After a Tank fight, on Expert. This was pretty much the last time we saw each other alive.
Update: title changed because it turns out Craig picked exactly the same quote for the strapline in his review. This post is now named in honour of the dark room we hid in for ten minutes last night to survive the finalÃ© of Blood Harvest.
The first version of Left 4 Dead that isn’t pointlessly and inexplicably butchered is in the wild now, and by in I mean on and by the wild I mean Steam. If you’ve had the chance to play through to a finalÃ© and you hadn’t before, I hope you see why I thought it bizarre that they would leave that out of a demo. If they feared that giving away something substantial for free might harm sales rather than drive them, I would cough in such a way that the sound could be construed as the words ‘Counter’ and ‘Strike’ one after the other.
The downside for me as a player is that half the public games I’ve joined are trying to play on Expert, emboldened by the trivial ease of the demo on Normal. This is folly.
Tensions rise on the PC Gamer quartet when it becomes clear that most of us are either
stupid or crazy.
The finalÃ©s are really something. The reason I think they’re the point of Left 4 Dead is that they showcase its most surprising and profound accomplishment: difficulty. Sin Episodes, like many before it, focused entirely on that problem. It not only failed, it did so with such aplomb that the players’ primary complaint about the game was the wonky difficulty.
Left 4 Dead’s campaigns, on Normal, always run to the final map, and are always close. In our game at lunch, Tim was being so utterly pummeled by the time rescue arrived that he actually commanded us to leave without him.
“Graham’s gone too, leave him, just run for it!”
“I’m not gone! Save me!”
So I did. Except that his main problem turned out not be a pesky Hunter so much as thrity-six zombies and a Tank. I think I got the Tank, but by the time I did I was being mauled from so many directions that I couldn’t move to save Graham, and we both died there.
In our first game after work, Graham, Tim and I made it to the boat but Craig got pinned in the water. I jumped in and managed to get him on his feet, but he was knocked down again on the pier before he could get to the boat. I’d badly hurt myself with the first attempt, so I jumped onto the boat just as it pulled away – and just as Graham jumped off to come to Craig’s aid.
Then in our last game, on Dead Air, through canny use of distractionary pipe bombs, sustained high vantage-point fire from Graham and Craig, emplaced heavy weapons support from Tim and shotgun-powered back-covering from me, we all piled into the back of the cargo plane and made it to safety.
So you see his tongue has been wrapped around several objects, twisted almost, to the
point at which he can no longer clearly speak. I guess you could say it was quite a mouthful.
I’m actually not a huge fan of the raw ingredients of Left 4 Dead: I love the animation of the zombies, but they always feel slightly hollow and insubstantial to kill, your weapons rattly and unexciting. But difficulty is such a hugely important variable, and the game nails it so utterly, that the final result is an endless thrill.