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C2m1 highway-1.jpg
Chapter 1
The Highway
Campaign Dark Carnival
Dark Carnival Chapter Chronology
Chapter 1
The Highway
Chapter 2
The Fairgrounds
"Hey, Whispering Oaks! Shit, I used to go there when I was a kid!"
"Whispering Oaks! We made it!"

The Highway is the first chapter in the Left 4 Dead 2 campaign Dark Carnival.

The highway is a long stretch of road filled with dozen of abandoned cars. The Survivors are blocked by this and are forced to abandon the car. Finding the only way to the carnival they must traverse a highway off ramp and proceed under the overpass. The carnival searchlights can be seen off in the distance. The Survivors then need to navigate through an abandoned motel as the road to the carnival is blocked by a tractor trailer.


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.

The car can be really fast, but it doesn't fly. Now the Survivors have to make their way on foot.


The campaign starts off in Griffin County with the Survivors standing behind Jimmy Gibbs Junior's stock car, lamenting that they can't drive far and must proceed on foot, because the highway is blocked by "twenty miles" of stalled and crashed vehicles.

The A.l. Survivors will take these guns:

Players must work their way through wrecked cars, fighting off several Infected. A truck in the middle of the road may have either a throwable item, an Adrenaline Shot, Pills, Propane or a Gas can. Go onto the off-ramp to find a Shotgun or Submachine gun, a Gas can or two, a melee weapon, throwables and occasionally an Ammo Upgrade there. Go to the Jeep, and there's usually a throwable or temporary heal item with an ammo stash. Go under the two highways. If a Horde attacks while you're at the Jeep, the Horde will come from the bushes to the left.

If you go left, there will be another truck with a gas can, a throwable item, or propane tank. This spot is much better, as when you see the motel you can avoid the Witch and have a height advantage over the Tank if it spawns there. Players should, if needed, use their weaponry to pick off several Common Infected below to prevent them from climbing up. Players who face Hordes here will have them attack from behind.

Once clear of the under-bridges, players will notice the Whispering Oaks Motel with a large billboard looming over it up an incline to the right. (Alternatively players can simply head up the incline between the two bridges, get onto the bridge and follow it to the billboard.) By jumping onto the white sedan next to the billboard players can access the walkways on the billboard; here will always be found a hunting rifle. The fine vista over the motel from this vantage point gives both an overall orientation and a sprinkling of sniping opportunities, especially when a Tank comes. However, going down the ladder a little and jumping causes instant incapacitation. Jumping from the ladder at the top will cause instant death; so players should jump past the railing instead and onto the rooftop of the motel's buildings, unless a Tank has spawned.

Careful inspection of all the rooms in the motel reception office block is well rewarded with very useful supplies like Laser sights, weapons, explosives, etc. Individual motel rooms always contain pills, adrenaline shots, pipe bombs, melee weapons, ammo and molotovs.

The parking lot contains an alarmed car, either near the offices or the hotel rooms. The pool area (which is accessed via two separate entrance ways) usually contains a couple of gas cans that can be sniped to burn out some inappropriately dressed Infected. Nick can be sarcastic and say "These people sucked at HIGH diving." or Ellis might say "Poor people. All they wanted to go for was a swim.". The pool also has some Gas cans, a Submachine gun or Shotgun, and other various items, such as Ammo upgrades, melee weapons, throwables and health kits. If you jump onto the plant near the fence, you will find some extra Commons. They can be easily killed, and sometimes a Special Infected might spawn there. The only ones that you have to worry about if this happens would be the Boomer and Smoker as they will be able to get you. Other Specials don't tend to climb up the fence to attack you.

Go up the stairs on the far side of the motel; a broken wall can be seen and you can go inside, getting access to some temporary health items and a health kits, various melee weapons, ammo stashes, and usually a shotgun or submachine gun.

