Map Review of city-of-the-dead

by dunkelschwamm | October 16, 2023 | 5033 characters

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

City of the Dead is a zombie map wherein the goal is to escape using a helipad. To do so, you must explore a city block full of explorable buildings locked off by various obstacles.

The map begins players in a spawn armory where players can take their pick of beginning weaponry or ammo. Right from the start the map's clunkiness, which is a theme throughout, becomes apparent. Grabbing ammo or a weapon will immediately chuck players into the map proper, so if you grabbed ammo, you're a sucker. There are weapons to be found throughout the map, but they do not respawn (with the exception of grenades, toward the end), so be careful with your life while wielding what you find- and greedy grabbers will easily screw over teammates.

The map itself looks very basic blocky mid-00s gldsrc, but with JUST enough detail in each building to give it some vague purpose and atmosphere. It's all fairly impressionistic, with the buildings themselves prioritizing maneuverability (for both players and zombies) over showing off any eye candy. The visuals are also somewhat marred by draw distance shrouding the far ends of the block while traversing the road. Still, there are memorable visuals like a large generator and a rather minimalist discotheque. Hilariously, the discotheque only plays Scissor Sisters, Daniel Powter, and Ave Maria. I can see the Scissor Sisters playing at a disco (probably not the song or album that was chosen), but the rest are comically out of place. Still, the tune I Can't Decide made for good background music as we blasted away zombies.

The main weapon that makes any sense here is the shotgun, as there is the most respawning ammo for it and the streets are lousy with zombies. Early on, we had some map hangups which we feared would become crashes, especially when shattering windows. We took the advice on the page to break every destructible we could to lower the entity count, but I never saw a single zombie turn invisible as was warned. Only a couple had custom models, and once they were culled the zombies themselves were all standard Half-Life zombies. The map is littered with invisible ramps so they can easily navigate the desks and tables that populate building interiors. I saw some respawn in, but by the end of the map the streets were pretty barren so I'm not sure how much respawning goes on or if it is perpetual. It hardly mattered, as the streets are large enough to easily herd zombies so they're barely an issue.

The other weapons which can be found include a revolver, an uzi, a sniper rifle, a crossbow, an RPG, and grenades. The uzi and RPG can be found once players open a safe with a numpad lock, and the rest are scattered around. Only the revolver, shotgun, and crossbow can be replenished by respawning through the spawn armory, and the grenades respawn, but the rest will be gone forever if a player dies with it holstered- so beware! Players can also get a crowbar at spawn, a medkit near the sniper rifle, and a wrench in the generator building.

The real goal of the map is the central tower with the helipad. It has a locked-down lobby with bullet proof glass that we poured everything into as started assuming there was some puzzle around it. Spoiler: I exploded the glass with an RPG and presume that was the intended progression. Moving up through the building we faced our first real challenge in the form of a cubicle maze full of "undead" HECU grunts with 400 health each. Proceeding upwards, there is a boss with an apache (good luck fighting it with the crossbow if you lost your RPG), and then the map ends with a helicopter escape.

Overall, I think the map offers some fun exploration even for how basic its presentation is. The zombies keep a bit of pressure on players to move quickly and with intent but are never enough of an annoyance to be an issue unless you simply stop in place. The main objectives are, frankly, a bit obtuse and if it weren't for me pulling a desperate move with the RPG (or if I had died with the RPG holstered) we may have spent tens of minutes looking for a more puzzle-oriented solution. But, with that in mind, this is a very decent zombie survival map with an actual map-ending objective, so I approve.


  • Funny locations to explore
  • Crowds of zombies that aren't a huge pain in the ass
  • Unexpected and fun escalation to the end of the map
  • Good selection of weapons


  • Obtaining and maintaining weapons is an issue
  • As fun as the map is to look at, it's also frankly pretty ugly with wonky proportions and blockiness
  • The zombies' models and overall aesthetic is pretty inconsistent
  • The puzzles are baffling and even after finishing I'm not entirely sure what all of the different elements accomplished
Score: 6.4 / 10
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License