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Moniker's CTM Reviews: Searching for the Worst and Congratulating the Best

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The Moniker
Level 1 : New Miner
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UPDATE: This blog has been discontinued due to a restrictive length limit. However, I will continue to do reviews over at my minecraft forums thread: Click here. Thank you for reading and please continue to keep up with my reviews once every week or two at that thread!

Hello there, and welcome to my CTM review page! I wrote reviews of many CTMs for a while (most of them terrible), and have now decided to collect them into one convenient location!

My goal with these reviews is to find both the best and the worst CTM maps - the most boring, the most beautiful... I love to play bad CTM maps, but not quite as much as I love ranting about them afterwards! I like to play old and obscure maps, in the hopes that I can find something interesting in them!


How my reviews work:


Map Name

Date Posted

By Creator/s

Map Version/Played Version if Unknown

Link

Review Style




Review Content


Final Rating




I have 2 types of review-styles: Area-based and map-based. For major, full-length CTMs, I'll generally use area-based style, with short segments for every area. Big CTMs, especially linear-branching ones, are usually best described as the sum of their parts. For smaller, or open-world CTMs, I'll use map-based style, with a piece on the map as a whole.


For each map, I have four categories I grade them on, listed in order of importance:


Gameplay - by and large the most important thing in the map, this is at the top of the scale. If the gameplay is fun, original, or engaging(or better yet, multiple of those), it will get a high rating here. Gameplay is what makes or breaks a map, and its review score.


Aesthetics - Initially, I considered aesthetics to be important. Over time, my opinion has changed, and I now consider them to be very important. Not as important as gameplay, but a nice-looking map is extremely important to review score.


Functionality - How well the map works. If it uses command blocks and redstone, do they break or work? Am I at any point required to cheat to make the map function? If there's less redstone, how well does the map make sure I know where to go and what to do? A good score here won't affect the overall score much, but a bad score can drag down the map a lot, even if the other categories are good.


Story - More often than not, you'll see an N/A here, as I don't count a book at the start of the map explaining what you're doing. It's Minecraft, we don't expect too much of a story. Still, I always try to read lore if I can, and if I notice an above-average story running through the map - nice bonus!


The Verdict is the sum of all these parts.



And of course: HUGE SPOILER WARNING!




With that out of the way, let's get to the reviews!


Beneath The Void



6/13/17



Made by kkraft234



For 1.5.x



Link



Style: Area-based

Click to reveal



Preface:

This map is the very first in a 4-part series. I’ll play through each map in the series, and review each one, examining how the maps change as we go on through the series – and how they changed, for better or for worse, as the maps go on.









The Humble Apprentice:

Deaths: 1(Fail fall)

It’s not too special of a starting area, but its hardly a bad one. There’s plenty of loot to get and lots to do – it even has a small optional side-dungeon with some loot hidden within! The map gives you some leather armor, tools, and food to start you off, with wood around, and if you search you can find –









…Yeah. The loot distribution in this map can be best described as “an unceasing flood of wonderful things”. Chest filled with lots of good random loot are placed very liberally, and you’re unlikely to ever want for anything, Which is good, because of reasons I’ll discuss in the next area.

In any event, moving on from this area to the intersection is no trouble at all.

Rating – 7/10 Good start.




Intersection 1: Full of annoying vines for no real reason, but otherwise not a bad place.

Rating – 6/10









The Mysterious Castle(orange wool/Sethbling’s head):

The map continues to give an unceasing flood of amazing things in every chest. However, the mob spam begins – the outside of the castle is dotted with several spawners, making the approach to the castle fairly difficult. But the actual inside of the castle has a huge number of regular spawners – making it incredibly enemy-filled.

Let’s talk a little bit about how minecraft’s spawners work. They spawn theoretically infinite numbers of whatever type of entity they’re set to spawn – but only in specific conditions (for most enemies, those conditions can be summed up as “being in darkness”), AND while the player is near them. By default, a spawner has a range of about 16 blocks in every direction. When you’re in that radius, they’ll start spinning up and preparing to spawn things, and when you’re outside it, it stops – but retains how “close” it was to spawning its next batch of entities. Because of this, when you’re in a CTM area, not all the spawners are active at once, only the ones immediately around you. Because of this, most good CTM maps are designed so that when you’re fighting one grouping of spawners, you’re fighting just that grouping – the others are far away, or placed just close enough to give you a sense of urgency in destroying the one you’re on. This map is filled with fortresses and close-together rooms – and it lacks that balance. In this area, while you’re fighting the outside spawners, the ones in the castle are spawning. While you’re fighting the inside spawners, the spawners in the wool room and roof are spawning. Because of this, you’re always fighting TONS of enemies – it adds up quickly, and hordes build up surprisingly fast with minecraft’s spawner rules.

\With all the enchanted gear, it’s easy to cut through the mobs, but there’s so MANY of them, they’ll bring you down if you don’t move fast. There’s so much gear, even at this early part of the map, that it isn’t a big deal in any case. It has a pretty good design for an earlygame area, but there are so MANY mobs…

It also introduces the map’s secondary “bonus” objective, which is to collect the heads of various youtubers in chests guarded by custom mobs. I’ll discuss the heads in the conclusion.

Rating – 6/10 Spam-tastic









Ender pearls(magenta wool):

I liked this area! It had an interesting concept: There are many islands with mobs and chests full of amazing things, and you can use enderpearls to travel between them. It doesn’t give you quite enough enderpearls to explore them all without blocks to supplement, but that’s okay. The wool is easy to get, and once you have it, you can continue harvesting the area for as much or as little loot as you want depending on your patience. It’s the sort of place you could come back to later with a water bucket, if you felt like getting everything you could out of it. It also introduces some custom mobs, such as sword-carrying skeletons and a few other novelties. Kind of gimmicky, but it mixes things up enough to be interesting.

Rating – 7/10 Unique.









Overrun Watch Tower(white wool):

I didn’t find this area until I went back to the start – ah well!

