Left 4 Dead Wiki
Dark Carnival02.png
Dark Carnival
Tagline "You must be this tall...TO DIE!"
Creator Valve Corporation
  1. The Highway
  2. The Fairgrounds
  3. The Coaster
  4. The Barns
  5. The Concert
Previous The Passing
Next Swamp Fever

"Dark Carnival" is the third campaign in Left 4 Dead 2. It mainly takes place in Whispering Oaks Amusement Park in Griffin County, Georgia.


The campaign starts off after "The Passing", where the Survivors rode on to New Orleans with Jimmy Gibbs Jr's stock car, which they had taken from Liberty Mall. Their luck runs out when they reach a highway filled with "miles" of parked cars that are impossible to drive around, forcing them to proceed on foot. They later notice searchlights coming from Whispering Oaks Amusement Park while heading for the motel. After finding that the evacuation center has been deserted and overrun like in Liberty Mall, they continue to press forward to try to find other Survivors within the park. On the way, they find a helicopter searching for any survivors and manage to get the pilot's attention by setting off the Midnight Riders' concert finale at the Peach Pit stadium.

Connected achievements[]

Main article: Achievements

Midnight rider.jpg
Survive the Dark Carnival campaign.

Confedaracy of crunches.jpg
Finish a campaign using only melee weapons.

CL0WND (15G)
Honk the noses of 10 Clowns.

Fried piper.jpg
Using a Molotov, burn a Clown leading at least 10 Common Infected.

Stache whacker.jpg
Prove you are faster than Moustachio.

Gong show.jpg
Prove you are stronger than Moustachio.

Guardin gnome.jpg
Rescue Gnome Chompski from the Carnival.

Crass menagerie.jpg
Kill one of each Uncommon Infected.

The real deal.jpg
Survive a campaign on Expert skill with Realism mode enabled.

Still something to prove.jpg
Survive all campaigns on Expert.

PC Exclusive[]

Achievement The Main Attraction.png
On The Concert Finale, survive until the helicopter arrives without leaving the stage.

Behind the Scenes[]

According to the level-designer from Valve, "Dark Carnival" had different finale, several physical and animated props and also the different area for "The Concert Finale". And for "The Coaster", it was planned as a monorail. The Survivors were to climb to a roof and jump atop the monorail from there. There was also a plan to have a barricade somewhere in the map, but the idea was scrapped.


  • The tagline "You must be this tall...TO DIE!" is a parody of the "You must be this tall to ride" signs on ride entrances.
    • The tagline is the reference to the height check carnival operators often perform on people to assure they can ride certain attractions safely.
  • According to many lines said by both Ellis and Coach as the Survivors travel through the carnival, they both greatly enjoyed visiting Whispering Oaks as children.
  • "Dark Carnival" and "The Passing" are the only campaigns to have every chapter set in night and the only ones where the Magnum spawns in every chapter.
  • "Dark Carnival" has the most chapters and the most Gauntlets (excluding the finale) of any campaign in Left 4 Dead 2.
  • "Dark Carnival" is also the only campaign where the rescue vehicle can appear in different spots each time the finale is played.

Fireworks going off at the finale

  • Unlike other campaigns, "Dark Carnival" has high Tank spawn chances on every chapter, even on Easy difficulty.
  • Ellis states that he hates clowns several times after encountering Clown Infected. During "The Concert" he may refer to this again, stating he has never been so scared of clowns.
  • In "The Concert", if Coach or Ellis walks up to the microphone before the finale starts, they will sing lines (albeit incorrectly) from the songs "One Bad Man" or "Midnight Ride", both of which are songs from a band they both adore greatly, The Midnight Riders.

    Blood Harvest poster hidden beneath Dark Carnival poster, and a Clown Infected between the A and R in "Dark"

  • The campaign's poster is the first to feature Infected and the only to be shown in landscape position. The poster is apparently layered on top of both the "Blood Harvest" campaign poster and a Midnight Riders poster.
  • The helicopter pilot that flies the rescue vehicle in the finale has the same model as the News Chopper 5 Pilot from the "No Mercy" campaign, and both share a similar fate.

