Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Left 4 Dead

Go To

See Left 4 Dead 2 for YMMV details in the second game.

  • Abridged Arena Array: No Mercy was the only campaign people would ever play on VS, ignoring Blood Harvest completely. Even after Death Toll and Dead Air were released for VS mode in the Survival Pack DLC, people still chose No Mercy. The sequel had the same problem where people would only play Dead Center and sometimes The Parish. Even after The Passing and The Sacrifice was made, Dead Center was still the only campaign people played for VS mode. Until No Mercy was ported to the sequel, then everybody flocked to it.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In The Sacrifice comic, does Bill have a hatred of them where he needs to work out some issues, or is he actually terrified of the monsters?
    • And some see Louis as either a guy whose positive reactions is the opposite of how he feels and it is his way to cope without snapping while others feel Louis is just trying to find hope in a grim situation.
    • Why does the Witch cry? Some fans believe that she retains some degree of her humanity and is horrified at what she has become. Others believe that her crying is just a Wounded Gazelle Gambit intended to lure in unsuspecting survivors. A third group believes that her crying is genuine, but merely for primal reasons (such as being in pain or suffering fever-like symptoms as a result of the Green Flu).
  • Annoying Video Game Helper: The survivor AI when it comes to healing. They will do their damn best to keep you going, but ignore anything else occurring at the moment, and always try to heal you when you don't need it. Expect to run around frequently while holding pills or a medkit just for the sake of not being interrupted.
  • Breather Level: Although it's definitely not on your side, the AI director does tend to give you a breather in-between swarms of zombies or boss encounters, especially if you're just limping through. The period of time is increasingly brief on higher difficulties.
    • The elevator in No Mercy (only in campaign)
  • Cargo Ship: The first game has Louis and his peelz.
  • Cliché Storm: For zombie movies, played for laughs.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: In the first game, if you didn't pick the autoshotgun as your primary weapon then you were most likely kicked for being a detriment to the team. The second game tried to avert this by making ammo refills more scarce, so that players would run out of ammo for their primary and be forced to pick up a different one. Instead, this just caused everybody to treat their primary as Too Awesome to Use and rely mainly on their infinite-ammo backup pistol instead.
  • Demonic Spiders: All of the Special Infected count in their own way. If not dealt with quickly, they can turn a campaign into Hell on Earth in short order.
    • The Boomer isn't particularly harmful on its own and comes with a piddly 50 health to its name. However if you let one catch you off-guard, it'll vomit on you, which attracts a large horde of Common Infected to the Survivor(s) it hit, along with blinding them. Don't let its low health pool deceive you either. Killing it will make it explode, which has the same effect as if it vomited on you.
    • Advertisement:
    • One of the most feared Special Infected is the Hunter. Its growling can instil dread in even a hardened player. In an instant, it can pounce on a Survivor and continually tear them apart until they are shoved, or the Infected/Survivor is killed. If you need a reason as to not go alone, just look to this guy.
    • The Smoker is a sneaky bastard with a long tongue that, if it hits a Survivor, will drag them towards the Smoker, draining their health all the while. They like to hide up in hard-to-reach places where they can't be killed easily, meaning that the Survivors will have to shoot the tongue to free their companion and let the Smoker get away.
    • And this is just the A.I. controlled Smoker. An experienced human-controlled Smoker can be even worse considering the fact that they can drag a player to certain death by hanging them off of a ledge, ensuring even if the player is freed or the Smoker is killed that they'll die no matter what.
    • Witches are another name that can strike fear into the hearts of players. Initially, they just sit in one spot crying, but if a Survivor gets too close, fires a weapon or shines their flashlight on the Witch, she goes berserk and charges at them. Should they reach them, they're going down, no questions asked. Worse, on higher difficulties, they aren't going down, they're going to die. This wouldn't be too bad, if the Director didn't have a habit of spawning them in tight corridors, right around corners or at a crucial point that the Survivors need to cross. If you hear crying at any point in a Campaign, then brace yourself for pain.