From the outside, the watch tower looks kind of nice, even if the area around it is just a giant stone hole. On the inside, the place plays almost exactly like The Mysterious Castle – huge numbers of spawners and mob spam, with tons of loot to balance it all out. When played in the day, the daylight will neutralize the greater number of spawners, but this place would be a very hard beginning if you tried it at night. For that reason, I’d say the area could be improved immensely by toning down the spawners but putting it in darkness.

Rating – 6/10









Stairway to heav-hell(Light blue wool/Etho’s head):

This area was where the map’s mob spam began to reach its height. This area was simple stonebrick rooms, with nothing but TONS of spawners. Spawners embedded in the walls. Spawners in pillars. Even spawners lying right out in the open! Spawners that would activate as you tried to destroy other spawners! The mobs became an unceasing flood if you weren’t constantly moving forward (due to the overlapping spawner ranges discussed), and even with the amazing armor you had, and chests that provided even MORE great things placed every few blocks… the horde were still incredibly hard to cut through. For perspective, I broke 5-6 stone/iron swords just trying to cut through all the mob!

Overall, this area is more or less a distilled version of the whole map. It spams loot at you, it spams spawners, it spams enemies… it isn’t a carefully crafted experience. Even though you’re constantly in combat, it’s easy to zone out because all the mob slaughtering you’re doing starts to blur together. There’s never a break or pause, just constant destruction. If you like that, then you’ll like this map. If not, then you won’t. And I’d rather have interesting challenging situations than the mindless slaughter of this area.

Rating – 4/10




Intersection 2: A very boring intersection, clearly not designed to serve as anything but a transition.

Rating – 5/10










Back to Basics:

It’s the monument! And with it, comes a very nice base-type area – it only lacks a spot with chests to put your items, but that can be added on. It even contains something interesting; a bonus loot section where you can make a choice between 3 incredibly amazing loot chests with various specialties. The monument has everything you need, and was a very welcome rest amidst everything else. It even looked kind of nice.

Rating – 8/10









Another Day, Another Zombie(Yellow wool + Guude Head):

The mob spam problems I’ve already talked about were present in this area too, so I won’t rant about them too much. But this area is exactly what you expect it to be from the moment you walk in. A “town” with spawners shoved in every possible location. It did look okay, and the central tall building at the end was surprisingly easy compared to the rest of it. However, it doesn’t do much interesting except be filled with buildings which are filled with enemies. The mindless slaughter continues.

Rating – 5/10 It lives up to its name.









Souls of the Dead(Pink wool):

This area was one of the more interesting ones! The mob spam was toned down *slightly*, and the area had multiple interesting parts – the graveyard has custom mobs in it, such as fast-moving skeletons and invisible zombies. The mansion had witches (too many of them). There was a portion with buildings and a long-range spawner that spawned enemies at ridiculous rate, but once destroyed things cooled down. It actually tried to mix things up rather than throwing enemies at you, and I wish that this trend had continued more than it did. For that reason, it’s a better area.

Rating – 7/10









Dormatories(Purple wool, Vintagebeef’s head, PauseUnpauses’s head):

Deaths: 7(1 lava related, 3 falling related, 2 attempts to retrieve items, 1 zombie swarm cornering me)

This was really overall a terrible place. It starts with a totally random stone cave with spawners in the walls… for some reason. There’s no reason why it couldn’t just be a regular cave, serving as a short walk to the area, without tons of enemies. But that’s only the first blip on the terrible radar. The “real” area is a giant fortress, far bigger than any area we’ve seen thus far, full of twisting hallways and multiple branches, with lots of dead ends, that sticks to a main central area with stuff falling down on you from above as you ascend it. There are even more spawners than normal, and since the pathways are very close together, while you’re dealing with one, all the other paths near you are spawning more for you to deal with – retreating to reset the enemies is a must to bring things even to a manageable level!

Worse yet, this area spams custom mobs at you, rather than spamming vanilla mobs like normal – extremely durable zombies with knockback swords and Thorns armor! And they come at you in swarms! Its terrible! If they corner you, or knock you off the thin hole-filled pathways to fall into the lava below, you’re essentially immediately dead. This area alone was far, far harder than anything I faced in Hardened Fury or Brutality or any of the other “hard” maps I played! The fact that you get chests full or amazing iron gear and top-tier food the whole way doesn’t make it any better! You just die anyway! It’s a giant thoughtless mess, only balanced out by the loot distribution being an equally thoughtless giant mess! If 80% of the spawners hadn’t existed or at least exposed so I could destroy them all, then maybe it could have been better.

Rating – 2/10 A giant mess.




Intersection 4: Of all the areas to be connected to, did it really have to stem from… there’s still no teleporter, and it again clearly isn’t there to serve as anything but a transition.









The Mansion in the Woods(Cyan wool, BdoubleO’s head, GenerikB’s head):

This area began with a clump of spawners, but it was completely misleading. The actual area is surprisingly different from the norm! The first part has a few spawners that spawn massive amounts of mobs and activate from far away. The problem is, these mobs are speed-buffed skeletons, and they’re almost impossible to approach even all on their own. It spawns them faster than you can kill them, and they’ll charge out and try to slap you away before you can break the spawner. As I was building up from the top to destroy them, I had to deal with this crowd:









Still, one incredibly dangerous spawner is better than many hundreds of little spawners. The second part of the area has a smaller number of spawners than normal, spawning semi-powerful custom mobs. It actually felt like a normal area! It was somewhat fun to play! I actually liked this area! It even looked nice! A very nice break after the last one.

Rating – 7/10 Less spammy than normal!









Maze upon Maze upon Maze(Gray wool, Light gray wool, Amlup’s head):

This area began with an abandoned mineshaft, ripped straight from vanilla, filled up with spawners. It wasn’t difficult, but it was very boring. The wool was easy to find, at least. If it had been any longer it would have been much worse. But that was just a prelude to the “real” area. This entrance hides the way into the maze:









Even though it looks nice, the actual maze was a disappointment. The walls were made of leaves one block thick and were easily destroyed by the frequent creepers, spawned from spawners hidden in the ground. There was one nice touch; the whole maze being lit on fire at the end. I love to see terrible places burning down.

