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

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Map Name: Spasm
Author: Casey 'Warpig' Hawley
Review Date: 6/5/2001

reviewed by b-nutz

Generally speaking, very few maps are released and cause waves throughout the mapping community, and most are lackluster attempts at mimicking levels that have been somewhat successful and show very little creativity. Spasm, by Casey 'Warpig' Hawley, seems to 'almost' fall into the latter category while at the same time displaying some level creating talent.

The level itself appears to be a mixture of three different themes. There's some sub-level cave areas, some 'greek' looking areas, as well as your typical Half-Life 'industrial' complex setting. While the level flows fairly nice, almost reminscent of an old school Quake or Half-Life level (*cough* Snarkpit *cough*), the 'greek' looking areas almost ruin the flow. There's too much of a contrast between a rough, 'industrial' setting and a sunny, 'greek' style courtyard with crawling vines. The 'industrial' areas of Spasm are laid out very nicely with a central courtyard area overlooked by surrounding stories or levels, providing many areas to shoot and/or be shot from. I think the cave flows very nicely from the 'industrial' setting as well. Exploring the level, you will stumble upon a room with a shallow body of water, a control room, and a gluon on the ledge. Upon investigation of the control room, you will find a button and upon pressing this button, the path up to the gluon becomes apparent. Brilliance.

While the structures are quite simple, the texturing seems to have been done with great care. They are aligned nicely and appropriate, in most instances, for the layout of the level. The lighting is done well, too. However, it is a little too dark in some of the cave area. The author has made excellent use of lighted textures and the light_environment entity.

I feel that this level could have used a bit more ambience. Sounds, in my opinion, are just as important as lighting or structure design. While the author used a few sounds, like a desert wind and a squeaking snark sound, most of the level seems very silent. I think a few more dripping sounds in the caves and some sort of generator noise would have 'brightened' this map up greatly. Again this is just a bit of my two cents.

R_speeds could be a possible problem for some of our slower PCs, but this is not the fault of the author. While not incredibly high, the r_speeds did briefly jump over 900 in a couple of areas. Again, this shouldn't cause any problems, but should be kept in mind. Another thing that I found is a brush (in the 'greek' fountain) that seems to be tied to a func_door entity. Upon touching, it moves outwards and looks very odd.

This level should play very nicely with alot of people. I think that it could easily handle 15 people and should be a blast. There appears to be plenty of weapons and ammo to go around. I can't help but be reminded of a certain, older Half-Life level (*cough* Snarkpit *cough*), which certainly isn't a bad thing. I just can't place what it is... (*cough* Snarkpit *cough*).