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Left 4 Dead (Video Game)

Left 4 DeadReviewed by Francis

Available for the Xbox 360 (reviewed here) and PC

Distributed by Valve Software and EA Games


The name’s Francis and I was a biker in The Brotherhood. Northeastern Chapter out of Philly. Ain’t got a last name because you don’t need it. Fuck, I don’t suppose identity means a damn thing anymore since this world has gone to shit. A few days ago something started that blew the mind, man. What was it that guy said in the movie? “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.” Well, I’m guessing Big Red’s torture shack is at capacity because nowadays we got all kinds of fuckin’ zombies running roughshod over the human race.

It started slowly with a twitch here, a nudge there. At first they thought it was an electro-magnetic bullshit phenomenon, but it wasn’t long before these things were up and runnin’ at us like some kind of goddamn flesh lawnmowers. Everyone tried splittin’ but there was nowhere to go. I watched two of my best friends get torn apart and eaten right in front of me. Alone, I hit the road. All I had was some homemade molotovs and an M16 that I got from a devoured National Guardsman. Only his arm was left intact when I found him, his finger still on the trigger. I didn’t think he’d be needin’ it anymore.

A few days later I ran into another random group of folks: Bill a retired soldier, Zoey a feisty little chick with a sweet ass, and Louis, who ironically enough looked like that Ben dude from Night of the Living Dead. They were a comical bunch, but you know what? They was solid. It was all about watchin’ each other’s backs, ya know? They had a plan and, more importantly, ammo. My new best friends for the time being. Along the way we met one of those internet geeks. He was walkin’ around with a camera filmin’ everything. He didn’t say much and didn’t have a name. So far as we could tell, he went by a screen-name he used in those nerdy cyber-whatever rooms: Xbox360. We let him tag along because he stayed outta the way, and I figured if the shit really hit the fan, I could just toss ‘em to those undead bastards as a snack so we could escape.

Left 4 DeadBill said we hadda make it to the roof of Mercy Hospital. Apparently some folks were pickin’ people up via helicopter and takin’ ‘em to some airport for evac. That sounded good on paper and all, but unfortunately there was a fly in the ointment — to get there we’d have to fight through armies of the living dead. Weapons were scarce, but we would find them on the way along with random ammo stashes, all of which were left behind by some other poor sonsabitches who didn’t make it. We had pistols we could dual-wield that seemed to never run outta ammo, shotguns both manual and auto, Uzis, M16s, and of course our explosives cache — pipe bombs and molotovs. Every time we threw one and shit went up burnin’, old 360 would be gigglin’ and sayin’ shit like “Foy would be proud” or “Achievement unlocked! Achievement unlocked!”, whatever the hell that means. I think maybe this cluster-fuck was gettin’ to him. The chaos was gettin’ to all of us. I just cannot believe any of this voodoo bullshit. We’re all very tired.

One night we was out and firing away. Heads were explodin’. Limbs flyin’. It was always a fuckin’ sight to behold. The amount of carnage per second we was causin’ was enough to satisfy even the most blood-hungry of folks. Us? We became desensitized in a hurry. It was evisceration as usual for a long time as the zombies would be either standing, lying, or just hanging around until they saw us. Then they came en masse. Usually you could sneak or even run by most of them if you were quiet enough, but let’s say you fucked up and made a car alarm go off or set off a siren by going through a metal detector while packin’ heat. Those pus-brain bags of shit would hear it and run to the noise by the dozens.

Left 4 DeadGood thing there was four of us. For a bunch of strangers we were a pretty tight unit. We had to be if we wanted to survive. We’d heal each other with med-kits or pass each other pain pills when needed. If one of us fell, the other was always there to lend a hand or a leg up. Solid as a fuckin’ rock, man. We were together for days. Mercy Hospital was finally in sight. We could see the spotlights in the distance from the top of the building. The dead were out in full force, but now something was different. Joining these fucks were … were … I guess you could call them some kind of boss zombies. These bitches were crazy and tough as nails. We started naming them. There were Smokers, Hunters, Boomers, Witches, and Tanks.

