<div width="20%" align="right" style="float: left; padding: 1px">Map: Author: Gametype: Players: <a href="http://forums.tf2maps.net/downloads.php?do=file&id=115">Download</a> | </div><div width="28%" align="left" style="float: left; padding: 1px"><strong>ctf_mach4 Vilepickle Capture the Flag 16-24</strong> Servers</div><div width="48%" align="center"><img src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/score_ctf_mach4.gif"> <font size="-2">All scores are out of 5.0</font></div> Mach4 by Vilepickle is a small, fast paced CTF map. It is a port of a map that's seen its way into just about every incarnation of Team Fortress. The original author is "Someone". <p><img src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/review_design.gif"></p><a href="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/ctf_mach4_design.jpg"><img align="right" hspace="3" src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/ctf_mach4_design_th.jpg"></a>Being capture the flag, there are no real issues with team balance, as the sides are mirrored. The class balance is fairly good as well. Scouts have a bit of an advantage due to the map's small size, and an initial scout rush can easily grab the intel before an engineer can finish building a sentry even if he hammers on it. Spies have only a limited number of places they can hide, but again the small map size means they don't have far to travel while cloaked. Snipers are kept from dominating the middle area by the sewer entrances and the obstacles in the center that keep line of site into the side entrances to a minimum. Getting around the map is pretty easy, and it doesn't take long to learn the paths. It can be frustrating not being able to get to the second floor directly from the intel without the use of teleporters, but such a convenience would make turtling easier, as defenders would never have to expose themselves by using the front entrance to reach the stairs. While the size of the map makes the flow of action fairly quick and dynamic, it also limits flag defense once it gets out of the main room. Flag captures quickly become just a matter of nudging it bit by bit towards the entrance, and once it is out in the middle area there is nothing that can stop the capture. If there is one real flaw in the design, it's the way the bases transition to the middle area. To keep action dynamic both teams have to constantly be on the offensive to prevent their exits from getting locked down. If one team starts turtling, the other team can quickly gain domination of the middle, preventing the first team from going back on offensive even if they wanted to. When the teams are balanced in both offense and defense though, the small size makes the gameplay a pretty fast paced back-and-forth between bases.</p> <p><img src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/review_style.gif"></p><a href="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/ctf_mach4_style.jpg"><img align="right" hspace="3" src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/ctf_mach4_style_th.jpg"></a>While certainly above average, style is mach4's weakest point. Despite its release early in the TF2 lifetime, it didn't bring much new in terms of Capture the Flag. Two bases facing each other, one upper path and one lower path across the middle, and an upper sniping deck overlooking the middle all contribute to the feeling that this is 2fort in miniature. There are differences in gameplay to be sure, born from the differences in scale, but it's not enough to make mach4 feel unique in the scope of TF2. The visual spytech theme does a better job of distinguishing the map's style. Even there though the thick architecture and reliance on blocky concrete forms provide telltale signs of the maps previous Quake incarnations. It still looks fantastic, but with everything out in the open it lacks some of the "secret agency" feel of Valve's spytech areas. Other bits just seem out of place, such as banks of computer terminals lined up under glass in a hole in the floor. <p><img src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/review_craft.gif"></p><a href="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/ctf_mach4_craft.jpg"><img align="right" hspace="3" src="http://forums.tf2maps.net/reviewimages/ctf_mach4/ctf_mach4_craft_th.jpg"></a>The shining point of mach4, and this is true of most things Vilepickle has a hand in, is the brushwork and architecture. All other considerations aside, the visuals are amazing. The architecture is interesting but unobtrusive. Everything is well lit without being monotone, and the use of HDR is excellent. The scale is great, with plenty of room to navigate around other players. The only real issue with the scale is that some ledges that players will need to drop from regularly result in falling damage, such as inside the main base or dropping off the bridge. On the other hand, in both those situations if a player has time he/she can find a midpoint to drop to and can actually get down with no damage. <b>Summary</b> In terms of fun and looks, Mach4 is excellent. The biggest hits to the final score come from it being a port, which gives it an initial disadvantage in creativity and fit. While not well suited for large numbers of players, it still packs a lot of action regardless of how many people are playing.