Team Fortress BOO! Halloween Brings Bumper Cars

Smashy smash.

The thrills, chills, and double kills of the fairground are now open to all mercenaries who aren’t afraid of being murdered in a wizard’s ploy to invoke dark powers. This year’s Scream Fortress Halloween update brings TF2 to a carnival not built on an ancient burial ground – that’s the problem. Here, it’ll make more sense if you read the comic.

This year’s Halloween map is split into two halves: a one-flag CTF sorta thing about triggering a giant striker, then bumper car battles. It also has spells, costumes, and, of course, such… prizes!

The Carnival is a reskin version of TF2’s Doomsday map, having players snatch a case of tickets, carry them over to The World’s Largest Strongman Machine, then ride a lift up to unlock the bell. Obviously, you need to kill the other team to stop them doing this. The wizard Merasmus watches over the action, making snide remarks and casting spells, perhaps flooding the level with urine so everyone’s swimming, or giving everyone giant heads so they float a little. Once the bell’s rung, everyone’s magicked away to bumper cars. You might play bumper car soccer, or knock each other off falling platforms into a gaping endless hellmouth beneath, or collect ducks by smashing into each other. They’re pretty janky, but fun.

Obviously this update brings spooky Halloween items to wear. In a change from the usual way of giving fancy things out, everyone receives a cauldron gift bag containing a few garments, and can earn another by getting achievements. My Scout is wearing a chicken mask and zombie legs.

I tried to record a few rounds, but I’ve got a rotten cold out the moment and it turns out I simply mumbled and sniffed over the top of everything. So here’s someone who seems pleasant enough:


  1. Skeletor68 says:

    I’ll have to have a go at this later! I’ve just started dropping back in for a few games if any RPS chums want to play some pub KOTH.

    Luckily managed to beat Merasmus last year, also got the Horseless Headless Horseman. Still need to beat Homonculus I think.

    • welverin says:

      Monoculous, don’t forget to give Helltower a little love. It’s pretty fun.

  2. RARARA says:

    Did someone say cars and football?

  3. Kollega says:

    Does anyone still remember the times when TF2 was supposed to be a spy-fi pastiche with an art style inspired by early 20th century commercial illustration? I seriously miss that every time TF2 gets mentioned… the fact that two espionage agencies would build bases 20 metres from eachother and send out people with miniguns and rocket launchers on “covert ops” is infinitely more clever and funny humor-wise than anything Merasmus or Saxton Hale ever did.

    • CmdrCrunchy says:

      Does anyone remember the times when every TF2 article didn’t have a post like this about it?

      Can we please stop this? There’s no doubt the game is different to release, but different does not mean worse. I quite like how the game has evolved over the years, I just wish people would stop looking back on the original game with a misty eyed ‘good old days’ feel about it as if it was objectively better. Same to those who do the same with CS 1.whatever, vanilla WoW or anything else. We get it. please stop mentioning it every bloody time.

      • iainl says:

        No, I genuinely would like the game I paid for back, thanks.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          That’s one of the reasons I only play offline singleplayer games. No way in hell are they gonna force updates on me, changing stuff that I don’t want changed. Since it’s singleplayer, that means less balancing because some other guy has found an exploit or whatnot. I’ll download their updates if and when it pleases me. Well, as much as they let me, because sometimes you can’t avoid a game being updated. Even though I have all of my steam games set to “don’t update automatically” I can’t escape the updates. Sometimes a game touts “update required”, meaning I can’t start playing it until it’s been updated. In those cases, I say to Steam “I’ll update you when I feel like playing the game, no sooner”. They can force me to update a game, but they can’t force me to like it or to not act obstinately about it.

        • liquidsoap89 says:

          Lucky for you there are vanilla servers for just such an occasion.

        • DelrueOfDetroit says:

          Play it on a console then.

