The Sprucecape Mappack

for Half-Life 2: Episode One

1st November 2010

This release has been updated: The Sprucecape Mod for Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

You play the role of John Sprucecape. Apparently, a “once a successful professor of philosophy, but now a violent unemployed middle-aged man with an alcohol addiction”.

You wake up to find yourself locked in the house and your family gone. Go look for them! Of course Life has a way of throwing stuff in your way, as I am sure you expected.

Basic Details
  • Title: The Sprucecape Mappack
  • File Name: hl2-ep1-sp-the-sprucecape-mappack.7z
  • Size : 43.40MB
  • Author: Erik Råmark, Aleksi Leppänen
  • Date Released: 27 October 2010

Download Options

This download has been removed. Please play the updated version, linked to above.

Installation Instructions
  • Copy the episodic folder into your Half-Life 2: Episode One folder.
  • Says “yes” if it asks you to “overwrite” or not. It will only copy new files.
  • Launch Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Open the console and type map SpruceCape.bsp.
  • Press enter/return or click the Submit button.
  • Play and Enjoy.

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


The Sprucecape Mappack is a HALL of FAME entry


Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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

32 recommendations, average score: 4.38 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.86 (what's that?)
Total Downloads

Please note: These statistics are valid from December 2010

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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 5 comment(s) with meta review data.

Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 4 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 0 Hours, 44 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 35 Mins by qekko
Longest: 1 Hours by Steve
Total Time Played: 3 Hours, 40 Mins
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
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Phillip's FavouriteMaybe?Personal FavouritePlay It LaterPlay It Now!Personal FavouritePlay It Now!Play It LaterPlay It Now!Play It LaterPersonal FavouritePlay It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It LaterPlay It Now!Play It Now!Personal FavouriteMaybe?Play It Now!Think TwicePlay It Now!Think TwicePersonal FavouritePersonal FavouritePlay It LaterPlay It LaterMaybe?Play It Now!Maybe?


  1. Phillip's Favourite

    I had no hesitation giving this a Personal Favourite, it offers interesting level design and action-packed fights. The house at the beginning is by far the most realistic I have seen, although the colouring is a little strange at times.

    There is a back story but it doesn’t play a part in the gameplay and is essentially worthless as I doubt players will even read the readme. At least the author made an effort to create a reason for the situation. That said, the player is given some information along the way to explain why he is in the locked house alone. It’s a pity they didn’t get the English checked.

    It’s shame that the author’s didn’t take the time to turn this into a proper mod and make installation easier. In fact I am also unsure why the chose to make it for Episode One, perhaps there is a technical reason.

    The mappack is split into 3 distinct sections, each taking place at different times of the day. It seems a little strange but in reality it doesn’t detract from the gameplay.

    The are a number of puzzles you need to solve and these range from “How do I get out” to “How do I get in”. A few times I really had to work hard to find a solution, even if it was just getting to a point in the map. That’s one of the reasons I really enjoyed it so much, it was hard in places but not because it was over complicated – just because the solution took a little time to work out.

    My biggest issue with the maps are the invisible walls. That’s just amateurish, especially considering the rest of the level is so well made.

    The later parts of the third level are very fun and it’s not something I’ve seen before but the very last part is way too obvious, but it’s hard to end maps originally.

    Although we never see Combine I have chosen to assume that this could be within the HL universe. There are a few new assets but most is the same as HL2.

    At times it’s beautiful to look at, other times it’s fun to play and yet other times it makes you think. To me that’s a perfect combination of things. I have to admit to being amazed that this mappack hasn’t received more attention. Perhaps because it’s not your normal setting, although I would have thought that would have been an advantage. I suspect it’s because it’s for Episode One.

    In conclusion, if you have EP1, please play it as soon as possible. If you don’t have Ep1, try and find a find to borrow it from. Very regular commenters can contact me to borrow Ep1 if they need to, but you must be a VERY regular commenter.


  2. sounds interesting, I’ll take a shot at it!

  3. Downloading now from PP, but I noticed that in moddb file size is 56.99 mb. Different compression?

    1. Yes, I now use 7zip which has a better compression ratio.

      1. OGH

        Use PAQ8px if you need good compression.

        1. I’m very happy with the standard 7Zip compression.

  4. Maybe?

    I have to give it a Maybe, unfortunately.
    This is unfair to the author though.

    The mapping is fine, excellent even, barring the irritating clipping to stop you going where the author does not want you to go.

    Some will love this map pack. Especially some of the puzzlers.

    I found the puzzles a frustration rather than brain teasers.
    Combat loving grunts like me will not like it at all.

  5. Barricader

    Found the battery for the car, but not the fuel. Hints?