Once players have fully explored the motel they can get moving to the next stage of the chapter by going up to the far end of the motel overlooking the pool and entering the motel unit with a broken wall. (Trying to jump the gap in the external balcony is futile and will simply result in injury, along with you not reaching the other side) Players should be careful, since a Witch might block up the door that players must get through. Once in the neighboring unit it is a simple matter to get out onto the balcony through the window. On approaching the end of the balcony overlooking the highway players can practice their sniping by mopping up random Infected milling around on the highway and in the bushes behind the motel. At this point the Common Infected may get agitated and try to storm up the stairs and if a co-op team is taking its time a Spitter, Jockey or Charger may arrive to ginger everyone up. Before leaving the motel, if your team is missing some items for themselves, checking the bottom two rooms after jumping on the window usually results in some Pain Pills or Adrenaline.

The one-way gully drop

Next, players make their way round the back of the motel and follow a crazy-paving path leading to a large steep-sided gully. A good idea is to look down the gully and note a series of small ledges that invariably contain nice items like Propane Tanks, Gas Cans, grenades — and bad things like Witches. Note in particular the broad ledge right at the end of the path, it is a gentle drop down and often has vaguely useful supplies (like a Propane Tank). Check the two cliffs on the side going down the gully. Both can contain various items which can be useful against the Infected below. If planning to explore both cliffs, check the one without the corpse first: you can jump to the other side whereas you cannot on the other side, even with an Adrenaline shot.

Although steep, there is no danger in sliding or dropping down the gully to the bottom but it is helpful to try and end up in an open area at the bottom because, if they have not yet made their appearance, a horde of Common Infected is certain to charge down from the motel and being in an open space enables a team to form up and cull it.

It should be noted that the gully is a "point of no return.". Co-op teams must bear in mind that Smokers, Hunters and Jockeys can easily kill someone if the rest of their teammates have already gone down the gully and they are still up on the cliff. It is thus essential to stick together and ensure everyone goes off down the gully simultaneously. However, there are chances when saving the Survivor is impossible, especially if they fail to kill it before the Survivor is incapacitated . Bots, however, are not much of a worry, as they can quickly find the Smoker and save the player/s.

The gully floor is a treacherous place. It is filled with Infected, has poor sight lines, movement through the river is slow and combat is at close quarters for the most part. Hunting rifles are ideal to delouse the river area at a distance and submachine and shotgunners must handle the rest. (Any unfortunate deceased player will respawn in a small outhouse at the end of the river area.)

Note that there is a rock at the bottom of the gully that was overlooked when programming so Infected will stop giving chase when a player jumps up on it.

At the end of the river bank area, there's a car there, along with a Propane tank in the water. The car should be steer cleared of, as a Tank might punch it and incapacitate everyone in one strike, so players should find another way to escape the Tank without crossing the car. Players in the river should be careful of Infected to their right, and near the outhouse there can be various items like throwables, Health kits, etc.

Just below the brow of the hill is a good time for the team to extend ranks, check magazines and prepare for the final push. Always watch out for Witches who spawn in the hill area; however they can be easily avoided. Once you get up to Whispering Oaks, take notice of your surroundings. Immediately watch for the alarmed car. If a horde comes when you're at the first step in, they will spawn from the hill you just advanced. If near the safe room, they will spawn near the fenced off area. If a Witch has not spawned yet, it will be there, usually at the point where you can avoid her. Otherwise she will be hiding under one of the safety barriers and can be a problem. If you encounter a Tank, it will usually spawn near the car or just outside the safe room. If it spawns near the car, fall back or he can punch you, sending you to your death. If it spawns near the safe room, lure it near the Jeep as the Tank can't use it to smash anyone. Get inside the safe room and close the door quickly!


The Survivors[]

With humans 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 form up and make a plan though! Hurry up and get your supplies, and get running!

The Infected[]

See also: The Special Infected

The Survivors have already made their own way onto The Highway. Now it's your job to put them on the highway to hell. They can't run forever.

Overall Tips

  • Survivors that have been separated from their teammates are significantly more vulnerable to attack than Survivors that are in groups. Make an effort to attack Survivors that are far from their teammates, as you will be able to deal significant damage before they are saved and you are killed.
  • 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 its 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 Smoker: You have many great places to hide in. The dark atmosphere spaces and bushes are excellent spots for you. Camouflage yourself in the bushes to hide from the Survivors, and grab one of them. Good opportunity to snag some Survivors are around the motel area and just before the Survivors enter the valley. If you can grab one of them and force some or all of the team to return to save them, you've done well. There are many bushy areas to hide in, and it gives you plenty of dark corners to attack from.

