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Left 4 Dead

Developer: Valve South Publisher: Valve Corporation
17 November 2008
Left 4 Dead - cover art
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3.60 / 5.0
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1,288 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#786 All-time
#28 for 2008
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no no you dont undertand
l4d1 is BETTER than l4d2 cuz you can see your feet
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tameCoffin 2021-10-04T07:49:53Z
2021-10-04T07:49:53Z
3.0
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Remember when zombies were absolutely everywhere? From 2007-2013, the zombie outbreak ran as rampant in our cultural zeitgeist as in the works they are present in. The Walking Dead was one of the most popular shows of television, zombies movies were being churned out by the numbers, and of course they made their way into video games as well. They even made appearances in games that didn't initially have zombies like Call of Duty and Red Dead Redemption. Like all fads, zombies died off after years of over saturation. Was the zombie craze all that grand when it was at it's prime? In my opinion, not really. Zombies were the cannon fodder of their day. They were a vehicle for gore and violence, easier on the sensitivities than pitting human against human. We liked them because they were fun to kill. We almost forgot with this over saturation of zombies that they were supposed to be scary. The only piece of entertainment during this time period that reminded us that zombies were supposed to be something to fear was Valve's 2008 game Left 4 Dead.

How exactly does Left 4 Dead accomplish this? By sticking to the simple fundamentals of the zombie genre. Zombies are only terrifying if there are an overwhelming number of them. One zombie on it's own isn't anything to worry about. It might be a bit grotesque, but it can be easily dealt with if you have any kind of firearm. The dread of a zombie outbreak is the fear that there aren't enough bullets in the world to defend yourself from it. Left 4 Dead capitalizes on this feeling of dread unlike any other zombie game. It makes you feel helpless against the seemingly unending hoards of the undead. Not only that, but these aren't the slow moving, decrepit zombies from the Romero films. These are the modern zombies that are vicious, and they will bite and scratch their way through an armored car. The zombie threat is also so vast and so overwhelming that you have to rely on others to make it through the game. You aren't a zombie slaying government soldier like Chris Redfield here. You're a group of ordinary people fighting to survive. You CANNOT plow through this game by yourself or you will die and that is a guarantee. Sometimes, other people aren't very reliable making the aspect of working together stress inducing. It also helps that every level in this game has a dark, spooky atmosphere that amplifies the horror factor. This isn't a game where it's fun to kill zombies. This is a game that makes you relieved when you get to take an earned respite from the undead chaos.

This game is also effective because it's a blast to play. Every single moment your team out on the field feels like holding your breath; you're just going to become more strained and panicked until you finally get a moment of relief. Every moment is exhilarating. Maybe this is just due to my questionable skill at the game, but I feel as if one the biggest appeals of this game is always making it to the safe-house by the skin of your teeth. Even though you need to rely on your teammates, you'll end up carrying your team as the AI aren't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer. They will get incapacitated often and even die. Fortunately, this game is merciful with error as your teammates can be resurrected. It never really feels as if you can make a clean getaway in this game.

To aid you in combating the zombie hoard, the game gives you plenty of options in defending yourself. You have a choice between pump shotguns, automatic rifles, and a sniper rifle. There is plenty of ammo scattered around the level, but you can always fall back on your pistol if you run out of ammo. There is also a gatling gun in some areas that is mostly used in special occasions. A type of item that is scarce in this game are the healing items. Health kits replenish about 70% of your health and pills heal the same amount, but it depletes over time. Dividing the health kits between yourself and your teammates requires a bit of strategy as it is crucial to keep your teammates alive just as much as yourself.

The playable characters are very much like the main characters in a typical zombie film. They are a breakfast club of different people who wouldn't be associating with one another if not for the outbreak. Francis is a thirty-something white dude, Bill is an elderly white guy, Louis is a young black man, and Zoey is a young white woman. None of these characters are given any back story prior to the zombie epidemic, most likely to make them seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The little things we learn about the characters are conveyed through the little blurbs of dialogue. Like in the case of Team Fortress 2, Valve puts so much effort into making what are essentially avatars into fleshed out characters through great voice acting and charming banter between the characters. They never have to do this, but it's always nice that they make the extra effort. Whichever character you play as doesn't matter as they all play the same, but if you are playing with AIs, be forewarned that Zoey will be a problem because she insists on using the sniper rifle.

