developer: Turtle Rock Studios
publisher: Valve Corporation
Game mode: single / multiplayer
Multiplayer mode: local network / Internet
Left 4 Dead for PC and X360 is a co-op shooter game with strong survival horror elements, developed by Turtle Rock. It’s set in the apocalyptic United States, where a deadly virus got out of control and changes humans into raging bloodthirsty monsters. You play as one of the few people immune to the virus and your task is to escape a mutant-infested metropolis together with a team of other survivors.
Left 4 Dead emphasises the co-op aspect of the game. A lone ranger has little chance of survival — only close cooperation between the team's players can save you. There are four character types for each of the sides. If you want to play as a survivor, you can choose Bill, a Vietnam War veteran, Louis, an electronics store manager, Zoey, a rich teenager, or Franics, a big, loud and a bit uncouth but loyal muscleman. If you choose this side of the conflict, you’ll have to focus on cooperating with the others, since the individual survivors' abilities do not differ much. Moreover, they all use the same kinds of weapons — you utilize everything you find in abandoned houses: guns, rifles, shotguns, and handmade weapons, such as Molotov cocktails or homemade bombs. Things look different for the mutant side. It also features four characters to choose from: Boomer, Smoker, Hunter and Tank. Each of them has unique abilities, determining their playstyle. For example, Boomer can vomit a stream of blood, which attracts mutant hordes to the victim, while Smoker has a ten-metres-long tongue he can grab people with (e.g. to drag them out of cover). Since the mutants can't use weapons, they are at their best when they hide and wait for a right moment to strike. The only exception to this rule is Tank, a giant who can smash through walls as throw cars — he has no need for finesse. The mutants' strength lies mostly in their numbers — they just swarm their victims and tear them to shreds.
There are four campaigns, each consisting of five maps, and they're all a part of a single story. Every map features a different goal, which leads us to the next part of the plot. There is not much of variety there, though — every time you have to reach a rally point, from where you're transported to another place.
Apart from the online co-op mode, Left 4 Dead for PC and X360 also features a singleplayer mode, in which your teammates are controlled by the AI.
PC / Windows
Recommended: Pentium 4 3 GHz, 2 GB RAM, graphic card 128 MB (GeForce 6600 or better), 7.5 GB HDD, Windows XP/Vista
Microsoft Xbox 360
Uses: Xbox Live