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8-Bit Left 4 Dead thread of NES retro remake zombie huntin'

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
UPDATE - 1/6/2010

Since GAF is my favorite (and I'm the lead/only QA for this game) I want to release some level-skip cheats for you guys.

At the character select screen, hold the following letters combined with a number 1-5 to skip to the corresponding chapters:

N = No Mercy
T = Death Toll
I - Dead Air
V = Blood Harvest

1 - Start of game
2 - First Safe House
3 - Second Safe House
4 - Third Safe House
5 - Final Safe House

UPDATE - 1/5/2010


The PixelForce Left 4 Dead NES de-make is available today, and it is fucking awesome. Read about it here, or go straight to the download page and play it for yourself.

If there's one thing I recommend, it's using Joy2Key or Xpadder when you play. Also, there's a lot of info in the README about the gameplay (like reviving players and such) that isn't explained in-game, so be sure to read through that.

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Game designer Eric Ruth is currently working on an NES remake of the first Left 4 Dead to be playable on computer (which he's calling part of his PixelForce project). It takes all 4 campaigns (each with 5 maps) and pretends that had Left 4 Dead been programmed in the late 80's, this is what the result would be.

Check out the teaser trailer here on YouTube.

I personally know Eric Ruth, and he's graciously allowed me to visit his small studio and play a private build of the game so far (as of writing this, he had the entire No Mercy campaign playable, start to finish). While normally I wouldn't excite GAF about a demo of a fan-made game, NES L4D is a different story entirely. Already featured on a bunch of news sites, I figured I'd tell everyone here all I know (and are allowed to say) about the game since I'm one of the few who has had the pleasure of trying it so far.

Right off the bat, as seen in the trailer, the game looks like an awesome 8-bit replica, complete with the exact NES color palette with a screen resolution of 256x240. I got to play the game with a USB NES controller, since it runs on PC (not an actual NES rom, or anything). The game started us out on the rooftops where it was a first-come-first serve for the weapons, unlike the real L4D. The whole first level of No Mercy was pretty easy, but I'm guessing it was just to get used to the game as whole.

As soon as we hit the subway, everything started getting extremely chaotic. There were far more zombies on screen than before (like shown in the YouTube vid), and more special infected zombies started showing up. The Hunter, which was my favorite of them all, lunges at you when you're close enough, or when you shoot it. If you don't dodge, then the screen starts flashing red and you must button mash to get him off of you, which felt so much like an old-school NES game. On the third stage, outside again, I encountered a witch, which when startled, chased me down until she one-hit-killed me. It really felt overpowered to me, but then again, I was playing single-player. In multiplayer, your teammate can revive you once you're felled. Of course, then again, you're probably not supposed to startle the witch.

I went through the entire first campaign, which took maybe 30-35 minutes (after dying a few times), all the way up to the rooftop and final Tank battle. It was pretty difficult, both playing single and multiplayer, but there were definitely some NES-style patterns I caught on to after a while.

The controls were pretty natural. Your character moved in all 8 directions, but only fired in 4. But when holding the B button to fire, it also allowed you to strafe. The A button was the melee attack, which shoved common infected away like in the real game. To my knowledge, I don't think shoving them did any damage, though. Using the select button, you could switch between your grossly underpowered pistol and your secondary weapon, and to my knowledge, there aren't any pipe bombs or molotovs. Really, the controls felt awesome. The zombies moved a little slower than you, but in great numbers, it really kept you on your toes. The special infected (with the exception of the Smoker, which didn't really pose any major threat when I played) are all handled brilliantly with an NES spin on them. The boomer is the projectile type of enemy, while the Hunter is the up-close-and-personal type of trap enemy. The tank is the "chip away at him until he's dead" baddie, and the witch is the "oh shit, get the F away!" type.

While the game felt like a highly-polished NES title, what really blew me away were the authentic visuals and audio. Eric sent me a link and gave me permission to post the unreleased Stage 2 music, and I have a few screens of later parts of the game he gave me (on my home computer) that I can upload later tonight. I could talk all night about how cool it was to see all of the L4D locales in glorious 8-bit, but it wouldn't do the game justice since you really just have to see it. The music and sound effects were also well-done, and in typical NES fashion, each new stage had a new chip-tuney song to go along with it. A lot of the L4D songs (like the Tank battle) and sound effects (like the witch crying) were interesting in their respective 8-bit style, as well.