    1. It’s not in the diner but further away.

      1. Barricader

        Got it. Thanks.

  6. Personal Favourite

    Well, it’s a very cool mod, divided in three parts (house/station/hangar + finale), and it’s really well done!

    The developers put great details to build the “life” of Sprucecape, there is an hypnotic soundrack, the difficulty is average with a few but sometimes difficult zombie fights, it is also very atmospheric.

    About the climax, [spoiler] Who was that guy at the end? A simple resistance member? And is Sprucecape really dead? 🙁 [/spoiler]

    I can only hope you will make someday a sequel to the adventures of Sprucecape, like him rejoining his wife and son, because it’s one of the few mod-maked character that I found interesting!!!

    Keep the good job!!!

    1. Anon_231817

      Apparently, the avatar is an alcoholic who beats his family, from what the read-me says and the two in-game messages found in the house. His wife locked him in the house so that she could have more time to escape with her kids. The reason we are chasing after our family is to bring them back home and start the cycle of violence again. [spoiler]So the woman in the finale is our wife, who wants to ensure we never endanger the family again.[/spoiler]

  7. s.anchev

    [spoiler]Oh yes I reload and can now see she’s a woman carrying a Baby on her back. So the story is really over, too bad 🙁 I wish Sprucecape could have a chance to redeem himself 🙂 [/spoiler]

  8. Play It Later

    I have mixed feelings about this mod. While the mapping and level design was incredible, some of the best I’ve seen actually, I really didn’t enjoy the gameplay. The puzzles always had that “a-ha!” moment upon solving them, but getting to the solution was mostly tedious and awkward.

    I’m want to giving this map-pack a “maybe” based on the gameplay and a “play it now” based on the mapping, so I’ve settled on “play it later”.

    1. I forgot to mention the story. While it wasn’t developed too much, I liked how subtle it was, giving a sense of purpose (even though that purpose is pretty deplorable…). It was definitely appreciated.

      I really really liked the ending. Really simple and a nice conclusion to the story, although I could have done without the very end. It didn’t really spoil anything though.

      This addition doesn’t really change my overall rating, I still think the puzzle design brought the mod down quite a bit.

  9. Play It Now!

    It wasn’t quite my favorite, but it was good.

    I found it annoying that you could reach the battery and gas tank early on, but they would be immovable. The other problem was that you could easily get the buggy stuck in the junkyard and, lacking the gravity gun, it was impossible to move.

    The invisible walls were vexing at times, but at least forgivable. It was obvious why they were needed, and the author at least tried to have some sort of visual obstruction to explain the wall, instead of just leaving it as some mystical forcefield.

    The puzzles were a very mixed bag. Some were excellently presented, others heavy-handed in their presentation. In just about all cases I knew roughly where I needed to go, but there were a number of times that you’d have had no clue if not for the text.

    The thing that really pulls this mod together is the excellent storytelling and presentation. Other people might complain about the “abusive drunk” deal, but that only has to remain as your character’s backstory. My perspective on the mod as I played it was that I my character had done something to warrant abandonment, but that he was now trying find his family so he could atone for the past by protecting them.

    I particularly liked the “semi-cutscene” at the end; You lost partial control over your character, but still controlled basic walking and looking. You knew exactly what was going to happen, it was just a question of what the cause would be and when.

  10. Personal Favourite

    This mod, though short was very interesting to play and very rewarding. So play it now!
    Awakening from a drunken sleep, hung over amid a house festooned with empty beer bottles I find I have been left and locked in! All I need is a crowbar to escape a rather nicely crafted house, but I am weapon less!
    I get out only to find myself travelling a lonely road and in the darkness trying to get into a creepy gas station diner. Very atmospheric visuals here generate just the right level of impending trouble, with the environmental sounds and music adding to the sombre mood.
    Puzzling fun and the odd surprise or two. Not all are pleasant though!
    A bit of mayhem and car repair and hit the road, after leaving it first!
    Finding a large rubbish dump leads to an endless supply of horror, unless, unlike I did you spot the obvious and “put pedal to metal”.
    This leads to an area of limitless buggy fun, so enjoy it.
    Your driving skill will be tested before the end, but you can cross that bridge when you get to it!
    Good start, good middle and a good ending. Marvellous

    I get the feeling from the notes left that my character is a bit of bad lot!.

    1. bobdog

      RE: starting weapons, upstairs in the house is a [spoiler]shotgun behind glass[/spoiler]. Use your crowbar.

      1. Play It Now!

        These maps are awesome! 🙂 I enjoyed every minute I played this map pack.

