Left 4 Dead Wiki
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Chapter 2
The Subway
Campaign No Mercy
No Mercy Chapter Chronology
Chapter 1
The Apartments
Chapter 2
The Subway
Chapter 3
The Sewer
"The Red Line North will take us to Mercy."
"I hate subways."
For the actual in-game subway, see Holly Street Subway Station.

The Subway is the second chapter of the first campaign, No Mercy. It begins in a safe house located at the Holly Street Subway Station.

The subway system is overrun with infected and comprehensively wrecked. Survivors traverse a network of tunnels, enter a subway electricity generating station, pass through a suite of offices and finally get back out on the street to reach a safe house housed in a pawn shop.

This was one of the two chapters used for marketing purposes in Left 4 Dead's demo. At that time only the first half of this map was available for regular play and featured a safe room just after the generator room Crescendo Event. However, when the full game was released to the market this chapter was expanded to include the aforementioned office suite and pawn shop safe house.


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.

From the looks of it, it's clear that the Infection has taken its toll on the Subway. There are holes and fires everywhere, and even more Infected! However, despite the ruins, it's fairly easy to navigate... if you can keep your head and wits about you. In addition to the rest of the Infected, Tanks will now start to spawn, and Witches will begin to spawn more consistently.


Page one of the map of The Subway. Click for more detail. Note- Full Resolution is best to view the map.

Page two of the map of The Subway. Click for more detail. Note- Full Resolution is best to view the map.

Page three of the map of The Subway. Click for more detail. Note- Full Resolution is best to view the map.

Page four of the map of The Subway. Click for more detail. Note- Full Resolution is best to view the map.

Page five of the map of The Subway. Click for more detail. Note- Full Resolution is best to view the map.

When starting from this chapter, the AI Survivors will grab:

When Tier 2 weapons are found, they will grab:

  • Bill will grab an Assault Rifle.
  • Francis will grab an Auto shotgun.
  • Louis will grab an Assault rifle.
  • Zoey will grab a Hunting rifle

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

As usual, teams should secure a first aid kit, ammo and a preferred Tier 1 weapon. Submachine guns and the Pump shotgun are equally effective during the early phase of this chapter and can be swapped for a full selection of Tier 2 weaponry quite soon thereafter.

Kill the Infected in the room outside the safe room door and their compatriots visible in the wrecked area down below. Jump down and turn to face enemies packed into the area under the safe room. Expect a stiff fight with other Infected storming up to join the action from the subway stairs. To be safe, teams should enter the area where the Infected were loitering and clean it out fully. Take care because a massive hole in the ceiling often conceals hidden enemies such as a Smoker. Expect to encounter a Boomer and Smoker during this stanza.

Now, there are two ways to go:

  1. A set of stairs leading down to the left. This is a slightly safer way to go, because everything is in broad sight and it quickly gets the team to the next area.
  2. To the right is a dark horizontal ventilation shaft ending an air duct overlooking a flight of subway stairs. The screen on this duct can be broken to drop down onto the stairs. Usually there's some Pipe Bomb or Molotov at the end above the air duct.

In either case, explore a small set of stairs to the right since there may be grenades up there.

The subway stairs bring the team to the ticketing hall and platform turnstiles. The Director may spawn Tier 2 weapons or ammo on a table to the left, while Pills and a second Pistol or Magnum Pistol (L4D2 only)(more rarely Pipe bombs) are often found in each of the two ticket booths whose glass can be smashed to gain access.

Exiting the ticket hall, the team can go up to the platform by a left or right hand escalator. It does not matter very much which route is taken as the platform above is always well populated with enemies―including the occasional Tank. Check the platform areas on both sides of the wrecked subway carriages for supplies.

On the left is a counter, which is the second place the Director can spawn Tier 2 weapons

Since the tunnels are laid out as a straight tube, teams will have no difficulty navigating them. A table next to a line of carriages will carry ammo and, occasionally, Tier 2 weapons. Check the dark area of the tunnel to the right rear of this table — Molotovs sometimes spawn there. After proceeding through the final line of carriages, the team enters a service passage to the left. A nearby table will often carry Tier 2 weapons. If it is bare, then the team should expect to be offered these weapons on a table in an underground area at the end of the service passage.

The underground basement area is dark and features numerous concrete pillars supporting the roof above. It is normally heavily infested with enemies — including a Tank if he did not spawn earlier. Teams can either clean out the area or hang back in the entrance gunning down those blocking the way and then making a dash to the exit on far side of the area. A rescue closet is tucked away in a dark corner of this uninviting space. A table near the exit will sometimes carry Tier 2 weapons or an ammo bucket/piles.

