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| Chapter 4|
|Cold Stream Chapter Chronology|
Cut-throat Creek is the final chapter in the Cold Stream campaign which was released as a DLC in March 2011 in beta format.
This chapter is best thought of as a single continuous finale similar in concept to The Bridge from The Parish. For this reason a fast-firing and hard hitting Tier 2 weapon like an auto shotgun or AK-47, backed up with a melee weapon or Dual Pistols are strongly recommended. Laser sights are also extremely useful.
On leaving the safe room, the Survivors find themselves in a fenced woodland area with a storage building to the left. The storage room contains various Tier 2 weapons and grenades. In order to continue Survivors use a radio in the storage building to call for help. They must then activate a large hangar door which triggers a never-ending Horde. From this point on they must fight their way against the pressure of these enemies to a rescue helicopter hovering over a forest recreation facility once occupied, but not abandoned, by CEDA.
Exiting the storage building, players follow an arrow sign nailed up on a tree. All this while, a steady stream of Infected will be flowing in on attack mode. At this point a good melee weapon (e.g. Katana, Axe, Cricket Bat) is very useful in the hands of the team member taking point to clear the path.
Pushing forward, Survivors reach the lip of a steep-sided canyon (note that a Chainsaw may spawn close to this location) containing a fast-flowing stream with an unending Horde of Common Infected, interspersed with Special Infected jumping down from the bluffs on both sides. After dropping down into Cut-throat Creek, Survivors press on, fighting all the way (a good tactic is to slow down to tackle a mob of enemies and to move forward in quick bounds during the momentary pauses between their attacks).
A waterfall is soon reached which players must jump to the creek below. There is no risk of injury.
At the waterfall's base is a sunken boat containing an ammo pile. Additional supplies and Tier 2 weapons will be found in the water nearby.
Immediately after jumping off into the creek the action kicks up a notch. A Tank spawns almost directly in front of the Survivors. (Sharp-eyed individuals will spot the rescue helicopter passing overhead about now.) Once the Tank has been dispatched, players may either choose to take a brief side trip up the canyon wall on the right, to access top-up supplies or follow the direct route to safety by pressing onwards towards a cliff with a river tunnel at its base.
After hopping over a fallen tree trunk, players move down the river tunnel in the face of a dense on-coming Horde. While the initial wave is easily defeated in the tunnel chokepoint, this is merely the start of a more-or-less unbroken chain of Infected that extends from the tunnel and up a short staircase to the open air above.
At the end of the tunnel is an ammo pile and a supply of grenades. Players should restock and heal at this point because the finale really kicks up a notch from here.
It is essential that all players stick together and fight as a unit to avoid (for example) losing a team member to a Smoker who can spawn at the rear and drag a player all the way back to the tunnel entrance. Once ready, players fight their way up the staircase to the surface. (A good idea is to have a player take point, equipped with a fast, long-reach weapon like a Katana.) Be aware that a team can quickly be divided by a Spitter's attack: don't hesitate, run through the acid because time is not on your side.
On reaching the surface, the Survivors find themselves in a forestry technical service depot that was taken over by CEDA as a processing facility. The chapter designer has configured this area in a way that is reminiscent of the Gauntlet Maze encountered at a similar facility in chapter two of The Parish campaign in Left 4 Dead 2.
On exiting the stairway, a glass-walled office building contains an ammo pile and weapons. However due to the thick Horde, visiting this supply is really only necessary if stocks are running very low. As this is a gauntlet run, time is of the essence and it is probably better to press on hard and gain ground towards the chopper evac point.
Hovering over a central, sharply rectangular concrete tower (which takes a clever visual cue from the Saigon American Embassy 1975 evacuation during the Fall of Saigon) is the News Chopper rescue helicopter. A pilot voice-over will be heard telling the Survivors to get aboard; this instruction amps up player tension and helps guide players through the maze. This also signals the start of the Grand Finale. To survive, players must charge hard through a maze and climb the tower to enter the chopper: all in the face of strong opposition.
Players follow obvious visual cues until they reach an ammo pile and (sometimes) a first-aid kit. Since the finale kicks into high gear at this point, it is a good idea to restock quickly. Entering a maze formed by the usual CEDA blockades, players run head-on into yet another Horde. This threat can either be dealt to by throwing a Bile Jar or Pipe Bomb or by beating them down in the usual ways. (If a Bile Jar is deployed, it may be best not to waste time trying to kill them but to sprint past the throng and gain valuable ground. Alternatively it can be useful to save any throwables for the very final phase of the escape when players are closely mobbed at the ladder up the tower.)
A short zig-zag course brings the team out into an open area containing the tower and rescue helicopter hovering above. Infected will be swarming into this space from all points of the compass and a Tank will also join the party. A Pipe Bomb or Bile Jar diversion can be decisive in terms of successfully completing the chapter. Players have only a short way to go and should waste no time other than to toss any final grenades as a diversion, pop pills or take some Adrenaline and get over to the tower stairway. This is a dangerous moment since any team member who is limping behind in a red-line, health impaired condition or who gets punched by the Tank or immobilised by a Special Infected is pretty much doomed. Oftentimes, a quick and ruthless decision must be made as to whether it is possible to go back and help.
Players climb the tower using a set of metal rungs set into its wall. On arriving at the top and after providing any necessary covering fire to trailing team members, surviving players make a final climb up a ladder dangling from the hovering helicopter to reach safety. Once the last Survivor is aboard, the closing cut scene rolls.
Many aspects of the map were altered or removed for the July 6th update of Cold Stream.
- Originally, a cutscene rolled when the radio was answered at the start of the map which showed a military helicopter responding to the call but subsequently crashing into a forest en route.
- In the original finale players had to run through a burning forest to a second rescue chopper past the first downed helicopter. This scenario's design was substantially revised to feature the entirely different, more creative, and challenging gameplay experience outlined in the section above.
- The original finale required players to crouch in order to enter the helicopter.
- The prototype finale would still end even if only one player entered the helicopter and all other players were either incapacitated or dead.
- As compared to the prototype, fewer resources such as health supplies, Bile Jars and Pipe Bombs are spawned in the July 2011 map update. As if to compensate, the number of Special Infected was substantially reduced.