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Old 01-02-2012   #7
Fawfulfan
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SINGLE PLAYER:
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Running Special Stage Act 1, by ZarroTsu - 2/10
Okay, as with KO.T.E. and Blade, I'm gonna chew you out for not putting the full name of the WAD in the filename. Suppose I want to play this again...how am I going to remember that it's "sc_RSS1.wad"? Or suppose I'm just flipping through my folder at random...if I see "sc_RSS1.wad", how am I supposed to remember what it contains?

Then again, there's a big difference. With KO.T.E. and Blade, I might seriously want to replay their levels now and then. I can't honestly ever see myself wanting to relive this. I thought that glaber's previous debacles in the 1.09.4 era made it quite clear to everyone that Special Stages don't have a snowball's chance in hell of gaining any respect in the OLDC. I will grant you that the concept in this one is a little more original, but the running gimmick isn't anywhere near enough to save this level. Run run run run run, align yourself with the clumps of rings, jump whenever you see some rings floating above you, very occasionally clear a pit. That is the entire level, in all its monotonous glory.

Here's an idea. How about a Single Player stage which features a room employing the forced running gimmick? It might work if it isn't the whole stage...and it's a LOT shorter.

City Area, by Internet Explorer - 2/10
I have to say, I thought you knew better than this by now, IE. When I loaded this level up, I was prepared for something rough around the edges. I wasn't prepared for something that full-on sucks. You usually have a bunch of neat ideas that are hurt by odd design choices. In this level, you have one or two ideas buried in what can only be described as an absolute mess.

Let's start with the first few rooms. What exactly is this place supposed to be? Some kind of apartment or other communal living space? I'd just call it an eyesore. That texture is a terrible choice for the wall, and it clashes horribly with the disco floor. Also, there's no sense of direction whatsoever...I wandered around for about two minutes before finding my way out of the place. And what the heck is with those rock-textured doors that shatter when you touch them? It doesn't look good at all. And what's more, you often place Crawlas on the other side of the doors, so more often than not I'd break through into the next room and instantaneously get hit by an enemy that I can't have seen coming and shouldn't reasonably have been expected to anticipate.

The parking lots are visual barf, mostly because of those awful cars. Upright cars are really, really tough to make in SRB2 (that's why I decided to rest them on their sides in Drowned Downtown Zone), but even by SRB2 standards they look terrible. I will say that some of the hallways after that look and play fairly well (I did like the lighting around the pits, for example), although they are inescapably linear.

That zoom tube has to go. Its texturing makes no sense, and it's unbelievably lazy. Please come up with a more creative way of transitioning between rooms. But the real topper was the god-awful room beyond the zoom tube...if it weren't for that room, I might have given this level a 3 or a 4. Quite apart from the fact that its visual design and scenery is completely incoherent (ERZPIPE textures on Bustable Blocks!?), it took me an eternity to understand what I had to do to open that door at the top. I think the main reason is that the button is crammed to the side, and has a gray texture very similar to the platform it's on. Button pushes are lame to begin with, but very hard-to-find button pushes are just appalling.

I actually liked the next room...the use of the conveyor belt was fairly original, and the visuals weren't too shabby compared to the rest of the stage. But then comes the Eggman sign, and it's over.

My advice to you is: go back and take a look at Lost Feelings Island. And don't design another level until you manage to figure out how to apply the inspiration you used to make that particular masterpiece to your Single Player levels.

Polluted Plains Zone, by 742mph
- 4/10
Okay, I'm still having a hard time understanding why Eggman didn't just kill Sonic while he was comatose. I know you tried to explain it, but the explanation was seriously lacking.

Story aside, the level wasn't terrible. It's clear you put your heart into this. But there were a few endemic flaws. Most important, the path splits. They were badly imbalanced, confusing, and didn't always make it clear which direction you were supposed to go. Also, the toxic slime was badly botched...they weren't water blocks, they didn't have colormaps, and they killed the player instantly. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Furthermore, there are a lot of rooms that are horribly cramped...there's virtually no room to breathe, let alone step around lethal slime.

Still, I like the direction you're headed in. Focus on making something more solid and intuitive...a novel idea is worthless if you can't place it in the context of a well-built level.

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MATCH:
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Aquatic Egg Zone, by akb778 - 4/10
The theme makes no sense, but it's not terrible. A reasonable amount of rooms with distinct visuals, and a good spread for weapon panels.

