It Must Be A Cascade Resonance!
I've personally never been terribly fond of the horror genre. When a new start-up company called Valve released what was touted as a ground-breaking first person shooter, the first shooter to prominently feature an interactive story and real interactive characters, I just had to try it. As I walked around the lab, talked to scientists, met quirky characters, I couldn't help getting sucked in. It was the most cinematic gaming experience of its day. Then the Black Mesa incident sent zombies and the dreaded head crabs into the lab, and I realized the game was pseudo-horror. Yes, it was colorful and comical, but it remained a bit too suspenseful for me. On and off, though, I managed to push myself through the game...the good purely outweighed the bad. The game, of course, was the now classic Half-Life. Its sequel proved to be less scary...for most of the game. The tunnel and Ravenholm scenes notwithstanding. When I finally arrived at Ravenholm and realized it was a remarkably creepy zombie level I actually stopped playing the game for a while, only to pick it up again a few months later...I just had to get to the end. (Given the cliffhanger ending, I almost wished I hadn't...) I won't even describe my experience with Doom 3; this isn't a comedy story, after all. I admit it, I'm a complete wuss when it comes to horror and suspense.
It scarcely needs to be said then, that a year ago when a new Valve title was released with the now infamous decayed hand box art, I gave it a pass. The last thing I needed was a horror game around the already hectic holiday gaming season! Valve, knowing this, and likely plotting through the winter and spring explicitly to conspire against me (working on the up-coming Tropico 3 review certainly makes one think in conspiracy theories!) decided that the perfect time to bring out the sequel to their new zombie franchise would be exactly one year later. Right at the holidays. Thanks, Gabe!
Knowing now that Left 4 Dead has become something of a phenomenon, I couldn't ignore it this time around. So I did the most logical thing any responsible person would do: I tried pawning it off on Forest to review. Instead of successfully pawning off my righteous duty of slaying endless hordes of zombies, I simply got an offer for some co-op action. The world, it seems was set to conspire against me this time. Down to the wire, I turned the lights up, cranked the sound down, and got into it! And in doing so found a most unexpected surprise...
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