Map Review of classic-arcade-first-person-shooter

by dunkelschwamm | November 3, 2022 | 6509 characters

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Classic Arcade First Person Shooter is a map which attempts to capture the spirit of Boomer Shooters before the Boomer Shooter revival invented the term Boomer Shooter. What did this tribute find before the revival was a thing?

Well, when it says Classic Arcade First Person Shooter, it means Classic DOS First Person Shooter- and by that, it means Doom 1. This map heavily utilizes architecture from the first Doom map, as well as E2M2, but otherwise mostly shakes things up with areas which evoke a Doom-ish feel. The textures are all very Doom-y, and there are custom models to enhance the aesthetic.

Weapons are now centered in the player's viewmodels, much like shooters in the days of yore. There's your handgun, your shotgun, your rocket launcher- the odd man out is the chaingun, which replaces the MP5 to fairly limited utility. With how bullet-spongey some enemies are later, I feel like this map could have made a SAW replacement feel balanced. It would also help out with a problem this map has with ammo count. I feel the only time we weren't frequently running low on ammo was when we were dying frequently or fighting enemies we could kill swarms of at once with rockets. It was also annoying regathering the weapons after respawn, requiring a ritual of jumping out of the spawn window and opening a door to get the two boiler plate weapons (and that's only if you're dying after the halfway point). This is made more difficult by the movement which I'll cover in the paragraph after next.

Enemies are also renamed and reskinned to match with classic Doom monsters- Bullsquids are pink and called "Pinkies", Vortigaunts of brown and red varieties are cast as imps and Barons of Hell respectively, etc. There's some silly combinations, but I think overall this map does the best it can to use Half-Life's enemy roster to evoke a classic shooter feel, while still being a shake-up of the Doom roster as well. The one enemy I think didn't quite make it through the process is the Lost Soul, which here replaces an alien controller. This model reminds me a lot of the one from Hellmouth, and may very well be the same alien controller replacement. The issue is that its animations mean it spams projectiles at a rate which murder latency.

I'm burying the lead, though, to be frank. The standout of this map is the movement speed: this map sends players zipping around like pinballs. It's barely controllable, and often causes massive overshoots. This would be an issue just for how annoying it makes exploration and fighting, but it's made far worse by this map's frequent use of hazardous environments and some later platforming. There's bits where you hit a switch and have to run to a timed door, and while I find that kind of puzzle annoying, the speed worked perfectly for that. However, this speed does not work for any of the rest of the level, gets in the way more often than not, and casts a negative aura on much of it. It's too bad, because I think in concept it'd be really nice to have greater speed and player control to make movement more lively. I also understand that players ran at the speed of freight trains in classic shooters. However, in Sven Co-op, moving at such speeds just makes players stiffly take off in a specific direction with little control after initial take-off. It's almost like first-person Asteroids with a far-too-powerful throttle. It definitely gives this map a unique feel, and the speed of it is sometimes exhilarating, but it's probably not worth the trade-off, and more importantly: it does not feel like how speed feels in a classic shooter.

The map design itself is kinda mediocre. It mostly does what it can to evoke classic Doom map feel while shaking up progression. The problem is that it plays to none of the map's strengths. Enemies are placed haphazardly where they neither act as a surprising ambush nor an oncoming threatening onslaught. They're often just there, or just pop in, facing awkward directions, suddenly springing to life and filling the space with big harmful hitboxes and obstructing you with their strangely shaped bodies. Switches, when thrown, will often open doors which are outside of your vision. Sometimes the map just teleports us to random places, like it's guiding us all toward progression, despite us progressing in completely different directions, introducing a hand-holdy aspect which is out-of-place in both classic shooters and Sven Co-op. The weapons are as stiff as in Half-Life with little done to compensate, making the lack of satisfying arcadey weapons more pronounced. Hazardous floors are strewn about in important hub areas just to fuck with players trying to skate around on this map's rocket boots. This map is full of design decisions and I don't think almost any of them are the right ones. However, they succeed in a few really important ways: the scenery is memorable, blowing enemies up late into the map is very satisfying, and the charm and cleverness tend to win over its shortcomings (most of the time).

Overall, I recommend this map if you haven't played it before. It'd go great on an action server list, if not for my concerns that the Lost Souls might crash the server if a player dances around in their vision for too long. I think, more than making me want to replay it, Classic Arcade First Person Shooter makes me want to see more maps with its spirit executed a bit better. The silly 90s architecture, garish colors, speed-focused gunplay corridors are fun and I think deserve a revisit with some finer design theory applied.


  • Fun demons to shoot with fun guns
  • The atmosphere is definitely Doom
  • This map is full of memorable moments
  • There is a lot of variety to the gimmicks in each major room of the map


  • Chaingun is a letdown
  • Equipment is a bit too drip-fed
  • Levels are wonky, hazardous in annoying ways, and do not signpost progression where it is necessary
  • Timed door switches with no indication that they are timed door switches
  • The speed boost is unwieldy and the map does not account for it
  • A couple of the enemies are just headaches in their execution (the Lost Soul in particular can bring a map grinding to a halt with its projectiles)
Score: 6.7 / 10
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