The Boomer: Always bear in mind that as a Boomer you have very low health. Close quarters are your friend and a level such as this can be tricky for you due to all the open space. Hide in the bushes where you can, but begin to move if you spot them! Once you've attacked, be sure to take cover back in the bushes and keep moving to prevent them from spotting you! You can place yourself near alarmed cars to set their alarms off, or hide in the walls of the motel and vomit on them when they come near you.

The Hunter:

The Charger:

The Jockey:

The Spitter:

The Tank: Tanks can kill anyone and anything in their path. Watch out for the pool area, where they are many gas cans to light you up, and it might be hard to move around the motel. Throw rocks at Survivors who are unaware of where you are and always punch them off great distances to kill them instantly. If you spawn near the entrance of the motel, you will have a slight disadvantage as you have no cars or objects to punch. If you spawn near Whispering Oaks, punch Survivors back to the valley. If you do it correctly, you can instantly kill to a Survivor. If needed, punch the alarmed car to instantly incapacitate Survivors. However, it is best to have extra allies help as Common Infected can slow players down, allowing you to catch up with them if needed.


See also: Survival Mode

The Survivors called for help in this second rate hotel; but it never came. How long can they hope to survive?

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.

Bedroom Method

This requires a Combat Rifle and a melee weapon. A pipe bomb is advised as well. Grab your supplies and head upstairs. Now go to the furthest room, it should have a katana, a first aid kit, a defibrillator and a Molotov. Using the defibrillator, take an extra first aid kit or some special ammo upstairs. Start. In this room, you have a good amount of supplies. Smokers can't get you, the horde is delayed, you have plenty of room to maneuver, and Chargers are almost useless. Jockeys are the biggest threat, as they can take you to the bottom floor. When the Tank comes, leave the room and take him down. When the second Tank comes, throw the pipe-bomb. Then take him down. Now pick whatever explosive you like and hold out. The Combat Rifle is required to take out Jockeys and Tanks from range, and the melee is used to: A. get you to the room and B. Help when you need to leave when Tanks arrive.

Parking Area Method

Grab your supplies and start the game. Stay at the parking lot as it is a wide open area. When the Tank arrives, go upstairs (don't enter to any room). If the Tank follow you to upstairs, simply go down again (no fall damage will be taken). Repeat until The Tank dies, then go back to your defensive area.


The Motel is the only scavenge level available for Dark Carnival so far. One very effective tactic for this one is to all scope the ground floor together to prevent hunters, chargers, smokers etc. from picking off stragglers. A hunting rifle/military sniper rifle is a good asset to your team especially for any Smokers or Spitters guarding the fuel generator. Proceed to the building directly opposite the pool exit and retrieve those first, then move on to the other ground floor cans. Once all have been retrieved, split up. A sniper and shotgunner should stay by the generator: the sniper covering the two Survivors proceeding up stairs the shotgunner covering the sniper, whilst the others (assalt rifle and shotgunner) search the upper floor, sticking together. Due to the open balcony, the sniper should have no trouble covering the two on the upstairs floor. The upper floor team should be picking up cans and throwing them down to the generator whilst the shotgunner pours and the sniper keeps an eye out for that troublesome Spitter. Overall this tactic (if done correctly) should work. So good luck!


