A frozen wasteland awaits your presence.
There’s a secret below, a dark secret.
Something people will kill to protect.
It’s your job to find that secret and report back – if you can.
- Title: Below The Ice
- File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-below-the-ice.7z
- Size : 9.14MB
- Author: Evina Entertainment
- Date Released: 19 January 2015
Download directly into MapTap [9.14MB]
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PlanetPhillip Download Options
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Manual Installation Instructions
- Copy the belowice folder into your SourceMods folder.
- Restart or start Steam.
- Below The Ice should now be listed in your Library tab.
If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
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12 recommendations, average score: 3.42 (out of 5), standard deviation: 1.08 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 9 comment(s) with meta review data.
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 8 Users
Average: 1 Hours, 39 Mins
Shortest: 1 Hours by medve a maci
Longest: 3 Hours by Hec
Total Time Played: 14 Hours, 53 Mins
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 8 Users
Average: 1 Hours, 39 Mins
Shortest: 1 Hours by medve a maci
Longest: 3 Hours by Hec
Total Time Played: 14 Hours, 53 Mins
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This is an interesting release. It tries to tell a story, something with some thought behind it and it also has some well-mapped and designed areas.
Unfortunately, it falls short of its potential.
What I found were just a collection of areas that almost seemed to have been joined together. The “portal-like” areas make no sense at all, even though they are well-built and fun to play. Why would I need to go to all that trouble to get the antidote? Why build such a huge complex just for that?
next, I managed to finish the mod without going into the south complex at all. When I reached it, I decided to continue around some other areas and come back to it, but found the mod would not allow it. I understand there is the possibility of multiple paths but it doesn’t seem to have been done effectively here.
For example, later in the mod, you are given the choice to pick up a gun. I left it behind but it seems that I still get attacked. Perhaps with the gun I could defend myself, I suppose I’ll have to replay and see. But the way it is presented is if I pick up the gun then violence will follow, but it seems to follow anyway.
The presence of the Combine is never clearly explain and the ending unsatisfying. Again, perhaps I am supposed to feel that I need to go back and replay from the gun choice.
One last negative. Right at the end the player is presented with invisible walls, justified with on-screen text. That is wrong. Build the level so I can’t go back – blocked doors etc. You can see in image 68 the mapper must have forgotten that the door opened.
All in all, I did enjoy playing this but felt that with some extra polish and more beta testing it could have been a much better release.
I am curious to see what others think.
1 Hour, 20 Minutes
I haven’t played the map yet, but probably due to the new theme I noticed that you post the pictures in different resolutions. This seems like a terrible waste of web space and bandwidth to me!
This feature has been around for many months now. There is no extra bandwidth unless you open different sizes. In fact, I could argue that it reduces the bandwidth by allowing people to open the size that they want instead of being forced to open bigger sizes. The most common screen resolution is 1920×1080, so I would offer 1600 or 1366 as the standard size.
The thumbnails are loaded once and used for all three size, so there is no extra bandwidth sued there. The only extra space used is for the couple of lines used to display the three resolutions and I feel the benefit to users easily outweighs those lines.
This mod is large but it certainly lacks polish. It looks decent enough the brushwork isn’t up to much but some of the custom textures and the effects are pretty decent. The layout is a bit confusing there are a few areas that look very much copied and pasted and the visual language is often neither consistent with Half Life 2 or (it seems) with itself.
The intro sequence is pretty cool but the introductory environment is quite poorly made, displacements really don’t seem to be this authors strong suite, there are test chamber style puzzles (for some reason) which are simple enough to work out but the removal of sprint makes some (especially the first one) quite awkward to execute.
Throughout it feels like the mod doesn’t quite know what it wants to be, there are 15 emp tools (presumably supposed to be data packets) for you to collect but the mod seems to actively discourage exploration with invisible walls, it shows you some pretty cool stuff if you look around but most of it doesn’t seem to pay off. Once you reach the end you are presented with a map where you actually cant explore, I opened a door and I found myself face to face with the swirly abyss that was the outside of the map.
The ending I got was the same as Phillips judging by his screenshots which I found very confusing… maybe it’s an artsy thing but I didn’t get it.
I personally didn’t enjoy this map a whole lot, there were a lot of good ideas and stems of ideas thrown in but what has come out as a result is something of a confused mess.
not too bad,however it never really got going… but i still gave it a play it later as ive seen worse … what let it down for me was the “portal-esq” areas and as phillip stated they didnt make sense and could of been so much better with detailed textures
overall not too bad but could of been so much better !
1 Hour, 43 Minutes
OK so i’m stuck in the very first “chamber” that one with a red laser wall entrance, and 2 red buttons that became yellow once pressed; what i have to do in there???