    • Then there's the Tank, the grand-daddy of all Special Infected. These things are rare, but they're bad news. How bad? He, alongside the Witch, gets his own Leitmotif, where even the music sounds like it's going Oh, Crap!. As the name implies, Tanks are really hard to kill, with them eating bullets for breakfast and asking for more. Their punches are capable of knocking Survivors flying across the map (or if they're unlucky, off the map entirely), and they can throw rocks at Survivors which also really hurt. They can also knock large props around the map, which can down an unlucky Survivor instantly. Word of advice when facing these things? RUN LIKE HELL!
  • Die for Our Ship: Zoey was this to Nick/Ellis shippers at first, even though the two characters had never even met in canon yet. Thankfully most of the bashing subsided after the initial furor over The Passing, which upgraded Zoey/Ellis to near-Official Couple status, though it still surfaces from time to time.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ear Worm: The wailed tune that plays when you are getting too close to a Witch is extremely catchy.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Nothing about the origin of the Infected is explained, leaving players to come up with absolutely every theory under the sun. Even off-screen supporting cast within the game itself fall afoul of this trope as they bicker among themselves on the various wall scribblings, etc. What's impressive is that the Emergent Narrative nature of the game makes these somewhat more valid than usual.
    • It is mentioned in Kotaku interviews, game reviews and other non-in game sources that the zombies are infected with a mutated rabies virus that the playable survivors are immune to. That's why they don't get turned when they're exposed to the zombies bodily fluids.
    • Directly mentioned in the sequel in-game with the characters' discussion of immunity and carriers.
  • Funny Moments:
    • This is the sole purpose of soundpacks. Whether they succeed in this endeavour may vary.
    • The dedications in the Closing Credits.
    • Ragdoll Physics. Much potential amusement lies within those codes.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • A major problem in the first game. Corner camping. Have all survivors cram up in a corner of a wall or a small room and constantly melee the infected rushing in or shoot all at once. Aside from a Tank, nothing can break through this formation. This is so common that most infected players in VS mode wait it out until the survivor players move again and both teams will corner camp when it's their turn as survivors.
  • Game Mod: A soundpack one that changes all the sounds of the infected to Macho Man Randy Savage quotes. Hilarity Ensues.
    • There's also a Tourette's Guy soundpack for the Tank. Watch it here.
    • And there's another that replaces all playable infected with the survivors, amusingly.
    • On top of that, one can also replace the Tank's sounds with those of the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. Hilarity ensues as the Tank taunts the survivors ("Who send all these babies to fight?!") berates the team for killing it ("Little, little man!"), runs around grunting and talking to its 'Sandvich', loudly exclaims that it is on fire when it is indeed on fire, and even calls for a medic when taking lots of damage from survivors. Sadly, the sound pack was pulled from some sites and cannot be found easily.
    • Scout zombies, that is all.
    • Some people have gone so far to change the Tank's music as well, like turning it into "Can Can", The Benny Hill Show theme, and even "Final Destination"!
    • Also, Johnny Bravo Tank.
    • Billy Mays Tank.
    • YEAAAH!
    • Pee-Wee Herman Infected. Can you say nightmare fuel?
    • If you think all the sound swapping is hilarious, try playing servers that allow up to eight survivors in the game. That's right, you'll have multiples of the same characters running around and you will go WTF when you see messages like "Zoey saved Zoey." Even Expert becomes a bit easier with 8 people's worth of firepower running around.
    • Teletubbies. Now you can be as afraid of them as Jerry Falwell.
      • Another good case of nightmare fuel, watching empty-eyed Teletubbies running at you and trying to rip you apart.
    • This game + soundtrack from 28 Days/Weeks = Pure terror.
    • Beavis as the Jockey.
    • Possibly the greatest mod ever
    • Shut up Witch.
    • Here are some hilarious soundpack mods. You can thank me later.
    • Not enough soundtrack dissonance for ya?
    • Demonic diaper-wearing Justin Bieber Witch.
