Power Rankings: Which Left 4 Dead Special Infected Do You Want to Be?

Left 4 Dead (and its sequel Left 4 Dead 2) is a multi-console zombie survival game where you fight hordes of zombies trying to get to safety in a zombie apocalypse. It’s pretty straightforward and there is literally no backstory provided.

What is provided are eight different kinds of “special infected,” or zombies with unique attributes and uniform appearance. To my mind, you would much rather be one of these guys than any regular old zombie.

Obviously, since you’re spending even an iota of your time reading an inane pop culture blog, you’ll very likely become a zombie in the event of the aforementioned apocalypse. And that makes one wonder: what special infected do you want to be? Don’t worry, I’ve done this work for you, and have compiled a complete power rankings.

NOTE: I solely based these decisions on what is observable in the games. If there is some expanded universe where we learn more specifics about these infected, I am not aware of it.

8. Spitter

Spitter_2You absolutely do not want to be a Spitter. I mean, just look at her. I am usually for body positivity, but she really should be wearing more clothing. In a list of different types of the undead, the Spitter manages to be head and shoulders more disgusting than any other. If her flabby, overexposed body wasn’t enough to turn you off, her zombie mouth has basically come to dominate her face and her neck.

Not to mention, her special ability (spitting acid) has no practical purpose and just seems like a nuisance. How can you kiss someone when your saliva burns? I’m not saying tons of zombies are going to be looking at you thinking, “I gotta get me some of that,” but one might, and you want to be able to participate in some form of connection, right?

Also, it’s not pictured, but the Spitter has absolutely terrible posture. Like, I’m just gonna come out and say it: the Spitter is definitely the white trash of the zombie world. Take away the green acid and giant mouth, and I could absolutely see her loitering outside of her ex-boyfriend’s trailer on an episode of Cops. When the special infected sorting hat is on your head, it is most wise to quietly repeat, “Not Spitter. Not Spitter” and hope for the best.

7. Witch

Witch_2I really did not want to put the only two female special infected last, but Valve gave me no choice. Take your complaints up with them, and not me, because you really don’t want to be a Witch either. Her existence is completely miserable, and that’s on top of being a zombie, which is definitely not a cakewalk in the first place.

What does the Witch do all day? She cries. She moans, she groans, and then gets really, really pissed off when someone disturbs her. She is the zombie version of that girl with the dyed hair and Hello Kitty backpack you went to high school with, and while I’m sure that girl has moved on and is pleased with her existence, we cannot say the same about the Witch.

Like, the one thing you have going for you as a zombie is camaraderie. You can go up to basically anyone and just be like, “You’re a zombie, too?” and you have a connection. Unfortunately for you if you end up as this wailing woman, the Witch completely eschews that. She’d rather be alone and cry, which is ridiculous because it’s not like other zombies don’t know what she’s going through — they’re all zombies, too. I dunno. Maybe she’s still upset over MCR breaking up. Don’t be the witch.

6. Jockey

JockeyYou’d really rather not be the Jockey. As you can tell from the picture, he is rather small, and when most of your communication is gonna be through snarls and grunts, size means a great deal. However, he does have big hands, and if this election cycle has taught us anything, having big hands is very important. I do worry about the his small head, too, as that might render you even dumber than all of your friends who are, quite literally, brainless. Also, and no one ever talks about stuff like this, but how are all of your old hats going to fit?

But most importantly, to my mind, in terms of whether or not it would be a pleasant experience being the Jockey is his posture. It is absolutely abhorrent. As someone who walks on two feet, it offends me just to look at. It’s like, dude, walk with your back straight. And if becoming a Jockey gives you some kind of scoliosis-type ailment, then you gotta get that sorted out. You might be able to get away with it for a while, but by the time you reach retirement age, you won’t be able to walk.

I suppose a positive about being the Jockey is that you can jump fairly high and ride on people’s heads. You might not think about it, but with this skill, Jockeys probably never miss a minute in a parade. Oh? You can’t see? Just jump on some other zombie’s head. But, in the same vein, you might get trampled on if you go in a crowd of zombies, as you are very small, and zombies have never been known for their carefulness.

5. Boomer

Boomeridle_1I won’t sugarcoat it: you’re gonna have a serious weight problem if you’re the Boomer. With the Spitter, it’s gonna come down to whether or not you want to be the talk of the town come swimsuit season, but with a Boomer, it’s about whether or not you need to buy two adjacent seats when taking an airplane. It’s not pretty.

Speaking of not pretty: your whole appearance, even with the fat thing notwithstanding. You have massive tumors all over your body and face. You really gotta hope to meet some blind zombie who just likes you for you if you are the Boomer. Also, your fashion choices are terrible. I understand that the selection is limited at most ‘big and tall’ stores, but get a tailor or stylist or something. It’s worth the money.