    2. I wonder. Did anyone else get the shotgun by using a handy metal bucket?

      1. I tried throwing all sorts of stuff at the glass, but I gave up, as I only heard that faint “tinkle” sound of dreaded unbreakable glass. You got the same sound when throwing stuff at windows so I knew I needed a crowbar. Interesting that you got it without the “bar, though.

        [spoiler]Also, did anybody get the revolver the first time around on the roof? :)[/spoiler]

  11. Play It Now!

    LOVED these maps.
    Great atmosphere, great design.
    Keep it up!

  12. Play It Later

    I agree with Jasper. Never finished it. Lost interest. Frustrating.

  13. Play It Now!

    All around a good mod. No combine combat, but the zombie combat did get a little sudden and crazy at times with one “let’s get the hell out of here” moment. The puzzles required a little thinking and some had more than one solution, but none were frustrating. The author did a nice job of creating a story that was apparent at the beginning and end, but not enough in the middle. The ending was a nice bit of poetic justice

  14. Play It Later

    I enjoyed about 2/3 of this pack, the middle third being the exception. While the maps are indeed quite nicely done, I’d prefer to have them more explorable, and better lit. I had to resort to noclipping to figure out what to do in the middle section, and when I did figure it out, I was a bit put off…
    [spoiler]One doesn’t normally consider *climbing on top of electrical power structures* as a “good” means of getting ANYWHERE, does one? I didn’t.[/spoiler]

    I liked the driving around in the third bit, and I think the cliffs in the last part were breathtaking (I’m terrified of heights, and would never, EVER in my life want to be anywhere near a cliff like that… let alone driving on one!).

    The house at the start was excellent, I’d have liked a little more interaction with it though.

    All in all, I think it’s worth playing, but it’d be much better if it had a lot more flexibility in terms of exploration, lighting, and less nonsensical methods of breaking and entering. 😉

  15. Personal Favourite

    In all honesty, this is the first map pack I’ve played since spring and I’m just so damned happy I chose this set. I really wasn’t expecting all that much more from this than any of the others I’ve played, but I was quite pleasantly surprised at how many of the elements of game-play that I enjoy the most were present and so well done.

    Straight off from the opening at Johns house and continuing throughout each area was the depressing atmosphere of the complete and utter decay of everything – cars, equipment, the house, the junkyard, the dump and John’s family life as well and with never even the sound of the presence of another living soul.

    Loved the musical selections too. I really enjoy when the author(s) use good associative music to accentuate the mood of a scene. Chosen and placed well !

    I feel the maps were very well thought out and put together. Each did a fine job for me of changing up the feel and atmospheres of each area as I progressed. The house was terrific and aside from the sheer size overcompensation of the dump, they were all good. Loved the work on the cliffs ! I agree that those invisible barriers were more confining than guiding, but they served their purpose too.

    Enjoyed all the puzzles ! I don’t mind a little backtracking or ” getting my jump on ” to make my way through. With a little careful thought, each can be achieved reasonably enough. Aside from a couple of obvious bits, I found them pretty inventive and satisfyingly challenging.

    As far as combat, I didn’t miss the Combine a bit. They had nothing to do with the story anyway and the crabs and zombies were plenty enough for adding the element of danger to the story while still being plenty of crowbar swinging fun if you played on hard.

    All in all, I just really enjoyed the project overall and had a great time plying it while being able to appreciate the work that went into it. A must play !

  16. Duke

    I thoroughly enjoyed it, puzzles were a bit frustrating at first, I find with these things you need to get inside the authors head quickly..I was a bit disappointed though as this map could have been SO much more, but good storyline I thought and thoughtfull scenery, Yes, the invisible walls were annoying, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat, I’d hoped for a better ending, as somehow I just knew that final walk would end in tears, but hey, the guy has potential, I really hope he does a proper and full conversion and extends the story…c.mon dude, this could be excellent…

  17. Anon_232429

    Nice job rock on this was pretty detailed.

  18. Since I’m very pleased by this mod, go check his homepage because the author know thinks he could change Sprucecape from a “mappack” to a “mod” with frontpage, chapters, etc etc.

    I think his project deserves some attention. His mod’s is a good “one-shot” but it can evolve in someting better. You can also find some of his videos on YouTube, such as all the Easter Eggs of his mappack…

    It shouldn’t be as long as Coastline to Atmosphere (LOL) or Strider Mountain (LOL BIS) but there is something great to develop here. This mappack can be really consider as a part 1 “depression”, with another part 2 “culpabilization”, and part 3 “redemption”.

    Well, I’m not a modder at all so I can’t help him myself :), but I love good story SP mods.