    • A mod exists that changes the Hunter's screams to Micheal Jackson.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The game is apparently fairly popular in Japan, possibly owing to the game's linear structure and immense replay value, which is surprising considering how unpopular western-developed games, specifically first-person shooters, are in Japan. Even Hideo Kojima has confessed that he's a fan of the game! This lead to an arcade port of the game in Japan.
    • It's also very popular in Russia and other parts of Europe.
    • For whatever reason, the series is heavily popular in Mexico.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The common infected, who all have the ability to slow you down just by hitting you.
    • Especially if there's a Tank; the common ones will not let you move out of the way.
      • Not at all helped by their uncanny ability to flank you and pinch you between four or five others.
  • Good Bad Bugs: The game is almost filled with various glitches and exploits that make the campaigns almost laughably easy but can be a life saver on Expert difficulty.
    • Possibly the most (in)famous regarded shoving. Shoves have a cooldown before you're supposed to be able to shove again, but you're still able to switch to another weapon before that cooldown ends. Originally, this was bugged in such a way that switching weapons reset the shoving cooldown, allowing you to immediately shove again. People very quickly took this to its logical extreme and were able to simply shove their way through entire hordes without taking a hit.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: When "The Passing" was released in 2010 and it was revealed that Bill died, rumors circulated that Valve made this decision because his voice actor, Jim French, had died. These rumors were eventually dispelled when it became apparent that French was still alive and simply couldn't record new lines due to scheduling conflicts. In 2017, Jim French really did pass away, ensuring that "The Sacrifice" is the last time we'll ever see Bill alive and fully voice acted in the Left 4 Dead series.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Francis can see some birds in "Crash Course" and say "I hate birds," to which Zoey replies "Yeah, birds are dicks!" Later, in "Blood Harvest", the group startle a murder of crows, who in turn start a horde. And they do it again in "The Sacrifice".
    • The Fictional Video Game in Stay Alive is a co-op monster/zombie shooter set in New Orleans. Compare to Left 4 Dead 2.
    • One of Francis's many hates is lawyers; "When're they gonna stop practicing law?" Fast forward to 2012 and the release of smartphone game "Devil's Attorney," where the player character - a suave defense attorney - is voiced by Francis's voice actor, Vince Valenzuela.
  • Ho Yay Shipping: The Sacrifice brings us an, uh...interesting line that Bill can say if Francis is the one to make the Heroic Sacrifice...
    Bill: Francis, you beautiful sonuvabitch, you did it!
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Church Guy. Justified in that he is halfway turned into a zombie when you meet him, and distrusts you because he had been bitten by the previous person he let in.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • A number of forums have taken a single graffito referencing a "Chicago Ted" (itself a Shout-Out to an old gaming website) and seem to be attempting to turn him into a Chuck Norris-esque zombie slayer.
  • Memetic Molester: The Jockey.
  • Memetic Mutation: Numerous.
    • "I hate hospitals." "I hate stairs." "I hate forests." "I hate small towns." "I hate lawyers." "I hate tunnels." "I hate vans." "I hate train yards." "I hate Ayn Rand."
      • In No Mercy, Bill may lampshade this on the elevator:
    Bill: Francis, is there anything you don't hate?
    Francis: You know what I don't hate? I don't hate vests.
    • And adding to the almost endless list is the fanmade campaign, Dead Before Dawn with, predictably, "I hate malls". Another custom campaign, Night Terror, adds "I hate the jungle."
    • Even parodied a bit in the trailer for the Passing campaign, in which Francis and Rochelle start to agree with hating everything, and for once, Rochelle hates something Francis doesn't, his vest.
    • And equally funny when someone has taken all of Francis' "I hate" lines to create a song called Francis Hates Left 4 Dead.
  • Moment of Awesome: Several achievements qualify, such as the 'Untouchables' achievement for making it through the finale unscathed or the 'Unbreakable' achievement for going an entire campaign without healing. The arguably most awesome, however, is the 'Man vs. Tank' for killing a Tank single-handedly.
    • A bot cr0wning a witch. The lack of any emotion they display just makes it cooler.
