I hope Scream Fortress isn’t so stupid this year. Tradition has always had it that, for Halloween, the TF2 team gets together, waters the potted plant and actually comes up with somewhat new content. I say somewhat, the map we get is always a Halloween revamp of an old map, but the guessing game of what each year’s map will be is always amusing.
Scream Fortress started with simple roots. The first map was Harvest, set under a bright moon, with a cute little ghost floating around, scaring and stunning people who got too close and making them easy prey for others. Harvest also had pumpkins everywhere.
The exploding pumpkins have always been a staple of TF2’s Halloween. I have never been sure why, we don’t have exploding pumpkins in real life unless we’re incredibly drunk, or are like Richie and Eddie and their exploding carrots, as seen on Bottom. They have a nasty habit of instakilling some people, but it is always amusing being pestered by a Scout then killing him via volatile squash. It’s placement that’s key, as both Eyeaduct and Ghost Fort had pumpkins pretty much on the objective.
Speaking of Ghost Fort, I don’t think ANYONE expected that year’s map to be Lakeside, revamped into a spooky abandoned settlememt next to an island with a skull on it. From the map’s name, you’d expect it to be a variant of 2Fort or something. The map is genuinely really nice though. Alright, it reuses a lot of the previous year’s assets, particularly the entirety of Skull Island, toned down to be slightly less grief-y, but still, really nice map. The biggest attraction was always the Wheel of Fate/Doom/Amusement, which would randomly roll every time someone captured. Nigh useless in steamroll games where one team would hold indefinitely, but on a back and forth game, it’d lead to many, many laughs. Even the Big Head/Small Head fates were amusing, since characters would blurt out amusing lines. There was also the Dance Off, which lined both teams up facing each other then, after a bit of Thriller dancing, would allow everyone to fire and kill each other. You just had to pray that someone hadn’t placed a sentry nearby.
Sentries have always had a habit of ruining things. The Carnival of Doom was INCREDIBLY buggy and often made unplayable because of various exploits. Engineers building outside the map. Engineers not following the no-ranged-weapons rule. Engineers ruining the wheel-of-fate-like whammies. Engineers ruining the retextured Doomsday map in general. Like Ghost Fort, Carnival of Doom also had a Wheel of Fate system, but this time, everyone was teleported into place to receive their fate, making it a piece of cake for an Engineer to drop their sentry where the enemy team would spawn, completely unable to retaliate.
Then there were the bumper cars. Holy fuck the bumper cars. Alright, the duck game was alright, despite the bonus ducks thing which would slowly drive us all loopy and would later become the scourge of TF2. The football game was silly and half the goals scored were probably own goals. But the elimination game. Fucking hell. It never ended. I once spent 20 minutes PLAYING that damned minigame. TWENTY MINUTES. Thankfully, Valve realised what was going on and later removed the tent poll in the middle when there was only one platform remaining, but even then those games lasted forever. The headless horseman was also brought in to rectify things and that STILL didn’t work. I suppose at least there wasn’t a Skull Island mechanic, like there was in Eyeaduct, Ghost Fort and Hell Tower.
Ah, Hell Tower. That one was great. It brought us back to the glory days of Harvest_Event and Mann Manor (and brought with it the wonderful Mountain Lab). Then it threw spells at us, but that was fine. The spells were mostly single-use and added a new angle to everything. Otherwise Hell Tower would have been as annoying as its non-Halloween counterpart, full of Snipers and Trolldiers. But with spells, no one was helpless. The lack of a boss was a pleasant change from the previous two years, but come Carnival of Doom, it was sorely missed, as was the tradition of finding yourself a present somewhere on the map, having run through a hail of bullets to do so. It did continued the tradition of explosive pumpkins though. Not so much the crit pumpkins.
Ah, the candy pumpkins that give out crits for a few seconds. They’ve never been that much fun, really, especially with all the other craziness going on. I never really thought they were needed, especially with spells around. They seemed to die down with Hell Tower but came back with Carnival of Doom. Then again, Carnival of Doom was one big, fucked up crazy mess.
Because of last year’s Halloween event, I’m really hoping we go back to our roots, with something nice and simple.
But knowing how the TF2 team are, we’re going to get something even crazier.