Map Review of the-tomb-of-death

by dunkelschwamm | December 16, 2023 | 6862 characters

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Tomb of Death! I remember playing this a long time ago and thinking it was kind of clunky and mediocre. Boy, am I glad I revisited it! This mapset captures a lot of the spirit of what I love about Sven Co-op, and is a truly inspiring exercise in creativity.

This mapset is long, so I'm going to go down the maps one by one and give overall impressions.

The first map gives a lot of what the title implies: a tomb full of fun traps and monster teases. There's a couple puzzle-like areas, including a platforming bit over some toxic sand that I was not a fan of. I mention that right out the gate because the rest I rather enjoyed! The main gimmick is these thin beams of light which trigger death traps, and each one is different. There's spike pits, projectile launchers, a big swinging blade trap ala First Blood- the list goes on. The majority of these traps don't even kill the player if they're fast to react, which is a really nice touch and had my teammate and I triggering traps just for the spectacle of it. That bit us in the ass with one trap that sets off infinitely firing shurikens that are a real pain to avoid, though. Thankfully, breaking a nearby wall lets players bypass this trap almost entirely. There was also a section with breaking trap floors into a death pit, but after the first one got me my teammate found he could shoot the rest to clear the path. Clever!

The second map is where action starts heating up. We're given a grand arsenal and are pitted against lots of gonomes hatched from eggs, and the story of the map really starts developing. For a map that uses tons of gonomes, I'm happy to say the combat is not annoying! There were no instances of overcharged gonomes eating our bodies, even with the overcharged gonomes acting as bosses at the end of the map. This map requires a lot of exploration and moving between caverns and tomb areas.

The third map is a series of trials. It's the last map to really retain the tomb motif, before revealing a grander narrative at play. The first trial is a really clever chess board where certain squares drop you into a pit, teleporting you out of the challenge. I learned quickly that by shooting the squares you can see which are illusionary. The second challenge was another trapped corridor section, but with a twist that players must choose the more dangerous looking paths- when faced with two corridors, one an open pit over acid, and the other seeming innocuous, walking over the pit will guarantee safety while walking down the other will spell doom. This second challenge features many such tricky obstacles, my least favorite of which was a sawblade launcher where only colored sawblades harm the player- even knowing the solution, I'd die often just by failing to jump over the dangerous blades. The third challenge is a standard platforming puzzle with some really fantastic visuals and cinematic gags. The fourth challenge sees players traversing a cavern full of monsters and snarks- a grand action setpiece somewhat stifled by the annoyance of constantly raining (and loudly exploding) snarks.

The fourth map is straight action through some lava arenas, nothing much to say about this. There are still puzzles here and there to keep things interesting, and the visuals are really nice!

The fifth map is another straight action map, this time through some grand refrigeration units. The escalation of action is done really well, and there is a lot of play with RPGs here. The bulk of the action here happens around a pillar with ladders on each side leading up past a fan into a grand arena corridor with lots to kill, and a sort of boss fight to cap it off.

The final map is the grandest in appearance, taking the shape of a massive U-shaped hallway where the players get to have one last showdown with all of the enemy types encountered thus far before a boss battle. The boss is interesting in concept, but could have used some work in execution. Four stationary gargs must be killed to lower the boss's force field, and the boss itself shoots nonstop lasers at one player at a time. The biggest issue with the boss is that you need to enter the arena through narrow corridors, and he can easily kill you before you reach an area where you can actually strafe around- and once you do, you really only get to strafe to one side before you have to cross back over the lasers and almost certainly die. Once the gargs were dead and the force field lowered, however, we were able to snipe him with rockets from just beyond his firing range through the entrances of the arena. Not exactly a total wet fart of a final boss, but definitely the weakest execution in the map in my opinion. There's a short escape sequence, and it ends.

The gameplay of this map is great. It's constantly changing things up between puzzles, platforming, combat, and simply exploring great looking areas. The place with the weakest visuals is the first map, being mostly samey tomb corridors, but it more than makes up for that with the creativity of the traps. I also loved the escalating arsenal and the massive-scale combat encounters. There's also a fair number of organic destructables starting in the second map that are endlessly fun to destroy. The constantly changing gameplay, that it never lingers on an idea too long for it to get super old, and the fast pace of the combat makes this a really satisfying map that I wouldn't mind playing again in a heartbeat. There are even updating spawnpoints and openable shortcuts to ensure no player gets left behind. Truly, great stuff.

Overall, I think Tomb of Death is a really standout map. There are a couple annoying bits, but they're few and far between, and rarely last long enough to hold things up. The intermittent spectacle, action set pieces, and creativity make this an absolute classic. It recommends 4 players or more, but I got through just fine with one teammate. Give this a play first chance you get!


  • The combat is fantastic, from the arsenal to the encounters
  • Just nonstop creativity in puzzles, traps, and setpieces
  • It constantly changes things up
  • The escalation of threats and narrative pair really well
  • Tons of breakables and gibby enemies to splatter


  • A couple traps were a bit annoying to me, to the point I had considered for a moment turning on noclip to bypass them
  • The final boss feels a bit broken, and isn't terribly spectacular
  • The first map is really boring looking, creative traps aside
  • The bit with the snarks constantly raining down was almost as annoying as it sounds
Score: 9.1 / 10
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