Poor old Left 4 Dead. Just over a year old, and already consigned to the backseat of history by Valve’s uncharacteristically headlong rush to sequel-dom.
Well we’re not quite ready to let go, chaps – as befits the PC version at least. Here are some reasons to put off uninstalling the original zombie co-op FPS for a few months longer.
Because Left 4 Dead wasn’t broken, hasn’t been fixed.
Bit of an obvious point, this one. Left 4 Dead is still utterly, utterly fantastic, and worth experiencing alongside its younger sibling. Those soggy North American forest, industrial and residential maps aren’t getting any less gripping or well-balanced. It’s a whole five quid cheaper than Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam, too.
Because Valve’s keeping its word as to downloadable content.
OK, they took their sweet time bringing out Survival mode, the new “Crash Course” campaign and Versus functionality for the original maps, but Valve seems to be building momentum on the DLC front. We downloaded a 4v4 matchmaking update only a week or two back. Watch this space.
Because Left 4 Dead now boasts hundreds of custom maps and campaigns.
There are plenty of prolific would-be Valve employees out there, it seems. This writer’s favourite custom maps include Claustrophobia, a cramped, two-storey Survival arena featuring some stunning broken wood geometry and shadows, L4D Dust 2, for all the Counterstrike freaks in da house, and Who’s Laughing Now?: The Evil Dead Cabin, a bastard hard homage to Sam Raimi’s stuffed-crust B-movie classic. Hunter Training is great for putting a little extra spring into your pounce.
Custom-campaign-wise, you might want to consider this Silent Hill remake, or this sequence ripped from Resident Evil Outbreak File#2. Cream of the crop, though, is Death Aboard, which takes you from the depths of a prison to a gloomy dockyard and onto a precariously balanced ship. Fans of the surreal should check out Night Terror and its daring hot-air balloon rescue. Gadzooks.
Because you can stuff all the original game’s content into the sequel.
Those lynch-pins of the underground code-breaking scene at L4Dmods have figured out how to transfer all Left 4 Dead campaigns (and, excitingly, custom campaigns) to Left 4 Dead 2 – well ahead of the release of Valve’s official SDK.
Hold on though, doesn’t this make the first game rather redundant, we hear you protest? Ah, my son, but you’ll need a fully paid-up, squeaky-clean legit copy of both games to pull the trick off. Plus a bit of technical know-how, naturally. And the patience to endure a fair few non-crippling bugs. Hit the link for a tutorial, and check out the video evidence below.
Because Zoey is way fitter than Rochelle, innit.
Look, let’s not beat around any bushes here (after all, one of them might contain a Boomer). If we had the chance to leap into the sack with either of the Left 4 Dead ladies, it’d be pasty girl-geek brunette Zoey all the way. Rochelle’s too respectable for our unhygienic, society-averse tastes. She’s a TV producer, for God’s sake. Plus she wears a Depeche Mode T-shirt (admittedly it’s got a stencil of Gordon Freeman on it). Stupid establishment chick.
So what’s keeping you glued to the original Left 4 Dead, oh well-informed reader?