Map Review of between-two-worlds

by dunkelschwamm | February 16, 2023 | 5254 characters

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Between Two Worlds is a Half-Life modification by Andreas "Widowmaker" Bauer. You can learn more about it here:

Hosted here on Sven Co-op Map Database is the first three maps of this 9 map mod. It's odd that the rest of the maps aren't included, as my buddy and I threw the last 6 maps into Sven Co-op and they worked about as well as these maps do- which is to say they're abrupt, poorly optimized for co-op play, wonkily brushed out, include all-too-long cutscenes, and have a broken ending. It's worth mentioning up front that if you play the three maps here, it will end in a "map not found" error as it searches for the next map. If you do what my buddy and I did and install the whole mod into your Sven Co-op folder, it'll play fine until the final cinematic and lock.

The three maps as presented are a decent introduction to the mod. There's some funny things going on with scientists that seems superfluous to the actual plot, some confusing cutscenes wherein G-man discusses terrible sci-fi lore in excruciating detail, and some battles that it's really best to just run right past. Sometimes when you try to run past the battles the G-man cutscenes butt in and the enemies continue attacking you while you're a captive audience.

Even if you aren't a captive audience, you're usually only equipped with a handgun. While the threat level is usually proportionate, sometimes you'll find yourself in some tense situations where better arms would be appreciated. Sometimes you get your hands on an MP5, and there was a 357, a crossbow, and some grenades along the way in the mod, each of which felt like a breath of fresh air- but only the MP5 is featured in these maps. Even when you get weapons, they don't persist between maps.

Let's talk about persistence between maps: for whatever godforsaken reason, these maps include backwards progression. Only, the backwards progression is busted and always takes you to the beginning of the map. If somebody wanted to goof on a server hard they could just take a single step back every time a map begins and send the players back to the beginning of the previous map. Now, players could counteract this by voting forward (which a troll can counteract by taking a single step back from spawn again) but if players were to just soldier forward instead it'd become clear how quickly players can just leap through these maps without engaging much. The backtracking is a glaringly broken feature that makes the rest of the maps' problems glare worse.

I've mentioned the cutscenes, and I don't like to tear into peoples creativity too much, but the writing for the mod is pretty bad. It insists on itself but has nothing to say, clogging up gameplay in frustrating ways to deliver line after line after line, often too fast to read, about inane alien prophecy garbage without any indication as to why I should care. The cutscenes are unskippable, and if you accidentally backtrack you'll be dealing with them. Continuing forward with the actual mod, the story has no real payoff, and the major elements never really come into play in any meaningful way. You just fight through more nondynamic levels until eventually the mod doesn't end, it just stops.

Speaking of nondynamic levels, I wouldn't say that these maps don't try new things- it just doesn't try new things very hard. Every area is brushed out with minimal detail to be passing, rooms are pretty blocky and abstract in function. Enemies are haphazardly placed (as are cutscene triggers, and often in the same place), pickups seem to exist solely where they are least needed, map transitions are way too close together, in the few places where progression isn't a straight line it's unclear. Perhaps if things had been given more time to cook, or were looked over by a mapper with a more discerning eye for design, there would be something interesting here. As it is, the series is just kind of a messy slop of rejected proto-Half-Life trimmings, halfheartedly squeezed into a loose and dripping sausage casing.

Overall, I would neither recommend Between Two Worlds as this mod port, nor the mod itself. It's clearly not made for Co-op play, has too many transitions, is boring, has bad combat, isn't much to look at, and is presented in a broken, unfinishable/unfinished form. Everything from the source to the presentation here is flawed.


  • Some genuine attempts at interesting environments, like the glass corridor overlooking the cliffside
  • Lots of work seems to have gone into making cinematics for better or for worse


  • Map end is broken
  • Maps transition too fast, and allow backtracking which restarts the previous map
  • Bad arsenal which isn't persistent
  • Thoughtless, poorly designed encounters
  • Sloppily brushed, nonevocative environments
  • Interrupts the map at inopportune times to tell a nonsense story about an alien queen that doesn't resolve
Score: 3.9 / 10
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