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Old 07-29-2017   #60
Ice
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I finally downloaded it!!

This is awesome, somehow despite there being more maps this time, they all feel higher quality than last time. Maybe it's just me, IDK! It's awesome! Someone mentioned Doom's Community Chest. I wish Community chest was this cool. The hub is really what brings it all together. The jokey plot and the shopkeeper, as well as the music and the different rooms being unlocked - that's the real genius that ties all the maps together. It shows just how much the WAY a game is structured can contribute to the feeling it gives you. There's just so much personality, and the pick-up-and-play nature makes it easy to come back to.

As I'll play I'll come in here and talk about some maps that stood out to me:

Bubble Tides Zone by TehRealSalt:
Holy poop! I've never seen this before! Granted, I never make it past the DSZ-themed special stage in the regular game, but I've never seen any nights level change track midway through like that! Super interesting and dynamic level, I think it would be fun to run through as regular Sonic just to see how it's all put together. That, the decoration, the music, everything is incredible. It's a blast to play and the twists and turns aren't insane like the worst of the nights stages. For real, I hate HARD nights stages. This one keeps it fun. The visuals were incredible, especially the "surface" section. The fountains and the sky and texturing was so trippy and cool, I loved the feeling. Incredible job.

Holiday Hill Zone, by SeventhSentinel: This one was an all-around solid map. It checks all the boxes: big spacious areas with good flow, multiple paths, cool gimmick with the yellow-springed turtles, and awesome visuals. Something about the map makes me feel like it was designed by Blade or Coat, though. Can't put my finger on it. Their style is just so much like this. There was probably a level by Blade that was snowy with the spring turtles that's sparking my memory. Anyway, this is one of the few levels I'll be coming back to just to explore and find everything I can.

Snow Summit Zone by SAMMY SWAG:
Similar snowy canyon zone like Holiday Hill, but the feel is completely different. I can't say I've ever played a level designed this way and I like it! In a lot of ways, it feels like the true conversion of Sega Genesis level design into 3D. There are upper paths that are safer than the lower paths, but require quite a bit of skill to stay on, and lower paths that are easier to find yourself at, but are a lot more treacherous. What makes this one stand out in particular though is how freaking VERTICAL it is! Kind of like Emerald Isles level design, but slimmer corridors (which somehow isn't bad - actually it's pretty dope) and not as bloated/oversized. I really liked how the player constantly travels up and down throughout the level, sliding up and down slopes and bouncing on springs and such. It gives the stage a lot of kinetic energy through up-and-down movement that I don't see enough levels take advantage of, especially now that we have slopes! Slopes used incorrectly makes the landscape look like a rumpled piece of paper. This is a stage that actually uses them correctly, adding to the look and gameplay equally. I'll definitely come back to this level a few times.

A Minesweeper Field by Rapidgame7:
I didn't even fathom that this was possible in SRB2!! Are the stages randomized each time?? I've played it twice and I got different layouts. The first time through was nerve-racking, too, way more than the regular minesweeper. Because if I lost this round, I'd lose my precious token! It reminded me how much I like the game too. Just seeing this game and how well it all works in SRB2 warms my heart. Awesome job, I couldn't have asked for a better emerald stage. It actually looks like all the emerald stages are gearing up to be really fun.

I'll talk about more maps in the future, but for now that's all I can think of. Again, great job everyone!!
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