Rescue vehicles are common to both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. As the name indicates, these units provide the means by which Survivors escape at the end of individual campaign scenarios; reaching a rescue vehicle in order to escape the Infected and attain some place of safety is thus a generic campaign goal.
There are five Rescue Vehicles in Left 4 Dead and four in Left 4 Dead 2 . The Survivors access the vehicle either by using a radio or fulfilling a prescribed task, e.g. lowering a vehicle hoist in the "Crash Course" campaign. In all instances, the Survivors face a time delay and concomitant Crescendo Event before they can board the rescue vehicle and, even then, there is a chance that one or more of them will fall at the climax immediately preceding its departure.
List of Vehicle Appearances Edit
A helicopter called News Chopper 5 flies through the skies over the city of Fairfield and its pilot uses a loudspeaker to alert any Survivors left in the city that, if they can make their way to Mercy Hospital, he will pick them up and fly them to safety.
At the end of the "No Mercy" campaign, on reaching Mercy Hospital's roof, the Survivors summon News Chopper 5 using a radio. The pilot acknowledges their call, tells them "to prepare" and to call him back when they are ready. Thereupon, he announces that he is on his way and that his estimated time of arrival is a nominal seven or ten minutes. He will also state that this will probably be his "final run"―a legacy dialog from an alternative campaign ending. A little while later, he will give an updated arrival time and announce his final approach. Once in position hovering next to the helipad, he will shout out loud encouragements if the Survivors are late boarding.
This helicopter and its pilot reappear at the start of the "Crash Course" campaign, except now the pilot is dead and the helicopter has crashed because Zoey shot him in mid-flight as he had become Infected either after having been bitten earlier or because the Survivors were themselves Green Flu carriers.
The helicopter's graphic is a mix of the Bell 204/205 and borrows its features from both models.
After News Chopper 5 crashes in a parking lot by some back alleyways, loading docks, and warehouses, the Survivors attempt to walk to Riverside. They stumble upon a crudely armored delivery truck stuck on a lift at a truck depot. (Note that some commentators incorrectly refer to it as a bus; Zoey specifically calls it a truck and earlier seen safe room graffiti drops a heavy clue as to its existence.)
The lift is powered by electricity, and to lower the truck, the Survivors need to activate a temperamental portable power generator. Unfortunately, the generator is noisy and attracts waves of Infected whilst the lift operates very slowly. Suffice to say the Survivors must defend themselves and nurse the generator in order to get a chance to board the vehicle and ride out of the town towards Riverside.
This vehicle may be a reference to the movie Dawn of the Dead, wherein the movie characters build armored vehicles out of a shopping mall's shuttle buses. The Survivor's vehicle in-game is almost identical visually to those seen in the movie apart from minor differences, such as being a delivery truck (not a bus) and having barbed fencing wire (not razor wire) strung around its roof.
Since "Crash Course" is a sequel DLC campaign, chronologically it fits between "No Mercy" and "Death Toll". So evidently the truck took the Survivors along the road to Riverside until they were forced to abandon it due the road ahead was filled with abandoned cars that the truck can't just simply ram through.
- This is the only rescue vehicle that can kill someone if they stand under the lift
- It is also to note, that it is the only vehicle in Left 4 Dead where the survivors save themselves instead of calling a rescue vehicle
Outside of the small town of Riverside is a boathouse. On a table inside is a radio being hailed by John and Amanda Slater who own a small fishing vessel called the Saint Lidia II. The Slaters have been circling around the river while attempting to attract the attention of any survivors who are suitably armed. In return for protecting them, the Slaters offer to take any armed Survivors to a military stronghold up the river. Fortunately for Bill and the others, since the boathouse appears to have been used by the military as a base, it contains plenty of weapons (including a minigun), ammo, grenades and medkits. At the end of the "Death Toll" campaign, the Survivors answer the radio and make use of these weapons and supplies to defend the location until the Slaters arrive in their boat to take them off.
But all does not end well since, according to The Sacrifice comic, the Slaters kick the Survivors off the boat near Newburg. In the second chapter of "The Sacrifice" campaign entitled "The Barge", a boat bearing the name Saint Lidia II and resembling that used in the "Boathouse Finale" is found wrecked. This is possibly either an Easter egg hinting at the Slater's fate or simply the convenient use of a pre-existing model.
