Tuesday, December 2, 2008

.theButterFly’s Zombie Survival Guide

Hello to you all.  Over the last week or so I’ve been devoting a large amount of time to slaying zombies in Valve Software’s newest multi-player FPS Left 4 Dead.   Having logged enough hours to be able to list “Zombie Slayer” as a second full time job, I thought I would pass on some pointers that I’ve picked up to help you along through your game play.

  • While all four Survivors are identical in terms of game play ability, I have noticed that there is an inherent advantage to selecting ether Zoey or Bill as your avatar.   Because Friendly Fire can often times play a very big factor in the success of your team, if you want to make yourself less likely to be on the receiving end of friendly bullets the brighter colours of Zoey and Bill’s jackets make you stand out from the grey pallet of the common zombie horde.   Louis and Francis because of there darker colour pallet are easier to mistake as an attacking zombie.
  • Always aim for the head.   This is especially important when using the automatic weapons such as the Uzi or Assault Rifle.     By firing in short controlled bursts into an on coming horde it is very easy to remove the heads of a good number of the attacking rush before they can reach you or your team mates.
  • An ideal team should have at least one player using a shotgun.   Actually, I think an ideal configuration of a team is one shotgun and three Uzi to start.  Then once you get the advanced weapons one of the players wielding an Uzi should drop it in favour of the Hunting Rifle, while the other two select the Assault Rifle.
  • Use your weapons to exploit their strengths.   Especially in tight quarters the shot gun should be on point and crouching.   His job is to protect the rest of the team while his teammates use the superior range of their weapons to eliminate targets at a distance by firing over the shot gunner’s head.   One of the members of the team should always be keeping watch for the Boss zombies and always seek to eliminate them as their first priority when they appear.
  • In my experience, once a teammate has been captured by a Smoker or Hunter they are not subject to friendly fire, so  fire away to try and save your partner.   Just make sure to check your fire once your teammate has been released.
  • If a teammate has been ensnared by a Smoker and is being dragged focus your fire at the farthest visible section of the tongue that you can see.   With luck you’ll get the Smoker, or at least break the tongue that is ensnaring your teammate.
  • When the warning music for a Horde begins to build take an immediate assessment of your surroundings and try to use them to your advantage.   Seek out corners or rooms that will limit the number of angles that you can be attacked from.
  • Don’t forget your melee attack.  It is one of the best ways to keep yourself alive.  Become accoustomed to turning quickly and using your melee when you hear a zombie charging but can’t get a visual on it.  it might be charging you from behind. 
  • Also, be aware that you can reload and melee at the same time, so when you run out of bullets and need to spam your melee remember to hit your reload button.
  • Crouching with the automatic weapons is essential to increase your accuracy.  However, often times crouching will limit your lines of fire around your other teammates.  To compensate for this, if using an automatic weapon or the Hunting Rifle always seek some sort of elevation advantage to allow you to remain crouched but still fire over the head’s of teammates.  
  • Boss Zombies tend to spawn in groups, so if you hear one of them, be aware that the other Boss Zombies might not be far behind.
  • The common zombies love to climb on things.  While a zombie is climbing it is a sitting duck and can not attack.  Use that to your advantage and take them out while they are climbing.
  • When defending an elevated position that the common zombies will need to climb to get to you be patient, and head shot the zombies while they are in their climbing animation.   Ignore the zombies that are farther afield as in most cases you’ll waste a lot of ammo and won’t kill as many as you would hope.  Just be patient and let them come to you.
  • Remember that the inter round award for the most zombie kills is listed as defenses.   Keeping this in mind will help keep you in a defensive posture.  
  • Remember that the goal is not to get the most kills, but to survive.  
  • If you end up with more “protections” then friendly fires you are doing okay.
  • If you get caught out in the open by a horde try to keep moving as much as possible as you melee and shot your attackers away.
  • During a finale always search the area for gas cans.
  • At the finale of “No Mercy” defend the stair way between the first and second floors of the bunker where the radio is.
  • At the finale of “Death Toll” defend against the hordes from the dock.
  • I don’t know if this is true, but you seam to move really fast in the water on the last stage of “Death Toll”.  that could be helpful.

Well, those are all of the tips I can think of at the moment.


Also.  While not really a game play tip if you have a moment run through the “Developer’s Commentary”.   Not only is it very interesting to hear various Valve employees talk about what influenced the various decisions that they made over the course of development, but it is an excellent chance to view your attackers and their pre-alert animations and behaviours close up.  While progressing through the level the common zombies will ignore your character.  (You computer controlled teammates will still engage the zombies when you get to close, so if you want to be able to really watch the zombies up close kill them as soon as the level begins.)   Since most of your time in the game is spent reacting to the zombies as they attack you you have very little chance to watch the zombies go about their business.   Watching the zombies shamble around the city is really quite impressive, and further shines a light onto just how much detail that Valve chose to impart in this game.   What really sticks out to me about these animations, is that they are for the most part during normal game play unnecessary, as you are never given a chance to observe these behaviours close up.   Kudos to Valve for going the extra mile to imbue the faceless zombie hordes with such a rich personality.


Mad Typist said...

Wow, nice survival guide! That's very helpful stuff. I didn't know that teammates were immune to friendly fire when pinned by Hunters and Smokers. That's going to help my gameplay right there.

Anonymous said...

Zombies ate my boyfriend *sigh*

Well, at least I know my ass is safe if the zombie apocalypse arrives.