  19. Play It Now!

    Upon finishing the Sprucecape Map Pack I find myself with contradictory feelings about this fairly short mod. The concept is rather original, being a thoughtfully crafted story of an individual not directly connected to the half-life series, but presumably caught up in the events of the seven hour war as all inhabitants of Earth would be, causing the protagonist conflicts and challenges along his journey. I loved that the feeling of loneliness is found everywhere – in the surroundings, the choice of music (loved it!), the aural environment, and even the lighting which was particularly haunting in the second map.

    Despite these things, I found some of the puzzles, which were locked in their sequence by not allowing interaction with certain key items before the other steps were completed, to be somewhat maddening at times. Also, for a design that clearly wants the player to explore around to find the solutions, the maps severely limited ones” movement with illogical or invisible barriers. The other aspect fairly lacking was the battles, which were mostly small attacks, but with one scene leading to being potentially overrun by enemies if you didn’t act accordingly.

    What kept me continuing to the end, really, was the desire to see the story to it’s conclusion, and although the third map was fun to start, the final (driving) sequence was something of a letdown, with no real challenge as there had been before, and a fairly predictable ending, all of which seemed like it had been added with a little haste after all of the clearly thoughtful execution of the earlier maps. Nonetheless, due to its originality, and very unique style and storyline, I enjoyed this map pack, and I’d recommend this with a Play It Now to anyone with the patience for exploring to solve puzzles, and not high expectations of battles.

    My Ratings
    Playability: Mini Review Bar System Detail: Mini Review Bar System
    Originality: Mini Review Bar System Puzzles: Mini Review Bar System
    Challenge: Mini Review Bar System Battles: Mini Review Bar System
    Storyline: Mini Review Bar System Lighting: Mini Review Bar System
    Variety: Mini Review Bar System Audio: Mini Review Bar System
    Notes on Mac compatibility

    This map pack is compatible with the Mac version of Steam/HL2, as of November 2010. Just drop it into the same location given in the above instructions, but inside your Half Life 2: Episode 1 folder on your mac.

  20. Play It Now!

    Liked it very much. A lot of creativity here. And the ending was hilarious.

  21. Play It Now!

    I sent proper in-depth analyze in person to the author and exchanged some mails. We are both from Finland so it was better to do it in finnish outside PP.

    In a nuthshell I think it was a mixed pack. The graphical quality of the maps started from the top but gradually went to okish toward the end. The colorcorrections gave a unique look and I liked how every map had its own color theme. Audio was also good example of how to do it – it never distracted but still was there to provide atmosphere.

    Puzzles were nice but the combat wasn’t very memorable. Also pacing and progression of difficulty could have been better adjusted. Player guiding was also close to none but as a lover of exploring it didn’t bother me.

    Overall I recommended it to everyone. I am quite harsh for the maps when they are near Valve quality but yet have still some way to go. I am looking foward to see more from you!

    Ps. Story is very finnish indeed. We have loads of spruces and drunks here too. We still lack the zombies though. :/

  22. Play It Now!

    It was a great mod, one of my favorites, but there is a way to get stuck on the first level.[spoiler]
    When you are supposed to get the key to unlock the door to get the crowbar, to break the window, I just broke the window with a box, climbed on the roof, and progressed to the next level. I was having trouble at the dinner part, for I had no crowbar. I restarted, and figured out where the key was.
    Otherwise, it was a great map!

  23. Play It Later

    Finally finished mappack and I agree with those who said that if your expecting alot of fighting don’t play this mappack. But if your the type that likes puzzle based maps, it for you. Now I like alot of combat, but once I over the first puzzle I found that I liked it and continued. Being that it is a realitivly small pack, I did lose my patience with it. So I gave it a “Play It Later” because of my opening statement. You may not want to play it right away, but it deserves a looking at.

  24. Play It Now!

    I quite liked this little mapack. The author took the story of what might happen to an ordinary citizen after the events and went with it. as others have said it is mostly puzzles that aren’t too hard to figure out. I think Keithinvietnam’s post pretty much sums up my feelings.

    The “maddening” part for me puzzle-wise was getting the fuel (there is more than one can), From previous maps that needed this type of action to take place it was usually a red can, however not this time which at first (after what happens as a trigger) had me thinking I had a glitch because of the invisible walls that wouldn’t let me explore areas outside the road. after a number of reloads I stumbled into the area that wasn’t blocked with the invisible wall to retrieve the needed fuel. I really enjoyed it as a whole and the concept really worked.

    I look forward to more from this author and hope the points good and bad that have been mentioned in all the posts are used in future offerings .

