CBP9-Halloween2020

by Community


(316) views since November 2020


Released: 2020-10-24
Mode: SP, DM, COOP
Difficulty Settings: Yes
Featuring: 1.4+, EDuke32
Sound/music: Music
New Art: Yes
New Cons: No
Score: 91

Review by Aleks on 06 November 2020

Another Community Build Project hit us right for the Halloween this year and it is not a coincidental release date, although there are various specific themes in each Author's parts, they generally all share a sense of horror and bizarre feeling.

First thing to know, this map is huge, and I really mean it. The Authors aimed for making it feel like a single-map episode and they fully accomplished this job. It takes between 1-2 hours to complete not knowing the layout. The number of enemies you will encounter is also amongst the highest ever in a single map, reaching about 800 on Come Get Some. There are 19 secrets in total (although one of them, in StarCraftZerg's part, seems inaccessible).

The map is built around a central hub (Sixty Four's part) with 4 teleporters leading to the 4 chapters. Stylistically it feels like 90's medieval FPS, albeit with better and more detailed architecture present in here. Some nice use of verticality is also present, with secrets and power-ups hanging on various balconies. The horror ambience of this part is intensified as we proceed, by splashing sounds and moving "meat pillars". It is worth mentioning that the portals to other parts nicely blend in with the design and the connections between parts don't feel out of place, in spite of different themes. They can be visited at any order.

Blue teleporter will take us to StarCraftZerg's part, which is a deserted, alien-infested space station with strong stylistical link to "Alien" series and similar space horrors.
Design in this part has strong emphasis on detail, with very elaborate (and accessible) structures below the ceilings, well designed laboratory and some cute little details like a table lamp. Sense of location is amplified by a window with outer space and part of the station's exterior visible. The scale seems mostly correct, as the rooms don't feel too cramped, although there's one place where protector drones can get stuck from reaching you.
Moreover, there's a couple of misaligned floor textures (mostly noticeable on some of the beds in crew quarters), but that might be an effect of merging the parts together. Puzzles are quite typical button hunt with some non-linearity involved, but the Author made sure that this would not turn into frustrating search as the hints are very clear.

Behind the brown teleporter, we will find ck3D's part. An expert in city maps, this time he takes on an alien planet - which is refreshing - and he pretty much nails it. His style is still very much present here, with well-planned 2D layout, frequent use of palettes and creative applications of original tiles.
The interconnected layout is mostly centered around yellow lava lake with various cliffs and otherworldly plants to climb on and a single indoor location. Bold use of palettes (even with quite large portions with unusual glowing green palette 6) make for very original and colorful interpretation of an alien planet and - along with some serious platforming and heavy use of verticality - bring back instant associations with old-school sidescrollers (or a set of 1960's original series Star Trek episode).
This is also the longest part, which can alone take about 40 minutes to complete. Enemies are mostly troopers, commanders and octabrains, which renders the first part a bit tricky, as random plants will block the player's way on some narrow cliffs and dodging the projectiles might be difficult.
Furthermore, the enemies will sometimes stray off to the bottom of the lava lake where they will be difficult to spot due to palettes.
Other than that, there are some intense, but fair and balanced battles with hordes of enemies as the player progress throughout the part, which makes for a satisfying gaming experience. Worth noting is also the unusual choice of weapons we will be supplied here, which mostly consists of pipebombs, shrinker and expander. There are some ships "flying" around which bring more life to this world and an alien hangar with simple, but creative design.

Still Wanted's part can be found behind the grey teleporter. It will welcome us with grand scale dining room, which is turned in a way that one of its walls acts as a floor. This room makes for a tricky, albeit a bit tedious jumping puzzle, but along with another room - a funny small scale museum - winds the expectations quite high. The part is interconnected in many ways, but unfortunately doesn't manage to keep up to the originality and quality of these first 2 rooms.
There are some bizarre, but empty rooms, which might be a bit reminiscent of old Bob Masters' maps, but here they feel like rushed and a bit lazy fillers compared to other parts of the map. Use of textures and layout is sometimes a bit "too creative" (e.g. stairs in library).

The last chapter was made by JMW and is located behind the green portal. It is a large scaled temple/ruins with a stylish composition of grey, green and brown texture set, reminiscent of Author's other level, "Devil's Gate". It is the most straightforward part, with one quite unexpected intense battle in the middle. Following the Author's distinct style, it also has the most natural theme connection to the hub part. Grandness of the structures present in this part gives a feeling of ancient, long uninhabited place once populated with a race of giants.

After dealing with these four parts, there is a rather elaborate path leading to the final boss. It involves some more blood and gore horror themes and a grand scale hill climb inside a red rock formation. This part was also made by Still Wanted and he certainly made up for the filler rooms in his part with it, as the place is awe inspiring and makes for a neat and quite long platforming with surprisingly balanced fights on the way (which is tricky to arrange in such a vertical setting). It certainly is one of the more memorable moments in the map. Final boss battle is fought in quite a difficult area (partially due to some unnecessary cramping of the place with blocked sprite structures), which makes for a challenging final battle of a monster-sized level.

Conclusion: A long and challenging level with various themes and heavy dose of creativity. As with every community build project, this map had its highs and lows, but in the end manages to showcase unique styles of 5 very talented mappers and entertain with action-packed gameplay and very original design.

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