Reviewed by Coach
Available for the Xbox 360 (reviewed here) and PC
The name’s Leslie Browne. Was always teased about that growing up. Other kids said I had a girl’s name. I knew even back then I had to learn to start whipping ass and do so quickly to get some respect. Here I am, decades later, and now legions of kids both young and old have come to know me simply as “Coach”. I like that. Cuts through the bullshit, you know? My grandma used to say, “You got to use what the Lord gave you, son.” Well, I was blessed with what I think is a fine name, strength, street smarts, and a size twelve shoe that will fit up anyone’s ass who gets in my way. Here in Louisiana I thought I’d seen it all. Gangs, drugs, racism, hurricanes that drowned half the fucking state because our then President was asleep at the wheel when he should have been wide awake. But this infection shit? This was new. Let me start at the beginning.
Things were going pretty all right in our community. The Midnight Riders, a local band, were in town, a bonafide Nascar legend was appearing at the mall, and everybody was buzzing about something. You gotta take the good with the bad though, and the bad started when the government showed up for some unknown reason. Men in these big nasty, full-body Tyvek suits. They were collecting samples of this green shit from the swamp. Being that there’s plenty of green shit out there to begin with, nobody paid ’em much mind.
Two weeks later I found myself Dead Center in a high-rise building visiting a friend. From out in the hall there was this commotion. Sounds of people running. Glass breaking. Screaming. I’ll never forget those first few shrieks of what had to be absolute terror. Shit like that has a way of gettin’ stuck in your mind. My man, Thelton, poked his head out to see what was going on. Then there was this thud. All I could see was T’s body sliding down toward the floor. Then these arms … they shot in, grabbed him, and pulled him out of the apartment. It happened so fast. I couldn’t react. I keep thinkin’ maybe if I’d moved a little sooner, then … fuck it. You can drive yourself crazy thinkin’ like that. Long story short, I knew I needed some kind of weapon before I went out there. Whether T was alive or dead, the motherfuckers who snatched him were about to have some thunder dropped down on their skulls. Now, me and Thelton? We ‘d spend hours working with the police to get guns off the streets, so I knew he didn’t have any firearms in the house, but that don’t mean I couldn’t strap myself the old fashioned way … I’m talking baseball bats, cricket bats, frying pans, crowbars, guitars, chainsaws, machetes, axes, and even motherfuckin’ Katana blades, which I just picked as my new best friend. Melee weapons for my money are the way to go. I like getting up close and personal. Let them see my face. Feel my vengeance.
I crept out into the hallway, and all I could see was blood. Puddles of it on the floor. Streaks of it on the walls. Entrails. Body parts. Whatever was going on, the shit got serious in a hurry. It was right about then that the building’s smoke alarms started going off. Great. From around the bend three people started running at me with weapons. I raised my sword and was about to swing first and ask questions later when this one this chick screamed at me, “Whoa! We’re not one of them!” One of them? What the fuck is one of them? Behind them this … this thing … it turned the corner. It was human, or at least it was at one time human. A tall nasty bitch with her jaw barely attached. Before any of us could say another word to each other, it reared back and spit this green shit at us. All of us jumped out the way. The thing’s spit was … Hell, I don’t know … it was like acid or some shit. It started sizzling on the walls and ground where it hit. Just then the same girl who warned me not to swing turned and shot this thing right in its motherfuckin’ head. “That’s one of them,”, she said. I was startin’ to understand pretty quickly.
These folks had a plan. With the fire building up down below, they told me we needed to get to the roof; apparently the shit was hittin’ the fan all over the city and rescue choppers were pickin’ people up from the tops of buildings. Hell, fifteen minutes ago I was watchin’ the Saints game with my best friend. It’s amazing how quickly everything can fall apart. Only one thing was clear: It was time to get our asses in gear.
After busting down the door to get to the roof, we saw the chopper. Wait. Let me correct myself. We saw the chopper … leaving. There we were. Four strangers standing on top of a burning building filled with some sort of murderous dead things with nowhere to go but down. By this time the hallways were littered with gore and zombies. These dumb-fucks were just attacking with reckless abandon. Me and the people in my group? We were slaying these things like a well oiled machine. Whatever came near us. Funny thing, though; remember them scientists I was telling you about? They were here, too, all dead like. Stupid sonsabitches couldn’t figure out that they couldn’t bite us through their helmets. One of them came right up on me, and with one swing of my sword I took off this dude’s arm and leg. He just toppled to the ground. From off his belt rolled a bottle of … well, let’s just call it green puke. The container cracked, and when this shit spilled out, all the zombies went haywire. They were attracted to it. They swarmed it. For us it was like open season. It’s like they didn’t care if we were even there. Guns were firing. My sword was swinging. Heads were flying off along with other limbs, bodies blown in half, ribs cracking with a sickening snap. We dispatched these motherfuckers in seconds, and that bought us some time to get to the elevator.
In retrospect, getting in the elevator of a burning building was probably not the best of ideas. We had to get out of this place before it turned into one big twenty-story tombstone. On the way down we did the polite Southern thing and introduced ourselves. With me was Nick, a small-time gambler who with his white suit and snide remarks reeked of arrogance. Rochelle was a news reporter who I’m guessing just got closer to her main story than she ever wanted to, and then there was Ellis, who looked and acted exactly like that Jason Stackhouse dude from “True Blood”. We were a motley crew for sure, but right now we were all that we had. On the way down the elevator started filling with smoke, but we made it. The doors opened and we could barely see through the flames. The zombies were there in full force. On fire and still trying to attack us.
