The Last of Us may have ended, but with its massive viewership, a second season was always going to happen. Apart from its dark and edgy characters, the specialty of this franchise is the kinds of Zombies used. There’s a very unique reason for how humans turn into “The Infected,” and then evolve over time.
The infection could take about a day to take over one’s body depending upon how a person has got it. If he/she gets it through food consumption, then it takes about a whole day or two for them to turn. But if it happens by getting bitten by an Infected, then the duration of turning into one of those depends upon how close the person has been bitten to his or her brain.
But things don’t stop with just one type of mindless zombie as there are different species of the Infected based on their evolution. We’ve seen quite a few types of the Infected in season 1, but season 2 is expected to introduce even more. The following list reveals all types of the Infected in The Last of Us.
1. A Runner
Just when the Cordyceps take over the brain, we get to the first stage of infection which creates the Runner. Here the infected person becomes violent and looks to bite others to spread the infection. Usually, runners are only as strong as mindless violent humans. So, they can be killed by knives, guns, or all other brutal ways a human can be slaughtered.
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2. A Stalker
After infecting the brain of a person, the cordyceps expand from the brain to the rest of the face. And when an Infected spends some time under the control of the fungus, the cordyceps grow out of its eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s when they become “Stalkers,” who still have a bit of vision, along with the speed of a runner. But they move very differently.
They are much better and more patient hunters than Runners because rather than moving towards their target, the Stalkers stay low and hidden to spy on them. They wait to burst from their hiding spot and attack by crawling pretty fast toward their prey. They can also use echolocation up to a certain extent. But they can be killed by stabbing and shooting.
3. A Clicker
It takes at least a year for an infected to turn into a Clicker. In this stage, the fungal growth covers the entire skull of the infected, including its eyes and ears. It even begins to spread on the Torso of the infected. Needless to say, the creatives behind the series have truly nailed the look of these clickers. But they are called Clickers because of the clicking sounds they produce.
They have a wide range of abilities. Because the fungal growth has spread across the whole face, the eyes of these Clickers are totally covered. So, they use a form of echolocation to track down their prey. It’s similar to how Bats use echolocation by emitting high-frequency sound pulses through their mouths or noses. These frequencies hit the surfaces around them and bounce back to their ears, giving them the lay of the land. Similarly, Clickers use clicking and groaning sounds to emit frequency waves that bounce off of things in their surroundings.
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So even without their eyes, they can track what’s in their surroundings. Even the shape of fungus on their face becomes like a Megaphone that catches all the reverb sound waves. The breed of infected is also highly sensitive to regular sound waves. A person could be easily hunted down if he/she makes a sound or try to run fast.
In this third stage of infection, the Infected are also much stronger than runners and stalkers. So it becomes really tough to kill them because the fungal layer on their faces is quite hard. Stabbing a clicker head-on won’t be enough. Their fungal layer even takes up quite a few bullets to get cracked. So in order to kill a Clicker successfully, high-caliber weapons like shotguns are needed.
One could also throw things around them so they get distracted and allow a sneak attack on their spinal cords. But the best way to take them down is by using a flamethrower to burn their skin and melt the fungal plating. Even if it doesn’t kill the clicker entirely, it will weaken it enough for you to stab it.
One thing that separated the Clickers from Zombies in other franchises is that they’d only be violent if you resist the infection. They won’t bite if a person willingly accepts the cordyceps in your body.
4. A Bloater
This is the stage when the infection spreads across the whole body, and the infected person starts to look like an ugly mutated mushroom. Their entire bodies are covered with fungal plating. This does make them slow, but they also get a lot of super strength with it. One of the Bloaters was seen in episode 5.
Along with their brute strength, a Bloater’s primary attack comes with its sacks of toxic spores. These toxic spores cause health damage and harm to eyesight. And once a person comes in contact with these toxins, he or she also slows down… giving the bloaters a chance to get close enough to attack. They can last really long in battles, and even against flamethrowers.
But still, Molotov cocktails and flamethrowers are the best ways to slow down a bloater and melt its fungus. That will make it weak enough to be killed with a shotgun and other strong weapons. But it is still important for humans to stay away from their toxin-releasing spores.
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5. The Shamblers
These types of Infected didn’t show up until The Last of Us 2. They are the most difficult types of Infected zombies to defeat because, unlike the bloaters, they can pick up their speed and become as fast as a runner. And with their bulky fungal plating, they are far stronger than any human.
But their most dangerous attack is spraying a toxic acid. Killing them with short-range attacks is next to impossible as they can catch up with their speed and strength. Or they can kill by spraying toxins that would cause immediate health damage. Once again, a person needs to burn them down while keeping their distance. And even when they are dead, it’s dangerous to go near them as their bodies release toxins even after they die.
6. The Rat King
This is the most dangerous and disgusting mutation of the Cordyceps. It is the final boss Zombie that the Cordyceps hive-mind creates by mixing Runners, Stalkers, Clickers, and other Infected beings into one. The acidic gas they release comes out at a much faster rate than shamblers.
They’ve got all the abilities that every Infected Zombie does. At any given point, the different types of infected such as Runners or Clickers could even detach from the Rat King and attack individually. So, it will take a lot of people, time, and patience to take down the Rat King, which might show up in The Last of Us season 2.
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