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Old 03-26-2014   #1
MascaraSnake
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Default How would you rate the official levels? - Part three!

Now that 2.1 has been out for almost two weeks and we've all had time to collect our impressions, it's time for an old tradition: How would you rate the official levels? Single player, NIGHTS, Match, CTF, rate whatever you want and tell the devs what you think about these levels!

Obviously this thread is just a thinly veiled excuse for me to dump my own wall of text somewhere. :V To spare you the agony of scrolling down for ages (and because there are some actual spoilers in there), I put it in spoiler tags.

Spoiler: Watch as I tell STJr to redo half of the single player campaign!
Greenflower Zone Act 1: 5/10
It is what it is. I'm glad some of the more obvious quirks were fixed (I'm looking at you, emerald token tunnel and formerly pointless side area of the lake!), and the two added shields give the level at least somewhat more replay value, but it's obviously never going to be a terribly interesting level. There are still a few oddities that bother me and betray the level's "made last century" origins: flat, enclosed corridors, strange sector layouts, wall heights that seem like they were carefully chosen to cut off the textures in the ugliest way possible, Crawlas still being an ugly and unfitting enemy, a grass texture that makes me want to kill, etc. But then again, maybe these things wouldn't even bother me if I were playing this level for the first time. I noticed this in particular in the corridor after the bridge, which still evokes the same negative reaction with me that it always did, even though a closer look reveals that you actually changed the layout of this area to make sure it's no longer confusing. It's hard to be objective about this level after six years, I guess.

A few complaints that I do feel could be addressed though: I'm glad that the weird underwater passage in the cave right at the beginning is gone, it was cramped, messed up the camera and felt shoddily designed in general. Still, I find it weird that this cave, the first instance of "exploration" that new players are likely to encounter in a very exploration-based game, no longer has anything in it unless you're Tails. Why not just put the Armageddon Shield right there on the floor of the cave? This is the first level in the game, you can get away with putting powerful items more or less out in the open. Also:



What's the point of this little elevation, exactly? I get that this area is empty and more or less pointless now, but if that's the case, put something real here and not this... thing.

Greenflower Zone Act 2: 6/10
Hey look, my riverbanks made it into 2.1! Why am I not in the credits for level design? :<

All joking aside, I'm glad that most of my proposed changes made it into the game, although I have to wonder what this is still doing in the level:



Obviously a very minor thing, but this little protrusion is kind of odd and pointless, not to mention trivial to remove.

Moving on to more important things, I'm happy about the graphical changes this level has received. The double-sized GFZROCK helps a ton, the water is finally translucent, and the additional details in the opening room help break up some of the visual oppressiveness of that part of the level. Still, many of the sections where there is no grass, especially the area around the Armageddon Shield cave and the former location of RedXVI's house, remain very disorienting because everything's the same texture and blends together horribly, and they kind of give the impression that I'm walking around parts of the level that aren't meant to be accessible. Many of these are the result of questionable layout choices, particularly regarding the holes in the ceiling of that one cave, and they're not really fixable. Again, these are the downsides of using a level that was first designed in 1999, when nobody had any clue what they were doing. It's nice that the level is so multi-layered and encourages exploration, but the execution remains flawed. On that note, the river, riverbanks or no, still remains as empty and boring as ever.

The new room at the end, simplistic as it is, was a really nice touch and a good way to get rid of the totally useless corridor that was formerly there, but it also serves to highlight even more how old the rest of the stage is. The very big room at the end in particular is kind of quirky layout-wise, with weird pillars in the water and a giant, mostly empty lake. Ideally, I'd like this level to get the THZ2 treatment at some point, because it strikes me as the only way to get rid of the numerous layout quirks while still retaining all the positive qualities of the level. I also still feel that the first zone of the game, which isn't going to include a lot of action for obvious reasons, should at least lead with its prettiest foot forward, so to speak. This is pretty much impossible to achieve with the current level layout, old and quirky as it is, so that would be another upside to redoing it. I know that this is unlikely to be of high priority, but oh well, one can dream...

Oh, and by the way, remodeling the formerly annoying alternate path at the beginning to serve as further introduction to the mechanics of the Whirlwind Shield was a cool idea, although I fear that the shield itself is a little TOO well-hidden on that tiny ridge behind all the bushes.

