Left 4 Dead

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Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead PC Cover
Developer(s) Turtle Rock Studios
Certain Affinity (Xbox 360 assistance)
Publisher(s) Valve
Distributor(s) Electronic Arts (retail)
Steam (online)
Designer(s) Mike Booth
Artist(s) Mike Booth
Composer(s) Mike Morasky
Series Left 4 Dead series
Engine Source
Platform(s) Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X.
Release date(s) Windows and Xbox 360:
November 17, 2008.
Mac OS X:
October 27, 2010.
Genre(s) First-person shooter, Survival horror
Mode(s) Single player, online and offline multiplayer.
Rating(s) BBFC: 18
Media DVD, Download
System requirements PC: 3.0 GHz Pentium 4, 2.0 GHz Dual Core, or AMD64X2 processor

1 GB RAM, 128 MB DirectX 9.0 graphics card,
DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card

Left 4 Dead is a zombie horror/survival, first-person shooter video game, published by Valve Corporation. It was released on the Xbox 360 and PC in November 2008 and saw immediate praise and success, as it sold nearly 2 million copies in its first few months.[1] By September 2009, Left 4 Dead had sold almost 3 million copies worldwide, and had received several awards and nominations. It uses the Source Engine, a 3D game engine that was also used in Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2. On October 27th, 2010, a Mac OS X version was released. The game's success led Valve to release a sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, in November 2009, just one year after the original game was launched.


Gameplay modes

At the heart of Left 4 Dead are two main gameplay modes, "Campaign", and "Versus".

In Campaign mode, up to four players team up, and play as a group of surviving characters, whom, for some reason, are immune to a local zombie outbreak. The game is designed to play out just like a zombie horror movie: Your goal is to navigate through the area, which has been completely devastated by the zomies, and escape to safety. Doing so will require the survivors to stay together and work as a team. Left 4 Dead is not a simple run and gun type game, where you just shoot everything that moves. There are several zombies that have special types of attacks which are devastating to a survivor caught alone. These zombies are called "Boss infected". (For example, one boss, called the "hunter", pounces on top of you and his weight leaves you completely helpless, requiring a teammate to shoot him or knock him off of you. Another, the "boomer", vomits on you if you get too close, and the bile attracts a massive horde of zombies that attack.) Teamwork is absolutely essential to survive and progress through the map.

To overcome this onslaught of zombies, the survivors are equipped with guns (such as shotguns, machine guns, pistols), and homemade weapons, such as pipe bombs and molotovs. Individually, most of the Zombies are fairly weak and easy to kill with the available guns and weapons, but in numbers can be devastating.

The Versus mode is similar to Campaign mode, except that the "Boss infected" are controlled by players, instead of by the computer AI. This mode accommodates up to eight players, in two teams of four players each. The teams take turns playing as the survivors, and the Boss Infected. When playing as the Infected, you are given access to their special attacks, and your goal is to kill the players on the survivor team before they reach safety.

Other available game modes include:

  • Survivor Mode - The computer AI will throw hordes and hordes of zombies and bosses at you; Simply hold out and survive for as long as you can.
  • Single-player mode - Like campaign mode but with one player, with teammates controlled by the computer.


Left 4 Dead features four unique maps (with additional maps available via downloadable content). On average, each map take 45 minutes to an hour to complete in campaign mode, and is divided into 5 "stages". Each stage ends with players reaching a safe house, where they cannot be attacked by zombies, or player infected in versus mode. This ensures that players get a brief rest period a few times during a campaign, as well as chances to heal and replenish ammo, etc.

AI Director

Left 4 Dead introduced an innovative feature called the AI Director,[2] which can be thought of as the Director of the "movie" you are in when playing a campaign. The AI Director ensures that no two playthroughs of a campaign are the same. In each game, the AI Director randomizes the locations in the game in which zombie mobs and boss infected appear, as well as locations where weapons are made available. This makes each experience unique, as you can never know for sure whether there is a zombie mob around the next corner or not. The AI Director also alters the gameplay on-the-fly during a campaign, based on what is happening. For example, if the group of survivors is slacking around and not moving to the next area within a reasonable amount of time, the director will spawn a massive horde of zombies to come attack them. If the players are having a really tough experience, the Director will periodically thin out the zombie attacks and give the survivors a fair chance to recover.

Awards won

Left 4 Dead received several awards and honors, including:

  • IGN – Best Online Multiplayer Game of 2008, for PC and Xbox 360; Best Use of Sound, Best Shooting Game, for PC.[3]
  • GameSpot – Best Cooperative Multiplayer of 2008; Best Shooter of 2008;[4]
  • Maximum PC - 2008 Game of the Year[5]
  • Gamespy - 2008 Multiplayer Game of the Year[6]
  • Spike TV 2008 Video Game Awards - Best PC Game[7]


  • The original title of the game was Terror Strike.[8]
  • All of the cars in the game have Pennsylvania license plates, despite the fact that the territories in each map are fictional.