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

Automatic Shotgun

Magazine size: 10
Ammo reserve: 128
Run speed: 240
Infected penetration: Unlimited at close range, two per pellet at long range
Wall penetration: Low

The automatic shotgun is essentially a pump shotgun with an insane rate of fire. It has the same slow reload and high close-range damage but it suffers from a whole new problem – ammo use. It’s very easy to fire off all ten shells in three seconds. Even in the middle of the largest horde that’s too much firepower.

The real skill to using the automatic shotgun is learning when you should stop shooting. Pick your targets sensibly, fire, wait to see what’s still running, and shoot again. Never go into frenzy mode unless you’ve been snagged by a smoker or are up against a tank.

The Complete Guide to Left 4 Dead Tier 2 weapons - Auto shotgun, M16 and Rifle
Tier 2 weapon tables can be found around the levels

This brings us to the other useful benefits of toting an automatic shotgun, and we’re not talking about the fact you can skip the queue in Tescos: it gives you speed and self-reliability. You can run fast with it, and because of its close-range power and the fact its accuracy isn’t really effected by movement, its an excellent weapon for speeding through levels.

The fact you can kill a smoker at snagging range means you don’t necessarily have to stay with the pack to survive. A player with high awareness and fast reflexes can melee away hunters mid-pounce too, so if you can do that and tackle the smoker snag you can realistically rush yourself to the safe-room and forget about your pals. That said, it’s still an idiotic thing to do, so forget we mentioned it.

As with the pump-action shotgun, the automatic version isn’t effective at long range, although its high rate of fire does allow you to fluke the odd kill, which is very wasteful of ammo. The time when it really excels are in Tank encounters. The fact you can run fast and deal plenty of damage per shot means you can dash near to the tank and take him down very quickly.

M16 Assault Rifle

Magazine size: 50
Ammo reserve: 360
Run speed: 230
Infected penetration: Two kills per bullet
Wall penetration: High

The M16 assault rifle is the gun most experience FPS players go for first. It’s a standard FPS weapon and it works exactly as you’d expect it to. It’s accurate when crouched, fires wildly when you try to run and gun, and has a long effective range. If you’re not much good at aiming then the M16 is always a good choice. Even when moving you can still hit targets, provided you use short bursts, and its deadly spray makes quick work of infected, even if you can’t get them in the head. It’s also quick to reload.

The biggest skill to using the M16 is in ammo conservation. Each magazine carries 50 bullets, and you can go through a magazine in a matter of seconds. You only get 410 rounds in total and while this seems like a lot it really isn’t. Try to limit yourself to short bursts of fire, go for headshots, and keep a close eye on your ammo use.

If you’re clearing sections right outside the safe-room go back and restock your ammo before moving on. Try to crouch when you fire, as this drastically increases accuracy. Switch to pistols when you want to run and gun. You can also use the M16 to shoot through many walls, so if you hear a boomer’s groans and gurgles, try and get the kill through the wall.

The Complete Guide to Left 4 Dead Tier 2 weapons - Auto shotgun, M16 and Rifle

Hunting Rifle

Magazine size: 15
Ammo reserve: 180
Run speed: 210
Infected penetration: Unlimited
Wall penetration: High

The hunting rifle is not the weapon of choice for most players. For a tier two gun it has some obvious drawbacks compared to the M16 and auto shotgun. Most players are disappointed by its relatively low rate of fire. The reload time is slower than the M16 and it doesn’t have the close range versatility of the shotgun.

What the hunting rifle does have is power, and lots of it. Unlike the other guns which can only kill a couple of zombies in a row, or the shotguns which can only penetrate a horde at close range, the hunting rifle can shoot through as many zombies as you can line up in the sights - at any range. This makes it the ultimate horde killer. If all four of you are shooting the same mob of infected, the guys with the M16s and shotguns are only killing the front of the pack, but your hunting rifle will kill the rest.

The key to the hunting rifle is to use it crouched with the crosshairs. Your first and subsequent shots will all go dead centre, because it has very low recoil. If you want to use it standing up you should press the middle mouse button to go into scoped mode, and then you can slowly walk about without a penalty to your accuracy.

The only time the hunting rifle is anything less than excellent is when running. It gives you the lowest run speed of all the weapons and its accuracy when running is atrocious. If you’re running, get a zombie to almost fill your screen and you’ve got a reasonable chance of hitting it, but there’s still a chance you’ll miss.
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