Greenflower Zone Act 3: 7/10
Nice to see that this boss at last got some more interesting behavior, but I'm not quite happy with how the pinch phase turned out. Giving the boss spikeballs is a good idea, and so is having him throw them at the player at some point, but there should at least be a small pause before he re-arms himself so that quick players have a chance to hit him without risking harm. This IS the first boss in the game, after all. Also, there's still a part of the boss AI that causes him to shoot into the stratosphere if he retreats while you're underneath him, so you should take a look at that.

Techno Hill Zone Act 1: 9/10
Wow, you CAN indeed polish a turd! I was afraid you would go the minimal-effort route with this, keeping all the quirks of the old layout while adding a few things here and there. And well, you did keep almost all of the old layout, but you managed to give all of it a clear purpose. This is especially noticeable in the bridge section near the beginning, which I formerly thought was one of the worst and most pointless parts of the level, but now all of the terrain has a purpose, and if it's only to give Sonic a legitimate way to get to that invincibility monitor. The only part that still irks me is the completely useless winding corridor in that section. You might have adjusted the layout so that it no longer causes players to get lost, but it's still an unnecessary detour. And I guess the very beginning of the level, right up to the first pool of goo, could use some "prettification".

As for the rest of the level, it's almost universally brilliant. It's interesting how little the level forces you to interact with it - if you run straight through it, it's just some rudimentary platforming and some gas jets - but I can't imagine any player NOT being curious and trying to get all those items hidden so cleverly in the slime. And thus, I had a lot of fun doing exactly that, spending about ten minutes in this level on my first playthrough even though it's barely a minute long if you speedrun it (damn you, deceptively hard to get emerald token!). That's exactly the kind of design that I feel is appropriate for a level at this point in the difficulty curve. I'm also especially pleased with how the "alternate" path that formerly had the moving platforms turned out. Riding the current of goo and being thrown into the lake is ridiculously fun (whee!).

The only real flaw I can find in the level is that Knuckles's path felt somewhat non-descript and unstructured, just a bunch of corridors with no real objective strung together. The usage of the goo in particular felt kind of pointless here. It wasn't bad or anything, just a bit undistinctive.

Techno Hill Zone Act 2: 10/10
I never imagined that anything would eclipse ERZ2 as my favorite level of the main campaign, but this does the trick. It ups the ante by actually forcing you to think about how to use the goo to your advantage, but there's just as much exploration here as in the first act. I don't feel it's too long either. I imagine that a new player will have spent quite a long time in act 1 entirely voluntarily, so I doubt this will come across as exhausting. I don't feel like talking a lot about this level because it stands for itself (I will say this though: the Spring Shell chain is one of the coolest things ever), so let me concentrate on the few complaints I do have:

First of all, conveyor belt textures should only be used for conveyor belts. Some of the pipes in the level aren't rounded off yet, and ideally the ones in THZ1 should be rounded off too. The entrance to the large building towards the end absolutely needs to be made more obvious. I actually got lost and backtracked here, the only time that this happened in any of the 2.1 levels. Also, the conveyor belt is this room is completely pointless:



This is one of the first conveyor belts the player encounters, so you might want to force him to use it, or at least give him some incentive to go there.

Techno Hill Zone Act 3: 7/10
This level needs a bit of a graphical overhaul, and the glass walls aren't really visible as such. Also, the pinch phase feels too trivial, the boss just hurls himself right at you and the only thing you have to do is jump. That said, it used to be the only good boss in SRB2 and it's still a good one.

Deep Sea Zone Act 1: 6/10
Ew! Coming off the heels of the gorgeous new THZ2, this level is just ridiculously ugly. Part of the problem is that the rooms in this level tend to be way too large for their own good, and of course that the texture set lacks a good large-scale texture. This and the second act are also levels that I feel would benefit from the THZ2 treatment. Even though they're not that old, they still showcase a lot of design flaws that were remedied in later levels. It doesn't help that a lot of the platforming, especially in the first half, is fairly standard and lacks a special "catch" that most of the other levels have. There are very few standout sections here, even though the level has a lot of stuff in it. It's really not a bad level, and the only real "flaws" I can identify is that many of the rooms are just uneconomically designed, but as a mostly non-gimmicky level that seems to try and draw most of its appeal from the imposing architecture, it really suffers from its dated level design.

