Map Review of adam-s-dungeon

by dunkelschwamm | January 28, 2022 | 5941 characters

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Adam's Dungeon is a maze map fraught with traps, monsters, and silly platforming bits that are far more aggravating than they need to be.

When first spawning in Adam's Dungeon, you must break into the dungeon proper by breaking down a wall with a crowbar. Once inside, you move through the dungeon and accept that trial-and-error deaths in traps will be part of your experience.

Tunnels throughout the maze contain utterly unmarked deathtraps which are sure-fire murder to whomever triggers them. I think this is the type of thing that's a lot more fun with lots of players, where there's a lot more likelihood that you'll be watching players fall into traps and groups will accidentally get splattered together in the same triggered trap. With fewer players, it's really just trial-and-error and feels like the map is just trolling. These traps also reset after the kill, so you really have to remember the layout of the mostly samey-looking maze to remember which halls will just straight up murder you if you step into them. These traps are each fun and different to look at, so at least there's that.

While you traverse the map you'll find that you're often facing enemies which force the player to retreat and dominate corners. Namely, this is the gonome and the pit drone. With two players they weren't overly difficult, though there were some areas where we had to respawn several times just to get the manpower to gradually overwhelm how many gonomes were coming at us at once. Overall I'd say the combat was fine, mostly helped by a punchy weapon selection and lots of ammo.

There is a "puzzle" element to this map, though it's usually just a couple switches the players need to press to open some doors, or a key that's hidden (spoiler) in a breakable part of the floor in part of the maze.

The platforming in this map was frustrating. There are three points that I would consider platforming sections: the first was a trap where the ground lowers into lava that you need to jump over. Because you can't see where the area you need to jump over is until you've triggered the trap, it's hard to gauge where you need to start your jump and where you need to land. You can orient yourself using a nearby corner, but jumping around that corner can prove to be a challenge in itself for some players. The second platforming challenge involves very narrow platforms over a big green goop pit. The platforming course was medium in length, but was treacherous, a single fall means starting over (or respawning if the goo kills you before you climb out), and there are blocks which pop out of the walls and ceiling to push you into the green goo on an extremely spaced out timer which makes them hard to predict. The third was an invisible narrow maze-shaped brush over lava which was slippery and had slowly pulsing visibility, meaning it was mostly invisible during the challenge. You also constantly took damage in the room because of the lava. I didn't feel that any of these parts were any fun to play, though the idea behind the last one was interesting. It's all mostly frustrating and I spent more time getting back to them after respawning than I did attempting to best the challenges themselves.

There's a garg boss battle before the third platforming challenge which was a nice change of pace. You fight him in a large arena which supplies RPGs and ammo to deal damage. Once you get to this point, the game will begin respawning you in this chamber. This is a pain in the ass because it's very easy to access two teleports from the original spawn by that point, and spawning in the room with the garg is far away from stuff you'll need to traverse after the garg is dead. It was really clunky and I didn't like it.

The map looks just fine. I think that it pulls off this sort of Mesopotamian/Mayan look off which works. I think a lot of the hallways are a bit samey looking, which is the nature of a maze, but I guess I just don't like mazes for that reason. The initial spawn area is a very fun outdoors area done differently from how I feel I usually Goldsrc outdoor areas. The sound design does leave something to be desired, though, with the screams of the damned sound effect from On A Rail playing constantly. There's also a cute reward end room, which I think more maps should have rather than an immediate smash cut to the scoreboard and loading the next map. A little reward is appreciated.

For the most part, the map is a fun excursion broken up by some huge low points. If you're looking for a good map to play with a friend and you both like mazes, this one will do just fine. I recommend playing with maybe a few more players, though. If you have a server, this map works and is very well optimized for use in a server (even including a way to initiate the end of the map after the end, instead of instantly ending it). I think it's a very decent map, despite it doing many things which go against my own tastes.

Pros:

  • The map looks pretty good.
  • I like how it unfolds a lot over the course of the map
  • Some of the traps are fun ideas that are fun to look at
  • The garg fight was a nice change of pace
  • The prize room is cute and fun

Cons:

  • The platforming bits are a slog and often feel just frustrating due to how they're designed
  • It gets annoying navigating a maze where you can see so many faster ways to travel but have to remind yourself that they'll kill you
  • There are some ladder portions of this map which are entirely too easy to fall down and take damage because of how they're designed
  • The spawnpoint that opens up during the garg ruins the flow of the level from that point onward
Score: 6.7 / 10
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