Francis. Hates. Helicopters.
Left 4 Dead is a fantasy mash-up in terms of Valve games. Escaping from the mold of Half-Life and the overly competitive frame of Counterstrike, it unified two things players love: cooperation and zombies. [Yes, but can zombies cooperate? ~Ed.] Now roughly a year after its release and with a sequel inbound, we're getting a significant downloadable content pack in the form of Crash Course, a new campaign that serves as a new scenario for cooperative and competitive multiplayer matches, and adds new Survival and Versus Mode areas. Simply put, it gives you more of what you love about Left 4 Dead.
[image1]Crash Course just might be the first of the Left 4 Dead campaigns that actually fits into a timeline relating to the meta-story of the game. Set right after the escape from the abandoned hospital in the No Mercy campaign, the survivors crash land in a small town in Pennsylvania after the pilot of the helicopter turns out to be something more than a just savior. Without giving too much away, Bill, Francis, Zoe and Louis are screwed yet again and need to find a way to escape.
This new campaign might seem short at first, considering there are only two chapters, although its length is extended by how dangerous this map is. There are various nooks and crannies where the special infected can hide, and more than enough of the "hold-out-the-fort-while-we-wait-for-this-horribly-slow-contraption-to-work-while-getting-swarmed-by-zombies" type of moments.
[image2]In addition to new dialogue and story bits, characters have new recorded quips and jokes, talking to each other constantly about their situation and about what happened to them before they crashed. Francis, as always, tends to deliver the more comical lines, bitching on and on about how he hates flying (and everything else but his vest, really). Wall doodles left by past survivors and even the government show how quickly everything decayed, showing more backstory through the town's scenery - remnants of an Army outpost gate after being overrun or dead bodies lying next to piles of weapons. Valve shows yet again how a story can be told without cut-scenes or obvious setups.
Now, we can't talk about Crash Course without mentioning the downloadable content debacle Xbox 360 users face. This new DLC is offered for free for PC users while Xbox 360 players have to fork out 560 Microsoft Points (corrected from 800 points). There wouldn't be much reason to review a piece of content if it's offered for free on all platforms, other than whether it's worth the hard drive space, and a lot of people doubt Crash Course is worth the 7 dollars. Given that the Survival Mode was complimentary, paying for additional content that is free on other platforms might not sit well with you, but this adds a completely new, albeit short, campaign that adds a new scenario, more of the meta-story, and new sub-maps for other game modes.
In Crash Course's case, it's more of a matter of whether or not you are interested in more Left 4 Dead so close to its sequel's release. As one of the few pieces (maybe the last) of new content for the original Left 4 Dead, Crash Course offers a recently deceased but still crawling warm farewell.