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In this variation and game type, the player(s) who start the match as a zombie are more powerful than those they kill and infect. The Alpha Zombie has Active camouflage, higher speed and lower gravity (higher jumping height) than other zombies. All of the Alpha Zombie's traits are able to be changed in the edit gametype section of the Custom Games pregame lobby, including how many points a player gains for slaying an Alpha Zombie.
The Alpha Zombie usually starts with augmented attributes, including increased speed, and height attained by jumping. Alpha Zombies usually start with the Gravity Hammer (mostly in Halo 3) as well as the Energy Sword. Depending on the speed given to the Alpha Zombie, the player should accordingly use either the hammer for high speed rates, or energy sword for average speed rates. Alpha Zombies also should come with shields or added resistance to damage, but zombies share the same blatant weakness to headshots, so strafing is recommended when approaching a target. Crouch walking is also a recommended tactic for zombies, since it is hard for a player to kill an opponent that attacks them at the last possible second.
Either rush to the nearest vehicle, recommended ones being the Warthog variants or the Prowler (not in Halo: Reach), or grab a variety of easy to aim headshot weapons, notable ones being the Battle Rifle and Magnum. Zombies usually try to surround or rush a target when encountering one, so keeping yourself boxed in as to force the zombies to rush in a straight line is also a recommended tactic. Always try to stick in groups, as going solo is the most likely player to be slain in the end. Depending on the damage resistance of the zombies, the Sentinel Beam and Assault rifle could also prove useful in these type of battles, although not as recommended as the Battle rifle, Carbine, and Magnum can dispose of zombies while wasting as little ammo as possible.
- Despite the variant of Infection, the first zombie is usually referred to as the Alpha Zombie.
- A variant of Alpha Zombie is Fat Kid, where players try out outrun the Fat Kid, an incredibly tough zombie with extreme damage output, high shields and damage resistance at the cost of sluggish speed, by navigating through a large obstacle course or going into a fortified base. The Fat Kid is notable, like all invincible players, to be vulnerable to the instant kill assassination. On the variants where the "Fat Kid" is not invincible, needlers are often used as they often hurl the zombie back into a corner where no cover can be taken. This is often viewed as "noobish." This is a user created variant.
- Also note that the regular zombies are generally very weak and a Battle rifle is one of the most effective weapons against them, also effective are Shotguns, Maulers, SMGs, Assault rifles, Magnums, Sniper Rifles, Beam Rifles and the Machine Gun Turret. Weapons effective against the non invincible Fatboy include Plasma Cannons, Rocket launchers, Spartan Lasers, Plasma Pistols, Plasma Rifles, Brute Shots, Sniper Rifles, Beam Rifles and Vehicles such as Warthogs, Wraiths, and Scorpions.
- It is generally possible to change the setting for alpha zombie on most infection gametypes.
- The alpha zombie cannot, in general, use vehicles. If you are a human, try to outrun the zombie in a vehicle such as a Warthog.
- The concept was recycled into Halo 4 in the form of Alpha Flood.