I'm glad to introduce our new book —"Zombie Edition for Dummies"!
Chapter 1, or Something About Headcrabs
So, headcrabs. Why them? Because if you decided to walk the Path of a Zombie, you will, quite obviously, have to start as a headcrab. What is a headcrab? It is a small (around the size of an average watermelon, but with legs) creature that you can see on the logo above. If you're still not sure what a headcrab looks like, check pic. 1.
Headcrabs aren't very dangerous by themselves — their fangs and claws are not much bigger than what an average felis silvestris catus (also known as a "cat") can show. Th actual dangerous thing about them is their predisposition to parasitism, specifically on human beings. When it sees a human, a headcrab will jump forward trying to land on the human's head. If this works, the headcrab's mouth-like special organ will fully cover prey's head, cutting of sight, hearing and speech for the human host. Besides, the headcrab will take control of the victim's body the instant it pierces its skull with its appendages, paralyzing the host. Nobody actually knows what exactly occurs next, but the fact is that after some time (from just a few seconds to a minute depending on personal characteristics of the headcrab and the victim) the host will start to gradually change on both genotypical and phenotypical levels. Externally it consists of rapid phalangial growth, thorax transformation with sternum, ribcage, circulatory and respiratory systems transforming into a new oral cavity, musculature restructuring, as well as epidermis hardness and pigmentation changes. In other words, it gros long fingers, a mouth in its chest, it becomes stronger and tougher. After this process ends, human being turns into a so-called "zombie", but we'll talk about it in the next chapter.
So, what do you do if you are a headcrab? Firstly, don't forget that you are pretty much one big vulnerable spot and if you're spotted, you're as good as dead: humans are very aggressive towards headcrabs. How to not get yourself killed? The pic. 2 has the answer:
First advice — hide in the shadows (Pic. 2a). You'll be unseen here. Advice number two — try to jump on a human's head while he doesn't see you (Pic. 2b). Remember, that though your steps are nearly silent, the noise you create when you jump could completely give you away, and while you're busy with transforming the host body, you're absolutely vulnerable, you can't even jump off of it if you are discovered.
In game: to perform an attack-jump, press the primary attack key (left mouse button by default) and if you want to jump without attacking, press the jump key (space bar by default) as usual. Headcrab's jumps are longer and faster than human's, so it's harder to control your trajectory. When you are hidden in the darkness, the edge of your vision will gain a pale grayish-blue tint.
Chapter 2, or Why are Zombies Better than Humans?
Perhaps you can't decide whether, in the words of a poet, "to be or no to be" a zombie. So let me just explain some basic advantages of being a zombie to you:
- Zombies are stronger than an average human being. Try to break a wooden crate, a glass window or a metal vent grate with your bare hands! Oh no, wait, don't do it. It's dangerous. But, if you are a zombie — you can do it with little effort and without hurting yourself.
- Zombies are tougher than humans. Host body can't feel pain, so a zombie could take multiple bullets and still stay alive. Besides, not that it will matter much, but zombies could be in water twice as long as humans and have natural resistance for most types of hazardous environments.
- Zombies could mutate into other forms, more suitable for their environment. For example, they could grow a cocoon with a babycrab nest in it, or remove all body fat to run faster. More information about it will be provided in chapter 4.
- Zombies could use special headcrab organs to see any living creature's pheromones. It is useful when you want to find somebody in an absolute darkness. Headcrab's brain feels pheromones so well, that it could even differentiate one creature's pheromones from another. You will be able to literally see the blood flowing in a human's veins by using this. Sadly, it doesn't make you able to see anything that is not alive any better than normal (In game: press the supervision key, F by default, to turn supervision on/off).
- Headcrabs are hostile to humans, but not to zombies. In fact, zombies can even pick up headcrabs to turn more people into other zombies (In game: when aiming at a headcrab, press the use key, E by default, to take it. Then you can press the fifth weapon group select key, 5 by default, accept it with the primary attack button, left mouse button by default and throw headcrabs with the primary attack key at any moment).
- A headcrab could always jump off of his host body to find a new victim. Be careful though, since you will more than likely become much more vulnerable by doing this. On the other hand, as a headcrab you will be able to go into the smallest openings and instantly dispatch lonely human opponents (In game: press reload key, R by default, to jump off).
Chapter 3, or Why Zombies aren't Perfect?
