FAQ by john_h_rand

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    FAQ by john_h_rand

    Updated: 02/11/14 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Welcome to Kovac's Survival Camp

    Lucky break for you friend, your ship hitting the reef. You now get to test your mettle in Kovac's wonderful, zombie infested Tropical Playground! Kill, drink, kill, eat, kill, sleep, and then kill some more - this is the life, my friend!

    First things first, who are you?

    • Kenji, the zen archer, master hunter, and general pyromanic?
    • Jack, the muscled marvel and firearms marksman with a penchant for explosives?
    • Abby, the world class sprinter and night owl with a fiery personality who knows a bit too much about performance enhancing cocktails?
      • Recommendation: For your first play-through, Kenji is a good choice if you are trying to complete your herbarium, as he can skill up to put the collectible herbs on the mini-map; but even you don't need this skill until the late game, See Quest 26. The recommendation for yours skill tree is to maximize the combat skill tree, then your mini-map and booster tree; the skills that slow the depletion of your gages should be ignored entirely - you're a bass-ass, so drink, eat, and sleep like a boss!

    If you would like to be a little child who depends on a grown-up to save them, you can search for [Monkey] and [Hint] to get the answers to some of the more puzzling survival challenges. Don't do it survivor, savor the adventure instead!


    This game is a Robotron style shooter.

    Left Thumbstick: Move

    Right Thumbstick: Aim weapon. When your line of sight turns red - you have a headshot.

    Right Bumper: Attack. Hold and release with melee weapons to attack the head.

    Left Bumper: Switch between Melee and Ranged weapons.

    Right Trigger: Sprint.

    Left Trigger: Use Item / Fill container.

    D-pad: Cycle through usable items & fillable containers.

    A Button: Pick up item / Talk.

    X Button: Reload.

    Y Button: Weapon Cycle. Will only cycle through equipped weapon type, ranged or melee.

    B Button: Open the Inventory Screen.

    Inventory Controls

    Left Stick / Thumb Pad: Cycle through items / choices.

    Left and right bumpers: Cycle through Inventory, Skills Screen, Mini-Map / Experience Gage / Armor Slot Screen.

    A Button: Select Items and Actions. Inventory Choices usually are Use / Move / Combine / Uncombine / Drop / Eat.

    B Button: Cancel an Action / De-select an item.

    Y Button: Remove selected armor piece and place it in the inventory - hopefully for upgrades.

    Quirks of the Game

    • Saves are a bit random, the best way to ensure a save is either to quick travel or to complete a Monkey Quest.
    • There is no "New Game+" mode, however, your Skills and Armor transfer into the Challenge Modes.

    Enemies - Zombie Flavors

    • Head Crabs these usually appear on the beach, popping up out of the sand in groups of three or more and will attempt to swarm you.
    • Slow Zombies these shamble towards you and can be dispatched at your leisure.
    • Fast Zombies these are sprinters, and should be shot first as they give you just enough time for an aimed shot if youre lucky.
    • Helmeted Zombies these zombies have a helmet that can be knocked off with an aimed shot, it also knocks them down. They will sprint when they stand back up. Alternatively, you can spray and pray until they do not have enough pieces to keep going.
    • Armored Zombies these zombies require head-shots to finish as they are projectile immune otherwise, even to explosive hits. You'll want to focus on these if you can, even if you just knock them down, as they prevent you from hitting the horde that's on their heels.
      • Glitch - their immunity to explosive hits does not extend to splash damage from a successful kill of an unarmored zombie standing beside it.
    • Helmeted & Armored Zombies the most durable of the normal zombies, headshots are required.
    • Bombers these are morbidly obese zombies that explode after standing next to you, knocking you down. An aimed shot or massive amounts of airborne lead can make them explode from a safe distance.
    • Tall walkers these are very lanky zombies, and their attacks hurt significantly more than their smaller brethren.
    • Tapir (Wild Boar) pumba has charge attack with a knock-down; is the only prey on the island that actively attacks you.
    • Zombie Deer a charge & gore attack with a knock-down, these deer from hell are extremely durable and one of the few zombies that are immune to hit-stun.
    • Zombie Ostrich these are the most dangerous sprinters in the game because of their speed and tendency to attack in packs. The only saving grace is that they are fragile.
    • Brutes these are the Boss zombies and can be heard from across the map after a quest has spawned them.
      • Brutes have a charge attack with a knock-down & a three hit punch combination that ends with a ground-pound, 360 knock down.
      • Brutes will throw other zombies at you if available, this will knock you down as well.
      • The basic tactic is to sprint-strafe out of the way when they charge and let them hit-stun themselves against a solid object during their charge or to let them start punching then sprint away while they are attacking the air.
    • Piranha - these appear as bubbles in the water, and are completely immune to damage. They can also swim under the fences on La Sonada, so don't assume that you are safe if they chased you up a ramp and over a fence.
      • Piranha are easily distracted by raw meat, wild game, and zombies. The fountain of blood lets you know that its safe for you to travel through the waters.

