Killing Floor is a co-op first person shooter played on maps that range from disturbingly normal, like the farm that seems fine until you start encountering dead cows and other animals, to apocalyptic city scenes where you climb into half-destroyed hospitals to escape or eliminate your enemies. A trader, who stays locked behind a steel gate and switches locations on the map with every wave keeps you and your squad in weapons, armor and ammo, though Killing Floor also leaves limited ammo supplies and a few random weapons lying about on the map for you to find. The trader is your only resource between waves, so it’s best to head right for her location when the wave starts. A red arrow points you in her direction and a distance counter tells you how far or near you are to her.
July 5th to the 23rd is Summer Sideshow season, where the twisted minds at Tripwire Interactive present a new map for Killing Floor’s Abusement Park setting. Come one, come all and try your bravery out on the Hellride. Your squad (or just you, if you’re in solo mode) is trapped inside the ride, and waves of hideous mutated creatures stand between you and freedom. The only way to escape The Killing Floor is to take out every mutated horror standing in your way.
To accomplish that, Killing Floor provides a huge number of weapons, each having a tie to a particular role in the game. There are sharpshooter weapons and explosives experts weapons and so on. This doesn’t prevent a player from picking up a weapon that’s not of their chosen Perk, it just means that you gain the experience from killing the mutants in the Perk for that weapon. Ammo isn’t exactly scarce on most maps, but Killing Floor does reward those who take conservative approach to mowing down their enemies. I, however, am not that kind of killer; every mutie must die in a hail of bullets. The penalty for running out of ammo in a particular magazine is of course the reload time. It’s not even much, maybe one to three seconds, but when mutants and freaks are swarming all over you and tearing at your life points, it can seem much longer.
And what about those enemies? Killing Floor serves up a variety of hellish freaks for you and your squad to mow down. During the Summer Sideshow Event, the regular Killing Floor zeds are replaced with carnival types, from pinheaded midgets who say lovely things like “knife goes in guts come out” and chainsaw-wielding, monkey men to bloated, acidic puke-spraying clowns and flame shooting robots that look like bastard children of the Tin Man. The final wave of each Killing Floor game is a boss-monster, during the Summer Sideshow, that’s the carnival version of the Patriarch, the Ringmaster. He’s tough enough to be the map’s only monster, but that’s just too easy for the Killing Floor. Mutants also come out to tear you a new one, though not so many that you can’t finish them off and fight the boss too.
Killing Floor’s at its best in co-op mode, where your squad can help you out if you get overrun or trapped against a wall, but for pure survival horror you can’t beat solo play. The maps are big, and the lonely feeling of waiting for the first mutant to appear is pretty cool. Sometimes it takes them a little bit to find you, especially if you head for the trader right off, and listening for their approach amps up the tension you already feel from knowing they’re coming to rend the skin from your bones.
The Hellride map is a great addition to the Abusement Park set. If you move fast enough, the relatively open nature of the ride will work to your advantage, as enemies will come at you in a line and are pretty easy to handle. There are bridges going over the track space where the cars for the Hellride would be if it was still working and not full of mutants and freaks, which offers a nice offensive advantage during co-op play. However, it can also be a tough one to play because the trader is often hidden in the bowels of the side tunnels, and the narrow confines favor the freaks because you can’t move fast enough to keep them from catching up to you.
The visual presentation of the Killing Floor is excellent if a little static, because the environment never suffers any damage from the barrages of bullets or grenades exploding all over the place. I like more destructible surroundings, though there are places where you can shoot out the windows, which is always a lot of fun.
The Summer Sideshow only lasts till July 23rd, so if you’ve got a fear of clowns or other circus performers, now’s the perfect time to grab some weapons and do a little carnival immersion therapy.