Monday, November 17, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Nooooo no no no no no nooooo no no-no. No. Nuh-uh. No way. No. Nooooooo-ho-hooooo.....
*rocks back and forth rhythmically, staring at the wall*

The cinematic alone made me want to curl up in the closet and hide for days. The game play between video card glitches was freaking awesome. The AI was relatively good, and it was only on the 4th reload that I screwed up and shot my teammates.

But zombies? Noooooooo way. In my world, they better NEVER EVER EVER move that fast. If they do, I am going to crawl in to my attic and drink my own urine as quietly as possible for as long as possible until I either die of starvation or they get it together to scour the countryside and pick the super-speedy necrophagists off to the point of extinction. I'm dead freakin' serious about this, folks.

I was leery of zombies to begin with, and it used to be watching Night of the Living Dead was enough to send me in to nightmares. But no... someone had to go and create 28 Days Later, introducing the idea that they could outright sprint until you collapsed. Meanwhile, they were ready for another 5 K and not even winded in spite of having just downed your sweetbreads and the majority of your esophagus. When I saw that, I had nightmares on and off for a least a YEAR.

What's really sick about it is that both movies mentioned are now among my favorites. So is Sean of the Dead, a British flick that spends most of its time making fun of other zombie flicks, and good on them for it. It made me howl.

Anyway, as some of you know I love to embrace that which terrifies me in an attempt to understand it and get over it. Because of this I've actually done a lot of reading on this history of zombies and zombie movies. For the most part, I know what to expect when I'm looking at the depiction of a zombie, and rather pride myself on that fact.

But with the Left 4 Dead demo, it pretty much took everything that made it scary, twisted it to wring out all impurities, then added in a few small things that upped the ante. Like different KINDS of zombies, so you have to have a different tactic for each of them.
Also nice was the fact that the group will not follow you if you go wandering away from the direction you need to be headed to reach your objective. On our first run through the apartment building Bob and I went off to the right away from the stairwell to do a bit of investigating, and the other two didn't follow. That was the only way we knew that we were supposed to go down, and it worked out nicely. There's really no map to be had that I could tell, so a subtle indicator like that which keeps you in the game is highly appreciated.
Those guys that spew bile all over everything? Okay... dude, that's harsh. Because you can't see, and it attracts the infected, so they're swarming at you and you're basically shooting at whatever runs up and tries to eat your face. This happened twice, and miraculously we got through it alive without shooting each other a whole lot.
I did notice that closing a door to keep zombies from creeping up behind you seems to pretty much invite them to swarm at you THROUGH that door, so learning to constantly strafe and keep my back to walls was important. Another great thing was that each time we went through, the makeup of what attacked us was entirely different. We didn't have the same encounter twice. That made it really enjoyable.
That being said, if I can clear up the issue with my video card, I will probably be getting this on the PC. I may even play it alone, since there are 3 other AI companions that join me in the story. I'd recommend it to others somewhat leery of the survival-horror genre as well because of that. It lets you be slightly less panicked than perhaps you would be otherwise.
Maybe this will be the deciding factor in me getting over my fear and moving on!
...probably not. But it is HIGHLY satisfying to plug holes into things that really, really want your precious fluids.

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