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Ill-Timed Dawn Of The Dead

Ill-timed because 1) it came out over Halloween and we’re only just posting about it. That is, of course, because none of RPS have ever demonstrated any kind of fear about anything, hence we do not recognise Halloween as a OH GOD WHAT WAS THAT I’M GONNA DIE I’M GONNA DIE… Oh, it’s just a yogurt pot. Cough. And 2) Because I’ve heard a rumour there might some sort of sequel to Left 4 Dead due any day now. Anyone heard anything about that? Nonetheless, you probably couldn’t wish for a more delectably violent stopgap than this vast and lavish tribute to Dawn of the Dead – a super-spiffy Left 4 Dead 1 mod replete with zombie-infested shopping mall…

I’ve just spent more time than intended playing it – partly because it is impressively huge, weighing in at five chapters (with a sixth due in an update) over a snappy variety of locations, and partly because an occasional spot of missed directional polish meant I kept getting lost. But it’s good stuff, it really is. I don’t know the original Dawn of the Dead intimately enough to be aware of just how exact an homage it is, but I do know that it feels like a journey, a tale through a fairly believable city. To a certain extent, even more so than Left 4 Dead’s official campaigns, which tend towards the themed snippet rather than multi-scenery voyages.

The creators have absolutely gone to town on the environments, blending L4D assets with a huge bunch of their own to create something that looks incredibly slick. It’s even got a few patches of daylight in it, plus a surprisingly well-voiced narrator character – which is both a neat way around not being able to come up with new Francis, Bill & co soundbytes, and of giving the mod a distinctly different feel to L4D vanilla.

But I did keep getting lost, and even had to skip the last part of the third chapter because I couldn’t work out how to open a key door (or, rather, couldn’t be bothered to continue traipising about trying to find out how to open it). Obviously such things aren’t too much of a problem on future play-throughs, plus the accomplished team behind it can always do a spot of canny patching. Such niggles aside, this is a mighty work of moddery, and one you should definitely grab all 1.1Gb of. Frankly, I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I did the L4D2 demo, but then this doesn’t suffer from the distracting brevity of the latter.

Here’s the rather lovely (in a blood’n’terrifying music kinda way) trailer/credits:

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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