Map Review of the-infected

by Aurora | November 25, 2021 | 3525 characters

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I praise the environments; they are beautiful, colourful, with interesting unorthodox architecture that closely follows Valve's style. Good use of textures and lighting to create atmosphere; outdoors environments are on par with Valve's Surface Tension. For the co-op conversion, the continue checkpoints are placed nicely on each level.

Sadly, the vast environments are wasted most of the time. There are way too few enemies; I don't know whether this is a fault of the original single-player mod, or a result of a poor co-op conversion. Arena-like open spaces remain mere sight-seeing tours after you've taken down four or five enemies, which should take you about 15 seconds even with just two players. This is a big shame, because they could work well for bigger fights, already having neatly placed cover spots and a variety of routes to flank or be flanked from.

As a result, there's little combat maneuvering or survival involved; it was harder to find the right button to press than it was to beat a team of assassins. For the few enemies that there were, however, the placement was excellent; giving enough of a warning before you eat a surprise bullet to the face, inviting you to enter the fray instead of sit behind to peek around corners. I particularly liked the in-fighting scene between assassins and shock troopers.

Speaking of buttons; another big flaw in the mod is unclear objectives. The relatively incomprehensible voice acting of the scientist character, combined with the lack of visual indicators for objectives, leaves you guessing where you're supposed to go. You have no idea which doors to try or which switches to flip, as it seems arbitrary which ones will work rather than turn out to be static decor. You encounter invisible walls; these are very annoying and should really not exist at all; the paths should always be naturally blocked, in a way that you can see. On top of often having to back-track to proceed, the campaign too often starts to feel like a tiresome switch-hunt. By contrast, the original Half-Life campaign had subtle visual indicators for which things could, versus could not be, pressed, used, or passed through.

The worst flaw is that sadly the campaign is impossible to beat. Playing with my friend, I noticed a few bugs where doors failed to open, breaking the game - but which cleared when attempting the map again. However, the trigger sequences in n2a1a are flat out broken. There is no way to proceed to Xen, so you're left to wander around looking for yet another hidden switch, or walk into invisible walls while trying to find a way out, before realizing the map is broken.

Overall nice effort in terms of building the environments. The co-op conversion however needs lots of work to get rid of bugs and the lack of action. I suppose it's more directed toward the original author also, but I really think eternal switch-hunts and NPC escort missions are the sort of gimmicks that should be left in the 2000s. These gameplay elements sound cool on paper and sure pad out the game's runtime, but there's honestly nothing fun about them.

That said, I'd play it again if n2a1a gets fixed.


  • architecture and layout
  • lighting and texturing
  • enemy placement


  • game breaking bugs
  • tedious button searching
  • too little action
Score: 4 / 10

Review originally from *

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