder White DLC reveals that this was all a lie they fell for.
  • Glass Cannon / Fragile Speedster: The "Infected" enemies. It's easy to kill them in one hit if you ready yourself as they're running at you but if you are otherwise occupied they can unleash a flurry of attacks that can take off half your health before you even know what's happening. Even worse, as you level up further the game seems to take a perverse pleasure in regularly sending the occasional wave of them at you, regardless of whether or not they could have possibly spotted you. And they almost always travel in groups of 2-4. Sometimes from different directions.
    • It is kind of funny in Act 2, though. The Infected have a habit of spawning on the other side of things like fires, toxic hazards, or live current. Sometimes they're easy to spot simply because of how damage numbers are abruptly popping up out of nowhere.
  • Goomba Stomp/Your Head Asplode: The bottom skill in the combat tree for all four characters is a heavy stomp to a prone enemy's head that, if not interrupted, always results in a one hit kill, regardless of enemy type.
  • Gorn: The physics engine will not only allow you to dismember zombies, but also tear their flesh from their bones.
    • Especially evident with one of the developer's weapons, The Hand Of Glova, which does almost no damage but fries flesh off with electricity and leaves enemies looking like the flayed corpses you occasionally find on the ground.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: Personal I Ds, blueprints, notes and tapes that provide backstory... there are a LOT of collectibles in this game. So many in fact that you only need to find around half of them to unlock both of the achivements that are tied to them.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The vendors will sometimes sell white, common weapons, which have much, much better stats than the rarer, colored weapons. For instance, you could see them selling a blue colored machete which does 500 damage, then the white colored machete right below it does 650 damage...
  • Guide Dang It: Some quests are really vague and obscure, so sometimes you're better off just googling the quest info, unless you're feeling very adventurous and want to explore on your own. In addition, trying to find all the collectibles/mods will cause you to scour the beaches, town, and jungle for a long time, unless you find a guide that tells you where they all are.
  • Guns Are Worthless:
    • As expected of a game focused on melee combat. You can find your first gun from an escort quest in Act I, and pistol ammo from a cop car near the hotel, but it's not worth it to rely on it right away. Not that it matters, as guns are on average weaker than the melee weapons you find, random ammo is hard to find, and headshots just do extra damage against zombies, not kill them outright.
      • Not Completely Useless: However, against human enemies, headshots are a one-hit kill, and 99% of them carry guns and bullets, making ammo a non-issue. As well you can make your own ammunition once you get the recipes fairly early in the game. Followed by later NPCs start selling you ammo which does make it a non-issue when they become desirable.
    • Subverted in Ryder White's campaign. Ammo can be found regularly enough to use firearms as your primary weapons, and Ryder is skilled enough in firearms to kill zombies with just a handful of bullets each.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mowen. He gives his life to keep Jin and Yerema from being killed by either the zombies or the convicts during a pitched battle in the prison.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! - Sam B. is Samurai Jack, Xian Mei is Mei Ling, Logan is Sesshoumaru, Sinamoi is Spike Spiegel and the journalist is none other than Liquid Snake.
  • Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: An enemy with a hockey mask has a chainsaw in his shack.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The father from the trailer, who hastily rescues his own bitten daughter from the zombies, is attacked and bitten by same daughter seconds later when she reanimates.
    • The mayor in Act 2. Let's just say he deserves what happens to him after refusing to help your group out.
  • Horrorcore: Who Do You Voodoo.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Energy Drinks, candy bars and apples will heal any wound.
  • The Immune: The four player character survivors. This is why they're the only ones entrusted to go outside to run missions. The others know that they won't come back wrong.
    • Subverted in the Ryder White DLC, which reveals that they aren't immune, but carriers, which explains why the cure synthesized from their blood has the exact opposite of the intended effect.
  • Improvised Weapon: You'll be doing this for at least the first half of the game. You'll be using mostly construction tools (wrenches, hammers) or household cutting (kitchen knives, cleavers). Hell, most people's first weapon is a rowboat's paddle!
  • Infant Immortality: Averted right in the trailer, which prominently features a zombified little girl attacking her father.
    • Played straight in the game itself. There are no child zombies.
      • However, in one mission, In Cold Blood, Mugabe asks you to kill his his re-animated wife and daughter. His daughter does not have a special model but it's clear she is a teenager.
