3 hours of quiet. That’s all I need, 3 hours of quiet. I don’t need anyone kicking me in the balls. I don’t need anyone telling me to “turn that thing off and come to bed.” I don’t need screaming, screaming, screaming for good lord Dora the Explorer. 3 hours is what I needed.
Because what I do is not just for myself. What I do is for everyone. You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. You need me to defeat the Alien Horde and get to level 50. And that takes about 3 hours.
At least that is what I guessed when I started but could not be sure. I have never made it to level 50. I have only been as far as level 29 before some 2 year old “accidently” pushed the colored button that happened to be the off switch on my Xbox. Fantastic.
But tonight, I have my 3 hours. It’s about 11 at night. The kids are asleep. The wife is asleep. Tonight, it is just me and 4 other guys I have never met before battling the evil alien horde in our holy grail quest to reach level 50.
I have no other idea who these other gamers are. Fate has brought us together to wreak carnage in online gaming, specifically Gears of War 2. I have my pop tarts, I have my beer. I am war ready.
It starts and immediately my digital head goes on a swivel. Level 1 is easy but I have my trusty shot-gun out for close encounters. You never know. One comes at me, blamo, he is nothing but roadside paint, pieces of it’s evil body littering the landscape like the fall foliage.
I turn around and see another two. A short second later, both have gone to meet their programmer.
I turn to watch how my fellow squad mates are doing. Not bad, a little disorganized, but not bad. They seem ruthless and what I need is ruthless. I need them to be cold blooded digital assassins who have 3 hours of free time and a strong bladder to cut down on bathroom breaks. This might work, but it’s hard to tell with a squad so green.
Quickly we chainsaw our way through enemies in level’s 3, 4 and 5. This is nothing but warmup, nothing but getting a feel for those players around you. I show off a little. I take down the big guy alone, me and 300 rounds of high explosive ammo show him the door, next in line please. The others seem to be doing well when our first test comes.
Man down, corner of the map, man down. I wait to see if anyone cares enough to go and save him. This will let me know if we have a shot, a remote one to be sure, but a shot at reaching level 50. 3 of my squad members make a bee line to our downed comrade and revive him. This could work. No one player can do this alone but I don’t think that will be an issue tonight.
Levels 6,7, and 8 fly by in blood and body parts. While not dispensing justice to the alien horde, my squad mates and I pillage weapons of the fallen from the battlefield. Level 10 and it’s time that I assert my authority.
“Form up!” I bellow. “Get to the safe zone, set up those shields, recon that ammo! Assholes and elbows people!”
Without question, they follow. Sheep. Deadly sheep with razor sharp teeth and wool that everyone is allergic to.
We set up base behind barricades that will protect us as things get more difficult. So far, this has been a cake walk to what can be expected. I know because I have been to level 29, long ago and far away and it still gives me nightmares. Tonight I will conquer those nightmares and send them back to the bowls of the abyss that they have come from.
Everyone has picked up the weapons that will define them throughout the game and I am pleased by the diversity that we have because we will need it. Virtuous KY has a “Boom Shot” which is a rocket launcher. Maximus360 is sporting a “mulcher” which is the equivalent of a 50 cal chain gun. Me, I go with a combination of a chainsaw machine gun and a sniper rifle giving me the advantage of dispensing death from distance.
Level 15 and we haven’t even broken stride. The alien horde has gotten tougher and are harder to bring down, but down they go. We remain untouched and unfazed. The moral of the squad is good.
Levels 16 thorough 20 are nothing short of epic that Homer himself would immortalize. Blood and gore rain down like confetti at a hero’s parade, which is exactly what this has turned into.
Level 21, 22 and 23 turn into a party of body parts as the alien horde loses limb after limb. On level 25 I show the usefulness of long range death. I line up a gruesome creature hiding behind a house 300 yards out. I hold my breath as I squeeze the trigger. Splat, the head explodes and before the body hits the ground I am lining up my next head shot.
One, two, three—they all go down without even taking a step. I give a war cry. Somewhere, deep in cyberspace, the alien horde hears it and is afraid. They can bleed and they know it.
