Left 4 Dead Wiki
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Chapter 2
The Drains
Campaign Death Toll
Death Toll Chapter Chronology
Chapter 1
The Turnpike
Chapter 2
The Drains
Chapter 3
The Church
"These must be overflow pipes for Riverside."
"You know what? I just found out I don't care! Lead on."

The Drains is the second chapter of the third campaign, Death Toll.

The Survivors begin inside an Eastern Waterworks safe room built within a pumping house which serves as Riverside's drain and sewage system. They are provided with the usual Tier 1 weapons, ammo stash, and first aid kits sitting on a table.

The challenge in this chapter is for the Survivors to make their way through the drain network to reach the next safe room (a railcar caboose parked inside a trainyard workshop).


Also see: Tactics

All campaign walkthroughs are done on Normal difficulty in single player, and are meant to give tips on what to do and generally point out things that might otherwise be missed.

There are, of course, a few key things to always remember:

  • Stop, look, and listen.
    • Being observant might alert you to something nasty ahead of time, like a Witch, Special Infected or Tank, and allow you to prepare yourself.
  • Teamwork.
    • This cannot be stressed enough. Left 4 Dead is supposed to be a cooperative game. Communicate with your teammates, if you're playing with others, or if you're by yourself with the AI, point out things they might otherwise miss. In all cases, watch out for each other and take care of each other. You are not going to survive the zombie apocalypse by yourself.
  • Be ready for anything.
  • Don't panic.

As filthy as the Drains might be, you have to go through them to get to Riverside. However, the mess is the least of your worries; Infected wade around, playing hide and seek around every turn in the pipes. The worst of it is, sometimes something bigger might come to play...


When starting from this chapter, all AI Survivors will usually grab Submachine Guns

When the Tier 2 weapons are found, they will grab:

Otherwise, they will keep the weapons they had when you started the campaign (see The Turnpike for a list of weapons they will grab there).

The Drains Map

Unless something completely insane happened, like the Infected throwing out an ace before you can draw a card, the Turnpike should have been relatively easy and players should be in good shape. After stocking up on ammo and healing, some players may wish to take a Pump Shotgun as this weapon has its advantages in the close confines of the drain pipes.

As noted above, Tier 2 weapons are coming up shortly and so there is no point in players being too fussy about weaponry at this stage.

The initial pump chamber is filled with loitering Common Infected who can be cleaned out from the safe room door area and walkway―but an eye needs to be kept out for the likes of a Smoker who may emerge from one of the large pipes opposite.

Once outside of the safe room, there are two drain openings, but both of them lead more or less in the same direction. The one on the right takes players to a "high ground" position overlooking the next pumping chamber. Players are free to go whichever way they like―although players taking the "high ground" route will have to go down a long ladder to reach the floor of the next chamber.

Once in the next chamber, players have the opportunity to mix and match their preferences from a supply of Tier 2 weapons on the edge of the platform, with more ammo and potentially even a few pain pills on the other side.

Directly opposite the weapons platform is a large drain pipe ending in an unclimable ledge and a perpendicular pipe to the right. Next to the ledge in the darkness on the right is a closet that may contain supplies. Note that this area is one in which a Tank may spawn.

Players who take the aforementioned right-hand pipe find themselves overlooking a large valve chamber densely packed with Common Infected. A Witch may also be present on one of the gangways, too. After cleaning out the Common Infected (and the Witch, if present), players should visit the far right-hand corner and pick up a pipe bomb. After getting ready, the floodgate control is operated and two Common Infected hordes will spawn in a panic event. A good plan is to form up on the platform near the control switch as this gives an excellent field of fire and forces the horde to climb awkward barriers and channels them into choke points.

Once the event is over, players can cross the bridge to the gangway on the other side―collecting a pipe bomb from the supply in the corner and restocking on ammo and health or pain pills from the closet next to the bridge.

On entering the next section of pipe, alert levels need to be high as this is another likely spot for a Witch or Tank to spawn (especially if they have not been in evidence earlier).

Players are offered two routes leading into two interconnected rooms that are absolutely packed with Common Infected (auto shotguns and a pipe bomb come into their own here). After cleaning out these rooms, players can leave by either climbing a short section of broken flooring or a flight of yellow service steps. The former is more open and better lit, while the latter brings players up through a manhole in the floor of a dark store room. If the above area is known to be occupied, the former route is definitely safer―especially if the ominous sounds of Tank grunts can be heard.

