Sadly enough, Left 4 Dead has become a huge part of my (and Neformore’s) life. We completely overplayed the first game, and then moved on to the
second, and I remember the first time we played it as a fond memory. We were completely in awe of the sheer amount of zombies and the graphics (which
my laptop hates, of course) and the new weapons etc. And then Silk joined us and we have team building exercises blowing things heads up and failing
to shoot the Charger Steve!
because he can’t turn round…
But then the other night we went back to the first game, after sort of getting sick to death of those stupid Spitters and Chargers, and I promised
myself I would do a comparison thread, because I have nothing better to do.
Now, we all know that other than Ghostbusters (because they’re both essentially the same film), usually the first part of something is better than
the rest. I mean, yeah, there are exceptions, but as a rule, the first is better. We both got blinded by the colours (and Ellis) and hoards and new
zombies and stuff like that, and generally just having a new thing to play. But going back to the first game opened my eyes to a few things.
Number one; the first game is much, much
creepier. The graphics aren’t as good, but that completely adds to it. The game is a lot darker, and
that makes it jumpier when something comes out of nowhere behind you and screams in your ear. And y’know, I will admit that it’s usually me
screaming in people’s ears. The colours of the second game are there for the added graphics and stuff, but the game actually suits the darker and
grainier effects better than the bright colours, acid etc. The echoey screeches and the horde noises are amplified in the first game too, and the
noises last for much longer before the Specials appear.
Number two; the zombies are creepier. The second game sort of ruins the Boomers. I was playing the first a couple of days ago and blew up a Boomer
which was stood right next to me that I hadn’t noticed, and I have to admit I squeaked a bit. In the second game, the Boomers are so obvious that
you can spot them miles away and end up killing them before they even have a chance to puke on you. Unless you’re Nef. The Smokers don’t appear
behind you every two minutes where you can spot and shoot ‘em before they grab you, and the Hunters are in greater frequency, and screech on for
much longer before they actually get to you – which usually echoes as it’s in a built up area and generally makes you go “where the hell is
it??” before it pounces. Usually on me. It must be my perfume.
The added zombies in the second are used to make the game harder, and that’s fair enough, but frankly, they just do my head in after you’ve been
playing it for a while. Especially the Spitters and the Chargers… And the Jockeys. There is a lot of attention based on these new specials in the
second game, and away from the originals, which makes them less scary and somewhat farcical, actually. When you go back to the first game, it’s
kinda disappointing that they’re not as creepy in the second.
Also the hordes take longer to get to you and specials hide amongst the hordes so you don’t notice them and end up getting boomed on or whatever. We
were playing the other night and we were stood in between two flights of stairs. It took so long for the horde to get to us that we were both stood
going “where the hell are they??” for about five minutes before they ran through the top door of the stairs, and it was creepy. Even the noise is
creepier in game one, and the waiting time does get your heart going.
Number three; the Witches are about twenty times harder to kill. I’ve mastered the art of double-tapping with a shotgun in the second game, and
providing I’m paying attention and in the right place, I can generally get them before they get up. Now, full of cockiness, I went into the first
game and tried to double-tap in the same way. I died. The Witches are also generally facing you in the first game, whereas in the second, a lot of the
time, they’re either wandering away from you or facing the other way, enabling you to get closer to them so you can shoot their heads off. Bless
them. And although Nef still manages to startle every Witch going in the second game, they go down easier. Plus, in the first game you can actually
manage to startle Witches from in a different room (Nef), so it’s just far harder to do. And again, you hear them crying for a while before you get
to them, and they’re hidden quite well too so you can startle them before actually realising they’re there.
Number four; the guns take a lot longer to reload. I use a shotgun, and it’s a complete pain in the backside to reload – and it’s even worse in
game one. Also, it’s much easier to kill hordes with an axe, rather than with the pistols. The extra melee weapons in game two, along with the
Magnum, are one thing I actually miss from the first game – the axe I generally the only thing I prefer from the second game over the first. That
and Ellis. But anyway, switching to the pistols in the middle of a horde fight is a lot harder to do than just getting out an axe and swinging it.
Because I’m a bit rubbish at aiming and shooting (the fact that I actually kill any zombies is a lucky fluke), I have to use the shotgun in order to
manage to shoot anything at all. Therefore, when I use the pistols it makes things harder for me. I am getting better though.
Number five; the Tanks are harder to kill, and a little bit scarier because they’re not positioned five times in one game. Last night we got
practically a Tank per saferoom level and we were just like “oh, again?” by the end of it. The Tank’s are positioned better too in the first
game. We had one hiding just before we reached the saferoom, and it wasn’t growling until just before it woke up. That was quite funny actually, Nef
got annoyed. Then I threw a Molotov and got stuck with the Tank and the fire in a corner. I’m the Queen of bad moves in L4D.
Both games are fantastic, and a hell of a lot of fun to play – especially if you have a team of friends together to play with, but actually just
going back to the first game and rediscovering how brilliant it is really opened my eyes to the pluses of the first rather than the second. The second
just lost some of its spark and it is because of the graphics and colours more than anything, because it is still jumpy (trust me; I’m one of the
jumpiest people in the world. Second to Silk, who screams ten minutes after things happen), but it is just missing that same essence that made me fall
in love with the first game, and it takes going back and playing the game again to realise it. For all the new zombies, and new maps, more zombies and
harder levels; the first game is just that bit better, gets the adrenaline pumping a bit more, and yeah, here’s my love and appreciation for a game
which has probably taken over my life a little bit too much in a sort of review based form.