Deep Sea Zone Act 2: 6/10
I understand that this level was too difficult for its placement in the game, but when fixing these problems results in trivializing one of the most consistent sections in a VERY inconsistent level, I have to object. I'm talking of course about the waterslide path, which is now completely devoid of anything to do and plays like a drawn-out cutscene. The ramp is still an impressive setpiece, but some of the physics changes in 2.1 cause the player to skip along it, which resulted in the occasional frustrating death for me.

On the other path, I still hate hate hate the block maze and how the debris sprites obscure your vision and cause you to stumble around blindly, hoping to eventually reach the other side by sheer luck. I understand the appeal of this section, but it's incredibly disruptive and annoying, and would be better served as an optional secret that hides some useful items. Also, I understand that the waterfall gimmick was awful and had to go, but its replacement is totally uninteresting and uncreative, and combined with the equally dull room right after it, serves to make this path kind of a bore. At least the underwater slide is fun now.

The second half of the level is clearly better than the first, with actually interesting gimmicks and some of game's more bizarre secrets, but it doesn't stop the level from being kind of disappointing as a whole. DSZ2 has always been a "piecemeal" level, but fixing its more obvious flaws only compounds that impression. Like DSZ1, it desperately needs some attention, and again I feel the best (although most expensive) course of action would be to redo it from scratch while incorporating the level's best parts, which would especially alleviate the piecemeal quality of the level.

Deep Sea Zone Act 3: 7/10
It no longer feels like "Eggmobile with pipes", if only because the Eggmobile itself no longer shoots simple missiles at you, but I can't help but find the attack pattern of this boss somewhat uninteresting. That said, the fight as a whole is a lot more enjoyable thanks to the adjustments to the arena, allowing you to actually see where the boss is going next, and the pinch phase had me laughing uncontrollably, so I guess that's something. Gorgeous arena, too.

Castle Eggman Zone Act 1: 5/10
Obviously the low point of the campaign, and everybody knows it. You're probably expecting me to advocate the THZ2 treatment yet again, but that wouldn't really help here because the general layout and level progression isn't sound to begin with. The retexturing at least makes the level feel somewhat appropriate now, and I quite like the atmosphere (though not the actual design) of the lake area, but the entire first half of the level is just woefully uninteresting and quite simply needs to be trashed entirely. The first interesting thing that happens in this level is the first spinning chain in the tree trunk (with an obvious, but nonetheless clever, hidden shield), and even after that we have to endure a lot of filler. I like the redesigned area with what was formerly the dam, but that, the chains and a few cleverly hidden secrets are pretty much the only things that left a positive impression. Keep that stuff and come up with something entirely new for the rest of the level.

Knuckles's path, by the way, is absolutely horrible, and I'm baffled that it apparently occurred to nobody that the last spikeball completely blindsides the player, and even after repeated tries it's still almost impossible to escape this section unscathed.

Castle Eggman Zone Act 2: 7/10
I think it has its flaws, and on my first playthrough it disappointed me immensely, but I absolutely don't get the hate for this. The more I play the second half of this level, the more I'm starting to consider it one of the strongest sections of the game overall. It's impressively non-linear, with absolutely insane amounts of stuff crammed into it, and I think it strikes a good balance between "gimmicky" ideas (chains, maces) and simpler platforming. The "secret" path with the maces could stand to be made a little more obvious though. Putting a ring in front of another picture gave me the wrong impression that the other pictures wouldn't contain anything, and while it's perfectly fine that this prevented me from finding the shield, I think it's a bit overkill to hide a whole path that way, especially since that path considerably raised my opinion of the level once I found it.

I still have my problems with the first half though. First of all, a lot of the texturing here needs work. This goes for the "secret" path in the second half too, which, aside from being ugly, uses a wall texture that is elsewhere used for breakable walls - inconsistent. Like DSZ1, some parts here suffer from the "large room with nothing in it" syndrome, and like DSZ2, there are some filler rooms that serve little purpose right now (especially the room with what was formerly the turret). I'm also not in love with some of the ideas on display here: The flamethrowers are thematically incongruous, and especially now that there are flamethrowers in RVZ1, I think they should go. The way they're used is kind of clever, but the level is already long and slow-placed enough, and it's certainly not hurting for gimmicks anymore. Just delete this part and maybe use the idea in RVZ1 instead.

