Running Up That Hill – L4D: I Hate Mountains

By Alec Meer on June 8th, 2010 at 10:38 pm.

Oh, Bill.

I thought about doing an “Is this Left 4 Dead 3?” gag-headline to follow-up Kieron’s GIMPery, but then I realised the entire internet would probably come and burn my house down.

This’ll still be a little contentious, probably – the release of fan campaign (fanpaign?) I Hate Mountains is being heralded as “the first day anyone has played L4D1 in over half a year.” That’s what a guy on Moddb says anyway, the big joker.

Infamously (seriously, infamously – nobody needs to leave another massive comment about it. WE ALL KNOW), there hasn’t been much DLC for L4D1, though it’s possible the impending prequel to The Passing will be meaty. To fill the gap, various fan-made campaigns have sprung up, and I Hate Mountains appears one of the most substantial. It’s been over a year in the making, and from some of the people behind the ambitious (if divisive) Portal Prelude – who claim “pushing the very limits of the Left 4 Dead engine to make room for all our ideas.” Custom effects aplenty, they say.

Those are words. These are moving pictures:

You get five chapters, all of which take place in predominantly outdoor environments – hence the mother nature-baiting title. There’s a helicopter at one point too, it seems. Helichoppers! 267Mb all-told, and here.

I’ve got it downloading, but not looked yet due to spending every spare minute fruitlessly flat-hunting in Brighton, but I do hope you’ll tell me whether or not I should. Seems to have picked up admirers, but never forget: YOU CAN’T TRUST THE INTERNET.

This does look like a giggle, though – and apparently there’s a L4D2 version in the works.

[Thanks, Andy Barnes.]

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56 Comments »

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  1. Tom OBedlam says:

    Placebo’s cover was better :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Znea says:

      Through a rather confused series of events Last Exile has forever etched Within Temptation’s cover as my favourite.

    • castle says:

      Better at making it sound like boring alt-rock, at least.

      The Chromatics’ cover is the only one that (for me at least) measures up to Kate.

    • qrter says:

      SILENCE!

      Let us all never speak of any of those ridiculous non-Kate versions EVER again!

    • FernandoDante says:

      Why the fuck are you people not talking about CLUTCH?

      CCCCCLLLLLLLUUUUUUUTTTTTCCCCCCCHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      Because of you people, I thought that the song in the video was a cover of a Kate Bush video. I had a very fraught five minutes just now.

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      Links? I can find no other versions…

  2. Daniel Rivas says:

    All games should have a Canada level.

  3. Frenz0rz says:

    Will definately give this a good go with my L4D clan!

  4. EyeMessiah says:

    I love you kate!

  5. OctaneHugo says:

    I found it to be beautiful but boring.

    The first level is so dull and uninspiring I almost fell asleep. It’s short as anything, though, so I was simultaneously alarmed (why make a chapter so ridiculously short?) and relieved (perhaps it will get better!).

    Unfortunately my fears were unabated as it didn’t get much better. The second chapter was only a tiny bit longer and just as weak on gameplay. It was prettier, but by this point I was becoming increasingly disappointed.

    The third chapter improved the campaign a bit but was still under par. It wasn’t very fun and while there were a couple of nice moments they were very short and not worth talking about twice.

    The fourth chapter was the best but it and the third muddled together. It was also extremely confusing, both in premise and layout, and there were some issues I had with the graphics (not technical).

    Then came the finale, which was just as dull and awful as the first two chapters. Overall I was extremely disappointed in the campaign; I’ve been following it’s development since it was announced and I had high expectations. Some may think that the reason I appear so harsh on I Hate Mountains is because of this, but honestly after I was halfway through the second I abandoned any bar I had set and was just hoping it would get at all better, and it really didn’t. You’re better off saving the time it will take you to install and play this mess and use it to do something else; perhaps make a better L4D campaign, because it really wouldn’t be difficult.

    • sana says:

      You’re better off saving the time it will take you to install and play this mess and use it to do something else; perhaps make a better L4D campaign, because it really wouldn’t be difficult.
      HahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hilarious. You probably haven’t even touched anything remotely related to level creation in your entire life, have you, cupcake?

  6. Laurence Chase says:

    This is worth playing, trust me. You will be amazed at this.

    I just can’t put into words how brilliant this campaign is, seriously.

