As you may have noticed from a previous article by yours truly, Warcraft III fever is sweeping the nation like some kind of inflammatory virus that makes you play computer games about Orcs. Blizzard, a company that is mistakenly not located in Korea, has once again created a great gaming experience that hundreds of thousands of people became immersed in during the week of release. Although Emily and I are quite critical of the computer's AI during network play, an artificial intelligence which makes you want to instantly shut down your computer and spray acidic semen into it, we have enjoyed both the single player campaigns and network play against actual non-computer humans.

However, there is a dark side to Warcraft III, one many people don't want to talk about because they're afraid everybody else in the elevator will give them strange looks once they start babbling about the Undead. As any avid gamer knows, the release of any PC title follows this procedure:

1) Game is released.
2) Gamespy labels it "The Absolutely Positively 100% Truly Greatest Most Wonderful Bestest Game in the History of the Universe" so the game's publisher will allow them to slip more GameSpyWare into their upcoming products.
3) People buy the game.
4) Crude, gravel-munching retarded mapmakers begin raping the hell out of the game and spitting on its corpse.

I can pretty much guarantee you'll find custom-made user maps roughly six hours after any game goes retail. I blame the government for allowing certain minimum security prisons computer and Internet access. I also blame George Bush Jr. because hey, that's the "hip" thing to do. These custom-made maps are always rushed disasters with absolutely no gameplay, strategic elements, or talent whatsoever; the only reason the mapmakers release these squalid piles of filth is because they want to be one of the first demented cretins to create a new map for that game. It doesn't matter if the map has no starting locations or is simply a model of an empty field containing prefab bushes which spell out the message "PETE SUX BALLS, LOL" in huge letters. The first month of a game's release is composed entirely of various drooling teenagers banging random keys in the game map editor and then uploading it to any site which doesn't have an automated content-checking system that hunts down and deletes digital turds. Warcraft III is currently going through this wonderful stage, and to celebrate the horror that is "PLAY MY KEWL MAP!!!!!! ROETFLEETLE!!!" time, Emily and I have chosen two fine Warcraft III maps to review. Narrowing the selection of maps down to a paltry selection of two was a difficult procedure, much like having to choose which two naked photos of my grandmother I would like tattooed on each of my thighs.

MAP #1: "Blood Bowl"

AUTHOR: "Nailer"
DESCRIPTION: Some crankass fucknaut attempts to defile Warcraft III into some perverse fake sport which involves being confused and repeatedly pressing the "QUIT GAME" button on the menu until either you or all your characters die. Seriously though, I have no clue. "Nailer," the criminal mastermind behind this perverse desecration of pixels, describes his calamity as the following:

"This is a Blood Bowl map where to teams battle it out on a football field to win the grand price."

Oooh, do you have the brains and brawn to win the "grand price"? I know I sure as hell don't!
Download Here. No Really, Please Don't (65 k)

My team gathers to, uh, do something. I think. Wait, I don't know. PASS.

RICH "LOWTAX" KYANKA: "Blood Bowl" is a game which has no bowl but plenty of blood... too bad it's all flooding out of your eye sockets as you try to play and comprehend this bizarre attempt at turning Warcraft III into a sport revolving around making the user hate Warcraft III. The map begins with a promising leap into stupidity by misspelling several key words in the loading screen, many of which I can't even begin to guess the intended meaning. My favorite gem had to be the complete sentence, "With Celebre Spectators as Lord Arthas, George W. Bush... And an alien from outer spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!" Wow! To think all these important "Celebre Spectators" showed up to watch me compete in a classic game of Blood Bowl simply blows my mind, much like how I wanted to blow my mind out with a potato cannon so my brain could escape out of my skull and flee to the opposite side of the room.

We ran the map "Blood Bowl" through various NASA supercomputers to have its original intent and purpose determined. The results came in the form of a ticker-tape readout which simply read, "FUCK YALL." You start the map with one hero who mysteriously has 9999999999 lumber but only 2000 gold. You use this money to buy other hapless suckers who are forced to become your idiotic teammates and tolerate one of the most idiotic "sports" since "Professional Hydraulic Acid Enema Rodeo" began in the map author's basement. Your goal is to have your hero grab the Blood Ball and run to the opposite side of the field, at which point something happens and then something else happens, not necessarily in that order. If your hero falls below 25% health, he is transported to a "penalty box" where he is healed by two Priests that are confined inside a huge block of concrete. The only problem with this is that while your hero is in the penalty box for 20 seconds, he can still be attacked by enemy ranged weapons... and once your hero is dead, the game comes to an incomplete unexpected end. Your team is no longer able to pick up the ball (as you have no hero), so you are forced to make your remaining crappy men run around the field like idiots until a sudden power failure turns your computer into a large metal paperweight. If there is in fact a purpose to this game, nobody anywhere will ever be able to find or achieve it and it will live as an eternal enigma such as Dick Clark's failure to ever die.

Oh dear.