Your ability is to projectile vomit, which is not so much a special attribute as an unwelcome party trick by a college sophomore. However, this is not as annoying as some others. Moreover, it might actually help you lose some weight. If you eat a big meal, you don’t need to worry about sticking your fingers down your throat in order to purge. Just command it, and it shall come.

4. Charger

Chardger_001_big_01There are worse things in the world than being the Charger. For instance, genocide. Also, being any of the four special infected listed above. The Charger has one major thing going for it, and it is pretty obvious from the embedded photo: it’s got one big-ass arm. If you’re the Charger, you can basically get away with sucker-punching any zombie who tries to hit on your girl because once you make contact with your fist, they’re probably dead.

A major downside of being a Charger is, of course, his tiny left arm. This, obviously, might come in handy if a man finds you busting up a chiffarobe for a young lady and takes you to court for raping her in the Deep South, but in most other cases, it’s just a nuisance. You won’t be able to eat spaghetti that sophisticated way where you use a spoon to gather the spaghetti and wrap it around your fork.

Your ability would be to charge at people really fast, and I just can’t see this coming in handy that often in day-to-day life. Like, I guess it might be useful during Black Friday shopping, but Black Friday shopping with zombies is probably just the same as it is with humans, so you’ll probably kill some innocent people that way. Still, you probably won’t be late places, and if you’re anything like me, that would be a change.

3. Smoker

SmokeridleYou should be pretty pleased if you end up being a Smoker. Life as a zombie won’t be so bad for you. I know, I know, you’re remarking how absolutely ugly the smoker looks and how you would never be able to pick up chicks (or dudes… zombies don’t recognize heteronormativity, I think) if you looked like him. But what you don’t understand is that A. you’ve got the most normal sense of style yet, and B. you’re really tall. Those have got to be two of the biggest pluses in the zombie game. Because obviously, everyone is ugly: you’re undead. So if you have a more pleasing body shape (slender… tall) you will probably do pretty well for yourself.

Despite what it may seem like from might descriptions, undead life is not all about the nookie, and the smoker should be fine in other aspects as well. His power is that he can shoot out a long tongue to grab onto thing and that should be really useful. Imagine how much better binge watching TV would be if you could simply shoot your tongue out to grab the remote controller. Also, you’ll never, ever have to say the phrase, “Don’t you walk away from me!” ever again because you can just pull them back.

The downside to the Smoker is the downside to an estimated 40 million Americans: you smoke. I do not own a Smell-o-Vision, but I can assure you from playing many games of Left 4 Dead that the smoker does not smell good. He smells like that guy who likes Metallica a lot and smokes “just to feel something.” Plus, it’s bad for your health, man. I mean, you’re already undead, why harm your body even more. It’s just irresponsible.

2. Tank

TankidleCongratulations. You’re the Tank. You should feel lucky. You’re really strong, and big, and important. No one fucks with the Tank, and as of now, the Tank is you. Believe me when I say that anyone upset at being a Tank doesn’t deserve good things in their life. Be grateful.

Obviously, given his name and the picture to my right, the Tank is a big frickin’ dude, and that’s what you want to be in a zombie apocalypse. You can push your way through a horde of your braindead friends without a care in the world. You know why? ‘Cause you’re the fuckin’ tank. Also, we all know ladies love a guy who has big muscles, and your muscles would be so big and strong, they more resemble rocks than actual human anatomy. Not even peak bodybuilders can say that.

What’s the downside to being a tank? Narrow doorways, probably. Also, you kinda gave up your neck, and while that’s not the worst thing in the world, you can only be such a good friend without the idiom, “Stick my neck out for you.” Plus, there are probably times where you just want to veg out on the couch and listen to some tunes, but you’ve got like twice the body mass of a regular human to worry about. It’s probably worth the attention and physique, but I bet it can get tiresome.

1. Hunter

Hunter_1If you are to become a zombie and be turned into any Left 4 Dead special infected, you most want to be the Hunter. Life is basically just as good as it was before becoming a zombie for the Hunter. I mean, you’re wearing a relatively normal outfit, for one. Like, if you pull that hood down and wash a little of that blood off your collar, you could pass as a normal person for a while. And what is being a zombie but just trying to be a human again, right?

You don’t have any weird body mutations, so congratulations. The only thing that is different physiologically is that now you have extra sharp claws, which are just convenient. You’ll never have to borrow your friend’s paper shredder for private documents ever again. Three quick swipes with your nails and no one can steal your identity. Plus, you now can jump really far and pounce on people. Obviously, I don’t condone violence, but hopping onto buildings is really cool and will definitely get your significant other in the mood.

