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Map Title: Bob - Everybody Needs a Friend
Welcome readers, to the review of a recently released Single Player and experimental map called Bob – Everybody Needs a Friend. No, I'm not making this up. Remember mapper David Münnich, project leader of well-known (and generally comedic) projects such as Strange World and Operation Na Pali? After eight years since his last work for Unreal Tournament, he's back to try the old Editor again out of nostalgia, by creating a map which plays differently from what you're used to experiencing all the time. To be clear, it is a Puzzle-based map. You don't start with the usual Dispersion Pistol and proceed to fight Tentacles or hordes of fearsome Skaarj Gunners, but you need to use a bit of intelligence and a few movement tricks to get past the obstacles.
The map runs under the Operation Na Pali gametype, so having the big mod is a strict requirement; plus, it can be only played under Medium difficulty due to some bugs, although it isn't a problem as there are no battles. Lastly, there's no story.
As you probably know, DavidM has been always a talented mapper, especially in many of his later works. The build quality in Bob is certainly not up to the standards we're used to nowadays, but no one can deny that it's pleasant to look at. Architecture goes from basic rooms to more detailed, large areas, and all of them are greatly connected together. Texturing is overall top-notch, but on the other hand it's repetitive: the author makes use of the industrial theme which is common in UT's retail and custom MultiPlayer maps, and it ends up being somewhat generic. Nothing bad can be said about the lighting. Many details are put here and there like shop signs and newspapers. Fans of DavidM will quickly recognize his style of mapping - which you'll mostly remember from his DM levels. Oh, and get ready for jokes everywhere; but since the map is not serious, then I guess you'll appreciate them.
The sound is weak. While music isn't necessary, there are very few ambient sounds; instead, you'll hear more your footsteps and noises coming from elevators. You'll feel really alone here. I didn't notice any BSP, HOM or geometry errors of any kind.
Now we'll move to the interesting part: the gameplay, the main reason why the map was made. No opposition to beat, like in the old map The Pure, but at least here you'll face off something almost as entertaining as the shooter part of Unreal. It's about proceeding to the next area by solving the puzzle of each room. Which means pressing switches, finding hidden buttons that you need to shoot from afar, pushing a box into a specific position and many, many jumps. There are some obligatory lift-jumps and a bit of ramp-dodging, but you'll learn them quickly with a bit of practice.
One interesting thing is the whole "blood donation" concept. You start with 1 point of health, and the second mandatory objective is to increase it by getting Bandages or Health Packs. They're easy to spot, and once you have enough health, you can donate points to a red button which will open a door to the next section. This reveals a problem, though, as you may accidentally lose health in some way (by falling or shooting yourself with the Dispersion Pistol’s secondary fire), completely preventing you from proceeding through the level as you won't find bonus health to repair the damage.
Anyway, the difficulty is very easy. Finding the Health Packs takes no more than a few seconds, buttons to shoot are really visible, the few jumping sections don't require preparation and anything else will be pretty much obvious on how to solve it. The hardest puzzle is the one at the beginning, as you have to cross a lava pit while at the same time staying in line with a moving wall which protects you from arrows. Then there's another section with a hard-to-see opening which you need to pass through. I'll leave the rest to your playthrough, it's more of a fun ride than a real challenge.
All of this ends with a simple and funny ending. The last blood donation will strangely take always 50 points of health instead of 100, but it does no harm to the gameplay.
A unique map, with an interesting concept that somebody may take on again in the future. This is probably the real last work of DavidM that we will ever see in our good ol' game, and he did this because after all of these years he has kept his love for this game... who doesn't anyway? Short, not hard, but worth your time.
None to date
Download Bob.zip (4.3MB) from muenni.ch