Map Review of mystic-radar

by dunkelschwamm | September 17, 2022 | 5562 characters

Sorry, we couldn't find any images attached to this page.

Mystic Radar is a short horror map by RNG with a charmingly cheesy story and an atmosphere of texture and grit.

The map is broken up into three parts, I would say. The first is a machine room where players must complete a series of puzzles while dodging two zombies without any weapons. The first puzzle, before the zombies appear, involves placing a block simply into a machine when the machine is opened by a valve pressed by another player. The rest of the puzzles involve finding keys or turning valves while zombies run amok. Once the puzzles in this room are complete, the map lets us know by making the zombies violently explode.

The second act of this three act play gives players a crowbar and sends them down some corridors swinging at zombies, performing "puzzles" similar to those in the first part. The puzzle element feels a lot more perfunctory here despite being presented in a similar way. I think the the small difference of adding combat is enough to overpower the film-thin gameplay offered by these minimal interact puzzles.

The third part is similar to the first, but now the crowbar is again taken from the players and things are turned up to 11. Early in the map I have commented to my teammate that the horror trend that started in the late '00s of making weaponless players run from melee shambling zombies as the main gameplay has reduced every horror game to Pacman. In this part of the map, the Pacman-ness is more apparent than ever. You get a small corridor loop with branching rooms (could be loosely defined as a maze, if you insisted) full of valves with lights next to them. First you turn every valve with a single light next to them. Then, zombies and a gonome spill in. The player then must run around activating the valves with the two lights next to each while avoiding the enemies. Once this is complete, run down a long hallway and the map will end after a cutscene.

Overall, I think the gameplay in this map is middling for the most part. You're either scavenger hunting while running from zombies, or beating up zombies with a crowbar. If you can buy into the horror element of this, then maybe this'll be spooky enough to evoke particularly interesting feelings. As it stands, I think this is a map which is very pretty but lacks gameplay substance. RNG has no problem making maps with style. In the description there's a note that this map was made in less time than their other work, and it only shows in the gameplay department. Clearly unique cohesive atmospheres come very naturally to RNG that the aesthetic suffers so little comparatively. I really like the black fog that's used to create this surreal, otherworldly darkness that's more oppressive and bleak than a simple lack of light. The aesthetic is gritty, detailed, rusted, deteriorated, everything the narrative suggests it should be.

Speaking of the narrative, I can't with it. It's so silly. I imagine there is some translation error that is causing the funny grammar and phrasing, which I shouldn't knock RNG for. It's very charming, but it's definitely not what I would consider "good" in a story sense. RNG's maps typically latch onto a very visceral concept, and then bypass crafting a narrative for simply indulging in that visceral concept. Here it was deterioration, I guess. Another common theme is entropic forces which slowly erode at reality, and the "Ascension in Ultra Ferment" subtitle of this map matches with that like anything else. The narratives behind RNG's maps seem to be there to set a mood and they do that far better than they tell any actual story. That's okay, and I certainly wouldn't dock points for such cohesion of the elements in his projects- it's all in service of a very well rounded final product.

Overall, I think Mystic Radar is a very neat experience like most RNG maps due in large part to the creative and visceral universe RNG paints with sights and sounds that almost evoke smells and tastes they're so potent. However, I think the gameplay wears itself out fast, and if you and your teammate don't quickly dominate this map it may overstay its welcome. Still, I recommend it for a server, or for any horror/halloween maps list for your friends. It's very spooky and surreal.


  • Fantastic environmental design
  • Funny story bits that are wonky in a way that almost adds to the dreamlike quality of the map
  • No individual moments overstay their welcome
  • For crowbar vs zombie combat, it could have been far worse
  • I'm glad the puzzles we had to solve while being harried by unkillable zombies weren't more convoluted


  • Despite being broken into multiple disparate parts that are each over pretty quickly, the map feels pretty one-note, mostly due to the puzzles largely consisting of valve turning
  • Running around in hallways with zombies chasing you could be done with more much dimension than this Pacman nonsense
  • I understand why it was this way, but it's annoying to get the crowbar only to lose it before the final area. It's weird pacing and feels like it makes the map's threats and safety inconsistent in a contrived and weightless way
  • The gritty textures do make some stuff look samey, which is a pain in the ass when turning valves and trying to find out what they opened
Score: 6.9 / 10
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License