Rescue vehicles are a common to both Left 4 Dead games. As the name indicates, these units provide the means by which Survivors escape at the end of individual campaign scenarios; reaching a rescue vehicle in order to escape the Infected and attain some place of safety is thus a generic campaign goal.
There are five Rescue Vehicles in Left 4 Dead and four in Left 4 Dead 2 . The Survivors access the vehicle either by using a radio or fulfilling a prescribed task, e.g. lowering a vehicle hoist in the Crash Course campaign. In all instances, the Survivors face a time delay and concomitant Crescendo Event before they can board the rescue vehicle and, even then, there is a chance that one or more of them will fall at the climax immediately preceding its departure.
List of Vehicle Appearances Edit
A helicopter called News Chopper 5 flies through the skies over the city of Fairfield and its pilot uses a loudspeaker to alert any Survivors left in the city that, if they can make their way to Mercy Hospital, he will pick them up and fly them to safety.
At the end of the No Mercy campaign, on reaching Mercy Hospital's roof, the Survivors summon News Chopper 5 using a radio. The pilot acknowledges their call, tells them "to prepare" and to call him back when they are ready. Thereupon, he announces that he is on his way and that his estimated time of arrival is a nominal seven or ten minutes. He will also state that this will probably be his "final run"―a legacy dialog from an alternative campaign ending. A little while later, he will give an updated arrival time and announce his final approach. Once in position hovering next to the helipad, he will shout out loud encouragements if the Survivors are tardy in boarding.
This helicopter and its pilot reappear at the start of the Crash Course campaign, except now the pilot is dead and the helicopter has crashed because Zoey had shot him in mid-flight as he had become infected either after having been bitten earlier or because the Survivors were themselves Green Flu carriers.
The helicopter's graphic is a mix of the Bell 204/205 and borrows its features from both models.
After News Chopper 5 crashes in a parking lot by some back alleyways, loading docks, and warehouses, the Survivors attempt to walk to Riverside. They stumble upon an extemporized armored delivery truck on a lift at a truck garage. (Note that some commentators incorrectly refer to it as a bus; Zoey specifically calls it a truck and earlier seen safe room graffiti drops a heavy clue as to its existence.)
The lift is powered by electricity, and to lower the truck, the Survivors need to activate a temperamental portable power generator. Unfortunately, the generator is noisy and attracts waves of Infected whilst the lift operates very slowly. Suffice to say the Survivors must defend themselves and nurse the generator before getting a chance to board the vehicle and ride out of the town towards Riverside.
This vehicle may be a reference to the movie Dawn of the Dead, wherein the movie characters build armored vehicles out of a shopping mall's shuttle buses. The Survivor's vehicle in-game is almost identical visually to those seen in the movie apart from minor differences, such as it being a delivery truck (not a bus) and having barbed fencing wire (not razor wire) strung around its roof.
Since Crash Course is a sequel DLC campaign, chronologically it fits between No Mercy and Death Toll. So evidently the truck took the Survivors along the road to Riverside until they were forced to abandon it due to either running out of gas or insurmountable obstacles on the road.
Outside of the small town of Riverside is a boathouse. On a table inside is a radio being hailed by John and Amanda Slater who own a small fishing vessel called the Saint Lidia II. The Slaters have been circling around the river while attempting to attract the attention of any survivors who are suitably armed. In return for protecting them, the Slaters offer to take any armed Survivors to a military stronghold up the river. Fortunately for Bill and the others, since the boathouse appears to have been used by the military as a base, it contains plenty of weapons (including a minigun), ammo, grenades and medkits. At the end of the Death Toll campaign, the Survivors answer the radio and make use of these weapons and supplies to defend the location until the Slaters arrive in their boat to take them off.
But all does not end well since, according to The Sacrifice comic, the Slaters kick the Survivors off the boat near Newburg. In the second chapter of The Sacrifice campaign entitled The Barge, a boat bearing the name Saint Lidia II and resembling that used in the Boathouse Finale is found wrecked. This is possibly either an Easter egg hinting at the Slater's fate or simply the convenient use of a pre-existing model.