After fighting through a horde of these biting-ass bastards, we made it to the streets and headed to the one place we knew we needed to get to if we had any chance of surviving … the gun shop. This place was like a redneck Toys ‘R Us. M-16s, explosive rounds, laser scopes for our guns, grenade launchers, AK-47s, sniper rifles, shotguns, and more. If it dealt death, it was here, along with some much needed medical supplies like defibrillator units to revive each other if one of us falls, pain pills, med-kits, etc.
Where to now was the question on our minds. Guns and meds were nice, but we needed someplace we could hole up. The mall seemed like a really good choice, but no sooner did we make that choice than we found out we weren’t alone in the shop. There was some crazy person in the back who locked down the path to the mall with explosives. We tried getting him to come with us, but he wouldn’t budge. He did have a proposition for us though — run to the supermarket and get him a six-pack and he’d blow the barrier so we could get through. We had three choices …
A – Knock down the door and beat the shit out of this guy on sheer principle and then hopefully figure out how to work his explosives rig so we could get through.
B – Head back outside and take the all too scenic route to the mall.
Or C – Run across the street, get this nut his drinks, and then take the straight shot to salvation.
We opted for C. The plan was simple. Get to the store, one of us grabs the sixer while the other three cover, and we’re home free. 190 gallons of blood and a mile of bodies later, the damned fool had his drinks, and we were in the promised land — a motherfuckin’ shopping mall. There was just one problem: This place was filled with the most ghastly things we’ve ever seen. We started naming them and understanding their attack patterns. It became clear it wasn’t just regular zombies we had to worry about.
First there were those tall-ass, slack-jawed Spitter things. Strange thing about them is that they were all females. Must be something in the DNA. Then there were these really fat fucks, both male and female; we called them Boomers. These things were puking up the shit that the scientists were carrying in their specimen jars. If even a drop of this shit hit you, you’d have a pack of zombies on you faster than a wealthy businessman could get laid in a Thai whorehouse. Hunters could crawl on walls and pounce on you out of nowhere. Smokers would grab you with what I think are their tongues and pull you to your doom. Then there are these little bastards called Jockeys who jump up on your shoulders and claw the hell out of you. The only good thing? They all die pretty easy. One well placed shot is usually enough to put any of them down. But then there are the others. Witches are spooky. You can usually hear them coming from a mile away because of their eerie crying. You can sneak by them if you shut off your flashlights and try not to startle them, but if you get their attention? It could be game over in a hurry. Then there are these huge inbred looking things. They come in two varieties that we call Chargers and Tanks. Chargers will grab you with their massive arms and pound you repeatedly into the ground, and Tanks? These things will just fuck you up — period.
If we didn’t have each other to rely on, we’d all be dead by now. There’s no two ways about it. Especially in this shit-pit of a mall. Promised Land, my fat ass. This place is wall-to-wall danger. We started feeling like the last four people in the world. That is, until we ran into this crazy teenager from my school. I failed this kid like three times already. All he wanted to do was play video games. No interest in sports. Nothing. He didn’t even want to be called by his real name. Everyone just referred to him as 360. With him in tow we finally made it to a safe room. We spent days there. 360 kept writing on the walls. He said he was leaving messages for anyone else who made it here when we’re gone. Every night this kid would tell us stories about the nightmares he was having. Switching sides with the living and the dead. Being the boss zombies and taking out other humans in what he called a versus mode. He’d prattle on about senseless shit like how re-spawn time takes too long, whatever that means. Then he’d talk about Survival. What if there was no way out? What if the dead kept coming? How long would we last? Good question. Personally I never want to find out. Somewhere out there there’s a cheeseburger with my name on it, and I’m gonna find that son of a bitch. Lastly he started in on something he called Scavenge mode in which we’d be trying to collect and use as many of the gas canisters scattered about our surroundings to maintain fuel and power in our generators, extending the amount of time we spend in this damned place, while the infected creatures try and stop us. Yeah, sounds like a whole lot of fuckin’ fun, don’t it?
Nick was saying when nobody’s looking we should throw this little blathering prick to the zombies — if only to save us the headache. I’m starting to agree. But that whole Scavenge thing got us thinking … We’ve seen quite a few gas cans in this place. That Nascar guy’s ride is just sitting there right on the first floor. What if we gas it up, crash through the front of this hell hole, and haul ass to try and catch up with the military? We talked about it and decided. That’s the way to go.
We got ourselves a long road ahead of us. The government has been set up a few miles from here ever since Katrina. There’s got to be help somewhere out there, and that was as good a place as any to start looking. To get there though we’re gonna have to cross the swamps, the city’s recreation area — which I’m sure just like that Zombieland movie is filled with dead clowns and rollercoasters, fight through a big-ass cemetery to get to the parish, and from the looks of the sky deal with another angry hurricane. Not to mention having to put up with more crazy ass quests from other people we run into along the way.
I don’t know if we’ll make it. We’re gonna try our hardest, goddamn it. But just in case we don’t, what you’re reading now is our legacy. How it all went down in our eyes on the front motherfuckin’ lines. This was no bird flu or H1N1 shit, it ain’t the after effects of some new kind of plagues, or even the result of radiation. This is something worse. Much worse. The dead are walking the earth, and if you take one second to stick your head in the sun, they’re gonna come up behind you and bite off your ass. Hopefully you can use this info. Watch your backs. Watch your friends’ backs. Pack heavy on the ammo. Grab anything you can swing. Move fast. Somebody’s got to survive.
This is Coach Leslie Browne. One of many who have been Left 4 Dead.
5 out of 5
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