Goon Squad, a custom map by Steam Workshop user G Kaf, provides Half-Life: Alyx players a new experience playing as a Combine soldier accompanied by two Combine buddies, trying to make it out of a quarantined sewerage system.
Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t played Half-Life: Alyx’s main campaign.
Released almost a year ago, this is a custom map for Half-Life: Alyx that gives you about 30-40 minutes of content in a similar fashion to the main campaign. While playing as a Combine soldier mixes things up a bit, it ultimately makes little difference to the gameplay — you’ll still be using the gravity gloves and the same weapons, alongside the multi-tool to solve puzzles, just with a few fellow Combine soldiers as back-up.
If you want to get a feel for the map, you can check out the first five minutes in the video embedded below.
That footage should give you an idea of the level of polish we’re dealing with here — not only does the map feel aesthetically in line with most of the Alyx campaign, but it employs a few thoughtful design tricks as well. In terms of map layout, you’ll often see the next objective before you can reach it, prompting you to look for ways to get there. It’s a similar trick used in the main campaign and makes this custom map feel quite thought out.
About halfway through the map — spoiler warning for those who want to play it fresh themselves — you’ll encounter a familiar foe from the main Alyx campaign. That’s right, Jeff is back, baby, and he’s up to the same old tricks. Just like in Chapter 7 of Alyx’s campaign, you’ll lead this blind monster astray by chucking bottles and bricks across the map in an effort to distract and misdirect him using sound. You’ll have the added pressure of completing Combine mini-game puzzles this time as well, which adds another layer of stress.
Just like Loco-Motive, if you’re looking for a solid and reasonably short map that offers more of the same high-quality Alyx gameplay as the campaign, then Good Squad is a great option. You can subscribe to the map on Steam Workshop and check out our guide on how to install and play custom Alyx content.