Left 4 Dead Review

Valve - Left 4 Dead


Genre: Action/Co-operative Shooter
Cooperative Play: Yes
Demo Available: No
Rating: 4.3 chickens
Product Official Site: http://www.l4d.com
Publisher: Valve
Platforms: PC, XBox 360

The Good:

Left 4 Dead offers a solid co-operative play experience that rewards teamwork and forces players to help each other. It also happens to play well on systems that are well below the listed requirements.

The Bad:

The product is delivered and managed through Steam, which means (among other things) now that it is released, there is no longer an officially sanctioned means to download the demo. Some of the challenge the game provides is nothing more than contrived stampes of fashion-challenged greyscale foes. In a few places, foes seem to materialize out of (literally) nowhere, in rooms you have already cleared.


Two weeks ago, a plague broke out in the city. Now your home town is infested with zombies. You've found three other people who don't seem to be infected yet, and you have banded together with a common purpose: get out alive.

This new game from Valve is designed exclusively for co-operative play, using some new engine and AI technology that tunes the experience for the skill level of the team. At each step, it evaluates how the team is doing and either kicks the difficulty up a notch to knock the chip off of your shoulder, or tones it down to give you a chance to reach the next waypoint. The spawn points of everything from foes to supplies seems to be somewhat random, so while the maps are the same, the escape is subtly different every time.


Game Play:

This appears to be a solid game that promises and delivers an engaging team play experience. It also provides a "vs." mode, where players can join the opposing team. As stated previously, the difficulty at all levels is tailored to the ability of the team, and the spawn points are random. This is a team game, mavericks need not apply. Further, the game provides a feature that I have seen before but seems rare: it permits players to call a vote and remove griefers from the team. My only real complaint is that it's only 4-way COOP. Aesthetically, I have noticed that the undead only dress in greyscale, which I feel distracts a little from the realism. However, never having endured an actual zombie insurgence, I can't say for certain how quickly the dye in victims' clothes would fade after joining the quest for tasty brains.


The requirements are a bit hefty, but the game is quite forgiving. I tested the game on a system that is well below the recommended minimum and the experience was fully enjoyable.
  • 1.53 GHz Athlon XP
  • 1GB DDR333
  • Radeon 9600SE / 128MB
  • SBLive! s400

    I tested the game in the following 32-bit modes on my 1280x1024 LCD:

    1280x1024full screennoticeably low frame rate, interferes with reaction time
    1024x768full screenno dropped frames, quite playable
    1024x768windowed(perfect, effectively native res on any screen
    640x480full screennot pretty, but plays fine

    In all modes, I get occasional sound-glitches where the audio frames stutter 6 or 7 times over 2-3 seconds, but I have had that in every Valve game I have ever played, including Original Half-Life.

    Hints and Tips: The zombie hordes are a bit strange and feel contrived, but I've found by looking around there are places to hole up and wait for them or otherwise bottleneck them before proceeding, often finding extra items along the way. Stealth and careful loadout selection, as well as judicious use of special ordinance seem to go a long way toward increasing one's chances of survival.

    Regarding the demo situation, I downloaded the demo directly through Steam on the 7th, and managed to play it through once at 640x480. The next day, I wanted to try to play it at higher res before committing the cash to the purchase, but by then the "demo" disappeared from steam and became the "purchase" link for several of my friends, and Steam no longer offered to launch the demo for me. I have since found that you can circumvent this rather serious limitation by logging into Steam, then hunting around in C:\Program Files for "left4dead.exe" and double-clicking it. This will help those who previously downloaded the demo, but didn't get a chance to play. If you didn't download the demo before the 18th, there appears to be no way at this time to demo the game's new technology or test it with your hardware before purchase.


    This is a really solid experience with only a few areas that could have used a little more polish:
    • Realism is strong through immersion, but could be improved by eliminating the need for the hordes as a key plot device, and also by not spawning new foes on top the players in secured rooms.
    • The delivery experience greatly suffers from the lack of a continually available demo.
    • The visual experience would be improved by varying the color/texture of the zombie's clothes beyond mere greyscale.

    I deducted 1/3 chicken for the first two points, admitting to myself that the last point is probably a matter of texture resources which, if solved, would leave me unable to play this game on my aging rig, for a final score of 4 and 1/3 (4.3) chickens.


    I've not only decided to buy the game, I'll strongly consider upgrading my system sometime in the next few months to play it in all its glory, and have convinced 2 other people to do the same. This game looks like good, solid fun.


CANADA's picture

Very Sad News Indeed, Keep Believing, Keep The Faith, LOL !!!

To My Fellow "NOLFers",

When I first saw the news about the "NOLF 2" Server, I
was not only saddened by it, I was also very disheartened
about this news.

As soon as I read it, I called Chris Miller in LA to ask him if
he knew what was going on.

Please understand fellow "NOLFers" that there were certain
things that Chris could not reveal to me
, however we had a
very nice talk, and I was able to gleam some information
about this situation.

