ModMatic: SP HL2 Map and Mod News

Drainage -

You might experience an eerie pang of deja vu while playing Drainage, a 4 level map-pack by Finnish designer Remonttimies. For a first effort at single player level design, it's... well, quite competent. I would say more, but then you would have no reason to read the review below.

  • A cold start: It starts with an abrupt, somewhat annoying "no-HUD run-for-your-life" section that could have been a lot better - see Half-Life 2, apartments. Don't let that put you off though, this map pack gradually improves.
  • Back to the roots: No crazy choreographed sequences or gameplay scripting here - true to all the imagery its name evokes, Drainage has you running around in some underground tunnels filled with radioactive sewage. We shudder to think what the citizens of City 17 have been eating.
  • Still not in fashion: The blocky gray concrete and brick is (still) too familiar to be particularly interesting. You've seen it before in Half-Life 1, remember? However, the brief stretches of outdoorsy-ness are welcome relief.
  • Last action hero: Few mods leverage the airboat mechanic, and even fewer do it properly. Drainage is almost one of the latter with some well-constructed action-packed whiz-bang set pieces, unfortunately marred by some bugs (don't get your airboat trapped in crevices!) and a noticeable lack of the proper polish it deserves.
  • Sizable portions: Here at ModMatic, we're all about making mods and actually releasing them for people to play rather than perpetually circulating weapon model renders around the online community. Drainage is a great example for other modders in terms of scope: 4 BSPs, using stock assets, with self-contained gameplay and variety. Bravo.
  • A VERDICT: Drainage is essentially more of the same and never really finds its own voice. Of course, it borrows a lot from a certain game, but Half-Life 2 is hardly the worst thing to emulate.
  • Download! from (ModDB) or (FPSbanana). Originally released on April 22, 2007.
    Installation Note: It doesn't install as a Source Mod; instead, you must extract the files into your \half-life 2\hl2\ directory and load the first map via console command map drainage1 - free, unsolicited advice to author for future releases: use the \sourcemods\ format instead!

Article Comments (now closed)

Kelvin's gravatar

1. Good fun for an hour

Posted by Kelvin at 6:57AM, Monday March 3 2008

While I'd agree this may not be exceptionally original, it was a fun hours worth of gameplay. Thanks for the tip Mr. Modmatic! The airboat parts were definitely the highlight for me, quite tense, and difficult too. I had to try a few times to get through that last stretch. (and no bugs for me here, or anywhere in fact.)

I find it vaguely depressing though that there's not the slightest hint of story, which seems to me to be quite common in single player HL2 mods these days. I wasn't into the HL1 mod scene, but I played a number of the more well known ones later on and they all seemed to put a good deal of effort into the plot. It seems I care about the story more than most, but it really does make a big difference to me to have one. I think the primary reason I got into games not too long ago was the new and interesting possibilities for storytelling and immersion that I was very impressed with in HL2 and (forgive me) Doom 3.

I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me that a lot of the HL2 mods out there are made by people looking for jobs in the games industry, and so use their mods as an advertisement for their level design skills. I think that leads to people trying to make their games look professional, rather than trying to be creative or original, which it seems to me is what mods are ideal for. Storytelling seems to suffer as well. Also, I'm not a modder (is that a word?) myself so my appreciation for the finer points of level design is somewhat limited.

Hmm, I seem to be digressing, sorry for the ramble..

Sortie's gravatar

2. New Stuff?

Posted by Sortie at 3:05PM, Saturday March 22 2008

ModMatic seems to be moving slowly for the time being. Is there any new stuff coming up soon, this page does hint so. ;-)

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