At the beginning of the "Dead Air" campaign, a military C-130 Hercules plane flies over the city of Newburg heading to the Metro International Airport. The Survivors decide to get to the airport and seek escape by air evacuation. When the Survivors reach the airport, they find it has suffered tremendous damage due to it having been bombed by the military as part of a futile effort to either halt the Infection or kill large numbers of Infected. The only person still alive is the C-130 pilot who indicates that the aircraft's fuel tanks are empty, his crew chief (or ground crewman) was killed whilst connecting up the fuel line from the tanker to the plane, and that he wants the Survivors to complete the refueling operation in return for a flight out of Newburg. Since they have no other choice, the Survivors answer the pilot using a radio found in the the hands of his crew chief and agree to refuel the plane. They start the pump and fight through waves of the Infected (the noisy pump attracts them) while waiting for the plane to refuel. Eventurally, they refuel the plane successfully and escape on board. However, despite what it may seem, the plane failed their hopes as according to The Sacrifice comic by Francis, it crashed. There was no explaination of it's destruction, as it was never seen after the finale (At the start of Blood Harvest, not even a piece of it's wreck was seen). However, after knowing that they were carriers all along, Louis suggests that the pilots (likely including the one of the cargo plane) was also infected by them, though this was turned down by Francis. Till today, the events surrounding the plane is a mystery.
In a rural area bordering a forest park, the U.S. Army had created an outpost at a farm to help Survivors escape the Infection. The military subsequently abandoned this facility but left behind a two-way radio broadcasting a rescue message on a tape loop. At the end of the "Blood Harvest" campaign, the Survivors reach the farmhouse and use the radio to call for rescue. Thereafter, they must hold off the horde while waiting for the U.S. Army to arrive. If successful they board an armored personnel carrier that will take them to Millhaven. The APC in question is the finnish-made Patria Pasi.
At the end of the third chapter of The Sacrifice comic, the Survivors, a doctor and two soldiers have to run a quarter mile to get to a train and start it. "The Sacrifice" campaign starts when the Survivors get off the train to find a boat to escape the mainland. This train seems to be a "EMD GP38-2," which is not used by the U.S. Military in real life. The color scheme also is incorrect as it should be red and yellow.
The "Sacrifice"'s finale is radically different from those of earlier campaigns in that the Survivors are not trying to reach a Rescue Vehicle operated by someone else (however the truck used in the Finale of Crash Course is also commandeered by the Survivors), but to take command themselves of a fully stocked sailboat that will enable them to escape from a land largely overrun with Infected and tentatively held by a fear-ridden military intent on summarily executing suspected carriers.
Since the boat they have selected is blocked by a lift bridge, the Survivors must raise the bridge in order to allow the boat to pass under to the seaward side. However, the bridge is out of power and three portable generators must be activated in order supply power to the bridge's operating mechanism. Unfortunately, once all Survivors are on the bridge and the button is pushed to raise it, the noise causes an unstoppable horde of Common and Special Infected to be drawn to the vicinity. At this crucial juncture, a generator fails and one of the Survivors is obliged to sacrifice their life by running out to into the attacking midst to reactivate it―thereby ensuring the remaining Survivors' safety and escape.
The Survivors' plan is to escape from the mainland to a suitable island in the Florida Keys and a sailboat is specifically selected for this purpose (by Bill) so they are not dependent on an diesel engine requiring fuel.
The boat was seen in the 3rd chapter of "The Passing". The whole body of the boat is not an Easter Egg but the name of this boat is an Easter Egg: it is known as One 4 All.
Abandoned by CEDA, the Survivors make their way to Liberty Mall where, in a way reminiscent of the new Scavenge Mode, they must bring gas cans to Jimmy Gibbs Junior's race car, a 1969 Dodge Charger stock car which is lacking the curved front of an actual 1969 Dodge Charger stock car, until completely fueled to escape from the Infected overrun mall. However, in the next campaign ("The Passing"), the Survivors are unable to advance as a bridge needs to be lowered. Aided by Francis, Louis, and Zoey, the new Survivors manage to lower the bridge and continue their journey. Once again, though their progress is stalled when they encounter a freeway full of empty and wrecked vehicles which forces them to abandon Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car and proceed on foot to Whispering Oaks Amusement Park where "Dark Carnival" takes place.
The Survivors must attract a helicopter through a combination of fireworks, light show, and a sound system. The pilot, however, ultimately turns out to be Infected, and turns mid-flight. This is similar to the events in "Crash Course", as the pilot later turns out to be Infected and one of the Survivors (Nick, in this case) shoots the pilot, crash-landing them into the "Swamp Fever" campaign. The helicopter used for their "escape" is a civilian version of the UH-1 Huey.
"Plantation" & "Town Escape" Edit
In "Plantation", the Survivors hold out Left 4 Dead-style (i.e. answering a radio, and waiting for the rescue vehicle), until a boat appears. The boat Lagniappe is piloted by an older Cajun man named Virgil. He takes the Survivors to safety and brings them down river to refuel in the town of Ducatel, where "Hard Rain" takes place, since his boat's deposit is nearly drained of fuel. The Survivors must find diesel at the Ducatel gas station, and bring it back to the boat to continue their journey to New Orleans. The Survivors, having forgot the flare gun used to signal Virgil, must turn on a Burger Tank sign and wait for him to arrive. After arriving in New Orleans, Virgil pilots the boat away after allowing the survivors to disembark, setting off to find more survivors.