Once upstairs, players can check the rooms for supplies before hopping out the window and out into a grassy alleyway leading to a parking lot confined by a chain link fence and facing onto a set of large workshop windows. If available, a pipe bomb will help delouse the parking lot and allow players an easy run to the workshop windows, whereupon a red-painted railroad caboose will be seen perched on a service gantry―this the safe room (in case of doubt, on reaching the windows, Zoey will usually chirp up at this point saying: "Get into the caboose!").

Note that, occasionally, the car park and workshop are heavily occupied with Infected, a Witch may be present or a Tank may spawn (especially if the chapter has been free of these two up to now) and players can be faced with quite a stiff fight in order to reach the caboose―especially if ammo and health are getting marginal. A good plan in such circumstances is to do nothing else other than to form up tightly and charge hard for the safe room shooting and shoving like fury when blocked. Players need to be careful, though, as a Smoker can pop up in the vicinity and disrupt progress.

The caboose safe house marks the end of a challenging and enjoyable chapter. Get in, shut the door, take a breather, and get ready for The Church.

Left 4 Dead 2 Version[]

The map uses the Versus version from Left 4 Dead even on co-op modes, meaning there are significantly more entry points for the infected during the floodgate crescendo, with many spots for defending from a corner prevented by the removal of the fence around the switch, and the raised area by the floodgate being moved away from one wall.


The Survivors[]

Now that humans are controlling the Special Infected, things can only get harder. However, they can't spawn until you leave the safe room. That doesn't mean that you should let them have a good chance to find just the right spot, though! Hurry up and get your supplies, and get running!

Throughout the level, remember that you are playing against human players. They will not wait for you to come to them, and if they do, it's because they have an ambush location that could be deadly to you and your team. With this in mind, you need to keep moving. However, moving blindly could be your downfall―move quickly, but with caution. Also, under all circumstances: stick close to your team.

The Crescendo Event in this level will be either the hardest part of the level or the easiest. Remember that in Versus, your melee is limited so you cannot properly use corner melee-spamming tactics. However, having the entire team in one corner will be helpful as you can generally see the Special Infected and you'll be able to kill most of them before they reach you. The Smokers and the Boomers are your primary concern here. This is especially apparent if you choose the fence where you activate the event as your corner to fight from. This is because although it funnels Infected, the Smoker's tongue can often grab you through the fence, and the Boomer can vomit up at the Survivors.

Remain vigilant for the Witch's cries. If you spot a Boomer not moving in the distance and staring you down while the Witch can be heard―don't shoot! If he moves away or towards you, then you can safely assume he's not concealing a Witch. Witches, although avoidable, can be the fatal blow to the Survivors especially if there are competent Special Infected lying in wait.

As with all levels, when you know you're near the safe room, make sure you are with your teammates before you make a dash for it. If you make a break for it alone, it is not unlikely that a Hunter or a Smoker will be waiting for your arrival and possibly kill you before the others can reach you. No one can survive the infection alone. Teamwork is essential.

The Infected[]

See also: The Boomer, The Hunter, The Smoker, The Tank

They may be immune to the infection, but they aren't immune to dysentery. Or death, I guess. Make the flies swarm the Survivor's corpses!

Overall Tips

  • Any survivors that choose to run ahead of or fall behind their teammates will be much easier to seriously damage and kill. The farther away they are from their teammates, the more likely they are to be incapacitated or die before their teammates can reach them.
  • The Survivors all have outlines around them, showing their status and location. Green means they're healthy. Yellow means they're hurt. Red means they're low on health. Purple means they've been covered in Boomer bile. You can probably discern which to seek out first if possible.
  • Think like a Survivor. When you play as one, when are the worst times that something could come at you? Exploit that knowledge.
  • Teamwork, as aforementioned. Has a Boomer gotten their bile all over the Survivors? Jump one of them or a clean one. They can't see their teammates' aura until they're clean...and by then, it might be too late.
  • As much as teamwork is a strength for you and your enemies, a lack of it will be their downfall. If you can focus all of your energy on killing one of the Survivors, the rest will be that much easier to take down. Not only will they have one less gun, but they will have three Survivors to your three incapacitating Infected.

The Boomer: This level was made for you. You are the sneaky one, hiding around corners and in dark rooms. You stalk your victims, wait for them to be distracted, then―attack! Vomit spews in their direction; they scream rants of anger as they back into defensive positions, waiting to embrace the force of your approaching horde. The drain pipes and close quarters are great for you. Not only are there close quarters, but also high ledges for you to rain vomit, hide and then repeat. There are many corners and effective ambush locations that the Survivors must pass on their journey. If a Tank shows up, do your best to cover as many Survivors as you can. A horde and a Tank at one time is often enough to overwhelm the Survivors. If you can cover the Survivors while other Infected are in position, Smokers and Hunters can use the opportunity you created to put the hurt on the Survivors. There's a Witch? Conceal her! Odds are that one genius Survivor is going to shoot you and the Witch in one go.