  7. JonFitt says:

    I played it through in Single Player and had fun. It was quite difficult in places, but that was due to me having to streak ahead on my own trying to get the AI to follow me.

    Climbing the manor and then escaping was great, and the lumber yard and caves were interesting new locales. I also liked the new graffiti, voices, and finding saferooms which were no longer safe…

    Low points were:
    – There were a couple of spots where it looked like they were setting up a defence moment which never happened.
    – Most of the finale buildings look like you should be able to get in, but you can’t.
    – The catacombs are the “Sewer level” of this campaign.
    – I hate trees. Forest sections are my least fave.

  8. Psychopomp says:

    I can’t wait to camp some corners, and spam mouse 2.

    • JonFitt says:

      They added the cool down on melee a long while back, but I do miss the Spitter.

  9. Ygtzef says:

    I agree with Octane, very dull, weak gameplay, uninspiring areas… I felt like I was walking through a giant corridor the whole time. I’ve heard about pathways opening up and closing up on different playthroughs, but the thing is I can’t be bothered to play it more than once. The level design looked like developers threw whatever “made sense” from a realistic point of view with no consideration for gameplay. There were also bugs like smokers hanging in the middle of a climbing path and staying there forever.

    Might have a better opinion if it wasn’t as hyped as it was, but the thing is… It definitely didn’t live up to the expectations the developers set themselves. All the things they asked me to do didn’t seem to have any effect either (the ambiant sound and add-ons things), so all in all this was a lot of talk and bother for something that is just an average-to-good campaign at best.

    Worth one one hour playthrough, nothing more.

  10. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Chromatics, oui,

  11. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    AAAAGH. Up there. RE: placebo.

  12. Seebach says:

    I played this around 4 times and one thing they did right was the aesthetics, they spend a lot of time making things pretty and not much else.

    Map 1 was too dark to see anything, most likely to hide the fair amount of texture and props taken from EP2. It is understandable to use darkness to make things spooky, reducing visibility to increase tension, but then they added stuff to hide behind and rock outcroppings to get stuck on, rather than fun it got to be frustrating.

    Map 2 was an improvement, but flow is very off each time I played through the house. It is a very pretty house, but when I get lost for the 4th time because I didn’t see an arrow around a blind turn then it isn’t very fun. This may be a personal preference, but realism can go to hell if it means I know where I am without memorizing the layout..

    Map 3 sucks. A long tunnel / catacombs / cave network / wine cellar / train station with each tunnel identical with multiple paths. There is no sense of progression, or unique changes in gameplay.

    Map 4 and the lumberyard was dark cramped and confusing. The crescendo attempted to use cinematic physics, but because of the way the level is built and the duration it takes for the event to be complete, there is a very big chance you will even notice it, even worse, when it is complete it is unlikely for you to even notice a path opening up. Maybe I am just blind and stupid, or maybe it is too dark and too detailed to notice. I Hate Mountains Team, please trigger the horde after the sequence and NOT WHEN YOU PRESS THE BUTTON.

    Map 5. More supplies and strategies for the finale would be nice.

    Considering the state of the L4D mapping community this is generally the best anyone outside Valve will have. Portal Prelude was a disappointment and sadly so was this. I Hate Mountains team, nice try but sadly your rewards are in another brown castle. Good luck to you and your future endeavors, also please stop hyping your projects.

    • Bane says:

      @seebach Maybe you’re blind and stupid it was obvious where we should head.

      @OctaneHugo I honestly cannot see how this campaign can be considered dull and uninspiring, if this was not what you were expecting, then what on earth were you expecting? Do you even play L4D? Events like “The helicopter” etc were amazing, I have no idea what they didn’t do anything like that in L4D. the Lumber Yard: I have no idea how people can say it was cramped considering it was incredibly realistic and that is pretty much what a lumber yard looks like. have you never watched Walking Tall or any other movie where they end up at a lumber mill? Have you ever been to one?

      Finally the finale. I have absolutely no idea how anyone could hate this. It’s based on what you would actually find ( if you use the code on the wall you can check out where a lot of their ideas came from) in real life, has a unique and realistic escape vehicle, looks beautiful throughout and even has a playable piano with scales.

      I believe these people who posted so negatively are either trolling or wouldn’t be happy even if they got everything they wanted.

  13. radomaj says:

    I see this is pretty divisive, with people either loving it or hating it. I have played it with some quasi-random Internet people and we have had a blast. I recommend it. A+++. Would download again.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      As a quasi-random Internet people I can confirm that I agree with radomaj.