  25. Hec
    Play It Now!

    Good, I think this mod present a good combination of think and solve puzzles and is also kind of psico-horror sensation on it. The ending is great, emotional and that cannon walls were awsome, this mod has great atmosphere particulary in the gas station, makes me feel like I was there in the begining of the dawn almost begining the night, is hard that a mod makes you to feel like you were there so ths is a good one, hope 2 see further works of this modding team, maybe something related to horror or combat.

  26. Personal Favourite

    Well worth the download and play for a map pack. Great ending!

  27. Maybe?

    I’m stunned at the number of highly positive reviews this has gotten, because frankly, it isn’t that great. For starters, it played like a slideshow on my computer, where I generally have very little trouble running source games. Some odd lighting issues when the flashlight is on have led me to conclude that the second map leaks.

    From the very start, the levels are poorly laid out. The house in the first map and the power station in the second are cramped and difficult to move through. The lighting in the entire second map is too dark, particularly when turning on the flashlight slows the game to 4 fps. And don’t even get me started on the invisible walls… they’re EVERYWHERE.

    Progression through each level is achieved by increasingly ridiculous jumping puzzles and irritating hunt-and-retrieve gameplay. Clearly this mod attempts to be a puzzler, but it draws its puzzle concepts from the games of yester-decade.

    I only give this mod a Maybe rather than a Think Twice or an Avoid It because it has some nice design and setpieces. The house in the first level is painstakingly detailed, particularly the attic; I actually found myself scrunching down a bit in a subconscious effort to avoid the ceiling beams, such was the suspension of disbelief. And driving around the landfill mowing down zombies in the third map was an unreserved treat – play it for that reason if nothing else.

  28. Ahem….well I’m stuck at the gas station.
    I’ve opened the door to the “power plant” behind the station.
    Now what?

    I thought I was supposed to enter the tower with the red light ?

  29. Play It Now!

    Good subtle story telling.
    Good ambiance use.
    Good use of music(I even stopped in one of the shacks inside the Junkyard to listen to “Shotgun Boogie”).
    Good ending.
    Epic zombie battle.

    Some of the puzzles had weird solutions/hard to find(more the gas-station).
    Kind of a lack of flow sometimes(again gas-station and kinda the junkyard).

    Overall: Play it. Won’t be disappointed.

    What was all the music you used in the mod also?

    I want to know cause while you listed the artist you didn’t list the songs and I’d like the songs very much.

    1. Thanks for the great feedback!
      The songs in order:
      Billie Holiday – Georgia on my mind
      Nat King Cole – Unforgettable
      Tennessee Ernie Ford – Shotgun boogie

  30. SPY
    Think Twice

    i know I am quit late with playing this mappack, (why is it a mappack?? and not a mod, clearly the author knows how to map and such, so why not rap it up as a mod?)
    that said, it started out rather good, color correction, nice atmosphere, etc etc etc. I am not a puzzle fan as some of you maybe know, so that part wasn’t my favorite. but the quality went down hill from start to end, the house in map1 was indeed well made, the gas station in map2 was ok, but the last map was terrible. and then the clipping everywhere, but, that is already mentioned above in a lot of comment.
    i couldn’t finished map2 and 3, I couldn’t find the gas for the car in 2, and in map3 I died 4 times and gave up. it really does amaze me that you give this one you’re personal favorite Phillip, knowing that you don’t like hard combat. the end of map3 was wave after wave after wave after wave, without any ending of fast zombies, poison zombies and normal zombies. you know, I LOVE hard combat, but this was insane!!!!

    one funny issue, it seems the author of this is a Dutch man like myself, because at the start of map3 it gives a Dutch text on screen, forgot what it was though.

    so, sorry for the maker of this all, I have to give ti a maybe, ot even better Think twice!


    1. the end of map3 was wave after wave after wave after wave, without any ending of fast zombies, poison zombies and normal zombies. you know, I LOVE hard combat, but this was insane!!!!

      SPOILER: (where are the buttons to give the selected text a specific layout?) You can easily drive away with your buggy, the gas tank has been lifted so you are able to use the ramp to escape the junkyard. So you might kill a few zombies to enter your vehicle, but you can leave the area when you have reached the buggy.

    2. It’s always interesting reading Leon’s reviews and getting a glimpse into why he makes his own mods the way he does. I guess it explains why I do not enjoy Leon’s mods!

  31. Play It Now!

    Very beautiful mappack, really well done. Starting from a common story (unfortunately) the scenario lead you on an amazing adventure. You should get a little trouble by puzzles but the quality of mapping really worth the effort.
    This mappack is the prove that modding have a great potential.

  32. Think Twice

    Storyline: it feels like a third wheel. “We’re leaving you”. And so? How it ties with zombie outbreak? First map looks like it’s not belong here but was made for Underhell alfa (great mod btw).