EMILY "INTEGRAL" REIGEL: "Blood Bowl" was terrible! Terrible! Terrible beyond my wildest imaginings! I like football (US-style football, you creepy people from Ethnia) but this convoluted, mutant child of Warcraft III and America's beefiest past time was terrifying to behold and even more terrifying to be a part of. The only good thing to come out of the "Blood Bowl" map that I can possibly come up with is that it marks the first time ever in the history of our long and taffy-filled relationship that I beat Rich at Warcraft III. Usually my fruity, flailing trees just get completely and utterly pulverized by his creepy, flying man-birds and my town is reduced to ashes and ruin. I can say with great assurance that somehow I was able to have an army or creatures whereas he just had one wimpy dude. Therefore, I shall assume that he sufficiently explained to you in what ways the map was bad (it was HORRIBLE, by the way) whilst I gloat, gloat like a gloating goat, over my victory.

These buildings are on fire at the beginning of the game. No clue as to why and I don't want to know.

I WON! That's right. I had a bunch of guys that I for some reason was able to mysteriously recruit from a hovel someplace. Rich didn't have a hovel or was not smart enough to find his hovel or something because he ended up with just that one puny man for the entire game. I took my guys out into the middle of what I suppose must have been the "artist's" rendition of a football field and sort of pranced them about from place to place. Before I knew it, I was racking up points like there was no tomorrow and Rich's dumb guy with the hammer was deader than something that is very dead, such as Betty White. The mysterious timer with misspelled words on it was ticking down and before I knew it, a little sign popped up and told me that I had won! Unfortunately, the joy that I felt at my "Blood Bowl" triumph was not great enough to make me ever even consider playing this map again. I never want to hear about it ever. I want to scrub out my brain with pipe cleaners soaked in bleach to erase the memories of the time from my life that I wasted in playing this travesty. But I WON!!!

RATING (Each category out of 10)
DESIGN: -5. Pointless. I've seen better designed maps of my bathroom.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: -7. There was neither attention nor detail involved in the creation of this map.
CREATIVITY: -4. It takes a special kind of jerk to make a map this stupid and bug-filled. I would like to injure this special kind of jerk.
GAMEPLAY: -10. This is not a game anybody would ever want to play.
TOTAL: -26 (out of a possible -40)

MAP #2:"Protect the WTC!"

AUTHOR: I hope I never know. For both his sake and mine.
DESCRIPTION: I am not even sure how to go about explaining how utterly and depressingly bad this map is. Basically you start out at the bottom of a huge map with about ten computer allies or opponents, depending upon your choices when setting up the game. At the bottom of the map are two large tower structures labeled charmingly "WTC." You have no gold mines but you have a town hall, a couple of peons, and a faggy elf tree. You must somehow save the towers from "Osama's Followers," so the only thing you can really do is have your peons create defensive towers as fast as they can until the bad guys show up and kill your peons. Fortunately, the author of this map made sure that they would show up almost immediately and that you would not be at all prepared for their arrival. Enemies come in droves of hundreds (literally) and very quickly wipe out all opposition, mercifully butchering your guys and hence ending the painful game. Just when you think that maybe you have escaped with one peon and your town hall and that there is a chance that you could still do some sort of minor damage, another wave of EVIL TERRORISM flies in FROM ALLAH to destroy everything that you've worked so hard for the past two minutes to create. It's all over, Rover! OH NO! THE WTC HAS FALLEN! AGAIN! USA #2! FLYING UNDEAD OSAMA DRAGONS #1!
Download This Mistake of a File (55k)

Oh hey, look, a couple of frost wyrms have come to say "hello!"

EMILY "INTEGRAL" REIGEL: I may have "won" on some very minuscule level with my victory over the evil tyrant and killer of snails Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka in "Blood Bowl," but I lost more than I will ever be able to communicate to anyone by even playing "Protect the WTC." I lost my very soul by even thinking about playing it. As fast as my little grunting and obsequious peons put up towers they promptly got killed by swarms upon swarms of frost wyrms and crypt fiends and those crazy Orc things that swing large logs all over the place until you are dead from log-smashing. This is quite honestly the worst map I have ever played for any video game ever. And damn, I have played some terrible maps. I don't even know where to begin talking about it it is so bad. And I am not trying at all to be funny here, folks. This map is beyond all humor. In fact, this map exists in a dimension completely devoid of humor. A dimension where people who create things like this are shockingly and unfortunately allowed to live.

After I was done playing this map I felt a great sense of loss. The numerous and cataclysmic problems with this map hadn't just been on a level where I could say to myself, "well, I couldn't make a better map than this one, so maybe I shouldn't be so critical." This map was obviously and completely designed by a raving psychotic with a deep longing for death. I say this because not only did I feel extremely sad after playing "Protect the WTC" but I also felt a hot, burning rage welling up within me. This was a rage that urged me to kill the person who was responsible for subjecting me to this horrible excuse for a map. A desperate act of vengeance. I am mostly certain that this burning sensation was not a result of my repeatedly forcing myself to throw up tonight after dinner because I had eaten too much and I don't want to get fat (the thinner is the winner). It was true righteous indignation that caused me to feel this way. To a certain extent, I feel that way still. You might even say that I am planning in minute detail the slow, painful death of whomever is responsible for my playing this map in the first place. Yes. You just might say that.

