Concealed

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Concealed is a map from 2004 with no author listed on HaloMaps. Whoever made it, it is a solid design with balanced gameplay. The bases are connected to tunnel networks, which are then connected to several teleporters. The weapons and vehicles are not custom, but their placement makes the map function well with any gametype. Turrets, tanks, and banshees are available at both bases, and they can be used to counter the numerous sniping points in the map.

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The terrain of this map is incredible. The snowy sky sets an ominous tone for the battlefield, and the frozen waterfall and tall cliffs make the danger of the battle unavoidable. Even the tunnels have a bottomless pit to watch out for. The battlefields of this map are varied, and the obstacles will make any confrontation a challenge. There are twisting pathways and awesome jumps, which are filled with rocks and trees that enemies could easily hide behind, so don’t assume that you’re safe in a tank.

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Total Rating: 7.6/10

If you have any questions, comments, or map suggestions, leave a comment below.

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Shellshock Alpha

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This map is a Vietnam War inspired work by HM SureShot. Released in 2006, it’s not impressive visually, and it doesn’t make up for that with its features or design. To be fair, it is an “alpha,” although there doesn’t seem to be a beta on HaloMaps. There really isn’t very much in this map. It’s quite large, but it’s mostly just empty space. There are two bases without any structures, and the only scenery are trees and shrubs.

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The terrain is definitely my favorite part of this map. The rivers and islands are pretty cool, and I could see them being epic battlefields. However, the map is supposed to be like Vietnam, and I don’t really see that in the terrain. The “jungle” is pretty much just a few trees on each island, and the river isn’t murky. There is rain constantly falling in the map, but it’s a pretty thin rain. Also, battle sound effects play in this map, which just seems strange considering there are no AIs, and if there were a battle happening between actual players, they would provide their own sound effects by shooting at each other.

The weapons are pretty interesting. There’s an M60, an M79, and a rocket launcher of some kind. Also, there is a Warthog, which doesn’t fit at all with the Vietnam theme. There is a helicopter, but it’s badly designed and glitchy.

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Use the force

This map might work well in team slayer or CTF, but it’s probably not that great for any gametype.

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Total Rating: 5.3/10

If you have any questions, comments, or map suggestions, leave a comment below.

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Green Canyon

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This map was released in 2004 by the legend himself, Arteen. Being from 2004, this map lacks the impressive graphs we’ve come to expect from Halo CE, but it more than makes up for this with the pure fun of this map.

The scenery and terrain are definitely the weakest elements in this map. The textures are boring and monotone, the water looks very unnatural, and the placement of crashed Covenant and Human vehicles does very little to improve the overall appearance. However, like I said, this map is from 2004. You can’t expect a map from the same year that Halomaps started to have high quality graphics. Not to mention, the things Arteen was able to without OS and other software enhancements is really impressive.

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For instance, the weapons are all custom, and they each feature their own set of interesting changes. There are actually so many improvements to the weapons that I can’t list them all, but Arteen lists them in the map’s description on Halomaps. Some of my favorite weapons are the shotgun (which fires plasma bolts), plasma pistol (which shoots three bolts), railgun, and Sentinel. That’s right, you can use a Sentinel as a weapon.

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Here, you can see the awesome laser that the Sentinel shoots. Below, you can witness the destructive power of the shotgun.

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Each base has two Warthogs, a Ghost, and a Banshee. In addition, the map has a Scorpion and Shade turrets. The Ghost is normal, and the only changes to the Warthogs and Scorpion are that the passenger seats are third person and the crosshairs are slightly higher than where the weapon actually fires. The vehicles with the most obvious changes (and the most fun) are the Banshees and the Shades. The Banshee has a cool, yellow paint job, and if you crash the Banshee, you will die. All of the vehicles have crash damage, but the Warthogs only take off a bit of your shield, whereas the Banshee is basically a guaranteed death if you hit a wall. It’s hard to say whether that is a positive or negative feature.

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Coolest paint job ever

The Shade is movable, and it shoots at a much faster rate.

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While the vehicles and weapons are certainly fun and impressive, all of them pale in comparison to my favorite part of the map, the tunnels. At first, the tunnels seem like a simple addition to the map in order to add greater complexity to the BSP, but if you fire any weapon inside the tunnel, it will bounce and ricochet off of every surface. Even pistol bullets will bounce around at lightning speed.