    Combating the Zombie Hordes

    • Headshot kills - headshot kills grant 30%-50% more experience than a regular kill. Aimed shots are good, and in many cases, required.
    • Leverage Hit-Stun - human zombies will momentarily stop attacking if they've been struck or shot, even on armor. Use this to buy you breathing room while you strafe, even at bad breath distances.
    • Line 'em up & Knock 'em down - the precision rifle and pulley enhanced bows will pierce through multiple enemies, and even multiple heads if your first target is a head shot. Use this to your advantage.
    • RUN AWAY! - if you are being attacked on two sides, sprint out of there. A survivor that has enemies on one side is an instrument of death, a survivor that has been flanked is merely dead.
    • Toro-Toro-Toro! - Tapir, Zombie Deer, and Brutes will attempt to charge you for a knock down and most likely succeed if you stand still, this can be bad as suffering knock-down leaves you open to being flanked. Shoot and move at the last second to stay on your feet.

    Recommended Armory

    1. A Carbon Crossbow or Stabilized Carbon Bow with Pulleys - you can make incendiary arrows, versus only being awarded incendiary ammunition, and carry far more explosive arrows than explosive charges. Those two factors make the bow one of the most flexible weapons in the game.
    2. A Precision Rifle - for when you don't want to have to chase after & retrieve arrows for five measly zombies and you are low~ish on ammunition.
    3. A Machine Gun - for those times when you want a hose of bullets due to the shear size of the horde.
      • This slot should be started with your pistol, then your sten gun. Mandatory because Zombie Crabs and Zombie Ostrich swarms will wreck you if you're attempting to snipe the whole time.
      • When loaded with precious incendiary ammunition, this weapon becomes a de facto flame thrower, which is very useful with a massive horde.
    • Molotov Cocktails - great for throwing into huge hordes of zombies and safehouses. Explosive Charges should be kept on hand as well, but are less recommended because they wake the neighbors.
    • Enhanced Bait - if you've run out of fingers and toes upon which to count zombies, you probably want to throw some of this out there.
    • Chainsaws are very effective as well, but not recommended unless all of the Boomers, Zombie Deer and Brutes have been dispatched. More of a mop-up weapon than something you want to lead a charge with.