1) Sierra is no more, they are closed.

2) The takeover by Activision is what is causing all of this.

3) Activision is dealing with everything in a Slash & Burn
effect. They are responsible
for the "NOLF 2" Server being
closed, and everything else that is going on.

Sierra Is Not Responsible for what is happening (since
Sierra does not exist anymore).

4) Tons of people have now lost their jobs, unfortunately
Chris Miller has also lost his job
, he was one of the people
that Activision let go.

He has nothing to do with the "NOLF Series" anymore,
this is very sad news indeed.

However please understand that he still cares very much about
the "NOLF Series", and I hope in the future should Monolith
decide to approach the "NOLF Series" again, that they would
call up Chris Miller to become involved again as Producer,
this is my hope of course.

It is possible that the "NOLF Series" may not be totally
dead at this time, considering the following fact.

Monolith does not own the name "No One Lives Forever",
however they do retain the rights to the characters and story.

So it is possible that Monolith might decide to release a
"NOLF 3", not under the name "No One Lives Forever",
but maybe under the name of "Cate Archer Returns" (example).

So I asking all of you, that you continue to support the "NOLF 3"
at " http://www.nolf4ever.com ". It is not over yet,
keep believing, keep the faith.

I am now putting out a call to all of our fellow "NOLFers"
who possess the knowledge of how to do this

Would it be possible for someone to come up with a patch or
mod that would allow fellow "NOLFers" to be able to see "NOLF 2"
Servers online, and allow "NOLFers" to be able to join the
available servers.

Take Good Care Of Yourselves and Your Families,

Your Friend In "NOLF 1 & 2, CJ, & F.E.A.R.", Always,


Shocked Confused Rolling Eyes Crying or Very sad Sad

CANADA's picture

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year To Everyone, LOL !!!

Wishing The "NOLF Community" A Merry Christmas
& A Very Happy New Year, LOL !!!

To All Of The Members Of The "NOLF Community",

I just wanted to wish all of you and your families a very

I send my very best wishes of "Love, Luck, & Happiness"
to all of you and your families for "2008", and always of course.

I hope all of you have a great holiday season, Enjoy!!!! Dancing

Take Good Care Of Yourselves and Your Families,

Your Friend In "NOLF 1 & 2, CJ, & F.E.A.R.", Always,


Shocked Laughing Cool Wink Dancing

("CANADA'S Standard Christmas Card").©2001-2007

Only in CANADA you say, Pity, hehe!!! Laughing

CANADA's picture

Looking For Mappacks For The "NOLF Series"? LOL !!!

To "The NOLF Community",

To all members of the "NOLF Community", if you are looking for MP Mappacks for
the "NOLF Series - NOLF 1, NOLF 2, & Contract Jack", you can dowload them at
the following places mentioned below.

Many thanks to "(JAG) Sauron" for doing this for the "NOLF Community", it is
greatly appreciated !!!

Kudo's to you "(JAG) Sauron", Keep up the great work that you continue
to do for the "NOLF Community" !!!

Link #1: " http://www.odious-things.co.uk/ ".

These Mappacks are the most up to date ones, with the exception in "NOLF 2" of
"Sasser's & Triggerhappy's" new MP Maps, sorry guys we were not aware of your
new maps when the Mappacks were made, they will be in the next version.

(There is no sign in on this website to be able to download the MP Mappacks).

Link #2: " http://www.clan-jaguar.net/ ".

**** Please Note ****

**** You must be signed in on the main (JAG) website (not the forums) as a member
of the website to be able to see the download page, and to be able to download the
MP Mappacks. ****

The "NOLF 1 MP Mapack" also includes the brand new AM Maps from the recently completed
"NOLF 1" competition, that was sponsored by the " http://parallel-universe.co.uk/ " company.

It also contains a brand new DM MP Map from the MP Map Maker "Legbat".

Many thanks to " http://Parallel-Universe.co.uk " for putting on the competition, there
will be more information coming in the near future about who competed and who were
the final winners in this competition.

Kudo's to you guys for doing this for the "NOLF Community" !!!

Take Good Care Of Yourselves and Your Families,

Your Friend In "NOLF 1 & 2, CJ, & F.E.A.R.", Always,


cate cate cate is great Shocked Laughing Cool Applause Wink Dancing

Cartography Title / Mapping with Texmod

From Cainan:

How To use TexMod for cartography and other fun things.

I have researched this personally, and there is no security risk in running texmod.
it only alters game textures IN MEMORY while running. it does not make physical changes
to the game.

You can download texmod here:

For a full tutorial on how to use it, you can go here:

That is the Official Guild Wars Wiki page on using Texmod
(no its not supported, but its not discouraged either)

You can find various 'packages' for use with Texmod here:

(I recommend the 'Cartography made easy' mods myself.)

