New L4D Game: Incredi-Footage. Or Is It?

Obviously you’re salivating about the release of Left 4 Dead 2 today, but if you can’t wait to get home and play the much-ballyhooed thing, there’s a look at the splendid new Left 4 Dead game below. Waitagoshdarnminute – that ain’t L4D2…

Whee! It’s NES-style demake of Left 4 Dead, by one Eric Ruth. It’s due in 2010, it aims to recreate the entire L4D campaign, and it looks lovely. Here’s what Monsieur Ruth has to say about it, as filched from his Youtube page:

As you can see, it’s a standard top-down 4 directional action/shooter. Remade in the NES retro style, the resolution is at 256 x 240 and features 16 colors and a 4 sound channel soundtrack.

Now, let’s just get this out of the way….

Q: Is this just an animation or an actual game?
A: An actual game. It will be available for free download on PC around January 4th, 2010.

Q: I only see one “special infected.” Will there be more?
A: Yes. All 5 special infected appear in this game regularly.

Q: How far along are you currently?
A: As of November 15th, I am completed with the first “mission: No Mercy” as well as most of the core game play mechanics.

Q: Does Valve know about this? And would they approve?
A: No, Valve doesn’t know about it yet, but I’m sure (with their love of community creations) that they will find this mildly amusing at worst, and hilarious at best.

Q: Will this version have all of the campaigns from the original game?
A: Yes. All 5 maps of all 4 campaigns will be present in the final product.

Q: Like your other games, did you make this one all by yourself?
A: With the exception of a few friends backing me up in the QA area, yes, the coding, debugging, sound effects, music and pixel art are all original work of Eric Ruth.

If you actually want to know about what it’s actually like to play, you’re best heading off to the Gaf where someone’s actually played the bally thing. Definitely don’t go to the developers site, because there’s nothing there. But here’s a screenshot:



  1. Psychopomp says:

    Doesn’t appear to have actually posted on the main site, Mr. Meer.

    Also, this warms the cockles of my heart, and makes me want to play the original METAL GEAR(!?!?!) again.

  2. Moomin says:

    I’m sorry, but major fail.

    The actual levels hardly resemble the real thing, and the game play looks like it will take you back to a dark place in the early 90’s where no-one wants to go. All this while retaining the status of complete intellectual property theft.

    • James G says:

      I think you might be missing the point somewhat.

      But, to put on my pedant hat for a while, NES sprites were limited to a pallet of four colours each, this clearly shows sprites with more colours. Not a major issue granted, but it would have been a nice touch to go for complete authenticity.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      “This looks nothing like L4D at all!”

      “This is complete intellectual property theft!”

      Well, what do we expect but massive cognitive dissonance from folks who unironically use 4-chan terminology?

    • lePooch says:

      Obviously Moomin, you are a young troll. Young enough to not remember/not have the NES and stupid enough to taunt THEIR nostalgia. Dont worry, I never had an NES either, but taunting the Hive Matrons is dangerous stuff…

      On topic, I am guessing the whole point of “demaking” it is to deconstruct it to its barest essence – make it the way it would have been made in 1990 or something. So complaints about no dynamic zombie appearances, and it not being L4D-ey enough confuse me.

      Reduced to its barest essence, L4D is a game where you pick a character, grab a gun, and run around shooting zombies till you get to the safe house. This video demonstrates that.

    • Bhazor says:

      Opinion expressed is not equal to yours therefore he is a troll?

      Seriously? I come to RPS to avoid this bipartisanship approach to electric gigglebox journalism. Well that and Ken Levine’s sultry stares.

    • AndrewC says:

      Though to be fair to poor young Moomin, I get my real joy from these ‘de-makes’ by seeing something that looks exactly like those old 8 bit games I used to play, and then it suddenly busting out some amazingly impossible-at-the-time feature – like super realistic physics, tonnes of particle effects, a million baddies, showing the 2-d plane is just a cross section of a larger 3-d world and so on. Then they become exactly like my dreams when I was a kid, which is the best thing.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      I’m not sure you understand what bipartisanship means and how it relates to this situation (it doesn’t).

      Call a spade a spade. Dumb opinions are dumb, they’re not to be protected by internet white-knights or enshrined in caskets of gold and jewels.

    • Bhazor says:

      Except it does. You and lePooch seem to be taking an Us and Them attitude to an innocent and frankly justified comment. He expressed a dislike and is labeled a troll and an idiot for it.
      Well done. Very nice. Stay classy there.

