With Left 4 Dead 2 around the corner with zombie clowns and frying pans galore, Valve showed their faith to the original Left 4 Dead with a new piece of DLC for the fantastic zombie slaughtering game, which was released last year. Many Left 4 Dead fans were sceptical when footage of Left 4 Dead 2 was shown at E3 09, not even a year after the originals release. They worried for Valve’s commitment to the first game when the second would be released. Well, they should fear no more because Crash Course is exactly the thing to prove them wrong.
Crash Course contains a new campaign level as well as a Versus map and two Survival arenas. The events of Crash Course take place after the escape from the hospital in No Mercy. The helicopter pilot turned out to be a zombie and crashed the helicopter near a truck depot. From the crash site, you and your band of survivors need to navigate your way through dark alleyways littered with abandoned vehicles as well as a number of rabbit-warren like buildings.
The difference with Crash Course and the normal campaign maps is that Crash Course only features two sections, as opposed to five. A normal match of Left 4 Dead normally takes around 40 minutes, whereas Crash Course took only 30 minutes to complete. Despite only having two sections, it isn’t that much shorter with each section being at least the length of two sections in the normal campaign maps. This feels like a taste of what to expect with the maps in Left 4 Dead 2.
The confusing alleyways and corridors lead to a lot of hiding places for Infected to spawn, so expect to be rushed, puked on and pounced on quite often if you don’t work together well enough. It makes for an extremely fun Versus map because the windy corridors can lead to the Survivors easily getting lost and split up as a result, allowing for easy picking off of the Survivor team by the Special Infected.
The ammo drops are nicely spaced apart and, one thing I really enjoyed about Crash Course, the second tier weapons aren’t all together. You might find at one drop only an auto-shotgun and then find the Hunting Rifle and Assault Rifle further along. This means you need to change your strategy, instead of everyone picking up their favourite weapon at once.
There are two events in the DLC. The first involves a Howitzer. That’s right, an old artillery gun just placed nicely in a position to destroy a barricade covering a bridge. The shell you fire, however, causes a large fire so you must hold out until the fire dies. The second is the finale in which you need to protect a generator to power an escape vehicle. There are a number of rooftops where you can hold out, but most of the rooftops are extremely open and a swift lash of the tongue can have you falling into the Horde beneath. The Survival modes are essentially both of these sections of the game but with A LOT more zombies.
My major problem with Crash Course is the fact there are only 2 sections. One thing I loved about the saferooms were the scribblings on the wall. Since there is only one saferoom in Crash Course there are only a few scribbles. Still, they are as entertaining as always with Valve obviously having some hatred with a girl called Alison.
Crash Course is a welcome addition to an already fantastic game. A great new map with some more Survival modes packed in is enough to tide you over until Left 4 Dead 2. One of the main problems is the price point, with Steam getting it for free and Xbox Live users having to pay, but for fans of the game, it is a worthy purchase. Anyone that wasn’t sucked into the Left 4 Dead love like a survivor to a Smoker, this won’t change your mind.