It became clear that our only hope for surviving was to try and glitch the tank, a means of exploiting the AI of the special infected that caused them to rage quit the game if they couldn't reach you. If you could stay away from the tank long enough, he'd leave the game. The key to this strategy was finding a safe place to hide. Blood Harvest takes place on a farm, and like all good farms, it had a barn with crossbeams navigable by humans but not by rampaging zombie tanks. We had found our spot.
As it turned out, the beams were far less navigable by humans than advertised. Staying on the beams was next to impossible, when we were able to get to the farmhouse at all. There were times when we were all dead less than a minute after leaving the safehouse. I laughed at those times, usually laughing alone, with a tremendous respect for a game that could dismantle us so completely.
Eventually, someone else succeeded where we failed and outlined a strategy we thought could make work. On a rare Thursday night session, born out of fear of the patch, we got together to make one last try. Somehow we managed to get to the farmhouse without too much trouble. I think the AI Director felt sorry for us, having watched us fail so many times before. Once we were at the farmhouse, we took our positions in an upstairs closet where we would fight off zombies until the tank arrived. Once the music welled up, we were to all go out the window, turn the corner and wait by the chimney in the hopes of glitching the tank. It all went perfectly, until we left the closet. I saw a zombie that wasn't there and promptly shot Petey in the stomach.
From far off, I heard the AI Director laughing.
Somehow we managed to overcome my poor aim and soon Petey and I were in the rescue vehicle waiting for our downed allies to die so the finale could finish. Time from safehouse to achievement: twenty minutes. Or, more accurately, one month, one week, three days, and twenty minutes.
You can say we didn't get the achievement legitimately, and I wouldn't argue. We'd never have gotten that achievement if it weren't for Left 4 Dead's robust assortment of glitches and exploits. Regardless, getting those 35 points still stands as one of my favorite experiences. It wasn't just the achievement itself, it was the four of us, every Friday night, working together, fighting together, getting pissed when things went wrong. It was Monday morning conversations on what didn't work and what else we could try. It was working towards something and not giving up. My fellow survivors are some of my closest friends and while our friendship started from a shared love of games, it solidified on those rocks and in those safehouses, hiding from zombies, meleeing each other, and glitching the tank.
Brandon Cackowski-Schnell is a regular contributor to GameShark.com as well as co-host of Jumping the Shark, GameShark's official podcast. He is also one of the co-founders of NoHighScores.com where he can often be found posting about games and food.