Below i will give the simple method.
1: download Texmod and the 'packagge' or 'mod' that you will be using.
You will need to create a place for them to live.
I stored mine under D:\Program Files\Guild Wars\TexMod\

2: Start Texmod
in the 'target application box, click the 'open folder' icon and choose browse,
Navigate to where you stored guildwars, and select gw.exe. click 'open'.

3: Be sure 'Package mode' is selected.
there will be 4 butons in the middle. a open folder (add), an 'X'(remove), and an up and down arrow.
chose the 'add' icon, and select the package file you wish to use (it will be a .tpf file)
do this for each package you wish to use.

4: hit 'run'
This will start guildwars with the mods activated.
These are texture mods that ONLY YOU WILL SEE.
If you run Guild Wars w/o using TexMod to launch it, you will no longer see the mods.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to ask.
Hell, i may even know the answer!
-- Cainan

CANADA's picture

"NOLF 2" Master Server Update, Thank You "Chris Miller", LOL !!!

To The "NOLF Community",

As mentioned in Chris Millers Letter dated: "02-15-2007", fellow NOLFers
& Members of the "NOLF Community" are now aware that I have been
helping Chris in the background for a very long time.

One of the issues that I had asked Chris to help the "NOLF Community"
with lately, dealt with the problems with the "NOLF 2" Master Server.

For the last month I have been testing the "NOLF 2" Master Server
every day.

I wanted to see if things had gotten any better since I had asked Chris to help
the community.

Since he has gotten involved in trying to help fix the "NOLF 2" Master Server
issue for all of us, I have noticed a considerable difference.

As mentioned above, I started noticing this about a month ago when I started
to do daily testing of the connectability issues: speed & stability.

I now believe and can say without a doubt, that because of Chris Millers intervention
and help, The "NOLF 2" Master Server Issue Is Finally Solved!!! Dancing

So to all of my fellow NOLFers, I am asking you now to please come and reply, to
let Chris know that you have noticed it also.

It would be nice if you let Chris know, and maybe tell him how thankful we all are
that he did get involved, to help with this long standing issue dealing with the
"NOLF 2" Master Server.

I am so glad that this issue with the "NOLF 2" Master Server is finally solved.

My very special thanks goes out to Chris Miller for continuing to believe in
and help The "NOLF Community" when he can.

Thank You Very Much Chris, It Is greatly appreciated !!! Cool

Kudo's To You Chris !!! Wink

Take Good Care Of Yourselves and Your Families,

Your Friend In "NOLF 1 & 2, "CJ", & "F.E.A.R.", Always,


cate cate cate is great Shocked Laughing Cool Applause Wink Dancing


I've upgraded the site from very old Drupal, to the newest 5.1
It wasn't pretty, and we lost of themed layout in the process,
but it IS done.

bear with us as we get a new theme up and in place.

-- Cainan, f00, & FooFighter


Nova's Guild Wars: Factions Review

3 chickens

Title: Guild Wars - Factions
Genre: CORPG (Competitive Online Role-Playing Game)
Good point: I didn't get to find many good points during the little days of playing the Preview. I only enjoyed the Graphics, new Skills, and the clothing, though.
Bad point: I did, however, come across a variety of bad points. The Preview didn't seem ready, there were missing pictures, spelling errors on the Log Quests, and etcetera. The Kurzick Quests were lengthy and challenging; many people disliked it and went off to the Luxon area. I also think the controls/storyline might be a little hard to understand at first.
Value proposition: At Amazon.com -
Guild Wars: Factions = $49.99
Guild Wars: Factions + Pre-Order Disk = $44.99 (Originally $51.99, you save $7)
All in All: I think/hope Factions will be just as great as GW - Prophecies.

Guild Wars Factions Review

4 chickens

Guild Wars Factions
Genre: Fantasy/Role Playing/Massive Multiplayer
Cooperative Play: Yes
The Good:
The co-operative game play is fabulous! This game is very easy on the eyes. The attention to detail is superb. The RPG engine appears to be robust, and most of the modifications for the new game elements (this is a follow-on to 2005's Guild Wars: Prophecies) are seamless.
The Bad
There is a steep learning curve, and the preview event evidenced quite a few bugs with the new profession types. Friendly players and online guides help to mitigate the woes of new players, and the publisher rolls out regular bug fix releases.
Value proposition: Pricey at 50 USD, but there is no monthly fee. Compared to other titles in this genre, this game is the clear value winner.
I played the Preview Event this weekend and had a blast, even though I have never played the original. The co-operative play style and availability of plenty of opponents and situations offers a chance to explore all the aspects of each profession. This game is poised to be one of the most popular of the year. I have noticed a lot of crossover from friends who enjoy shooters, and I can confidently predict that if you enjoy a rich environment with fully-interactive elements, you will like Guild Wars: Factions even if you don't normally enjoy Fantasy game play.
While this title can be played as an online FPS (using the quests as missions) the gameplay is substantially richer than most shooters and offers quite a bit of character customization.

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