Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is a very intense game.

Adam picked it up, and we played 2-player co-operative split-screen on my projector. It plays out like a standard zombie movie. The scenario we played was “No Mercy” – we had to get to Mercy Hospital, and get to the roof to be rescued by a helicopter.

It’s very much a team game, there are tons of zombies constantly coming from all sides, so you have to cover each other’s backs, and sides, and don’t forget to look up now and then too! It’s 4-player, so the other two characters were bots. They did a good job of keeping up and not being too stupid. Mostly.

The zombies in the game are not the slow, shambling kind, no, they are the running-straight-at-you-at-full-speed kind, like in “28 Days Later”. There are also a few special types: hunters, fast leaping zombies who pin you down; smokers, with a rope-like tongue that can grab you at a distance, called a smoker because when it’s killed, it leaves a noxious cloud of smoke; tanks, giant hulking zombies; boomers, bloated fat zombies who puke noxious goo on you that blinds you and attracts zombies, and if you shoot a boomer it explodes; and witches, strong zombies who just sit there crying until disturbed.

The scenario plays out with chapters, at the end of each chapter the group gets to a safe room and can rest for a bit and resupply. Overall, I think the scenario was about movie-length when we played it, around an hour and a half or two hours.

It ended a lot like a zombie movie, too – the helicopter came to pick us up, and the roof was swarming with zombies. Adam got to the helicopter first, then I got there. One of the bots went down, and the other bot went to help. Then out of nowhere, a smoker’s tongue whipped out and pulled Adam out of the helicopter and back onto the roof, into the horde of zombies. Then I guess the helicopter had been waiting long enough, because before I could free Adam from the smoker, and before the two bots made it back to the helicopter, it took off with only me on board.

Adam and the others were, as the title states “Left 4 Dead”. =)

The game is not so much creepy as it is intense. When zombies attack, they come from all sides, fast, in huge numbers. By the end of the scenario, we had killed around 2500 zombies.

Zombie Dreams

Had a long zombie-apocalypse-themed dream last night. Not a nightmare, exactly, but not a good dream.

The world was flooded with zombies, in a typical Night of the Living Dead sceneario. I join up with a group of people travelling across the land, in a Mad Max-ish world.

It’s an epic, sprawling journey. At one point we find an alien craft. I accuse the aliens of starting the zombie epidemic, but they deny responsibility. “We were just vacationing here,” says the female alien. “Yeah,” says the male, “pity about what’s happened here, we really liked coming here.” The aliens look just like humans, except the female looks male, and the male looks female. “Well,” I say, “a bit of a coincidence that just as you show up, we have a zombie outbreak…”

“No,” says the female, “we’ve been coming here for years. Great planet.”

“If it wasn’t you, can you help us?” I ask. “No,” she replies, “there’s a strict no-intervention policy. In fact, every time we come here, we stop at Mars on the way home, and take some photos there, and tell our friends that’s where we spent our vacation. We’d get in trouble if people found out we went someplace with lifeforms.”

We travel on, leaving the aliens and eventually finding a military compound, which we clear of zombies and live in. I frequently complain that I wish I had a sword. I had one for a while, but it broke. A good sword can take off a zombie head with a slash or two, no fumbling for ammo. “Remember,” says one of the guys in the group, an ex-military guy, “if you are low on ammo, use your plasmids.”
“Oh yeah,” I say, “I keep forgetting about those.” [plasmids are from the game Bioshock I have been playing, abilities like shooting fire from your hands]

I notice there is a path near the compound, which goes up into the mountains. I follow it, and discover a walled city. It is a larger military compound, made of adobe, and carved into the mountain itself. As we are exploring, we notice some zombies there. But they are acting differently. They are all very white, like albinos, and have a society. They speak to one another, and have a leader. They still hunger for human flesh, but they have re-opened a mall there, and have a working food court, and restaurants. They eat this food, but it only slightly feeds their hunger. They still look at humans with a lean and hungry eye.

As the albino zombies come towards us, we run back along the path. The leader zombie is talking about a treaty, and I am shouting back that it’s a good idea, but they are still following us hungrily. They finally fall back, except for two, which we have to fight. They are tougher than regular zombies, strong and more solid, but we finally take them down.

I am about to go to a neighboring town, because I have heard they have swords, but around then my alarm clock wakes me up.