Press them both very quickly. So, press one and then immediately run and press the other.
Oh, OK Phillip many thanks! it seems to be that having the sprint key disabled was the very big issue for me at the beginning of this mod.
Old bunny jump was the only way to move fast in this mod!! was sometimes exasperating!!
Ahh, that is what was needed? Well, I noclipped through that, because it was hardly clear what to do. Review coming.
I also noclipped
I can bunny hop a hundred times and nothing works. I don’t do ‘noclip’. If the mod doesn’t work it isn’t worth playing. And this one doesn’t work. Too bad I’ll never finish so the overall recommendations won’t have the benefit of what I think of this…..
I think you should write a review anyway.
For me, it’s whatever comes first: beating the mod, or putting enough time into it to give it a fair chance. I don’t think I’ve ever played a Half-Life mod where something about the ending forgave the bad experience getting there. Mappers don’t magically improve like that.
unpolished as hell in my opinion. there are no door just a sign that i should go there, or not even a sign sometimes. very few textures, and even fewer poligons. the main idea and logic system is interesting, but there are so many little gameplay issues with it, that the player cannot actually have fun.
This mod isn’t terrible, but not the best either. It has a lot flaws, like the fact that it wasn’t very polished and the fact that every player will feel very, VERY restricted to what he can do in the mod, there’s still hope for it. Also, CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT GENRE IS THIS. It’s listed in puzzles, but it doesn’t have a lot, really. It is a mix between The Stanley Parable and Silent Hill, though not that gross. Also, this mod doesn’t have a lot of combat, so if you’re more into combat mods, you will most likely be disappointed.
According to the ModDB page it is a story-driven mystery and puzzle mod with minor horror elements.
This was… eh, it was worth playing, but it was kind of an exercise in how many times I had to hit fullbright or noclip to get an idea of what the hell was going on anywhere.
From the very start, aside from the icy environment which was ‘okay’ but for the terrible integration of the map into its surrounding box, this mod was fighting me playing it. I don’t want to have to figure out what to do when there’s absolutely no clues at all. It’s discouraging to have to start and restart and wonder what is going on.
Noclipped through the first room. Running back and forth? Well, since “running” wasn’t an option, that didn’t seem like it could be a solution. I noticed later in the puzzle areas that the buttons blinked orange – if they did in that room, I never saw it. The second room was little better, as once I got into one of the little nook elevators it killed me several times since moving a tiny bit while it went up again would squish you.
Having SO MANY invisible walls was frustrating. Having SO FEW different textures was just lazy. If you want to make a Portal style mod, *make one*. Use Portal’s many surfaces, use the different angled boxes, use things to visually distinguish them from their surroundings. USE COLOR CUES.
Placing randomly broken off boxes into *completely non-obvious-use* light boxes… that… was stupid. I mean, not even just ‘oh I missed that’ but *stupid* in that there was NO reason for me to think to DO that. The endless black and white grid was even more annoying when I had to fullbright it to see if I’d even gone the right direction, and that was hardly the first and definitely not the last use of fullbright I needed here. Bad lighting and no light cues = a poor learning curve.
Most of the puzzles weren’t *remarkably* hard, but I missed a good number of clues because they were not lit, they weren’t in a location that seemed to make any sense, and they certainly weren’t in a form that was appropriate to the area. A bunch of torn off letterhead or notebook pages? What? Toss a clipboard down. Leave a blood trail. *Spotlight* it. If someone passed through the area, and *meant* to leave a clue, *actually leave a clue*.
After the nonsensical pit of grid doom, wandering through the ‘facility’ was little better in terms of the map quality. It was adequate, certainly *better* than the grid rooms. But the inclusion of a ‘map’ which had no clear matchup visually to where you actually were? Yeah, still failing. SOME areas were labeled clearly. Almost none of them were needed, and many others should have had an obvious sign on the door or for a corridor. (At least one, the ‘north / south’ arrowed narrow hallway, I couldn’t see the wording, only the arrows, until I ‘brighted it. Meaningless arrows! yay!)
Flashbacks were interesting, and the story itself, while told around a very badly led journey, wasn’t terrible at all. But the flashbacks made no sense: did I die? Was I turned into a Combine soldier? Why was I walking down a hallway in what appeared to be a Combine citadel? Was that here? Hardly! How did I get back to where I was? Finding a cure for the virus you’ve taken had no urgency – there were no side effects. There was no time limit on anything, and besides if you HAD a time limit, the presence of an endless stream of puzzles in the way is stupid. The timing of the virus – only a day or so before you die or at least are too ill to do anything – means that there is a self-limiting factor built in, which wasn’t exploited in the slightest here.