      • There's also a Tape Recording that features the speaker coming across a zombie child who attacks him.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Zed's Demise, a unique legendary-class katana you receive from a side-quest near the very end of the game. It's the best sharp weapon in the game, especially if you're using Xian Mei the sharp weapon expert.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Played with. There are a few escort quests, and while your escorts can die, most of them are fairly competent and hardy. The Shaman from chapter 14 was a brutal exception, being utterly helpless and having paper doll endurance. Thankfully, a recent patch made the Shaman's survivability much better.
  • Item Crafting: The weapons you craft make surviving much easier.
  • It Gets Easier: According to the devs, when characters kill zombies, they will initially sound nervous and anxious but as their body count increases, they will start sounding more confident and spouting one liners.

 Sam B: Booya!

    • It's actually just that the lines are programmed to change as you go further from the starting point. If you head back to the original beach even after you've reached the city your character will start spouting the same lines they did at the beginning of the game.
  • It Got Worse: As if a Zombie Apocalypse isn't bad enough, there's a typhoon incoming, too.
    • In game example, Moresby had a serious gang problem before the outbreak, when the Zombies arrived all semblance of law collapsed and the city degenerated into anarchy.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: In the second trailer the survivor says "It's too damn quiet" when he leaves his hotel room.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While they certainly could've phrased it better, Logan and Purna do have a point in prioritizing their survival in a freaking Zombie Apocalypse above all else.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Katanas are probably the best sharp weapons in the game, being fairly sturdy with a very long reach, high damage, and surprisingly good speed (most long-reach weapons are slow as hell). On the downside, they're extremely rare; in most playthroughs you'll only find 2 in the entire game from quest rewards, though merchants will have one now and then.
  • Kill It with Fire: You get Molotovs and Incendiary grenades from persistent fetch quests to give the right character several lots of Alcohol or bleach respectively. Also the Floater's vomit is flammable, you just need use a torch weapon to hit any zombie that's surrounded by green gas, both of which are devastating to any zombie caught in the area of effect.
  • Large Ham: It's probably easier to list the characters who isn't voice-acted completely overhammed. Hint: Absolutely no one.
  • Left Hanging: The Crew gets a vague idea as to the origin of the zombies; A variant of Kuru - a local tribe has been ceremonially cannibalizing its dead for generations, completely aware that some of those who do so will become zombies - They see this as a "good" thing. However, a Geo-Pharma lab is implied to have modified the process - reducing something that normally takes decades to hours - instant Zombie Apocalypse. And everything else is left as a Sequel Hook - the military's involvement, the Crew's immunity, the Final Boss' One-Winged Angel transformation, and the nuclear destruction of Banoi. And a Playful Hacker named Charon, a new character introduced in the ending sequence is implied to be the mastermind behind the Crew's survival.
    • The Ryder White DLC explains pretty much all the above; The Crew and Yerena aren't immune, they're just non-symptomatic, the Kuru variant enhancing various physical traits without destroying their minds. Ryder went One Winged Angel upon shooting up on the cure because the Geo-Pharma lab didn't use their blood to make a cure, but a super-zombie serum. And Ryder himself? A Shaggy Dog That Got Shot. He and his superiors never planned on nuking Banoi. Charon fed the Crew that line, first posing as Ryder to manipulate the Crew's Wrong Genre Savvy instincts, then suckered Ryder into stealing the "cure", then showed up in person to manipulate those instincts even more. Final verdict; the Big Bad Magnificent Bastard flies away from Banoi with all five carriers(all of whom believe they owe him their lives) and first-hand knowledge of what the super-zombie serum does to an uninfected human. All According to Plan.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Played straight for players who rush too often into the crowd of zombies. Also played straight with some zombies, who will sprint towards you/your group in order to engage/get killed by you first.
  • Level Scaling: of the Oblivion style. On the plus side: enemies always feel like a threat to you. On the minus side: it's equally hard to feel you're becoming stronger when the enemies keep matching you.
  • Lighter and Softer: the Rider White DLC is kinda like that. Instead of a scared survivor caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, you are Colonel Badass and somebody was kind enough to scatter tons of ammo all around every place, so you can literally blast every zombie you meet without touching a melee weapon after the first few minutes of play. The DLC plot, on the other hand...
