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

site designed by Mr_Hangman










Anyone down for some hot tubbing? Gorgeous! YIPES! They found us!

Map Name: Plateau
Author: Peter Manson
Review Date: 26/4/2001

reviewed by b-nutz

Every year or so a new mapper arrives on the scene and completely changes everyone's view of what a deathmatch level is. In 1999, Gustavo arrived to grace us with 20+ levels of pure genius. In 2000, Apocalypso has proven that he can match Gustavo's skills and provide a little bit of variety with each map. Ladies and Gents, I believe (yes, I'm jumping the gun here) the mapper of 2001 has arrived and his name is Peter Manson. (Now I realize that he's been on the Half-Life deathmatch scene for quite awhile, since his 1999 release, "Ender's Game" to be exact. However, his latest maps seem to be quite a step above his first few and I might also add that he's spitting them out at an alarming rate.)

One of his two latest efforts, Plateau, is a prime example of a flawless level. I really tried my hardest to tear it up and pick out some flaws, but alas, there wasn't anything that I could find worth mentioning.

The level itself resembles what seems to be a grand lodge high up on a plateau, cradling a river. The buildings surrounding the water are well constructed and may I add that the level sticks with the same theme throughout, while at the same time adding some mysterious elements, too. The map flows from a large courtyard area with a couple of nice sniping roosts to a small courtyard towards the back with a quaint little water well and a climbable windmill. On the other side of the larger building is where the river resides. There's a large, slowly turning waterwheel churning the river and the water itself flows off the edge of the mountain where you can end up too, if careless. Towards the back of one of the smaller buildings you will find some large stone walls that lead back to a smaller area containing a UFO floating above the area that is shining a beam towards the ground. Inside the buildings themselves, you will find several rooms, each containing an item or two, with a very promising layout for some nice close-quarter battles.

This brings me to the fancier elements of the map. Step into the UFO's beam, and you are instantaneously transported to a very odd room, a la Dr. Who or some wacko Stanley Kubrick flic (RIP), that contains a G-man and in the center you will find a jumppack. The exit or exits, I should say, are very unique and animated very nicely. Upon closer examination of one of the walls leading into the area containing the UFO, you may notice a stone skull. Press it and one of the most impressive "warp gates" that I have ever seen appears, and it takes you to a ledge in another area of the map. Upon even further inspection I found an identical "warpgate" in another location. Peter has also made good use of animated models, using cyclers. You will find a flock of what looks like flying manta rays above one area, some chubby leeches in the well, and various plantlife sprinkled throughout the map. These things give what is already a superb level some extra liveliness. It's a breath of fresh air if you ask me.

Mr. Manson's use of textures and lighting is very nice, as well. It resembles a Counter-Strike level like "Dust" or "Aztec" with it's large chunky bricks, dusty concrete and wooden trim. I especially liked the way he used both a scrolling and a churning water texture on two seperate water brushes to create a more convincing flow of water.

Weapon and item placement is good and fairly logical. However, I think that there could have been a few more guns floating around. Boy, I love those things!

The r_speeds stick around a whopping 450 w_poly in the outside areas, which, without my sarcasm, is perfect. Indoors, the count remained well under 250. The r_speeds did jump a bit in some areas, but nothing worth crying about.

In conclusion, this is one of the prettiest, yet highly playable DM levels that I have yet seen. It's absolutely gorgeous! I really tried to find a minor brush error or bad texture alignment or anything that I could pick on. Man, was I in for a surprise.