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  • 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.
    • For custom campaigns, most players stick to City 17, Suicide Blitz 2 and I Hate Mountains. More obscure or less popular maps tend to have less dedicated servers for them, if there's any at all.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced:
    • Valve announced that the Left 4 Dead 1 DLC, The Sacrifice, will also be available to people who own Left 4 Dead 2, because Valve believed that making the campaign only available to people who only own the first game is a stupid idea. On top of this, people who own the sequel will also get an official port of No Mercy, a Left 4 Dead 1 campaign, as a bonus! Info is here.
      • And then Valve confirmed Bill won't get the Fake Shemp treatment. His voice actor, who wasn't available while they were working on the previous DLC update (all of Bill's Crash Course dialogue is recycled from other campaigns), has recorded new lines for The Sacrifice.
    • Valve announced that they'll be releasing all the remaining Left 4 Dead 1 campaigns for 2, including an official fan-made map.
  • Base Breaker: The Church Guy. Some tend to see him as The Scrappy of the game, while others go in the opposite direction, making him an Ensemble Darkhorse instead.
  • 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, though.
    • The elevator in No Mercy (only in campaign mode)
  • Cargo Ship: The first game has Louis and his peelz.
    • There's also Ellis and Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car. He gushes hard over the vehicle and acts sentimental to the point of dedicating a little goodbye speech to it when they have to proceed on foot when they reach the jammed road by Whispering Oaks.
  • Cliché Storm: For zombie movies, played for laughs.
  • Crowning 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.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny:
  • 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.
    • 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 an Overly 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 that's just the AI-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 that, even if the player is freed or the Smoker is killed, 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, s**t!". 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 sending 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!
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ear Worm: The creepy tune that plays when a Witch is nearby is extremely catchy.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: NO ZOMBIE IS SAFE FROM CHICAGO TED.
  • 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 players' discussion of immunity and carriers.
  • Excuse Plot: It's basically "You wake up one day, and everybody except you and three other misfits with eccentric personalities are zombies. Try not to get killed."
  • Fan Dumb: Hoo boy. While the fans were pretty much alright when Left 4 Dead first started, Left 4 Dead 2 opened up a huge can of worms. Between people who think they know what it takes to improve either game or the series as a whole, flame wars over which L4D game is better, people demanding Valve to fix everything right this instant, people demanding Valve to add more content, demands for Valve to make their favorite mutation a permanent game mode, and people who tell everyone else to shut up since Valve has done no wrong, it's hard to find people who actually play the game and not complain about something in the Left 4 Dead series.
    • Despite people who swear that Left 4 Dead 2 is the worst game Valve ever made and them complaining about anything in the game on the Steam forums time and time again, these type of people either just never leave or are seen still playing the game.
    • Not to mention, when Left 4 Dead 2 was announced, there was a "Boycott" of the game. Considering most people who were in the Boycott Steam-group bought the game at launch... wasn't very successful, was it?
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Hunter/Witch, if fan art is to be believed.
  • Follow the Leader: High Voltage Software's The Grinder looked to several people like "Left 4 Dead Wii" upon its first announcement. It's still an FPS on the Wii, but the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions have changed formats to a top-down shooter, making it more like a Spiritual Successor for High Voltage's own Hunter: The Reckoning.
  • Game Breaker: A major problem in the first game is "corner camping", wherein all the 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.
    • Became somewhat of a Funny Aneurysm Moment after his death in 2011...
    • 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 trying to kill it ("Little, little man! You are no match for me!"), 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", Benny Hill, 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 players' worth of firepower running around.
      • It Got Worse in L4D2, as servers in that game often allow more than eight survivors, plus a skin-switching utility that allows players to use Special Infected models while still playing as Survivors.
    • 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 Later = Pure terror.
    • Left 4 Dead 2 had demo mods! Such mods include Don't Stop Me Now as a Jukebox song.
    • 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?