Rating – 5/10 The mineshaft was harder than the real maze









Diamond pit(Brown wool):

A lot of the areas we’ve seen so far have started with small, spawner-filled caves. This area initially had me wondering when the “real” area would start… but it was just a horrible, HORRIBLE spawner-filled cave the whole time. The spawners were hidden in the walls, in the floors, in an environment full of nondescript stone blocks. Even if you could see one of the buried spawners and destroy it, there were five more in your range that were spawning enemies while you were doing so. Trying to actually make the place safe was extremely frustrating with the incessant swarm of skeletons, creepers, and spiders, now with blazes and wither skeletons mixed in. The regular gear at this point was iron armor w/some diamond, and powerfully enchanted iron swords. The mobs weren’t really threatening as much as they were just really, REALLY annoying and frustrating!

When you actually made it to the “diamond pit”, it wasn’t actually a pit of diamonds… it was caves in diamond shapes shoved together. What a variation! I haven’t seen THAT before and done better! (I have, in a number of maps). The wool was guarded by a special custom skeleton, backed up by swarm upon swarm of regular skeletons, with “Vechs1” for a head. Seeing as it was very similar to Vechs head but also wasn’t “Vechz”, it should have been made clear to the player that this enemy WASN’T for the head monument.

While almost every area we’ve seen so far does at least SOMETHING right or unique, this area was just a giant cave filled with everything wrong about the map: Spawner spam too great to beat, where you can’t even find the spawners to destroy them! There was nothing redeemable about this area at all! Nothing! It was complete garbage! It’s especially disappointing to see this after having some interesting areas!

Rating – 1/10 It’s just a cave! JUST A STONE CAVE!









Iron bars(Black wool):

(The area name sign was replaced with item frames with iron bars)

This area seemed very complicated. Void stretched below, as it forced you to run on iron bars while skeletons attack you, battle on thin ore-filled stone spirals with blazes and skeleton spawners embedded in the ground. Like many areas of this nature, it doesn’t give you much to deal with these, especially since the spawners are still as hidden as always. I ended up sprinting through it all, and at the end I was surprised to find black wool! It didn’t feel special or spammy enough. Turns out that this actually WASN’T the final area – the “real” final area actually contains the green wool, going totally against the standard accepted CTM order. It’s fine to go against the norm like that, but you should indicate it to the player with a sign “This area has the wool going in the last space on the monument, but it’s NOT the final area”!

Rating – 4/10 Boring false ending









Into the Nether(Red wool, Blue wool, Zisteau’s head):

At this point, all the areas had begun blurring together. This one contained no custom mobs, just more and more normal mob spam, similar to Diamond Pit. There were big stone towers with spawners in diamond shapes on top, but little point to destroying them since there were mobs coming from so many other places. It was fairly short, so it would be easy to run through, but hard if you decided to slog it out. Red wool was right at the start, barely guarded with a few ghast and blaze spawners, and the blue wool was placed behind a miniature fortress at the end, but none of it felt particularly climactic or difficult. We’re just too strong to worry about non-custom mobs, not even the blazes, since the map starts the area by handing you tons of fire resistance 8-minute potions. The only interesting part was the end, where we got an actual lore book saying dark magic was seeping into our world, and there were some custom wither skeletons guarding a “core”. There was instructions to dig given very non-intuitively (it said dig right… WHICH RIGHT!?), to find the true final dungeon.

But before we do that, there’s a loose end.

Rating – 5/10 We’ve seen swarms too often.









Jungle Zone(lime wool):

A giant jungle area, with the wool straight at the end! This one would have been possible to play regularly, since you can see most of the spawners in the leaves. It’s a pretty normal area, with nothing special about it at all. I pretty much got the wool and got out, so I can’t say too much about it that I haven’t already said somewhere else. It was completely my fault I missed it back in Another Day, Another Zombie too.

Rating – 5/10 Can’t believe I missed it…









The Final Area(green wool):

First off, the map tells you beforehand: Make sure to play through all the other areas before this one! But the area contains the green wool, not the black wool. There’s no indication that this area contains the green wool, and some players might waste time searching for a green wool area that didn’t exist, assuming that possibly a head for the head monument is here. Either the order of the wools should have been switched around to resemble a normal map, or you should have been told, again: This area contains the green wool!

As for the actual area, it was very unexpected, but it was actually an interesting idea! The hallway lined with beacons and a few spawners appeared innocuous, but most of the beacons you see in the picture are “evil” beacons, which give off negative potion effects! This was a neat idea that I haven’t seen done in other CTMs before, and better yet, no mob spam! However, it was an incredibly easy area – the beacons only gave poison, not wither, and all you had to do was smash one of the blocks making up the beacons to disable them. Because of that, it failed to pose a real significant challenge. Still, it was at least something interesting!

Rating – 6/10 Something new














Conclusion:

Beneath the void was a giant spamfest. Almost every area was full to the brim with monster spawners. It was difficult, but more difficult in a slow, grindy way, rather than difficult in a challenging or interesting way. In the early intersections, the gameplay of the areas is so same-y they start to blend together. The loot chests dump tons of good stuff on you right from the start, so much you’ll have to make multiple trips through each area to possibly gather everything worth having. But the loot barely gets better as you proceed through the map, and I didn’t feel like I was advancing much in power. The map’s intersection structure was confused, and I ended up playing a lot of the areas out of order. If there had been clear indication of what order to play the areas in, things would have been much better. As for the head monument, it’s an interesting idea to have miniature boss-fights as a side objective, but there isn’t much indication of what is where. I sadly ended up unable to complete it.

However, despite that, you can see some clear potential in some of the map’s areas. A few feel like they have interesting ideas that could have been executed on a little better. The map’s few good moments are generally when it switches out of mob spam mode to try something else. There’s a huge gap in quality between the areas, with about 1/3 of them being interesting and 2/3 being awful.

OVERALL RATING:

Gameplay: +++++----- 5/10

Aesthetics: ++++++---- 6/10

Functionality: ++++++++-- 8/10

Story: N/A

VERDICT: ++++++---- 6/10












Hardened Fury I: Consumed by Darkness

5/31/17

Made by Zer0_Glyph

For 1.5.1

Link

Style: Area-based



Click to reveal


Preface: This map is the first map in a very brief and now abandoned series called Hardened Fury. The specific title is Consumed by Darkness, although that has little meaning on what the map is all about. Inspired by Super Hostile, the difficulty is labeled “Easy”. Let’s see if it lives up to the labeled difficulty or the difficulty promised in the series’s name!