  • Lonely Piano Piece: This game uses it a LOT (one piece plays at the lifeguard tower which serves as a hub early in the game).
  • Lost Forever: Some areas can no longer be explored after you're done with the related quest, such as getting the armored truck from the hotel in Act 1 (for the record you can still explore the first part, up until the elevator). There is a recipe mod in there, and if you forget to grab it, you can no longer acquire it.
    • If you throw a weapon at a suicider zombie (or any mobs really), MAKE SURE YOU RETRIEVE IT ASAP! If you wander off due to being overwhelmed or just plain forgetting it, the weapon will vanish along with the body after you've gone far enough. If the weapon is particularly powerful, its even worth dying to retrieve it, as it can be difficult to replace should you lose it in this fashion.
  • Made of Indestructium: You can drive trucks to flatten any undead which are unfortunate enough to get in your way. While this will eventually smash the windows and cause smoke to billow from the engine, the vehicles are still perfectly drivable in this condition[3]. So far so good — you can also drive them down cliffs onto the beach, and you can even drive them through the sea and back onto land with no ill effects. They'll even fit on the wooden walkways between the shacks — with a little persistance[4], you can drive most of the way out to Svetlana.
    • Oh, but don't try to run over a Suicider zombie. While your truck may be indestructible, you'll be seeing a respawn screen if you try to do this.
  • Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: The trailer features a mother and father trying to save their daughter from getting eaten by zombies. Key word: "trying."
    • Oh, the father succeeds in keeping her from being eaten. Keeping her from being bitten, however...
    • Keeping himself from being bitten isn't a success, either.
    • Badass Normal, according to the Literal Lyrics trailer.
    • At the start of the game, you can find the two of them dead in their hotel room.
  • Musical Spoiler: Well, an audible one, at any rate. Each zombie type has its own distinct sound. Walkers moan and groan; Infected will wail and shriek; Thugs give a low, drawn-out roar; Rams sound like a struggling bull who's having a hard time breathing; Floaters gargle and cough as they try to clear the fluid out of their lungs; Suiciders give a spine-chilling sigh as they exhale (that is, when they're not using what's left of their humanity to ask you to make the pain stop); and Butchers hyperventilate.
  • Named Weapons: In the 20 minute gameplay trailer the player receives the "Diving Knife of Havoc" at the start.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The leader of the street gang that takes over the police station calls himself Rage Machine.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One of the main criticisms reviewers and players had with the game was that it absolutely nothing like the tragic, Tear Jerker trailer that grabbed everybody's attention when it was first announced.
    • Not to mention Xian's back story. In all the outside materials for the game, she is described as an innocent girl with dreams of travelling around the world. At no point does it ever describe her as a covert informant for the Chinese government sent to the hotel to spy on the western culture.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job provoking the Colonel, Jin! I hope that righteous indignation felt real cathartic, because the (innocent!) guy who could have saved ALL your asses just got condemned to a painful death because of you! Oh, and you're dead too. To be fair, the Colonel could not in fact actually save all their asses, but neither was he gonna stop anyone trying.
    • To say nothing of the fact that the heroes just boarded the Helicopter with patient zero and the man responsible for the outbreak.
    • Also, in Act 2, when you turn off the sewer water, the previously impenetrable mansion where the mayor and some survivors are cooped up are taken out by the zombies who use the now waterless sewer way connected to the mansion.
  • Nintendo Hard: By the end of Act II, this is in full swing unless you're playing Sam B. Expect to face Infected a lot, who are very hard to knock prone, are incredibly fast, usually attack in groups and have greater damage output than any boss. Breakable Weapons, which mean you have to switch to lesser and lesser weapons constantly while your repair bills go through the roof (compounded by the fact that you lose money every time you die) make Act II no less frustrating.
  • Obvious Beta: The initial Steam release turned out to be a late development debug build, complete with built-in noclip key. The patch was released and -Hey Presto!- In-game load times got cranked up, the pre-order DLC isn't working, and savegames from the initial release don't work.
    • And that's not even including the numerous bugs that plagued the release version, especially the save-corrupting Game Breaking Bug that, as of October 2011, still hasn't been fully fixed on all systems.
