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Old 07-03-2011   #66
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Originally Posted by Mr. Mystery View Post
Ahh, so this is what it looks like when a troll has been trolled.
Really, now! Alternatively, we could go with that as a concession that he isn't actually saying anything of worth on purpose, but I really don't think that's fair. He seems pretty earnest about this.

Originally Posted by Neo Chaotikal View Post
So Ritz, how's Balin2.wad coming along
See, now this feels like a good troll, but I'm not sure I follow! Is the implication that my failure to complete a wad precludes me from calling BlueZero4 out on his bullshit? Were you just throwing it out for kicks?

So anyway, my curiosity rod was engorged somewhere along the way and I wound up sampling the maps that weren't totally irredeemable:

Sparkling Icecap - 7
I feel like I've got lot to say about this one. It's all mostly one-off gimmick commentary, but having this urge to touch on each of these clever little ideas individually is something remarkable in and of itself. I'm pretty sure Egg Rock 2 is the only other map I've felt that way about.
  • The waterfall with the descending platforms made for a hearty challenge, but the payoff wasn't at all appropriate for the 6 attempts it took me to get up there, unless there was something more than an extra life up there. I wound up clipping right through the wall, didn't get a chance to look around. That's something you could've cut.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the extra geometry under the big rope bridge until I realized there wasn't actually much reason to go down there. Awful lot of engine overhead for a section that can and should be cleared in two thocks.
  • The river freezing over was pretty brilliant. Pretty much the only gimmick I don't feel ambivalent over, and it was purely a visual treat. Oh well!
  • Penguin loops, also brilliant. How the hell did you do that? Are things teleport-compatible now?
  • That fucking huge snowflake is a nice visual representation of this entire experience. "Wow! Why would you even do that?"
It was a fresh experience and a nice reaffirmation of 2.0's capabilities for me, but not much more than that when the stage is just barely playable with all the lag and the graphical fuckery. I spent a lot of time fooling around, but the experience would've been cut short about 2/3 if the stage weren't so vertically inclined. Why are all ice stages like this? Slippery, dinky little platforms everywhere, like you want me to fall 15 times? All precision and puzzles, no flow. Best used in moderation for a Sonic game. I kind of want this to win for all the effort that was put into it, but this isn't at all polished enough for that. With a bit of optimization, you could probably cut the performance crap entirely without having to strip out any of your convoluted gimmicks. ERZ2 seemed a bit more complex than this and that ran like a dream. Isn't there supposed to be this thing you can do with one-sided linedefs that keeps everything beyond from being rendered? Do people still do that these days? I don't know, but something's wrong here.

Frozen Hillside - 7

An organic, cohesive experience. Stage looks appealing and flows quite nicely. Custom enemies are some of the more legitimate I've seen in a custom wad, they don't look like shit and they pose a legitimate threat, complimenting the layout rather nicely; penguins keep you on the move in snowdrifts, mortar snowmen discourage reckless jumping across open spaces. Only thing I'm not too sure about is how the level seems to loop back on itself, it's easy to get lost in. A lot of custom stages seem to be built like this! To its credit, it made for pleasant meandering, particularly when I was playing somewhat leisurely and making a note of every route and nook I could find. Never seemed to reward me for doing it- not like Sparkling Icecap, anyway- but it was a fun trek, y'know?

Short and sweet, but the former wad left more of an impact on me, for better or worse. Clearly, BlueZero's priorities lie with gimmicky thrills taking precedence over rock solid level design. Where your own preferences fall will likely reflect just how much of a contemporary Sonic fan you are. Whatever floats your boat, really, but I just think that's sort of funny! You know, in a contemptuous way!

Greenflower Sunset - 6

Solid. Pretty. Mundane. Nearly forgot to rate it because of how unremarkable it is.

Stronghold Forest - 8
Visually and thematically, this is the cream of the crop for me, due in no small part to me generally not liking ice levels at all. Sort of represents the best of the aforementioned wads- nice solid design with a smattering of decent gimmicks. FHZ's snowdrifts were clever and particularly well executed, but they still only serve to hinder the player, right? Not quite so amusing as bouncy tarps. I really like the little fort at the end, it's nice to actually come across a distinct setpiece in a map and actually anticipate discovering what lies within.

One addition that would make this map by far and away the winning entry here is the addition of a morality system, in which I'm afforded the chance to brutally execute all of the reprehensible stationary furry creatures you encounter along the way. Especially the horse. This is how you get the good ending. Be bold! Hardball your demographic!

All in all, you guys are holding up with quality level design a lot more than I'd have given you credit for. Was this just an unusually decent turnout this month? Oh, and nice backseat modding akb!

Last edited by Ritz; 07-03-2011 at 10:41 PM.
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