Map Review of svencoop-1

Map review of Svencoop 1

by GrandmasterJ | February 5, 2022 | 4349 characters

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I've reviewed quite a few maps on this site, for my 100th map I decided I wanted to try out the original map, the eponymous svencoop1. Don't actually fact check if this review is my 100th, just take my word for it. I didn't quite know what to expect.

To get straight to the point, overall, its good but not amazing. But I'm playing this in 2022, more than 20 years after its release, well past the point where talented mappers have flooded the market with high quality maps. That other review written by Big Meat Trio mentions playing this map right after getting Sven. It goes without saying, but I'm going to say it here, this map WAS Sven in the early days. This map isn't about quality, its about what we could do with Sven Co-op. This map set the bar as the first map ever made for Sven Co-op and I personally think it set that bar pretty high.

The level design evokes Black Mesa well. Despite some weird hallways (one of which ended in a soda machine) the architecture, scale, and textures all felt good. But sometimes the rooms feel like there is no thematic connection between them, just a series of random rooms. But it set the bar for a lot of what mappers would do in the future, what mappers should do in the future. For instance, there is a good shortcut that opens up a shorter path to get to the front line, then opens up again a little while later for an even shorter shortcut. There are some doors and puzzles which need two people to complete, but at the same time these things are executed imperfectly. At one point there was a puzzle where players were in dark tight area with a baby garg and there were two wheels players had to hold use on to spin. These wheels lowered nearby platforms to reveal retina scanners that we then had to run into and activate at the same time, We killed the baby garg before attempting to do this, but halfway through another one showed up. Even after we activate the scanners a countdown started and our only escape was an elevator. We pressed the button and waited for the elevator but the countdown hit zero, we died, and lava came out of the ground. I wasn't into this sequence, turning the wheels was annoying, the garg respawned when we were almost done, the escape path was dependent on an elevator.

The map has a scene with dialogue with an alien named Tor, this is before Tor became a new NPC in Sven Co-op, this Tor is a friendly Alien Grunt. The map starts off with him talking to you, then he runs off to eat chumtoads and players pick up weapons and go to the map proper. We see Tor again in svencoop2 in even more elaborate scenes.

The map is balanced towards two people. All the puzzles are made for two people, there is just enough ammo for two people, and there are two HEV chargers at the beginning of the map. This is interesting to think about because I remember a lot of early Sven maps being balanced towards having a lot of people on a map. It's interesting to play the first Sven map ever and see that it didn't start that precedent. It works very well with two players.

I'm doing this review differently than how I usually do them, because this map is different than other maps. It's the George Washington of Sven maps, he may not be the greatest president but he set a really good tone for how future presidents should act. The map is fairly short too, there is no reason not to try it out and get a taste of the purest Sven Co-op. When the map ends it transitions straight to svencoop2. The second map is losable, and I have just lost. I want to review it separately since it has its own page on scmapdb, so I guess I'll review it at review number 200.

Pros:

  • Good looking architecture and textures, felt reminiscent of actual Half-Life levels
  • nice shortcut that cuts down on travel time
  • HEV chargers scattered throughout the level
  • fun cutscene with Tor, good example of what can be done with storytelling

Cons:

  • The turn wheel puzzle with the baby gargs was annoying and off putting
  • the ideas introduced in this map have been improved upon by many other maps.
Score: 7.5 / 10
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