  • Moral Event Horizon: As of part three of The Sacrifice comic: Bill refused to slow down the survivor's train for a moment, causing the death of a military doctor who had grouped up with the survivors despite Zoey telling him to slow down, and has twice declared that he'll leave anyone to die outside of their own group.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Step 1: Bind a vocalization to its own key. Step 2: Press this key repeatedly. Step 3: BOOMER BOOMER BOO-BOOM-B-B-BOOMER. Valve quietly enforced a patch (meaning no mention of it was made in the update release notes) that disables binding vocalizations to a key press, which was probably done due to every game having one person spamming their character's death scream for the entire game. There is still another way to use custom binds, but it's a very tedious and somewhat confusing task to do, plus people will still be happy to spam the default voice binds, mostly the "laugh" command. For some strange reason, this patch only applies to Left 4 Dead 2, but not the original.
  • Schmuck Bait: You might think it's a good idea to use a bile bomb on a Witch if you can't sneak around her, right? She'll be blind and be swarmed by zombies while you slowly watch her die? Dead wrong. She won't be blinded, and she will absolutely mow down everything in her way to whoever threw the bomb. You'll buy yourself a second at best.
  • Self-Fanservice: Go look at how the Hunter, Witch, and Smoker look in the game. Pretty hideous looking zombies, right? Now go look how they are drawn in a lot of fanart. Notice any differences?
  • Sequel Displacement: Enforced by Valve, due to them porting over the original game's content to Left 4 Dead 2, as well as continued development of the sequel while leaving the original behind. Though many players still like to play Left 4 Dead 1.
  • “Stop Having Fun” Guy: A disturbing number of people will vote-kick you for not being as good as they are in Versus, moving at less than a dead run through a campaign, failing to cr0wn a Witch, getting pounced on once without dead stopping the Hunter, being incapacitated for any reason, shooting a Boomer and splattering the team accidentally, or sometimes even for picking up the "wrong" weapon. Suffice to say there are SHFGs galore in Left 4 Dead.
    • Also, people who antagonize others for playing on "Easy," and ESPECIALLY people who do so for players on "Normal."
    • Of course, the majority of people you'll find playing on Easy are just going for achievements, god help you if you're actually at that skill-level.
    • VS mode is ripe full of these guys, mainly due to how competitive the mode can get. If you don't rush with the rest of the team, don't save someone in a nanosecond when a Hunter pounces them, let yourself catch on fire while playing as a Tank, even though you tried to avoid the attack, you're a Scrub to everyone else. It also does not help that the only way to learn how to play VS is to try everything out since the game barely teaches you how to play as the special infected.
    • Gets worse when you run into this type of player who judges other players purely on hours they invested into a game. If a player doesn't have X hours logged, they are deemed n00bs and are promptly booted from the game.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: !Bot Zoey is this, since she always grabs the Hunting Rifle on sight. Because the Survivor AI is borrowed from Counter-Strike, they'll always switch to pistols when an enemy gets too close. Since this is a zombie game, the chances of that happening are very high. Cut to Zoey constantly getting the least kills for not using the Hunting Rifle often enough.
  • Too Cool to Live: Bill.
  • The Woobie:
    • Zoey, after 2-3 rounds of Break the Cutie and all. Arguably an Iron Woobie, since she's able to spring right back up and kill more zombies even after Bill's death.
    • The Witch, anybody? Some people go on suicide missions just so she would stop crying. Others think she's just wangsty.
      • Some interpretations of the Witch are definitely this. The reason why she cries is never really explained, but one theory is that when she is unprovoked, she still has some humanity in her. She realizes that she's become a hideous, clawed beast, and cries over it. Alternatively, the infection has caused her to develop a very high fever, which is why she has removed most of her clothing, and the fever among the other affects of the infection are driving her into depression.
      • Special mention goes to the poor bride who became a Witch on her wedding day, as featured in The Passing. Poor girl is still by the altar, dressed in what is left of her wedding dress, by the time the players pass by.
    • To a lesser degree, the other Infected can qualify due to the sheer, unimaginable pain they must be going through.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: