Tag Archives: left 4 dead

Left for Dead (2)? Maybe left behind

Played a quick game of the L4D2 demo last night with Greg. I can’t say I was really impressed. I liked the new characters and the melee abilities (geetar!)… and the magnum pistol… But the other weapons didn’t stand out and the new monsters weren’t memorable.

I’ll give it another go on a server that isn’t so laggy, but I may end up waiting until I can catch the game on a $20 weekend like I did the first one.

Left 4 Dead — a gateway drug?

I seem to find an FPS that I enjoy every few years. First, there was Doom 2. Subsequent games within my field of view (Quake (2), Halo) were too complicated for me in their control schemes. Crouching, jumping, aiming. Doom 2 had none of these, was still great. Playing Quake was like moving from a 3-button Sega Genesis controller to a modern XBox 360 controller. Buttons everywhere for shit I couldn’t keep track of.

Continue reading Left 4 Dead — a gateway drug?

Custom Left 4 Dead map: Zelda

With the release of the Left 4 Dead campaign bundler thing last week, I hunted around yesterday for compiled user-made campaigns… and found not a single complete one in the VPK format. Folks had levels as separate files that sort of made campaigns, but I don’t much feel like manually changing levels when I play. I like the seamless nature of a campaign.

But one level tempted me enough for me to play it: zteer’s Zelda map. It’s definitely a change from the standard levels, adding a very Zelda feel. It’s got keys, teleporting hands, doors that lock until all monsters are killed, and — very awesomely — a dungeon map that shows on the ceiling as you walk around. It’s long enough (43 minutes in Normal) that it felt like a campaign, despite being a single level.

Imagine a Zelda dungeon with Left 4 Dead-style pacing. Unlock a door, clear a room, catch your breath, grab the key… another horde.

We didn’t quite make it playing on Advanced (which I’ve been playing on pretty consistently lately on the standard maps), so we backed down to Normal and were able to beat it (minus the two AIs, who bit the dust… probably when I Molotov’d them). I won’t give the ending away, but I must say, it was pretty hilarious.

The level’s not really a stumper in terms of puzzles, but it’s definitely got those Zelda-style puzzles in it — push the block, hit four toggles in corners while being swarmed, etc. It was a welcome change and seemed fairly unique in the maps I saw listed on L4D Maps. I’d love to see more of that type of thing in L4D as folks build campaigns.

Zomblies!

Greg went artsy with his Left 4 Dead review, but art aside, I’ve got to be honest:

That shit is fun as hell.

I’ve never been able to play a first-person shooter so easily and have so much damn fun. I’ve been waiting for a co-op game like this since I started playing Doom II back when I was 11 or 12. My mother and father weren’t so into computer games like that, and I was (otherwise blissfully) an only child.

As a Survivor in Left 4 Dead, though, I consistently do the most damage to my teammates (hey, I’ve got to be proud of something), have consistently awful aim, and am often the one that goes, “Oh, shit, I hear a hunt–oof!” (Ditto for the other special infected.)

I did, however, get the Jump Shot achievement (catching a Hunter mid-air) before Greg. It’s up for debate whether I’m competitive at my core, but I’m proud of every damn one of my achievements, because I’m only a gamer, dammit, not a Gamer.

What I love most are the recaps. Me and Greg telling Nathan a story of trying to make it through “No Mercy” or “Dead Air”, each of us jumping in to add tidbits and cracking up. Mimicking the sounds of the special infected.

Retelling how I saw a group of zomblies, lobbed a molotov at them, and found out from the ensuing cussing that Greg was in the middle of that pile.

Remembering how, on our first pass through the finale of “No Mercy” in Normal (rather than Easy), we were screwed by wandering AI Survivors. I turned around at one point — after the Tank had cleared our rooftop — to find Greg hanging from an inaccessible ledge and shouting for help. Obviously, we restarted that one.

Recalling playing a Boomer in versus mode, hiding behind a Witch, desperately trying to waken it (not allowed) and being more than happy to settle for Maher shooting me… and startling the Witch in the process.

It’s rather like being in a table-top roleplaying game. Because I don’t play much with strangers, I have a set of shared experiences involving my character’s struggles (and I consistently play Zoey) with the few people I play with. Despite the lack of character customization, we quote our characters’ silly sayings and identify with their sentiments. We can talk locations and strategies about upcoming places almost as if we were the Survivors ourselves, playing everything over and over again, as Greg wrote in his post. All it takes is a couple of games playing as Survivors to find yourself in sync with someone, each of you knowing when to watch the back of the other.

It’s a type of shared experience I really enjoy getting to have with long-distance acquaintances and friends.