Starting Area(White wool):

Deaths: 1(1.5 skeletons)

Upon logging in, I was pleasantly surprised. The area was a huge valley, made with stone, glowstone, grass, and some sloppy circle MCedit brushing (there were some holes in the walls that weren’t patched over). However, after the last several maps I played, this was the first one in a long time that seemed to put an actual effort forth into looking even a little bit good.

The actual spawn area was neat – you COULD simply head straight on to the first intersection, but if you so desired, you could stay, explore, and gather useful resources like an anvil and enchanting table. Right from the start, it gives the player some options, which is very much appreciated. The area itself is very short, with a few spawners out in the open. With natural mobs around, and no armor given, it still felt like an appropriate challenge for the beginning. Overall, I approve!

Rating – 8/10 An above-average starting area!


Intersection 1: Not dangerous. Free glowstone + Lapis, if you dug up the walls. An okay intersection. Rating - 7/10





Sand-stacked Haven:

The monument area, bright and early! It made me happy to get it right away. Other than that, there was nothing to say about it, save that the ore blocks were moved to a “bonus monument” area rather than being included in the main monument. A bit of an odd decision, but otherwise the monument was fine.

Rating – 7/10





Burnt-Chip Caverns(orange wool):

Deaths: 1(Skeleton + Creeper combo)

This area was very simple. All you needed to do was travel forward, as the game threw natural mobs, skeletons, and lots of creepers at you. Speaking of natural mobs, this place was full of them. At this point, we still don’t have food or bows/arrows to handle skeletons properly, making it frustrating when the area seemed to contain a disproportionate amount. However, there weren’t too many spawners around, making the place have average, if very random, difficulty. It could have done better by having a little bit more “going on”, so to speak. The only notable parts are the end cave, with an abundance of creeper spawners, and a tower with some skeletons and loot on top. There’s a lot of unused space just spent on “forest”, and filling it up would have done some good.

Rating – 6/10 The difficulty begins to climb





Deathly Shallows(Magenta wool):

Deaths: 1(4x skeleton attack)

This area began with a large upper plains-type area, which was easy to traverse in day and overcrowded with natural spawns at night – typical of sunlight-exposed areas. Just below it was a simple path with water and void, where you luckily weren’t attacked by mobs. This is the only place where the “shallows” part comes into play. The meat of the area is in the small maze you have to get through. Like mazes I’d seen before, finding the end was easy – just go straight forward, more-or-less – but there were many pointless side-paths.

Mazes can oftentimes be not fun to explore, but if you put a little reward in every dead end, it makes the player feel much better and makes the maze more fun. Why, they might even stick around once the maze is finished! But if you don’t put rewards or any reason to navigate the maze, it just feels frustrating every time they meet a dead end. This maze sadly was in the latter category. Once you’ve found the exit, there really is no reason to stick around. Not helping was that the maze area was full of natural spawns in an incredibly cramped area, and all the spawners it did have were witches – the difficulty is already getting a little too hot. It could have definitely been improved by seeding the maze with more loot but making the end harder to find. It’s no Web of Water maze, but it’s not a good maze either.

Rating – 6/10 Spammy


Intersection 2: No checkpoint, but railways were provided. Aesthetic much the same as I1. Not dangerous. Okay intersection.

Rating – 6/10 for repetition





The Malicious Mushrooms(Light Blue wool):

Deaths: 3(Burning enemies)

Let’s do a little gear check, just to give you an idea of what gear the average player has. Weapons/Tools? Stone. Food? Zombie flesh, if that – its amazing how stingy the map has been with food. Armor? Leather. So what mob would be the best to put in right now? BLAZES! Better yet, the spawners should be hidden, giving the blazes plenty of time to spawn! And the whole area should be filled with natural mobs, forcing the player to contend with skeletons and spiders while trying to search for the hidden spawners, with blazes that can kill them in 3 fireball hits spawning all the while!

And that’s pretty much how the area went! The design of the area was simply walking around on a mushroom shoreline next to a lava ocean, while being constantly attacked by hidden blaze spawners. The player doesn’t have the gear to handle blazes properly yet, and the only real option is to pull back and attack with limited arrow supplies, and then hope you can find the hidden spawner before more spawn. At least, the food problem is solved by the end, with mooshroom spawn eggs and bowls provided to our starving selves. This ends up being the primary food source for the rest of the map.

The second part of the area is aesthetically uninspired (it is literally a stone cave) but it has more to offer with gameplay, having spawners that spawned zombies with diamond swords, but also slowness. They created a more interesting challenge, since they actually had something to balance out the huge damage they did when they hit. I only have two complaints: It went on for too long, and if you wanted, you could grind them until you got your own stash of diamond swords – which is a little too powerful this early on.

Rating – 3/10 All the fire but nothing to put it out…





7x10 Horror Festival:

This area tried to mix it up a little bit. It promised an extra-hard area, with good loot at the end but no wool. The area itself is just a long hallway filled with tons and tons of spawners. However, it’s really bright from the lava flows. So bright, the vast majority of the spawners don’t even work! It actually adds an odd element of strategy, with you having to figure out which spawners are dangerous and produce enemies and which ones you can destroy at your own pace. It helps that at the end, actual useful loot is provided, and it doesn’t go the “stick” route, one of my initial fears upon entering the area.

It could have been improved by being a little less spammy overall, and possibly by seeding the loot throughout the area rather than having it in one chest all at the end, giving the player the opportunity to leave if they wanted to. This area really only works as an optional sideshow, but as an optional sideshow, it works okay!

Rating – 7/10 A neat side-area





Nether Passage(Yellow wool):

This area was designed far too simply. The entire thing is just a long, winding “bridge” that isn’t hanging over anything but netherrack ground a couple blocks below. Skeleton spawners are scattered throughout, but they aren’t primed, so you can simply run up and destroy most of them. You just keep walking, get handed some loot, and eventually you arrive at the wool. If you decide to stick around and get the loot near the wool, things get a little more interesting, and it starts to throw the same skeleton spawners at you in much larger quantities. But it’s too little, too late, and the loot isn’t even worth the trouble.