The room with lots of square platforms is also somewhat lackluster. As Mystic rightfully observed, the gimmick isn't strong enough to carry the room by itself. I guess you could modify the room, but again, CEZ2 is already fairly long and slow-paced, and I guess that is mainly what's provoking the negative reactions. I don't think anybody would particularly miss this room if you cut it. I won't go into detail about the cannonball room, there's obviously a bug with the cannonballs, and I think the room will be fine once that is fixed. The rising water room, cool setpiece that it might be, still irks me though. More than any other part of the level, this room has a contrived obstacle-course feel to it, which is mostly due to its very bare-boned design. Clearly this room is way too large and empty, and I think it could play much better with a proper redesign. I'm also not particularly fond of the long corridor that precedes it, but I think that's more of a visual problem (I do love dodging the mace to get those speed shoes).

A few isolated observations: The following is irritating and unnecessary:



Just adjust the room so I can't land on those bookcases. The "lower" path in the library also irritated me a bit because of how maze-like parts of it were, with the exit placed strategically so you won't see it at first. I was also disappointed that apparently Sonic has no way of getting the 1-up in that room. It's visible through a fence from the other path, so it bugged me that I couldn't get to it. And of course, the Robo-Hood needs a real firing animation, not this half-hearted fix.

Edit: Forgot this in my original post, but the secret area for Knuckles at the beginning, even though it's much better than the random mess that was there in 2.0, is still kind of empty and pointless. If you just severed the connection to the opening room (which is pointless now anyway), you could cut out a lot of the padding.

Castle Eggman Zone Act 3: 8/10
Great, great concept. Two problems with it though: The spinning chain on the ranks blends in with the background. On my first playthrough, I tried to hit the boss from below because of this, which is impossible. Use the brown brick textures instead or something. The other problem is that Eggman's visual cues aren't visible through the cage, which leads to a few speed and direction changes that are quite blindsiding. Apart from that, however, great boss.

Arid Canyon Zone Act 1: 8/10
Not much has changed about this one, and not a lot needed to. It's still a great level overall, and if it has any overarching flaw, it's that some of the sections that try to do something out of the ordinary are also among the level's weakest sections. You removed one instance of the PolyObject lifts, which is good, but it should be obvious that the other one needs to go too. It's easy enough to fix: Just replace it with a rope pulley (or two, forcing you to make a jump over the death pit). The room with the rocks that suddenly crumble up from the floor and crush unobservant players is also totally cheap and needs to go (or be retooled to have obvious safe spots).

The ledge that leads back into the room where the paths split still needs a fence to give players a clue that they're not supposed to jump back down to the previous section. Also, please put something down here:



It's always disheartening to explore sections that are off the beaten track only to be rewarded with nothing at all.

Red Volcano Zone Act 1: 7/10
It's surprisingly good for its age, and now that THZ is free of damaging liquids, the lava finally feels fresh again. I also like the little gimmicks you added to this stage in 2.1 (the springs that push you into the lava are hilariously mean). The problem still remains though that the first half of the level is fairly rudimentary, too linear and devoid of secrets, and of course the level is too short (though you laid some groundwork for expanding it in the future). There's a great level in here somewhere, it just needs additional work to come out.

Egg Rock Zone Act 1: 7/10
Like ACZ1, this level hasn't changed too much, and for the most part it didn't need to. I'm not too pleased with the ultra-linear gauntlet-like design of some of the sections here, but if there's any zone that can get away with it, it's ERZ, and I don't feel it's enough of a problem to warrant tearing apart the whole stage. The path imbalance isn't quite as severe as it once was, although some additional effort is still required to fix it. One obvious solution is to remove the god-awful reverse-gravity staircase with the space countdown, although that by itself is probably not quite enough. I also still find the Tails and Knuckles paths fairly uninteresting in comparison to Sonic's path. Maybe this section would be a good spot to alter the level layout to make this path a little longer?