    Puzzles: they’re heavily JUMP BASED! And if you can’t do good jump based puzzle which is not require quicksaving after every jump, don’t do it! Because here they just make you go “****, not again, all this crap over and over again!”. And the fuel canister “puzzle” is just one big “Why? How in the world should I get there?” (btw I did it. THAT was not fun at all)

    Visuals: color correction was ok. Because if I get it right it was sunset, night with full moon and early foggy morning.

    Gameplay: I was aiming to MAY BE, but the endless spawn of zombies is not the tning I want to see in mod. Because almost no one can do it right without frustration of player. And that mappack is not the case. Also, they’re tends to spawn in already visited and cleared areas.

    Verdict: if jump based puzzles and endless zombie spawn is your kind of game — you should check it out.

  33. Personal Favourite

    Be fair-warned, there are minor spoilers ahead, for those that find themselves reading this wall of text.

    This… this map pack was absolutely astounding. Everything about it was chiseled to perfection… I don’t even know where to start!

    I guess we’ll begin with a point that most people might not understand or be turned off by, and that’s the story. Or, lack there of. For me, the story didn’t matter. I could have done without the memos or the background, especially since story isn’t that big of a deal to me in the first place. I was actually quite pleased with the whole “wake up alone with no idea about what’s going on” scenario. Must be a soft spot. It’s the basis for many great (albeit cliched) horror games, and it’s done spot-on here. I was wondering what had happened and why everybody was gone, why the diner was abandoned, etc. The anticipation of things unknown was done fantastically. I didn’t know who or what was going to jump out at me, and the entire diner sequence was perfection. I guess I’ll lead into level design now…

    The mapping was extraordinary. A good map re-uses parts of it to create a cyclic feel that familiarizes you with the surroundings and the environment. Metastasis is a prime example of this. I loved the house, and actually replayed it because it was so well done. I felt like I was actually exploring somebody’s home, and not just a boring, blank shack like every other building in a HL mod. The house felt warm. It was cozy. It was spooky. It was claustrophobic. It was a maze at times, while being perfectly clear and thought-out at others. This home was the exact archetype of ideal exploration, and it wasn’t all that expansive, like Resident Evil! I don’t know how the author did it. Nothing complicated about it, perhaps its beauty lies in its simplicity. Not to mention the yard and that gorgeous cliff. Perfect scene of isolation, setting up the adventure excellently. Nothing was too challenging or difficult in the house, which I liked.

    Next up, night! This seems new, somehow. It wasn’t black, but it was like moonlight. I could still see, and it definitely set the tone for the diner sequence. The music was ace, and had me quivering the entire time, just waiting for something to leap out of the darkness. The first encounter, that zombie in the bathroom stall, scared the bejeebees out of me, especially since my back was turned. Perfectly executed with the horror/suspense aspect. Working through the diner was very interesting, as it had you going through it multiple times, getting everything in order. Not sure if it was intentional, but there was one moment where it seemed like the music slowly distorted into a distant shriek… BAM ZOMBIE BARGING THROUGH THE COUNTER. Synced wonderfully. The puzzles were nice and had you exploring every nook and cranny (where’s that fuel?). I liked the idea of repairing your vehicle. More realistic than a juiced-up machine raring to go.

    The final part was just as good. I liked the environments a lot, especially the junkyard and the landfill. Lots going on, and lots to explore, like those lambda cache shacks. Some people complained about the junkyard zombie spawns, but it really wasn’t that bad, as long as you get into your vehicle and do what you need to do, not dawdling along the way. I knew those boxes were gonna come crashing in from the moment I entered that area, but it still scared the crap out of me when it happened. There is something about those insane fast zombies that really adds to the intense action horror and running for dear life to that buggy was terrifying.

    The atmosphere was, well, atmospheric. Very much so. I truly felt all alone, even more so in that vast expanse of a landfill. It was a fight for survival, done in the most creative and invoking fashion. The author managed to make this feel nothing like a HL game and more of something that could stand on its own. The zombies were used to perfection, unlike most games where they just shamble around, waiting to get their skulls caved in. Instead, they were put in dark alcoves, within shadows, and around spooky corners and invoked maximum fear. Some of the scripted sequences were amazing, like the scene described in capitals above. I’m not sure horror was the author’s main goal, but he sure as hell did it better than those who do have it as their main goal. I’m very impressed.

