LEFT 4 DEAD
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on June 1, 2018
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to another episode of the Big Red Timemachine. You may have noticed that there was a slightly bigger gap between episodes than usual. This is due to the fact that I was in no shape to work after I decided to give Dennis' "masterpiece" a try. And yes, I know there was a huge sign at the door that said "Absolutely no entry... Yes, that means you, Sadhonker!", but in my defense. If you don't want me to enter a room, then don't put a case of beer in the middle of the floor... come to think of it, seeing as how my own beer was unreachable for me because, in some mysterious way, my refrigerator was welded shut; me being there just might have been my "dear" colleague's plan all along! Oh well, shame on me for falling for the old "ice cold case of beer in the middle of a square steel room with only one door and no windows" trick!
In any case; I'm back on my feet again and ready to rock the foundations of time and space! So, if you're ready for another trip in our awesome machine of time manipulation, than come with me. Follow our brave crew into the timemachine and strap yourselves in, because you're in for a wild, wild ride... All systems ready? Shotguns, uzis and pistols loaded? Health packs fully stocked? Well, I'd say we're ready for a zombie apocalypse, wouldn't you agree? Okay, 2008, here we come!
True, 2008 isn't that big a leap from the present, but it has one or two things that made this particular year truly worthwhile. One of these things was a cooperative first person shooter game that was developed and published by Valve and went (and still goes, by the way) by the name of Left 4 Dead! It was released for the PC and the Xbox 360 in November of 2008 and put gamers worldwide in the blood-soaked and guts-covered shoes of one of four survivors of a zombie apocalypse.
So, who are these unlikely heroes? Well, there's a Vietnam veteran named Bill, a female college student named Zoey, an IT-analyst named Louis and, last but certainly not least in my humble opinion, my personal favorite character: an outlaw biker named Francis. I don't know why, but I just instantly liked the guy. I mean, it's not like I own a bike, or even just know how to ride one. I think it was his "sunny" disposition that did the trick! By sheer luck, these four people are bound together and have to make their way out of the city, where it is supposed to be safe. and this is exactly where our adventure begins...
The game was comprised of five campaigns, each of which (except one episode called Crash Course) was divided into five chapters. The objective in each level was to reach the safe house without being torn to shreds by hordes of undead nasties. To this end, each player could equip their character with one or two pistols and either a shotgun or a machine gun. Apart from this, you could also pick up grenades and pipe bombs to do some real damage to a group of blood-starved zombies. To keep your health up, each player could take one med pack with them, which could be used when your health was getting low. Pain pills could be found throughout the levels and were used as a temporary pick-me-up when you had no med pack.
In Left 4 Dead, the emphasis lies on teamwork. If you wanted to stand a chance in hell to survive the undead ordeal, you needed to keep an eye on other players and always stay somewhat close together. Sure, you could charge in like a crazed bull, but that tactic only got you so far and your teammates would usually be scraping you off the floor in less time than it takes Donald Trump to tweet something utterly stupid! So, in order to survive, you had to do something mankind has never excelled in: work together as a team...
The four survivors start their journey on the roof of a dilapidated hospital. Luckily, some previous inhabitants of the ruined city managed to stockpile weapons, ammo and med packs on that exact same roof. Talk about luck, right? Well, yes... up to a certain point. Because the moment you leave the roof and start making your way through the zombie infested corridors of Mercy Hospital, you kind of get the feeling that there will never be enough bullets in the world in order to deal with the Walking Threat that roam the streets and buildings of the city. But if you work together and don't just start spraying valuable ammo around, you can make it to the next safe house, where you can restock and continue on to the next level in the episode.
Now, the developers could have just said: "Well, let's just do a few different regular zombies and just send in lots and lots of them"... which they also did by the way. But, luckily, they thought ahead and probably realized that, no matter how much fun killing zombies is, people like variety. I mean, it is said that variety is the spice of life... or in this case, death. So the good people at Valve came up with a few additional type of undead creatures to spice things up even more. Let's take a look at these characters, shall we?
There was an overly large character called a Boomer, which would run at you and simply cover you in foul smelling bile which, incidentally, also attracted a horde of "normal" undead. If you managed to kill the Boomer, you had to be sure that you weren't too close to it, because it would explode and you'd still end up all covered in bile. Next up, there was a character called a Hunter. This agile zombie could jump huge distances and pound on any unsuspecting survivor that stood in its path. Then you had a Smoker, a zombie that was enshrouded in smoke that used a tongue the length of which even Gene Simmons would be jealous about to ensnare its victims and pull them towards itself.
If size is more your style, that the Tank has to be your favorite bad guy. This muscle bound nightmare just stormed at you and you had to be damn sure to get out of the way quickly, because if it hit you, you'd sustain massive damage. Quite the opposite in build than the Tank, but just as deadly, was the Witch. This fragile looking creature always likes to hide in dark corners and leaves the survivors be, unless you "startle" her (i.e. shine a light directly in her face, come too close to her or, even worse, shoot at her), in which case she comes running after you and mangles you with her sharp claws. So you see, there's a lot more to Left 4 Dead than your average, run-of -the-mill zombies.
One of the things I like most about Left 4 Dead is that every episode is presented as a zombie blockbuster during the loading screen, complete with movie poster. Each episode is aptly named after the environment or situation the four characters are in during that particular part of the game. And while this is truly awesome, it actually isn't my most favorite part of Left 4 Dead. No sir, that title belongs to the simple fact that Left 4 Dead was meant to be played together! You could play through the campaign solo, in which case your teammates would be AI controlled, but it is much more fun to play with a couple of friends!
As I've mentioned earlier, the game features four survivors, which means that four players could join together and play through the entire campaign cooperatively. And, if four just doesn't do it for you, you could even go so far as to get eight people together and play online in a versus mode. Now, I've never actually played this mode myself, but I can only imagine the mayhem and carnage that would ensue.
All in all, Left 4 Dead is one of those games that just can't seem to do anything wrong. The graphics were awesome at the time, and still look decent today. The soundtrack fitted the tense moments perfectly and really took off when a horde came bearing down on you. As for the voice acting; the survivors themselves sounded like they looked, which is always a big plus in my book. The creature voice acting, however, really took things to a whole new level. But what did you expect when you ask Mike Patton and Fred Tatasciore to make the most disturbing sounds they can come up with? Yes, pure awesomness!
That is all the time we have for today, my dear friends. But, fret not, because in only two short weeks, my colleague Dennis will be right in this spot to take you on a brand new adventure through time and space. And now, the moment I have been waiting for... the weekend! I think I'm going to call it a day and treat myself to a nice cool beer... I mean, I've earned it! I personally filled up Dennis' infernal contraption with enough cement to cover a couple dozen football fields. And I did that all by using only a teaspoon, so you can imagine that it took quite a while...
Anyway, dear readers and fellow time travelers; I'm off, see you in two weeks for another thrilling episode of The Biiiiig Reeeeeed Tiiimemaaachiiiiineeeeee!
Where the hell did that echo come from...? Oh well, it's probably nothing! I think I'll justOHMYGODDENNISWHATHAVEYOUDONETHISTIME?!?!?!
LEFT 4 DEAD