Overall, this area could have varied on its theme. As it is, it is literally just walking down a path and taking out spawners until you reach the wool. It’s terribly boring.

Rating – 4/10 Skeletons and boredom, my least favorite things.


I3: Hanging over void, but no traps. No checkpoints back were provided, but a rail kit was. It looks sort of nice, and at least a little unique.

Rating – 6/10





Explosive Death Floors(Pink wool):

Just so long as you weren’t playing stupidly, this place was actually pretty relaxed! It did live up to its name, throwing creeper spawners at you constantly, which forced slow-but-steady play to not be blown up into the lava below. Once you made it past the short pathway and into the tower, there weren’t that many floors to fall, and the wool was at the bottom rather than lava, making things surprisingly easy. The area wasn’t all that bad, and I don’t have too many complaints, just that it would be better to have more loot and the tower should be a little more dangerous. As it is, once you make it past the area approach, the tension disappears.

Rating – 6/10





Miner-Intense Zone(Lime wool):

Upon entering the cave, there was one thing you’d see right off the bat: Iron. And LOTS of it. This area essentially began with a huge gear upgrade, as you couldn’t have gotten even gold or chain from the chests thus far. Aside from that, however, the place was rather boring. There was a water cavern, with some holes in the water to drag you under, but nothing you’d encounter when swimming through. There was the occasional creeper spawner, but they weren’t primed, and even with the water I could generally break them before they did anything. Its more-or-less just a straight shot to the wool with few detours.

There was one interesting part, and one I saw as a lost opportunity. The wool box is positioned in the middle of a large circle of creeper spawners, but one part of the circle is open, so you can just swim straight through. Now here, there could have been a trap of sorts; once you got inside the wool box, you would have been in the perfect range to activate all the creeper spawners, potentially leaving the player fleeing with tons of creepers on their trail. However, the wool box was too far away to activate the spawners, and there was no reason to deal with them at all. Overall, it is once again, easy and not particularly fury-inducing.

Rating – 5/10 Thanks for the iron!





Lava-Cold caverns(Gray wool):

At the start, this area was just a lava river with ghast spawners on the side. There was no real purpose to traversing the river, so how the area actually worked was that you walked on the side, hoping the natural spawns wouldn’t blow you into the lava. It was boring, but bearable. The second part was again when things got a little more interesting, with a cobweb-filled area combined with creeper spawners. It was a more interesting challenge than simply ghasts above a lava river. That seems to have become a theme of the map, with having first portions that are easy and boring, and second portions which do something more interesting and mix things up.

Rating – 6/10 The second half saved it


I4: Bridges hanging above lava, the aesthetic is a netherrack dome. A railway kit was once again provided in place of a teleporter, which is less excusable this time, as the previous area was a lava river followed by a cobweb cave.

Rating – 5/10





Deep-Creep arena(Light gray wool):

The entire area was just a giant downward spiral with lots of mob spawners that spawned zombies, creepers, and of course, plenty of skeletons. There isn’t much to say about it other than that it felt way longer than it was. At this point we can handle normal mob spam just fine, so it wasn’t difficult as much as it was annoying. There was no loot until the bottom, and this area just didn’t feel good to play through at all. The only thing I felt at all was my armor durability slowly draining. It could have been improved by adding any variation to the environment at all, besides just a giant cave-type downwards spiral. It didn’t even have a more-interesting second half to round it out!

Rating – 4/10 Spam





Light-streak ravine(Cyan wool):

This area was very short, which is good because there wouldn’t have been any point to extending it. It’s a cobweb-filled cave, which is supposed to be filled with cave spiders, but there’s surprisingly few of them, so you spend most of the time contending with natural mobs. At the end, you have to build up into a giant cobweb with the wool box inside, but nothing attacks you up there, making it somewhat pointless. I can’t say it didn’t have ANYTHING interesting about it – the area you play in is made entirely of redstone lamps, and the map gives you a chest full of levers at the beginning of the area, letting you use them to trigger the lamps instead of your regular torches. It falls into the “kind of neat” category, but isn’t enough to prevent the area from being anything but a bore.

Rating – 4/10 Not spidery enough.





Blazing Lava tunnel(Purple wool):

It began simply enough, and… well, stayed that way. As you can see in the image, its nether-brick fences hanging above lava, meaning you can’t use your water bucket to neutralize it. If you want to use the water bucket to go below the fences, the map predicts you, with the fences slowly going closer to the lava as the area continues. By the end, the fences are directly on top of the lava… but its TOO close, as the mass of spawners surrounding the wool is lit up so much by the lava that they can’t even spawn anything! In any event, the area’s main threat can be completely neutralized just by sticking to the side and breaking yourself a little path in the netherrack. It could have been improved by, again, adding variations on the theme and giving the player reason to actually fight on the fences – such as chests located in the middle of the path.

Rating – 3/10 A short walk over lava


Intersection 5: A giant obsidian hole, with a natural spawn honeypot at the bottom. No teleporters, just another rail kit.

Rating – 4/10 for unoriginality. None of these intersections are interesting.





Silverhead ceiling(Blue wool):

Deaths: 1(Creeper attack)

At this point, I believe we should stop for a minute and talk about the map as a whole. Its settling into a theme. A theme poison to creativity, and one I’ve seen many times before in many minecraft maps. It’s “hallway syndrome”. This map’s first few areas seemed inspired, oftentimes having a second half which mixed things up. But as time has gone by, we’ve seen this same area template again and again: A giant hallway that leads to the wool. The only thing that changes is the block variation and types of spawners. The hallway doesn’t steadily ramp up the challenge or try different variations, instead, it gives you the same challenge 10 times in a row, and then has a slightly more insane version guarding the wool (but still one simple to overcome). The most clear evidence of this settling in is the disturbing lack of any type of loot. This entire area was devoid of a single loot chest, save the wool box. The map as a whole has been stingy in giving out its backup loot, but this area takes it to ridiculous heights. Loot is an incredibly important part of CTM map design, because it serves as the “bait” countering the freedoms given by survival mode. The map lacking it is a major problem, as it makes playing through the areas feel much less satisfying than it should.

