Map Review of borg-cube

Map review of Borg Cube

by dunkelschwamm | December 30, 2021 | 4300 characters

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Borg Cube is a two-map walkthrough set fraught with action, adventure, traps, and switch puzzles. It plays fast and loose with the themes in fun and silly ways, letting you know right off the bat with the presence of xenomorphs that this map does not take the lore seriously.

That's not to say Borg Cube isn't made with care, though. Each environment is crafted into a unique feel unlike what is typical of Half-Life mods. I love the outdoor environments and techno-nonsense throughout. It's a feast for the eyes most of the time, when you aren't just scouring mazes of industrial corridors. Such mazes are an unfortunate aspect of these maps, but things thankfully move along at a steady pace most of the time.

One aspect of the map that will take some getting used to is the borg themselves. They take tons of hits to kill, have a devastating reach with their melee attack, and swamp the players in sheer numbers. Early on this can result in players dumping ammo into the borg from a safe distance while waiting for them to perish. It's slow goings at first, but it does help if the players learn to be a bit more aggressive with their phasers and crowbars. Also, it helps later when the players get some HEV going and can really throw themselves into battle against the borg. By the end of the set you really do get a good handle on battling them, and they seem far less threatening than before.

Throughout the map there are setpieces with varying degrees of successful execution. An early setpiece is a conveyor lift of some sort which moves slowly across obstacles and into a borg ambush. Since it's early on and the players aren't supplied with HEV, it's likely that the borg ambush will successfully grind players a few times. Waiting for that elevator to come back around and then riding it down is a pain in the ass. Thankfully, there's a shortcut teleporter not far from this section, but given the amount of borg between the lift and the teleporter it's perhaps a bit too far still.

Conversely, there's a later setpiece in the form of a laser hallway that is perhaps the best I've seen executed in any first person game I've played. Usually laser hallways are horrible, frustrating things to play. However, this one read clearly enough while still conveying the tension that it may graze and obliterate the players. Excellently done.

The final boss has a lot of interesting ideas, and reminds me simultaneously of the Area 51 battle in Deus Ex and the Mother Demon battle in Doom 64, with respawning monster closets which need to be closed with consoles, and a central boss to be battled. It's actually a pretty decent battle, and though it took us a moment to realize what we were meant to do, we had a lot of fun playing it.

I feel like as the map goes on it just gets better. It starts slow and frustrating, but as checkpoints become more frequent, HEV becomes plentiful, and some ammo refill locations start popping up the map really catches its stride.

There's some co-op button puzzles toward the end of the second map which are not signposted well and we got stuck looking around. In hindsight they feel kind of obvious, but even when we were attempting the correct actions we couldn't tell that it was working sometimes and would begin trying different things. Generally if you correctly guess a puzzle's solution the feedback should be immediate or somebody may learn that the solution is not a solution, which will make it far harder for them to ever consider it again.

Anyway, it's a very good mapset. If you are playing with friends or run an action server I recommend giving Borg Cube a go.


  • Looks great
  • Fun enemies are fun to master fighting
  • Neat setpieces
  • Good length
  • After some early stumbling the map does well at resupplying the player and giving checkpoints
  • Neat final boss


  • The pacing is pretty bad at first
  • Some switch puzzle stuff is kind of lamely implemented
  • Sometimes the sheer number of borg for how much ammo is given is unreasonable
Score: 7.8 / 10
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