Ellis. Nick. Coach. Rochelle.
New survivors or fresh meat? With Left 4 Dead 2 shipping at a prospective date of Christmas ’09, it’s time to break out your posse, load your paranoia, and automatic-ify those shotguns to quell the zombie hordes once more. And sweet damn it’s about time! After all, the sheets of my bed were starting to dry up after my initial foray into Left 4 Dead territory – and when it comes to zombies, I like things wet.
Speaking of territory, it’s all brand new this time around, with Louisiana being the focus and swamps, crypts, and the French Quarter of New Orleans being the kill zones. Now, this is definitely a political move. The first one was designed when Bush was President, with an urban center sprawling with immorality, and the sequel has been designed while Obama’s been President and it’s going yokel Redneck Rampage style. In fact, one of the levels is actually a ranch in Crawford, Texas and features a new super-zombie: “Jeb.” Every so often Cheney shoots one of you in the head and some dude appears to shout, “Toasty!”
Now, if you haven’t played the original Left 4 Dead, get a friend, have a sleepover, rent Brokeback Mountain (Swear that it’s just to see Anne Hathaway naked), and then beat the entire game in one sitting. It’s like watching four awesome movies where you are the one kicking serious ass. It’s like Bruce Lee watching Bruce Lee movies. That is how you feel. I will be doing this exact night in one week’s time with a raw “recruit” who has heard of Left 4 Dead and is eager to try/die. I’ll wish him well and tell him the whimpering little girl in the corner is in need of rescue. Turn your flashlight on with the silver button.
Back to Left 4 Dead 2, which, as an acronym, sounds sorta like R2-D2, so much more is new than just throwing beads to headless zombie babes in New Orleans. – But wait, how could they keep the beads on their necks? First off: environment. No, not the David Suzuki kind, we’re talking about rain, sludge, and a lot of daylight. Think stereotypical horror locations are scary at night? Try realistic streets and suburbs by day! Okay, so that’s not an air-tight argument, but I very much trust the people at Valve to ensure that ease of vision won’t make for any less of a terrifying time. In fact, the word is that the glare of the sun can be your worst enemy. To enforce this are two or three new super-zombies, none of which are my idea: “The Masturbator,” which works kind of like a Boomer.
Whatever they are, I don’t care, because I’ll have an arsenal of new weapons to slay with, including frying pans, axes, and chainsaws. Nice n’ dirty. Since the horde always ends up right in your face, occasionally EATING it, I figure it’s best to have something rusty to shoo them back with. Preferably some of those excess nails littering the Quake realm, but butchers can’t be choosy.
Synopsis? Left 4 Dead 2 will be the next amazing step forward and likely make people crave for Left 4 Dead the original’s four scenarios to be imported pronto. Me? I’m most looking forward to playing as Coach, a fat no-nonsense gym teacher. Here’s a hint for the newbies: don’t blow his damn whistle.
In conclusion, a list of characters I’d love to see in Left 4 Dead: Celebrity Massacre set in Hollywood:
José Canseco: Give him a baseball bat and the shame of attempting a Mixed Martial Arts career and you’ve got your token douchebag character. After years of steroid abuse he’s probably more deformed than a tank.
Seth Green: Based on the irreputable nature of Robot Chicken, I figure the former werewolf would go ballistic on California zombies. Plus you need that annoying geek character to leave behind for the horde. He’s the L4D equivalent of Slippy from Star Fox.
Salma Hayek: This bountiful senorita has just the right amount of no-bullshit attitude and ability to run in high heels that would prove entertaining. Plus, if the horde gets too close, she spins quickly and the babies plastered to her chest knock the head off of one or more zombies.
Samuel L. Jackson: Well, this one couldn’t be more obvious. Frankly, they could make all four survivors Samuel L. Jackson and I’d be thrilled.