Cenodrome: The Lost Sub-Basement of TWHL Tower

for Half-Life

3rd September 2018

Cenodrome is a small standalone map made in the mold of the TWHL Tower maps. Put together by regulars at The Whole Half-Life site, TWHL Tower was a collaborative mapping project where each mapper constructed a small floor of the tower, and each floor was joined to others by a stairway. Cenodrome is the long lost sub-basement of that tower.

Basic Details
  • Title: Cenodrome: The Lost Sub-Basement of TWHL Tower
  • File Name: hl1-sp-cenodrome.7z
  • Size : 10.8MB
  • Author: Unquenque
  • Date Released: 03 September 2018
  • Related: TWHL Tower
Author’s Notes

After playing and enjoying TWHL Tower (streaming it, even), I really liked the idea of using such a restricted volume for a Half-Life map. I was also a bit disappointed that the Tower mappers didn’t make more thorough use of the tools that Spirit of Half-Life offered.

So I made Cenodrome as my map for the ill-fated and never released follow-up TWHL World, but using the mold of the TWHL Tower maps. Anyway, here it is as a standalone map instead since I wanted it to see the light of day.

The download includes the map source and detailed notes from the developer.

Download Options

Download to your HDD [10.8MB]

Installation Instructions
  • Copy the cenodrome folder into your Half-Life folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • Cenodrome should now be listed in your Library tab.

If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.

Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

4 recommendations, average score: 4 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.5 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 4 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 4 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 0 Hours, 31 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 20 Mins by Mr. Sakamoto
Longest: 0 Hours, 45 Mins by Anhiro
Total Time Played: 2 Hours, 5 Mins
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11 Comments

  1. Damned if I can work out how to kill that security guard…just can’t get at him. This was quite good fun though…different.

    1. Unq

      Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to be a puzzle of any kind. A charged gauss gun can shoot through walls (and thus windows).

      1. Oh, did that a few times, obviously not enough then….screen just fades out and I have to start again..

  2. Play It Later

    Different and kind of fun. I too had difficulty at the end though. It took every possible ounce of charge I could muster to kill him and I had to replay the section so I could save enough. I’d recommend putting an auto-save just before the “final round” to help with that.

    1. OK, upon replaying the final battle is much easier if you shoot for the head

  3. Play It Now!

    Unquenque makes a great comeback with some clever level designs in this gladiatorial arena-themed level.

    The beginning of this mod starts with an introduction to the basics of the arena’s functions, starting with a few basic NPC spawns and letting the player know that monsters can have a team assigned to them. The player will then organize cockfights and try to pick a winning combination to progress through the map. This game of betting goes on for a couple of rounds and acts as a laidback strategy game of sorts, and only requires the player to step in occasionally to mop up the surviving enemies should they lose the bet. A scoreboard has also been programmed to keep track of the player’s winning bets… The scoreboard could also – to my surprise – detect Draw rounds that do sometimes happen as human enemies love to detonate themselves with their own grenades. Meanwhile, you’re treated to Unquenque’s quirky humor which takes form in a rather… “articulate” vox announcer who will comment on the player’s wins/losses.

    After a couple of rounds of betting, the map will throw the player inside the arena (as expected). The action suddenly picks up in intensity, pitting the player against a large Bullsquid boss complete with its own HP bar, armed with only a crowbar. The next few fights, unfortunately, are a let-down: Xen aliens pop in from every directions inside the cramped arena every round (with the occasional environmental hazard (read: lasers)), and supplies can become scarce rather quickly if you don’t make each bullet, explosive and health point count.

    The author seems to have extensively beta-tested his own map, which I can say I highly appreciated. Extra supplies are occasionally teleported in during heated fights in the form of flat-looking boxes which can be stepped over. This essentially prevents the player from being stopped dead in his tracks should he accidentally trip into one while strafing around the arena (such as during the Boss Bullsquid fight, for example). More importantly, an anti-camping feature has also been included to prevent players from camping one of the small cabins during the final battles with the Alien hordes, and it will spawn a few Snarks to pressure the player if he or she is detected being inside that room for too long.

    The ending fight is a little disappointing and anti-climactic, as it’s just about picking up a Gauss gun and unloading on an NPC behind a glass panel as two measly lasers initially harry the player as he tries to pick up the Gauss gun, but those laser turrets can easily be avoided by simply stepping away from the center of the room, where they will harmlessly continue on their pre-determined path.

    The whole concept of this boss fight may or may not be an intentional nod to Unquenque’s previous map Radix in which the player could snipe the main antagonist through an invisible wall with the Gauss gun where they shouldn’t be allowed to. In any case, it’s a relatively not-often seen use of the weapon and it’s certainly interesting to have the player use it in that fashion here.

