Clickers are the third stage of the infected in The Last of Us, The Last of Us Part II, and Left Behind. They take roughly a year to reach this stage of infection after exposure to the Cordyceps brain infection. They have had prolonged exposure to the fungus, and now possess strength that significantly surpasses the average human.
Clickers appear less human than runners and stalkers, with faces that are completely skewed and scarred by fungus developed from their infected brains. Clickers claw and scratch the fungal growth on their eyes as if trying to get rid of their blindness, especially when immobile. The growth forms large patches of scale-like tissue that glow in the dark. The patches are seemingly an earlier stage of the fungal infection growing out of their hosts' bodies. These fungal plates have adapted to keep the host alive and able to spread. In fact, a direct shot to the face with a powerful weapon such as a revolver will only break off a chunk of the mold, leaving the clicker's brain unharmed but exposing the victim's face and rendering them able to see once again (until the fungus regrows). This makes them deadlier, but at the price of being completely blind due to fungal infection taking over their face.
However, clickers are able to maneuver through areas by utilizing echolocation, which produces noticeable clicking and screeching noises to locate sources of sound, hence their name. Like runners, clickers can sometimes be found in a passive state.
Clickers are dangerous and much more aggressive than runners, and like stalkers, they no longer resist the fungus because their humanity has been completely eliminated. They seem to have enhanced strength, as they can overwhelm and kill Joel if grappled and always succeed if attacking other humans, like the group at the mountain plaza.
Clickers also possess high intelligence, never leaving an area when they have heard prey run by them, and will constantly check every available nook and cranny to locate the source of the sound with little regard to giving up on the task at hand. However, their echolocation is crude compared to creatures like bats, as they will not notice that something is alive or moving unless it is directly in front of them. This supports the assumption of the front being where the clicks are sounded, as their face plates are shaped like a , directing it straight ahead of them, but not all around.
When provoked, a clicker will immediately enter into a "berserk mode," aggressively flailing its arms and 'roaring'. At this point, if a survivor has been "spotted" by a clicker, the clicker will attack head-on and will not flinch when shot, unless the player is using high-powered rounds.
Punching a clicker with bare hands is ineffective; after three punches, the player will not have time to back away and will be instantly grappled by the clicker. This is especially if the clicker is in berserk mode, where it overrides the player's punch. It is recommended that the player use a melee weapon if they choose this form of attack. If not, the ideal weapons to use are the shotgun, El Diablo and the flamethrower because they, when used effectively, guarantee a kill.
In all games, it is easy to outrun a clicker, as their crude echolocation has a short range and, unlike runners or stalkers, they move at a moderate pace. The Cannibals realized this, avoiding guaranteed defeat in close combat and attacking with firearms from a distance, where they were safer. When far enough away or behind cover, the clicker will get confused and click in all directions. This makes them easy to avoid as the player simply has to crouch behind cover. The echolocation only ranges a few feet, unless the player fires a gun.
In The Last of Us, if the player is grappled by a clicker, they can save their life if they have a shiv and at least level 1 of the shiv master skill, unless the player is playing on easy mode, where they already have the skill. If not, clickers will bite the player, resulting in a game over. It is possible to avoid or distract clickers instead of fighting them directly by throwing bottles or bricks. Therefore, keeping one's distance is preferable to melee combat against clickers.
In Left Behind, Ellie can easily dispatch unaware clickers from the front with her switchblade by standing still and waiting for them to walk toward her. This also works if they are investigating the sound of a thrown bottle.
If the player wants to use stealth, clickers can be killed by either using a shiv, bow and arrow or crossbow. However, using arrows to kill a clicker requires a headshot or two chest shots, which will alert them, so unless done fast enough, the player will be detected. Further, arrows typically break when piercing a clicker's fungal armor. Players can also shiv clickers from the front, provided they are in their passive state. Clickers that are active can only be shivved safely while the player is behind them, although having shiv master unlocked allows a player to shiv them if grappled. Crossbow arrows are also more durable, so the likelihood of regaining the arrow is greater with this weapon.
In Part II, on difficulties below Survivor, the player is now able to push clickers away to survive their bite attack. The duration at which the player can hold back a clicker is determined by the amount of health they have remaining which is depleted during the struggle. When playing as Ellie, the player need not worry about losing materials to craft a shiv because her Switchblade allows for infinite usage. However, to counter this, when playing as Abby Anderson, one can push clickers away if they get close and have a melee weapon to hit them with. Upgrading melee weapons also adds a piercing effect for more effective damage in combat. Clickers now have a brief period of rapid clicks to tell the player that they are visible through the clicker's echolocation if the player is nearby or in front of them. Also the player can push a grappled runner or human enemy towards a clicker and the clicker will bite it to death.
If stunned with a brick first, the player can kill clickers with melee attacks. If done successfully, the player can sprint towards them and finish them off with a running melee strike; a running punch combo can also work, but is riskier. This method can be attempted approaching the clicker from the front, though the back is usually the safer option. They can also kill a clicker with just a 3-hit combo from the brick, but this can be dangerous if done when the clicker is in berserk mode. While rare, it is also possible to kill the clicker when it grabs an AI partner using on one's fists.
Clickers are extremely susceptible to Molotov cocktails and groups of clickers can be taken down by them. When encountering multiple clickers, simply throw a Molotov into the middle of the area. Upon hearing the sound of the bottle breaking, all clickers will bee-line for the noise and, in the process, walk right into the flames, burning themselves to death.
- In-game clickers jog when chasing Joel or an AI. However, in the cinematics I need a car and Name's David, clickers do sprint.
- Clickers also sprinted in the PGW trailer for The Last of Us Part II as well.
- In Dontnod Entertainment's video game Life Is Strange 2, the protagonist Sean Diaz jokingly makes clicker noises to try to scare his brother Daniel, after pointing out that a mushroom tree looks like a clicker.
- In Hypixel, one of the most popular Minecraft multiplayer server, there is a game mode known as "Infection" where an infected player has a pixelated skin almost resembling the clicker.
- In Techland's video game Dying Light, there is an Easter egg in which a zombie with its head shaped like a clicker comes out of an elevator. In addition, it will drop an item called "Clicker" when killed.
- In the cartoon The Amazing World of Gumball, the episode "The Parasite" features a clicker when Gumball merges with Darwin in order to warn Anais. He also mentions that he takes the zombie's form from a video game.
- Clickers do not click the same way as in previous beta demos where it would sound more like constant tapping of the tongue. In the final game clickers click by waves of croaking rather than constant tapping.
- A clicker appears near the end of PlayStation's Greatness Awaits trailer].
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