      This isn’t like where a modern game is hacked back to a genius core (canabalt as Mirror’s Edge for example) or a GangGarrison2 or S.T.A.C.K.E.R where the iconography of a game is applied to a whole new genre. The key of a demake is that it plays like a great game from the era its emulating where as this looks slow, spartan and without any of the choreography that made the original great. You really think this would have made it into the NES hall of fame in it’s current state?

      Still I guess you’ll just call me a knight/noob/troll/cunt.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      I’m not going to call you a troll, but I might call you a white-knight, or possibly if I’m feeling saucy, a bleeding-heart apologist ;)

      No, you do not know what bipartisanship means. It’s the opposite of what you think it means. If I were taking an us vs them attitude, I’d be engaging in partisan behaviour, not bipartisan.

      There is no crazy us vs them conspiracy going on here, there is simply a guy who made a dumb remark, getting called out for it. He does not need you to leap to his defense, he didn’t ask for it and neither did we. He over-reacted in a somewhat hilarious manner to a freeware NES-style remake of a video-game, to the point where he felt the need to attack the guys work and accuse him of being an ‘intellectual property thief’. Worse still he didn’t justify or back up any of his accusations and used 4-chan internerd terminology which automatically takes him down several pegs in my estimations.

      So as you can see, his comment is not something you have any justification to rescue from the jaws of evil internet men.

    • Serondal says:

      To the B is correct, bipartisanship is when two parties work together even though they have different opinions. You’ve been watching to much Barack Obama TV he spouts that word so much no one seems to know what it means any more :P

    • AndrewC says:

      Though to be fair to poor young Moomin, the guy *is* an intellectual property thief and you just used the term ‘internerd’ unironically.

    • Senethro says:

      oh god, someone tell me which geekslang is cool so i know whos right

    • PHeMoX says:

      No lePooch, you’re missing his point. Where in this demake are the zombies swarming towards the player? Where are the team members playing along side? What happened to the level lay-out? Just naming them the same, doesn’t make them have an instant resemblance. The ‘troll’ you speak off actually makes a good point.

      I wouldn’t say this game is a fail because of this, but it certainly reminds me more of a different game than L4D. Not even the zombies look recognizable which is really necessary for this to work.

      From a gameplay perspective it needs to be a lot faster-paced, so far it’s look rather boring and lacking a good challenge.

      There’s time to improve though even if the developer wants to release early January. I salute the idea and basic concept and wish him the best of luck.

    • Moomin says:

      There is no crazy us vs them conspiracy going on here, there is simply a guy who made a dumb remark, getting called out for it
      No lePooch, you’re missing his point. Where in this demake are the zombies swarming towards the player? Where are the team members playing along side? What happened to the level lay-out? Just naming them the same, doesn’t make them have an instant resemblance.
      Exactly. Ignoring my first sentence which it seems a surprising amount of people hold an extreme prejudice against, my point was that apart from using the branding of L4D, it has almost no similarities. It currently looks like a generic NES shooter.
      Reduced to its barest essence, L4D is a game… Using that argument, nearly all games involving a player controlled character can be represented by this game, albeit with a slightly changed tile-set.

  3. Fatrat says:

    While i’m all for indie games and the like, it doesn’t look like something i’ll play myself.

    If there were actual hordes here and there or when you get boomered, then maybe. But it all looks a little tame and empty. It needs filling out more, making a bit crazy, like Little Fighter 2 with all the NPCs turned to max numbers.

    OK, maybe not THAT crazy.

  4. CMaster says:

    Watching that video, you do have to wonder if Eric Ruth missed what made Left 4 Dead what it was. Occasional, pre-placed zombies that amble around is not very L4D. Where are the hordes rushing from doorways etc?

  5. kafka7 says:

    One or two zombies per room, standing around waiting to be killed? Hmm. I think the frenzied madness of Gauntlet would make a better reference point.

    • Carra says:

      Shooting zombies who don’t even move seems about as challenging as feeding a fish (except for those damn shark fish of course).

  6. Mr.Bigglesworth says:

    PEELZ HEER !!11

  7. Senethro says:

    Looks kind of boring to be honest. Needs another game mechanic.

    Theres also hella downtime waiting for killed enemies to drop items or not.

  8. Richeh says:

    Personally I’m disgusted. This is going to divert resources from both Left for Deads, and should be released as DLC for Left for Dead 2.

    I feel betrayed, and will be boycotting NES games until I’m flown to Mr. Ruth’s house to see it first-hand.

  9. GLOWi says:

    Yet another quite funny thing related to L4D(2). Guerilla (or fan) marketing in Prague: link to

  10. Senethro says:

    People who got upset about the L4D2 announcement were dumb babies who claimed Valve was breaking their promise to support L4D1 despite getting patches, 2 campaigns for vs, a new mode, and a mini-campaign designed for vs. Thats pretty good, in fact is better than most. Its not just TF2 levels of support.