Exiting the underground room brings the team to a two-story generator room. Clean out the Common Infected loitering therein and collect any throwables seen on the tables near the entrance way. A crewroom to the right has a first-aid station, Pills and a Minigun while two Gas cans will be found against the wall on either side of a closed door controlled by an electric switch.

Activating this switch powers up the generators which triggers the first Crescendo Event in this campaign. The resultant horde is moderately large and will also throw in some Special Infected.

Tactics here are a matter of personal preference and experience. As a general rule, putting out a gas can on the floor outside to the left and right of the crewroom, having someone cover the hole in the crewroom floor (Infected will usually swarm up out of here and a Molotov will put paid to them) and posting the rest of the team to cover the crewroom's door and windows will prove effective. The only real risk is a Smoker snagging a team member and pulling them out into the generator room through a gas can fire and into the horde's midst. If a player elects to man the Minigun, it is essential that the team provide flanking and rear fire support. In most respects, though, the horde is a single event and a good human team should not find itself too hard pressed. However, when playing with AI Bots, it is a good idea to have a human player covering the crewroom floor hole and plan on one of the Bots either getting pulled or darting out into the generator room.

A more comprehensive set of fighting instructions appears below:

Tactics for Crescendo Event: There are basically two ways to deal with this: Fight or Flight.


  • In an all-human team, everyone get into a corner and melee. Holding formation is essential.
  • Everybody gather around the Minigun, and send somebody out to the switch. When activated, light the hole in the floor on fire. Focus your fire on the other entrance into the room while the Infected burn down below. After the flames have died down, have two people watch the hole while the other two watch their backs.
  • Try to stay under the catwalks. The Infected will have to fall down in front of you or run in front of you; they can't come at you from behind, no matter how hard they try.
  • If you can afford to spare them, use several Pipe bombs. This is one of the easiest tactics to use.
  • If the Director has blessed you with many a Molotov on the tables by the door, and the gas cans lying around the room have not spontaneously combusted, exploit the opportunity! Set up a gas can by the door and another under the catwalks. Hit the button and shoot them, and fill in any gaps with the Molotovs. This is a fast, effective, and very easy way to deal with the entire horde, as most of it will have died down by the time the door is open just enough for you to get through; just keep an eye out for Smokers!
  • Set one gas can onto a concrete beam over the hole in the floor or drop it down the hole — it does not matter as long as it can be ignited. Place a second can at the 2 o'clock position relative to the Minigun under the catwalk. One player crews the Minigun. When the action starts, the gas can at the hole is ignited and the Minigunner sets off the second. Thereafter the Minigun concentrates fire on the entry door at the 10 o'clock position and the rest of the team add fire support as needed. This approach works very well when playing with a bot-heavy team.


  • This one is very simple. Once the door is open enough for you to get through run to the room above supplied with an ammo cache and Tier 2 weapons. If all four Survivors can make it here, you will have an easier time of fighting off the rest of the horde. However, a Special Infected will sometimes spawn outside the exit of the room (even a Tank), making your fight a hard one. Make sure you take the time to listen before you decide on this tactic. If either a Witch or Tank (especially a Tank) is heard somewhere beyond that doorway, abandon this tactic and settle for fighting.
  • You can also have everyone wait at the stairs leading up to this room. Throw a gas can at the bottom of the stairs and light it up once the horde has been called. Assuming the Director has treated you well, take advantage of any Molotovs you may have in your possession or on the tables by the door to fill in the gaps. However, if the Director takes no pity on you beyond this point by spawning a Tank or Witch, reconsider this tactic.

Once the horde has been taken care of, collect the third gas can and a resupply from the upstairs room. From here, there are three ways:

  1. Go the regular way — continue to advance along the hall and down the stairs to a reception area. Off to the right of which may be even more weapons and in the bathrooms to the left there could be pills. This route is recommended if you are tight on supplies. Note that a Tank will sometimes spawn in the hallway area or at the base of the stairs.
  2. Go straight into the office in the hallway with two windows from where you would be able to see the helicopter if you hurry. There is a ledge immediately outside of those windows which you can use to jump onto a white van in the street below.
  3. Go into the room immediately to the right of the room containing ammo. Jump out the window aiming to land on the trash bags in the alley below to minimize injury.

Once you get into the street, keep going until you see the pawn shop. If you have kept it, throw and shoot the third gas can at the nearest cluster of infected. In every instance it is a case of running and gunning for the safe room located inside the pawn shop. Immediately outside is an alarmed car surrounded by a large group of infected and, of course, setting off the alarm will trigger a Panic Event. To minimize this risk, throw a Molotov and sprint past to safety. In Left 4 Dead 2, there's usually a Chainsaw and a melee weapon in the Pawn shop outside the saferoom.

