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Old 03-09-2020   #8
Snowy
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Regarding this map pack, which I have played through multiple times and only now decided to give my genuine thoughts...

As said above, please, custom gamedata is needed. It's not just a request, it's practically a necessity with how annoying small details can be. I can't even start a new saved game, meaning if I wanted to, say, start a brand new 'file' on this specifically as Tails and have it save my progress properly, I would have to beat the entirety of SRB2 without collecting a single emerald, then load up this wad, then go into level select, just to play from the beginning to end. Otherwise, I have to use the No Save function, which is annoying when my first run ended with a sigsev in one of the zones. It's quality of life that has so much quality that it makes anything else an absolute bore/pain.

Onto the level pack itself...

Spoiler:
Quiet South Island is still a fun little zone, full of it's own visual charms and visual ideas to make it slightly more than just 'That starting zone'. I especially love the end of act 1, that climb up around the massive singular area with the waterfalls is a gameplay highlight I almost always enjoy, and this was no exception. I also really enjoyed how, overall, every stage connects to the next one S3&K style when possible, and if it doesn't, it at least tries to imply a connection. Being able to turn around in act 2 and see the area I just hiked up in act 1 was really nice detail to me.

Spoiler:
Angel Island Zone, while neat as a recreation, needs to have a skybox/have some trees and water in the background where possible and a bit more decor to make it feel more... proper. I liked the little bonus for my exploration but I found it feeling rather lazy with visuals. I also can't remember off the top of my head if you bothered to incorporate the swing-vines by using the CEZ swings, but I am also unsure if that'd be a good choice. This is also the zone I sigseved in, while I had only this loaded.


I personally really enjoyed Hydrocity, as another trope I enjoy is a 2d stage being worked into a 3d stage, and I did enjoy how you tried to recreate multiple sections of the level in a 3d space. But I do think it does need a little work, namely with some sections having slight oddities in choice of texture/placement or some spots having too little leeway on the player for the second act. Personally i'd suggest making the fans that are 2x1 into 2x2 squares where possible, so that interacting with them isn't unnecessarily tight for how the game's momentum turns to floating when over said fans. I do also enjoy that little segment where you're running from boost pad to boost pad, making slight turns to grab any rings you can- though I would suggest adding retracting spikes/normal spikes/an obstacle to dodge on the roads, so that it's not just "Holding forward makes you go faster through the hallway".

Volcano Base was pretty good for what it was, and I do think it's probably one of the better zones of this pack, with some pretty good pacing and spacing. I do think you should watch around a bit, for as seen here, the level does have a few occasional issues with missing walls.


the final zone... ohhh boy. I liked what you had going most of the time, but I do think the difficulty and traps could be toned down just a smidge. That one crusher in the safe zone didn't get me, but it nearly did, and having it out of nowhere like that was a betrayal of player trust and established boundaries that didn't need to be betrayed. The boss I actually really enjoyed, and I loved the concept and execution you had for it to make it more than just another Brak fight- now there's tension and a reason to go as fast as possible! I do think the third 'trap' room should be toned down a bit difficulty-wise though and, if possible, maybe make it so the boss triggers the warps itself when you reach a certain amounts of hits? It works grand either way, and does cap off the wad rather nicely.

I actually really enjoyed the special stages for what they were, and thank you for trying to change up the formula- I especially love the second special stage, though I do feel the stage after it (At least I *think* it's special stage 3) could stand to be changed to special stage 2. Try to have the special stage's 2.5d aspects become more consistent, rather than bouncing between 2d to 2.5d to 2d, etc.


Overall it's absolutely one of the more solid level sets on the board, and I do think you have put out an enjoyable experience for us- so thank you!
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