Back to the area itself… The challenge that this area is SUPPOSED to have is “fight silverfish from spawners while some of the blocks in the area around you happen to be silverfish blocks.” Not exactly original, but okay. But what REALLY happens is that this area has TONS of natural spawns. Just SWARMS of them. The whole silverfish thing is really just a side-note compared to the mountains of skeletons, creepers, and spiders that appear in giant crowds! In general, its far better for maps to have lots of honey boxes to control the natural mobs, and the purpose of natural mobs is to make the area appear a little more active, and give your spawners time to spawn – but we’re more than halfway through the map, and the natural spawns are so dense, they’re the primary challenge! This makes the area very intense, but not in a fun way.

Rating – 3/10 Hallway syndrome’s result, and the map's lowest point





Demonic Slim-Caves(Green wool):

Luckily, the map’s final areas do at least manage to break out of hallway syndrome. This area is a small netherrack cave, with some custom mobs finally populating it – zombies with leather armor, iron swords, and speed I. They can do surprising amounts of damage when underestimated, and they were actually fun to play against. The natural mobs again got in the way way too much, but at least the area’s mobs were actually a threat this time. It was certainly better than the last area. It’s very short, however. It could have been improved by being a bit longer or doing more interesting things with the custom mobs aside from just scattering them everywhere.

It also contained a nether portal, our gateway to the map’s endgame.

Rating – 6/10 Better than the last one





The Death Rock Findings(Brown wool):

This place looks a little better, at least! At the start, you have to walk through a bedrock cave with a lot of creeper spawners. Then, you have to walk on a bridge above void with creeper spawners and a huge number of natural spawns. Then, you have to walk through a straight 5x5 tunnel with creeper spawners. Things do change, but there’s little real variation – its just a giant walk with bedrock and creeper spawners. If it had thrown different types of challenges at you on the void bridge, instead of just having pairs of 2 spawners at consistent intervals, or made the final part into a dungeon rather than a big hallway, then this could have been a better area. But as it is, it’s just another hallway!

Rating – 4/10





The Nether(Red and black wool):

I was expecting some truly Hardened-Fury final area. The final areas of these maps vary, being intense, or, well, this. The last areas are just… nothing. The hallway split you see in the picture leads to both the red and black wool, and you almost immediately reach them. To get the red wool, there’s a big void hole, with skeleton spawners on each side. However, the walls are made of netherrack – just break a path through it and you can skip it entirely. There is literally no reason to try and build a bridge. The black wool isn’t much better. Once you cross the blaze lava pool, you immediately reach this place, the FINAL ULTIMATE CHALLENGE:





Two circles surrounding a small island with the black wool. It could have been a proper spiral, where you had to run around and slowly approach the center, but instead you can just bridge straight there. The spawners aren’t primed, giving you plenty time to break them. I didn’t see anything but pigmen for the entire little area. Once you reach the black wool, all you need to do is grab it and leave. And then that’s it. We’re done. The end. I’d say more, but there’s nothing to say – that’s all these areas are. Let’s go talk about the map as a whole.

Rating – 2/10 – one of the most disappointing finishes I’ve seen.





Conclusion:

At the start, the map was okay. The areas felt at least a little inspired, and had something interesting about them. But as it went on, it just… died. The areas lose their spark, and become formulaic hallways. By the very last wools, there was nothing left but boredom. Green wool was the closest thing the map had to anything resembling a genuine challenge, but after that, it just dissipated.

Aside from the hallway system and sluggish pacing of the areas, there were many other consistent problems. As you went through the map, the natural mobs got worse instead of better, and multiple times provided the primary source of challenge for areas even in the endgame wools. There is shockingly little loot provided in the map, and I suspect that a few catastrophic deaths in the frequent void and lava would have left you seriously crippled in your ability to complete the map – though thankfully, the map is easy enough that it’s unlikely for a skilled player. So little loot means that taking the fun path in many areas feels entirely pointless, and there’s no reason not to cheese the very easily cheesable areas. Once hallway syndrome sets in, there was very little redeeming about the map onwards. If you’re going to play it, feel free to drop it after the first intersection if you don’t find it fun. The gameplay becomes boring, the aesthetics are uninspired and rely way too much on stone, and stone-cave-type areas. I will say one good thing, at least I generally knew where things were and what I needed to do. Other than that, this map is nothing but a lot of boring areas; some with lost potential, others that were always irredeemable.


FINAL RATINGS:

Gameplay: +++------ 3/10

Aesthetics: +++++----- 5/10

Functionality: ++++++++++ 10/10

Story: N/A

Verdict: ++++------ 4/10






Brutality

5/24/17

Made by Stunteater

For 1.4.6

Link

Style: Area-based



Click to reveal





Spawn Pond:

Deaths: 2(zombie + skeleton related)

Immediately upon starting the map, we can see that this map uses some newer, special stuff – maybe it wouldn’t be considered so today, but at the time, this stuff was the newest of the new! All natural spawns are removed, but rather than being replaced entirely by spawners, the areas are filled with “persistent”(non-despawning) enemies, which lets the mapmaker carefully design his encounters. Once the mobs are dead, the area is clear. How well the map used it varied depending on the area, and for this area, I’d say it was done… fairly well. However, the first challenge of the map has you swimming up – in water - to attack two skeletons, with nothing but your bare fists. No more will spawn in to help them, but it doesn’t make things any less impossible. Pitting you against two skeletons in a water area as the map’s first real challenge is an incredibly rough introduction, and it would have been fine to have you simply dodge some zombies in the water.

Once you get a handful of unbreakable wooden tools and stacks upon stacks of cookies, things get a little easier. You have to go through a cave to get to the first intersection, and it’s a nice introduction to the concept! There are a lot of nooks and crannies where mobs will attack you, and there are a few interesting encounters there. The map has a fairly solid start!

Rating – 7/10 Good introduction to the map’s capabilities


Intersection 1: There was a skeleton ladder climbing challenge, but you didn’t need to do it – it was easy to just build up the cliffs to make it to the intersection. Other than that, the intersection is fairly normal.

