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Left 4 Dead

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First person shooter games have been around for a long time in the PC and video gaming world. And almost as long, there have been first person shooters where you take on hoards of zombies. Left 4 Dead 2 offers the same game play as other games of this nature, but then goes one step further. There are a variety of differing types of zombies, each having their own special skill. This makes fighting the zombies in the single player game mode just a little bit harder. And in the multi player modes, where you can be either human or zombies, it brings even more depth and fun in playing.

In playing the game as humans, you have 4 people you can play as, with a goal of moving from one safe room to another as you work to the ultimate goal of escaping the zombie infected area. As humans, you select from various guns or melee weapons you find along the way. You also can take far more damage than zombies. And if you or a fellow character becomes severely damaged, you can use the medical kits you find to heal them, or yourself. However, if you become so injured that you fall helplessly to the ground, only another player can help and/or heal you. Teamwork is essential in Left 4 Dead. When you play in multi player mode, and are the zombies, you are able to wander around in a non-playing mode to search for a place to spawn (Join the game in the actual playing mode.) You can only spawn in areas out of site of the human characters. In the meantime, hundreds of normal zombies are being controlled by the computer, attacking the humans once they get close enough to see them.

The zombies players get to control randomly switches each time you spawn. There are seven playable zombies, which are listed below.

* Boomer - The Boomer is a huge, fat zombie that spits bile at humans. The bile temporarily blinds the person hit, and draws normal zombies to that person like sharks in a feeding frenzy. When a Boomer is killed, he explodes, showering his bile on anyone close to him.

* Hunter - The Hunter is a fast, agile zombie that crouches low and can launch themselves at their victims, taking them down to the ground. Once the hunter has a human to the ground, he viciously rips away at victim's abdomen until he's killed, or the Hunter is knocked off of him by another player.

* Smoker - The Smoker is a zombie that hides in the shadows, waiting for a human to pass into view. He then launches a very long, tentacle-like tongue, which hits and grabs hold of its victim's, dragging him back to the smoker, damaging him along the way. The only escape from a Smoker is having another human character either kill the Smoker, or cut the tongue with a weapon.

* Tank - The Tank is a large, extremely strong and resilient zombie who uses his brute strength to smash humans, or lift and throw large, heavy objects the human players. As the name suggests, a Tank is very hard to kill, usually requiring more than one player shooting it with long bursts of automatic weapons.

* Charger - The Charger uses speed and momentum to attack. Best used in areas with a long, straight clear path, this zombie runs at speed toward a victim's, grabs him, and keeps going until he hits a wall or other solid object. At this point, the Charger slams the human he's captured repeatedly upon the ground. A human character cannot knock a Charger off its victim's with any melee weapons or attacks, so he must be killed to rescue the victim.

* Jockey - The Jockey is a small zombie that leaps onto the back of its victim. Once on the human, the Jockey steers the stumbling player, attempting to get the player away from the rest of his team. On high areas, such as building ledges, a Jockey can actually cause his victim's to fall to his death.

* Spitter - The Spitter, as its name suggests, spits as its main attack. It launches a big, green glob of acid that damages anyone who touches it.

* Witch - The Witch is a zombie that is a non-playable character, but is in the normal game play. A witch looks like a small, girl child who is crying. If a human character disturbs her with a flashlight, an attack, or just getting too close, the Witch attacks those near with a fierce, dogged determination. You don't run across Witches very often in the game, but their eerie presence is heard long before you can see her.

All special zombies have unique sounds that give away their presence in the game, which can make sneak attacks challenging to the players. I have to admit, I enjoy playing the zombies more than the humans. Left 4 Dead 2 is the newest game in my collection, which I purchased online via my Steam account. Steam is required for online play. The only drawback to playing Left 4 Dead online is the same problem with any online first person shooter game. You get a lot of people, many immature kids, who spend every waking moment playing games, who are rude and crude, and they sometimes make playing unenjoyable. Also, you get game fanatics who will boot beginner players out of the game because you may not be up to their playing level. If you can put up with this on occasion, Left 4 Dead 2 is well worth the time to play and become good at.

Copyright © 2012 Tom A. Wright