  • One-Man Army: Played straight if playing solo, otherwise Badass Crew is invoked in co-op games.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are at least three people named Tim on the island (though, to be fair, 2 of them are dead already).
    • There are also two Annes, three Bobs (all die), two Brians (one dies), two Carlas (one dies), three Franks (two die), two Jacks, two Johns (one dies), two Michaels (one dies), two Mikes, two Nicks (one dies), two Rogers (both die), two Sams, and two Teds (one dies, one disappears).
      • And that's not even mentioning the worst one of all - you can have 4 of the exact same character in online play. It's rare, but it happens.
  • One-Woman Wail: One plays inside the church.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The island seems to be populated by every zombie ever seen in fiction. You have your basic Romero-style shuffling dead; cannon fodder by themselves, but more than capable of killing Badass Normals in large numbers. You have juggernaut zombies like the Tyrant of Resident Evil. You have the "fast" zombies of 28 Days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead 2004. Even Left 4 Dead's exploding and spitting zombies are present.
    • One of the oddest differences is that these zombies can drown. This is most apparent in the early resort areas - kick a zombie into a pool or near the ocean so that its head is underwater and it will take damage until it gets up...or drowns.
    • The zombies in this game CANNOT CRAWL. Due to gameplay mechanics, if you break or cut off a zombie's leg, it WILL die.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Averted hard. Everything you do takes some effort, so you can't run or swing weapons constantly, or you will get tired. You have to pace yourself when attacking — and that can become problematic if you're jumped on by fast zombies.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Colonel White's BIDF soldiers.
  • Raising the Steaks: One of Roger Howard's recordings has him encountering a zombie orangutan. No animals are actually found in-game though, infected or otherwise.
    • What could best be described as an Orangutan grunting can be heard coming from the tall house at the beginning of the Shaman's village on your hike up to the temple, but still no animals in sight.
  • Rape as Drama: Jin, or so it is implied. When you rescue her from the gang in the police station, Xian Mei and Purna shove Sam B and Logan out of the room after Jin flinches when they burst in. She becomes much more cynical after this, but it isn't touched on again.
    • Made explicit in the novel, though whether or not that confirms it for the game is debatable.
  • Regenerating Health: Mostly averted. However, if your health is dropped to almost dead, it will regenerate up to one block of health (two or three after the major patch). This is enough to survive 1 bullet, but NOT enough to survive a hit from a zombie, so the usefulness of it is questionable. Sam B also has fully regenerating health as one of his skill tree skills.
  • Respawning Enemies: The zombies are endless in number and respawn as soon as they're off screen in some locations. In others, they won't hesitate to respawn right in front of you, out of thin air. The Punks in the city also respawn and take up their former locations.
    • In the quarantine zone in the city, zombies will attack you every few seconds as long as you're in the area. Very difficult to solo and only recommended in groups, or if you really, really need to get somewhere by running through the area fast.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The more cynical of the Heroes are suspicious of The Voice/"Ryder White", despite all that help he provided earlier, because they suspect he may be a convict impersonating an officer. Turns out they were right about that. Also, Ope believes his westernized daughter Yerema is an evil spirit and tries to kill her... Purna kills him believing he's a primative misogynist who's obviously out of his gourd (which, admittedly, he is). Yeah, turns out Yerema is the source of the zombie virus and Ope was right she was a threat, albeit seemingly for the entirely wrong reasons.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The finale of Ryder White's campaign has Colonel White singlehandedly cutting his way through an entire army of zombies, that come in significantly larger groups than anything fought in the main game, in an attempt to rescue his wife. Sadly, things don't turn out very well for him in the end.
  • RPG Elements: While the player starts out as a simple tourist/hotel employee (depending on which character you use), they will be able to boost their zombie-fighting skills over the course of the game.
  • Rule of Fun: Xian Mei has no problem running through sand in high-heels.
    • In fact, one of her skills involves shoving the heels of her stilettos through a zombie's skulls.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Sam B is a One-Hit Wonder forced to sing his only successful single over and over again. Xian Mei and Purna were Reassigned to Antarctica and outright fired, respectively, due to the sexism of their police superiors. Logan is a former NFL quarterback whose career ended when he killed a woman and injured his knee in a car crash during an illegal street race. All of their lives are at a dead end.
