Who's at the window?
Another, seemingly magical ability of The Director is to mesh cinematic moments with your own movements. After battling our way through the bulk of the first city-based level, our group of survivors caught their breath in the thankfully empty lobby of a nearby building. In the comforting silence, we wandered up to the window to scout the route ahead.
As we peered through the dirty pane into the gloom, a figure waddled suddenly into view, almost out of nowhere. It was a Boomer, fat and pustule-covered, its bloated face staring straight back at us. For a second, we just looked at one another, creating an almost unbelievable cinematic moment. Until we madly spuffed an entire rifle clip through the window in desperate fear, that is.
"Don't look at her!"
The Witch is one of Left 4 Dead's most unique elements. All scary games have hideous creatures, but how many of them can boast a lightning fast, murderous horror that you absolutely must not look at. The Witch is a masterstroke of Valve's - the dev staff on hand eagerly warned us not to disturb her, and certainly not to point our flashlights at her, which only heightened the chilling sense of uneasy anticipation. Especially when you can hear her scream, but you can't tell which way not to look.
When you finally do see her (don'tlookdon'tlookdon'tlook) she's all you could have feared - thin, deathly, wailing to herself in disturbing tones. Immediately you have two fears - one, of disturbing the game's most powerful monster; and two, of not seeing the next horde of zombies because you're trying not to look in that direction. It's harrowing stuff.