Smokers, Hunters, and Boomers went down just as fast as the regular zombies, but they had abilities. For instance Hunters could pounce on you out of nowhere. They could climb buildings, walls, you name it. Smokers had tongues so long they could keep a house full of lesbos satisfied for years. Trouble is they weren’t looking to eat no pussy. At least not the way that I would. All these sonsabitches wanted was to lash their tongues out like a friggin’ frog and drag you to your doom. Even worse, once you shoot one of these things, they erupt into a noxious cloud of the worst ass stink imaginable. Very nasty stuff. Speaking of nasty … let me tell ya about the Boomers. These fat fucks must have spent entirely too much time feastin’ on friends ’cause they’re not even hungry anymore. All they do when they see you is puke on you. The stench of the undigested human remains in their bile acts like a dinner bell for the dead. If you get this shit on you, a horde of zombies will be on you faster than a Thai hooker on a paying customer. You gotta deal with them from a distance.

Left 4 DeadDistance is something you really wanna maintain when nearing a Witch. You can hear these undead women wailing away from several yards before contact. It’s best not to startle them. If you can sneak by, do it. You don’t want to engage these skanks. Then there’s the Tanks. We call ‘em that because of their size and how tough they are. If you have a tank on your ass, you better hope you and your friends have ammo enough to take them down. Together you can, but mano-a-mano? You ain’t got a Chinaman’s chance.

We fought and we bled all the way to the hospital making it to the helicopter. Unfortunately it went down before we got to the airport. Eventually we made it there too and flew in another plane for a while, but of course it went down. A boat was the next destination of choice and guess what? That shit didn’t pan out either. Now we’re sitting here boarded up in a friggin’ farmhouse of all things, again … waiting for evac. Something tells me we’re never gonna stop running. We’ve been through these scenarios countless times, and each one has played out differently. We’ve never had the same experience twice. It’s like there’s some sort of director behind-the-scenes runnin’ things and makin’ sure that we’re staying on our toes.

It’s exhausting. Sometimes at night when we’re tryin’ to rest, the nightmares come. Everything looks so surreal, like we’re running through a horror movie. The lighting is all kinds of spooky with shadows dancing everywhere, and I can swear there’s even an equally as intense musical score following us through our dreams. I keep waiting for George A. Romero to pop out and yell, “GOTCHA!” Those were my favorite movies growing up, and now I feel like I’m livin’ ‘em.

Left 4 DeadOne night Bill woke up screamin’. We thought he was sufferin’ from the ‘Nam shit again, but apparently the crazy old bastard had a dream that we switched sides. I guess we got tired of runnin’ and became boss zombies. He said we were workin’ together as a team like usual, but this time we was takin’ out other humans using the abilities I described above. Even the 360 kid was jarred by this because he immediately spouted off about how this was a good alternative to the usual co-op campaign mode. He thinks everythin’ is a goddamn game.

Along the way in the places we’d been, we saw all kinds of things. Written on the walls of our safe rooms is the scrawling of the folks who was here before us. This is how we learned about what was goin’ on. Through words in graffiti epitaphs. That’s why I’m writin’ all this down for you. So you know what’s out there. So you’re prepared to fight and kill what lies ahead. I don’t know what’s gonna happen or if we’re even gonna survive, but I’ll tell you this … as a lifelong horror fan I dreamt about having an experience like this. It’s like playin’ through your favorite movies over and over again. Killin’ these fucks never gets old. Grab anyone you can find. Build your own unit and start decoratin’ the walls of these skyscraping tombstones with as much blood and brain matter as possible. If you’re a sick fuck like me, you’ll be enjoying yourself.

Gotta run. The dead are poundin’ down the doors. They know we’re here. My friends need me, and we’re set to blow the piss outta these dumb fucks. Life as we know it is at an end. The living? We’re thieves and we’re bad guys. That’s exactly what we are. We gotta find our own way. Guess maybe I’ll see you on the battlefield — hopefully alive. If not, I can promise you two things: one — I’ll kill you quick with a well placed head-shot … and two — I’ll be laughin’ the whole fuckin’ time.

Game Features

  • Developer’s commentary on the “No Mercy” scenario
  • Two-player co-op split screen offline
  • Four-player co-op online
  • Eight-player versus mode online
  • Survival mode
  • Achievements

    Game:
    “>“>“>“>“>

    5 out of 5

    Discuss Left 4 Dead in the Dread Central forums!

