|“||Run or shoot?... RUN OR SHOOT?!||„|
|~ Louis, when asking Bill what to do when encountering the Tank for the first time.|
|“||MOTHER OF MERCY, THIS THING IS KILLING ME!||„|
|~ Nick, when being attacked by the Tank while incapacitated.|
The Tank is the primary antagonist in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. It is the biggest threat to the Survivors and is a rare type of boss/special zombie, only able to spawn once per chapter.
The Tank is always a male who has experienced the most physical mutations of all of the infected. Its most notable trait is its abnormally-increased muscle mass. It can be assumed that its bones have grown in strength too, otherwise the Tank's skeleton would have collapsed under its own weight. Despite the Tank's incredible muscle mass, it is surprisingly fast and agile, able to keep up with a Survivor at full health. Its muscular growth is most obvious in its arms and upper body, and is less pronounced in its waist, hips, and legs. Though its legs are capable of supporting its static weight (such as when it mounts onto its legs to throw a giant rock), its disproportionate anatomy forces it to knuckle-walk like a gorilla, resulting in its wrists becoming swollen. The Tank's body is covered in scars from previous fights, with a noticeable large sore on its left pectoral. The Tank's jaw, at first glance, appears to be missing, but upon closer inspection, it is shown to be enveloped in its neck muscles.
The Tank also appears to have suffered heavy brain damage or a rabies-like cerebral infection, causing it to be in a constant rage. When it has found an unlucky target, nothing short of death will stop it; bullets have no affect unless all focus their fire on the abomination, fire only slows him down, and pipe bombs and car alarms do not distract him (although in the intro scene, it was a car alarm that alerted the Tank, as well as a horde of other infected). The Tank will even break through Safe Room doors, knock away obstacles, such as cars, and knock away or crush any infected in its way just to get to the unfortunate Survivor it has chosen as a victim. The Tank must attack survivors or he will die of frustration, so if someone plays on versus mode and they spawn as him they must attack. Otherwise, the AI director will take away their control of the Tank. In Versus mode, a great strategy for The Tank is to hit cars at the Survivors, as if you land a successful hit with one, you will instantly incapacitate a survivor.
The Tank receives a variation skin in The Sacrifice at a specific location in The Docks. This Tank is bald, has jean shorts, surgical scars, missing front teeth, no shoes, a Marine Corps tattoo on its chest, and what appears to be leather restraints on its wrists. Its hands and forearms are covered in fresh blood.
A good Survivor strategy against The Tank is to throw either a Bile Bomb (attracting a horde of common infected to attack The Tank) or a Molotov at it, dealing extra damage on top of shooting it. One of the only other strategies is to outrun The Tank, as it will die if it does not attack a Survivor for a long period of time.
The Tank in non-finale will remain idle, growling until it spots a Survivor where the Tank's music cue will play until he's defeated. If the Tank is unable to find a way to the Survivors, his frustration meter will deplete, causing him to die of it. (This is merely a game mechanic)
The Tanks in the first Left 4 Dead game will attack one Survivor at a time, attacking him/her until the Survivor is dead, then it will attack a second victim. While this is unfortunate for the victim, it gives team mates an opportunity to strike the infected. Tanks in the first volume will be spawned once at a time and at fairly predictable times and location, often uttering a growl and an arm flapping movement that gives away their position. Since Tanks lack motor agility, a skilled Survivor can dodge a Tank's direct attacks. A Tank is especially dangerous if one catches the Survivors in a tight choke-hole, such as a small room.
In Left 4 Dead 2, the Tank's behavior changes; it will now hunt down active survivors. His behavior is smarter and will changes aggression if he is attacked by an another survivor, detects an another survivor helping an incapacitated one, survivor gets covered by Boomer bile, or a survivor mounts a turret gun.