Map Review of case-closed

by GrandmasterJ | July 9, 2023 | 5475 characters

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We return back to Black Mesa once again in a port of a single player mod that puts us in the shoes of a janitor. We wander through familiar sights, mostly sewers, fight familiar enemies and eventually we hit a cutscene of our extraction and the map just kind of lingers there forcing me to end the map manually.

As soon as we start the map I notice something, I am lagging. My teammate doesn't have the same problem and I am hosting, it gets better in some rooms and worse in others so it is very obviously the map doing this. We are both playing on very low end computers so I suspect this problem won't affect many people, but it does come and go throughout the whole series. It was particularly bad when we went to xen.

The map looks overall decent but it has a problem where it will look good in some areas but chunky in others. There are nice details in places but then there are also thick and chunky debris, bad texturing, and outright holes in the level. In the very beginning of the map the elevator has a false floor and players can fall right through and at one point my teammate fell into an invisible hole in the ground and fell into the level and got stuck. There was a very nice detail with a train car dangling over a pile of fallen vending machines, when I say thick and chunky debris I am talking about the green vending machine with massive shards. The orange vending machine has a big chunk taken out of it that is just textured orange. The dangling train car has z-fighting on the doors. But despite all the flaws (and maybe the occasional invisible death pit) the map does look overall pretty good, after all those problems I listed I think that dangling train car is a really fun and cool map landmark.

The level design itself is deceptively non-linear, it has a lot of locked doors that don't open and a forward momentum most times but then it will throw some curveball without really signposting it well. For example, near the end of the series we pulled two fan switches, I had no clue where these fans were. My teammate found them inside the vent we started the level in, as in we had to backtrack all the way back to inside the vent system we started in. This map series has checkpoints so we have to actually backtrack before the checkpoint to do this. There are quite a few other places where the path of progression isn't apparent but I recall this instance as the most mind boggling to me. I will admit that the map does sometimes try to make things apparent, after all the switches I pulled did say 'fan' so I knew to look for fans I just don't think that saves the map from having confusing parts where players have to search for the next area.

The gameplay felt fairly balanced for two people, both my teammate and I were ripping through enemies and sending them flying with shotguns but we still did die every once in a while. The map series has a lot of enemies but not a whole lot of them have higher than usual health so they go down fairly quickly. I found myself finding enemies with their backs to me and even when I would shoot them they wouldn't respond. I don't know what that is about. It happened a couple times in the first half of the series.

At one specific point in the series we switched to the next map and we started spawning right in front of human grunts who would gun us down. We respawn and then die again. After about 4 deaths each we managed to crowbar (not enough time to switch to a better weapon) the enemies and we could move on. It was one spot but it stands out as probably the worst part of the series.

This map is geared for one person as is inherent with a mod conversion, but the converter added some great checkpoints. The weapon progression is pretty steady with new weapons appearing every so often, and each map will have players spawn with the weapons previously gathered last map. There are some cases where weapons players do not yet spawn with will appear in checkpoints so they aren't annoying to get, but some weapons like the underbarrel grenades show up in one section and never again. Overall, these checkpoints are really good and weapon progression is taken into account for multiple players.

This map series was not bad. I don't think it really added anything new and exciting to Black Mesa, it was a forgettable but decent experience. The map looked good enough to forgive when it looks bad, the combat was decent overall, weapon progression was fine for multiple players, and the map had really good checkpoints. There were invisible pits my teammate fell into which is unacceptably bad, the path of progression was not always clear, and the map is heavy on the sewer flavor of Black Mesa. It's a fine, if forgettable, conversion.


  • Great updating checkpoints
  • weapons unlock as players go through the maps
  • map has some good looking details
  • combat felt good for two people


  • multiple areas where players can fall through the level into a pit they can not escape
  • some parts of the map have horrendous proportions or just look wrong
  • path of progression can be unclear at a lot of times
  • there was a point where we spawned alongside enemies and would die near instantly
Score: 6 / 10
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