At the beginning of the Dead Air campaign, a military C-130 Hercules plane flies over the city of Newburg heading to the Metro International Airport. The Survivors thereupon decide to get to the airport and seek escape by air evacuation. When the Survivors reach the airport, they find it has suffered tremendous damage due to its having been bombed by the military as part of a futile effort to either halt the Infection or kill large numbers of Infected. The only person on hand is the C-130 pilot who indicates that the aircraft's fuel tanks are empty, his crew chief (or ground crewman) has been killed whilst connecting up the fuel line from the tanker to the plane, and that he wants the Survivors to complete the re-fueling operation in return for a flight out of Newburg. Since they have no other choice, the Survivors answer the pilot using a radio found in the hands of a corpse (presumably the dead co-pilot) and agree to start up the fuel pump in order to tank up the plane. They accordingly start the pump and fight through waves of the Infected whilst waiting for the tank to fill. Yet again, however, ill-fortune dogs the Survivor's path since, according to The Sacrifice comic, the plane crashes some time after rescuing them.
In a rural area bordering a forest park, the U.S. Army had created an outpost at a farm to help Survivors escape the Infection. The military subsequently abandoned this facility but left behind a two-way radio broadcasting a rescue message on a tape loop. At the end of the Blood Harvest campaign, the Survivors reach the farmhouse and use the radio to call for rescue. Thereafter, they must hold off the horde while waiting for the U.S. Army to arrive. If successful, they board a Patria Pasi, which is a Finnish made APC (although this is rather strange considering this is the U.S. Army).
At the end of the third chapter of The Sacrifice comic, the Survivors, a doctor and two soldiers have to run a quarter mile to get to a train and start it. The Sacrifice campaign starts when the Survivors get off the train to find a boat to escape the mainland. This train seems to be a "EMD GP10," which is used by the U.S. Military in real life as well as in the game.
The Sacrifice's finale is radically different from those of earlier campaigns in that the Survivors are trying to reach a Rescue Vehicle operated by someone else, but to take command themselves of a fully stocked sailboat that will enable them to escape from a land largely overrun with Infected and tentatively held by a fear-ridden military intent on summarily executing suspected carriers.
Since the boat they have selected is blocked by a lift bridge, the Survivors must raise the bridge in order to allow the boat to pass under to the seaward side. However, the bridge is out of power and three portable generators must be activated in order supply power to the bridge's operating mechanism. Unfortunately, once all Survivors are on the bridge and the button is pushed to raise it, the noise causes an unstoppable horde of Common and Special Infected to be drawn to the vicinity. At this crucial juncture, a generator fails and one of the Survivors is obliged to sacrifice their life by running out to into the attacking midst to reactivate it―thereby ensuring the remaining Survivors' safety and escape.
The Survivors' plan is to escape from the mainland to a suitable island in the Florida Keys and a sailboat is specifically selected for this purpose (by Bill) so they are not dependent on an engine needing fuel supplies.
The boat was seen in the 3rd chapter of The Passing. The whole body of the boat is not an Easter Egg but the name of this boat is an Easter Egg. It is known as One 4 All.
The Atrium and The Port Edit
Abandoned by CEDA, the Survivors make their way to Liberty Mall where, in a way reminiscent of the new Scavenge Mode, they must bring gas cans to Jimmy Gibbs Junior's race car, a 1969 Dodge Charger stock car, until completely fueled to escape from the Infected overrun mall. However, in the next campaign (The Passing), the Survivors are unable to advance as a bridge needs to be lowered. Aided by Francis, Louis, and Zoey, the Survivors manage to lower the bridge and continue their journey. Once again, though their progress is stalled when they encounter a freeway full of empty and wrecked vehicles which forces them to abandon Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car and proceed on foot to Whispering Oaks Amusement Park where Dark Carnival takes place.
The Survivors must attract a helicopter through a combination of fireworks, light show, and a sound system. The pilot, however, ultimately turns out to be Infected, and turns mid-flight. This is similar to the events in Crash Course, as the pilot later turns out to be Infected and one of the Survivors (Nick, in this case) shoots the pilot, crash-landing them into the Swamp Fever campaign. The helicopter used for their 'escape' was a Civilian Version of the UH-1 Huey.