    • For those who need more Moe in their zombie-killing, there is a K-On! mod for 2 where the survivors are replaced with Yui, Ritsu, Mugi and Mio (Azusa replaces Zoey in "No Mercy" and "The Passing"). Note that the mod only replaces the skins - the voices aren't changed (though there is an effort to rectify that). Separately, the pre-recorded Midnight Riders concert can be replaced with several songs by Hokago Tea Time (nothing like killing zombies to sugary J-Pop).
    • Demonic diaper-wearing Justin Bieber Witch.
  • 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!
    • It's also very popular in Russia and other parts of Europe.
  • 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. Most of these were patched for VS and Survival modes to keep the balance.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The Witch's sobs are very unnerving if you don't know where she is, or if you're about to piss her off.
  • 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.
  • 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!"

  • Internet Backdraft: May the internet have mercy on your soul if you dare say that VS mode (mostly in Left 4 Dead 2) is fine just the way it is. Expect to have competitive players to either call you a casual player or assume you never touched VS mode at all.
    • The community will also explode if you even try to compare the first game with the second game or have the balls to say one is better than the other.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Church Guy. Justified in that he's already turning 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.
    • Good thing Francis is indestructible!
  • Memetic Mutation: Numerous.
    • Francis's hatred of everything.
      • 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."

  • The Millstone: They show up a lot more than in most online games (or maybe the focus on teamwork just makes them a lot more obvious).
  • Mondegreen: IIIII'M ONE BATMAN! ONE BATMAN!
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Church Guy crossed it when he deliberately altered a horde of infected to the L4D1 survivors' presence after they asked him to let them into his saferoom.
    • The Slaters crossed it when they threw the L4D1 survivors off of their fishing boat to save their own skins.
    • Bill arguably crossed it in The Sacrifice: Part 3 when he refused to slow down the survivors' train for a moment, leading to the death of a military doctor who had grouped up with the survivors, despite Zoey practically begging him to slow down. Even Francis was shocked by how callous Bill was.
    • In the final campaign, it's revealed that the US Army has begun shooting both zombies and humans alike due to the possibility of immune humans being carriers of the Infection.
  • 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
      • If done online, most players will be quite eager to kick you off the team. With bullets.
        • 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 everyone shouting the trope name every time someone decided to spam the 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.
    • Rochelle can be a source of these, ESPECIALLY when she's incapacitated or being attacked by a Jockey.
    • The Jockey's crazed laughter might make some want to tear their ears out.
  • Nightmare Retardant: You can honk the noses of Clown Infected. You even get an achievement for doing it 10 times.
  • Player Preferred Pattern: Auto-shotguns were the most-used weapons in the first Left 4 Dead, due to their power and firing speed.
    • Clown Infected shoes must really annoy the horde (and players) to be able to draw in such large numbers of other infected.
  • 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 doesn't 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.
    • Now in full spades after Valve made a poll asking if all weapons (except ones in saferooms) should be either single pick-up or multi pick-up and the majority voting for the latter. Cue in complaints from "pro" players about how the community is too stupid to know what they want or how Valve is catering to the casuals.
  • Tear Jerker: In Zoey's backstory, she was forced to Mercy Kill her father who had been bitten and clawed. It got worse when she discovered that was immune all along.
    • Helm's Deep. Yes, someone made a level based on The Lord of the Rings, and yes, it is epic... but the wall blows at 4:00, and King Theoden only gives the order to fall back at 8:00, leaving you alone on the plain with limited chokepoints to hide behind and often two of each type of Special pouncing on your ass. If you don't get up the stairs with at least three players alive, you're probably doomed.
  • Too Cool to Live: Bill
  • Unfortunate Implications: According to Chet Faliszek, the reason there are so many Witches near the sugar mill in Hard Rain is that they are drawn to the smell of sugar. So we have female zombies, likely to snap at a moment's notice (ESPECIALLY if you touch her), who are drawn to the smell of sugar... yeah.
    • That explanation is a Sure Why Not the dev team cooked up because, by coincidence, large numbers of Witches tended to spawn around it. If you're going to whine about it, blame the coding.
  • The Woobie:
    • Zoey, after 2-3 rounds of Break the Cutie and all.
    • The witch, anybody? Some people go on suicide missions just so she would stop crying. Others think she's just wangsty.
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