VeNgEaNcE's House Of Horrors
single player and deathmatch level reviews for half-life

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Lantastic 2

With the current lack of new maps being released in the community, I've decided to browse through my hard drive and review some older maps. Lantastic 2, as the title suggests is a small lan sized deathmatch level meant for 1on1 and 2on2 matches. However from playing this map, tommyd makes it apparent that size doesn't matter.

You only have to look at this map to realize that you're on to something special. Texturing is excellent, there were no misaligned textures that I could see. The texturing is well varied and well executed. Each area has its own texture scheme, making it easy to tell where you are. Contrast between areas is excellent considering how different a lot of the areas appear. Lighting is nothing short of fantastic. Like the texturing, its varied and intereasting to look at. Lens flares are used in areas, but thankfully not overused. Light is emitted from many different sources, not just the ususal light fixtures we expect to see. Coloured lighting is subtle and used sensibly, adding to the atmosphere of the map. Every area of the level is well lit, I could not find a single area that was overly bright or overly dark.

The architecture in this level is outstanding. The map has a very curved feel to it, making it much more intereasting to look at. The use of things such as pipes, gratings and power cables helps the level seem more like a real place. The use of curved roofs, walls and entrances makes the map look much more appealing to the eye.

The problem with many nice looking maps is that they fall down when it comes to speed. With Lantastic 2, this is not so. The r_speeds are around 200 in corridors, 300-400 in main areas, rarely going over 400. Thanks to this, the action is never slowed down. The map is very well connected, with most areas having several entrances. The design of the level (such as the wide, curvy corridors) and the excellent weapon placement greatly helps flow. Ammo is well spread out and is never seen packed up next to the weapon its used for. This means that the player has to keep going and keeps the campers away. All respawn points are never far away from fairly decent weapons keeping the games even. The level makes good use of risk incentive through its traps. A slime pit guards the RPG and to get to the gauss you have to make a leap of faith over a deadly laser beam. Use of medikits and energy pickups keep fights lasting longer, making for some intense matches. Thankfully some weapons have been omitted, the hornetgun and egon (the weapons regarded by HL players as the most unskilled).

The quality of this map is also increased through one or two little extras. Ambient sounds are used in places, which help create more of an atmosphere. When you enter the map or get fragged, little messages such as "free your mind" and "you just bought it" show up on the HUD. This is somewhat of a gimmick, but its nice to see the authors putting in a bit of extra effort.

Lantastic 2 is an outstanding piece of deathmatch level design. It excels in every area and I find it near impossible to see a flaw with this map. The only thing I think could've made it better would be a few more ambient sounds. Lets hope mappers will look up this kind of map for inspiration and start making better maps. VeNgEaNcE