|Left 4 Dead|
North American Boxart
|Release Date(s)||November 18, 2008|
|Platforms||Xbox 360, PC|
Left 4 Dead is a cooperative first person shooter set in a zombie apocalypse. It was developed by Valve on the Source Engine and was released on November 18th, 2008. The game is available for purchase on Steam or retail, and can be played on Windows or Xbox 360.
In the game, four characters called the 'Survivors', either AI controlled or human controlled, can team up and battle their way through hordes of zombies, dubbed the name 'Infected'. The game initially featured two game modes, Campaign and Versus, but about five months later, Valve released downloadable content which featured a new mode called, Survival. The game features five campaigns, with all of them having five chapters or maps, except for the downloadable campaign, Crash Course, which only has two chapters. There is a sixth campaign named 'Last Stand', but isn't considered an actual campaign because it only features one Survival map.
When a campaign begins you and three other players start out side by side and are given a light arsenal. The game allows you to carry one primary weapon, up to two pistols, a throwable Molotov or pipe bomb, a medkit used for healing, and a bottle of pills used for temporary healing. You will always begin a campaign with either a pump shotgun or a submachine gun, one pistol, and a medkit.
The main goal is to make your way through the chapters getting from safe room to safe room, while fighting a plethora of zombies along the way. You and your team will frequently encounter hordes of zombies, which is when numerous zombies come running in a horde at one time. These hordes will come randomly so you will never be able to expect one, except for the musical cue that a player can hear seconds before they arrive. This game also features "Special Infected", which are mutated forms of common infected that have special abilities. There are three Special Infected: Hunter, Smoker, and Boomer, which are all playable in Versus. There is also the "Boss Infected" which includes the Tank (also playable in Versus) and the Witch. Special Infected only spawn in up to three or four at a time every thirty seconds or so. The Boss Infected usually spawn only once per map.
While playing the game, players may notice that enemies, weapons, and items are placed differently. This is the work of the AI Director which will control these variables based on the current status of your team and the difficulty. This feature was implemented to give the player a different experience every time you play a campaign.
Left 4 Dead features five campaigns, one of them, Crash Course, being part of a DLC Package. Each campaign consists of a different scenario that involves the survivors moving from sure peril to safety. For example, in No Mercy, the first campaign, the Survivors begin on a rooftop of an Apartment building, and are alerted via a helicopter message for all of the survivors "to report to Mercy Hospital for evacuation." The campaign then consists of the Survivors adventures to the hospital, and their eventual escape via helicopter.
After the game's release, the Left 4 Dead community began to realize that the campaigns played in a chronological order, with No Mercy being first, and Blood Harvest being the last campaign. Valve has stated that Last Stand was an 'alternate path' (story-wise) in Death Toll that led to the survivor's death, therefore not being the "end" of the survivors as some people assumed (The Passing from Left 4 Dead 2 also proves this). Valve released a DLC Package that included the campaign Crash Course, which bridged the gap between No Mercy and Death Toll.
 Downloadable Content
Left 4 Dead has received two DLC packages, one being the Survival Pack, and the other being the campaign, Crash Course. The Survival Pack was free on both PC and Xbox 360, but Crash Course was only available at a cost to 360 gamers. It has been noted that Microsoft prefers not to release free DLC, despite Valve's many requests for it to be free. Crash Course is available at a cost of 560 Microsoft Points, equivalent to $7.00.
The Survival Pack was a much heavier update than Crash Course, which added Survival to the game. This is a mode where players start a timer, and the horde begins attacking, similar to a finale, but the onslaught never ceases. Valve added numerous maps to play from for all of the campaigns, and a new campaign, titled Last Stand which only includes a Survival map and is, as mentioned before, an "alternate path" in Death Toll that led to the survivors death.
Left 4 Dead received positive ratings across the board with a Metascore of 89 out of 100 from Metacritic. The user score on Metacritic was higher getting a 9.4 out of 10. Many game reviews viewed the amount of campaigns (only being 4 when released) as a con, but the game was praised for its ability of having dynamic enemy and item placement, giving you a different experience everytime you play.
Minimum: o Supported OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64 o Processor: Pentium 4 3.0GHz o Memory: 1 GB o Graphics: 128 MB, Shader model 2.0, ATI 9600, NVidia 6600 or better o Hard Drive: At least 7.5 GB of free space o Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Recommended: o Supported OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / Vista64 o Processor: Intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz o Memory: 1 GB o Graphics: Shader model 3.0, NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 or better