    My only criticism of this mod would be the unclear objectives at the start of the level. While an attempt was made to quietly introduce the player to the concept of the map, it didn’t specify how many rounds were required to win the map in order to reach the end goal. Personally, I thought progressing through the map was the only important objective, and the point-counting system was an entirely optional thing. It was slightly irritating to fight all the way to the end boss, only to get killed, and realizing that I had to redo the entire level again because the points actually mattered. Then again, it is a fun and short level, so I didn’t mind re-doing it all and finding all the correct combinations of cockfights in order to achieve all the 8 wins. However, even all of that won’t change much… The ending is a simple fade to black and the congratulatory message for winning all 7 or 8 fights is a snarky comment on your ability to replay the map. Nyeh.

    So in conclusion, this mod is very well-worth its short playthrough if you can stomach some of the rougher Xen alien fights near the end. The author had some very novel ideas and they don’t fail to entertain here (at least they didn’t for me)… THWL Tower is clearly missing something special if they don’t patch this map in as their tutorial level or something. Oh, and if Unquenque can keep this quality of map design consistent? Then I can’t wait to see what Radix 2: The Return of Bill the Evil Genius Headcrab will look like in the future (oh yeah, I’m still waiting)…

  4. I’ll test the mod as I enjoyed TWHL Tower, but what happened to TWHL world?

  5. Play It Later

    This map was a really cool concept. Having to choose NPCs to fight each other, trying to score the most wins was an idea I haven’t seen done before. The option to choose the fate of the ‘enemy’ if they won was also very satisfying. >:)

    It also looked very good, getting a good GoldSrc-y look.

    However, it didn’t feel very exciting, for the most part. Eventually pitting the NPCs against each other lost its touch. The bullsquid fight was a good change, but it did feel a bit easy. I could kill it with my crowbar alone, as it didn’t seem to attack me once I got right up beside it. The boss fight against the evil Barney was harder, almost verging on too hard. There wasn’t many health packs, and there was no rest time between the enemies. (but I guess that was the point of a boss fight…)

    Overall, it’s a good map, with a good concept behind it. Maybe a version with some cover to hide with, or pits, just something to spice up the playing field, would engage me better.

  6. Hec
    Maybe?

    Well, first I have to say there’s no doubt Unq is a very talented modder. That’s a fact. His maps always look very pretty and well polished in every aesthetics and technical detail. In here the voice scripts are delightfully done and the whole work feels real and coherent from the beginning until the end, in story terms. Because as I’ll write next, gameplay was quite a turndown in my opinion.

    So here the concept is very interesting and overall cool to play, very entertaining. But being an arena-style map, the difficulty is an overkill factor at the final stages. I know you have to combat wisely and move in a strategic manner through the arena, also getting into the only open booth at the end penalize the player by throwing a pretty much annoying snark, which it was the reason I lost many, many health points in a way that I consider it was totally unfair, because you don’t get a clue of that could happen, it’d be so much more straightforward and simple in gameplay terms to leave that booth closed in the final boss fights.

    That being said, I think this mod is overall really nice and entertaining but the difficult challenges at the end almost kill the whole gaming experience. Very similar to those superb hard ass portal mods almost no one likes because its absurd challenging hindrances to beat them!! I dare to say even playing this on “easy” skill its despite that very, very hard.

    Also, I consider it was just a terrible taste and a kind of rude to place a grade of how you made it ay the end of it, once you exit the arena. To me, that was just like a big middle finger curse to my face like saying: “haha It was just dreadfully difficult to beat it, and if like that wasn’t enough me the developer still mock at you giving you an F!!” Come on, dude!! please don’t dare to put that in a mod if you perfectly know it was annoyingly difficult.

    Yeah, I guess this it was the case of a nice mod, where the whole experience gets ruined by that badly planned difficulty skill issue.

    1. I disagree with you in regards to that infamous booth… It’s pretty much a necessity for breaking enemy line of sight, otherwise Alien Slaves would roast you alive in less than 2 seconds after they spawn (mind you, I played on Hard). It also acts as a relatively safe spot for you to use the health dispenser in case you ever need it. You can definitely take temporary refuge in there without triggering the Snark spawn too… The trick is to not stay there for too long. Snarks harassing you is an entirely reasonable trade-off from having to take the brunt of the Alien assault. So to close it, as you suggested, would severely limit the player’s tactical choices, not to mention making the map even more cramped than it already is due to the limited map size.

      I would agree with you entirely in regards to the ending messages being a tad insensitive to the player, especially after all the hardships they must’ve went through to complete his map. But I also believe that it’s just part of the author’s humor and how he wants to let the player know that he knows what they have been doing all this time. It’s his job as a map author to guess what the player is doing, after all. 🙂

      1. Hec

        Yeah, I haven’t seen it that way. Though I guess I could replay it again trying to do that. Though I think not been seen by the xenians is really hard! because sooner or later the bastards will get you mercilessly.

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