Justin Lee On January 2, 2009 at 7:58 am

Admit it, anyone who has watched a zombie movie has had the thought of what they would do in a zombie apocalypse.  Valve gives us the opportunity in Left  4 Dead experience what would happen if you and three other survivors were trying to get out of a situation to safety.  We review Left 4 Dead for the Xbox 360.

Most co-op modes in videogames are usually an afterthought; some companies even outsource the multiplayer aspects of a game to another development company.  In the case for Left 4 Dead, they have a game built from the ground on the basis of a true co-op game; even if you are going at it alone with three computer controlled players.  Unlike other zombie shooter games where you are alone or have the useless side kick who just gets killed…your CPU comrades are pretty smart and will even help you if you are in trouble.

Left 4 Dead features four campaigns to choose from, each campaign is like a mini movie where the survivors must make it to a “rescue point” to be saved, there are safe houses in each campaign where you can stock up on weapons, ammo and health packs.  Rescue points at the end of each campaign vary from the top of a hospital or to an airport.  There are only a handful of weapons in the game, such as a machine gun, assault rifle, the good old pump action shotgun, hunting rifle with scope and of course the pistol which you can dual wield when you find a second one.  The pistol is sort of the last resort weapon because the ammo is infinite, however it is nothing to sneeze at if you have great aim.  Ammo is dispersed randomly found throughout each level and of course in the safe houses at the end of each map section.  You can also shoot red gas cans to start a fire or shoot an explosive propane tank.  Pipe bombs are fun to use because zombies are attracted to noise and they all run to it for a big messy blast and Molotov cocktails are a cool way to set a group of zombies on fire; although you can only carry one.

The zombies are varied enough with the common infected (the general population, law enforcement,  nurses, doctors and the army that was trying to help out) and there are some special zombies such as the Boomer that vomits on you to draw infected at you because of the smell.  There is also an evil Hunter that will lunge at you and claw you while you are down…don’t forget the smoker who coughs and has a tongue that can pull you great distances.  One zombie you will not want to mess with is the Witch, she cries like a child but I tell you one thing, she doesn’t act like one…if you startle her by walking too close or shooting her, get ready to be almost dead with her slashing, walk around her at all costs.   There is also the TANK, a huge muscle bound zombie that will punch you clear across the room injuring you, the entire team must open fire to keep this beast off a teammate.

Developer Valve and Certain Affinity have included “a virtual director” who makes Left 4 Dead quite random, when you hear a swarm of zombies coming in an area you’ve already been when you played “yesterday” won’t be the same as today!  This randomness of the virtual director will vary based on how well or poorly you are doing, rarely you will see that Smoker who lashes out at you with his tongue in the same spot or that health kit you were looking for the last time you were there.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is an amazing 4 player co-op game.  You can try it out with the system link with up to 2 players offline per Xbox 360 for a total of 4 or even 2 players online on the same console.  If you happen to go online:  You will end up with two of the same gamer tags if you don’t have two Xbox live gold accounts.  So if you and a friend want to go online with the same 360 and he doesn’t have an Xbox live Gold account, you’ll end up with “Bob” and “Bob(2)” which slightly makes it confusing online when you are shouting over the headset on Xbox Live.

A really fun feature of the game is the versus 8 player online mode (system link only allows 4 total which kind of sucks).  This pits up to 4 humans against 4 infected players, this is an awesome mode as you try to finish a campaign and rack up points.  The survivors are teaming up together to take out the infected team while the infected are choosing spots to pounce on the humans.  The infected have a slight advantage in the Versus mode as they can float around and choose where to appear away from the survivors.  Occasionally, a lucky infected will become the Tank and have some huge bashing fun.  During versus mode, you can only access No Mercy and Blood Harvest which makes for a small selection of maps.
The four survivors are Zoey, the college student; Bill, retired army; Louis, the office worker; and the bad boy Francis.  All the survivors pretty much act the same so it doesn’t really matter which one you pick unless you like their “catch phrases” through the game.  The audio in the game is very good, the survivors will alert you to any medkits or temporary pill heath boosts, even a second pistol that you were looking for and overlooked.  You even feel sorry for the other team mates when they mourn the loss of another teammate, but don’t worry after a short “break” the dead team mate can be “rescued” behind door (wow, a miracle revival!).

One campaign takes around 2 hours, long enough for an online co-op game but kind of short over all.  Certain Affinity / Valve will be creating some DLC for the Xbox 360 and the Windows PC, we hope this includes a new campaign for purchase.  Sorry to say there is no cross platform play between the Xbox 360 and Windows PC version of the game.
There are a few glitches in the game; such as if you fall off a ledge and a team mate must come rescue you…sometimes you pop up on the wrong ledge.  There are also some odd zombie clipping issues where you can see zombies brushing up against doors and walls.  There was an “unlimited” throwing bug for the Molotov cocktails but Valve has fixed that for online games with a local patch coming soon.

If you’ve got lots of online buddies itching to play online in a first person shooter; Electronic Arts, Certain Affinity / Valve has got you covered with the extremely fun Left 4 Dead.


The gameplay is great, it really feels like you are runnign around the infected city trying to get out. Smooth FPS action gameplay here.


Source engine looks good on the Xbox 360, not as good as the Windows PC version but the cities and forests look great.


The zombie sound effects will creep you out, along with the well placed “warning” music to let you know something is about to attack.


Awesome co-op fun, team work is key and it shows in this zombie FPS game. Hop online or play with up to 4 players system link, it is one of the FPS games to own.

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