In The Plantation, the Survivors hold out Left 4 Dead-style (i.e. answering a radio, and waiting for the rescue vehicle), until a boat appears. The boat Lagniappe is piloted by an older Cajun man named Virgil. He takes the Survivors to safety and brings them down river to the town of Ducatel, where Hard Rain takes place, since his boat is running out of fuel. The Survivors must find diesel at the Ducatel gas station, and bring it back to the boat to continue their journey to New Orleans. The Survivors, having forgot the flare gun used to signal Virgil, must turn on a Burger Tank sign and wait for him to arrive.
The authorities' complete inability to contain and reverse the Infection on the mainland forces the military to evacuate surviving civilians to ships positioned off the coast, as it is believed that the Infected cannot swim through deep waters. As a final act, the military plan to bomb the bridge connecting the city to the evacuation area once the last civilians have been airlifted out. The four Survivors arrive at the danger side of the bridge just in time to alert the Army to their existence. To their relief, they are told that a special evacuation flight has been laid on for them, and that it is leaving from the other side of the bridge in ten minutes. The Survivors thus need to get over the partially destroyed and Infected-infested bridge as soon as they possibly can if they want to survive. Ultimately, the Survivors are rescued by a CH-53 Sea Stallion, which is a helicopter used commonly by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine corps. It cannot be specified to which branch of the Military because of the helicopters lack of identification. If it was a U.S.M.C. helicopter, it would have "Marines" written on the side and if it was U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force would be written on the side of the helicopter. After lifting off the platform, the helicopter flies out of camera view just as two U.S. Navy or possibly U.S. Marine F-18 super hornets destroy the bridge, causing it to fall into the river.
- Originally, Valve had the idea of News Chopper 5's pilot asking for a first aid kit, saying that he wasn't feeling well after he made an attempt to rescue some Survivors from the street, which he knew was a dangerous move. Shortly thereafter, the pilot would state he was very cold, begin coughing, turn and become Infected, more than likely from wounds caused during his street pickup, and the helicopter would crash, beginning the Death Toll campaign. However, they felt that this would be an unsatisfactory ending to the campaign, and cut it out, though they leave the preceding dialogue in the final version. Proof of this can be found on the YouTube video here. This ending seems to have been restored with the Crash Course campaign.
- Though supposedly the same helicopter throughout, News Chopper 5 changed slightly. In the intro (both for the game and No Mercy), it has a single searchlight in the middle of the body, but has two (one on each side) in-game. This was changed in the Game of the Year Edition re-release, where it now correctly sports one searchlight.
- There is a large poster advertising the Channel 5 News at the start of The Subway. It can be seen as the Survivors go down the stairs and into the first station's ticket booth area.
- The C-130 at the end of the Dead Air campaign is modeled after a South Korean Air Force C-130, rather than a U.S. Air Force aircraft. In game shot  Real life reference . Note the identical markings (ROKAF 55, 036) and the identical camouflage paint job.
- The license plate of the vehicle at the farmhouse finale is the same number as the Stormtrooper uniform (TK-421) Luke Skywalker wears in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, possibly a reference to the fact that Luke grew up on a farm, though it could be a coincidence.
- If a Survivor or Infected dies in a rescue vehicle, their body and equipment will float in the air while the rescue vehicle moves away.
- The helicopter that rescues the Survivors in Dark Carnival is the model from No Mercy repainted. However, when it is crashed at the beginning of Swamp Fever, it uses the same model as the crashed helicopter from Crash Course, without a repaint.
- The Survivors start out in a train in Swamp Fever. The actual helicopter they left in Dark Carnival can be seen behind the train, crashed.
- The pilot uses the same skin as the one in No Mercy.
- According to the first installment of The Sacrifice Comic, Francis states the results from being rescued:
- Helicopter crashed (No Mercy)
- Boat kicked them out and left them to die (Death Toll)
- Plane crashed (Dead Air)
- Currently, it seems that most flying vehicles in the Left 4 Dead universe seem to share the same fate of crashing at one point. However, most boats (seem to) turn out fine.
- Not even a Tank can punch Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car out of the way in the Dead Center campaign, seeming as it can usually punch cars at Survivors. This was obviously because this particular car was a rescue vehicle and the finale wouldn't work if the car could move like normal.
- Strangely, if you're inside the rescue vehicle (such as Virgil's boat and helicopters) but you are incapacitated and you're not helped up, the game will think you are dead in credits regardless of whether you were in the vehicle or not.
- If the Grenade Launcher is shot at either of the rescue vehicles, the grenade will simply bounce off.