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This map would likely be great for any team gametype, but it’s best for simply fooling around when you’re bored. Honestly, the tunnel alone could keep me entertained for hours.

Total Rating: 7.8/10

If you have any questions, comments, or map suggestions, leave a comment below.

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Forsaken

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This image courtesy of halomaps.org

Forsaken is a small, yet dynamic map that takes place in a hidden forest. Created by Bungie Fan (or “John”), this map features winding pathways and obstacles that make this map perfect for many gametypes.

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At first glance the scenery appears to be quite bland. Tan cliff walls, simple grass, and monochrome bases. You soon realize just how impressive and well-planned the scenery is. The trees are certainly nice, and the waterfall is beautifully detailed. The water’s graphics are good, especially for a map from 2009. Something interesting (and I’m not sure if this was a deliberate feature) that I noticed is that the ghosts cease to function after being driven into the water. The scenery maintains a good balance. It is interesting without getting in the way of gameplay.

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The vehicles and weapons are classic. There are warthogs, ghosts, and tanks. The weapons may have been remodeled, but I am not entirely sure. One of the most unique aspects of the weapons is that you can carry four weapons at a time in slayer (AR, pistol, sniper, and fuel rod gun), and you can carry three in CTF (AR, pistol, and sniper). The weapons are powerful and plentiful enough to prevent the tanks from gaining power, and there are enough warthogs to make the map speedy and unpredictable.

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The bipeds are finely crafted and feature excellent shaders.

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This map would work well with almost any gametype, but I would recommend CTF, Assault, and team King of the Hill.

Total Rating: 8.5/10

If you have any questions, comments, or map suggestions, leave a comment below.

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Modservatory

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Modservatory is a modded version of the HCE map, Observatory. While I am usually not a fan of modded maps, this one gets an exception for two reasons. One, the mod is by Mark Galesic, the same person who created Observatory. Two, the mod is much better than the original.

The map’s scenery is rugged and diverse. The constant twists and turns make traversing the map in any vehicle difficult, and it help balance out the power between foot soldiers and heavy attack vehicles. The expansive scenery is certainly fun for exploring, and it is fun to play, but from an artistic standpoint (The HCE community obsesses over perfection) it appears unfinished. The edges to hills are rough. The colors are plain. This is somewhat excusable as the map was made in 2008, but there still seems to be something lacking in the scenery. The clear standouts in the scenery are the awesome light bridge and dam structure.

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The vehicles in this map, while creative and fun, do not fit the map. The Warthogs and Scorpions obviously work great, but the Stryker does not. Regardless of whether or not it’s a Halo vehicle, it does not function in this cliffed, mountainous map. The Wasps seem great, but as we learned from Immure, they are almost impossible to take out. This is offset slightly by the tunnels and ridges that give exceptional cover for snipers. Overall, the vehicles could have been much more than they were.

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The weapons are interesting, but not in a good way. In addition to traditional rifles and pistols, there’s the classic flamethrower-type weapon from Arial Combat, there’s a hand-held Warthog turret, and there’s a shotgun. These weapons have weak animations and no coherency.

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This map works best with traditional team games. CTF is the most interesting option. You can try individual gametypes, but it would most likely become Wasps vs. Everyone Else.

Total Rating: 8.0/10

If you have any questions, comments, or map suggestions, leave a comment below.

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Arial Combat

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Arial Combat is a large map that was created by MoD Wrath. This map’s main focus is a wide selection of custom vehicles and weapons. What the map lacks in scenery and detail, it makes up for in sheer creativity.

Arial Combat’s scenery is very simple, and it draws a lot away from the map. The map is symmetrical. Each team starts on a tall platform that rises out of the ocean. These contain various aerial vehicles, and both of these platforms have an inner chamber that holds even more vehicles and weapons. In the center of the map there is a flat island for further battling, and along the edge of the map there are two sniper posts. The city design at each base is an interesting addition, but it does not make up for the plain textures on most of the buildings and background. To be fair, the purpose of this map is aerial combat, and the scenery is simply a subsidiary.

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The inner chamber

Each team starts with a variety of vehicles that includes a helicopter, a large cruiser, a hangar of fighter jets, an X-Wing, a Hornet, a Flame Hog, a green Gauss Warthog, a Longsword, a Pelican, a Jetpack, a Banshee, a Covenant Dropship, and a Sentinel. On the center island there are Special Ops tanks and Pelicans, Rocket and Machine Gun Warthogs, and a Blue Gauss Warthog. All of these vehicles are very well designed.