      It’s a great piece of work, definitely on par with any of the campaigns that shipped with L4D1. It takes all the interesting bits from L4D2 (finales on the run, better scripting, etc.) and backports them to L4D1.

      It’s actually a far better bridge between the two L4D episodes than The Passing, and it was made by a bunch of French amateurs struggling against the engine limits.

    • Yargh says:

      I definitely enjoyed playing this.

  14. Kristinn says:

    I’ve resisted buying number 2 for a while now, but only because the only version of that the Australian government will allow me to play looks a touch lame. So this is a good thing.

    • J. Prevost says:

      If you have any friends in less restrictive areas, you might consider having them gift it to you. That will get you the “uncut” version.

    • Premium User Badge

      luminosity says:

      Find someone from a less lame country to gift you a copy on steam, then send them the price over paypal. I did it, and have the beautiful beautiful gore all in.

  15. Maxoh says:

    I think I have to agree with radomaj here, so far it seems some of you guys really need to chill. I downloaded this when it came out and played it with my friends during the weekend, it’s by far better than any other custom campaign ever released for both l4d1 and l4d2. Sure it’s not perfect but if you look at it for it is (i.e. a fan-made campaign), it’s not that bad at all.

  16. Fumarole says:

    Looks pretty swell, but I can’t see myself going back to L4D for anything other than a quick look to see what this campaign is like. And some new dialogue, of course.

    Can anyone who played this rate it against Death Aboard?

    • RobF says:

      Prettier and without a level that has disappearing corpses but nowhere near as enjoyable to run through.

      Most of the commentators have already covered the main points, the waypointing is grim, there’s some serious “overmapping” where stuff appears to be there because it makes logical sense in the real world but L4D doesn’t really suit that sort of map design too well. I spent way too long wandering around rooms and corridors that had no explicit purpose other than to be a room and corridor on the map.

      Nice attempts at setpieces that don’t always work (the lumberyard is the prime example) and at least progression wise, it makes a certain sort of sense.

      Worth a download and a run through, mind but were I going back to L4D more often, I’d definitely prefer Death Aboard.

  17. Down Rodeo says:

    The first time I played it was with three others and the server we got to had many many silly mods. Imagine being chased by three hunters at one time, that sort of thing. Did think it was alright; playing it again tonight I properly enjoyed it as I knew where to go, where the setpieces were, essentially a little bit less confusing but novel enough to be very interesting. Out of the custom stuff I’ve tried City 17 is perhaps the only one that lends itself quite as well to the L4D formula. Clearly a lot of work has gone into this campaign; there’s a whole lot of detail if you’re willing to find it. I think the house is pretty fantastic.

    Direction can still be confusing when you’re unsure of what is forward; the maps are so sprawling that you can wander away on some kind of a tangent for quite a while before realising that it’s a dead end or, as happened to us, that you are walking backwards along the road you didn’t take at the last crossroads. I did see some infected not moving when they should have been. Ah well, I find that the infected from L4D2 move funnily enough in the official maps that I’m willing to let it go. (Seriously, I really think the pathing in 2 is worse, it has to be! How can climbing up a lamp-post then down the other side be the best way to attack me?!)

    Long story short, I’ll be playing it again. Currently splitting my time between L4D 1&2 anyway as the mood takes me :p

  18. malkav11 says:

    I’ll wait for the Left 4 Dead 2 version. I really can’t feature going back to the poverty of L4D1’s design even for fancy custom maps. Because, frankly, my experience with L4D1 is that there wasn’t enough game there for the maps to feel different to me, even if visually and layoutwise there was a lot of difference.

    I mean, compare to Left 4 Dead 2, where you have levels that are on fire, levels with unending hordes of zombies while you struggle to carry soda around, the trek out and back with a dramatically changed environment the second time of Hard Rain, the sugar mill full of witches, the run to safety of the Parish finale, etc etc etc. The game actually plays differently from campaign to campaign and level to level, and thus there’s some reason to anticipate what new tricks a mod campaign might be able to pull.

  19. DrazharLn says:

    I’m so confused. Why are people mentioning a Kate? Is it Kate Bush, did she do Electric Worry? Is this some cruel joke?

    Fudge this, I’m getting my tin hat.

