Map Review of bad-day-at-work

by dunkelschwamm | September 15, 2022 | 4414 characters

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Bad Day at Work is a release of four maps of an unfinished series. Players tour a very modern looking lab complex, tour a very modern looking lab complex during an alien invasion, and tour a very decidedly unmodern alien invasion during a lab complex.

There are four maps, but one is an intro, two have gameplay, and the last one is such a non-sequitur cutaway to aliens before an abrupt map end that it plays off like a joke. So, I'll review the first three maps.

The first map is very atmospheric and interesting looking. The lab complex looks very different from most Black Mesa settings. Instrinctually my teammate and I started killing the scientists, triggering the Barneys to attack. Early on there's an invisible wall that only drops after players run backward through the level and then up again, and we thought we had broken the map by killing the scientists and the Barney in the beginning. Nope, there's just a weird invisible wall. We walked through the rest of the fairly straight-shot peaceful walkthrough without killing anybody, a choice we regretted when we realized we could have gotten away with it so easily.

The second map began we found that we sadly had no weapons to start with. Immediately we pushed a Barney off of some stairs to put a lot of vertical distance between ourselves and him and I used my teammate as a diving board to jump down, killing the Barney on impact. Sadly, he did not drop a gun. Continuing on, the map is a simple scavenger hunt for keycards in fairly boring (if pretty and unique looking) locales until we meet up with a Barney named A-Jam and aliens attack. The map ends shortly after this and is pretty straight forward.

The third map combines finding keycards with the hazards of an alien invasion. Unfortunately, one of the central hubs of the map is a green hallway which endlessly spawns baby headcrabs. If you die and respawn, you need to go through here. Sometimes you unlock a shortcut to later parts, but they lead back to this green hallway, and then you have to deal with baby headcrabs. They're like herpes, and the map keeps insisting on exposing us to herpes.

Headcrabs, and a variant called Headstalkers which seem to have minimally increased health, as well as Houndeyes with some of their own variants, make up the bulk of the enemies. There's a few moments with vortigaunts, and one with stukabats or one with bullsquids, but headcrabs and houndeyes make up the bulk. Later on, there's a huge battle between A-Jam and four friendly turrets vs spawning alien grunts, baby gargs, shocktroopers, bullsquids, and vortigaunts. It's pretty nuts. To deal with these threats, players are given a pistol and a crowbar, then acquire a wrench, an MP5, a shotgun, and grenades. However, depending on the situation, the situations rest on the poles of "maybe a few headcrabs" to "gargs and alien grunts galore" the boilerplate HECU-fighting weapons feel a bit inappropriate. I mean, I did make good use of the shotgun. However, I almost never used the MP5, and I only found use for grenades when I wanted to very quickly dispatch a baby garg who wandered from the turret battle. While the map is very pretty, I would say the combat mostly feels like busywork, which is a drag.

If you're looking for an interesting spin on the cold corporate labratory environment in Goldsrc, I think Bad Day at Work is good for that. Try it with a friend or load it on a server which rotates walkthrough mapsets.

Pros:

  • Very good looking brushwork and textures- unique take on a familiar environment
  • Lots of friendly NPCs who were fun to order around or fuck with
  • Interesting NPC subclasses
  • The fourth map is such a nothing sandwich but it's quite funny as a result
  • The big showdown with all the turrets was pretty neat

Cons:

  • The keycard hunt is tedious
  • The combat, for the most part, is pretty tedious
  • Boooo! I jeer at the baby headcrab corridors
  • This is pretty clearly unfinished, as especially evidenced by a weird glitchy beginning and a very out-of-place ending
  • Shortcuts would be great if they didn't all go through the fucking baby headcrab room
Score: 6 / 10
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