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Old 11-01-2011   #22
The Tortured Planet guy
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Mario Land 1-1 by Simsmagic - 3/10
Under normal circumstances this map might be worth more like a 4/10. And by "normal", I mean "I didn't release a map that had all this and more in the previous contest". It's really not possible for me to point out how derivative this map is without coming off looking like an arrogant jackass, but that is exactly what it is. You're quite entitled to make a Mario level just after someone else does the same, of course, and I positively welcome the possibility that my work could inspire other levels, but little details in this stage make it painfully obvious that you had no unique ideas for how to take things in an original direction.

First off, you used precisely the same combinations of textures that I used for much of the background scenery in Pipe Towers Zone. Using things like GRASS2 and SHROOM1 in a Mario level was a highly unusual move when I did it, since they look nothing like what you'd find in a classic Mario stage. Why you would parrot something like that is a mystery to me.

I'll concede that you did invent those hills with eyes in the background. That was all you. But here's the thing: I actually considered doing that in PTZ, and decided not to for precisely the reason that is vividly demonstrated in this level: the lack of slopes in SRB2 makes them ugly as hell.

Besides that, most of the scenery and gameplay was pretty underwhelming. The pipes were squarish, and the black centers were ugly. The whole level consists of jumping around from platform to platform. When I saw the brick block above all those springs, I thought maybe it was going to be a Spin Bust Block...I considered but rejected doing that in PTZ, and sort of regret it, so I thought you might have beaten me to the punch with that concept, which would have slightly redeemed this level. Unfortunately, it was just a disguised ? Block, which I don't find impressive, especially since the flats remain brick even when the block's true nature is revealed.

Let me finish with some more general flaws. The level is too short, it fails to use 2D mode in any interesting way, and the extra sound effects don't really add anything to the experience. Oh, and nice job not forcing the skin to Sonic; I first tried it as Knuckles and couldn't jump high enough to hit the blocks.

What happened to that nifty jungle level you were planning to submit to the previous contest? I would have been eager to try that one out.

Chemical Facility Zone by KO.T.E
- 8/10
In general, I like what I see. This level has a lot of original ideas and challenging puzzles wrapped up in a sweet, crunchy coating of great visuals. Nevertheless, there are a few things that I have to complain about.

First of all, a lot of places felt a little too compact. It wasn't cramped enough to seriously hinder gameplay, but it made the level feel a tad restrictive. In general, I'd widen a lot of the hallways and make certain rooms slightly larger, or perhaps shift around some of the scenery to create more room to breathe.

Second of all, you ought to present your gimmicks in a more intuitive manner. I get the feeling that some gimmicks get introduced on path splits in such a manner that "tutorial" rooms can be skipped over, and the player doesn't see the gimmicks until later, when they present more of a challenge. Don't let there be a golden path of discovery interspersed with avenues that deprive the player of crucial information...make it easy for players to discover what to do no matter what path or combination of paths they take. It's absolutely essential in a level like this, which relies so heavily on differently-colored chemicals that exhibit a multitude of behaviors when the player is submerged in them.

Another thing: the blue spheres. Sometimes they're clever, sometimes they're just a nuisance. I like the complex structures in the middle of hallways which emit little chains of orbs; they're good because they force the player to plan ahead, while giving him enough warning so that it's not an unfair challenge. They also have the added effect of breaking up what would otherwise be stretches of monotonous running. On the other hand, I really didn't care for the outdoor section of blue goop that sprayed massive player-seeking swarms of spheres; it may not have been that dangerous, but it was visually distracting.

And while we're on the subject of that particular room, it's very easy to get confused on how to proceed. I ran right past the mechanism that opens the door at the far end, and found myself at a loss for how to get into the next area. Finally, I backtracked and discovered that it was controlled by a glorified button-push all the way back at the start of the room. If you have to use a button at all, you ought to place it in some part of the room that isn't too far away from where the player will be when he really wants it...or at least in a location that will be obvious to the player at that time.

Now, the custom enemies. The squat little things with caution stripes were...okay, I guess. But they really didn't seem to be anything other than Crawlas with a fresh coat of paint. If I'm wrong, and they do exhibit some form of unique behavior that I didn't pick up on, I apologize, but to me they seemed totally generic. I actively disliked the tall, skinny, green things...or more specifically, the way you chose to place them. It seemed as though they were always lying in wait on the edge of a platform to push me back off, which I found annoying.

Finally, I see that you paid attention to my furious rant about file names and typed out the whole name of the level. Thank you so much.


Magma Temple Zone by blahblahbal - 6/10
I was kind of surprised, actually...this isn't half bad. The differing sky heights are visually unpleasant, and that one staircase that uses a different texture for each riser was pretty awful-looking, but the level itself has a pretty competent layout and plays decently.

Eggmatchsion Zone by KO.T.E - 8/10
I don't know why, but I kinda assumed it was a collaboration map while I was playing it. In a good way, I guess. The level is rather large, but it has a nice layout and a vibrant theme. I would recommend that you lower the ceiling height of that big outdoor area, as it makes the giant outer wall of stone slabs look oppressively monolithic and ugly.


Arctic Facility by Kuba11 - 6/10
Another level with a well-executed theme, and it has a solid layout to boot. The side paths were a mite too cramped, but that's my only real complaint here.

Uninspired Name Zone by Scizor300, KO.T.E, and Simsmagic - 0/10
Interesting. Apparently, three collaborators does not make it three times as likely that they won't forget to place Player Starts in the map.

by Charybdizs - 3/10
I adore this level visually, but it just doesn't work. I didn't really have any sense of direction, which is a death knell for a CTF level. If I were you, I'd repurpose it as another gametype...literally any other gametype would be more appropriate.


Dread Valley Zone by Blade
- 8/10
Oh my, what a creepy level this is! I love it. The only thing I might change would be the fences; I don't think the player has enough time to avoid them once he sees them.

Spring Factory Zone by KO.T.E
- 4/10
I hopped around the blue grids for a while before realizing that they weren't dangerous. In general, the level is pretty to look at, but it makes for a poor race. There are too many sharp turns, and like CFZ, it feels too enclosed in places.

obnoioxies mym litltle pnony refenrence znone by RedEnchilada - 0/10
what the shit
Just another indie game developer...check out my website, Chapman Games!

Last edited by Fawfulfan; 11-14-2011 at 12:57 PM.
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