Advancing Through the Lab

Recently my character has gotten strong enough that I’ve decided to go looting a lab. So far I’ve been able to flawlessly cut down the endless hordes of zombies with ease, all except an armored zombie that I just kite.

The only problem I’ve encountered is that I can’t find how to progress. I’ve grabbed all the loot I’ve deemed worthy of my time in the area I have access to, but I’m locked off from the “subway station” to the rest of the lab by a metal door with a broken card reader. I can’t pick the lock, so am I just stuck only being able to access this small portion of the lab?

Assuming that you didn’t come in from the subway, beyond this door is actually just a regular subway, not more of the lab (unless that changed or I misunderstood your statement).

You can open that steel door in multiple ways. The easiest one would probably be to use an acetylene torch on it to cut it open.
You can also blast it open with explosives.
You can smash it open with enough strength and some tools or a Sonic Resonator CBM.
You can dig through the wall on its side with a pickaxe or a drill.
And you might be able to send an NPC to loot the place, as this opens all doors (last I checked the code), but I’m not sure if that is fully implemented yet or how to do that.

If that’s just a subway, then this lab is tiny. Only five by five tiles on the map, and no way to go lower, which I assume is possible based on what I’ve read.

There are two kinds of labs: Labs and Science Labs:

  • The Lab is 5*5 single level things with ridiculous amounts of zombies as well as similar amounts of “stuff”. While the zombie hordes may occasionally drop something of interest, the rest of the stuff is rather mundane. Too much work to clear the place and too much work to sift through the “stuff” to possibly find something of actual interest. Labs may have access to a subway that leads to other labs (note that the rails block vehicle movement, so building one down there requires a lot of rail smashing every time the tunnel changes direction, unless there’s a way to actually use the rails [which will then be smashed by kevlar hulks coming from the labls]). I’ve read that these labs may also be connected to a regular subway network.
  • Science Lab: Typically (?) sprawling irregular things that may have several levels (but can have only one). These have a lot thinner zombie population and contains more interesting “stuff”, although much is of the same chemical kind you’d find in Labs. Science Labs have a “finale” room that supposedly is “special”. While it might be, it can also just be somewhat useful stuff you can find elsewhere in the lab. Science labs also tend to have autodocs and, much rarer, the elusive quest blocking centrifuge in a working state. Science Labs can have rail connections as well, although the ones I’ve see have been deeper than the subway.

Both kinds of labs can contain various books, although I think the mutation oriented ones are more common in Science Labs, and I can’t swear I’ve found any in a Lab.


As PALU wrote, there are two types of lab. If yours had a inner courtyard, glass walls and a elevator to access the lab instead of stairs, than it’s most certainly the “basic” one which is just a 5 by 5 block.

I might also have expressd myself misleading in my first statement. The subway can indeed lead to other labs, but the lab that you are currently in ends in the subway. If you get to an other lab, it will require a new keycard to access, unless the cardreader is broken again.

But they - to my understanding - don’t have a keycard reader blocking the access to the railways.

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I didn’t mean to suggest it might be a science lab subway, just point out that Science Labs can have those as well.

I don’t remember if the ones I’ve seen had card readers or not, as I’ve got more than enough cards, so at worst it’s a comparably simple action to go back up to the vehicle and fetch one.

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Ok, thank you everyone! It’s a bit disappointing that I did all that work for not much reward. It was definitely one of the basic labs as I didn’t find anything super useful. Is there a way to tell the difference between the types of labs from above ground?

It’s actually very simple: Look at the overland map and move the cursor to the lab. The basic ones are called Lab, while the Science Labs are called Science Lab.

Apart from that, I think the stairs vs elevator difference allows you to tell them apart early on, if you don’t use the map for some reason.

Oh that’s great! Thanks for the tips!