Not much to say apart from that. Some of the texturing, especially on the longer path, needs work (parts of ERZ's texture set are just amazingly bad, ERZGREY and its relatives in particular). I'm also a bit disappointed at the new outer space section on the longer path. I understand that it's necessary to introduce this concept on both paths, for the sake of ERZ2, and I also understand that you didn't want to make this section too long for the sake of path balance, but the way it is now the section definitely has a "let's get this over with" feel to it. And then there are some other parts of the level that I don't think are all that great, like the whole gravity-switching business at the beginning of the right path, but overall it's fine.

Egg Rock Zone Act 2: 10/10
As awesome as ever, in fact a little more so now that the fan section is gone. I'm glad that you added a few more secrets to this level to make it feel less linear overall. Some of the new enemy placements amused me in how brutal they were, but some are overkill. The one in the Megaman block section is obvious, but there are others that annoyed, such as the one after the room that sucks you into space (totally impossible to see before it hits you) and the one in the conveyor belt section before the teleporter on the right path.

Egg Rock Zone Act 3: 6/10
The race, though rudimentary, is basically awesome. The room with the upside-down platforming over square platforms could stand to be toned down, and the pillar with the Attraction Shield needs to be intangible to the camera, but aside from that I have no complaints. The boss though... whew! The energy balls (or whatever they are) are pretty much unavoidable unless you figure out that you have to run at full speed underneath him right as he fires them, which is the furthest thing from your mind when he's charging the attack. Likewise, the dash attack, cool as it is once you've figured it out, doesn't really appear as such to the uninformed player. Like many others, I thought Metal Sonic was just zipping around the arena randomly until Mystic explained it to me. The main problem is that it just isn't obvious that he's bouncing off the walls. He actually stops dead in his animation and turns around, so it looks like he's recharging and dashing at you again. I would propose two things to fix this: One, make his animation fluid so that he never actually stops moving when he hits a wall, and two, introduce a pinball sound effect for when he rebounds off the wall. I'm not sure if that's quite enough to make players figure out what's going on, but it would definitely help.

Egg Rock Core Zone: 8/10
Lots of fun, but Brak has the nasty habit of occasionally walking AROUND the lava fall you're trying to lure him into. The crates could also stand to be a bit wider (or higher) as sometimes you're pretty sure you're safe when in fact the line of sight is just barely connected.

Pipe Towers Zone: 7/10
Obviously an immense improvement over the previous MKB, but my complaints from the contest still stand, particularly regarding the oddly-shaped floating platforms in the second room. Random shapes do NOT count as sector detail! This isn't really a problem anywhere else, but over a death pit, visibility is an issue to consider. This room is such a mess visually that I don't have a clear view of where the pit is, which is immensely annoying. A bit of streamlining would be greatly appreciated. I'm not particularly fond of the rising water room, but that was already discussed in detail during the contest. I also still find many of the mini-path splits messy and pointless, particularly the three-way path split at the mushroom section, but not a big problem overall.

Aerial Garden Zone: 8/10
There's not really anything wrong with it (apart from the new spring platforms, goddamnit!), but it's a LOT of accurate platforming with very little respite, and for that reason alone it will never be my favorite. Still a great level though, and there's an amazing amount of stuff hidden there. You really need to put some reward where RedXVI's house is though, right now there's no point in going there.

Azure Temple Zone: 10/10
My favorite SRB2 level, and I don't see any problem with it, so I'm not going to bore you by gushing over its awesomeness.

SRB1 Remake: 1/10
I get why it's in the game, but that doesn't make me hate it any less. Maybe it will be slightly less monotonous with the bosses and with enemies that shoot bullets like in the original. Or maybe it will be even more annoying and overlong, I dunno.

Floral Field: 7/10
Good layout, some neat paraloop tricks, and there's something oddly satisfying about being able to loop a stage five times. It's obviously doesn't have the depth of some of the other special stages, but it's absolutely fine as an introductory level.

Toxic Plateau: 8/10
The best of the "non-gimmicky" special stages. I still really love the opening section and how the Super Paraloop is used there. The little path split is also neat, especially how if you go fast enough, you can just barely keep the Nightopian Helper long enough to easily collect the double rows of items in the capsule area. And of course, the gottagofast bumper corridor always fills me with glee.

