Map Review of betrayed

Map review of Betrayed

by dunkelschwamm | February 2, 2023 | 6799 characters

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Betrayed is an action walkthrough map for Sven Co-op. It features a very Black Mesa (specifically Lambda Core) aesthetic, though with even more hallways.

Players begin with a handgun and not much else, but quickly move their way up to grenades, uzis, an MP5, snarks, a shotgun, a SAW, and a gauss gun. There's a lot of ammo given, but it's given in backpacks or otherwise out-of-the-way pickups, so until the players get an arsenal in the checkpoint spawn, there's a lot of backtracking around slowly for weapons. The snarks in particular are the most egregious example, as they require a lengthy crawl through an out-of-the-way vent area and never appear in any spawn arsenal. There was also HEV around, but never quite enough for one person, much less the the two who were playing, much much less the 3-8 people recommended in the map description. I think if not for the meat of the gameplay being taking down high-HP npcs, this wouldn't have been such an issue. The ammo situation almost works out just because we died often enough at some point to not worry about running out.

Betrayed should have been called "Ambushed" because that's what the meat of the game is. Players enter areas and are beset upon by (usually 4, sometimes more) enemies at once. One of whom is usually superpowered and boasts a ridiculous HP pool. These enemies are usually positioned in some position of advantage. For example: 4 enemy chumtoads are placed in a chamber which you must crawl awkwardly through indestructible broken glass shards to get in. Thankfully, you can chuck grenades in to negate that advantage, but since you can't see them initially somebody's getting gassed. Also, chucking grenades endlessly into a room you can't safely enter to kill a chumtoad you can't see with a supercharged HP pool is nonsense combat.

That may seem like a very specific example, but it's the flavor of combat. Navigate a platforming puzzle and coop required remote door switch puzzle to end up crawling out of a tube into a face-first confrontation with a super-HP heavy weapons grunt. Come down an elevator and get swarmed by houndeyes, alien grunts, and gonomes (including some which are supercharged). Crawl up a vent and trigger a trap which causes you to wait for five minutes as snarks noisily respawn and detonate in the ceiling. The times when the map isn't so hostile with ambushes is when you just turn a corner and there's a bunch of high-hp enemies sitting there waiting for you. At best, these moments are tense and action-packed. Especially once we had higher powered weapons like the gauss gun it was fun to gib the high-hp enemies with one final fully charged headshot. Most of the time, though, the map is a grind which feels like it contains half-baked battles. This map considers little how the players should approach a battle, and often the best approaches feel like they are found in spite of the map's best efforts.

There's a couple puzzle elements in this map. As mentioned, there's a remote door puzzle and a platforming puzzle. The platforming puzzle is the lambda core teleporter puzzle, and the remote door puzzle really just requires a player opening doors for another player as they crawl through a pipe which outlets to a heavy weapons grunt room. There's also a fine room where you drop a crate into a hole to get across to a SAW. Aside from these moments, you spend the map shooting things.

The mapping itself is pretty B+ Black Mesa affair. It's not doing anything super creative with the stuff, and it's mostly hallways or repeats of stuff we saw in Lambda core, but what is there is well brushed and makes good use of the textures available. I think if I had to complain about anything in particular, it's that the map has little conscious thought put into interactivity of the map. Glass shards from a broken window do not break, even as they obstruct the player's ability to comfortably proceed, but a crate that is necessary for backtracking out of an open elevator can be pushed out of the elevator. Doors and vents exist all over the place which are indistinguishable from those which you can use. There's even a hub room with forcefields that you deactivate one-by-one to proceed but one of them never lowers. There's just so little thought put into why one thing would be interactive over another that it almost feels like a troll.

That last bit, about the hub room, may be attributable to this being a "beta" map. Though, given that it's been a beta for over 15 years now, we can assume this is the "final" version we're getting.

Things end with a hilariously lazy clump of enemies. An ambush of bodyguards in the same pattern as what I described previously, but immediately tailed by a supercharged kingpin and Tor. With two players, the bodyguards were a struggle to get past. The kingpin only really got us after getting the jump on us, but after one death apiece we took him down. Tor didn't even put up a fight as the two of us unloaded our SAWs into his face at point-blank range. Then the map congratulated us on beating the demo.

I was kinda down on this map through the review, but that's just because much of its execution was very rough. It's full of lots of setpieces with lots of types of enemies, even if they're somewhat thoughtlessly thrown together. This map tries a lot more with puzzles than I think the average Sven map does, and I commend it for that. It's just hard to not get mostly caught up with the design decisions that turn that creativity into a grind.

If you're looking for an action map to play, you could do worse. This is a perfectly serviceable action map, especially if you have more people to throw at the more grating bits.

Betrayed forever.


  • Though it never does anything super interesting with the environment, this map is very well brushed and looks good
  • Sometimes the action gets to be really balls to the wall and fun
  • Lots of weapons on display, each of them finding some application
  • The map tries lots of things
  • Has a beginning, middle, pretty good for a "demo"
  • The checkpoint makes the map so much more digestible


  • The pattern of high-HP enemies being thrown at the player got pretty dull
  • Some enemy placement makes sense for smart enemies, but not fun gameplay
  • Repeatedly throwing ourselves at a platforming puzzle and then co-op puzzle to get ground into hamburger by the heavy weapons guy is a low point for the map
  • Even for how good the map looks, some of the hallways get to be pretty samey
Score: 6.4 / 10
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