The mechanics of Encore mode are used very well in the familiar sections of the levels, and especially in some of the unfamiliar sections of the levels! These stages reward you generously for your knowledge of the levels from the original game. Despite getting my ass kicked by the last two special stages multiple times, by the time I got to CE3 (or ACZ1 since emeralds don't matter in boss levels) I already had all the Chaos Emeralds just due to the sheer amount of tokens you get for looking around in familiar locations. Some can be found in the same place as usual, such as the one behind the door in DSZ1 and the spring-gauntlet one in CEZ1, but a lot are in areas you'll hopefully remember to look if you've gone hunting for those more secret emblems and extra lives.
My complaints are mostly parrots of some earlier reviews, mainly Special Stage 7's time limit and the small amount of i-frames when respawning as your partner character. Magma Caves can be cleared with some good time management and movement, including slipping right between that last mine and the cannon to make sure you don't lose those 5 seconds and hitting that super paraloop a little safer and earlier than usual, but Egg Satellite pretty much requires a perfect run to hit it. You're pretty much done if you don't hit the laser room paraloop where the Sun Emblem usually is, considering you'll probably end up with just barely under the requirement when you get to the capsule even if you hit everything else perfectly. This on top of the fact two mistakes pretty much means you're dead makes this stage especially brutal. Just another 10 seconds would help this level a lot, not removing it's brutality but giving you just a bit more room to breathe. As for the other issue, I didn't experience it much, but it becomes apparent when you land in the thorns in CEZ3 due to Tangle not being able to hit Eggman even on the edge and then immediately losing three characters to the thorns. There are some i-frames, but just not enough to escape without immediate action.
Those are my only gripes, and they're very easy to look past when compared to the rest of my experience! To the throwbacks to older versions in Egg Rock to the more interesting boss arenas (some of which are also throwbacks) to not making that ungodly final section in ACZ1 more difficult than it needs to be, you're gonna have a lot of fun if you're an experienced player of this game! As of the time of writing, admittedly, I haven't beat Encore Mode, because the Metal Sonic race is so damn tight that I decided to call it a night after an hour of attempts and I'll have to do another playthrough to get another shot at him. Here's to finally beating that bastard and seeing what comes after!
Can't really say much more that's already been said here. Really solid pack of more challenging levels with the awesome encore mechanics. Only thing I don't like were the special stages. Pretty much all of them are just annoying to be annoying and not fun. Especially special stage 6 with the mines you HAVE to hit at the end, where (for me) 9 times out of ten you have around less than 10 seconds with all the hazards the stage throws at you. Not to be rude, but it's just crappy and cheap level design you'd see in a bad kaizo mod. Other than those, really great mod!
I really enjoyed the previous iteration despite its flaws and am excited to see this! The added campaign is also a nice change of pace! While it works as intended in single player, I've had issues getting it to work in multiplayer. Despite that, I can't wait to combine this with other add-ons in the future!
The way encore mode mechanically carries over into this game makes it a pretty fun way in replaying the game over and over, with an added bit of difficulty in characters standing in for lives making some level playthroughs that more intense. Individually I'd probably give the encore mode mechanics a 5/5 itself but we've got a nice treat here in an additional level pack to go with it.
I had general fun with the level pack, even if it was pretty blunt in how difficulty was raised with the most challenging definitely being the final special stage (took me 2 times to get it right lol). I will say though it did seem like there were some areas left untested and left the game prone to putting you in pretty disadvantageous states whether that be getting stuck in a wall in a special stage due to some spikes or the player not being properly moved away from crusher obstacles after one character died to one.
I only tackled the harder levels within encore mode itself as I feel the mechanics of the mode complement the harder challenge presented in giving a chance to rotate characters that may be better suited to each challenge, ridiculously so with adding extra mod characters that make it even more easy to truck through. I want to say that by themselves the harder levels may turn off those going in without encore and the levels may end up being more on an infuriating spectrum if you go at these levels just locked to one character.
But then again there may still be players that choose to challenge these levels like that. It doesn't excuse much of the design but it will at least make an interesting watch.
tl;dr really love encore mechanics, just remember to wear the proper PPE for the harder levels.
Oh man, this is fun. REAL fun. Nice work making the campaign of SRB2 harder WITHOUT resorting to any Kaizo tricks or blindsiding the player, and bonus points for having tutorial sections on any new mechanics, like the Old Goop in THZ2 and attracting the mines with the Attraction and Electric shields in ACZ1! (Although the latter's tutorial being on an optional path... maybe only half a point.)
I particularly like the new locations of a lot of the emerald tokens - quite often, they're placed in locations where an emblem or 1-UP used to be, so it got me thinking if there were any side-paths I was forgetting about!
If I were to give some criticism, it's that the palette of RVZ is a bit too blinding (dark colours with near-white lava is eye-searingly bad) and the timer on SS7 is far too short. I did eventually manage it - but having to do a PERFECT run of the level without getting hit while also keeping up good speed is asking just a little bit too much of a lot of players. (Heck, I think even Black Hole Zone is easier). Also, perhaps make sure that the AI partner is on safe ground before switching to them if you die - I ended up immediately losing 4 lives to a spiked floor just because the AI was standing on it when I switched, causing me to immediately die again right as the new AI respawned... onto the spike floor. (Or maybe instead just give ~3 seconds of mercy i-frames or something? At least enough so I have time to get OUT of the spike pit.)
Other than that though, I really enjoyed this mod! Might actually become my preferred way to play through the campaign.
I want to like this pack, I really do. However, the problem stems from the fact that some levels feel more like something ripped from a kaizo hack than a fluid expansion to the main game. Of particular note was Special Stage 6, where no matter how you go about it, you're not gonna have enough time to make it back. Multiple failures to just the Pyreflys alone and a electricity shield you lose immediately in ACZ1 convinced me that there's not enough to keep the player going here.
Wow, genuinely blown away with this addon.
The amount of attention to detail on each of the remixed stages is awesome, and having played this game to death, it definitely messed up with my brain a bit - being unable to find the tokens that I knew like the palm of my hand, laughing and screaming at the new obstacles put in place... And not to mention the downright gorgeous scenarios such as the sunset of GFZ, or the early morning of ACZ.
It's a really unique way to tackle the main campaign, and a big recommend to any veteran or just someone looking for a crazy, yet fair challenge.