Level 26 and we are in some trouble. The horde has sent “boomers” after us, despicable enemies that shoot rocket’s of their own. They are flanked by heavy gunners on both sides. We are being peppered with harassing fire from a sniper holed up across the street. One member of the squad goes down. Another member goes to help him but is cut down himself.
I throw a grandee half blind and rush over. I hear an explosion, smell the cordite, and make it to my group. I am their general and their savor. They are back in action. We lure the others in close and then let lose a volley that tells them “Yes, I am death! Come and know thy doom”. We are the only ones that walk out.
Level 29 and we are running low on ammo, beer, and pop tarts. At the beginning of the round a squad mate calls for a timeout to go pinch a loaf. Sorry son, there are no time outs. I suggest he move the TV to where he can see it from the bathroom or dig a latrine, either way, we are going past level 29.
I keep empty beer bottles next to me, just incase my own needs arise. War isn’t pretty.
Explosion after explosion trumpet our success as each enemy falls beneath our ferocity. It is a symphony of carnage and justice, sweet justice. Level 29 comes and goes, we are now in uncharted territory.
Levels 30 through 35 are a blur, mixed with splashes of blood red and burnt black. Level 37 is a close one as every member of the squad goes down sometime but someone is always there to pick him up. Never play Alien Horde without your gaming buddy, do you have your gaming buddy?
Level 38 and I continue to snip anyone who decides to stick a little bit of his brain out. Show me your face and I will cure all your ills.
Level 39 is a lesson on close combat given by your instructors--team Awesome Alpha Wolf Squadron Supercool. Chainsaws rev through body parts, big handled revolvers smash down on craniums, fists fly with deadly purpose.
Level 40. They are coming from everywhere now. Every shadow holds some monstrosity. Every corner hides evil intent. Our barriers are weakening. My squad starts to go down and it is taking longer and longer for us to get to them. Something bad is going to happen.
I hear a crunch and my digital character looks to the right. Our barrier has been breached and I see the still twitching body of a squad mate. He is being trampled by some beast with a mace. God speed my friend. If we make it past this level, we will see you on the other side.
I turn to confront the new threat when from behind me I hear a scream. Another squad mate goes down. Gun fire erupts from the end my justice dispenser and I vanquish one foe only to see another pop up in his place. I’m being backed into a corner and as I go I see a third squad mate getting ripped apart by bullets. There’s only two of us left now and that doesn’t last long.
He goes down in a hail of gunfire and takes at least a dozen with him. It’s a hero’s death but will anyone be left to sing his praises? It’s only me now. Me and the will to get to level 50.
It’s a collage of headshots and chainsaws that I conduct my orchestra of death. One by the corner gets a brains touched up, one by the sandbags gets ripped through the torso by gunfire, one that got to close gets a punch to the face followed by a chainsaw through the legs. Body parts start to coalesce around me, the spattering of my footsteps through their guts the only sound I can hear besides my own wild screams.
A poison grenade sails over my head and hits the back wall. I run to the left only to find another one coming in. I do my Captain Kirk roll forward trying to escape the toxic fumes. I am met by yet another grenade, and another, and another. Explosions tear though the fog that has become accented by the flashes of my barrel. It’s a light show guaranteed to send lesser individuals into epileptic shock.
I go down, sputtering and gasping my last curses—“You sonsabitches.”
I’m barely moving, my gaming thumbs just twitching mindlessly on their own. On screen my digital character—no, that’s not right—my digital patriot tries to crawl away from the certain death he and I face, but it’s no use and he knows it. He is able to get to my own grenade boobie trap that I had set incase things got to bad. They are bad now. 5 follow me and are met with shrapnel handshake, tearing them in two. But there are many more of them and I’m out of tricks.
They gather around us, 20 if it were 1, like Jodie Foster in the accused. We will fall short of our quest but we met our end with honor, dignity and a body count to rival any Swartzenager movie.
Tell the world………………………………..
……………….that we tried……………………………………………..