Left 4 Dead
If you like first person shooters, killing zombies, and playing with your friends this is the game for you. This game wasn’t even on my radar of games to buy but because so many of my friends were getting it I decided to give it a try. Since getting it Call of Duty and Gears of War have been sitting on the shelf and this game has been getting the majority of my playing time.
The campaign of this game can be played single player with three A.I. controlled friends or the recommended four person co-op. You can play as one of four survivors; Francis who is a biker, Zoey is who in college and is into horror movies, Louis who works in his company’s IT department, or Bill who is a former Green Beret.
This game plays a little different than most games I’ve played in that there are four locations and you can play them in any order. These locations are titled Blood Harvest, No Mercy, Death Toll, and Dead Air. Your main goal is to get to the rescue spot without getting killed by the “Infected” zombies. Along the way there are several “safe houses” that you have to work to get to, these allow you to save and stock up on health and ammo. These items are also available along the way if you explore your surroundings enough.
The zombies come in a few different forms. There is the horde, also known as the “normal” zombies and then there are the special “Infected” zombies. All of the special infected have special attaches that you have to watch out for. The Boomer is the easiest to spot as he is about as much round as he is tall. Like the name hints, when you shoot him he blows up and if his blood gets on you it will alert the horde. Also if he throws up on you before you shoot him, then you will not be able to see and it will also alert the horde. The next special zombie is known as the Hunter. To me the Hunter is one of the most dangerous because he leaps out of nowhere and pushes you down on the ground. You can usually spot him as he is always crouching and tends to make a very shrill scream each time he leaps. The Gene Simmons version of the infected is the Smoker. This special infected has a frog like tongue that will grab you and pull you towards him. Unless your facing him, it takes a teammate to shoot him to get you free. Once killed the Smoker blows up leaving lots of… well, green smoke. One of the hardest special infected to kill is the Tank. The hulk/king kong looking infected will usually target one of the survivors. He will throw things at you like cars and it takes a lot of blast to take him down. You can easily hear him coming and feel the room or area that you are in shake because of him. Last but definitely not least is the witch. You can hear the witch crying before you ever get to her. If you spot her and don’t shine your flashlight on her, most of the time you can walk around her without disturbing her. However if you disturb her watch out as she is very fast and strong and will knock you down 99% of the time.
Teamwork is the name of the game in Left 4 Dead. Staying together and working together are very important if you want to make it past the harder levels. One nice thing about the game is that your teammates are highlighted so you can always see were they are. You can even see their outline through walls. This is great in case you do get separated. When you go down your outline with flash orange to let your teamates know that you need help but if you go down too much the screen will turn black and white which lets you know that if you get attacked one more time you will die. If you die early you will likely respawn in a closet and your teammates will have to find you and let you out. This is a very nice touch and give you some hope that you will return to the game.
Then there is the versus mode. This mode is 4 vs 4, with 4 people getting to be the survivors and 4 getting to play as the special infected and after the chapter swapping sides. The survivors get points for how well they do and if they die before reaching the safe house, they will get points for how far they made it. When playing as the infected you will randomly respawn as different infected but never as the witch. You will also be alerted when someone is about to take over as the Tank. When respawing as an infected you get to pick were you want to respawn but you can’t respawn in site of a survivor. As the infected you can see the survivors through walls every time they move or shoot but if the survivor stays still long enough they will disappear. This mode can only be played on Blood Harvest and No Mercy. It can be challenging and the group that works better together will usually win.
With all the great games coming out right now it may be easy to overlook Left 4 Dead but I have to tell you, you would really be missing out. This is one of the most fun games I’ve played all year. It has very high replay value and is a must buy. So go grab three friends and start kicking some zombie butt!
Additional Comments from Patrick Adams:
I agree Left 4 Dead is an amazing game. The replay value is very high and I believe that because there are so many different combinations of playing L4D this will cause people to come back to it time and time again. I am also very excited to see Left 4 Dead become part of the Valve family of awesome games and I hope we will see some DLC for L4D sometime in the near future. This is a franchise that can easily be expanded and I don’t think they will have a hard time making a sequal out of it as well. I can’t wait for some L4D2!