Maple Lake Zone, by ZarroTsu
- 8/10
I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I loved this one. Loads of open space to run around, plus original visuals and a solid structure. Well done.

Blissful Grove Zone, by Scizor300
- 7/10
Another really good stage. Generally open structure, but definite contiguous subunits to add variety. I thought it seemed a tad small, but I like small stages (see: Splice Lab Zone).

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CAPTURE THE FLAG:
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Castle Flagman Zone, by EternallyAries Red X - 5/10
I will admit I wasn't expecting much from you, given your history and this level's awful title. But it actually looks like this level had some serious thought put into it. My only serious complaint is that the path layout is...bizarre. Not necessarily bad, just weird.

By the way, this has nothing to do with your level, but it's high time someone pointed this out to you. Ares is the god of war. Aries is the astrological sign of the ram.

Spacebound Fortress Zone, by ZarroTsu - 6/10
An interesting combination of themes in a solidly constructed stage. I only have a couple of issues. First, the frame lag is a real problem. Second, flag carriers find themselves with very limited options of how to return to base...perhaps too limited.

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CIRCUIT:
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Aphotic City Zone, by ThunderNova
- 1/10
OH GOD MY EYES. Bricks, bricks everywhere! Not to mention tricky gas-jet platforming which forces you to stop and maneuver to an annoying degree. This isn't a good start to this set of levels.

The End of Circuit, by akb778
- 1/10
As much of a blatant joke map as this is, I actually found it mesmerizing. And it was at least playable. Although I must seriously take issue with the technique of using HOMs artistically. And unfortunately, the fact is that you don't actually get to do anything in this level. You just run, run, run along a flat track free of any obstacles or challenge whatsoever.

Unstable Icicle Zone, by Zipper
- 4/10
Deathly boring and fairly confusing, but there's nothing seriously wrong with it, which is more than can be said for about half of these levels. So congratulations on a mediocre job well done.

Mountainside Greens Zone, by Root
- 0/10
Congratulations. A big flat two-textured loop with undeafed rings and spikeballs, plus a highly visible shortcut that blatantly shaves off about ten seconds from the track. I'm rating it zero because it's so absurdly broken that there is no chance of holding a legitimate race here.

CastleLand Zone, by EternallyAries Red X
- 4/10
At least it looks pretty. But it's often tough to figure out where to go in this level, and when it comes to Circuit, obviousness is king. On the other hand, this is an issue that seems ubiquitous throughout this crop of levels, so I'm not quite sure how harshly I should judge you for it.

Black Magic Workshop, by Internet Explorer
- 3/10
I desperately wanted to give this a higher rating, because I fell in love with the visuals...this is clearly the most gorgeous Circuit level in the contest. Unfortunately, navigating this place is confusing as hell, particularly the demon-possession areas. It's totally unfair to invoke a space countdown in those sections; people should have just been allowed to pass through normally.

Quartz Caverns Zone, by glaber
- 2/10
First of all, OMG giant stairs. Giant stairs make me want to punch a hole in my wall. Second of all, boy is this level boring. Also, in the first section I thought I was supposed to turn left, and found myself back at the start, facing the opposite direction. You really ought to block off that route or something.

Requiem for a Soul, by Boinciel
- 2/10
I loved this place at the beginning, but the more I played the less I liked it. It went on forever, endlessly, without reprieve, and the choice of music made the slog all the more torturous. Also, what were you thinking adding crumbling platforms on the main route? That creates a tremendous advantage for the player in the lead.

Conveyor Climb Zone, by Shadow Hog
- 1/10
Okay, clearly this is a gimmick stage, similar to Not A Thokfest Zone. But where Not A Thokfest produced some really original and interesting gameplay, this just crashed and burned. There's never enough time to climb those conveyor belts and gain enough height for it to be worthwhile...they always seem to push me into the electric grids and kill me. And since I jump directly away from the wall, I sometimes need a few seconds to gain my bearings and work out which way to go.

Hot Chocalate
(sic) Manor, by Katmint - 1/10
This was kind of an interesting idea, but you obviously still have no idea how to design a Circuit level. This is all just complicated platform jumping and obstacle dodging, without any chance to create some semblance of flow. But at least you took the time to show off a few textures that hardly ever get used...it doesn't get you any points, of course, but props to you anyway.
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Last edited by Fawfulfan; 01-03-2012 at 10:17 PM.
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