  20. Brumisator says:

    Game breaking bug in the second map, several times in a row. Dammit.

  21. airtekh says:

    Portal Prelude was awesome. Will definitely give this a go.

  22. The Warden says:

    Hey, you should definately get a flat in Brighton, or Hove if you can afford it.
    I live there and it’s a great place.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Hove looks nice, but there’s sod all there. Just lots of overpriced chains.

      Get somewhere around the North Laines or Kemptown.

  23. myca77 says:

    Gonna have to give this a go, I’ve miss doing the L4D campaigns, even though every wednesday is L4D Wednesday with 7 pals on the 360 (but that’s strictly Vs).

    Also good luck with the flat hunting, Brighton=Win, especially for the games industry.

    *Note to self, I should pick up Split Second to support Brightons economy (and some mates who work there)

  24. The Hammer says:

    I HATE MOUNTAINS; WORST OF ALL THE OBSTACLES

  25. GS says:

    watching someone play a pc ffps with a joypad makes me wanna chunder.

    seriously what the hell

  26. Clavus says:

    Too bad some people think this campaign is boring; I think it’s great. It’s just that while L4D2 is better, this campaign is at its best in the first L4D. I love the detail that has gone into this.

  27. Ygtzef says:

    “Can anyone who played this rate it against Death Aboard?”

    Funny, I originally mentioned Death Aboard in my first reply but finally decided against it as not to turn it in a “X against Y” argument. As you ask, though…

    Death Aboard is much better, I Hate Mountains just doesn’t compare. Judicious use of 3D/verticality, varied environments and flow make Death Aboard a much stronger campaign as soon as the first playthrough, and has better replayability as well. Even aesthetically, Death Aboard is much more impressive in my opinion – it’s not about amount of detail but the way you use it, something the I Hate Mountains developers seemingly missed.

    On a scale of 5, giving Death Aboard a 5, I Hate Mountains would be a 3.5 .

  28. Crane says:

    @OctaneHugo: Wait, the first level is “ridiculously short”!?
    Its a damn slight longer than bloody Parish 1, I can tell you that. No shorter than No Mercy 1, either.

    @Seebach: All those props and textures reused from EP2? Do you know why they’re in that map? Because Valve copied them into L4D, and reused them in their own official campaigns, that’s why.

    This gets to me sometimes, actually. I’m not claiming by any stretch of the imagination that IHM is perfect, but I do find it irritating when people call out amateur devs on things that they ignore when the professionals do them!

  29. jonfitt says:

    Isn’t it great how some can even get angry about a high quality free piece of mod work like it stole their baby and ate their sandwich.

  30. Anonononomous says:

    There are actually multiple versions of the first level. One of them is significantly shorter than the other. The one where the bridge next to the starting point, behind the truck, is open is really short.

  31. Nova says:

    Ah quaint Brighton.

  32. clive dunn says:

    Over the years i have lived in every part of Brighton and the best was definatly Seven Dials. The scum can’t make it up the hill.

  33. DXN says:

    I thought it was excellent, at least on par with all the official content (although I did get get stuck on the helicopter a couple of times).

  34. Messiah Complex says:

    Geometry is excellent. Lighting is bad.

    An environment that’s so open shouldn’t feel this claustrophobic. All the darkness becomes exhausting.

  35. spikesden says:

    got to say this campaign was on parr with valves there is a few glitches but I’am sure they will be ironed out the helecopter glitch was a pain good panic attack though, was dark but have you been in the woods at night cant see a thing lol would be nice to see a daytime version so as to see there work fully. played it 3 times last time took just 1 hour & 8 minutes on normal wound have to say there has been a lot of custom maps for L4D & this is right up there with the best, waiting for the next release of dead before dawn for L4D have both L4D & L4D2, will play between both versions as there is good campaigns on both games had my say keep up the good work

  36. Anonyzombie says:

    Better than Valve’s campaigns. And coming from a game snob, that statement is not to be taken as a hyperbole.

    Excellent atmosphere. Great gameplay additions. Simply put, the attention to detail is impressive. Locations feel, look, and sound post-apocalyptic. The written messages are awesome and it shows they understood L4D down to the soul of it. They just…nailed it.

    And to those who say the campaign it’s too dark, well guess what? IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.

  37. ipad converter says:

    An environment that’s so open shouldn’t feel this claustrophobic. All the darkness becomes exhausting.

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