Left 4 Dead: No Mercy Level Dive: It Feels like Coming Home

Clearing the hospital in Left 4 Dead. This screenshot was taken on Steam.

No Mercy is one of the best levels I have ever had to play. Few games give me the feeling of returning home like I have been away for too long. This feeling of familiarity is one of the biggest reasons I replay No Mercy every time I download the game.

This level review is part of the Left 4 Dead project. You can view the collection here.

No Mercy will not Waste Your Time. 

The best thing about No Mercy is the speed at which the player can complete it. If you wanted to you can speed run No Mercy with minimal effort using just the bots. Each level has a few rooms you can check but Left 4 Dead is not about collecting collectibles, so you’re not missing much if you decide to rush. 

Level Designs are Straight Forward 

Each level is straightforward. You will not have to walk around in circles, scanning the various areas repeatedly. Some levels require you to trigger the hoard, but you never have to fetch anything. 

The goal of the game is to survive, and No Mercy encapsulates that. It is easy to find where you need to go next as you run through each level. The level that has you jumping down the utility hole cover has bends and twists, but the gameplay flow always leads you to the next door. 

The Washed Out Colors 

No Mercy is devoid of bright colors; even inside the hospital, it feels like the level has been drained of its color. It is understandable; lack of color has been used to make levels look “scarier” for a long time. However, I feel like No Mercy often feels too muted.

I could adjust the gamma or the brightness of my screen, but oftentimes the darkness does not bother me. Despite feeling like No Mercy could benefit from more colors, the lack of strong colors never takes away from the overall level design.

Defending the Hospital Never Gets Old

Killing zombies on the roof.

When you reach No Mercy’s last level, the survivors have to hold out on the roof of the hospital until the helicopter arrives: This part of the campaign never gets old to me. 

You have the option of using a mounted machine gun, multiple bombs, and various gas tanks to hold your position as you fight waves of zombies. As you hold out, more zombies and tanks will spawn. Up until the helicopter’s arrival, every moment feels tense, provided you’re not playing on easy mode. 

The race to the helicopter is the best part because there are multiple opportunities for a special infected to grab you. When you play on a higher difficulty, the damage taken between the building and helicopter could kill you outright. 

The AI Gave Me A Run for My Money 

As I progressed through No Mercy’s various levels, the AI would slowly do things to annoy me. My biggest grievance is waiting for them to enter the safe room. In Left 4 Dead, the AI does not use grenades either, but I knew that going in. 

No Mercy. No Problem. 

No Mercy is always fun to run through, regardless of how many times I have played it. It benefits from being one of the few levels I can return to after long breaks and jump right in. 

Left 4 Dead does have multiple campaigns, and No Mercy sets up perfectly for the next one. Clearing the hospital and defending the rooftop is still one of my favorite moments in gaming. 

No Mercy will be receiving a 5/5 because of the simplistic level design that does not drag on for too long—creative set pieces and an epic ending that leaves me wanting more. Although the AI drove me crazy and the level appeared dark at times, neither of these things was enough to take away my enjoyment of the level. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.