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Old 09-05-2011   #70
Shadow Hog
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I don't play multiplayer, so I'll just vote on the single-player - and Jesus, there are no bad maps this time around. How the hell

Sonic Dumbventure - Volume 1: Donkey Kracken's Disasterous [sic] Quest by D00D64 - 9
A right joy to play, for the most part. Unique stage mechanics fly fast and furious in this WAD, so you're never quite sure what to expect; one minute it's a fairly straightforward stage, the next you're surrounded by water that throws you upwards, then you're surrounded by bouncy walls and floors, then you're in 2D mode...

If I had one gripe, it's that the castle stage is easily a weak point. For instance, just getting in; you have to jump across two pillars, then homing attack two spheres (only one of which respawns, in case you screw up), and finally hope your next homing attack focuses on one of the large FaceStabbers, and not one of the Egg Guards that's hugging the edge of the platform you're landing on - and even then, pray you don't overshoot it even still (like I did, once). The first time I tackled it, I didn't even realize you could reach the second platform, leading to some very awkward homing attack chain segments - the platform understandably looks out-of-reach, so some kind of ring path leading over there would've been nice. Then, you're faced with another such chain once you're in the castle proper, the last link of which is a Robo-Hood, which has a very high likelihood of arrowing you in the face while you're over a bottomless pit, leading to your untimely demise, Castlevania-style. Can't say as I'm a big fan of this entire segment, which is where I'm docking a point; thankfully, you put in a secret shortcut which is considerably easier to handle than ANY of that bullshit.

Aquatic Temple by Kuba11 - 7
Not the most original name in the world, but the level is quite serviceable. I liked the variety in paths, even if I've not yet explored all of them, and the gargoyle puzzle was handled quite well. This could very well have passed for Deep Sea Zone, honestly.

I didn't like how you couldn't reach the armageddon shield, though, since I swear I was hitting the spikes far more than I should have been. Also, I can't help but think there should've been more non-gold shields in general - I know they were around, but it seemed just a smidgen sparse. About right, but not quite. My own mistake for grabbing that second gold one when I'd already had a blue shield on my hands, though, can't really dock you for that. I will say, though, putting a Sharp where you did wasn't a very welcome surprise - I barely had any warning it was there because of the visual clutter of the room it appears in. I'd try to make his presence a bit more obvious, honestly.

Midnight Pass Zone, Act 2 by KO.T.E - 7
No offense, but most rainclouds I've seen aren't a navy blue color. Then again, I suppose you needed something to stand out from the homogenous gray of the actual stage (seriously, some of the waterfalls were a single shade of gray, blegh). Otherwise, I thought the stage was quite good, if a bit basic (very standard GFZ fare, really). I did really like the flood at the end, though, particularly the Rayman music (such a good game... although I'm not rating you up just for appealing to my inner Sega Saturn lover :P). I haven't played many stages that do that, or do it quite so well.

Pipe Towers Zone by Fawfulfan - 9
Hey, it's a Mario stage! And it's really good, too! Better than Mario Koopa Blast 1 itself, honestly. I... can't even think of any major flaws of this stage. I suppose it's damned hard to tell what's in the question mark blocks, so I could accidentally replace a valuable Whirlwind Shield with a Force Shield (or whatever we call it these days), but that's probably a fault of SRB2's Mario Block implementation than it is your level design. Being able to tell whether I'm moving on to a new room from which I cannot backtrack when I'm going down a pipe would also be nice, but that's what I get for playing it in Software. The only issue I can directly attribute to the map was that I wound up going in circles in the underground section somehow or another, although I'm not entirely sure what I could recommend to ameliorate that issue.

Also, I wasn't aware you could put springs in Mario Blocks. That's friggin' awesome.

Red House Zone by Ice - 8
I was gonna just say "well, it's got great architecture, but this is really just GFZ again, so I can't award this more than a 7". Then I enterred the house, and things got a helluva lot cooler.

The stage is admittedly REALLY linear, but hell, so was Dumbventure. Also, polyobject glitches abound, which I can't really fault you for, considering SRB2's engine.
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