Flooded Cove: 7/10
I like it, but it gets a bit dull towards the end. The room with the bustable blocks allows for a neat paraloop tricks if you got the Super Paraloop, but it's kind of pointless otherwise. The visual detail also kind of stops midway through, leaving a few overly sparse rooms. The token is hilarious though.

Cavern Fortress: 8/10
Excellent, especially the large caches of spheres that you have to paraloop and the moving bookcases. The little multi-tiered building thingy also fits in wonderfully. There are two problems though: One is that there's no real way to avoid the mace except by staying slightly above it. Surely there are more interesting ways of incorporating maces into a NiGHTS level. The other is the corridor with the moving pillars at the end, which is just infuriating in all the wrong ways.

Dusty Wasteland: 5/10
Ew! Ew ew ew! The visuals in this level are terrible, it looks NOTHING like a canyon (because it isn't), and the sector layout is just bizarre, which random unconnected structures plastered over an otherwise flat level. Gameplay-wise it's also pretty uninteresting. I like how the Nightopian Helper is used, and the horizontal paraloop in the cave is neat, but otherwise it's pretty standard. What kills it though is how it destroys the overall special stage progression. It tries to introduce time as a hazard, which is good, but it in no way prepares you for the onslaught of dangerous obstacles in the next two stages, which is especially weird since ACZ's theme gives you enough possible obstacles to work with. This level needs a redesign, and gladly it's already getting one.

Magma Caves: 9/10
My initial impression was somewhat harmed by the fact that the previous stage didn't prepare me for all those obstacles, but I eventually came to recognize this as a deliciously evil and, more importantly, fun stage. The lava waves and the flame jet room are obviously major winners, but I've also come to really enjoy the room after the capsule, which really gives a whole new dimension to A rank runs.

Egg Satellite: 10/10
This one never ceases to amaze me, and apart from the fact that the cross-shaped lasers more or less require luck to dodge, I would say it's pretty much perfect.

Spring Hill Zone: 6/10
The sector layout is still terrible and the track design is still average (see Dusty Wasteland), but the emblem force you to think outside the box, which is nice. Still, there's a problem when all of a map's advantages come from its context in the game, rather than the design itself. I'd love to see Botanic Serenity replace this, but I understand that it's too laggy.

Black Hole: 8/10
It's exhaustingly long, annoyingly slow-placed in parts, and my judgment is admittedly clouded by the fact that I suck at this stage, but I can't deny that the challenges are well-designed. The wave and the donut ring blocks still get me every time, but that may just be my own incompetence. At least I managed to beat it after a bazillion tries.
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Last edited by MascaraSnake; 04-02-2015 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 03-26-2014   #2
Superjustinbros
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GFZ1: I don't like the removal of that tunnel right to the left of the level IMO or the removal of the secret underwater passageway with the Armageddon shield. Plus that whole area that had Sonic's emblem in 2.0.X definitely needs some love. Add some extra rings to collect or put a Crawla around there so it doesn't look so plain. At the end of the level directly before the goal, I'm not a huge fan about how going to the left path is now a dead end path for Sonic players, forcing you to take the right path with the small body of water.

GFZ2: I don't really understand why the second Special Stage token was taken out; the bridge where it would normally be hidden in is still present, and I've heard people say there's something there for the people that still bother to look (I haven't played in single player yet so this may only apply to Multiplayer).
This net part may feel like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but I don't like this jump.

Sonic players can just barely make it across this gap in the cave section. I know about scaling the difficulty, though this is a bit tricky of a jump for only the second level.

THZ1: This level's re-design is incredible, though for some reason I find it weird how after the checkpoint before the road splits up into two roads, the left road now leads to a dead end just before the small secret cave area where you could get an Emerald Token, and the exterior of the cave looks very plain. Just one building and some mechanical flowers with no enemies guarding the entrance. The new purple slime is fun, I will say.

THZ2: I both like and dislike this new THZ2 for several reasons. While it's good that this is no longer a survival through a bunch of deathtraps that can easily maul you with one error, the level is too long IMO and relies a lot on puzzle gimmicks (the noisy steam springs, hitting switches in the slime, slime-swimming, etc. As a more casual player it takes me roughly five munges to go through this immense but well-detailed and satisfying factory. Some alternating paths could work, especially in the pusher room since if you somehow fall it's a long tromp through the slime back to the start.
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Old 03-26-2014   #3
Zipper
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Is it that time of the year again?