    The finale was great. It was almost surreal, driving endlessly along a foggy cliff edge, unable to see what lies below. And seeing the wife (?) drifting further away was very dream-like. I didn’t know who she was or why she was there, so it made it even more mysterious and intriguing to me. The rope bridge was the perfect length, and made me feel like I was running through time, racing against the clock. It made the world seem as if nothing else mattered beyond getting to the end of that bridge. The author did an overwhelmingly good job of creating focused goals for the player, and I never found myself thinking of what to do next, or where I’d find myself after this puzzle… I was always lost in the moment, in the now. And then… the rope breaks… my whole life, everything, crashing down beneath my feet. I guess it wasn’t meant to be…

  34. Dive

    Hello ! I found a battery for the car in the second map, but I have no idead how to find a fuel for a car. Can you please help me ? Where it is ?

    1. Check out the van next to the broken cliff!

  35. Hmm, I’m not a fan of hard puzzels, just easy one’s. I’m all about exploration and ocasional “run and gun” action. Think I’ll pass. Thanks for the reviews!

  36. Personal Favourite

    This is an amazing and unique mappack. In a lot of mods and maps you play as Gordon Freeman, but why? (Apart from lazy writing) Because Gordon is a man who has many devoted followers and is basically given everything he needs by the rebels. In The Sprucecape Mappack, you play as John Sprucecape, a completely normal man. All you get until very later on in the game is a crowbar and a magnum, and it works perfectly. There are many puzzles in this mod and I enjoyed them all, even though a lot of them were just locating a certain item. They were hidden in interesting places and took me a while to find. The scenic is really, REALLY good. The environments felt very real; this is one of the most realistic HL2 mappacks I’ve played. There’s three maps, John’s house, an abandoned Northern Petrol and a junkyard. My favourite was the Northern Petrol. It is not only clever and well designed, but pretty creepy as well. The lighting and atmosphere really make this level something special. (I would say it’s much creepier than Ravenholm) There’s a part where you have to fight a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of zombies right after you find a shotgun which is a bit out of place considering this is not a combat mod. There’s also a section with the buggy that’s fun. The ending kind of sucks (not spoiling anything) but if you have Episode One play this now, it is absolutely divine.

  37. Pingback: The Sprucecape Mappack | Jelly's Half-Life Mod Reviews

  38. I’m feeling dumb, but have installed this, and all the content is showing up exactly where it’s supposed to, as in Ep1/episodic/maps but when I launch Ep1 and go to the console there’s no sign that it exists. I’ve tried and tried, but rather than just give up am asking for any suggestions, please…..

    1. What are you typing in the console?

      1. I tried “map sprucecape”, but when it couldn’t find it, I resorted to “maps *” to see if I’d misspelled it. As the console makes auto-suggestions and nothing showed up after the first “s” nor the “p” etc I reread the installation instructions and step by step went back through, but same result.


        1. Okay, if the autocomplete doesn’t display the maps then they are not there. Please post your path to the “Episodic” folder. Would you like to screenshare via Skype?

          1. Program Files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/USERNAME/half-life 2 episode one/episodic/maps
            in this folder are: subfolders graphs & soundcache and the BSP files SpruceCape sprucecape2 and sprucecape3 (Spelling and capitals as they appear).

            I don’t have a microphone at present so don’t use Skype currently. The files do appear to be where I understand they ought to be, hence my frustration.

            1. Do you have this path:
              C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Half-Life 2\episodic\map?

              Yours is the old path I believe. Look for the new one and put the maps there.

              1. I have now cut & pasted HL Ep1 (&2) to the path above, but in spite of having a good check around there it’s still not showing up on the console….. I quit & relaunched Steam, and still no joy.

                1. What do you mean you cut & pasted HL Ep1 (&2)to the path above? You should have just put the Sprucescape maps there.

                  1. Hl Eps 1 2 weren’t in the “common” folder, so didn’t exist on the path you mentioned. They are now, but only because I cut & pasted them, in their entirety. I’m guessing I goofed then?

                    What I mean is that I moved them from the Username folder to the common folder. Ep1 launches as normal.

                    1. Yes, you should really move them back. Okay, let’s try this. In Steam Library, right click on Ep1 and select Delete local content. Then, restart your PC and reinstall EP1. That is if you don’t have any bandwidth limitation with your ISP. We could still Skype but without actually speaking if you wanted. Sharing screens can be very helpful. Just let me know, I should be online for a bit longer today.

                    2. JG

                      If you moved them from /username, then Steam failed to convert you to Steampipe for some reason. This has not been the correct location for over a year, as all Half-Life 2 content is now in /common/Half-Life 2 (including the episodes).

                      As Phillip suggests, you should delete all traces of Half-Life 2 and its Episodes (including any folders you moved and the folders in /username, but keep whatever maps you want) and re-download the game from Steam.