This is like wave 1 of 740,000 tides of terror that Osama has conjured up deep from the depths of "Off The Screen."

RICH "LOWTAX" KYANKA: I can honestly say that if I saw Osama Bin Laden on the streets, I would probably punch him in the nose or try to run him down with my car. I'm not too fond of his anti-American attitude and sassy personality, both of which are present in "Protect the WTC!", a map which challenges you, the user, to protect two wooden towers which are 50 feet tall and block the entire screen when you're looking at them. See, by obscuring everything which you might possibly want to look at, the creator of this map has made a special new style of "gameplay." In case you missed the SS Hip Game Lingo Boat, which Osama Bin Laden recently sank with his army of Ice Dragons, the term "gameplay" now means "the game which impedes your ability to play."

However, I don't want to focus all my attention on the two retarded towers, as the map does an excellent job of that. I'd like to address the fact that Osama Bin Laden apparently has over a billion jillion trillion flying skeletal ice-breathing dragons which he is just waiting to release upon us, the helpless, stupid, stinky public. If his dragon army does not defeat our combined military forces of the US Army and Terry "Hulk" Hogan, then we will sure meet our demise once Osama unleashes his hoard of Big Ox Guys With Sticks. If, for some bizarre reason this doesn't completely decimate our country, "Ozzy" Bin Laden will then throw more dragons and an infinite amount of whatever the hell else we missed because Emily "Integral" Reigel and I couldn't survive longer than nine seconds. I think there's some secret to winning this map, but it's undoubtedly hidden behind the fatass wooden WTC towers. As Emily stated, you are initially given one peon, a fruity elf tree, and an Orc town hall. These are all very useful tools in achieving the ultimate goal of losing the game, which I assume is the end goal. For some unknown reason, your peon is able to run at Mach-3 and can build structures faster than he can say "zug zug" (literally). Other than this minor discrepancy, the map plays pretty much just like the tragedy of 9-11. Just take a look at this list of real-world features this map offers:

A series of comically placed flamethrower Orcs who cannot move and injure .001% of the incoming Osama Attack Force.
Computer allies which are obviously pacifists, as they don't ever do anything except stand in place and hope your hard drive crashes.
Random geometry which looks like a large blob of mold below four green Space Invaders who are trying to escape the ASCII -=[ ]=- sign, which was apparently the WTC's logo.
Realistic buildings and units such as "Tool Tip Missing."
Rectangular patches of grass which serve no purpose except to take up space.

All of these elements add up to create a style of gameplay that is like no other. Keep in mind that there is a very good reason for this.

RATING (Each category out of 10)
DESIGN: -10. We cannot think of any possible way this map could be any worse, unless it was somehow able to recursively call itself inside the map.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: -10. It's a whole bunch of guys flying down from the sky and killing you.
CREATIVITY: -7. This is a special kind of weird, stupid, impossible nonsense. It ain't your momma's sipping tea!
GAMEPLAY: -10. You start game, you die. The end.
TOTAL: -37 (out of a possible -40)

We hope you enjoyed our look at a couple representations from the first crop of gaming genius to spawn from Warcraft III, and if you didn't, I can honestly say that you're pro-Osama Bin Laden and you should be placed in a concentration camp as soon as possible. If that option is not available, the government should force you to play these maps until you figure out some way to end your own life by using only the space bar.

All New Feature on Something Awful!

Zack "Glass Elevator" Parsons here and I'm pleased to be introducing our newest feature here on Something Awful, namely "SA Story Time". The concept is that we'll be taking a cliché filled literary sub-genre like "Robots That Become Human" or "Psychic Detectives" and condensing it into an illustrated short story to save you the trouble of buying book after book. After all, here at Something Awful we're all about saving you money! This week's feature is a condensed version of the "Alien Invasions" sub-genre of science fiction novels and is entitled "Alien Invasion of the Planet of the Earth."



Daring Armstrong rubbed his gigantic chin and straightened his coif of hair which was normally perfectly curled over his forehead but at that moment was slightly disheveled because he was laying into Dr. Heldinger's beautiful daughter in the science supply closet only moments earlier. Dr. Heldinger was so lost in science that he did not even notice the loving look in his daughter's eyes as she in turn watched Daring fixing his hair. They were two lovers, in a world gone wrong, snatching a moment of ecstasy together to escape the torment of the alien invasion.

The action is intense, the drama is high, and the characters are as frisky as two teenagers at a drive-in movie! Many alien horrors await you in the terrifying and tantalizing pages of "Alien Invasion of the Planet of the Earth"!

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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