Hunter is a special infected from both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.
Left 4 Dead Appearance
The Hunter appears in a faded blue hooded sweatshirt and dark brown sweatpants. His hood is always pulled down and over his face which on close inspection reveals that the skin around his eyes has either been clawed off or has mortified as a result of the infection.
Hunter is primarily identified by his distinctive and intimidating growl or the screams and snarls he emits upon sighting a Survivor or whilst attacking. Hunter is the only Special Infected who does not make any noise while in a passive state.
Extent of Mutations
Hunter is the least visibly mutated Special Infected and superficially resembles a Common Infected. It has yet to be explained how Hunter's mutations onset, whether it be genetic, biochemical, or a Hunter-specific strain of the virus, but the mutations seem to be gender-linked as only male Hunters have been observed.Hunter's reaction to the Infection has granted him an increase in lower-body strength.
While not creating massive muscle growth like the Tank, this added strength has given Hunter the ability to repeatedly jump and pounce from long distances and rapidly scale the sides of buildings with ease as well as toughen its legs in order to withstand the great distances and heights it can achieve. Decreased pain response visible in all sufferers of the Infection also results in the Hunter not suffering from perpetual lactic acid build up from muscle overexertion or impact damage after experiencing a large fall.
At the same time, there seems to be some sort of muscle delay after an initial attack (post-attack recharge) where Hunter is not able to move as swiftly. One of the most notable physical observations is that Hunter lacks eyes. Whether this is self-inflicted, a by-product of the Infection, or both, is unknown.
The extent of damage to Hunter's sight suggests his other senses are far more developed than those of typical Infected, allowing him to hunt with far greater efficiency. It is possible that the screeching noises he makes and the growling are his own echolocation method. He might also use scent to tell the Survivors apart from Infected. As with the other Special Infected, he is not distracted by such high-frequency noises as Pipe bombs or car alarms going off. Hunters also appear to be the only Infected with a self-defense reflex: when shot at a distance and knowing it cannot pounce, the Hunter will sometimes jump away into safety
Left 4 Dead 2 Appearance
As with all the original Special Infected (excluding the Witch who kept her original model), Hunter received a change of appearance in Left 4 Dead 2. Parts of his outfit have been ripped away, revealing his skin heavily disfigured by clusters of boils and scratches, similar to that of the Smoker. His left wrist remains wrapped in tape along with fragments of his sleeves, while his right hand is bare with a visible band of heavily bruised flesh where the duct tape would have been, possibly from muscle growth around the tightly wrapped tape.
He has lost his shoes, and his feet seem to be covered in a mixture of mud and blood. His hoodie now has a zipper, has a wider hood, and much more blood spattered upon it. His face is now entirely obscured in the shadow of his hood, showing only the bottom half of his face. His fingernails have grown in length and thickness, giving his hands a closer resemblance to animal claws.
Hunter's signifying scream of seeing a Survivor is different, higher in pitch than the previous version; however, both of his original screams are still featured in Left 4 Dead 2. His screams become louder and more high-pitched as he nears.
It seems likely that most of the differences in the Hunter's appearance in Left 4 Dead 2 were caused by Hunter himself, clawing at its restrictive taping and clothes in an effort to remove them. However, the growth of his nails, his amplified scream, and the increase of deformation upon his skin does suggest that the Hunter has mutated further from his manifestation in Left 4 Dead.A new graphical feature in Left 4 Dead 2's Hunter is that it can be covered in blood due to prolonged pouncing. As it continuously pounces one Survivor on the ground, its body can be covered in blood (see the image in the gallery below).
Hunter has two attacks: a claw attack, which does 10 damage on Normal and 6 damage on Versus Mode, and a pouncing attack, which pins down a helpless Survivor while the Hunter claws at them dealing damage every 0.5 seconds. The Hunter will not stop until he has killed the Survivor, been killed itself, or shoved off by another Survivor or an explosion. The actual pounce itself will also cause damage if the Hunter manages to pounce upon the Survivor from a great enough distance. The maximum pounce damage that can be caused is 25, which makes it the most powerful individual attack in the game which can be caused by a playable non-Tank Infected.
TacticsFast and agile, this Special Infected will growl and scream to inform you of his presence. The Hunter is often used as a distraction by both AI and human Infected. Solo players fare especially badly against Hunters since their attack is often much harder to avoid than the tongue of a Smoker or the bile of a Boomer.
Without timely intervention, Hunters kill very quickly. While Hunters are hurt by being on fire and will eventually die, any Survivor pounced on by a flaming Hunter will suffer much more damage from the attack (as of an update, only dynamic fire sources such as those created by the molotov and gas cans add to the damage bonus). Although in Left 4 Dead 2, a flaming Hunter will no longer do any extra damage. It is best to wait until a Survivor falls behind because they are wounded or just generally falling behind so you can pounce them and deal out maximum damage. Also, when you see a high building or wall, get on it and try to get high point pounces.