      • Kollega says:

        I don’t know about the other people, but I look back on the original game with a misty eyed ‘good old days’ feel about it because it was by all accounts THE most beautiful game ever made. I mean, have you actually ever LOOKED at TF2 without all the hat nonsense? Like, did you load up one of the maps, especially the Alpine designs, in Gmod to pose some character ragdolls? It was effing beautiful, and the maps still hold that beauty, but the character design, backstory, and game balance are at this point so bloated and unwieldy that I just find it disgraceful how the game’s brilliant artistic vision was ruined by prioritizing F2P profits and constant churn of updates over the laser-guided minimalism of the original version.

        Note, I’m not saying that the game should have never been updated, but hell, at least Valve could try to put in some logic in the story’s and art’s development.

    • kwyjibo says:

      How many years can you last on that one joke?

      Given how you appreciate old jokes, here’s one you’ve heard before.

      Horse walks into a bar. Barman goes, “why the long face?”

      Infinitely more clever and funny, I’m sure you’ll agree.

      • TimorousBeastie says:

        for some reason I read that as ‘Batman goes, “why the long face?”‘. It somehow made it much funnier.

      • Kollega says:

        FULL DISCLOSURE: I have actually never heard that joke before, because I’m not from America or Britain.

        That being said, I’m sure there are a lot of ways TF2’s development could possibly go, and not all of them suck as much as what we got. There could have been a logical chain in the progression of the game’s lore and style. Here are a few quick-and-dirty examples.

        – The Team gets involved in a UFO coverup gone bad, with the Spy desperately trying to keep things in line, the Medic attempting to steal aliens’ bodies for dissection, and the Soldier and Heavy butting heads over who gets the dibs on the tech.
        – The Team gets embroiled in politics when RED run into TF2verse’s analogue of Watergate tapes, prompting a series of fights in a huge city, specifically in the part being renovated by BLU, in an attempt by the RED team to get down to the bottom of it.
        – The Administrator is revealed to be running both sides, but instead of progressing into the Saxton Hale and Blutarch-vs-Redmond madness, it’s used to play up a sense of intrigue, hinting that RED and BLU’s fight over American industries plays a part in the schemes of Powers That Be (aliens, industrialists, Spy’s benefactors – pick any you want), unknowingly to the companies’ heads.
        – RED and BLU’s rivalry moves to the Northern US and Canada, as shown by Alpine and Snow maps, and the Teams fight over prospective sites for ICBM deployment, old mines that could be renovated into command centers, and other such opportunities.
        – Related to the above: RED and BLU get to fight over a juicy government contract involving huge expenditures of taxpayer money, and both end up spending so much on making sure they will secure it that all the profits from that contract would go into covering those expenses – but the company heads don’t give a damn about it, since it’s a matter of principle for them.
        – The BLU Team discovers secret documents about three RED bases – one in Antarctica, one underwater, and one on the Moon – prompting them to don specialized gear and proceed to assault those bases based on the idea that if they were so well-hidden, there is something worth hiding in them.

        That’s just six examples of spy-fi scenarios for TF2, literally taken off the top of my head. And I could go on. But I won’t. But I could.

        • tormeh says:

          It never was spy-fi though, and it was never set in any age. It is and always has been batshit crazy and it’s stayed true to that.

          • Kollega says:

            I’m sorry, but you are wrong. The spy-fi theme is clearly evident in things like command centers hidden inside farms and intellegence briefcases used as flags in CTF. The calendars in the game clearly have “1968” printed on them. That’s spy-fi. Parodic, over-the-top, but still spy-fi. Even if TF2 was crazy, it had a method to the madness. And now it doesn’t. There’s a difference.

        • Crumbley says:

          That’s way less logical than what we got, though? In fact, Team Fortress 2 might be my favorite game story, for the simple fact that it just keeps moving in the logical direction – they just develop the story from what’s been established. I’ll grant you it’s gotten more cartoonish, and I’m not a huge fan of that, but story construction-wise, it’s pretty sweet.

