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Review of First Blood
"I still dont know what the fuck its supposed to be..."
First Blood is I believe one of those nefarious first-time maps by an author. Its a fitting name you could say, since whenever Im reviewing first-time maps, Im usually out for blood anyway. Haha I made a clever observational joke you see? But then again I just pointed it out with that last sentence anyway, therefore making myself a complete and utter jackass. Now that thats over with lets move on.
Initially, everything seemed to look pretty normal upon loading the map. Square rocks, a few platforms, some lights, and of course the requisite stack of crates. All looked to be good. But as I progressed out of that area, things started to make less and less sense. A forklift right outside of the Human base seems to have been stretched out to the length of a god damn 18 wheeler. Well ok I can live with that. Just some lackluster eyecandy that Im always used to looking at anyway. Entering into the main room however, I lost all sense of what the fuck was going on with the map. Some kind of giant collaboration of brushes thrown together to form a sort of...I dont know what. Mutant jungle gym sprang to mind, but you cant really mutate a fucking jungle gym since its not organic. Some slime textures would make my theory more believable but thankfully there were none to be found. A lot of the brushwork really sloppy as well, with a healthy dose of overlapping and clipping here and there.
I shrugged that off too, although noticing that some of the wall supports were basically giant arrows point to the ceiling kind of wierded me out. I progressed further until I came upon my first green dingleberry of delight. Id seen these things before in other maps, but these were special. They seem to defy gravity, and reproduce (or just copy/paste durr). It seems they had evolved to the point where they locked themselves in a trophy cabinet, so all could witness the glory that is the delightful green dingleberry. Yea I made it all up. They are just used as a basis for a light source really, but that doesnt help the fact that they are just sitting there in mid-air. Wrapping up the rest of my examination, the Alien base resulted in the most unappealing portion of the map. A few platforms and thats it really, nothing special.
Dispite the swing-and-a-miss in the visual department, a quick run through of First Blood reveals a pretty stable layout if you ask me. The point of conflict is usually the main hallway into the Alien base however. Humans immediately run and camp this hall because, dispite it being rather dark, its long and easy to camp for frags. There is another way into the Spider base, stemming off from the central arena, but both paths lead to the area in front of the doorways into the actual Alien base. An HT could honestly end it from outside the doorways just firing into the room really, but there are a couple spots to stack to for eggs, though it would be best for Aliens to forward out of there quickly lest they get locked in.
The Human base is a bit better off though, having a couple nice platforms immediately available for them to tuck away some teles. Plus the main area right outside their base is quite open, as mentioned before, and smart Engys will almost always begin forwarding from the beginning of the map to establish a foothold in this room. While the Human base also has two entrances into their base, they have the same deal as Aliens, in that the two entrances really lead to an area right before the doorways to their actual base. Still pretty vulnerable but like Aliens, forwarding will be a crucial factor. Some of the layout still seemed like it wasnt planned though, such as that second path into the Alien base; like it was a last minute decision.
As mentioned before, I have no fucking idea what the map is supposed to be really. Obviously a facility of some kind, but the combination of the structure in the middile of the map and the floating green turdbits makes me second-guess myself. Regarding r_speeds however, everything runs rather smooth. There arent that many brushes composing the map really, but the large room can reach up to 900 or 1000 rspeeds depending where you look. The rest of the map fluctuates between 300 to 600 rspeed respectively, with a couple spikes to 800 here and there, which isnt bad at all.
Wrapping up, its a decent first effort, in terms of playability at least. The visuals made me sad in the pants, and I am continually dumbfounded as to what exactly the fuck the map is supposed to be. Brush up on texture alignments, as well as brushwork. Seem to have a grasp on proper light placement, but sharp contrasts from light to dark just creates artificial chokepoints really. Not shabby, but far from deserving.
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Comment: While there is decent ammount of texture variation at work in this map, only a bit of it seems to blend together. Pick a texture, any texture. The Alien base is really neutral and depressing, even with the fantasy-globe green lights.
Comment: The layout isnt exactly all that bad if you ask me. Its a nice, solid layout, albeit a tad small in scale. Also rather open, so lots of breathing room for Humans. Aliens have a tough time on this map from what Ive seen.
Comment: Pretty generic base really. I dont know what the fuck that big thing in the middle of the map is, but it appears to be the focal point. Similarly, the single cube Im giving this map for this category is the focal point of rating the creativity for it as well. Figure that one out.
Comment: Its actually quite playable, and the visuals shouldnt really be a factor in whether or not you enjoy it. However Im not going to deny that it looks terrible.
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