Rating – 6/10 What’s with the skeleton ladder?





Happy Happy Fun Times(White wool):

Deaths: 2(Falling injuries)

This area was almost too simple. Giant stone pillars protruded from the walls, and you needed to get down to the bottom to acquire the wool. The area had permanent enemies hanging out to harass you as you proceeded downwards, but no clear intended structure or route. Getting down was done by simply dropping from spike to spike. When you reached the bottom and acquired the wool, you were left stranded, with no ladders or shortcuts to take you back. Getting back up wasn’t hard, but with no blocks provided in chests and only wooden tools available, it took an aggravatingly long time. It could have been improved by providing a clear way back up, and possibly a path down as well.

On that note, we also see the map’s second gimmick, that each wool is guarded by a special custom mob. For every single area save Black wool, that mob is always an iron-armored zombie holding the wool color. This map came up with the idea of using boss mobs, but it doesn’t really do anything with them – it’s different from a wool box, but its still the same thing over and over throughout the map.

Rating – 5/10 Getting down is only half the fun…





Troll Caves(orange wool):

A very simple, but brutal area. A cave with more spikes protruding from the floor, which spawned invisible endermen and… wither skeletons carrying Flame bows. At a point when we not only don’t have our own bow and arrows, but have only leather armor and wooden tools. The progression in this map is so restricted, we haven’t even seen wood yet! Not no saplings or anything, but we haven’t had a single wooden plank so far! Getting through the area is a matter of successfully avoiding the wither skeletons, as they’ll likely kill you or at least seriously injure you if you end up fighting even one. There is some good loot in a few corners to encourage exploration, and the “boss” was backed up by a spider spawner and 2 witches (remember, some of the mobs don’t respawn). Overall, the wither skeletons were too intense for this early on, and it felt like I was in the same environment as last area. If they were just regular skeletons with a Punch bow or something, then it would have been much fairer.

Rating – 5/10 I hate skeletons!





Duality island(magenta wool):

At the start of this area, to counter the long trails ahead, we were given enough minecarts, tracks, and powered rails to build an impressive minecart track! The problem: The chest didn’t contain levers or redstone torches or any such thing, and with wood still entirely unavailable, that left us with no way to power the minecart tracks. Well, it’s the thought that counts.

The area consisted of a two-sided island, with a fortress on top. The outer portion was completely devoid of mobs, but did contain trees (made of wooden half-slabs… yaaaaaaayy…) and a reliable food source to replace our cookies (melons… yaaaaaayyyy…). There was also a brief “mine” portion where we were given TNT and levers with which to explode coal deposits. Sure, we still have no wood, which means no sticks to make torches, and there was a major TNT clump in the mines serving as a trap, but again, it’s the thought that counts.

The fortress consisted of 2 parts, a building made entirely of gravel and sand which collapses into the void at the slightest poke – its blatantly obvious that it’s a trap, but you’d be in for a bad time if you didn’t notice. The second portion is an obsidian fortress with skeletons (both of the regular and flame-wither varieties) sitting on blocks to shoot you down as you tried to ascend. However, we were finally given a bow and arrows, so we could just shoot them off their platforms. Given that, the area was surprisingly easy!

Overall, this area could have been improved if there were more things interesting to do in the outer portion without the fortresses – but other than that, it was okay.

Rating – 7/10


Intersection 2: Another “underground stone cave” design. No checkpoint back, which is bad since the previous area began with a huge drop into water. Have fun blocking back up!

Rating – 5/10 – No skeleton ladders this time.





The High Way(Light blue wool):

At the start of this area, the map hands you some very long-lasting Swiftness IV and Jump Boost IV potions(!!!), and a nigh-infinite ladder supply – as if it actually expects you to parkour, well, THAT in the picture. If your immediate reaction the very idea is the word “NO” repeated over and over ad infinitum, then we’re on the same page. The area is the biggest one we’ve seen yet, and gives you no indication of which direction you’re supposed to be going. The only enemies are some skeletons hanging around on blocks to screw you over, which we’ve already seen before. This map overall seems to have an odd obsession with skeletons, especially skeletons sitting on blocks shooting you and making you fall down. Which is bad, because skeletons are my least favorite enemy. Once you actually find and make it to the boss area(a small mossy cobblestone platform), getting the wool is no big deal… if you built a bridge through the area, like I did. It’s okay to have some parkour in an area, or to have floating platforms with enemies. But this is just a random bunch of single blocks scattered around, and you’re told nothing but “make it to the (unseen) end”. There was no point to even entertaining the parkour idea the area presents you, as there’s no reward for doing anything but “cheesing” it by building a bridge like any normal CTM player would and SHOULD.

Another note: While most of the blocks are silverfish stone, but there’s some iron ore scattered in there, too. I didn’t get any. It’s not worth it. It’s just… not worth it…

Rating – 3/10 Too stressful to play legitimately.





Web of Water(Yellow wool):

This has got to be one of the worst areas I’ve ever played, in any CTM.

It’s a water maze. But not your average water maze. It’s a BORING water maze. There is no aesthetic variation whatsoever, with the walls being made entirely of lapis blocks. The maze is very large, and filled with dead ends – most of which have no chests or rewards for getting to them, making exploration feel pointless and stupid. The map does provide some night vision/water breathing potions, which you will need to complete the area… but because that isn’t brutality enough, they have hunger and Mining Fatigue tacked on for no real reason. It also gives a fair amount of glowstone to mark your way and where you’ve been, but if you don’t get lucky and find the end quickly, there isn’t enough to last you, even when used fairly conservatively.

The only actual threats in this area are a handful of cave spiders, which only appear intermittently throughout the whole thing – the rest is just you swimming and hoping to actually find something. Since we’re in water, and this is before Guardians, its generally very hard to make combat in water actually interesting – and this map doesn’t really try too hard. Just stay below the ceiling where the spiders are swimming, and you’ll be completely fine.

The main flaw of this area wasn’t the bad aesthetics (which it had), or the bad combat (which it had). It was that it was long, and boring, and pointless. It would need a complete overhaul to be any good at all. Fill the dead ends with loot to make the exploration feel less terrible. Vary the aesthetics as you go through to give some sense of progression. And add some actual challenges and threats. As it stands, the area has none of those things. It’s just a boring swimming exercise with nothing to do but test your patience!

