Map Review of bad-day-at-work

by GrandmasterJ | September 16, 2022 | 6281 characters

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Unfortunately this series has not been completed. According to the description there was a much bigger plan in place that was canned due to losing important files, so now we get an unfinished and abandoned half a map series. Also this is my second time trying to write this review, I accidentally hit the back button when I was almost finished which means I lost my review. Ironic that I lost my review while trying to review a series abandoned due to file loss.

There are four maps in the set, the first map had no enemies, it was just to set the tone and gives players a moment to experience a normal day of work. Well, normal enough, at one point I saw a dead scientist in a bathroom with his coworkers all around him, I guess that was a murder mystery going on in the background. Also, at one point I hit an invisible wall preventing progress, my teammate had boosted up a wall (I'm pretty sure this map was made before the climbing mechanic so we could climb to places we should not be) and was on the other side. I'm pretty sure the nearby Barney was responsible, there was an invisible wall around him as well and he was saying something in a really quiet voice that I couldn't hear.

The whole map series is similar to Black Mesa but with a new coat of bluish grey paint. There are your standard big computers with crazy animated science on the screens, lots of crates, lasers, techno hallways, etc. At one point we got to look out a window at another part of the facility and see a modernist architecture façade. It's like if we got to see Black Mesa in the early 2000's. There are a lot of background noises too, which is good and bad. The noise is good because it really enhances the atmosphere, but there is a lot of custom dialogue and it's all very quiet and the background noise can very easily drown it out. I did not understand a single word that any NPC spoke to me.

The second map still had no combat, however it did take our weapons away. In the first map we could murder our coworkers with impunity but now we only had medkits. In our rage we went to the first NPC we saw, a Barney, and pushed him off a ledge. The ledge was not high enough to damage him, so my teammate jumped off the ledge onto his head, still no damage. I stood on the ledge, my teammate stood on me, then he jumped off onto the Barney and killed him instantly. We both immediately felt better. That was the high point of the whole series really. Gameplay here is hunting for keys, getting lost in a sprawling open lab complex, and eventually finding our way to a Barney named A-Jam who talks in a quiet and distorted voice that I can't hear. A-Jam leads us to a houndeye attack where my teammate and I jump around to avoid being hit (in vain!) before A-Jam kills them. Then the door opens to reveal guns but in our rush for firepower we hit the map transition.

Map three is where the combat happens. We get our guns back, we spawn with a nice cache of ammo, and we have to find a key behind some crates to leave spawn. Who leaves a security card in a corner behind a bunch of crates? This is the meat of the gameplay, combat and key hunting. At one point we entered a hallway with baby headcrabs, we discovered very quickly that they respawned infinitely. But don't just rush down the hallway, there is a room here with a scientist laying face down in electrified water. My teammate jumped on the scientist to see what was up, then left because we were taking damage from electricity and incredibly annoying baby headcrabs. This was wrong, we had to use the body with 'E' to get a key card. The doors to progress from the baby headcrab room open very slowly, the author really wanted us to suffer. Leaving that room unlocks a shortcut and reveals the mp5, but some baby headcrabs followed us out and from that point on every now and then we would be attacked by a baby headcrab in some unrelated part of the map. That room is a disease infecting the surroundings. There was more combat and a shotgun and then the map ends.

Map four has us staring at some Xen creatures before fading to black and changing once again. It's clear from the map description that we skipped over tons of planned content, but that is what we get for playing the map equivalent of spilled milk.

Overall the map was mediocre. I'm not a fan of maps that have a bunch of non-gameplay walking simulator sections in the beginning, the intro to Half-Life 1 was good the first time I sat through it but it's been annoying every instance since. I like the more modern Black Mesa feel, but the wall textures started blending together. Everything was bluish grey pretty much the whole way through except for the awful headcrab hallway which had this glaring green light over it. I really liked looking out the window and seeing a modern Black Mesa façade, but the next time I look out a window I'm looking at stars like I'm in space, we don't get to see the interesting exterior design much. Combat was ok, nothing really special to write home about. The shortcut was ok but we kept getting turned around in the samey hallways and ending up in the awful headcrab room. Weapons don't appear in spawn so we had to retrieve our guns after deaths. Obviously the map would be better if it was finished, but what we have right now is a middling experience at best.


  • This map does not look like the original Black Mesa, it even has a nice modernist exterior
  • the background noises sell the atmosphere
  • a shortcut opens after the headcrab room, theoretically we can skip that room after this
  • There are shortcuts every now and then


  • The NPC dialogue is too quiet, somewhat distorted, and overall nearly impossible to hear
  • The map layouts combined with all wall textures being the same blue-grey made getting lost easy
  • That hallway with infinitely spawning baby headcrabs should never have been implemented
  • the key hunting elements could have been implemented better, I didn't think to use a scientist corpse
Score: 5 / 10
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