    General Advice

    • Almost all collectible items except for the special plants have a blood stain around them that makes them more visible.
    • Materials that refresh periodically:
      • Bottles found washed up on shore, and in random places in a camp.
      • Plants all plants rebloom
      • Regular Sticks
      • Hide/Meat/Feathers if you can find the animals they're attached to.
    • Items you drop do not de-spawn; For infrequently used items, dropping them at a safe house or Kovac's Camp can keep them available.
    • Kovac's Camp is a rich source for sticks and later bottles after learning to make explosives.
    • Special plants give grant experience when collected equal to a kill.
      • If you're playing as Kenji as recommended, the blue and red special plants are useless to you and can be dropped immediately as you'll never have the "Super Solider" skill for aim & strength potions.
    • Most combined items are dropped as their constituent parts, i.e. a fishing rod will drop as a flexible branch, reel, and hardware.
    • Golden weapons are permanent, and cannot be uncombined, even by dropping them.
    • Things that should be in your inventory at all times:
      1. A cutting tool, e.g. machete, ax.
      2. Weapons: A bow and at least one other ranged, fast fire weapon e.g. a Pistol, Sten Gun, or Machine Gun, for fast moving, fragile enemies.
      3. A Flashlight.
      4. Bottles.
      5. Bits of Fabric.
      6. Medkits & Healing Poultices.
      7. Hardware - you need it for crafting most weapons.
      8. A Manual Compressor for making drinks. See [Hint]
      9. Guarana Berries.
      10. Spare Fresh Meat - only cook when you're hungry.
      11. Ammunition, preferably incendiary.
      12. Molotov Cocktails.
      13. Explosive Charges.
      14. Incendiary Arrows
      15. Explosive Arrows
    • Things that should never be in your inventory:
      1. Helmets & Armored Vests - you need one of each, you will find dozens upon dozens.
      2. Hides & Leather Straps unless you know you're going to make armor soon.
      3. IF you have the explosive arrow skill, chemical fertilizer should not be in your inventory unless you're making explosive charges. See "Uses for Explosives"
    • Things are hidden behind bushes later in the game; remember what scenery you can destroy after you don't need to cut away the obvious paths.

    Uses for Fire

    • Burning away the brush with a torch from the campfire is far less irritating then chopping bushes with the machete, ax, or sharp boomerang.
    • Molotov Cocktails work wonders on hordes of zombies that are feasting on a corpse.
    • Armor is only a minor help for the zombie that is on fire.
    • Incendiary Arrows can be recollected, surprisingly. Explosive arrows cannot.
    • Without the add-on down-loadable content, there are only 500 rounds of incendiary ammunition found on the Islands. Save this for the final encounter.
    Uses for Explosives
    • Those secure sheds and barriers sure are annoying, good thing they explode easily.
    • One explosive charge makes 10 explosive arrows, and you can carry 100 explosive arrows at a time versus three explosive charges. If you're blowing up barricades and secure sheds, it is far less time consuming to make a bunch of arrows to use arrows if you are able.
    • Brutes get massive headaches from explosive arrows.

    Clearing Safehouses - General Advice

      1. Clear the surrounding area in all directions. Zombies that are already on the map will hear the alarm and come towards you.
      2. Get a good distance back from the door. Zombies spawn both from the Safehouse itself and at least one other direction, having them all come en masse from one direction at you will make your life easier.
      3. Only clear Safehouses during the day. Being flanked by the random night crawlers while dealing with the hordes is a way to get overwhelmed quickly.

    Story Quests

    This guide assumes you explore all of the available areas for sheds and other item stashes and are watching the best part of the game, Kovac's Survival Guides. I'll be posting a general item locations in a separate document.

    Los Riscos Island

    Quest 1: Find a Healing Plant for Andrew there are at least two plants on the beach.

    Quest 2: Find Ramon take the northern trail, turn east through the village and go east~ish to the beach. Talk to Ramon.

    Quest 3 Light a Camp Fire for Ramon youve leveled by now, open your inventory, go to your skill tree, select Caveman. Ignite the pit and talk to Ramon again to receive a flashlight. The game will now have night and day changes.

    Quest 4 - Find Gasoline & Return head to the northern interior of the Island, there youll find the north safe house with a fresh water well and fire pit in the general area. Light the fire, make a bow and 30 or so arrows, then wait for daylight go collect healing herbs to kill time. After day break, open the door and defeat the hoard. The full gas can is in the safehouse. Return to Ramon and talk to him.

