Steam Gaming

Left 4 Dead

Summary

Left 4 Dead is a intense, fast-paced co-operative survival horror shooter
developed by Valve on the Source engine.

The simple but by no means easy aim of the game is to survive. You are one of four
lucky survivors of a new and highly virulent strain of the rabies virus which emerges
out of nowhere and spreads through the human population with frightening speed.
The pandemic's victims become grotesquely disfigured, wildly violent zombies, attacking
the uninfected on sight. Alone, you're dead, but together with a handful of fellow
survivors you must work together as a team if you want to have any chance of making
it out alive.

Gameplay

As the survivors you must fight your way through varying environments filled with
hordes of the Infected to escape to safety. The basic Infected you will be fighting
against are the computer-controlled zombie hordes. Valve call this computer controller
the ‘Director’, a powerful computer AI which controls everything the Infected do,
from when they spawn to how they attack. There are no triggers placed by the mapmakers
- the Director figures everything out on the fly so every time you play through
a scenario it is entirely different. This means you are going to be kept on the
edge of your seat never knowing what is lurking around the next corner. You are
going to be in for some tough, thrilling and quite often breathless battles.

There are also four playable Infected 'boss' characters. These characters will do
their best to ensure the survivors do not escape to safety. While the Infected horde
will constantly run at you screaming, the boss characters are best suited to position
themselves carefully ready to ambush you at any turn. It will be a battle for survival…or
for brains. You will chose which.

On release the game will have four campaigns, each with five maps separated by checkpoints
or "safe houses" the survivors need to reach in order to advance. These rooms are
indicated by a red door and you must get all living survivors inside of the checkpoint
and close the door behind you to be safe. Once the red door is open, not only can
the survivors enter, but also the infected so it's best to watch your back. Once
you are secure in the room an achievements screen comes up and the next section
of the map is loaded. When the next map loads, every survivor that was dead comes
back with half health. The last map will have the players defending their position
from a final onslaught of the Infected until their rescue vehicle arrives.

Left 4 Dead is a co-op game. It is not a senseless shooter which people can dominate
by running around on their own like Quake. You will find it impossible to even have
a hope of survival unless you find a way to work together with your fellow survivors.
It's not hard to work together, the game is designed to encourage this and
you will find yourself helping your team mates without even realising. The infected
are so numerous and spawn from all angles - in front, to the sides, behind you,
above you - everywhere. If you don't work together, you will die.

Development
Left 4 Dead was formerly in development by Turtle Rock Studios, which was a separate
company whose work included Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and the Xbox version
of Counter-Strike. On January 10th, 2008, Valve acquired Turtle Rock Studios, absorbing
the company.

Co-Operation, Communication and Team Work

Being
a co-cop game communication is key. You wont help your team too much if you aren't
communicating well. Left 4 Dead has included an expansive voice command system for
orders, questions and answers. These voices are accessible by pressing three different
command buttons (default z, x, c) to bring up a menu on-screen. Various phrases
will be listed for you to select which will make your character say it out loud.
Because every survivor is different it makes sense all their sounds are different
and say different things based on their personality. There are over a thousand lines
of dialogue which have been recorded for each character so the comments will be
different every time.

As well as these selectable voices Valve have included automatic
voice triggers. An example of this is whenever you reload, your character shouts
out "reloading!" letting the rest of your team know you need some covering fire.

To keep with the teamplay element, there will be no way to disable friendly fire.
This is designed to make the game a little harder. Friendly fire changes the game
from a deathmatch style shoot first and ask questions later to a game where you
must be careful of your team mates and target your fire. You cant simply spray bullets
into a crowd or throw a grenade when you get overwhelmed.

Some might worry that having friendly fire will attract morons who kill
team-mates
for kicks. To combat this Valve have introduced a new reputation system. This system
awards players with permanent achievements, merits and demerits that will stick
with you throughout your time playing Left 4 Dead and are viewable to all.

Achievements
include major goals such as surviving a map without dying. Merits are given for
nice things such as reviving a teammate and Demerits are for naughty things like
friendly fire.

Reputation is given during gameplay by showing a message next to your name every
time you do something worthy of mention. At the end of each map the scoreboard screen comes up showing each of the players and what
achievements they received during that section of the map.

There is also an integrated voting system. Anyone at any time can bring up the vote
menu and start a vote. You can vote to change the scenario or kick players you feel
have too many demerits. These two systems will weed out a lot of idiots.

Not many
people will want to risk a bad reputation and thus are more likely to play properly.
If you see someone's reputation as a team killer you can simply use the voting system
to kick them out.
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