          The concept the Administrator is intentionally keeping the players in a perpetual war between two petty assholes is probably one of my favorite explanations for a game, ever. All of the endless, pointless “bomb this, steal that” gameplay actually makes sense if you intentionally make sure Blutarch and Redmond are stupid and stubborn enough to allow this to go on for hundreds of years, really more out of spite than anything.
          Apparently all it took to end things was an apology letter, but it’s hard to have a sensible reason for them to suddenly grow a brain and try a new tact if they allowed it to go on for generations.

          And we even got a logical explanation as to why on Earth this war would be intentionally kept at an eternal stalemate. Not only are we waging a useless and eternal war, but we’re unwittingly serving as cover-ups for nearly everyone involved, including the brothers and Hale. You even got your Watergate-esque wish with the Poopy Joe tapes – which gave backstory to a throwaway comment in order to give you more of a sense of the scope we’re dealing with.

          Then you have the Mann vs. Machine update, which introduced a character that was actually proactive. I really love that they were willing to give us story progression when they had an easy “go on forever” option, and put an end to the entire plot as we knew it. Things started getting “real”, until you eventually realize that we’re back in the eternal stalemate. Again – it makes sense: if we defeated the robots entirely, there’s little excuse to keep associating with MannCo. and getting involved with shady dealings.

          Yet it wasn’t really that long until Gray totally acknowledged the stalemate and refused to go along.

          Anyway, that’s a lot of stupid text, I know. But bottom line: they managed to give an fps like TF2 the sort of engaging story that we got from the Left 4 Dead or Portal series. Kind of impressive, considering we originally started out with a throwaway explanation about this being a solution to bureaucracy disputes.

        • kwyjibo says:

          Your second rate fan fiction isn’t as funny as Team Fortress 2 currently is.

          • Kollega says:

            If your sense of humor and style is geared towards finding LOLRANDOMNESS hilarious, then yeah, of course it isn’t.

    • Eightball says:

      Does anyone still remember the time when you could google “Vanilla TF2 servers” instead of whining in comments sections?

      • liquidsoap89 says:

        End of discussion right there.

      • Kollega says:

        Now if only I could find a single vanilla server with people actually playing on it and ping less than 300/400/500ms…

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      I love all the insane hat-super australian-magic nonsense and so do the millions of people who play it. So thats that.
      Saints row IV is a balls to the walls insane game and that didn’t stop it from being a great… no, actually it made it even more amazing.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    One flag CTF is not a good game mode for a Halloween event.

    It’s too confusing for newbies and results in stalemates. The stalemates prevent the fun part (bumper cars) from happening.

    • Jalan says:

      Honestly, they would’ve done better to just randomly select one of the bumper car minigames and eliminate the need to play the “spooky” version of the special delivery map altogether, since the car sections are infinitely more fun (I can’t believe I’m writing that).

      • welverin says:

        Heathen, Doomsday is the bestest TF2 map!

        • Jalan says:

          If by “bestest” you mean “one of the worst ever”, then you’re correct.

  5. Distec says:

    TF is fine. Play and stop bitchin’.

  6. Enkinan says:

    TF2 is still great, and I am still going back frequently since beta and 2000+ hours in it.

    That said, I wish they would have picked any other map than Doomsday. It’s a spammy mess and gets my vote for worst map in the official rotation.

    Bumper Cars are pretty fun though.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I love Doomsday, it is pretty much the only map I play. To be fair I like to play as Pyro.

  7. Coming Second says:

    Last year they managed to make Hightower enjoyable to play, which was pretty impressive. Doomsday however remains unsalvageable, mostly thanks to the continued existence of the gunslinger.

    Still, bumper cars is pretty fun.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      The Gunslinger single handedly ruins the whole map. 5 engies on each team running around pooping mini sentries makes it impossible for normal people to do almost anything.


      Hightower has always been the best map, heretic.

    • Jalan says:

      It’s either Engineers, Sniper nests at the elevated spawn room exits overlooking the platform or a constant deluge of Pyros idling in the tunnels waiting to jump on the platforms to airblast/barbecue combo whoever is on it. It had potential to be a really fun map (Halloween version or otherwise) but it fell short.