  • This chapter was first revealed at the Penny Arcade Expo and then later again at Tokyo Game Show '09.
  • This chapter starts out on a highway littered with cars, similar to Death Toll.
  • A campfire encountered near the freeway overpass uses banknotes for kindling. Evidently this is an allegorical reference to the worthlessness of material wealth in a society-ending apocalypse. The same graphic is found in the opening campsite scene of Left 4 Dead's Blood Harvest campaign.
  • It is possible to escape the survival that takes place in the Motel and go to the safe room and close the door, using the "grenade-launcher" glitch. However, when the next chapter loads, it will say something along the lines of "Not all players have the DLC required to play this map".
  • Using the above trick, it is possible to go over the fence by the safe room seen as you go up the hill. This requires the shopping cart located by the safe room to be around the door while the safe room door is opened outside. The shopping cart must be on its front or back (not on sides). It will only move after you shoot the car alarm however. You must then jump on the shopping cart and then the safe room door. You should be able to go on top of the safe room and cross over a fence from there. You will have a significant amount of time to do this. If done correctly, you should only worry about a few Commons and the Tanks. Be wary that the AI Director will spawn Spitter patches at some occasions or if you are around the edge of the map.
  • The Uncommon Infected, the Clown Infected, will not spawn on this chapter, since this chapter is not focused in Whispering Oaks.
  • Jimmy Gibbs Junior's racecar from the last two campaigns (Dead Center, The Passing) appears at the start of the level, however it is rather beat-up with blood stains and dents, possibly from driving through Infected and obstacles such as building debris and torn up vehicles, especially how they show how the Survivors escape by breaking a wall with the car. The visible damage could have been caused by the events of The Passing. Despite it's appearance, there are bullet holes in the front, suggesting that they had shot Infected who tried to hijack the car, but if a player shoots a bullet in the car's windows, nothing will happen except a small bullet hole will appear in the window.
  • This is a very common level for a Witch to spawn, especially on the steep gully.
  • This chapter is featured in Scavenge mode and is named The Motel because the level only includes the motel part of the chapter.
  • When Nick is talking at the beginning of the campaign, he might say "I hate to be the bearer of bad news guys, but unless Ellis knows how to build a monster truck, we ain't going through this.". Then Ellis will say "Sorry guys, guess it wasn't such a good idea after all.". Nick might then say "Don't sweat it Ellis, at least you got us out of that mall.", implying a friendly gesture, or "Goddamn you Jimmy Gibs Jr.", which implies a hostile gesture. However, Nick says the second quote occasionally after Ellis finishes, even if the first quote was not said. This might be an oversight.
  • The Motel is also seen in the Zombie Survival Guide Trailer. The sign Zombie Survival Guide Trailer says, "Closed until further notice due to sickness." while in the actual Campaign it says, "Free breakfast, TV and pool". Along with that, Coach breaks open a door which cannot be done in-game.
  • Although Rochelle says "Oh god, these people were attacked in their cars.", there is no evidence other than the stalled vehicles themselves, as the cars are obstructed. Players can't see through the cars.
  • If a Survivor uses the first ledge at the gully (not the one with the dead person), they will say a random quote. If they jump backwards, they will trigger another quote as if they were going down the gully again.
  • If a player closes and then opens the saferoom door, Special Infected will claw the door while Common Infected simply rush into the saferoom.
  • If Nick gets to the pool with the burnt bodies first, he will say "These people sucked at HIGH diving.". If Ellis gets there first, he will say "Poor people. All they wanted to go for was a swim."
  • In Campaign and Versus modes there are Tier 1 weapons behind the racecar, but in Scavenge mode, if you go to the racecar as an Infected, there will be Tier 2 weapons (Combat Shotgun and Combat Rifle).
  • There is a fence behind Jimmy Gibbs Junior's stock car to prevent survivors from leaving the map due to balancing reasons.
  • The Highway and the Cemetery are the only chapters to have more than one alarmed car. The Highway has two alarmed cars and the Cemetery has eight alarmed cars.
  • All of the cars on the highway are solid, meaning they can't be punched by the Tank.
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2
L4d no mercy.jpg
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
L4d achievement survive garage.png
Crash Course
The Alleys / The Truck Depot Finale Torch-Bearer.gif
The Passing
The Riverbank / The Underground / The Port
L4d death toll.jpg
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
L4d dead air.jpg
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
L4d blood harvest.jpg
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
Supreme sacrifice.png
The Sacrifice
The Docks / The Barge / Port Finale Bridge burner.jpg
The Parish
The Waterfront / The Park / The Cemetery / The Quarter / The Bridge
L4D last stand.jpg
The Last Stand
The Lighthouse Streamcrosser.jpg
Cold Stream
Alpine Creek / South Pine Stream / Memorial Bridge / Cut-throat Creek
L4d outbreak.jpg
Dam It
Orchard / Campground / Dam Achievement Still Standing.png
The Last Stand
The Junkyard / Lighthouse Finale