Hellfire is a Mannpower map added during the Scream Fortress 2015 event.
I may be writing this article on Hellfire, but I refuse to even play it because I find Mannpower stupid. For all I know it could be a great map for Mannpower, but that’s like saying “I bet nail clippers are the least painful way to snap your teeth“. I just genuinely cannot get into Mannpower in any way, shape, or form, and since Hellfire is the only map in the game that’s Mannpower-exclusive (the other maps all being remakes of pre-existing TF2 maps) it’s the one map in TF2 I basically cannot form an opinion on, and that causes me to form a negative opinion.
Of course, being made specifically for Mannpower, it had to go stick the intelligence on an otherwise-unreachable platform in the middle of a fire pit. Good luck getting down there without a grappling hook. I used to join a server that took the Mannpower maps and simply added them to the Capture-the-flag roster because they worked perfectly fine, but they’ve gotta skip Hellfire because that intel firepit is just unreachable by anybody except a Demo/Medic combo, and even they’re gonna have trouble getting back out.
Sure, ctf_thundermountain does the same thing, but I don’t hate Thunder Mountain. Thunder Mountain is a great Payload map, with 3 of the most interesting stages in both scope and design, and so the Mannpower version gets points just for flavor. Also if someone asked “Hey what do you think about Thunder Mountain?” my mind travels to the time-honored TF2 classic that’s been in the game for years. The similar question “Hey what do you think about Hellfire?” would immediately make me projectile vomit everywhere because they have to be talking about that loathsome Mannpower map of which we shall not speak.
I just read on the TF2 wiki that there’s a bugged window near each team’s Intelligence that allows bullets and projectiles to pass through it. I didn’t know that, but now that I do it makes me hate the map even more. How totally appropriate for a map named after hell to contain bait-and-switch glitches that prevent you from even trusting your surroundings. The Wiki also mentions that it stole props from another map, which I’m also going to count against it even though almost every map in TF2 does this. This review is unfair. Deal with it, Hellfire.
If Hellfire ever decided to go remake itself into a respectable game mode, that would be stellar and I’ll give it a real review. Until then, it can go burn in itself. I love the other gimmick game modes as much as anything in TF2 — PASS Time and Special Delivery would probably rank in my top 3 favorite game modes, and Territorial Control is a brilliant concept that I understand the shortcomings of but wish it would work out. Because they still kinda ‘fit’ as realistic concepts. Every game mode except PASS Time works as a canonical fight, whether the mercenaries are fighting for land or intelligence, and PASS Time at least still keeps the differentiated roles between the nine classes and adds a fun ‘reverse capture-the-flag’ mode that I’ve been wanting ever since I first played ctf_deliverance. Mannpower is nonsensical chaos that ignores everything about class roles, everything that makes TF2 what it is and I wish it would go die in a hellfire.