Characters that are as important to Left 4 Dead as the survivors are the special infected. Among the hoards of zombies, there are outliers with unique attributes. These guys are the reason why you can't trek through the outbreak by yourself. If one of these guys pin you down, you need to rely on your teammates to free you from their clutches or you will fail. The ones that pin you down are the Hunter and the Smoker. The Hunter will pounce on you and rip you to shreds while the Smoker will drag you from a distance with their tongue and strangle you. The Boomer is an obese special infected that looks like a walking blackhead whose vomit attracts hoards of zombies. The Witch is an emaciated, crying hag who will not attack you unless you attack her or draw attention towards herself. Encountering each of these special infected is always alarming, but the scariest special infected by far is the Tank. He's a giant hulking special infected that will wreck your team with his brute strength. The Boomer and the Witch may have slight musical cues indicating their presence, but the Tank is such a formidable force that he has his own theme that accompanies his encounters. Fun fact: each of the infected is voiced by Mike Patton of Faith No More/Mr. Bungle. Who better to make scratchy, inhumane yelps and belching noises for zombies than him?

The game is also pretty simple which is also a major strength of this game. Each of the levels are relatively short and are easy to navigate. The final level of each campaign caps off staying in one area and surviving hoards of zombies and special infected until a rescue helicopter comes. Unfortunately, there are only four different campaigns and each of them get old upon further playthroughs, but at least each campaign is different from one another. No Mercy is in an urban setting and is probably the hardest campaign. There are tons of claustrophobic settings and it had the only final level where you can die from getting knocked off a building by a Tank. Death Toll is set in a moody rural area alongside a lake. Dead Air is set in an airport and is the easiest of the four campaigns for some reason. Blood Harvest is set along a mountain side. It's hard to say which one of these is the best out of them all, but at least I don't have a least favorite of the four. Consistency is the strength when it comes to the campaigns.

Left 4 Dead is a simple game that capitalizes on the strengths of the zombie genre. It's the only piece of media from the time of the zombie craze that is effectively scary because the game focuses on the survival aspect of a zombie outbreak instead of the bloody novelty of killing zombies. Making your way through the levels with your friends, making your way to the safe-house battered and bruised never gets old.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T20:29:26Z
2017-07-21T20:29:26Z
7.0
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the atmosphere of this one is way better than the successor, the game play felt more serious and threatening, and I really enjoy playing the whole campaign. for me it has barely any replay value, but the first time i played through this game was a great experience

7.0/10
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darkrecollections 2020-09-03T20:51:57Z
2020-09-03T20:51:57Z
3.5
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There's almost no reason to play the original game anymore; the second one has everything you need. This game did spawn the zombie video-game craze as I think the America's Army mods and H1Z1 came afterwards.

To its credit, very few games have the frantic and hilarious pace that Left 4 Dead created, even ten years later.
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MoaM 2018-04-20T20:47:50Z
2018-04-20T20:47:50Z
4.0
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The "invisible director" gimmick is both this game's saving grace and its biggest curse. The variation saves Left 4 Dead from being truly repetitive and gives some credence to its weird blend of resource management, arcade pacing and good old gunplay, but it's still too easy to see the man behind the machine, with the ability to use musical cues and the like to your advantage making for an inspired challenge that you can still guess at every turn. It's not quite inspired enough to last the full campaign, but the design is just polished enough for me to give it the thumbs up.
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Lowlander2 2017-08-21T18:34:41Z
2017-08-21T18:34:41Z
3.5
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Halfway through a level in the Death Toll campaign, me and my three fellow survivors are limping our way through the eerily, quiet woods. After fighting off an impossible onslaught of infected (we are playing on expert), we are doing our best to get to a distant warehouse in time before the next wave of brain-luvin' zombies arrive. By the grace of panda, we made it into the warehouse and the little makeshift safehouse within. The wave of infected come, and we still have one buddy lagging his way behind. He accidentally falls down a floor, and collapses. The infected are right outside the warehouse now screaming, and my teammates are telling me to let him die. He tells me to let him die. Like a truly, optimistic action hero, I go after him withinthe horde and carry him to safety. Right when we get to the door, a smoker gets me from above and drags me into the zombie abyss. The sacrifice had been made and it was pretty rad.

