Scream Fortress

By: Alex Johnson

Published: November 2, 2010 Posted in: PC Gaming Nonsense, Review

Valve are bloody marvellous. I’ve bought three new games on the cheap through Steam (Fallout: New Vegas, Batman Arkham Asylum and Dogfighter thanks for asking) but I haven’t bothered to install a single one of them because I’ve been playing the free Team Fortress 2 ‘Scream Fortress’ update. With 17 new hats, 2 new maps, a new weapon and the introduction to boss battles we’re been spoilt rotten and I’m loving it.

tf2 - The family

I was pretty damn pleased when Valve’s foremost hat based combat simulator announced there would be a second annual Halloween special as the last was a huge ghost themed ball of fun. It’s clear to see that the developers have sunk a lot of time, effort and cash into making this the best update yet. The stunning maps and boss are perfectly stylised to be super creepy but slot seamlessly into the Team Fortress 2 universe. The Horseless Headless Horsemann brings a whole new feel to the game, when you’re darting around Mann Manor to cap points you’ll occasionally have to team up to take down the huge purple skeleton of death that will wreak havoc until killed. It’s great fun, especially watching the people bludgeoning it with melee weapons (for the ‘Gored!’ achievement) get systematically hunted and beheaded by the Horsemann. A real sense of off the wall funness is created when RED and BLU join forces to bring down the boss whilst backstabbing each other to continue the game at the same time.

As for the fabulous 17 new hats, they can be broken down into 3 categories:

  • Masks
  • Crafted with Haunted Metal
  • Achievement based

The masks are paper bags with a crude face painted on them, a nice little nod back to the masks from last year’s update. There are ten in total, one with each of the class’s faces on and one with Saxton Hale’s manly mug on it. The class masks are found in the Halloween gift that drops at a random location every so often in the Mann Manor map, this is great fun, every player in the server will stop attacking each other to scramble around in a desperate attempt to find the gift before everyone else and if the Horseless Headless Horsemann is running around when the Gift is dropped its beautiful chaos just the way Valve intended. Unfortunately the class masks are only wearable during this Halloween period, after that you won’t be able to wear them. Have no fear though as if you manage to find (or trade for) all nine you can craft the coveted Saxton Hale mask which is not Halloween restricted. It’s bizarre how when you take a step back the only reason we want these hats is because we’ve been told we do by a charming group of people we’ve never even met. OH GOD I WANT THEM SO BAD.

The two hats that can be made with the Haunted Metal are the Spine-Chilling Skull and the VooDoo Juju. They look really quite cool but to craft them you need the Haunted Metal and four refined metal, that’s a whopping 72 weapons you’ll have to craft. Alternatively you can buy them from the Mann Co. store and save the Haunted Metal for crafting the Unusual Headless Horsemann’s Headtaker.

tf2 - horseless headless horseman

The final hat you can grab this Halloween is the Horseless Headless Horsemann Mask. If you assist in the killing of the Horsemann and survive until he dies you will receive the Horseless Headless Horsemann Mask. You can only wear it during the Halloween event but it does look quite cool and as a plus it makes you immune to the Horsemann’s scaring attack.

If you’ve been thinking to yourself ‘I wish I could decapitate the masses with an oversized Halloween themed axe’ and been looking at the Horsemann’s axe with longing then have no fear – for you too can decapitate the masses with an oversized Halloween themed axe similar to that of the Horsemann. All you need is the Haunted Metal, two refined metals and a Scotsman’s Skullcutter. The axe itself actually looks quite cool when you wield it. I recommend crafting this one and buying any of the hats you desperately need.

Overall the update is great. With Team Fortress 2 still being regularly updated 3 years after its release it’s well worth buying just to see what more we’ll get in the future as the steady stream of free updates shows no sign of stopping. As the official Team Fortress blog calls the Horseless headless Horsemann the ‘first boss monster’ for Team Fortress 2 I’m gonna put my neck out and say that I personally* officially reckon there’ll be a Christmas themed boss.

*I have absolutely no information proving or disproving this guess/hope. Don’t be suing me please.

Alex Johnson