In true “Team Fortress 2” Halloween tradition, the release on October 29, 2014 has brought a redesign of an old map, a mini-game, a new “Scream Fortress” comic and some old and new glitches as well. Let’s review what the 2014 “Scream Fortress” has to offer.
Let’s start with the good.
Bumper cars are a really cute idea and add three variations of a bumper car mini-game to the end of the Doomsday reskin map. The first is a game of bumper car soccer with the goals being giant mouths that eat the ball and belch out skeleton gibs when a goal is scored. The second is a carnival-style grab the duckies game. Each team tries to collect the most rubber ducks on the map and slamming into one another, whether you knock each other off the road or not, will produce bonus ducks to be collected. The third puts everyone on a wooden platform above what can only be described as a sarlac pit. Merasmus will cause one section of the floor to blink and everyone must rush to it to keep from falling. Of course you might get bumped off or slide off on your own in your rush to get there. The platform will gradually lose squares until it is only two left and then the horseless headless horseman will be summoned to knock people off the middle platform. When one team has no players left on the platform, a winner is declared.
The comic this year, “Blood Money” is as fun as all the previous ones. It features Merasmus explaining why he has a giant carnival and why exactly he needs the mercenaries to fight on it. It’s bloody, it’s gruesome, he’s tricking you, he’s even bragging about tricking you, but you’re going to keep doing it because killing each other and grabbing briefcases is what mercs do!
On to the bad.
Gifts are severely limited. The average user, according to Valve, got about 5 gifts last year. Some farmers ended up getting over 500 though. So this year Valve has done away with the randomly appearing presents and will instead give one cauldron which can be opened for 3 items out just for logging in and one more for completing the bumper to bumper to bumper achievement. That’s a total of 6 items. They are all untradable. So if you don’t like what you got, you are stuck with it.
The bumper car physics are a little wonky. The cars accelerate quickly but have a lot of trouble slowing down. It’s like perpetually driving on ice. On most maps this isn’t a problem, but it can pose some issues on the game where the floor drops out from under you. There’s also an issue with collission physics. If someone hits you, you go flying. If you hit someone, you may still go flying. Even with the weird physics, the bumper cars are a unique twist and a fun mini-game for this Halloween. And since it’s a once a year event, it’s not likely the novelty will wear off before the mini-game is put away for the year.
And the glitches?
As with every year, never take a teleporter on the first day of a Halloween update unless you have a suicide button bound to your keyboard or mouse – or if you are a Soldier or Demoman who can blow themselves up. This year’s teleporter glitch teleports you behind the respawn room where you’re stuck. Some Engineers build these glitched teleporters directly in the middle of the respawn doorway in order to try and trick or trap others. Don’t lag out running out of the spawn room.
Crashes also seem to be a pretty big problem according to the Steam forum. Many users are having trouble keeping the game connected and end up getting booted out at inopportune moments – like right before a win or achievement collect. This is pretty common for any update though and likely to be worked out pretty fast.
This year’s “Scream Fortress 2014” specific glitch is a lot more entertaining, even though it can ruin one of the mini-games and make it unending. Merasmus may attempt to start a dance right as the game ends then activate the swimming in jarate magic. The problem is that the swimming in jarate feature transfers over once the bumper car mini-game starts. This causes every character to appear to be standing in their bumper car while floating in jarate. The first two mini-game types can be completed despite this, but the third, where everyone on one team needs to fall to their death, is obviously unending since no one falls while swimming.