The Hunter: Although you've found better pounce locations above ground, this is a good level for you anyway. Nearby ledges and distant perches are perfect for the accurate Hunters, and close corridors are good for the not-so-accurate Hunters. Just remember, pounce lone Survivors, not a group! As with the Boomer, a Witch is a true blessing. Crouch behind or in front of her. Watch as Survivors spot you and either shoot you, inadvertently startling the Witch; or they'll wait and slowly form a plan, giving other Infected time to set up. If one macho Survivor decides that they're the "big man with the shotgun," prove them wrong. In fact, pounce them wrong! They'll attempt to kill you and the Witch with headshots in which case you can pounce him as he gets close. This will, in turn, startle the Witch.

The Smoker: The time to duel with the Survivors has returned. But unlike your Hunter, Boomer or Tank brethren, you do not charge in an attack. You do not fight in close quarters. No, you are certainly unique. You are the long-range attacker. Stick to the dark, shadowy drain sections and split the group in times of chaos. Pull the one who is the farthest from his friends. Working with the Boomer, pull one of the four slimed Survivors or alternatively, pull a clean one and separate the group. Stay back on the high ledges, or failing that―stay far away―and wait for the opportune moment. As Survivors progress, pull one back and force them to retrace a few of their steps. This will buy your team valuable seconds to spawn and set up. Witches are your greatest friends. Use them to your advantage. Drag Survivors into her. Sure, she'll nag you about it afterward, but at that point, she'll be too angry with the Survivor you just gave her.

The Tank: There are times that call for a Smoker, there are times that call for a Hunter and there are even times that call for Boomers. You're in luck, Mr. Tank, as it's always a good time for the Infected when a Tank shows up. If a Survivor is constricted or pounced, do not attempt to "help" the Smoker or Hunter. Your attack will free them and kill your buddy in the case of the Hunter. You may end up saving the Survivor's life. Avoid fire! Tank no like-y fire; Tank like crushing Survivor skulls! Memorize which Survivor has a Molotov before becoming the Tank. Be wary of them. Also, it is important to note that incapacitated Survivors should be left alone if more are still standing. If a Survivor shows teamwork and cooperation by helping their friend up, show them the error of their ways. Work with your fellow Infected, lead them in times of doubt and above all, don't underestimate a well-aimed rock-throw!


See also: Survival Mode

The Survivors tried to activate the bridge to get across. However, the button short-circuited and set ablaze. With a constant alarm and flow of Infected, how long can the Survivors hold out?

Overall Tips

  • Teamwork is essential to long-term survival.
  • In this mode, most of the popular choke points, closets and easily defensible corners are removed. Even if you find one that has not been removed, it is not recommended that you fight from there as The Tank will quickly defeat you when he arrives.
  • You have an infinite amount of time to prepare. Use this to your advantage. Take as much time as you can to set up gas cans, propane tanks, oxygen tanks and to find a good place to fight from.
  • When searching for a place to fight from, remember that you need a location that not only limits where the horde attacks from, but also gives you a fair chance against the Tank. You either need to be able to fall back and deal with the Tank easily, or have a good enough vantage point to kill him before he can get too close.
  • Ammunition is a problem. Unless you are being overrun with Infected or fighting a Tank, try to use your pistols as much as possible. Conserving ammunition should be a priority, as trying to get more during a horde attack can often be fatal. When you do head out for ammunition, remember to take at least one teammate with you.

Up and Over Method

After spawning on the map, incapacitate any Survivors not under player control. Go up the ladder and grab a pipe bomb. Crouch to the right of the bridge, on one of the metal outcrops. Below the bridge should be a crate. Throw the pipe bomb behind it and it should be catapulted up onto the ledge where you are. This will probably take a couple of tries. Using the box, you should be able to reach a ledge in the edge of the wall. Incapacitating the AI Survivors stops them from breaking the box.
Start the round and get up onto the ledge. Follow the tunnel and take the first left. Jump down onto the gangway and follow it round to a ladder. Once down, go behind the ladder and follow the tunnel through to a much wider room. Across from where you enter should be a safe room door. Get inside and shut the door. This makes it so that no Infected can enter behind you. The only way Infected can get in is if the Tank breaks the door down. This is avoidable if no one stands in direct line to the door.
Even if the door comes down, it is very easy with a team of four players to get over 10 minutes by fighting from there. This is because, oddly, over the course of ten minutes, the Survivors will only encounter a few Hunters and a few Smokers. The Boomer never arrives. The horde is also severely decreased in numbers. Another thing to note is that the Tank's music cue plays far before he arrives at the safe room, giving the Survivors ample time to prepare. Once he's in the safe room, simply run around it backwards, shooting at him until he's dead. A final and definite advantage to this tactic is that there are four first-aid kits and an ammo cache.

