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Zombie Escape, as the name implies, is a mod where you escape from zombies.
The gameplay is a simple start-to-finish race between spawn and the final holdout, where the map makes up a reason to kill players that have not yet escaped (as most maps have a simple story). After setup (the survivors' headstart), two players are chosen as the alpha zombies, incredibly resilient players with huge health pools (often referred to as simply alphas). The goal of an alpha is to kill all the runners without getting killed themselves. Runners, when infected, will turn into zombies. Zombies, similarly to alphas, have an enormous health pool compared to their living counterparts. They only receive half health, however, as they are expendable and can respawn an unlimited amount of times.
There are two ways to finish the round: One is to get through the race, holding out at places that require you to wait (mostly doors opening and vehicles waiting to move), and the second is to kill the Alphas. The latter is much harder due to the large amount of health alphas have, and as such should be only focused on as a secondary goal.
A list of changes that affect gameplay:
- There is no standard gameplay objective, the round ends when either all players are on RED team, or RED team's alphas are killed.
- Infinite ammo, no weapons run out of ammunition but still have to reload.
- Players on the BLU team have a cross permanently above their head, only visible to the RED team.
- When killed, BLU team members are automatically assigned to the RED team.
- RED team members automatically have their class's Voodoo-Cursed Soul Equipped.
- Players on the RED team have an increased amount of health and take an increased amount of knockback.
- Any weapons with projectiles that do not function as there primary fire have had them removed.
- Scouts are no longer able to double jump, and thus require the Atomizer to gain an extra jump.
- Engineers do not drain metal under any circumstance, except when shooting with the Widowmaker.
Classes are all diverse in their playstyle and offer a wide variety of outcomes when using them. Classes can best be summarised as push, midline, and support.
Push classes are classes that are at the front lines, furthest away from the zombies, activating objectives and setting up camp to lock down areas.
The push classes are the Soldier, Pyro, Medic, and Sniper; though, the Demoman does fall into this category when playing as the Demoknight, which is the most popular way to play Demoman in this mod, as sticky traps are not viable.
Midline classes are classes that don't have the staying power to be on the backline supporting the team, but shouldn't, or can't, be away from the front line for too long.
The midline classes are the Heavy (his speed, or lack thereof, makes it unwise to be on the backlines, but his Shotgun can force enemies backward), Demoman, and Spy (due to the fact that the zombies can see cloaked players, and as such would have little reason to be on the backline to attempt a flank).
Support classes are classes that have a consistent and powerful way to cut off the advances of zombies.
The support classes are the Scout and Engineer.
The Scout makes use of his Scattergun and ability to escape at high speed even in reverse. He can get ahead of his allies to activate map triggers when needed, but for the most part, he uses his Scattergun to knockback zombies and cut off key locations when other classes would not be able too. Map knowledge plays a big role in playing him well, as his playstyle revolves heavily around protecting the support and midline from harm.
The Engineer makes use of well-placed Sentry Guns and Dispensers to block off zombie escape routes as well as use his Shotgun to keep enemies at bay. His Sentry Gun proves excellent at ground control when it comes to holdouts and chokepoints, as it can allow for that area to be less watched for entry. This is primarily used to defend flanks during a long wait.
Due to the linear layout of most maps, Engineer players are able to lock down many paths by placing a Dispenser properly, thus allowing the team to quickly outdistance the zombies.
It is wise to run several classes with high knockback to keep zombies out of holdouts while everyone else escapes; this is most often done with heavy.