Mr. Towelhead has a soft spot in his heart for the horror genre. Tonight we dive into the zombie apocalypse in co-op video game format. That is, the Left 4 Dead franchise. All images are copyright of Valve Corporation used to educate on one of the most entertaining video games and one of the worst sequels of all times.

Mr. Towelhead reviews:

left 4 dead_cover

LEFT 4 DEAD

Left 4 Dead was developed by Turtle Rock Studios, which was bought by Valve Corporation bought during development, the same company (Valve) published the game in 2008. The game uses Valve’s engine: Source. The game was designed by Mike Booth. The genre is first-person-shooter zombie-apocalypse action. First-person-shooter games, like the name implies, have the player in first person view mode, with the pistol (or whatever weapon) in view. These games like the classics Doom or Wolfenstein rely on the weapon in front, it’s effect and the countless minions rushing towards you. A zombie game, well that’s really self explanatory.

CONCEPT

So the basic idea is co-op (cooperation) you and three others have to rush from safe point A to safe point B amidst crowds of infected humans. The game is composed of “levels” that you have to survive while trying to make it to an extraction point. The whole game’s supposed to be a linear campaign, but instead you have to play through several “different” campaigns that feel like separate stories.

On the other hand, having yourself and three others, friends or computer controlled characters, so called Bots [Robots] or AIs [Artificial Intelligence]. sounds easy. BUT. Not only will you encounter “regular” infected (zombies) but special ones that have the ability to immobilise a single target while doing damage, and so you must rely on your partners to survive and you must also go save you defenseless partners if you don’t want to be one man down (and that can go very quickly).

Quick! You have to save Francis!

l4d_incap

Or risk a man down :/

In one conceptual word: Co-op to the best.

STORY

The story is simple (or better said, sadly non-existant). There is a “Green Flu” or something. People get infected and infect others. Cut to a few months after and you have the zombie apocalypse plus superior infected-life-forms. You are one of four survivors who is immune and now you have to survive. Have fun.

The original survivors!

l4d_survivors

Francis, Bill, Zoey & Louis just ooze with character despite the fact that we get no background story on them. All thanks to their voice acting Vince Valenzuela (Francis) Jim French (Bill) Jen Taylor (Zoey) and Earl Alexander (Louis).

On the VERY negative side, the characters are so iconic that their lack of background story, or any attempt at trying to tell a story hurts in your heart as you’ll fall in love with the four.

GAMEPLAY

It’s a first person shooter that’ll let you have an infinite ammo pistol, a better weapon with limited ammo, and other items to help you survive, like health pacs and improvised grenades. That’s it. There is a very limited variety in enemies and items, but what does make the Left 4 Dead experience is the cooperation.

Chaos (and fun for that matter) can easily overcome you as waves of infected rush into you while special infected can pull up single survivors away from the rest, pound them to the floor defenseless and so on. Also items and enemies are randomly generated on each level, so the experience is slightly different each time.

While this sounds fairly standard Left 4 Dead adds a few naughty twists to the whole. So called Horde-Events will randomly happen every so often, if so infected from all over the place will rush against you. Crescendo-Events are situations where you’ll have to do something specific to advance, something causing noise and calling endless hordes towards you. And finally there are two “über infected” creature types that are also randomly generated through the levels (through the very long and nasty levels).

Holly molly guacamolly! Introducing the Tank!

l4d_tank

On the negative, the game doesn’t check where you have already passed by, so the longer it takes you to finish a level, basically the hardest it becomes. This discourages exploration, and punishes you for doing it (bad).

LEVELS

All campaigns are separate from each other. While they are flair-wise supposed to “chronological” each campaign has the same difficulty curve, final fight while waiting for evac and ending. Each level finishes at a safe room you have to reach, and each campaign ends with a survival countdown… Roll credits. Its very unimaginative but fairly o.k. for such a simple, yet complex game of 2008 with incredible graphics and a f* ton of blood and gore.

SOUNDS

The dialogues, screams and pants of the survivors, including their witty dialogues are incredibly well done and fitting of their physics. Yes, their bodies because of their background story you get nothing.

The sounds of the infected are incredibly creepy and befitting their abilities. You’ll be disgusted by the horrible sounds of even the “regular” infected (which are varied and mood depending) and you’ll be aware of what kind of special infected are around you from their signature moves, sounds and behavior.

SEQUEL

There is a sequel, which essentially is two things.

1. Exactly the same game as number 1 with better graphics, “different” characters. And…

2. Picture the developers of the first game realise that Left 4 Dead was a success and that the game gathered a huge fan following. Now picture the developers taking a CD-sized SHIT on a game box and labeled it Left 4 Dead 2.

That’s what you’ll find on stores for the sequel, and that’s all there is to it.

VERDICT

l4d_story

The game is good and what not. But there is more story in the writings on the wall, than on the game per se. :S

If you are into zombie games, first-person-shooters or if you simply are looking for a very TENSE gaming experience (and you like blood n gore) this game is definitely for you. If that’s not so much your thing you may not like it as you will be killing human-looking zombies by the thousands on each campaign. :S

Mr. Towelhead is disgusted!

9 / 10

Left 4 Dead 1 is Awesome (in my very naughty personal opinion). Unfortunately Valve (the publisher) thought they could easily abuse the fans with the useless sequel and other DLCs [downloadable contents]. Basically blood-sucking money out of our love for the franchise and giving us a middle-finger shaped excrement in return.

Mr. Towelhead is disappoint in Left 4 Dead 2 and all other DLC:

3 / 10

The sequel is only “recommendable” for ultra-hardcore fans IF you get if from the discount/garbage bin.

P.D. If you must know why Left 4 Dead 2 sucks so bad. Here it is: L4D2 has plenty of fun-killing errors and glitches. The AI is poorly programmed, your partners will freeze, run into danger, ignore you, use up your items, waste items in desperate situations, and the list goes on. There are new weapons and special infected, but nothing innovative. There is basically just more of the same, with barely different statistics. The flair/flavor factor is gone: You walk in broad daylight instead of the usual darkness and clouded skies of the first game. And L4D2 tries to be “funnier” including new cliché-special infected that are meant for jokes rather than actual gameplay.

Left 4 Dead 2 is made for laughs rather than for horror.

l4d_hill billy

Oh look a retarded, … I mean special person-ish, deformed redneck, dressed like a retarded, deformed redneck. What a surprise…

And don’t get me wrong. The new special infected complement the old ones just fine (ability-wise) but their looks are rather, odd.

The story is missing, just like in the first one, and its a shame considering that, that is exactly what the fans wanted. Instead you have new survivors, which aren’t bad, but they simply aren’t as old school/neat/cool as the old ones. You never get to see the old ones (unless you BUY, with money, DLC). One of the worst parts of the new downloadable content is that you can play campaigns of Left 4 Dead 1 ind L4D2, only to realize how bad the AI is programmed in comparison to the original experience.

So… Yeah, thank you developers! (Sarcasm).

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