    Quest 5 Talk to Ramon. Find another survivor Go north along the beach to find Kovac murdering zombies. Talk to him.

    La Vendida Island

    Quest 6 go to Kovacs Island hit the row boat, and then talk to Kovac again. La Vendida (a.k.a Kovacs Island)

    Quest 7 Learn to Eat Talk to Kovac, collect and eat roots, Talk to Kovac. Congratulations, you now have a hunger gage.

    Quest 8 Learn to Drink Talk to Kovac, find the well with a tapir guarding it, drink, and Talk to Kovac. Congratulations, you now have a thirst gauge.

    Quest 9 Make a Shotgun Talk to Kovac, collect the parts on his workbench, harpoon grip, manual compressor, flared tube, hardware. Use these parts to make a shotgun, Talk to Kovac.

    Quest 10 Learn to Sleep - Talk to Kovac, go clear the safehouse to the east, sleep in it, and then talk to Kovac. Congratulations, you now have a exhaustion gauge.

    Quest 11 Give the shotgun back to Kovac, get a quest reward Harpoon Grip, Talk to Kovac to complete your training Padawan; enjoy your three additional life meters.

    Los Riscos Islands

    Quest 12 Talk to Ramon, get instructed to get the engine starter from Andrew.

    Quest 13 Talk to Andrew, find raw meat for Andrew, exchange the raw meat for the engine starter.

      1. There is a deer around the middle secure shed or the eastern clearing on beside the trail to the northern Safehouse.
      2. A Brute will spawn on the path back to the eastern beach. Have fun survivor!

    Quest 14 Talk to Ramon, Fix the Boat, go to La Sonada Island.

    La Sonada Island

    Quest 14 Talk to Ramon about leaving on the Sea Plane, Search for the Sea Plane Battery and Cables in a shed to the east.

    Quest 15 Talk to Carol. Find her daughter Emily and bring her back to her mother. Reward: Battery & Cables.

      • The northern part of the island requires to you sprint through phiarana infested waters after going down the ramp that's on the north side of the little bit of land between the bridges for the eastern dilapidated village and the dilapidated hut almost dead center of the map.
      • Once you're on the ramp, you can access the whole north and western side of La Sonada Island from by going left and the norther beach and dilapidated house on a cliff by going right.

    Quest 16 Talk to Emily while she hangs from a branch. Find Emily a rope, talk to her, then return to her mother.

      • The rope is in the northwestern Safehouse by the ultra light plane. You'll have to track through the swamp to get there.

    Quest 17 Talk to Ramon, find a second battery on Santa Barbara Island, Talk to Ramon after completing quest 20.

    Quest 18 Take the Boat to the Northwestern Safehouse. Talk to Kovac, get the Engine Timing Belt from Kovac, Repair the Ultra Light Plane and fly to Santa Barbara.

    Santa Barbara Island

    Quest 19: Talk to Martha, find her cat, Talk to Martha.

      • Martha is in the northern part of the Island. You will have to circle down from the northeast, to the east, then center of the island.
      • Ostriches are plentiful and easier to hunt than Deer or Tapir. I'd recommend a Safari until you have a nice stockpile of meat and feathers.
      • A Brute will spawn on the southwestern Beach. I hope you found the long tube...

    Quest 20: Talk to Martha, find a way to make the cat look less dead. Talk to Martha. Reward: Fully Charged Battery.

      • Hint: How do you make a pillow? [Hint]

    Quest 21: Talk to Ramon, Talk to Kovac and find a pilot for the Plane, go back to Los Riscos and then La Vendida Island, Talk to Kovac.

    La Vendida Island

    Quest 22: Talk to Kovac, Make an Explosive Charge, Talk to Kovac (You now can open up barricades and secure sheds).

    Quest 23: Talk to SPOILER, Talk to SPOILER, find Carol on Santa Barbara Island.

