In this heavily engineered tourney map, StormShadow draws on not one, but two of Rorsach's HeadHunter texture sets. The combination of grubby hazard chevrons and machine parts renders the map like a gigantic garage for servicing old war machines, a funky style commonly found at the rustier end of the industrial spectrum. Especially visible are the octagonal metal columns rising from the floors of the three main atria like post-modern steeples. These are important features during combat as they provide valuable cover during rocket exchanges and Railgun sneek'n'peek episodes, while also offering the welcome boost of a +50 health sphere behind.
The item placement is very strong. Minor health and ammo pairings are dotted around the map, so feeding your heart and guns is always possible, but requires swift choices which keep the gameplay flowing smoothly. Major items and weapons are often found close to bulkheads; the RG in particular is nestled in an anlged joist making acquisition slightly more demanding than for other weapons, but justly so, since the openness of the map provides many opportunities for nailing one's opponent at long range and the chance of denying them the RG at the point of pickup can save many frags.
My only concern with the items is the ease with which both Red and Yellow armour can be scooped in a single run. The wide walkway passing through the center of the map allows a maneuver of YA/drop/run/RA or RA/run/rocketjump/YA and this event can transform one player into a walking panzer. Rocketjumping is useful, almost essential, everywhere else.
Time has obviously been spent constructing the player surfaces at just the right distance and navigation time can be dramatically cut by making such leaps. J-pads in key positions come in the form of small red lights. Their unobtrusive design makes them less obvious at first, though they are beneficial for even the lowest altitude transitions.
A flashing electric teleporter sits at the bottom of the darkest canyon in the map, an atmospheric location, but its metal frame can be obstructive and so it's an unreliable escape route.
Bots play well. Included in the download is Zapper; as the name suggests, he is keen on the Lightning Gun and he navigates the layout extensively. But whoever your chosen nemesis, all weapon preferences have their place in the match and rocketering bots will even use r-jumps to reach their destination. The YA is their least favorite location.
This is a solid map. Drenched with lo-tech atmospherics and plenty of tactical gameplay, it should be a hit with any tourney fans.
Reviewed by Kell
Ranked: 4.1 out of 5 (125 votes)
Download: Nuclear Wasteland by StormShadow