I'm honestly not sure what else I'm allowed to say about the game, but was just an insanely fun experience and I can't wait until the game is released, which he says will be in early January. Here's the Eric Ruth Games Homepage.
And I'd strongly recommend trying out Mega Man Rocks, which is a full original Mega Man game.
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
Retro demakes are a great trend. I usually like them more than their source material, though :/

Guess I'm getting old.
 

duckroll

Member
Too little too late. With L4D2 coming out today, I don't see this selling very well at all. The NES fanbase has moved on, and I don't expect this to chart on NPD at all when it's out. This should have been on the Genesis instead anyway, after playing some games with Blast Processing, I don't think I can ever go back to crappy NES graphics.
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
SecretBonusPoint said:
Interesting as a novelty but looks like the most boring gameplay in the world. Something of a wasted effort I feel.

The first level was boring, and I expected more zombies. But trust me, as soon as you get past that (especially with two players) it becomes really chaotic with tons of common infected and clever level design. Not sure why there isn't a video of that, but I can definitely confirm that the game gets hectic and fun.
 

Amir0x

Banned
Like most NES nostalgia trips, I do not want. NES blew. And I love Left 4 Dead!

Still, it's neat what people do with their time. A little odd seeing a game I spent so much time with de-evolved to this level.
 

duckroll

Member
Dacvak said:
The first level was boring, and I expected more zombies. But trust me, as soon as you get past that (especially with two players) it becomes really chaotic with tons of common infected and clever level design. Not sure why there isn't a video of that, but I can definitely confirm that the game gets hectic and fun.

You should tell him to add a crescendo event in the first stage. Before you can get to the safe room, zombies should keep pouring out until you kill them all or something. Also, the game needs a score counter of some sort. Otherwise it totally isn't a game programmed in the 80s. I don't think you were even allowed to design a game without some sort of score. :p
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
duckroll said:
You should tell him to add a crescendo event in the first stage. Before you can get to the safe room, zombies should keep pouring out until you kill them all or something. Also, the game needs a score counter of some sort. Otherwise it totally isn't a game programmed in the 80s. I don't think you were even allowed to design a game without some sort of score. :p

I doubt I'm in any position to give him advice on his project, but I will email him a link to this thread, so he'll probably see anything anyone has to suggest.
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
ZealousD said:
Yeah, gameplay looks pretty boring in this one. Kinda misses the point of the original.

I really can't stress enough how crappy that video dictates the action in the game. At one point on just the third level, I had probably 40 zombies following me with a Hunter chasing as well. It was nuts. I would hate for people to get the wrong idea based on level 1 of the game.
 

RevenantKioku

PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS PEINS oh god i am drowning in them
Dacvak said:
I really can't stress enough how crappy that video dictates the action in the game. At one point on just the third level, I had probably 40 zombies following me with a Hunter chasing as well. It was nuts. I would hate for people to get the wrong idea based on level 1 of the game.
Sorry man, but you've got two points in the game to really wow me: the start and the finish. I can let a lot of shit slide in the middle, but if you fail on those two points, you've lost me most likely.
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
I'm back at home on my desktop, so I can upload a few screens Eric gave me of my run-through as Francis.


Lots of Zombies


Safehouse ahead!


DO NOT DISTURB.


Seriously, it gets harder.


Even Dunder Mifflin has to worry about the horde. (Reminds me of their warehouse...)


Hunter attack!



Hopefully I'll be able to get in contact with him to get even more content, since the game is getting some serious publicity on some popular game sites.
 
duckroll said:
Too little too late. With L4D2 coming out today, I don't see this selling very well at all. The NES fanbase has moved on, and I don't expect this to chart on NPD at all when it's out. This should have been on the Genesis instead anyway, after playing some games with Blast Processing, I don't think I can ever go back to crappy NES graphics.

Nice :lol
 

McBradders

NeoGAF: my new HOME
Do you think they'll port this to the Spectrum? I don't own a NES and while the £99.99 pricepoint is tempting, the fact that cartridges are £39.99 is highway robbery given I can get a casette for £12.99 for a AAA title.

Hopefully U.S. Gold will convert it, their Outrun conversion was outstanding.
 

Kentpaul

When keepin it real goes wrong. Very, very wrong.
this is what gaming is all about not big budget expensive games, fan made games from the guy who stays down the street

+respect haters keep hatin'
 

SmokyDave

Member
McBradders said:
Do you think they'll port this to the Spectrum? I don't own a NES and while the £99.99 pricepoint is tempting, the fact that cartridges are £39.99 is highway robbery given I can get a casette for £12.99 for a AAA title.

