The Fast Zombie is the product of a human host coming under the control of a Fast Headcrab. Fast Zombies are extremely quick and agile, being able to climb, run, and jump faster and farther than a normal zombie. They lack any skin or organs and are only comprised of their skeleton and muscles. Its predecessor is the Zombie Assassin.
Fast Zombies have been stripped completely of their skin and most of their internal organs; bones and muscle tissue are clearly visible throughout the host's body. Their claws are also much longer than Standard Zombies.
The factors distinguishing the Fast Zombie from other zombies is their ability to climb, jump, and move quickly, thus being able to confuse and surprise their prey. Fast Zombies also make loud wails while attacking and can be heard babbling and squawking while idle. Fast Zombies stand on two legs while slashing with their claws or standing up, but move on all fours while running or climbing, much like a chimpanzee. Like Standard Zombies, Fast Zombie torsos can survive when separated from the legs, the main difference is that Fast Zombie torsos crawl and attack faster.
In Episode Two, in the chapter Riding Shotgun, a Fast Zombie at one point succeeds in grabbing onto the hood of the player's Muscle Car while the car is moving. (Alyx kicks them off shortly after their initial grab-on).
Fast Zombies, if needed, will lunge at their target to close any distance quickly, and will slash the target upon coming into contact. This attack does the same amount of damage as the normal slash attack. If the headcrab is shot off, the original human face is revealed: a bald, flayed skull with empty eye sockets, frozen in mid-scream.
Given that the fast zombie mutation is even more extreme than the other zombie types, it is unknown if the victim is still alive as the victims of other zombie types are.
Fast Zombies, although they can be very frightening, aren't particularly dangerous on their own because their attacks are fairly weak. Unfortunately, they often travel in packs of three to four. They're also not particularly hardy - they're just difficult to hit due to their fast and generally unpredictable movement. If facing a Fast Zombie, use the shotgun or Colt Python and aim for the head (the MP7 works well for packs due to the large magazine).
On the rooftops of Ravenholm in Half-Life 2, the biggest threat is actually falling off by surprise when a Fast Zombie suddenly attacks, thus causing fall damage while the Zombie pursues. So one should avoid standing at the edge of the rooftops if possible.
Fast Zombies are actually much easier to hit at medium range, as it is harder for them to move quickly behind or to the side of the player, and they cannot attack.
During "We Don't Go to Ravenholm..." and during the rooftop battles with the Fast Zombies, they constantly climb up the gutters of buildings. While doing so, the player will hear a rattling beat, and the gutter will move side-to-side. However, the enemy below might not be a Fast Zombie, due to the fact that if any kind of Zombie or Headcrab touches the pipe, they make the same noise. After Grigori throws Gordon the shotgun, grab it and look for the gutters that are rattling at the edges of the rooftop. Aim over the side of the building and shoot the Zombie before they reach the top. Doing this will save some time before more Fast Zombies become overwhelming. The Colt Python also works well if or when shotgun shells have run out, although there are plenty of ammo caches for the shotgun throughout the town. Another useful technique is to take Dog's 'ball' into Ravenholm with you as it will draw the Zombie's attacks and allow an easier kill with less risk of taking damage.
When a Fast Zombie is approaching, the player can use the environment to their advantage. Hiding behind cover and staying close to the edge, then waiting for the Zombie to come around the corner is advised. The player then can fire the shotgun as soon as the Zombie is in range. Shooting the Zombie as they leap can instantly kill them in mid-air. It is recommended to use the Crossbow for this, however, because the shotgun has a slightly lower precision and it is hard to hit Zombie's head with the Colt Python while leaping. Hiding behind cover will prevent the Fast Zombie from using their leap attack that most players fall victim to due to the surprise and disorientation they cause. This tactic will work with most other enemies, except for, of course, the ones that throw or, in the Zombine's case, hold grenades.
Fast Zombies can be detected by the distinct howling they tend to emit, though at closer ranges they can be found by other noises; growls, babbling, and screams. Thus turning on full captions allows the player to see them and this also allows the player to throw a grenade without having to take damage.
Fast Zombies cannot attack the player while on a ladder. Therefore, when the player hears a Fast Zombie approaching, a useful tactic is to climb up a ladder. They will get stuck under the ladder, allowing the player to hack away at them with his Crowbar until they drop.
In Episode Two, Fast Zombies sometimes pretend to be dead, then jump up to attack when approached. This tactic was also used by Standard Zombies in Half-Life 2. When investigating an area littered with Zombie corpses, check if any still have headcrabs attached to their head, as this is a good sign the Zombie is merely playing dead. If so, shoot them in the head with the Colt Python or Shotgun just in case or throw a grenade at them if the player is unable to kill them without waking the Zombie up. It pays to be sure. One is also seen digging in a dumpster, showing that fast Zombies may be curious or of a higher intelligence than their brethren. Supporting this argument, if a grenade is thrown into the dumpster while the fast Zombie is still inside, the grenade may be thrown back out. If another is thrown, it will explode and set the Zombie on fire. The player can then retreat to one of the supply rooms and close the door, as Fast Zombies cannot open doors.
Fast Zombies also tend to hide behind large objects. There is no real way to counter this. Simply stay alert, and be ready to fire when the Zombie reveals themselves. They also like to lurk in dark areas, so be alert.
Behind the scenes
- The Fast Zombie was made/based on the cut predecessor the Zombie Assassin.
- The original concept had trousers and socks, while their skin was greenish.
- During the Episode Two chapter Riding Shotgun, shortly after a Fast Zombie clings to the car, the Headcrab covering their face slightly lifts up, revealing the bare skull underneath.
- The scream emitted by the Fast Zombie while executing their leaping attack (
fz_scream1.wav) appears to be a sped-up version of an infamous stock sound effect, the Howie Scream, which has been used in many movies and TV shows. The Poison Headcrab second scream,
ph_scream2.wav, appears to be a sped-up version of
fz_scream1.wav. Also, the sound effects
fz_frenzy1.wavappear to be samples of Frank Welker's voice performance as Thumper, the feral grasshopper in the animated film A Bug's Life. The Half-Life series uses many stock sounds heard in many other video games and films.
- Starting in Half-Life 2: Episode One, Fast Zombie torsos can be cheat-spawned using the code "npc_fastzombie_torso". Spawning a torso near Alyx Vance will cause them to climb up her legs and to her face.
- In Episode One, Fast Zombie torsos crawl while holding their bodies slightly upright. In Episode Two, the torsos hold their body a little lower, which allows them to crawl faster.
- The Fast Zombie's AI was recycled from many other cut NPCs.
- In the beta files exist textures of an unused model of the fast zombie:
List of appearances
- Half-Life 2 (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Source Particle Benchmark (Game files only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two