Map Review of arctic-incident

by GrandmasterJ | June 5, 2022 | 4481 characters

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There is an incident in the arctic, strange arctic creatures have invaded an arctic scientific research base, the arctic military is there to kill both the arctic creatures and the arctic scientists, and you have to escape. It's arctic Black Mesa. This two map set is a conversion of a mod by the same name, so it definitely sits on the easy side even if my teammate and I did die a couple of times each. Despite being a conversion of a single player experience, the converters did take the time to add checkpoints (this is doubly impressive since the map has survival mode on, we turned it off and the map still had checkpoints).

The map starts off with a nice cutscene of some white HEV guys drilling into the rock. They open a hole and aliens reskinned to also be white come through and kill everybody. It cuts to some soldiers riding in to not save the day before finally giving players free reign in some room.

It's a little hard to remember exactly what happens because a lot of the rooms look very similar to each other and all the doors are the same too. Things blend together. The map does have new textures but everything here screams 'White Mesa' to me. The White aliens can blend into the background, it makes for very effective camouflage. There is one concrete texture with a very noticeable black line on it, this texture gets reused so I began noticing that line a lot. There was one room where the floor and ceiling was that texture and the lines were directly in line with each other. It's a small detail but it stuck out and I noticed that line everywhere it appeared. There were new weapons complete with working iron sights and new sound effects. I think a lot of the custom white-tinted Half-Life assets got old for me but those new weapons did not.

At a certain point an Osprey flies by and explodes. This map has some good set pieces and scripted sequences. The opening cutscene, the downed Osprey, and later we find the Osprey itself and can jump all over it's slowly spinning propeller. There are also a lot of rooms with vaulted glass ceilings that look real nice. I kept thinking I could jump up there but there are invisible clip brushes blocking the way. The textures may be flat, but the architecture looks real nice and combined with the scripted sequences the map can pull off some cool visuals. There were several areas where snow was falling from above and it looked great. There were even bodies buried in snow drifts and some enemies rose out of snow piles to surprise us.

The gameplay was broken up into key hunts and light combat sections that was fairly easy for two people. There was a lot of health, HEV, and ammo scattered around. The map was not meant to have respawning supplies so my teammate and I were well stocked for the majority of the playthrough. Key hunts usually involved finding a switch, key, or explosive that would open up the next path forward. There was a lot of that happening, and it was ok I guess. Most of the time we were looking for actual keys, but once or twice we blew something up.

I came in with high hopes for this map. The map looks great even if the texturing is flat at times and the gameplay and visuals can repeat and become tired. There are really nice details that make the map pop like the cutscenes, architecture (those ceilings were nice), snow details, falling snow, fun explosive sequence, and Osprey. The checkpoints updated regularly, we didn't die much so I don't know how many times the spawn updated, but whenever we did manage to die we were always happily surprised by how close we were to the action. It's not the best made map set, but it is very solid.


  • Updating spawn points, even with survival mode on by default
  • plenty of health and HEV
  • plenty of ammo
  • fun cutscenes and scripted sequences
  • there were a lot of sections in the map with really nice brushwork and details, the Osprey for example
  • new weapons and reskinned enemies


  • bad texturing in places plus uninspired map design makes certain areas looks worse than others
  • I do appreciate the new aesthetic, but it's just white Black Mesa, aliens are just white
  • more than two people will trivialize the combat.
Score: 8.5 / 10
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