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witthaus avatar 6:02 PM on 04.20.2009  (server time)
Those About to Die: The Left 4 Dead Update

Since a young age, Iíve had an obsession of sorts with zombies. Iím not quite sure what aspect of the undead causes me too enjoy brain-eating and mangled corpses so much: the glassy stare in their eyes as they chase after their victims, the eerie crunch of sod underneath their slow, dragging feet or the way in which hordes of them create the illusion that there is no potential escape. Then again, maybe it just has to do with watching zombie movies, like Return of the Living Dead, where that one punker chick decides to strip down to absolutely nothing but her sweet 80ís-style workout stockings and dance naked on the tombstones. Yeah, that was sweet.
Yet, as the latest video game trends have shown, zombies are where itís at nowadays. From Call of Duty:WaW to the adored Left 4 Dead, zombies are becoming a common staple of the first person-shooter market as well as more simple games, like those featured in flash format or for the iPhone.
But it is this genre that has helped lead me to my first monthly musing; more specifically, L4D. With the release of the much anticipated update only hours away, many gamers across the world are gearing up for (from what Valve mentioned previously) some serious zombie action in the new ďSurvival Mode.Ē With this update, even more infected and survivors alike will fall victim to gruesome maulings, hails of gunfire and scorching explosions.
With recent information hinting at a major turning point in enemy spawning around the 15-minute mark of survival mode, players are definitely in for all the hell they can handle. Described as the final stages to the next level, these survival mode levels will undoubtedly place smiles back onto the faces of everyone who picked this up for the sheer joy of zombies and the havoc they wreak.

Even for FPS fans that could care less about zombies within the genre as opposed to game mechanics, the update will allow for those who are talented at such games to really put their skills to test. While trying to secure headshots to take down the baddies quicker and more efficiently, they will also have to elude and strategize as best they can with other players to avoid being chomped and clawed to death.
Perhaps the biggest point to note with L4Dís update is the pure sense of death it is going to bring to the game. As if the final levels of each campaign (namely on expert) werenít tough or terrifying enough, survival mode has encapsulated the strongest and most epic parts of the game and presented them in a format that not only calls for gamers to try and survive, but to also enjoy blasting even more zombie hordes. If not for the desire to vanquish every last braineater on the map, then perhaps content like this would not exist (note that I acknowledge the fact that Valve will profit from this DLC, but I am simply keeping in mind that the fans of a game drive the type of content that eventually finds it way to said game).
In retrospect, perhaps it is the appeal of killing an enemy that seems so fragile, so weak, but yet remains as vicious as any other mythical monster, that appeals to me when I talk about the update. With wave after wave of zombies pressing in on me, I have no choice but to fulfill the goal of surviving by exterminating the undead in any way possible. While zombies may not be as elusive, intelligent or cunning as, letís say vampires, they actually provide a sense of real horror when one realizes that zombiesí existence is based on the number of dead bodies there are buried on this planet; and rest assured, thatís a large number, larger than any army currently formed by any country.
Not to mention, the update will also bring two new campaigns to the ďVersus Mode,Ē allowing those who wish to hunt the living to skulk and hide in the shadows until they can execute their opportunity to take out the team at one time. With a new level, virtually new for at least a couple of playthroughs, both survivors and infected will have a suspenseful time running around the map, looking for the perfect moment to strike or fend off their enemies.

Needless to say, there are going to be a lot of us on tomorrow night with this update, and it is clear that many will dieÖ.and die againÖ.and again. Yet, isnít this what cries out to the avid zombie fan? Despite the displeasure at dying when trying to beat a level, it is more fun when the only goal is to survive for the sake of living, and, if that goal isnít achieved the first time, it can be attempted again and again. The only thing stopping you is about 50,000 zombies. Good luck.

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