Once inside the safe room doorway you can shoot the alarmed car and enjoy some additional easy target practice. Otherwise, take a breather (be sure to remember the smell of that clean air), heal up, and get ready for The Sewer.

Left 4 Dead 2 Version[]

From the Survivors' perspective, this map remains mostly unchanged from the Left 4 Dead version. The floor was modelled outside of the upper windows in the generator room and climbing points were added to allow Infected players access to this space as a point of ambush or escape. Additional climbing points have also been added for the Infected in various parts of the map.


The Survivors[]

Be prepared for the unexpected

With actual players controlling the Special Infected, things can only get harder. However, they can't spawn until you open that safe room door. 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. Most of the time, they will spawn in the ceiling above you, and can get you from the hole. Make that an irrelevant plan: once you open that door, everybody needs to drop down the hole together as fast as they can, and just keep running with each other. Never separate. Do not go to the right, because the vent is another popular spawn point for the Infected; it's small, with only one or two exit points, thus making it an excellent ambush point. Go down the stairs, look for weapons and other supplies, but don't stop for long. The longer you stand still, the greater chance they have to one-up you.

The subway will be crawling with infected, so watch out!

When you reach the point of the Crescendo Event, don't dillydally. Hit that switch as soon as you can, clear out the horde from that power room, and keep moving! Be careful if you hang around the Minigun, though. A favorite trick of the Smoker is to drag you down that hole, as aforementioned, but the humans will be even more vicious about it. You will definitely need cover if you decide to man the turret. In any case, get through that door and up the stairs as soon as you can. Get some ammo and get outside as fast as you can, but stick together. Never give them a chance to catch anyone alone. Remember that they like to hang around the windows, especially Smokers looking to score some fall damage.

Once you're in the street, you're almost there! Be extra careful about the car, as the Infected will more than likely hide around it. If there's a Tank, either run back inside or run as fast as you can to the safe house. Whatever you do, try very hard to avoid that car, even if there's no Tank to bat it at you. Get everyone you possibly can into the safe room, bask in the points you've earned, and get ready for The Sewer.

The Infected[]

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

The Survivors are confident after making their way to their first safe room, and have high hopes for the subways. Show them that they aren't safe, not even underground.

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.

Boomers: Fragile as you are, you can still be the biggest pain in the world if you really work hard. Hide around corners and generally around obstacles the Survivors will probably pass. If you can't find a corner, just rush them, go kamikaze; even if you miss, maybe they won't. That hole in the ceiling at the start is an excellent place to spawn, as well. Drop down on the unsuspecting Survivors. If you can, try to get on rooftops, as well. If there's a Witch, hide exceedingly close to her; if they shoot you, it disturbs her. If they don't, you have a chance to vomit on them... though they'll generally shoot you. Or, if a Tank has spawned, try your best to get at least someone. The Tank can keep the rest from aiding your victim, or it can focus on your victim, further exacerbating their plight and making their doom more and more imminent.

Hunters: Certainly, you are a force to be reckoned with, though it's a rule of thumb to see your prey before they see you. Hunters work best in ambush situations. Another rule is to not attack a group unless you're trying to distract them, or simply scare them. Try to hide in small spaces, though. Pounce people who wander off. Always remember that you have strong claws, so if you can't quite pounce, feel entirely free to slash. Hiding around Witches and cars with active alarms is also quite devilish, and effective. Additionally, if there is a source of fire around, jump through it. Your common sense might tell you to avoid it, but Hunters deal significantly more damage when they are on fire as opposed to when they're not. Though you will die eventually, you may be able to take someone out with you.

Note: After a recent update, Hunters caught on fire by environmental flames (i.e. fires in barrels or pre-existing fires) will not deal extra damage. Instead, only a Hunter caught on fire by a gas can or Molotov will deal extra damage, and even then not as much as before.

Smoker: Smokers are most definitely not meant for close quarters. Stay out of them. Try to pull people back, and generally slow them down and act as a giant nuisance. Try to separate them, as well! Collaborate with your teammates to keep them from getting to the next safe house. The gaping hole in the ceiling is a great place to start. Later on near the Crescendo Event, a Smoker could try to pull a Survivor through the hole in the floor, stalling the Survivors' progress, and giving teammates a chance to attack. Also, at the end of the level, there's a street with a car near the end of the road. This car has an alarm that's just dying to go off. Help it along; stand around this car and attempt to pull Survivors dangerously close to it. One way or another, someone is bound to set it off, and set them up for a grand fall. Also, there's an instant kill location for the Smoker if they stand on the rooftop above the barbed wire fence that's down the alley, off the road leading to the pawn shop. If a Smoker drags a Survivor from this position, it will pull them up into the barbed wire on top of the fence. At this point, the Smoker's tongue will break, and as soon as their victim hits the ground, they're dead.

