Halloween Horror II: The Darkness – Map Labs #6

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

31st October 2019

The most wonderful time of the year! Halloween is upon us, and that means another scary mapping challenge from Map Labs. This time it’s Halloween Horror II: The Darkness, where mappers were tasked with using light and darkness in a unique way.

The Halloween mapping challenges over the years have been a bit of a mixed bag. But this pack of spooky maps is solid from top to bottom with some real clever maps in there. Buckle up, and embrace the darkness.

As always, if you’re interested in learning more about Map Labs and maybe even participate in their upcoming challenges, visit the Map Labs Discord!

Basic Details
  • Title: Halloween Horror II: The Darkness
  • Filename: sdk-2013-sp-mlc-halloweenhorror2.7z
  • Size : 320 MB
  • Author: JanKaszanka, Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon, Skorly, DeanAmythe, timCopwell, iiboharz, Jackathan, The Octopus, BeefBacon, LordDz
  • Date Released: 31 October 2019

Download Options

Download to your HD [320 MB]

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Make sure you have the Upcoming branch of the Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer installed in Steam and run at least once. (Properties – Betas – select upcoming from the dropdown list).
  • Copy the “halloweenhorror2” folder into your SourceMods folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • Halloween Horror 2: The Darkness should now be listed in your Library tab.

Reviewing

If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, feel free to use the file below as a template:

HalloweenHorror2-Review-Template.txt

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:

Hammer Tools Inc. by JanKaszanka
Night Terror by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
Self Defense by Skorly
Ablaze by DeanAmythe
BLINK by timCopwell
Shattered by iiboharz and Jackathan
Bunker by The Octopus
Aberrant Transmission by BeefBacon
Reavers by LordDz
Hammer Tools Inc. – Aggressive Mode by JanKaszanka (bonus map)

Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
Each map has 5 screenshots.

1600 x 900

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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

1 recommendation, average score: 5 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 1 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 1 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 2 Hours
Shortest: 2 Hours by DeanAmythe
Longest: 2 Hours by DeanAmythe
Total Time Played: 2 Hours
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
Jump to a review
Play It Now!

3 Comments

  1. Play It Now!
    Hammer Tools Inc
    It is good

    Nice job converting the FNaF concept into HL2 and not entirely copying it. Although the camera switching took a bit of time to get used to, I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
    A phone guy was also a nice touch, but I think some players will be overwhelmed by the amount of information given to them, even though it isn’t really that much. I myself already had an idea of what the jammer did when I used it when the hudhint came up, but for some people it won’t be clear until they’ve heard from the phone guy what it’s purpose is, and when that time comes there may already be entities at the door. I think a more “interactive” phone call could’ve worked here, like,
    “Let’s check the camera’s”
    *player opens the cam feed*
    “Let’s look on the left side”
    Kinda like that. It also would’ve been good to tell the player that the entities are already active when the night starts, that may have given them more incentive to check the cams immediately.
    My main gripe with this entry is the gameplay; it’s very repetitive. You really are just doing the same things over and over for what seems like way too long. Every entity has the same path to go (the same amount of “steps”) and they both behave the same. Some differences in their behavior would’ve certainly reduced the repetitiveness.
    Another weak point in the gameplay is how it feels kinda luck based (even though it may not be). When both entities come at you at once, you just have to be kinda lucky and spam W in the hope the jammer powers up again before you get a (weak and not very well implemented) jumpscare.
    Now the visuals were certainly pretty good, I guess that’s also due to the creator only having to detail what the cams are looking at, leaving out spots to detail.
    I think this entry wasn’t great with the spookiness. Yes, it’s suspenseful when the entities come closer and closer to you, but that’s it. The jumpscares are also, as mentioned before, pretty lame and the sound was also way too weak to make the player jump in any way (except for Strontvlieg, it made him spill coffee).
    All in all, a creatively put together but flawed entry, definitely a good one to start the competition with.

    Night Terror
    It is okay

    Creative and unsettling, but falls flat in terms of gameplay.
    Switching off lights was a neat idea and really brings back memories of when I used to run up to the first floor of my house after turning off the lights downstairs, hoping the demons in the dark won’t get to me (something that I still tend to do lol). In this map though, there doesn’t seem like there is a reason to stay out of the dark. The letters suggest the demons in the dark will take you if you stay in it too long, but I never found that to be the case, even when standing in the dark with host_framerate.
    The thing that this entry nails is the unsettling atmosphere, Matt really did great job on that. How the house slowly decays each night was also neatly implemented and executed. The night that was the most unsettling though, was the fourth one, and you’ll see why when you play this.
    The visuals were a bit underwhelming but the amount of detail does make sense as Matt was recreating his own house here.
    As I said, this entry’s gameplay isn’t very good. In almost every night you are doing the exact same thing, switching the exact same lights off in the same place over and over, with only one night (night 4) making it an interesting thing to do. If you were able to make a mechanic that actually punishes you for staying in the dark, it most likely would’ve been more interesting.
    All in all, an entry with some neat ideas that aren’t implemented very well.

