Left 4 Dead is the new survival multiplayer FPS from Valve, makers of the Half Life series. It drops you into scenarios full of infected zombies, with three other survivors. The zombies, like in the horror movie 28 Days Later, are not the lumbering monsters of old, but lightening fast, and run at you on sight. The first time this happens to you in the game it leaves an impression.
The game starts at night, as you and your team try to get to the subway from a roof. As you enter the first building, you can only see with your torch beam. Lightening reactions are necessary to whirl round and dispatch the zombies that hurtle towards you. The only time you'll feel at all comfortable is when you whole team is firing, giving you enough light to see by.
We played the Left 4 Dead demo with one player, so the rest of the team was AI controlled. They seem quite effective, though obviously it will be better with four humans. Keyboard and mouse controls work perfectly well, the graphics and physics are great and the sound is terrifyingly good. Guns sound great, the only reassuring sound in the game, and the moans and groans of distant and unfortunately not distant enough zombies keep up the tension.
Left 4 Dead is definitely an adult game, with a lot of blood, gore and expletives. Fans of horror will love it, unless you're of the opinion that running zombies are an offense to zombie-lore in general. The speed of your attackers give the game a real sense of panic, indeed you find yourself shooting out of fright more than anything else.
Left 4 Dead is a fantastic, fast paced and horrifying first person shooter, which deserves to be played by everyone who dares.