The authorities' complete inability to contain and eradicate the Infection on the mainland forces the military to evacuate surviving civilians to ships positioned off the coast, as it is believed that the Infected cannot swim through deep water. As a final act, the military plan to bomb the bridge connecting the city to the evacuation area once the last civilians have been airlifted out. The four Survivors arrive at the dangerous side of the bridge just in time to alert the Army to their presence. To their relief, they are told that a special evacuation flight has been laid for them, and that it is leaving from the other side of the bridge in ten minutes. The Survivors thus need to get over the partially destroyed and Infected-infested bridge as soon as they possibly can if they want to survive. Ultimately, the Survivors are rescued by a CH-53 Sea Stallion, which is a helicopter used commonly by the U.S. Marine Corps. It cannot be specified to which branch of the military it belongs to because of the helicopter's lack of identification. If it was a U.S.M.C. helicopter, it would have had "Marines" written on the side of the helicopter. After lifting off the platform, the helicopter flies out of camera view just as two U.S. Navy or possibly U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18E/F Super Hornets destroy the bridge, causing it to fall into the river.
The Survivors call their deliverance using radio from storage building at the beginning of the last "Cold Stream" map. Rescue helicopter is hovering over tower at forest recreation facility occupied by CEDA.
The helicopter's graphic is borrowed from "No Mercy" campagain, using same files. The only difference is that the helicopter also has a ladder that can be climbed on, since it hovers mid-air.
- Originally, Valve had the idea of News Chopper 5's pilot asking for a first aid kit, saying that he wasn't feeling well after he made a failed attempt to rescue some survivors from the streets, which he knew was a dangerous move. Shortly thereafter, the pilot would state he was very cold, begin coughing, turn and become Infected, more than likely from the wounds caused during his street rescue attempt, and the helicopter would crash, beginning the Death Toll campaign. However, they felt that this would be an unsatisfactory ending to the campaign, and cut it out, though they leave the preceding dialogue in the final version. Proof of this can be found on the YouTube video here. This ending seems to have been restored with the "Crash Course" campaign.
- Though it is supposedly the same helicopter throughout the campaign, News Chopper 5 changed slightly. In the intro (both for the game and "No Mercy"), it has a single searchlight in the middle of the body, but has two (one on each side) in-game. This was changed in the Game of the Year Edition re-release, where it now correctly sports one searchlight.
- There is a large poster advertising the Channel 5 News at the start of "Subway". It can be seen as the Survivors go down the stairs and into the first station's ticket booth area.
- The C-130 at the end of the Dead Air campaign is modeled after a South Korean Air Force C-130, rather than a U.S. Air Force aircraft. In game shot  Real life reference . Note the identical markings (ROKAF 55, 036) and the identical camouflage paint job.
- The license plate of the vehicle at the farmhouse finale is the same number as the Stormtrooper uniform (TK-421) Luke Skywalker wears in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, possibly a reference to the fact that Luke grew up on a farm, though it could be a coincidence.
- If a Survivor or Infected dies in a rescue vehicle, their body and equipment will float in the air while the rescue vehicle moves away.
- The helicopter that rescues the Survivors in "Dark Carnival" is the model from "No Mercy" repainted. However, when it is crashed at the beginning of "Swamp Fever," it uses the same model as the crashed helicopter from "Crash Course".
- The Survivors start out in a train in "Swamp Fever." The actual helicopter they left in "Dark Carnival" can be seen behind the train, crashed (requires console command noclip).
- The pilot uses the same skin as the one in "No Mercy".
- According to the first installment of The Sacrifice comic, Francis states the results from being rescued:
- Currently, it seems that most aerial vehicles in the Left 4 Dead universe seem to share the same fate of crashing at one point (save for the CH-53). However, most boats turn out fine and most land vehicles (except for the APC) got stuck due to zombies destroying all the land infasructure.
- Not even a Tank can punch Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car out of the way in the "Dead Center" campaign, despite its ability to punch other cars at Survivors. This was obviously because this particular car was a rescue vehicle and the finale wouldn't work if the car could move like normal.
- Strangely, if you're inside the rescue vehicle (such as Virgil's boat and helicopters) but you are incapacitated and you're not helped up, the game will think you are dead in the credits regardless of whether you were in the vehicle or not.
- If the Grenade Launcher is shot at either of the rescue vehicles, the grenade will simply bounce off as all rescue vehicles are indestructible.
- Jumping from the second floor in "Atrium" onto Jimmy Gibbs Junior's stock car negates all fall damage. If you miss and land on the floor, you will take about 80-90 damage points. If you attempt to jump from the 3rd floor, fall damage will not be negated and you will die on impact.
- The rescue chopper from "No Mercy" and "The Parish" appears in another Valve game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the map de_vertigo. Where "The Parish" Helicopter is used to deploy Counter-Terrorists on some maps, News Chopper 5 on de_vertigo broadcasts the news of a terrorist attack on the TV at Terrorist spawn. If the chopper is shot at, it flies away, cutting off the broadcast.