The above scenario is a classic zombie film moment we all know and love, and Left 4 Dead is built around them. Where Half-Life made epic scripted events that recaptured the highlights of great action films, L4D lets them happen organically. Avoiding a deadly encounter with a witch zombie that can kill you in one hit, running like hell from a giant tank zombie, or lagging behind to get pounced on by the acrobatic hunter zombie, are things that happen on a minute-to-minute basis that gives L4D an uncanny sense of tension and excitement.

L4D is, for better or worse, a glorified Half-Life 2 mod. With Action Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Front Line Force, and Day of Defeat being some of my all-time favorite games, there is nothing wrong with this. The game is minimal once you work your head around what little content there is. Minimal weapons, minimal level design, and minimal enemies that are defeated with minimal tactics. Much like any Valve product, the game is carried out so perfectly that you'll be playing these levels time and time again much like CS players have clung to de_dust2 for over a decade. Let's not completely let L4D off, though.

The biggest disappointment with L4D is that it doesn't fully take co-op gameplay into new avenues that it could have. But, as a reviewer who judges a game for what is there instead of what isn't (by that logic, every game could be crap), I can say L4D offers one of the best co-op experiences out there. It's unique, addictive, and fun. L4D is a classic that only got better with its sequel.
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SUPER_Lonely_Panda 2016-04-06T17:08:33Z
2016-04-06T17:08:33Z
4.5
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Catalog

phiasabanhead Left 4 Dead 2023-01-29T21:16:43Z
2023-01-29T21:16:43Z
3.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
thatoneblkguy_ Left 4 Dead 2023-01-29T17:34:31Z
2023-01-29T17:34:31Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
swineherd Left 4 Dead 2023-01-29T17:24:01Z
2023-01-29T17:24:01Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
josephrobert Left 4 Dead 2023-01-27T12:13:26Z
2023-01-27T12:13:26Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dolu Left 4 Dead 2023-01-27T02:25:01Z
2023-01-27T02:25:01Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
fitteld Left 4 Dead 2023-01-26T22:43:33Z
2023-01-26T22:43:33Z
1.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
HaLEmu18 Left 4 Dead 2023-01-26T01:42:17Z
2023-01-26T01:42:17Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
HaddonSmith Left 4 Dead 2023-01-22T22:58:27Z
2023-01-22T22:58:27Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TheBrainboxer Left 4 Dead 2023-01-22T18:56:52Z
2023-01-22T18:56:52Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
_Nigtig_ Left 4 Dead 2023-01-21T18:53:27Z
2023-01-21T18:53:27Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
antim Left 4 Dead 2023-01-21T04:18:24Z
2023-01-21T04:18:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
beanman9116 Left 4 Dead 2023-01-20T17:35:13Z
2023-01-20T17:35:13Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
1-8 players
Media
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Multiplayer modes
Cooperative , Team play
Multiplayer options
Online
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  • Helio_etc 2020-02-17 01:08:28.894808+00
    Super fun game, but this is one of those cases where the sequel renders it pretty much obsolete.
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  • ... 2020-11-05 19:06:06.094621+00
    Pills here!
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  • Cheating_Squid 2020-11-19 02:16:59.934662+00
    Can't wait until they bundle this with L4D2 in a Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1+2 kinda way.
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    • FarioMerreira 2022-01-07 21:10:33.60852+00
      well, you can already play the l4d1 missions in l4d2, but i agree that a remake / remaster would bang if done right
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  • GiovanniLoddo 2022-01-02 17:11:05.026085+00
    why is this not available on Xbox Store?
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  • Coldplaz 2022-03-27 22:51:53.940177+00
    TITS
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  • Xionus 2022-04-10 03:29:59.720722+00
    This game is a classic
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  • Zaphyra 2023-01-29 00:05:40.545113+00
    lucki reference
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