    Santa Barbara Island

    Quest 24: Go to Santa Barbara from Western Dock of La Vendida Island, Open up Southern Farm Safehouse, Talk to Carol.

    Quest 25: Talk to Carol, Find and talk to Martha.

    Quest 26: Talk to Martha, find and talk to the pilot, Sanchez.

    Quest 27: Talk to Sanchez, go fetch the 20 packages on Los Riscos, La Sonada, and Santa Barbara Islands. This is a great excuse to open all of the secure sheds and complete all the Monkey Quests.

      • A Brute has spawned by where the Barricade used to be between Martha's area and the western beach.

    La Sonada, after a tour of all of the Islands

    Quest 28: Talk to Carol, load packages on the sea plane, Reward: Sanchez stumbles up drunk.

    Quest 29: Talk to Sanchez, Go Find Ramon, Talk to Kovac about Ramon.

    Quest 30: Survive the Zombie Blitz, then get to zea plane boss. (Pun intended - Ha!)

      • The Blitz lasts for a good while with multiple waves, but only has one Brute spawn, and when you kill the Brute, it's time to sprint for the plane as the zombies don't stop coming when the Brute's dead.
      • Save your incendiary ammunition and zombie bait for this event, as you will most likely be flanked at times. Healing Items are a must as well.

    Iron Mode

    • Iron mode is just "hard" difficulty. It does not start you over at the beginning of the game if you make a mistake that gets you killed.
    • Zombies are about 30-60% tougher on Iron Mode, and do at least double damage.
    • Item drops rates halve or worse. Example: I finished the regular mode with 61 healing poultices, in Iron mode I had about 112~ish and barely enough cloth scraps to make explosive charges & Molotovs.
    • If you took my advice and played through with Kenji, then I would recommend Jack for Iron Difficulty.
      • Jack is the most customizable survivor, as his skill tree allows for any style of play as he has a Firearm, Arrow & Explosive, Potion Buff, and slowed guage depletion tree available off of the "Caveman" skill.
      • Jack's ability to enhance your ammunition drop rate is very useful in counteracting Iron difficulty's reduced drop rate.
      • Jack, if you take the "Optician" skill for the ability to craft handmade scopes, is just as good a shot as Kenji. I would race to this skill as your first priority.
    • Keep on a normal day-night cycle, you want to be asleep or close to it by a safehouse campfire when the crawlers start spawning.
    • The hardest part of the game in the Iron difficulty is your first trip to Santa Barbara Island, as it will take four headshots from the Sten Gun to take down a zombie - basically, you'll be in a under powered equipment hell-mode until you can make a machine-gun. After you upgrade from a Sten to a machine gun, the game will go back to being merely moderately more difficult.
      • You will want a chainsaw in some capacity to assist with safehouse clearing as the first long tube for a machine-gun is in the second safehouse in the middle of the island.


    As the loading screen explains, you are trapped on a single island with an empty backpack, and must escape via plane or occasionally boat.

    Many times there will be an item you need to collect to "fix" the escape vehicle; a task which cannot be completed with regular zombies around. If you are attempting to fix the plane at night, grab a torch from the campfire to keep the crawlers off of you as they are exempt from the "there is an enemy nearby" exemption from fixing vehicles.

    1. Island of the Fatties (Los Riscos Island)
    2. Chainsaw Massacre (La Vendida Island)
    3. The Cleaner (La Vendida Island)
    4. Dark Zoo (Santa Barbara Island) - this island only has Tapir, zombie animals, and piranha. You start on Martha's beach and should get to the broken safehouse to make a bow, as you need to hunt for a nice stack of meat to throw to the evil fishies.
    5. Sleepless Night (La Sonada Island)
    6. One Bullet Survivor (Los Riscos Island)
    7. Big Bang Theory (La Sonada Island) - This is, by far, the longest challege due to hoofing it all over the island for two gas cans and some sparkplugs. There are stacks of explosive arrows everywhere, so feel free to use them a bit willy-nilly.
    8. David and Goliath (Los Riscos Island) - multiple Brutes.

