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Reviews by starscream57

All Reviews
  • One of the best

    I've played a lot of Left 4 Dead 2. Over 1,000 hours on the PC, and I had it for the 360 before I jumped ship to computer gaming. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to switch to PC was the ability to download new campaigns, unlike the 360 version. Unfortunately, while many custom campaigns are playable, there are also many that are forgettable. "One and done" types, if you will. 
    Devil Mountain, I am pleased to say, is one of those campaigns that does the PC version of this game, justice. 
    One of the first custom campaigns I ever played, and which has in many ways become the bar standard I hold maps to, is Haunted Forest. I'm a big fan of horror themes, and the idea of traversing in a haunted mansion and its surrounding countryside, complete with (simple) screamers, jump scares, tricks and horror homage such as the cabin with the clicking phone, has always been a favorite. And while I enjoyed those added "scary" details, they aren't necessary to make a good, or even great, campaign. Case in point, Devil Mountain.
    There are no fancy trickery or "outside the core element" concepts to Devil Mountain, but this simply shows the quality of the campaign. There's a lot to look at with this campaign, as the layout changes with each map, as does the time of day. The former is quite common among campaigns where the author attempts to "universalize" their creation and put as much variety in the campaign as possible. While I appreciate the idea of keep 4 maps in the same campaign from looking identical, sometimes the result is disjointing. Not with Devil Mountain. The campaign does a great job of creating uniqueness among each map while not looking out of place. The latter, that being the time of day changes, is an oft overlooked aspect in campaign creation, but one that creates a nice sense of time for the campaign. I don't expect every campaign to portray such a difference in time of day, and thus I never take away from a campaign which doesn't, but for those like Devil Mountain, which do, brownie points are added. 
    In terms of the campaign designs, the simple detail like the peak of the mountain getting closer with each map was very noticeable, and very smart. The walk through the forest, eventually leading up to the summit was an excellent part. The different branching paths that eventually converge, a waterfall, a pond, trees laying in different ways, all of this leads one to feel the experience of moving through a public park is authentic. 
    The finale finds the player finally finishing their ascent of the mountain and reaching one of the greatest hold out buildings I have seen in custom campaigns. I am unsure if the creator of the map custom-built this, or if it was taken from a different game (I suspect the former, but my ignorance cannot eliminate the latter), but I do know the layout and item placement was wonderful. It's a finale that manages to create both tight corners and open spaces, in addition to a stacked (ie multiple levels/flights) setting that creates a lot of options on where to hold out. I am not one for survival (I like to have "story" endings instead of just "beat the clock" endings), but I can imagine the summit top survival map is a great deal of fun. 
    In terms of performance, I experienced no issues with the graphics throughout the course of the campaign. I noticed a comment below indicating the user witnessed the black and pink missing texture file when they went underwater in a swimming pool. I cannot recall this happening, though I have seen this happen with other campaigns where the player is required to, or may accidentally fall into a large body of water. Whether or not this happens in Devil Mountain, it is inconsequential as the pool plays little role other than as an interesting map design. 
    As with all campaigns I play/review, I play with one other person (who happens to be my lovely wife) and two bots on Normal. Although I typically play official Valve campaigns on Advanced, I don't often find custom campaigns to be balanced well enough to play advanced, at least not without a full team and a fair amount of time and patience on your hands (of which I have neither, I readily admit). A lot of custom campaigns have a map or two with infinite horde running events that go on forever and create a very difficult scenario if half your team can't hold and throw bile bombs to get through the mess. Also, while playing with bots may seem unfair, I stumble across many campaigns being played online with a bot or two still in the mix. Let's face it - a lot of custom maps come and go online, and only a few get consistent, full-team playtime beyond their initial release. Unless the author notes the issue with bots in their campaign description is due to something beyond the scope of correction (for example, the boss in the "Silent Fear" campaign), I would expect that the bots are able to competently traverse the campaign with little hang up, and not have issues picking up items as they run across them. In this, Devil Mountain had no problem. 
    Another benefit of this campaign is its difficulty. As noted above, many custom campaigns I play are played on normal. The reasoning for this is varied, but many custom campaigns have ridiculous difficulty issues: an infinite horde event that makes up half a map, an unrelenting amount of random horde spawns, a tank as soon as you start a campaign that has given you nothing but pistols, one really long map that ends with a frustrating Dark Carnival infinite horde run-to-safe-room event (that's also 5 times as long), etc.,.  There's nothing frustrating with Devil Mountain. At the same time, it's not a walk in the park (pun intended) that's boring and uninteresting. Climbing up the mountainside will make players very much aware of the fact that the area is prime Charger territory, and dread will come over a player when he hears the Charger's spawn noise. There is a certain battle in the caves that can be difficult as well, if the team isn't playing together. 
    So what can be said in summation? Simply, if you haven't played this, you need to. There's no "outside the box" thinking with this campaign, just a straight, honest classic Left 4 Dead mapping. And while the first half of that sentence may seem like a negative, it truly isn't. There are many campaigns that "think outside the box" with disastrous results. Sometimes the best campaigns are the ones that conform to what Left 4 Dead is, and make a great, unique experience with it. That's Devil Mountain.
    + Beautiful scenery
    + No issues with bizarre difficulty spikes or AI handling
    + Great finale
    + Time of day switches with each map
    + Just an overall memorable campaign, for all the good reasons
    - Negligible issues, such as possibly seeing missing textures while crouching underwater.  
    Rating: 5/5
    • Wow! Thanks for such an incredible review, truly one of the most encouraging responses I’ve gotten. You picked up on many of my design goals, it’s satisfying to know that they’re being effectively communicated. 
      The hold-out building on the summit finale is based on a real life place, although substantially modified to improve the flow of the battle.
      As for the possible missing underwater texture, I can’t find anything wrong with it. It works fine for me, it’s a standard material that comes with L4D2, and that one comment down below was the first and only time I’ve seen it mentioned. My guess would be that the person who experienced the missing texture was running a pirated version using the missing texture fix, but this material must not be included in the fix.
      kanix: Thanks for the reply! That’s high praise, great company to be grouped in with!
    • Agreed, Devil Mountain is the best of the best, no doubt!  I collected over 200 maps but only 6 of them are the best - Bloody Moors, Devil Mountain, Suicide Blitz, Death Sentence, Warcelona, Urban Flight.

Published Items

  • Mod
    "Hit and Run" song replaces Tank theme

    This mod changes the Tank's theme to Ralph Dollimore's 'Hit and Run.' This song, in public domain, is used in a lot of cartoon scenes and comedy shows, most notably 'Ren and Stimpy' and 'SpongeBob Squarepants.' Some of you might also kno...

  • Mod
    Tank Theme Replaced with Prometheus Trailer

    I really like the Alien siren sound used in the movie trailers, and Prometheus's trailer ending had a very tense song. I thought it might bring back the sense of fear I used to have when the Tank would appear. (In link, please listen to ...


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