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The full list of weapons is so extensive that I am not even sure if I have documented all of them. It includes an assault rifle, an MP5, a powerful energy gun, a silenced machine gun, a redesigned shotgun, a semi-automatic shotgun, an energy sword, a fireball bazooka, a magnum revolver, a modern shotgun, a flamethrower, a fuel rod gun, a rocket launcher, a sniper rifle, a bolt-action sniper rifle, and a needler.

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Energy Gun

The best gametypes for this map are Assault and Team Slayer. CTF and other gametypes are very difficult due to the size of the map. This map is also great for just plain messing around.

This map contains several other interesting features such as bubble shields, turrets, and powerful explosives.

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Bubble Shield Generators

Total Rating: 9.0/10

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If you have any questions, comments, or map suggestions, leave a comment below.

City 2001

City 2001 is a custom map with scenery based off of a city. It features large buildings, street lights, and a central park.

Vehicles are spread all over the map. They are placed in parking lots, clandestine alleys, and everywhere else. There are Specters, Warthogs, Bulldogs, and Ghosts.

Most of the weapons are custom. There is a redesigned pistol, sniper rifle, and an SMG. The plasma grenades have been altered into stick grenades that blast needles in every direction.

The scenery in the map is extremely good. The city is complete with diverse and detailed buildings, street lights, signs, road markings, and ramps placed all over for cool jumps.

This map works well with almost any gametype. The most fun would likely be Assault, as it requires complex battle strategy.

The only complaint I have of the map is that the ubiquity of vehicles leads to their overuse, but with skilled players, this is usually countered.

Total Rating: 9.4/10

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Atomic

A view of the Main Chamber and the three levels

Atomic is a simple and small map. The map consists of a main chamber with three different levels. There are two ramps that wrap around the sides of this main chamber and allow you to access the different levels.

A view of one of the ramps

The scenery is very simple, but it is also fairly interesting. A pipe that carries yellow particles runs through the center of the chamber, and lights run along the floor of the ramps.

The two bases are located on the second level, and each is connected to one of the ramps. The bases feature a pipe similar to the one in the main chamber.

A view of one of the bases

The weapons in the map are all basic. There is a Needler, a Shotgun, and a Sniper Rifle. The top level serves as a Sniper Post.

A view of the top level, which serves as a Sniper Post

The scenery and weapons in this map are not amazing, but the map is still fun for gametypes like CTF or Slayer.

Total Rating: 8.5/10

Double Review: Yoyorast Island and Yoyorast Island V2

Yoyorast Island is a massive map with countless pathways and tunnels. It would be impossible to describe each part of the map in great detail, but I will give a brief overview.

Red base and Blue base are located in close proximity. They are connected by several passageways on a platform. This platform is suspended high above the water.

A view of Blue Base

Both bases have a garage with Warthogs. Riding on one of these Warthogs will take you through tunnels that run around the map.

Warthog garage

Curved pathways

Driving out of the Warthog garage

Following these tunnels will take you to the opposite side of the map, where there is a steep slope that contains several Mongoose.

A view of the full map from the Mongoose base

These tunnels are exciting and fast-paced, making this map perfect for Race, but it also works well with King of the Hill, Slayer, Assault, or Zombies. Due to the bases’ close proximity it isn’t a great CTF or Assault map.

If you prefer to battle on foot, there are also walking paths. These paths lead to several positions for attacks and sniping.

A sniper post at the highest point on the map

Signs showing the different pathways

One thing about the map that I find obnoxious is a large trench in the water. This trench runs across the entire map and divides the two sides. If you fall into this trench, you will be forced to go through a long series of tunnels in order to get back to your original position.

You do not want to fall into this trench

Yoyorast Island V2 is very similar to Yoyorast Island. V2 improves the terrain and adds other cool elements.

V2 modifies the curved pathways to improve the driving of vehicles. There are also numerous terrain changes, such as an added island, and a large ridge that divides parts of the map.

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V2 also has new vehicles. There is a Warthog with no turret and a banshee.

Final Ratings:

Yoyorast Island: 9.4/10

Yoyorast Island V2: 9.6/10

P.S. I would like to thank @HaloCEmaps for tweeting about this blog.

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