Zombies are the most basic of enemies that are fought throughout Dead Island. They are fully fleshed and in various stages of decay and decomposition. The Infection can be instant, but the full change may take up to 6 hours. It is believed that the infection causing this is a mutated form of the Kuru prion, and it is also believed by some scientists, such as Dr. Robert West, that people with O Negative blood, such as the Hero, are not susceptible to infection. According to Emily White, the disease also carries strains of HIV as well as the contraction of spongiform encephalopathy.
Some zombies carry weapons, such as wooden planks, rusty pipes, knives and cleavers, which they will use to attack the Hero, either by striking them or throwing them from a distance. These weapons can be picked up, but they are often very weak. Cutting or breaking the zombie's arm or knocking them down will prevent the zombie from using the weapon.
Walkers are the slow, shambling undead looking for flesh to devour all across Banoi Island and are very common. Walkers are most dangerous in groups, where their speed is less of a disadvantage. Walkers are also fairly quiet at a distance and can be difficult to spot in dark areas.
The Infected are much faster than Walkers but are much weaker. These zombies are extremely dangerous — especially in groups — and should be fought with caution. They are fast, agile and vicious, and because of their speed they are hard to keep track of in close combat. Also worth noting is that in Act IV, Infected tend to carry weapons and use them quite effectively.
The transition between Infected and Walkers. These zombies move faster than walkers. The smoke they emit is hazardous, it can blind players and cause stamina loss when in direct contact. Even when a smoking zombie is dead, the fumes will linger for a short period afterward. Luckily, the smoke makes these infected extremely vulnerable to fire, and even a single hit from a fire-modded weapon will set them ablaze. The flames will also remove the danger of the toxic smoke.
Thugs are the first special infected you come into contact with. They are much bigger and broader than ordinary zombies and deal massive damage — as well as knock-downs — with almost all swipes. Thugs are larger than most Infected and are slow moving. They are frequently accompanied by several Walkers.
The best and easiest way to kill a Thug is to go for its arms or legs. If you go for their head or chest, it will not be as effective.
Suiciders are the second special infected you will encounter. Suiciders are zombies trapped in disfigured, pulsing bodies. They retain a semblance of awareness, even though their instincts drive them to get close to uninfected survivors and kill them with a self-destructive explosion. It's advised to listen for their distinctive screech to avoid being ambushed by them. Death is instantaneous if the players are too close to a Suicider when it detonates.
Rams are extremely tough, strong and determined. These undead were either already crazy before the outbreak or were restrained after being infected in an attempt to prevent them from infecting others. Now they single-mindedly pursue any survivors in sight and try to take them out by charging at them full-force. If anyone gets close enough to them, they resort to a nerve-shattering kick. Their weak spot is a small patch of exposed skin on their back, as well as their exposed head. They take extremely small damage anywhere else.
Floaters are zombies that have been submerged under water for an extended length of time. They can often be found in the sewers as well as several ponds and lakes in the Jungle. A Floater's bloated, partially decomposed body produces corrosive slime capable of hurting, blinding or disorienting enemies from a distance. Melee attacks often work better on Floaters than ranged ones, but it's recommended to be careful of their projectile slime when approaching.
When you enter the sewers for the first time in Act II, you'll also have your first encounter with a Floater.
Butchers are meaner, tougher versions of the Infected that slice and tear through survivors with what is left of their arms. Their leaping attacks and lightning-fast reactions make them hard to fight with melee attacks.
This table shows how much each is increased with the number of players. The level of enemies are based on the character level of the player, meaning that the levels of anyone else won't matter.
- Bob (Infected)
- Bob (Overpass Camp)
- Emily White
- Infected White
- Mugambe's Daughter
- Mugambe's Wife
- Nenja Samejon
- Roger Nelson
- The Infected Warrior
- Todd Tanis
In addition to the term "zombie," the residents of Banoi have given the undead various nicknames, including:
- Big ass (Thugs)
- Bloody Bastards
- Bloody shithead
- Crazy Sonsabitches
- Devil's Disciples
- Fatty (Floaters)
- Half-dead assholes
- Poor sick bastard
- Poor sod
- Poor son of a bitch
- Puffer (Suiciders)
- Psychos (Rams)
- Ugly fuck
- Ugly son of a bitch
- Rabid goddamn animals
- Straightjacket Big Ass (Rams)
- Stupid bugger
- The Walking Dead
- Those Things
- Ugly bugger
- Undead freaks
- Sam B is the only character in the game to call zombies by their actual names.
- In the Tape Recording #08, it is mentioned that their car hit an infected orangutan. However, infected animals are never encountered in-game though it is very likely that they exist.
- There are no infected children in the game because rating systems like ESRB would disallow zombie children. Still, there are two examples of undead children, though they aren't seen in the game: the Daughter from the trailer and a six year old girl mentioned in Tape Recording #06.
- If a zombie falls from a high place, it will die in an instant (and often come apart).
- Zombies are susceptible to drowning. If a zombie's head is submerged, it will take damage over time.