As a big fan of japanese culture, I pretty much swiped this review as soon as it hit the bunker, and damn was I impressed!
For a start, this is one of those maps where the author has gone beyond the confines of world craft, and introduced new sounds, textures, skymaps and models. This is what I like to see in custom maps, as it truelly is customised. All the extras have been done with great effort as well, the new textures are accurate to the layout and architecture ofthe map, and also add to the atmosphere of ancient japanese temples. The new model is that of a samurai sword, which acts as a flag, but can also move the teams spawn points and grants the user health and armour benefits. The skymap is that of rolling green mountains, and fits perfectly with the map. Last but definately not least, the sounds are clear and impressive.
The objective is to fight for control of four temples, each the home of an animal sprit, once all four temples are under the control of a single team, that team has to take it's sword to the underground samurai spirit temple, where they will then win the map. The points system is simple, 5 points for every animal spirit temple captured, and 50 for capture of the samurai spirit. Temples are captured by finding and walking over the sysmbol of the respective temple.
Each temple is physically and tactically different, the crab temple sit upon a cliff, and is only accessible by a ladder and a bridge, and the bridge can be destroyed by a demoman, and repaired by an engineer. The mantis temple is simple, but budding ninjas can attack from the rooftops if the wish. The wolf temple is a deep pool atop a cliff, and the capture point sits at the bottom, remember to hold you breath when capturing this one! The dragon temple hosts a sniper deck, which overlooks the two ledge ways that lead up the the building. Each of the temples is surrounded by some great rock formations and waterfalls, it really is a gorgeous map.
The layout of this map makes it best for clan games, where the extra organisation will be extremely helpful, and make the most of the tactical features of the map. Saying this, samurai deserves to be tried by all, it's simply that good!
Lastly, I'd like to add that after trying this map, the only problem the tfx team could find, was that the Team Fortress player models look out of place, this sparked up a conversation between me and Izzy in the tfx bunker about the need for some japanese player models, just to benefit this map alone!
Pros: Good layout, architecture, theme and gameplay
Cons: We don't have the right player models!
Audience: Will play in all sorts of games, but is probably best suited to clan games
Final Verdict: This is the best custom map I've ever had the privilige to download.
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