Fence Glitch Method

Another method is to camp on top of the fence blocking your way back to the safe room. This can be achieved through hopping down the hill in front of it, and then crouch so you can get on top. You won't be able to get down on the other side, but Smokers won't be able to drag you down there, either.
After three Survivors have done this, the last can start the round and either try to get up or just stay underneath the ones on top. Most of the horde will be funneled in front of you. Even though a few Common and Special Infected will find their way behind you, they're easily dealt with. You'll need at least one hunting rifle and at least two assault rifles. The Survivors with hunting rifles are on constant Smoker lookout, while the others take care of the other Specials and the Common Infected.
The biggest threat when you're using this strategy is Smokers. If they drag you down you won't be able to get up again. Hunters might also knock some survivors down if they're allowed close enough. Boomers are nearly no threat at all, and Tanks are easily dealt with. If a Tank survives long enough to reach the Survivors, one jumps down and distracts it. A competent survival team will probably be able to get a good 15 minutes using this strategy.


  • One of the few levels where the safe room door at the end of the level tends to be glitched. More often than not, a player standing too close to the closed door will make the level continue. Sometimes, it is a rogue Infected underneath or on top of the train car that will prevent the level from finishing. Standing farther away in the train car or killing the Infected on top or below the train car safe room will remedy this glitch.
  • In Survival Mode, when the bridge button blows up, the subtitles say that it was a Boomer explosion.
  • There's a glitch that allows for exploring of a blocked-off area at the end of the level. It's possible to jump off the side of the caboose in front of the safe room door just enough so that you will hang off the top of the caboose instead of the bottom. Having someone help you up will have you standing on top of the caboose, and you can go to the end and duck through the hole to see the edge of the map, with grass and an area that reads "No Draw" on the ground. Infected will still run into the area and attack you. The forest just beyond the wire fence is also accessible, but getting to the edge of it requires you to navigate around invisible walls. Standing at edge on this side will cause all Infected running after you to freeze where they are. You can get back on the map by allowing your character to be taken over by computer; however, you may end up back in the pipes.
  • In Campaign, when you activate the bridge, the button will not explode, but in Survival the button will explode―thus creating an endless loop of fire which cannot be stopped, preventing you from camping there.
  • In the previous chapter, The Turnpike, the whiteboard in the ending safe room shows a full map of the Drains leading to the next safe room, a hand-print, and a days counter. In this chapter, the texture overlays containing these details are missing, causing the whiteboard to be blank.
  • There is an odd continuity error at the end of this map. When you reach the Caboose, there will be a green Eastern European train car from Half-Life 2 parked on the adjacent rail. When the next map loads, the train car on the adjacent rail is a red American train car. This may be a leftover from early development where the HL2 model was a placeholder; it is the only place the HL2 train car is used.
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2
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No Mercy
The Apartments / The Subway / The Sewer / The Hospital / Rooftop Finale Price chopper.jpg
Dead Center
The Hotel / The Streets / The Mall / The Atrium
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Crash Course
The Alleys / The Truck Depot Finale Torch-Bearer.gif
The Passing
The Riverbank / The Underground / The Port
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Death Toll
The Turnpike / The Drains / The Church / The Town / Boathouse Finale Midnight rider.jpg
Dark Carnival
The Highway / The Fairgrounds / The Coaster / The Barns / The Concert
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Dead Air
The Greenhouse / The Crane / The Construction Site / The Terminal / Runway Finale Ragin cajun.jpg
Swamp Fever
Plank Country / The Swamp / Shanty Town / The Plantation
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Blood Harvest
The Woods / The Tunnel / The Bridge / The Train Station / Farmhouse Finale Weatherman.jpg
Hard Rain
The Milltown / The Sugar Mill / Mill Escape / Return To Town / Town Escape
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The Sacrifice
The Docks / The Barge / Port Finale Bridge burner.jpg
The Parish
The Waterfront / The Park / The Cemetery / The Quarter / The Bridge
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The Last Stand
The Lighthouse Streamcrosser.jpg
Cold Stream
Alpine Creek / South Pine Stream / Memorial Bridge / Cut-throat Creek
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Dam It
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The Last Stand
The Junkyard / Lighthouse Finale