    Botanical Finds

    • LR - Los Riscos Island
    • LS - La Sonada Island
    • SB - Santa Barbara Island
    • LV - La Vendida Island
    1. LR - Aglaonema
    2. LR - Begonia Flowers
    3. LR - Begniamaculata
    4. LR - Capsicum
    5. LR - Yellow Capsicum
    6. LS - Echinodorus
    7. LS - Gunneramanicata
    8. LS - Yellow Guzmania
    9. LS - Pink Guzmania
    10. LS - Heliconia
    11. SB - Hymenocallis
    12. SB - Mimosa Pudica
    13. SB - Monstera
    14. SB - Passiflora
    15. SB - Pilea
    16. LV - White Plumeria
    17. LV - Pink Plumeria
    18. LV - Puyaalpestris
    19. LV - Sprekelia
    20. LV - Tobacco

    Monkey Quests


    • Many of the Monkey quests do not spawn until you learn how to make explosive charges.
    1. Monkey Quest La Vendida by the well barricade Find 3 Lemons. Reward: 15 feathers
    2. Monkey Quest La Vendida up the hill to the south of Kovac's camp - Cook a Special White Plant. Reward: 1 Mushroom.
    3. Monkey Quest Los Riscos Island eastern beach Make a Leather Bag. [Hint] Reward: Flared Tube.
    4. Monkey Quest La Sonada southern docks Make Fish & Chips. Reward: Broken Glasses
    5. Monkey Quest La Sonada Island northeastern beach cliff (Spawns after Quest 16) Make a Lemonade, Reward: Incendiary Ammunition.
    6. Monkey Quest Santa Barbara central jungle Find 5 of the 7 Gold Chalices. Reward: Strength Potion
      1. Graveyard Safehouse
      2. On the ground above grave to large Jesus Statute
      3. Grave to the left of big Jesus Statue
      4. In the Elevated Graveyard adjacent to the plane wreck (x2)
      5. In the Western Graveyard in the Tall Grave Marker
      6. Next to the Monkey.
    7. Monkey Quest La Vendida southern dock beach - Find the Golden Plant, the plant is in the Safehouse on the island. Reward: Red Stone
    8. Monkey Quest Santa Barbara southern farm - Make a Beefy Soda. [Hint] Reward: 30 Explosive Arrows.
    9. Monkey Quest Santa Barbara Swamp - Find the Golden Statute of a Cat, the Statute is in a small alter in a graveyard on the northwestern corner of the island above the northern farm with Sanchez. Reward: Red Stone.
    10. Monkey Quest Los Riscos Western Beach Safehouse - Find the Golden Statute of Santa Barbara, in Northern Safehouse. Reward: 250 Incendiary Ammo.
    11. Monkey Quest Lost Riscos Southern beach - Make Stake and Mushrooms. Reward: Red Stone
    12. Monkey Quest (Western Beach Safehouse La Sonada): Find The four Golden Crab Statutes. Reward: 250 Incendiary Ammunition.
      1. Cut the Bushes on the northern tip of the plateau where the monkey is, crab is behind them.
      2. Cut the bushes behind the monkey, Drop to lower level the crab is there.
      3. Safehouse Secure Shed.
      4. Go behind fuel tank, follow the path with the Glasses & Gas-mask, crab is after a drop-off

    General Hints


    • Monkey Bag = whole hide + Reel.
    • Stuffed Cat = Feathers + Dead Cat.
    • Beefy Soda = Bottled Watter + Guarana Berry + a spritz from the manual compressor.
    • Arm Protectors = Leg protectors + crafting material. Tirestraps & Iron Sheets.
    • While it is not a listed recipe, flint can be combined with the helmet and armored vest.