  • Sand in My Eyes: The Literal Lyrics Trailer invokes this, even when its all done in a very humorous, silly way.

 Singing Narrator: Eyeball. Zoom out. She looks ex-cited, is-it-christmas?. No. She's...dead. Burning guy, hallway. Dancing burning guy, legs, Stop, drop, and roll man!.

  • Save Game Limits: Not only does Dead Island use the Roguelike system of a single save file that gets regularly overwritten with every player action, it takes it one step further by preventing you from backing up your save file from the desktop. Attempt to do so, and the program destroys your save file. That's pretty damn ruthless, Techland.
  • Scenery Porn / Scenery Gorn: The resort island has some utterly beautiful spots (as befitting a vacation spot), but as the hurricane moves in and the corpses pile up, Paradise becomes Hell in short order.
    • Discussed by each of the characters early on in the game when overlooking the beach at the resort.
      • Logan: Man, this hell sure looks like paradise
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: With all the emotional buildup of Earl saying goodbye to Jin and having you protect her during the course of the game, she gets shot during the ending. No there's nothing you can do about it.
    • Also, Because of Jin's freakout at the end, Ryder is forced to waste the only existing sample of the cure on himself instead of bringing it back to the mainland for mass production. Not that it matters, as the "cure" turns out to fail spectacularly.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: The entire main cast. The family that gets killed in the trailer aren't playable characters. Justified, since they all, you know, die. You do find them dead in their hotel room at the beginning. The launch trailer is the first trailer to show the True Companions working together.
    • Also played straight if you're not playing with 4 players who are all playing different characters. The major cutscenes will show all 4 characters as if they were doing everything together, but if you're solo, it kind of makes you wonder where your three companions are...
  • Soft Glass: The windshields of every vehicle you drive may as well be made of paper, since you can't go several meters before it inevitably cracks completely from head-on collisions with zombies, usually a minimum of 3 zombies. What more, your character will casually punch the entire windshield into pieces in order to see.
  • Splash Damage: Pretty much anything that explodes in this game, whether its the suicide zombies, propane tanks, or grenades. The blast radius is difficult to gauge, so your best bet is to set them off from a far distance, and when confronting suicide zombies, throw a weapon at them or shoot them with a gun from a far distance.
  • Stop Helping Me!: This trope is in play almost anytime you pick up an equippable item, and the game conveniently equips it for you right away. Not bad if it's a real upgrade, annoying if it's a weaker item, and really, really, really horrific if you grab alcohol, forget to unequip it, then when a zombie jumps you, you take a swig of booze instead of swinging your weapon at them. The fact that there's no function to turn this off makes it more annoying.
  • Subsystem Damage: Tougher zombies can have their arms' bones broken (or just plain cut off) to make them easier to deal with. Around Level 20 even the basic walker may survive an amputated arm.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Hilariously, despite the fact that the zombies are, you know, zombies, they still suffer continuous damage if they get fully submerged. Funnier still, is that zombies seem to drown faster the higher level they become. After level 30, a zombie will usually drown after 3 or 4 ticks of damage.
  • Super Mode: All 4 characters have their unique Super Mode, called "Rage Mode" in-game. Xian Mei pulls out her personal knife to hack up zombies, Logan pulls out a stash of throwing knives to pincushion enemies from afar, Sam B puts on some brass knuckles and goes to Good Old Fisticuffs, while Purna draws a compact revolver to shoot at zombies. Logan and Purna benefit from unlimited ammo with their Super Mode weapons. A single Rank 3 "Rage Mode" is enough to kill any single enemy in the game even the Final Boss and Suiciders too, but they will take you with them, if you are too close. So don't try that with Sam B or Xian Mei.
  • Taking You with Me: Invoked by the suicide zombies if they manage to kill you, and accidentally by players who get a little too close to their own grenades...
  • Tempting Fate: In one quest late in the game, one of the NPC's is trying to hack open a door. He accidentally opens several of the wrong doors, then mentions something about those double doors down the hall leading to trouble if they open. Cue said doors opening a moment later with some zombies on the other side...
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: "Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?"
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:... Or your pipe, or your knife, or your electrified machete...etc, etc.