Sadly, just as everything else, zombies aren't perfect. Of course they can mutate to remove their weaknesses or to make their strong points even stronger, but a newborn zombie has a few serious weaknesses, and I, as an honest author, am obliged to list them:
- Zombies have some problems with communication. A typical zombie can't order other zombies to follow it or do anything else, really. The only thing it can do is to push them forward a bit.
- A normal zombie has its central neurosystem in less than optimal condition and with all the limbs issues it can't run, only walk. It can be a problem if you move through big open spaces with armed human beings, but usually it's not that big of a deal, because to catch your victim you don't need to move fast, you can ambush it, or, more commonly, just overpower it.
- As a zombie, you can't use anything more complex than a lift call button (and even that you do by just smashing it with your claws). Of course, you don't need to, you're zombie, not some PhD dork from MIT, but a door with even the simplest lock that you can't just break will be a serious obstacle for you (In game: if in doubt, try your claws' primary attack key on it).
- Sadly, you, as any other living creature, must feed. In your case ignoring that natural need will cause your host body to slowly rot, and when it fails completely you'll have to leave it and find another. Only organic compounds you gain from eating can reverse that process. Besides, you gain material for possible mutations when you eat. (In game: walk up to a human corpse, get as close as you can get, aim roughly at its center of mass, then press and hold the use key, E by default, until the body is fully consumed).
Chapter 4, or How to Get Better?
As already mentioned above, material needed for mutations is gained when you eat (In game: total number of "mutation points" you currently have uses this icon and is shown in the bottom left corner of your screen above the headcrab's and host body health indicators). You can use this material for any available mutation you want (In game: press the "Display evolution menu" key, Tab by default, to enter the evolution menu. Here you can choose one or more from mutations the list. A short description and the cost of a mutation will display if you hover your mouse over the button. To mutate, just press the button corresponding to a chosen mutation with your mouse and if you have enough "mutation points" you'll get it. Its cost will be removed from your "mutation points" total). Mutations and material for it is saved in the headcrab's genetic memory, so when you lose your host for one reason or another, you won't need to collect the points and upgrade again. The bad thing is that you can't cancel them as well. The Mutation tree is shown below: Table 2. The ">>" means that the mutation to the right requires the left one to be bought first, and <> means that it does not.
Table 2. The ">>" means that the mutation to the right requires the left one to be bought first, and <> means that it does not.
Powerful, strong, dangerous. When you choose Crasher as your initial mutation, remember that with its doubled damage, ability to destroy objects invulnerable for other classes, and additional 10 points of headcrab's health, you'll also receive slower speed and lose the ability to crouch.
• Health Upgrade
This one should be obvious — your maximum headcrab's health will increase by 5 points (making it 45 in total).
[ Unlocks Regeneration ]
• Consumption Upgrade
This mutation was named ArmorUp at the time when zombies still had armor, not host health. Now this mutation increases the amount of host's health points received by eating by 1.5.
[ Unlocks 30% damage from bullets ]
• Acid throw
By purchasing this mutation you'll receive the ability to throw your digestive juices at your enemies. That won't do much damage, but because of Crasher's slow speed it could be useful to hit a running enemy. Besides that, these acidballs have a chance to short-circuit automatic sentry guns on hit causing it to break down instantly or even to change its targets list, removing you and other aliens from it and, of course, adding human beings in. (In game: press and hold the alternative attack key, right mouse button by default, while using your claws weapon to control the strength put into a throw)
Regenerates a point of headcrab's health every ten seconds.
[ Needs Health Upgrade ]
•• 30% damage from bullets
Again — should be obvious. Your host body will receive only 30% damage from being hit by a bullet.
[ Needs Consumption Upgrade ]
So-called "shield" is actually just crasher's hands put up to cover the headcrab. When using this, you would be barely able to see anything, and would not be able to attack at all, but your headcrab is fully protected. (In game: press the special ability key, Z by default, to activate or deactivate Shield. If nothing happens, check your Controls properties)
Fast, stealthy, deadly. The only problem is the loss of five headcrab's health points. But you'll receive superior running speed as a trade-off.
• Long Jump
Improves your jump by making it longer and faster. (In game: press crouch, forward and jump keys, Control, W and Space by defaults, just as if you jump with your longjump module in the original Half-Life).
• Silent Steps
Your steps won't be heard by your enemies. You can run behind your enemies' backs as long as you want, but jumping, landing and attacking would still make noise and be heard.
