by Howard, reviewed on
Us against the world
Turtle Rock Studios in cooperation with Valve Corporation have joined together to present what is being billed as the successor to the extremely popular PC game, Counter Strike. The PC version of Left 4 Dead is slated for a summer 2007 release and the Xbox 360 version will follow a few months later in the winter. The game will be released on Steam and it is a co-operative online multiplayer action shooter. A co-op multiplayer online game is a title that can be played with other human players via the Internet. Of course, you will have to purchase the commercially available software and have it running on your machine. You then hook up to a server on the Net, as will other players, and here sides are chosen and teams are assembled. The best part about this is that you play with and against other 'human' players in a co-operative setting. The word co-operative is very important as far as this game is concerned. If you plan on running off and trying your hand at some solo monster killing, the only thing that you will accomplish will be to get your own character killed time and time again. That's the beauty of this one. It's not me against the world; it's us against the world.
The game begins in present day America where you will experience a wide variety of locations that include both city and country settings. There are 4 campaigns with 5 maps. The buildings are numerous and each setting is very challenging. In fact parts of each setting could be used against you, as you will discover later on, as a weapon or as a place to hide from the horrendous looking creatures that inhabit this world. The game boasts of several such locations which offer the player a chance to immerse themselves in the game's world more deeply, and interact with their surroundings.
Left 4 Dead doesn't really have a story line that is set in stone. Instead there's a main theme that runs throughout the game; It's the need to get away from deformed creatures and to just survive each scenario or level in order to move on to the next. The monsters that you will need to get away from are horribly deformed human mutants that have been infected by a rather potent form of the rabies virus. This virus has turned normal everyday Americans into hideous monsters that are bent on turning all survivors (you) into gruesome beings like themselves. I must say that this really isn't a new concept but it is actually very plausible and it's presented in a way that makes it seem like it could actually happen in real life.
As the game starts you beam in, or actually you will appear as one of a possible four different survivors, as they are called in the game and you will then start play. Four human players will be needed to form a survivor team which will consist of a Vietnam veteran named Bill, the teenage daughter from a wealthy family, Zo?, a manager at a local electronics store, Louis and Francis, a big bad dude who likes to make trouble. The characters are randomly generated by the game rather than chosen by players. It really doesn't matter which one you play however because they all start out with the same fighting and weapons use skills. Speaking of weapons, there are the standard garden-variety handguns, rifles, shot guns and a few homemade pipe bombs that might be expected to be available after such a catastrophe on the zombie-ridden streets. Don't expect to see the BFG chain gun or plasma rifle that inevitably will appear in other games of this ilk. Everything that shoots or explodes is patterned after what we all might find at our friendly neighborhood gun shop in any town in the US.