  • Took a Level In Badass: The game has RPG Elements, so learning/improving skills as you go is a given. The developers have also said that, early on, when the characters fight the zombies they will sound scared, but as the game progresses they're get braver and sound more confident.
  • Too Dumb to Live: JIN. Jin Jin Jin Jin Jin. Won't spoil anything, you'll figure soon enough what that means. Hint: listen to what the police station broadcasts say...
    • The survivors in the game run the gamut from people like Sinamoi and the nun in charge at the church, who are selflessly helping everyone they can find, to people whose continued existence spits in the face of Darwinian theory. Svetlana's probably the most egregious example, but the escort AI is really, really bad.
  • Undead Child: You know who. Fortunately, it's the only one you'll see, since the game features no undead children. At least, not moving ones.
    • Actually it does. In Moresby there's a man in front of his house who gives you a quest to deal with his wife and daughter inside. The daughter is noticably shorter than every other zombie.
  • Unwinnable By Mistake: Pre-Obvious Rule Patch, Chapter 14, Pure Blood. An Escort Mission where the Demonic Spiders are more interested in your escort then they are you. The Unwinnable part? Every other mission in the game permits Save Scumming - zombies that you kill are still dead when you revive, as Death Is a Slap on The Wrist. Here, every time your escort is killed, all the zombies resurrect. Nasty, but just a case of Trial and Error Gameplay, right? Wrong. Weapons damaged, ammo spent and health kits used in previous attempts remain so. You will eventually run out of all three, leaving you to fight a horde you couldn't beat fully armed with your bare hands. The developers responded by removing Butchers from enemy spawns and changing the escorts to Invulnerable Civilians.
    • It is actually winnable in the unpatched state - if you're playing co-op. Players are supposed to split up, with some protecting the escort while the rest take on the mob. In unpatched single player mode the escort is zombie chow.
  • Vacation Episode: One that goes horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Vaporware: Until the "little girl trailer" came out, it was assumed to be this. The first trailer was released in 2007, promising a 2008 release date... and not a peep from the developers for four years after that.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Ryder White DLC.
    • Subverted in that Ryder White was virtually innocent up until the final boss encounter, at which point he killed Jin in anger after she screwed him over.
  • Villain Episode: The Ryder White DLC
  • The Virus: It's heavily implied by the "Fact" files strewn throughout the game, and confirmed by one of the Laboratory's scientists, is that the zombie outbreak's cause is a new strain of kuru, a prion disease spread via cannibalism.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Several locations where survivors are gathered get overrun by zombies after completing certain quests. It can be pretty scary when you see the survivors going about their business, and then when you return, they're all dead or zombified. The music also changes or goes silent, which adds to the creepiness.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Unless they're a fairly important NPC get used to them spouting the same lines over and over until you complete their quest.
  • Wendigo: See The Virus above.
  • Wide Open Sandbox
  • Wham! Episode: Ryder White's campaign is this to the main campaign's storyline.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sinamoi, the Nun, and everyone else you've worked so hard to save in the beginning kinda just... gets forgotten.
  • Wrench Wench: Jin
  • X Meets Y: Judging by the numerous Shout Outs to Lost contained within the trailer, as well as rumors that the game will involve solving some sort of mystery behind what's causing the zombies, it looks like it's going to be a combination of Lost and Dead Rising.
  • You All Look Familiar : Wait a second, didn't you just send me into the house to take it back from the Looters? Why are you in here shooting at me!? Didn't I just kill you?!
    • If you join somebody else's game, it gives you the opportunity to have two of the same character running around. In fact, there's an achievement for joining a 4 player co-op where everyone actually is different.
  • Your Head Asplode: The special ability of one of the 'Dev Crafts' known as the "Mind Blowing Military Knife"
  • Zerg Rush: The zombies love to do this given the opportunity.
  • Zombie Apocalypse
  1. such as an electrified machete that can shock and stun zombies, as opposed to Rising's chainsaw paddles and slicecycles
  2. To the extent that they can both even be equipped into a weapon slot, and used by 'attacking' with them.
  3. The trucks are actually pretty effective for handling Thugs, which can be a nuisance to deal with on foot
  4. You can get 'stuck' on bits of scenery, but you can often get free if you drive alternately forward and backwards while steering hard, like you're doing a 3 point turn