[ Unlocks Stealth ]
• Armor Piercing
This mutation makes your strikes ignore bulletproof vests, helmets and HECU's so you will do full damage even if your attack hits the protected area.
[ Unlocks Critical Strike ]
When you activate Frenzy, your claws attack speed will be twice as fast, but a drawback of such increased metabolism is the accelerated loss of host's health points (In game: press special ability key, Z by default, to activate or deactivate Frenzy. If nothing happens, check your Controls properties. When Frenzy is on, your host's health will decrease by one point every second).
You'll be able to hide in the shadows just like a headcrab (In game: when you are in a dark enough spot to be unseen, the edge of your vision will gain a pale grayish-blue tint. Enemies will not be able to see you, but they still can shoot blindly if they know you are there).
[ Needs Silent Steps ]
•• Critical strike
Gives you the ability to kill in one single strike, but to do it, you must hit an enemy not aware of your presence. That means you must hit an enemy that didn't see you yet or, better yet, to strike from the shadows.
[ Needs Armor Piercing ]
The most unusual class. Breeder has no advantages in strength, speed or health, but it has none of the other classes' problems. Its strength is entirely is in the mutations available to it.
• Ammo Upgrade
A Breeder with this mutation has a totally different anatomy of its chest-mouth. It allows him to store living specimens in it without hurting them. You can get five more barnacles and four more headcrabs (a normal zombie can hold only one headcrab) if you have this upgrade.
[ Unlocks Babycrabs ]
Allows you to take barnacles' eggsacks, the little pink-orange things falling from them after their death. That eggsack can be thrown at your enemy, dealing him more damage than Crasher's acid, or at the ceiling. If you do the latter, a new barnacle will grow in the spot you hit by the eggsack (In game: choose the third weapon category, 3 by default, then approve it by pressing the primary attack key, left mouse button by default, throw the eggsack by clicking the primary attack key).
With this mutation, you can order other zombies to follow you or to stop (In game: press the use button, E by default, while aiming at a zombie to make him follow you or stop).
[ Unlocks Attack ]
A cocoon with headcrab hatchlings in it grows on your back. It will be connected to your right hand by a hose-like breed canal. Babycrabs could get out of the cocoon through it, if you let them (In game: choose the fourth weapon category, 4 by default, then approve it by pressing the primary attack key, left mouse button by default, release babycrabs by clicking the primary attack key).
[ Needs Ammo Upgrade ]
•• Mass Resurrection
Actually, almost every zombie that appears to be dead is just incapacitated and could be brought back to life. And that's exactly what this ability does. (In game: press the special ability 2 key, X by default, to use this ability. If nothing happens, check your Controls properties.)
Improves your communication abilities so you can make zombies move to the place you want them to go by pointing them towards it, making it not necessary for you to lead the way. (In game: press special ability key, Z by default, to order zombies to go towards the point you aimed at. If nothing happens, check your Controls properties. It's better to aim at the exact point on the floor, but just giving a direction should be OK too).
[ Needs Follow ]
Chapter 5, or How Best to Be a Zombie?
Now, when we know all about every possible mutation, let's look at the typical zombie life. What to do, what to not do, how to avoid contact with human beings etc.
So, these are some advises to an amateur zombie:
- When you meet a human, think twice: should you kill him or give him one of your headcrabs to make him your ally. Remember, other zombies can't get through many obstacles, so they will be useless inside a room they can't leave.
- Collect headcrabs while you can, they can be useful for you in the future. Even if they won't zombify anybody, they can distract an enemy from you, saving your life.
- Try to avoid packs of human beings, especially if they are armed. You can use other ways or maybe sneak in the shadows as a headcrab.
- Don't forget that when you're a zombie, you can do more things than when you're a headcrab. Headcrabs can't push buttons, open hinged doors and break objects stronger than their very weak damage. Besides, headcrabs are very vulnerable, so I strongly recommend you to save the game before you decide to jump off. On the other hand, a headcrab can instantly incapacitate the toughest opponent.
- Try to not be seen by soldiers, since they could be very dangerous due to their superior skill, weaponry and protection. If one or more of them didn't see you yet and you're not sure about your situation, better crouch behind them or sneak as a headcrab.
- Don't forget about automatic security system still working in the lab. Be cautious.
That's all, I hope you find this useful for surviving in the aggressive Earth environment.