The gnome on the poster

  • A garden gnome can be seen between Ellis's legs in the poster. This is the infamous gnome prop from another Valve title, Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
    • The gnome can be found as a prize in the shooting gallery mini-game located in "The Fairgrounds", where it is named Gnome Chompski, and can be won by scoring at least 750 points. It can be carried by any one of the Survivors, and if brought to the end of the map, all four players will be rewarded the achievement "Guardin' gnome", regardless of who carried it to the rescue vehicle.
    • The name gnome Chompski is a nod to famous American cognitive scientist, linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky.
  • Though the campaign is ostensibly set in Griffin County, many vehicles possess DeKalb County license plates.

Gnome Chompski

  • When playing as Ellis, he may make a reference to another Valve title, Half-Life while going through the air ducts in chapter three, "One thing videogames have taught me, good shit is always in vents."
  • The campaign poster features two ferris wheels, yet only one is present in-game.
  • There are three military Humvees seen in the first chapter, however there are no use of deadly force authorized signs seen attached on fences and walls, except "The Parish" campaign.
  • When any sounds are played close enough to the microphone in "The Concert", such as a Survivor speaking or the noise of the Infected, it will be amplified just like a real microphone.
  • The black assault rifle Nick is holding in the "Dark Carnival" posters appears to be a AK-74M, but this assault rifle never appeared in the game; only AKMs can be found and used in gameplay.
  • Bile Bomb has a very low chance to spawn in this campaign (usually only found in the highway). However, in "The Concert", one Bile Jar is guaranteed to spawn.
  • The community remake version of "Dark Carnival" revived some cut-contents and expanded some area that not implemented on the final version. Also, the remake including the secret cutscene about the connection between this and "Swamp Fever".
    • (Unconfirmed) During developing of the campaign there was planned to add a scripted meeting with unseen NPC in chapter 4 (Barns): once survivor punches the button, he can hear door opening sound and have a small but really depressed dialogue with unknown guy, here's once of the possible situations: "Who's there?" - "Somebody's in the control room? Come on, open the freaking door!" - "No, ain'tbody can't get in" - "Come on, man, help us!" - "If you'll open this shed~ they will come~" - "I don't think we have a choice" - "No~ now go!~" *shotgun shot* (Revealed this one with this addon which returns some of cut dialogues from other campaigns https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2660025037, the NPC is voiced by Ronald Hamrák)
  • There is a glitch in the first chapter of this campaign where if you jump into a tree from the portapotty after the motel and then go idle, the characters pathfinding will force the game to teleport them back to the start of the chapter and proceed to walk all the way back.
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2
Achievement Mercy Killer.png No Mercy
The Apartments / The Subway / The Sewer / The Hospital / Rooftop Finale
Achievement Price Chopper.png Dead Center
The Hotel / The Streets / The Mall / The Atrium
Achievement Crash-proof.png Crash Course
The Alleys / The Truck Depot Finale
Achievement Torch Bearer.png The Passing
The Riverbank / The Underground / The Port
Achievement Toll Collector.png Death Toll
The Turnpike / The Drains / The Church / The Town / Boathouse Finale
Achievement Midnight Rider.png Dark Carnival
The Highway / The Fairgrounds / The Coaster / The Barns / The Concert
Achievement Dead Baron.png Dead Air
The Greenhouse / The Crane / The Construction Site / The Terminal / Runway Finale
Achievement Ragin' Cajun.png Swamp Fever
Plank Country / The Swamp / Shanty Town / The Plantation
Achievement Grim Reaper.png Blood Harvest
The Woods / The Tunnel / The Bridge / The Train Station / Farmhouse Finale
Achievement Weatherman.png Hard Rain
The Milltown / The Sugar Mill / Mill Escape / Return To Town / Town Escape
Achievement Supreme Sacrifice.png The Sacrifice
The Docks / The Barge / Port Finale
Achievement Bridge Burner.png The Parish
The Waterfront / The Park / The Cemetery / The Quarter / The Bridge
Non-Canon Campaigns
Achievement Last Stand.png The Last Stand
The Lighthouse
Achievement Stream Crosser.png Cold Stream
Alpine Creek / South Pine Stream / Memorial Bridge / Cut-throat Creek
L4D Random Map Cropped.png Dam It (unfinished)
Orchard / Campground / Dam
Achievement Still Standing.png The Last Stand
The Junkyard / Lighthouse Finale