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    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • rjschwarz

      Good review, they should include that with the game.

      One thing you should add is that after each crash you lost all you’re good weapons and any saved up equipment. That you can hold an unlimited amount of ammo but only one pipe bomb at a time. Yeah I understand for game balance but I want more pipe bombs.

      I’d also love anther special, and INFECTED zombie. Looks mostly normal but he bites you instead of kicking and punching. The bite would slowly turn you into a zombie if you didn’t find Antibiotics or something. That would be awesome, having to keep an eye on your companions in case they turned on you, and not turned in the Foy moltov throwing way.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Thanks RJ. It was a lot of fun to write!

    • Fireflyfan

      Great review…though not to be too much of a geek but Francis actually knew Bill before the outbreak. Still awesome review though! You should try your hand at novels, you have got some talent there creepy.

      • Uncle Creepy

        Hey I had to take some liberties to get the review to work ya know? My story is a prequel! Ok, I’m lying I didn’t have a clue about that Francis and Bill thing! LOL

        Thanks for the compliments, man. As for writing novels … I don’t think I could ever go there. Just don’t have that kind of talent.

        I’m really stoked this has been so well received. I really thought it was gonna kind of tank and I’d be forced to write … “the normal review”.

        Cheers!

    • Impure159

      Perfect review Creepy.

    • Demonmonkey

      That was one of the best reviews i’ve ever read (and i found it very informative on how good you thought the game was without going for the straight-forward ‘me like game’). It kept me chuckling through my lunch break and i’ll reread it over again. And since there is so much love for the game, its gotta be something i pick up ASAP.

      I knew good ol’Creepy had to be the author, no one else can come with so much dirty vulgarity that feels just so good (the house full of lesbos line especially, i almost choked on my pepsi).

      Now you guys need to throw your gamertags out there so many of your dedicated readers can live the dream of playing with you…. and shooting Butane in the head.

      What?

      • Uncle Creepy

        Thanks man! All the kind words are uber-appreciated. I’m really happy the style of this review paid off. People were either going to like and get it, or just think I’m a douchebag. Which I still am, but still …

        Gamer tag: Uncle Creepy

    • PrairieGhost

      Kick ass review Creepy. Best game ever!

    • plastic_society

      Just finally got this yesterday and what do I find today? This review, which captures the experience perfectly. Good job.

    • Rottenjesus

      Excellent piece on a most excellent game, Creepy. I was playing this late last night (after it finally downloaded) and after the first zombie attack I was in love. The atmosphere and the tension is so damn perfect it’s unbelievable.

      I can’t wait till tonight to play it some more.

    • Uncle Creepy

      Thanks guys. That really means a lot to me. Doing the review like this was a real stretch and lots more complicated that I thought it would be, but I love the game so much I really wanted to do something kind of special for it, ya know?

      • Johnny Butane

        Awwwwwwww….

        Hey, if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?

    • Gus Bjork

      Man, I wish I had a system to play this. That was a great review, and like Frank notes we know it’s good. The review makes it sound fun.

      • RingoJ

        Do what I do, go visit your Ex-Bawks having friends more often.

        • Gus Bjork

          :) Out with a friend last night and out of the blue he asked me if I knew any good xbox games if I wanted to come over and play.

    • frank_dracman

      We all know it’s a good game by now, so while this review isn’t the most informative, it is by far the most entertaining I’ve read.
      Good job, sir.

    • doubleh55

      Creative yes, but is there an actual review of the game on this site somewhere?

      • Uncle Creepy

        Honestly … Even though it’s in a narrative context I told you just about everything you need to know about the game from the graphics and music, to the multiplayer aspects, to the creature types and what they do, to the types of weapons you get.

      • Mr. Dark

        GAME GOOD.

        YOU GO BUY NOW.

        There’s a review for ya.

        (EDIT: This was directed at the gent who requested an ‘actual’ review.)

        Mr. Dark
        Part-Time Dread Central Gaming Guy
        Full-Time Freelance Smartass

    • Didn’t See It Coming

      That really was an incredibly original review. Kudos.

    • The Buz

      That was a great fucking review.