    • Senethro says:

      Alright, the comment I replied to has gone byebye, now I look silly!

  11. Clovis says:

    @Omroth: Well, this is a bit disappointing, no? The graphics are really great. I immediately got hit with some NES nostalgia. But no hordes. Wha? Add in some hordes and modified versions of the other specials and this becomes rather… erm… special.

    @Moomin: “complete intellectual property theft” Pffff… whatever. I’m sure Valve is going to be really upset that someone “stole” the idea of a NES style version of L4D. Oh noes! now no one will play L4D2!! What, exactly, has been “stolen”? What has Valve been deprived of?

    • Moomin says:

      Actually, I wasn’t referring to any supposed anger from Valve, but the emphasis was my fault. More the fact that the gameplay has very little actual resemblance of L4D but seems to uses the branding for advertisement.

  12. duel says:

    No AI director yet i see…

    • Bhazor says:

      No but it should be doable.

      The AI director is just a formula after all. Something like:

      (Ammo+health)/number of players= X = (X*n) number of zombies loading in 3 of 12 possible spawn locations. Director really does seem an overly grandiose term for a moderately difficult sum.

  13. Heliocentric says:

    I hate sprites

  14. Justin C. Sherrill says:

    It was neat to look at, but then I realized the sprites and movement and actions resemble Deadly Towers, which is AWFUL.

    link to

  15. Starky says:

    I still think they should give a discount, say 20-25% to owners of L4D when they buy L4D2.

    It would be a nice gesture, and if they did I’d but the game now, as it is I’m going to wait until the game drops under £20

    Maybe the demo wasn’t a good showing of the final product, but the demo left me with the opinion of (and the opinion most of my friends seem to share) – Good game, improvement on the original but not worth full price.

    I predict there will be a sale in the first maybe 2nd week of January. 25% off.
    I’ll buy it then.

    Until then Borderlands I all the 4 player co-op I need.

  16. Pope Guilty says:

    I’ve said this elsewhere, but while they’ve got the opening theme down, and the Survivor sprites are recognizable, this doesn’t look very L4Dish. Zombies that come two or three to a screen at once and amble about slowly? A Boomer who just shoots a damaging projectile? It’s just a top-down freescrolling shooter with Left 4 Dead-ish sprites and branding. I’m not clear on what makes this Left 4 Dead and not Fester’s Quest with different sprites.

    • Clovis says:

      ZOMG!!1!! FESTER’S QEUST!! Heh, I put way too much time into that game. When your only source of games is an NES and the local crappy video store for rentals, you end up playing a wide range of bizzarre games. Also, kids are terrible at picking games. I somehow ended up owning a terrible western shmup (Gunsmoke or something) and Bad News Baseball.

  17. A-Scale says:

    Cute, but I’m not a fan.

  18. airtekh says:

    Oh god. This just makes me so nostalgic.

    The NES is where my thirst for gaming first began.

  19. phuzz says:

    Tiny pixel Bill is adorable!

  20. Jeremy says:

    Sprites or not, the game will still be judged on it’s quality, such as Spelunky or some other “classic” style games. Nostalgia does help the situation though :)

  21. Lagmint says:

    According to the testers who posted in the linked page, this is the tamest level by far. He basically took the 90’s gameplay style of: Level 1 = difficulty 1, level 2 = difficulty 2, etc (and probably level 4 = difficulty 9, level 5 = difficulty 2 if he follows the 90’s quite closely). In two-player I’ve heard it’s quite hectic later on.

    • PHeMoX says:

      No offense, but fact remains this video doesn’t show any of that though. It does raise my expectations for this.

  22. Psychopomp says:

    Many of you appear to be missing the point.

  23. Tei says:

    I use to play C64 games, not NES ones. On a C64, theres less resolution but more colors on sprites. The CPU/+chips made the C64 games superfast. You would have never played a game with soo slow and lame “npc dead”. It blink way to slow. Is that slow how stuff die in nes? It would have added a animation, even a simple one. And of course, to be this really L4D It need hordes. Static zombies waiting to be killed hardly make a L4D game.

  24. Chobes says:

    A Smash TV sprite hack would have been more effective. I get the feeling that this dude played Gang Garrison but didn’t know why it was awesome.

  25. Snarboo says:

    Reminds me of the top down stages in Blaster Master, which is A-OK in my book! :D

  26. The Unbelievable Guy says:

    NEStalgia aside, this doesn’t look very entertaining. Or, sadly, even mildly amusing. Really it’s good for a single chuckle when you hear the concept, and that’s it.