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10th of June 2023

WG Hotel Hell | Single | Author: William Gee | Download

The Review: There's an instant throwback to the original Hotel Hell the second the map loads, as you can see the Nukebutton behind a crack right from the start. But that (and the soundtrack) more or less is where the similarities begin and end. WG Hotel Hell is a modern map in every sense of the word, boasting an impressive true-room-over-room layout over multiple floors. The map starts rather slow with Duke first exploring sewers, then working his way through the garage and the hotel's exteriors until finally establishing his presense inside the hotel. I actually liked this slow-burn approach a lot. Maybe 10-minute maps cannot really afford it, but WG Hotel Hell is at least half an hour long (took me 34 minutes). After the somewhat linear start, the hotel's interiors are kind of a "switch hell". There are plenty of doors, and almost every last one of them is locked. You enter what you can and then either a trigger or a button unlocks a door nearby. It'd have been terrible if the map had you going back and forth in desperate search of where to go next, but here there is a certain logic to the way things progress; the author didn't even see it fit to put any viewscreens in the map. Still, I'm not completely sold on this kind of gameplay, as it is made up of constant stoppages, which is mildly annoying (although a completely free-to-explore hotel with a billion rooms would probably have been much more so).
Gameplay balance is good throughout, and it felt like this one had an appropriate amount of minibosses considering its size. Commanders too never got to be an annoyance, and the ending with a dozen or so Protector Drones chasing you was actually kinda fun. Visually the hotel looks nice and all. It's truly the room-over-room effects that stand out the most (at one point you can see four layers of rooms stacked over one another), as otherwise there wasn't really anything that'd have made me go "whoa". In fact, the blue cloudy sky was kind of a dull choice for the map; I cannot help thinking the sunset-sky-with-ocean would have worked much better as a backdrop and enabled some strong lighting work for the outdoors.

Conclusion: WG Hotel Hell is an expectedly well-designed map with an impressive and ambitious TROR layout. The way navigation works once inside the hotel differs markedly from the first ten minutes of the map: Some may prefer the more linear gameplay of the first half, others the button hunting of the second. I also found combat more enjoyable than in some of William Gee's recent releases, with Battlelords and Commanders in particular being better utilized rather than just thrown in to annoy the player.

Rating: 94

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