You: Human. The three others? Friends. Them? Zombies--shoot them.
That's Left 4 Dead in a nutshell. More specifically, your group of four will have to work your way through the zombie-infested streets broken up into 5 campaigns. Each campaign is sub-divided into areas with the goal generally being to make it to the safe house at the end of each one.
Upon reaching a safe house, close the door once everyone's safely inside to complete the level and move onto the next. It's important to note that everything carries over between areas, such as your health, weapons, and ammo. Thankfully, safe houses generally contains a variety of items, including health packs, weapons, and ammo caches allowing you to stock up before venturing back outside.
You'll find your health bar conveniently located in the bottom-right corner of the screen, with your teammates' displayed just left. While the meter obviously correlates to how much health you have remaining, it also changes colors, from green, to yellow, to red, signifying how close to death you are, making it easy to spot who's in trouble at a glance. Even worse, as if being close to death wasn't bad enough, your running speed decreases as you take damage, making it increasingly difficult to avoid attacks and keep pace with your teammates.
If you run out of health, you'll wind up incapacitated. In this state, your only hope for survival is to have a teammate revive you before you bleed out and die. If revived, you'll temporarily regain 30 Health Points, but this too will slowly tick its way back down to one unless you can find a First Aid Kit--and fast. Assuming you're incapacitated again, you can be revived up to twice more, but you will die if you fail to be healed by the third incapacitation. Thankfully, the use of a First Aid Kit resets this counter, allowing you to be revived up to three times more.
If a survivor does wind up dying, they can come back in one of a few ways:
- Defibrillator Units: Defibrillator units enable you to revive a fallen teammate right then and there, but you can only use each one once.
- Rescue Closets: Dead teammates will respawn in "rescue closets" throughout the campaign--look for their glowing silhouette and free them, as they can't do it themselves.
- New Chapter: Any fallen survivors will rejoin you at the start of a new chapter.
First Aid Kits
First aid kits are the primary means for healing yourself. Now here's the thing: First Aid Kits only restore 80% of the health you have lost and not 80% of your total health bar. In other words, the closer to death you are, the more health you'll regain by using it. Because of this, it's a constant balancing act of deciding when to use it. On the one hand, the closer to death you are, the more effective it is. On the other hand, you may die before being able to use it! In general, we found it's best to use it as soon as your health bar turns red--this enables you to regain a large percentage of your health, while giving you enough of a buffer to withstand a few more attacks while you heal yourself.
Pain pills work a bit differently than the first aid kit. Instead of restoring a percentage of your health, they grant an immediate boost of 50 health points. Unfortunately, their effect is temporary, and your health will slowly begin to drop to its pre-boost level at a rate of one health point every three seconds or so (the total effect lasts for about 2.5 minutes). In effect, their only purpose is to keep you alive long enough until you can get healed properly, via a first aid kit. As such, save it until you're up against a significant threat, or are near death.
Adrenaline Shots have two benefits:
- You will run faster and perform actions significantly faster for 15 seconds, such as healing yourself or others, reviving teammates, and pouring gas when playing Scavenger.
- Adrenaline Shots also provide a temporary health boost of 25 health points, similar to the Pain Pills. And like the pain pills, their effect will slowly deplete at a rate of one health point every three seconds (or a minute and 15 seconds total).
The Defibrillator Unit is a one-use item that allows you to fully revive any fallen comrades.
The pipe bomb's incessant beeping actually lures the nearby infected to it before exploding, clearing them out. Use it to distract large groups of enemies enabling you to skate by unharmed.
These glass containers house a small sample of the Boomer's Bile. Why would you want such a thing? Because you can use it to draw out the horde wherever you toss it, including at other infected (such as the Special Types), making for easy pickings.
You can hold two weapons at any given time. One's your primary, the other is your secondary, which can either be a pistol or melee weapon. Pistols have unlimited ammo, and thus it's best to use them when facing weak or small groups of enemies.
Regardless of what weapon you have equipped, using a melee attack is always an option. Though weak, they'll briefly push back and stun any normal infected, giving you a chance to either escape, reload, or follow-up with another melee attack. Keep it in mind for when you're surrounded, or if you run out of ammo. However, if you attempt to melee too quickly without resting, the game will force a delay between each attack, as indicated by the timer that appears around your reticule.