Rating – 2/10 Terrible.





Blazing Fields(Lime wool):

This area was over in 2 minutes.

It’s literally just a trek through a (very short) netherrack field, that has more spikes protruding from the ground. Sometimes, you’re attacked by blazes which don’t respawn. There’s also the occasional non-primed and easy-to-destroy creeper spawner. The “boss” at the end was totally unguarded, and the way to the next intersection was immediately behind him.

Rating – 5/10 I was expecting more.


Intersection 3:

Please refer to my Intersection 2 segment. Because this one is basically the same.





Monumental Catastrophe:

The monument! It’s perfectly serviceable, comes with some items – and best of all: It has shortcuts to both the previous intersections! Both very inconveniently designed with minecart tracks instead of teleporters, but it’s better than walking!

Rating – 7/10 Finally, a place to set up and take a break.





Tree of Life(Pink Wool):

Deaths: 2(Flame bow Wither skeletons!)

This area was split into 3 sections; a giant stone plain filled to the brim with more flame-bow wither skeletons. When I saw them the first time, I expected them to use more custom mobs. But instead its just these same skeletons, over and over again. They aren’t placed creatively, just dotted throughout in a huge crowd! The field is harder to get through than it needs to be, being completely empty with no cover, and arrows are still a very limited resource. When you get to the tree, you then must climb a mostly empty mossy cobblestone spiral (The “Tree of Life”), while occasionally being jumped by a skeleton or two. The third part is the only interesting part, where you have to dig up from underground into an area filled with regular skeletons and the armored wool enemy.

The central problem with this area is that its just so EMPTY. The stone plain you see in the background of the picture is the first part I’m talking about, it contains NOTHING but those stupid skeletons. The tree climb is boring, and only the end has anything interesting to offer. It’s just an area filled with nothing but skeletons. If it was actually filled with loot and buildings and other interesting things, then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

Rating – 3/10 More like, Tree of Death





Race of the Demigods(Gray wool):

To start, this area extended from a side passage from the previous area – and since the previous area mostly consisted of a long, boring walk to the destination, that wasn’t a good sign.

This area actually had something of a gimmick – at the start, it gave you some carrots-on-a-stick and saddled pigs to ride! Its an interesting idea, but… the map did nothing with it. The entire area once again consists of the mostly-empty sand field you see in the picture above, and you’re occasionally attacked by immortal ghasts. There’s nothing to do with your pig friend except watch him struggle to jump up the very hilly terrain. If you chose to totally ignore the area’s gimmick and walk, you would lose nothing. You might even get done faster. The problem with this area is that, again, it’s totally empty. It does try to be interesting, but the gimmick it gives you is totally useless. If the sands were filled with buildings to take shelter in, or some sort of challenge where having a pig to ride would have actually helped, then it would have been much better. It might have even been interesting.

Rating – 4/10 If the picture looks boring, it's because the area is boring!





Explosive Nest(Light Gray Wool):

VOID! The horror!

In all seriousness, this area is actually interesting, if only because the void provides suddenly greater tension. That said, the level of resources the map provides don’t feel sufficient for void to appear just yet – with how little loot chests are in all the areas, it would be very difficult to recover from a major inventory wipe.

The area does keep things interesting by throwing creepers at you, but it doesn’t do much to vary things, and you can create a safe path through for yourself if you’re observant of where the spawners are – this area lacks the usual pre-placed enemies. If there had been a little more going on than creepers and bridging over void – and maybe replacing the void with something less deadly. The entire area’s concept also feels very unoriginal – even in the 1.4 mapmaking era, “creepers attack you with TNT and void nearby” was a pretty well-used concept.

Rating – 6/10 Scary…


Intersection #4:

Again, see my comments on Intersection 2. It feels especially bad to have no way back here, since the monument actually gave us some minecarts back to old intersections, but no more ways back were ever provided from this point onwards.





Experimental Alchemy(Cyan Wool):

Deaths: 3(Misguided choices)

This area was actually interesting! It essentially had many rooms where it would pose a riddle, and based on that you had to choose one of 4 buttons. One would give you the potions you needed to pass through, one would hurt you but let you live, and the other two were instant death. The riddles started out as simple logic puzzles, but quickly progressed into obscure minecraft knowledge(use cobblestone blocks to find north!). Though not perfect, it does get points for actually being interesting!

Rating – 7/10 – Actually an okay gimmick!





Caves of Brutality/Seeds of Hope(Purple wool):

Deaths: 1(Tried to run past skeletons)

One thing about this map, it has good names for its areas. But that only makes me feel more disappointed when the areas don’t live up to them. This area was – AGAIN – a stone cave, made of obvious MCedit diamond brush strokes. It was very windy, and though the actual wool wasn’t hard to find (just go in a straight line from the start, and at one point pillar up a cliff), there were a lot of pointless dead ends going every which way, with little loot to fill them up. I do have one good thing to say about this area; it finally varied the enemies! In addition to the flame bow wither
Credit:All the mapmakes who make these maps!

Update #8 : 06/13/2017 10:26:06 pm6/13/17

Added Beneath The Void I review, and also a note noting that it seems some upper limit is cutting off my older reviews! Please look at my minecraft forum page for the old ones.

Update #7 : 05/31/2017 10:14:49 pm5/31/17

Added Hardened Fury review

Update #6 : 05/24/2017 8:24:59 pm5/24/17

Added Brutality Review
From now on, new reviews will be added at the top.

Update #5 : 05/20/2017 3:35:22 pm5/20/17

Added Herobrine's Cave

Update #4 : 05/15/2017 6:28:58 pm5/15/17

Fixed [p] problem with Magical Mines

Update #3 : 05/15/2017 6:28:04 pm5/15/17

Spoilered Ligebied and added Magical Mines

Update #1 : 05/08/2017 8:21:48 pm5/08/17

Added Ligebied and Gora's Cave reviews

Update #1 : 05/08/2017 8:20:04 pm5/08/17

Added Ligebied review

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