The Complete Guide to Left 4 Dead

Written by Josh Blodwell

February 18, 2009 | 09:05

Tags: #4 #ai #ai-director #boomer #boss #dead #for #guide #how-to #hunter #infected #infection #left-4-dead #left4dead #revew #smoker #tank #zombies

Companies: #steam #valve


It’s the end of the world. Everyone but you and your small group of ragged survivors is milling around in the streets, infected with a virus and looking for uninfected to sink their teeth into.

Your mission is to make your way to an escape point whilst avoiding becoming some zombie’s blood-spattered breakfast. Welcome to Left 4 Dead.

The zombies (or ‘infected’ as they’re referred to by Left 4 Dead) are under the control of an all-seeing AI-powered Director whose job is to make sure the four plucky survivors have the perfect horror-movie experience.

Drama, tension, pitched battles, black humour and horrible odds are all in the script. In this guide, we’re going to show you to beat the odds and ensure your group isn’t cut down to one final girl.

The Complete Guide to Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead’s selection of weapons is very limited compared to most FPS games. Including the chaingun – which is fixed, and only appears at very specific points in some levels – there are ten weapons, and that’s counting dual pistols as separate from the pistol you begin with. There are two tiers of weaponry, with the first tier – pistol, pump-action shotgun and Uzi appearing at the start of each cycle of levels, and the more powerful tier two weapons, the dual pistols, M16 assault rifle, automatic shotgun and hunting rifle appearing later on.


As well as firearms, you’ve also got a melee attack, which is the staple of Left 4 Dead. It doesn’t do much damage on its own, but it’s great protection from the hordes of infected. Any weapon or item you’re holding can be used; just right-click and you’ll swing the object in your hands, pushing back zombies and dealing them a small amount of damage.

If you melee an unsuspecting zombie in the back of the head you’ll kill them with a single blow, but that’s not its main purpose – melee comes into its own when you’re utterly overwhelmed. Should you find yourself in this unhappy position try and batter your way through the horde until you can get your back up against a wall, or even better, manoeuvre into a corner.

The Complete Guide to Left 4 Dead The Complete Guide to Left 4 Dead

A melee attack’s ark of effectiveness covers about 30-45 degrees in front of you, so in anywhere but a tight corner or passage you’re going to have to aim at your attackers each time you pound with the melee button. If you hit a single infected standing in front of you they’ll be pushed back, giving you space to move. If they’re climbing up a ladder or other object, they’ll fall off, and if you push one infected into another they’ll both fall over.

One of the strongest ways to use melee is to push an infected away, and then shoot them. You’ll always kill regular infected in one shot after a melee attack, which makes it very powerful. You can also reload your weapon whilst meleeing, so use it as much as you possibly can. There’s no reason to let an infected munch on your head just because you pressed ‘R.’


Magazine size: 15
Ammo reserve: Unlimited
Run speed: 250
Infected penetration: Two kills per bullet
Wall penetration: Low

The pistol is the weakest gun in the game and you’ll always find you have at least one in your possession. It holds 15 rounds in a clip, has a relatively fast reload time, and a slow rate of fire. Its main advantage is that it never runs out of ammo, so it’s always there as a reliable fall back. If you score a headshot on a regular infected on any difficulty level it’s an instant kill. Although you can just about kill zombies with a single pistol, there’s relatively little reason to, because it’s normally easy to find a second pistol.
Discuss this in the forums
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04