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Zombies are the most ancient of the undead. They represent the most basic essence of necromancy – the reanimation of a dead body. They appear as the semi-decomposed corpses of dead humans. Like all dead entities, they have a grim reputation, as they are not only horrific in appearance, but are quite resistant to most normal weapons as well. Unlike the other undead creatures, however, their behavior is a bit irrational. They move slowly, show a lower degree of consciousness, and have only a dim awareness of their surroundings. Even though zombies have the astonishing ability to regenerate health points, their battle abilities are relatively weak. Their strength however lies in the great numbers. Zombies are one of the few creatures that tend to amass, not just in small packs, but also in bigger groups. Even in places where the dead rest uneasy, haunts and apparitions tend to stay within specific areas and rarely stray from them, but zombies usually wander as swarms and are everywhere. Sometimes, zombies are even encountered near areas populated by humans, which is atypical behavior for other undead creatures.
The Order of the Hammer and its descendants have a long history and much experience in fighting the undead hordes. They are able to produce the finest weapons, blessed by The Builder's hand, which are able to destroy undead beings which are otherwise invulnerable to normal weapons. Where a regular human soldier or even a beast would fall fighting a Zombie, a Hammer warrior can smash its rotting body with his weapon.
Zombies are the most basic and common undead creature. They are easily recognized from a distance by their distinct moans, except when they are lying on the ground in dormant state. Zombies are a bit muddled and confused when patrolling their areas, so sneaking by them is easier than sneaking by basically any other enemy. Even when a zombie is alerted it moves slowly and can easily be outrun. They soon forget about their targets if they disappear from sight, and one can lose them even by hiding in a shadow behind the first corner. Most of the time, the zombies can be avoided by running past them, rather than wasting any equipment trying to destroy them. If forced to fight, or to thin out the numbers of the undead in a certain area, use holy water arrows or fire arrows with great efficiency, aiming for the abdomen. When using these weapons it is also best to try to get the zombies into a group, as the splash from the arrows will harm multiple targets, thus helping to preserve supplies.
Zombies are quite slow and can be defeated from a distance with ease. Take care when fighting bigger groups, so as not to get surrounded or pushed into a corner by their numbers. When a zombie takes lethal or more than lethal damage from a normal weapon (such as a sword or broadhead arrow), it falls to the ground and reverts to a dormant state, but it is not permanently eliminated, and as soon as Garrett (or any NPC in Thief: Deadly Shadows) walks near it, it will rise back up again. Normally, a zombie is permanently destroyed only when his body explodes into several pieces. Zombies are more easily destroyed when they are in dormant state, as they take more damage and will not retaliate. An interesting fact is that when a zombie has awoken for dormant state it is not alerted by the one who has woken it, nor does it remember anything that has happened. It must actually see the intruder before it starts moving towards him. This means that if someone walks over a sleeping zombie and hides in the shadows soon after it wakes, it won't start looking for anyone.
A strange paradoxical weakness that can be exploited in the Bonehoard is the zombie's ability to drown. Unlike craymen, who have no breath configuration, all zombies in T1 are set to die within four seconds of being submerged. This differs from an ordinary death, as the body does not explode but can be picked up like a regular corpse.
Keep the following information in mind when confronting zombies:
- Holy Water Arrow – takes 2 (1 in Dormant state)
- Fire Arrows – 1 direct shot to the abdomen area
- Flash Bombs – it may take from 3 to 5 (have a chance to 2 is enough when the zombie is in Dormant state)
- Mines – 1 is enough
- Holy Water Flask (T3 only) – takes one direct hit to kill a Zombie, or it can block its path if it is spilled on the ground
- Blackjack- cannot be knocked out
- Backstab - puts into Dormant state (works in all versions except TDP)
- Broadhead Arrow - 12 puts it into Dormant state (except TDS)
Thief: The Dark Project/Thief GoldEdit
Thief II: The Metal AgeEdit
Thief: Deadly ShadowsEdit
Although all the zombies come in the form of rotting dead corpses, they may appear differently. In Thief 1 and Gold, the gray zombie is missing its lower torso. In addition, there is a Hammerite zombie, which has the appearance of a Hammerite priest's mangled corpse. In Thief 2, the grey zombie has higher detail, and half of its lower torso. The Hammerite zombie is missing, replaced with a female zombie and a so-called "fresh" zombie. All of the different zombie versions have the same attributes as the regular one.
Zombies in Thief: Deadly Shadows attack with invisible "swords", sometimes seen as a rectangular shadow when dropped. These, like all melee blades in TDS, will destroy any breakable object that strikes them.
- The zombies that appear throught the Thief series appear as a amalgamation of both the traditional zombies and the George A. Romero film version. While they are a product of black magic, mainly Pagan, they exhibit rudementery motor skills, slow movement and reaction time and an uncontrollable hunger for flesh.
- During a conversation between two guards at the Docks, near the Abysmal Gale, it is implied that a zombie bite could tansform a living human into a zombie, unless the infected area is to be amputated. Yet another similarity to the Romero type zombies.