'Code Veronica' my ass.
You can therefore imagine my pleasure upon realizing that Valve, the company that brought us Half-Life and Half-Life 2 (about which I have written previously), has been working on a new game. A game that dwells on the experience of surviving a zombie apocalypse. This game, named Left4Dead, is now available in demo form on Valve's content delivery system Steam. And on a whim, I downloaded that demo yesterday and took it for a spin. So how was this experience?
The basic premise is that you take the role of one of four "survivors" trapped in a city full of the undead. You then cooperatively- either with human teammates or computer-controlled bots- try to make your way to safety. As has become common in recent games, your ability to carry weapons is limited and restrictions on explosives and medical equipment are pretty extreme. Additionally, the undead are not the shambling sort we saw in Romero movies but, instead, are the fleet-footed type from the "28 ____ later" series of movies. So, more or less, when the zombies spot you, you'd best start shooting and keep shooting as fast as you can. The total result of this is an experience that is frenetic, unsettling, and terrifying. You feel a palpable sense of dread on seeing a horde of zombies sprinting your way as well as the excitement of realizing that you and your compadres have put the last one on the ground... for now. Word has it that there is a "versus" mode as well, in which a four-person human team will face off against a four-person zombie team. I admit, this sounds very interesting, even if it negates the main advantage humans have over zombies: our ability to think. In any case, take a look at the intro movie and see if you don't get at least a little bit psyched:
And believe it or not, the in-game graphics are more or less as good as the trailer would suggest- we are not looking at the usual Bullshot here.
So is this that rare game that I might actually purchase and allow myself to play? Well, yes and no. I definitely want to see more of this thing, and Christmas is coming up,** but it's also being released at the same time as Fallout 3, which also looks to be, in a word, awesome. Maybe if I can get enough papers out in the next few weeks, I can make the hard choice and allow myself some time to play.
Either way, it looks to be a fun winter break.
* Fun fact! The Zombie Survival Guide is kept in my office at work in the section of my bookshelf I devote to "methods."
** Helpful aside to my wife: Hint, hint honey!