I can’t think of any downsides to being a hunter than aren’t just downsides to being a zombie in general. Unlike the other bozos we’ve rattled through, the Hunter is actually dressed to survive a full year. I’ll bet the Tank and Charger will be glad they tore through their clothing come winter. Hunters have it made. Perhaps, if you’re a sensitive guy like me, it might be difficult to be so much more popular than other special infected as a Hunter, but I think you’ll manage.

I hope you enjoyed evaluating your options in becoming a special infected from Left 4 Dead. Clearly, your experience is very much tied to the choices the zombie gods make. As you embark on this endeavor, I can only wish you good luck, and remind you to look out for more posts from PopCultureDeepDive.com in the future.

Power Rankings: Which Left 4 Dead Special Infected Do You Want to Be?

I Heard You Like NFL Street 2

I loved NFL Street. NFL Street 2 was the much anticipated follow-up to NFL Street for the XBOX, Playstation 2, and Nintendo Gamecube. It featured condensed versions of all 32 NFL teams (as of, like, the 2004 season) as well as some past legends (but not anyone too special, for licensing reasons). It also featured one other player.


That’s right. Rapper Xzibit was a playable character in NFL Street 2. In fact, he wasn’t just a playable character, he was the “narrator” of the game, starting from the tutorial. I have fond memories of the rapper (born Alvin Joiner) telling me to tap the X-button to juke. Of course, my eight year old self had never heard of Xzibit, as it would be about a year before I would catch my first episode of Pimp My Ride, but even then, I had no goddam clue why this guy had to be in the game. It wasn’t like he just lent his voice to background information like Bruce Campbell in the Spider-Man games, or played a fictional character like numerous celebrities over the years (my favorite, of course, being Patrick Stewart’s performance as a character who gets killed no more than twenty minutes into Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion). He was Xzibit. The fact that he was Xzibit mattered.

It mattered so much that he was the proverbial boss in one of the game modes. Besides “Own The City” and “NFL Challenge,” there was “NFL Gauntlet,” in which you chose a team and had to beat every other team in the NFL in order to win. But oh wait, I almost forgot. You ALSO had to beat Team Xzibit.

If the meaning of “Team Xzibit” doesn’t immediately occur to you, I understand. It was a team of the game’s best players (like LaDanian Tomlinson, Jeremy Shockey, et al.), sort of like an all star roster. Oh yeah, except that at quarterback was Xzibit.

Obviously, Xzibit has the best attributes of any quarterback in the game, because why even bother lending your voice and rights if you’re going to be a scrub. Additionally, Xzibit provided a song for the soundtrack (side note: I could write a whole different blog about this game’s soundtrack), called “Hey Now (Mean Muggin’)” featuring Keri. This game showcased Xzibit, which is perhaps why it is so strange to look back upon. One would expect a rapper with this special of treatment from a large, successful corporation in Electronic Arts to, I don’t know, be more successful today. Eleven and a half years later and no one remembers or cares about Xzibit’s rap career. In fact, the last place I saw him nflstreet2_ps2box_usa_org_000was on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and while that’s not a bad way to get checks, I don’t imagine that’s where he saw himself when he walked into EA Sports BIG (the production company behind NFLS2) sometime in 2004.

While still fun every time I decide to pick it back up and play it, the inclusion of Xzibit makes NFL Street 2 feel so incredibly of its time, and not simply because Xzibit is no longer relevant beyond the occasional “I herd u like” meme. Video games simply do not have the absurd tie-ins that they used to. NBA Street V3 — an EA Sports BIG game that was released around a similar time — featured the Beastie Boys as their own team, for instance. Yet, to act like it mattered that Xzibit was in the game from the start is baffling in 2016. As if someone was ever going to start up their XBOX, Gamecube, or PS2, press start, and shout, “Oh shit! No one told be X was in this!”

The only comparable tie-in I can remember is in the ill-fated Sims: The Urbz on Gamecube, in which all four of the Black Eyed Peas are NPCs in a specific area of the game. But even then, they’re just regular folks as far as the game is concerned, as long as you’re willing to make peace with Woo-Hooing with a man named Apl.de.ap. Unlike the Urbz, where the Black Eyed Peas are inessential and were likely put in later in the game’s production, Xzibit is the central figure of the game. The difference between NFL Streets 1 and 2 is that Xzibit is in the second one.

And to the question of why? Seriously, honestly, why was Xzibit so heavily featured in NFL Street 2? I have no clue. EA Sports BIG was discontinued in 2008, so we may never know.

I Heard You Like NFL Street 2