    Self Defense
    It is good

    Just like the previous two entries, creative ideas, poor gameplay. In this one you have to collect 12 gnomes in an interesting looking city where you are not alone in. I don’t really mind maps where you have to find stuff, but at least make it exciting. Here you are just walking around really slowly around the city with basically all other functions than walking and the HUD disabled. This makes finding the gnomes pretty tedious as the city itself has a relatively large size. Finding the last few gnomes was really damn boring as I was just walking in circles most of the time.
    In the map’s defense (no pun intended), the interesting looking city does make it less of a chore. I liked the use of different saturated colors in the lighting, making for a way more abstract looking place. The lighting also helps to make some interior areas more interesting to look at, as a lot of them are very underdetailed or just simply empty.
    The map has a pretty neat atmosphere, nice use of sound effects and noises. Sometimes the noises started playing when I wasn’t even in sight of the monster though, or at least I didn’t see it and I didn’t hear any gunshots either.
    All in all an interesting map that’s well worth a play if you can look past bit of tediousness.

    BLINK
    It is good

    This definitely could’ve been one of my favorite entries on this competitions if it wasn’t for a few frustrating aspects. I don’t know if it’s me or the map, but I found the player direction to be horrible. At first it’s okay, but after I turned on the generator I was left walking around for at least 10 minutes looking for the next thing to do. You are supposed to use physics items to proceed, but I didn’t make the connection as a lot of physics objects in the map, well, don’t have physics, so I didn’t see them as anything important. After I got past that the map got better instantly, but I was still left very frustrated.
    Now on to the other things; good stuff. The main mechanic of the game is creative but I had no idea what it did at first and the [!] on my screen left me confused as well, but it didn’t bother me that much. What did bother me a bit, however, was the constant back-and-forth walking, and since you are quite slow it can get a bit tedious.
    The map’s visuals were good, but I was a bit annoyed by the sprites on the lights; none of them were correctly placed and the sprites had Glow for Render Mode instead of World Space Glow, which means that the glows stay the same size on your screen no matter the distance, which makes for some awful looking effects. Also, don’t use point_spotlight entities on florescent lights, it looks really odd.
    All in all, a good map that I think could’ve benefited from more playtesting.

    Shattered
    It is okay

    This entry felt like it was made for another competition really. The spook factor was basically absent. Yes, there were a few skeletons here and there, but I mean… does anyone legitimately get scared by a skeleton physics prop in HL2?
    The only real thing that this entry has got going for it are the visuals and the interesting setting. I like how the previous maps from the creators are “coming together” so to say. But, how is the gameplay?
    It’s okay at best. All you do is throw props at Metrocops with your Gravity Gun. That doesn’t sound that bad on paper, but I just found it very frustrating to do because of the enemy and prop placement.
    All in all, a visually good looking and interesting map with uninteresting gameplay and horror elements that feel like they have been shoehorned in at the last minute.

    Bunker
    It is bad

    Sorry, but this one wasn’t very good. It starts off pretty nice, but once the Fast Zombies start appearing, it just becomes a tedious and frustrating experience. Why in the hell would you make me fight two Fast Zombies on a small platform with a crowbar?!
    Just like Shattered, the spook factor is nowhere to be seen here, unless you find fighting Zombies in brightly lit areas frightening.
    The visuals were okay at the beginning because the darkness kinda hides the underdetailed areas, but when the bright lighting starts kicking in you can see it however, and it just doesn’t look good.
    It sounds like I couldn’t find any redeeming features on this map, but I could. For example, I thought some of the areas were well made, (not necessarily in terms of gameplay, but I mean geometry and shit) the part where you are on the platform I mentioned before, looks pretty neat with all the spotlights.
    Fighting the Fast Zombies was annoying at first, but once you get the Gravity Gun and a sawblade, it gets way better as you now have the tools necessary to actually fight them properly.
    If this is the creator’s first map, dont’ worry, I’ve seen way, way worse.

    Aberrant Transmission
    It is WOW!

    Really liked this one! Great visuals, fantastic atmosphere, good gameplay. I honestly don’t have a lot to say about this one except for a few things.
    The stealth section was pretty neat, although I think it will be frustrating for some players; it might be unclear to the player that they’re supposed to use stealth here, and they will rush through the area and will become frustrated by continuous death. Breaking the lamp with a prop can also be a bit unclear to the player, but some effects and a hudhint did the job for me.
    I didn’t really find the map to be very scary. A few things here and there made me jump a little and the atmosphere was unsettling, but that’s it.
    All in all, a really good entry, can’t wait to see more from the creator.

    Reavers
    It is great!

    Really like the spaceship setting here! Love me some horror on spaceships. And it works well here!
    The Grubs on the walls and ceiling fit very well, very good choice of the creator to put those in. They add a lot to the “abandoned spaceship” feel of the map.
    The atmosphere and spookyness were on point as well. Good use of lighting and a few jumpscares here and there. They got me pretty good!
    The section with the suit was really well made, very good use of a screenoverlay and sound effects. It actually felt convincing, in contrast to other similar attemps I’ve seen.

  2. Wesp5

    A rather disappointing collection of maps. Aberrant Transmission was the best by far and again breaking the light took some time to figure out as you can’t do that to any other light too! Also why is it that many modders find it is cool to 1) remove jumping and 2) hide the quick save message?

    1. I guess they do that to make you less mobile, limiting your abilites (to make you feel more vulnerable).
      Hiding the quick save message I think is because of the speedmod mappers use to limit your movement.

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