  39. Deleted it, (though strangely Ep 2 isn’t even in that folder anymore, so goodness knows where that’s gone) used MapTap for the 1st time, and clicked Play in there…..Lo & behold Sprucepack started straight away. Have’t used MapTap before, but it’s done the trick.

    Am away for a few days, without computer access, at least not one with Steam on it, so won’t be able to give a whirl now until next week, but many many thanks for your help.

  40. Play It Later

    A mod worth playing at least once. Nice level design, great puzzles, and a good deal of zombies. But the most distinctive thing about this mod is the interesting background story, to say the least. It does not take place in any of the more familiar events of the HL2 universe. The story isn’t developed too much, but perhaps it could have been. Nonetheless, it leaves a lot for the player to guess, wonder, and infer. Evidence is placed in your face almost immediately that you — the main character — are an abusive husband (and father?). This gave me very conflicted and uncomfortable feelings at the beginning and especially the end of the game. I’m sure that was on purpose, so good job on this one.

  41. Play It Later

    Okay, this is beautifully designed and generally put together very well but the puzzles are a little on the pointlessly frustrating side and illogical at times which annoyed me after wandering about trying to figure out how to get in somewhere!

    I often moan about HL2 maps being too dark. It’s annoying to be in a well-lit room yet somehow having perfectly dark areas within! But this is the opposite from the start because the house is probably the most well-lit building ever lol. I found the puzzle element kinda left you wondering WTH but eventually I sussed out getting the the roof – after double-double checking the entire house over and over!!

    Moving off onto the next level, the gfx are stunning. But here I didn’t think the puzzles made much sense and their order was darn silly. I think this might have made a good zombie-killing map fwiw! I loved the lighting once the power station was active. Dunno about this map, I loved it yet I found the puzzles pointless most of the times.

    Next level was nice and a good challenge after dropping through the roof. Oh, but the constantly respawning zombies that followed simply doesn’t work, although I must admit it was fun running them all down. The ramp into the wastelands is flawed – I got stuck on my first attempt…

    Overall, I did really like this map pack. I thought it had a good balance between the puzzle elements and action. It was the puzzles themselves which I often found didn’t work. Sorry folks but that aspect didn’t work for me and I’ve had to downgrade an otherwise great set of maps…

    1. I would have recommended playing the updated version. In fact, you review encouraged me to remove the download for this.

      To be honest, I don’t know if it would make much difference to your review though.

  42. I have removed the download for this to force users to play the updated version.

  43. Maybe?

    I decided to play this mappack third time, because I wanted to review it. I played Spruce long time ago, for me at least, ( 2 – 3 years ago). I had fairly bad taste in my mouth. Being curious, I played it second time and now third time to have proper vision:
    Seems like something is not okay with the main “hero”. He wakes up from his own house, where everything looks pretty as explosion aftermath. Windows are shut with boards, wife has left with your kid and you are closed in your own house. But why? Maybe something has to do with zombies and chemicals. First map focuses on escaping, and is fairly easy. Second is for horror elements and puzzles and it has the most atmospheric and best gameplay too. Gas station is mysterious and terror lurks and introduces itself as your enemy. Happy toned radio plays inside the station and after surprising attacks and progression in exploration you find your biggest enemy, car.
    Is just loving how mappack use the music as reward in every map! But love almost fades away when you must perfect driving using ramps. These two driver’s nightmares annoys you and makes you angry, that progression relies on your luck. Finally after fighting with physics engine you drive to third and final map. First and second time I got stuck in there, because I did not know where to go while stressing with fast zombies. Second playtime ramp was my guess, so I try it with bad luck; it got stuck. I also didn’t believe it was the answer, because it lead to very background-looking place of dump. But it was not background, which I understood after long wondering, pondering and killing zombies. I liked the setting and driving on dump was fun. So many possibilities to explore. But sadly the challenge to progress was only in small part of the map. I blasted away from the landfill to experience an outro and many quicksaves intended for hard jump to go forward. Then the story showed its sad/happy ending.
    Overall great and promising horror/melancholic atmosphere with notable mood killers. Not many combat situations, if you know what to do, but good times in exploration terms.

    1. Why didn’t you play and review the updated version?

      1. Woah! I was not expecting something so recent 😀
        I have to try it and scratch my review…

  44. Play It Now!

    There is nothing I can say that makes justice for this mod.
    Give it a try.

  45. Maybe?

    Just for completeness I’m leaving my review here also.

    Visually it’s very good. The second map was an issue. When you blow the car it ends up right in the road. Without the GG you can’t clear it without ramming it a hundred times. Very frustrating. I was bored by the third map.

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