The lack of a health monitor for the bulk of the game, and the *continued* lack of the ability to sprint or do anything WITH a suit, seemed to be … just… I don’t even know, why bother worrying about your health, if you can’t enact some kind of damage?
The ‘end’ of the mod confused the crap out of me. I’d originally saved and chosen the gun, which led to lots more guns being available. Yay! Guns! If I’d had an inkling that *other rebels* were going to be shooting at me, along with Combine, I’d probably have chosen that option and stuck with it. But as it was, since there are no *health kits* anywhere, you simply have to get shot at, get jumped on by headcrabs, and then basically… give up. No more health left. I didn’t see one health kit, dispenser, or any other method of gaining back health, so again what’s the point there? You’ve gotten the antidote, so you’re healthy, and only THEN do you start ‘taking damage’?
I got one of the three endings, after having re-chosen not to opt for the gun. I still got the snot beat out of me, by Combine that *didn’t follow me* up stairs? Followed Gman through an admittedly pretty cool tunnel of dot-space… and then … saw more stuff that led me to believe that all three endings were lumped into one longer visual tale – if I’d gotten out, why suddenly were there two more scenes of Advisors and a dead Citizen (who I have to assume is me)? I have a feeling that the endings got muddled?
All in all, it’s “challenging”. I’d still say to play it, but don’t expect anything to make a shred of sense, and certainly don’t expect to be wowed by anything. The only thing that really impressed me was the download size, versus the length of time I took to play it.
1 Hour, 45 Minutes
(testing the ability to reply)
Ok, so let me begin this recommendation by saying I like this kind of mods, I mean, where an author actually takes risks of developing his work into the HL2 Universe plot.
So, once I stated that I guess that’s what I like the most in this mod. The risk that took the author developing a cool story into the HL2 world; I mean it, despite the technical mapping-gameplay flaws which are many, I loved the fact to see those little plot details connected into a creepy, kind of eerie story; also the connection with Aperture Science Labs was a very nice detail and not only that, but how the story line connect with the vast HL2 universe.
You know, I’ve always dreamed one day to play a mod that is set into the very heart of Aperture Science Labs, but I imagine a huge CMB invasion in that facility fetching some important technology, and a group of rebels fighting the hell in there trying to stop the Combine. I think if I were a mod developer I certainly try to do that, but in a million years I could be a mapper; so I know Bellow the Ice is the closest thing I have played picturing that crazy idea of mine; so I guess that’s why I liked this one.
Now about the gameplay, I liked those puzzles that were not very hard nor very simple neither. Though I think the whole trip in the HSP facility was very calm but I always felt observed by someone in there, yeah those G-man sightings were some of the creepiest I’ve ever experienced in recent mods!!! Also the fact HSP promote eugenics was another kind of creepy detail, I guess that Dr. Leathalson would have been fit perfect as a Nazi scientist!! So, those mystery sinister touch were a very nice environmental aura in there. I guess many players don’t like the fact in this mod we explore like a 90 percent and we have only a 10 percent of action, so I guess any gamer who wants to try this has to be aware of that.
Now the main shortfalls on this mod, maybe are the lack of sprint key at the beginning, so if you want to move faster you have to try the old bunny jump trick which sometimes is very exasperating, specially if you have to walk long distances inside a map. Also there’s one finale that if you want to trigger it then you have to find 15 special tiny objects; I only found 14 of 15 so it was kind of disappointing.
About the first finale I can say it was the sad, CMB win finale, so I didn’t like that; the 3rd finale was definitely the best and the action one! though the combat would have been better an even harder inside that big facility, so I guess the combat scenario was kind of underused. The option of choose the 1st and 3rd finale was a very classic one into the HL1 modding scene, I also like those old school touches like climbing on some crates in order to solve hindrances.
I think, the overall feeling, is like, this mod was actually like a very big introduction to a bigger project, which I don’t know if the author is willing to try, I hope he take the risk because at least in my case I would definitely play it.
Pd. (Apart from the 1187 mod) I still waiting some BRAVE modder to develop a cool 7hr War mod!!!! I hope someone dares to do it.
I have to say it: in my opinion we need more mods set into the vast and very rich HL2 Universe, some of them could be very awesome.
To @Phillip; boy I made some horrible writing mistakes on my recomm. I hope the edit tool gets back soon in RTSL please!!!!!!!!!
This mod isn’t that great. Did I finish it? No. But I spent well over an hour struggling with it. And never once was it any fun to play. I eventually reached the third level and after noclipping around and seeing the enormous amount still to go, I decided I had enough.
The people who make these “art mods,” or whatever you want to call this, should learn to be great mappers first, and then the artistic chops will follow. Here, we have a heady narrative built on top of a shaky foundation of lazy brush work, bland uninspired environments and puzzle design that could only be described as obnoxious at best, downright trollish at worst.
