Map Review of assault-on-black-mesa-2

by GrandmasterJ | July 7, 2022 | 7913 characters

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Assault on Black Mesa 2 (apparently there never was a 1) is an old school Sven map from back in the 2.0 days that definitely plays like an old school map. It also has the problem that plagued many older maps with respawning players walking long distances back to where all the action is happening.

The map set has two maps in it. The first map puts players in a canyon with a truck trailer behind the players and some ammo and green military crates. There are teleporters in the truck trailer and weapons do spawn in the crates as the map progresses. These are good features that show the mapper cares about players, but unfortunately fall short to address some issues with the map.

Players start off going down long canyons. One such canyon at the beginning dumped snarks on us and we died fairly soon after. The next canyon had us floating in water between the sides, raised to high to swim onto and dotted with turrets. Getting past the turrets requires swimming to one end of the canyon where the bank dips down, then going through an obstacle course covered with turrets. At the end is a tall ladder that goes to a bridge spanning the width of the canyon. There are a ton of guys up here and popping your head up from the ladder is a sure way to die really fast. This is the part of the map where I started wishing for a teleport or a shortcut. On the far side of the bridge is the next area and players can find some supplies there, completing it opens the other end of the bridge and reveals a revolver on the ground. Past a few more hallways we finally get our first teleporter, inside a nondescript crate that looks like all the others, my teammate shot it on a whim and revealed the teleporter. I was so happy to see it.

Before unlocking that teleport I was dying pretty often and had to run the entire length of two long hallways and climb up a long ladder every time. I was very sick of the trip. After the teleport unlocked it put me past the revolver and some HEV. The teleport exit didn't have a revolver or HEV and neither does spawn. The teleport put me past a weapon and other good stuff. My teammate consistently decided it was worth going out of his way to collect these things each time, taking him even longer. I like that there are teleporters and supplies, but I wish they were designed so that it didn't make players choose between taking a long time to get ready and being underequipped.

There is one part of the first map that I remember was particularly bad. Players had to fall down water into actual swimmable water that is full of ichthyosaurs and a valve. You do not have to hold down use on the valve to turn it like I initially thought, hit it once and it will start. There is a delay, so you just have to weather being bitten by the ichthyosaurs. I died many times here, and with how long it took to get someplace fully equipped meant every ignoble, helpless death was more frustrating than the last.

There was a point where we missed the button for the second teleporter, hidden under a big desk with two monitors showing static. We actually triggered the third teleport before the second one, which was confusing because it looked like nothing happened at first. Then I noclipped around because I didn't like collecting all my stuff again after death and wanted to find the second teleporter. It turns out the third teleport is at the destination of the second teleport, so if you miss the second one like we did the third won't help you at all. The second teleport puts us in a room we can't get to otherwise, and it opens up a shortcut for us. The third teleport sticks players into a small secret compartment above a tunnel one jumping puzzle away from the end of the map. No supplies anywhere near the second and third teleport destinations.

The second map starts us off in a hallway that ends in a ladder to a soft crate maze, not really a maze more like a hallway that the ladder is in the middle of. In a strange design choice the ladder is in an intersection players will need to travel through many times to proceed. Why did the mapper put a hole there? Why are players forced to go over this hole? It is so inconvenient.

After this is an elevator, another very inconvenient obstacle. At the top is a lot of of snipers and human grunts, many have grenades. The elevator has no sides and has a low ceiling, with how players can get stuck in the elevators I tend to jump whenever I have to ride one so I won't get stuck. This elevator is so low I fear I may get stuck in the ceiling. The best option we found is to jump on top of it, we lose what tiny cover the elevator provided us but we get a much better vantage point. Sniping from below for small bits of exposed enemy works well too. It's a tedious part of the map set and not very fun.

Soon after we get to the best checkpoint in the game and the only teleport in this map. The entire series had incomplete supply rooms and lack of certain things at teleport destinations, and finally at the end we get a really good resupply room. So of course robo grunts spawn soon after and can easily invade this supply room. The map tries, it really does and I can tell, but it needs quality of life tweaks real bad. There is one part shortly after the checkpoint with a small crack mark on the wall next to a door, it's right when players get the rocket launcher. That wall is breakable, we shot the door idly wondering if that is how we get it open and the wall just happened to break.

The final boss fight happens in a big arena with an impressive-for-2002 giant plane. The last boss is a giant garg and an alien slave and alien grunt spawn in periodically to harass players. That's something I didn't mention but I'll say it now, in a lot of fights we would see enemies spawn right in front of us, or even on, or behind us. It didn't feel fair at all and we were sometimes killed and forced to walk great distances to return. The enemy spawning can also sometimes give the wrong impression that the enemies will spawn in forever. Except when they do spawn forever like the last boss fight. Some areas are triggered by killing all the enemies, so when we go through and kill them all what would happen almost every time is one or two would spawn way behind us and we wouldn't even know about it. Only after wandering for a bit do we find the stragglers, put them down, and then see a means of progression.

The second map is a lot shorter than the first and I found myself grateful for that. It's not that the map series is bad, it's just that it's sort of bland and wastes a lot of the players' time. It felt a bit like a chore at the end. I really wish the teleporters and supply dumps were coordinated better so there would only be upsides to going through a shortcut. Even though the combat was a bit clunky and uninspired it did have the great old school Sven feel, kinda like Serious Sam. Stick eight players in that and they would have fun. There are fun moments in this map set.


  • Fun combat, definitely geared for lots of people
  • teleport checkpoints and shortcuts
  • lots of supplies scattered around the map
  • one really good supply room at the end


  • Even with teleports and shortcuts the walk of shame from respawning was long
  • the teleports and shortcuts very often circumvented valuable weapons and supplies
  • the ichthyosaur tunnel was a special kind of suck
  • the placement of the ladder hole in the second map is spectacularly inconvenient
  • If players miss the second teleport in the first map, the third teleport is useless
  • sometimes the path of progression is not clear
Score: 5.5 / 10
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