Hopefully U.S. Gold will convert it, their Outrun conversion was outstanding.

Loser. C64 4 Lyfe. £11.99 AAA releases and £3.99 for everything else. Also, Speccies have a fucked up colour palette.

Don't talk to me about the NES until that toy has a keyboard.
 
I love the concept of 8bit demakes, but the youtube video looked extremely dull. I think the game would be more fun & challenging if the action was more similar to Smash TV.
 
It's interesting how easily Left 4 Dead translates to the NES. Not from a programming standpoint--I'm sure this is a pretty astounding effort--but in game design. It demonstrates how elegant the mechanics of L4D are.
 
This looks absolutely awesome. Like most everyone else, I think the first level could do with more zombies, but I'm pretty much sold anyway.
 
Joe Shlabotnik said:
It's interesting how easily Left 4 Dead translates to the NES. Not from a programming standpoint--I'm sure this is a pretty astounding effort--

To my understanding, this is a PC game designed to NES style standards, but it's not really a NES ROM or held absolutely strictly to its technical restrictions. Otherwise, zombie flicker would kill the fun fast . :lol
 
Kulock said:
To my understanding, this is a PC game designed to NES style standards, but it's not really a NES ROM or held absolutely strictly to its technical restrictions. Otherwise, zombie flicker would kill the fun fast . :lol

Oh sure, there'd be tons of Super Dodge Ball-style flickery goodness in a real NES game, and of course the AI Director would be, er, compromised. But the "rules" and content of the game translate pretty directly. While I don't know how well an NES game would be able to dynamically balance the zombie hordes, it could at least throw some randomness into the attacks.
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
SmokyDave said:
Excellent work, looks really polished. I love the Francis sprite. Any news on when / how this will be released?
According to Eric Ruth, the game will officially be released on January 4th, 2010, and will be available for PC download for free on his website.

HerbSpiceSoy said:
I love the concept of 8bit demakes, but the youtube video looked extremely dull. I think the game would be more fun & challenging if the action was more similar to Smash TV.
As I stated before, that intro video (which really is just, like, the first 4 minutes of the game) is definitely boring, but the game immediately picks up after that. Also, good news, I've been invited back to his studio in Baltimore this weekend to play the second campaign and help release a second video of two-player action! I don't really have any more info than that, but I'm extremely excited to see how Death Toll is recreated.
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
As I stated before, I got a chance to take another trip down to Baltimore to visit Eric Ruth and play through about half of Death Toll, and an updated version of No Mercy. He certainly ramped up the difficulty (since he got so many comments online). I brought my business partner down as well, and we both played co-op as Eric set up some recording software.

Here's his newest video: Check it out.

PS: I should probably speak a little more about my experience. First off, despite what the YouTube video said, that was actually our 5th or 6th try at Death Toll. We were getting seriously raped before we started working together. Also, consider that was easy mode. We played No Mercy on Advanced mode afterward, and got our asses handed to us. It was amazing.

But the game has come a long way since the last build I played. Just about all of the complaints have been addressed, and it's way more fun than before, which is saying something, because I thought it was a solid game to begin with. Now, it's just incredible. It's legitimately a game that I would love to be playing right now, and I'm going through some intense withdraw after a solid 4 or 5 hours with it.
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.
Red Scarlet said:
Hey Louis, that's ammo, not pills. Stop hogging them.

Lol... I had the shotgun...
 

Dacvak

No one shall be brought before our LORD David Bowie without the true and secret knowledge of the Photoshop. For in that time, so shall He appear.


The PixelForce Left 4 Dead NES de-make is available today, and it is fucking awesome. Read about it here, or go straight to the download page and play it for yourself.

If there's one thing I recommend, it's using Joy2Key or Xpadder when you play. Also, there's a lot of info in the README about the gameplay (like reviving players and such) that isn't explained in-game, so be sure to read through that.
 

Alex

Member
I've been playing this, it's pretty damn fun for what it is. Probably more fun than I'd have with most NES games nowadays.

I'm finding the keyboard controls to be surprisingly decent. And for as much as it goes against the theme and reasoning, I still wish you could rig it online somehow. :p

How long is this though? There doesn't seem to be any saves and there's no campaign select. I don't assume there's all of the original ones but the Youtube videos point to at least No Mercy and Death Toll.

Real cute though, I like the 8-bit Tank music. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO_Sk8vB_-E)
 
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