The part that really made me roll my eyes? When I couldn’t read an important note, scribbled on some notebook paper on the floor, because it was “too dark” to read it. I’ve got hands, right? Pick up the note and bring it to the bright room just 5 feet away!
That wasn’t the only instance of arbitrary obstacles. Another example is a ramp that is blocked by an invisible wall. The character says something like, “I don’t think I should go down there yet.” How do you know? And later, when the path is unblocked, nothing tells you this. You’re just supposed to wander back to that area and try again.
I’m sorry, but for a mod to be good in my opinion, it has to first and foremost be fun. This was not.
1 Hour, 5 Minutes
I dont think this is an “artsy” mod. I guess fits more into the category of near-cannon Hl2 universe story teller.
I found this mod to be kind of interesting but not really fun to play. I don’t like not having a suit at the beginning as you don’t know how much damage you have taken. The outdoor section was small and bland and the mechanic of opening the door was strange. Yes I found the tool I needed but then the lock just magically popped off? I would have liked to have a larger more interesting area on the ice to explore before going underground. A really polished mod would have a cut scene as well with the parachute descent.
The puzzles were relatively easy and kind of crude. I didn’t have any problems with those, except for a few unexpected deaths by being crushed. Once you get into the open areas by the car, you have to cover a lot of ground without the run key which is annoying. I got my car stuck once in the glacier area and was completely powerless to do anything about it – bad design.
The section with the stairs and locked rooms was very cramped and crude. It was strange to put the battery in the area by the fire. You can’t throw it in the fire (obviously because you need it) but you can throw the gas canisters and other items in there. I expected something to happen when I burned the gas canisters and was kind of let down when nothing did. I also found that if you clicked on multiple things that displayed messages in quick fashion then the messages were layered on top of each other. This made it difficult to read them.
I did like the second set of puzzles with the teleporting doors, especially the combat with the roller mines. This was probably the best part of the mod for me. I don’t know why the author put the turrets in place though as they weren’t really any challenge. When I got to the choice part with the pistol, I forgot to save the game there. Unfortunately this meant I had to replay the entire game to try the other ending.
The combat ending was more fun, but I found you take a lot of damage and can die quite easily. The other ending (without the pistol) is pretty good except for the part where you get shot at and can only flee up the stairs.
It’s a decent mod to play despite the flaws. Just remember to make a save point at the point where you decide whether or not to pick up the pistol. Quick saving a lot when you get the car is also a good idea in case you get stuck.
I recorded this mod. IT WAS AMAZING, the puzzles, the sad, sad storyline 🙁 Still loved it but it was sad (With the ending I got) Still great mod!!!!!!! (This I bet is too short…)
I couldn’t do the bunny jump at the beginning either, and almost gave up. Then I noclipped and got stuck again, and had to look at the movie. After that however, I managed all puzzles myself, and finished it. And it wasn ‘t too bad, I like puzzle mods, and I like somewhat longer puzzles (but not the really long ones). I only did the ending with the gun, and that was allright too.
Summarizing: if you stick with it, you might start to enjoy it.
This is another diamond in the rough in terms of underlying storytelling. Unfortunately, I don’t mean in terms of the player’s own story line, as I still don’t understand the role of the main character whatsoever, and this is a big sore spot to me.
I mean the story of the facility here. There’s a lot in the subtext here being told and you really only start to appreciate it after getting past the test chamber section to get in. My only suggestion is to definitely work to get past those first puzzles, the mod gets much better after that.
However, I don’t think that excuses a lot of the weak brush work going on here, or the often basic looking areas presented. The new textures partly help with this problem, but it’s clear the level maker doesn’t have much experience with the tool yet, leaving the place to feel kind of cramped when it shouldn’t be, and very flat and boxlike.
The endings presented are kind of disappointing and confusing, but it seems as though no one else reviewing tried to get all three of them. I strongly recommend finding all 15 of the objects only on the second play through. The mod even comes with a spoilers file explicitly listing all 15 locations.
My spoiler review?
“It was a dream” endings are the worst kind of ending, but it’s okay because murderous Eugenics subplot
Edit: There’s also still a bug that makes ratings go away after editing a post…
If you like puzzle oriented games you should appreciate this one. It has a “dark” atmosphere and it’s very portal esque.
Unfortunately, as many other said, the game is really “raw”, the whole experience feels incomplete due to severe lack of details. Plus, the puzzles are completely random and the storyline heavily relies on the original portal game.
Not a terrible mod but a very uninspired one.
Seems disconnected. Maybe I just don’t get it. Overall it looks ok. Lacks real depth, it’s bland.