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Left 4 Dead 360 Review

05/10/2009 Thinking Scared Gamer Review
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Left 4 Dead 360

Left 4 Dead



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Left 4 Dead reminds us again how important intelligent enemies are in video games. Like Halo 3, it's the unplanned moments of zombie killing stress that make this such a stand out game. Bring on Left 4 Dead 2, and that DLC.

There's something terrifying about Zombies. Maybe because they are frantic eating machines. Maybe because they happen to be partial to human flesh. Or maybe it's the plodding unavoidable arrival of our own death that they mirror so powerfully. Either way we're swamped with Zombie games right now, with Left4Dead holding the crown.

If you've seen a Zombie film you'll already be used to the stereotypes on display as you enter the game. The black office worker, disgruntled war vet, young hip late twenties woman and the greasy biker. Each of them plays the same so choosing your survivor is is just personal preference - or who your friends bully you into playing as.

From this you may think Left4Dead is about Zombie, but you'd be wrong it's actually about friends. My friends and I were looking for something unique to play and Left4Dead fit right in. It's simply different to any other shooter because it's built from the ground up on co-op game play - and hence brings friends together.

The zombies are as personalised as the team tactics in Left 4 Dead.

I always play with the same bunch of friends and our tactics never change, even if they don't always work. We're always clutching the same weapons, taking the same routes and constantly striving to complete harder difficulties and achievements.

What I love about Left4Dead is the frantic and panicked situations that we find ourselves in. Watching as swarms of ghouls speed towards me will always get the adrenaline going. Having to make sure we don't get caught in bottleneck areas, firing wildly at the Zombies at making sure my teammates don't get caught by stray bullets, as it will hurt.

The zombies are as personalised as the team tactics in Left 4 Dead. The 'Zombies' are nothing compared to their mutated and disfigured cousins, the special infected. These 'Boomers' are swollen, bloated creatures that vomit over you and your party so the scent attracts the Zombies from all over - nice! 'Hunters' are agile, athletic beasts that leap vast distances and land on you, ripping you to shreds. 'Smokers' latch onto you with their massive tongues and pull you in to be mauled. 'Tanks' are, as the name suggests, tanks, solid slabs of muscle that charge at you launching sections of concrete at you. Finally, we have 'Witches', contorted, sobbing young women that charge you and tear you limb from limb if you so much as look at her.

The combination of great enemies and well designed levels is a fearful treat.

The combination of great enemies and well designed levels is a fearful treat, with each level ending in a glorious crescendo of panic and worry. Once you've fought your way through waves of undead and reached your destination, it's time to call the boat/plane/helicopter and prepare for your final stand.

We reach this finishing moment, everyone running full pelt by now and scrambling to ready themselves for the coming hoardes. Players are everywhere, frantically looking for explosive gas tanks to booby trapping walkways, grabbing molotov cocktails and pipe bombs, doing anything to make themselves feel safe. It's a real Helms Deep moment as the Urakia thump is hear that signals their approach.

But as ready as we could be, we soon realise we should have done much more. Then it starts and our careful plans go to pot as the game errupts into flaming chaos.

Left 4 Dead stands tall on moments like this because of its intelligent enemies. Everygame is different and everygame is unique. If you like your first game you know you'll like the next 100. For a video game this is a pretty magical formula.

We've been enjoying its frights and gore for many months now, and there's no letup in our enthusiasm to sit down for another evening.

Written by Alex Beech

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Alex Beech writes the Scared Gamer column.

"Games connect us to exhilaration in various ways. I love mine to scare me. Although the shock, horror and gore are all pretty unnerving, nothing comes close to the sweaty palms of playing games that take you to ridiculously high places - InFamous, Mirror's Edge and Uncharted to name a few."

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