Tank: Fortunately, the Tanks have a relatively high chance of spawning here, allowing you to wreck the Survivors even more than previous Special Infected, potentially even more than any Witches that spawn. It's great to get them into closed spaces, or if you're on that final stretch of road, try to throw cars at them. If they hit, it's an instant incapacitation. At this point, you can either throw it at them again (which would kill them), or focus those who are still moving, leaving the downed for the proverbial birds, your teammates. However, if you can, try to avoid the car with the alarm. If you hit it, the alarm will break, and anybody who manages to survive your onslaught will be able to get to the next safe point without that risk of summoning yet another horde.


See also: Survival Mode

The Survivors activated the generator in the hopes of moving forward. The door opened, but after that, they found progress impossible. The hordes of Infected refused to surrender. 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.

Locker Room Method

With one Survivor on the Minigun and the other three behind that person in the locker room the Survivors can survive for a fair amount of time. Use fire to its full potential and use it to cover the hole in the floor where Infected come through every now and then. Once the fire dies down, position two Survivors to cover the hole and the third to cover the front with the minigun player. If things get too overwhelming, pull the Survivor off of the Minigun and have those two players cover the front. If things are still too much to handle, pull everyone back into the far corner opposite the hole and fight from there. When the Tank arrives, remain wary that he can come from either the hole in the floor or from the front. If he comes from the front, drop down the hole and fight him from there. If he comes from the hole, fight him in the generator room. Once he's dead, return to the locker room and continue the fight.

Ledge Method

Above the door that opens with the button, is a ledge that can be stood on. This ledge can be reached by climbing up on to tankers to the left and jumping across. From here, the Survivors can spread gas cans out and around the area below. The fire will not reach them from here. The Common Infected also cannot climb up onto the main ledge. Although Hunters can pounce you while up there, they cannot knock their target off. They may, however, stumble the others over the edge. Your main concern should be the Smokers as they can easily drag you down. Look out for the Tank's rock throw as well. Also, to a certain extent, be aware of the Boomer, and make sure he doesn't get close enough to vomit on you.

Staircase Method

Another tactic would be to have everyone wait on the stairs that come into the room. Use a gas can at the bottom of the stairs leading into the large room with the pillars, and a Molotov near the entrance to the other room at the top of the stairs. Remember that if a Tank shows up, your best option is to fall back down the stairs and into the large room under the generator room to fight him from. Then return and have two Survivors cover one side, while two cover the other.
Basement Method
Hold out in the bottom corner of the basement, that is straight from the opening where the locker room is. You want all 4 Survivors to grab Molotovs and Pipe bombs, and gas cans from upstairs. You want at least 3 of the 4 Survivors to have Auto Shotguns. Holding out in the corner will put you relatively close to the ammo and med packs. The main concern is the Smokers that are by the staircase in packs of 3 to 4, when refilling on ammo late into the game.

Behind the Scenes[]

There was to be a long corridor that led to a set of subway cars. This was scrapped, most likely because of its lack of challenge and variety.

The lights inside subway cars used to flicker on and off.

Early footage shows that the generator room was designed before Crescendo Events were put into the game. In this video, dated August 2007, all the Survivors needed to do in the generator room was find the staircase at the other side of the room.

Easter Eggs[]

The Orange Box easter egg

  • Upon entering the subway there is a poster advertising the "Orange Box Juice." This is a reference to Valve's The Orange Box.
  • The writing on the poster is in the Left 4 Dead logo font. (Future Rot)
  • In the pawn shop at the end of the level (as well as the security room after the Crescendo Event), the "What's Sleep?" and "Layoffs, Anyone?" coffee mugs can be found. These Mugs are from Valve's game Counter-Strike: Source.


Graffiti at the end of the level.

File:BurgerTank l4dfandom.jpg

A billboard ad of Burger Tank which can be seen on the street heading to the car alarm and eventually, the safe room.

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
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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
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Hard Rain
The Milltown / The Sugar Mill / Mill Escape / Return To Town / Town Escape
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The Sacrifice
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The Parish
The Waterfront / The Park / The Cemetery / The Quarter / The Bridge
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The Last Stand
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Cold Stream
Alpine Creek / South Pine Stream / Memorial Bridge / Cut-throat Creek
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The Last Stand
The Junkyard / Lighthouse Finale