Spoiler:


Greenflower 1 : 4/10

Those new additions make me happy, even if they're simple. The level is still still short and non-replayable.

Greenflower 2 : 5/10

OH GOD THOSE RIVERBANKS I LOVE YOU GUYS

anyway it's still the same, the final area shows its newness by being fun, and goddamnit the secondary path to the exit is short and effortless (you know, the one at the top)

Greenflower 3 : 4/Boss

I actually don't like this, the pinch phase is too irritating.


Techno Hill 1 : 7/10

Damn I love this new version. The building in the giant hallway, the Knux path, the changed areas, the extremely slow and painful slime.....okay maybe I don't like the slime. That thing is TOO SLOW.


Techno Hill 2 : 10/10

get_decimate'd

I love how it still has remnants of the old THZ2, with the Deton path/crusher split and the Turret/crusher split.

Techno Hill 3 : 6/Boss

pretty much the same

Deep Sea 1 : 6/10

The water height nerf helps tons, but otherwise the same ; ugly, slow(due to the water theming itself, not the level's fault).

Deep Sea 2 : 7/10

thank god the blockmaze is easier
thank god the waterfall area is nerfed
thank god the post-waterslide area is nerfed

Deep Sea 3 : 8/Boss

oh god the balloon eggmen ahahahahaha

Castle Eggman 1 : 6/10

I love the texture edits, but for god's sake, the lake area is COMPLETE crap right now. It's süper dark to manuever, the emblem is infuriating to get, and due to the many splits in that area it's really hard to know where to exit.

Castle Eggman 2 : 8/10

Good, good, this place is actually COOL now. I have no complaints, but the secret area's chain swings can go kill themselves.

Castle Eggman 3 : 9/Boss

oh god new boss aaaaaaah

I love this so much, I love this SO.MUCH. the only problem is the chains' direction swapping can be too quick for Tails to respond. Other than that, YES.

Arid Canyon : 9/10

perfect as it is, with the sole exception of the polyobject area, and I guess some of the less filled up areas, like most of the end part, after the falling ceiling, before the rope hanger area.

Red Volcano: 8/10

Oh hey we have enemies in here now, that's nice! The spring traps are deliciously evil, and the difficulty seems appropriate now. I still think this level is a bit too.....empty. Like, most areas are lava over there, lava over here, a long, wide platforming section in front of you, NOTHING else!

Egg Rock 1 & 2: 10/10

fan room is göne, rejoice


Egg Rock 3 : 9/10

this is the greatest metal sonic race of all time.

The boss itself feels too easy though, it barely gets a chance to attack and the only GOOD counterattack it has is cheap if you don't know what you're doing.


Egg Rock Core : 9/10

This blows old Brak outta the water that's for sure. Its only problem is being too easy to defeat, therefore making the final boss a little too anticlimatic.



I'm no reviewer, so you're getting just these from me.
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Old 03-26-2014   #4
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Very good review. I mostly agree with everything you said, but I don't find CEZ1 so bad. It only needs to be a bit nerfed in some places like the knuckles's path. The rest of the campaign impressed me a lot with the new changes. The only things that I can complain about is that CEZ2 door at the start of the level (that was supposed to open when you have all the 7 emeralds) is now useless and that the secret rainbow A should give you some award. I think that the developers should work on finishing ACZ and RVZ, adding all the super and hyper levels and respriting sonic and tails to get rid of the ugly grey pixels for the next major update. I hope to see more changes like the ones in THZ and CEZ.
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Old 03-26-2014   #5
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Oh god, CEZ1.

Why must at the end part if you fail the higher path you have to go across the lower path with a very narrow chopped tree trunk crossing and a camping Robo-Hood ready to knock you ver and OHKO you.
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Old 03-26-2014   #6
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Because the game starts to get difficult around that point. :P

(Also, the Robo-Hood lacks a real firing animation, which can be quite frustrating.)
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Old 03-26-2014   #7
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Here are my thoughts about the levels(I'm not doing a full review of the levels yet, but that's what I thought when playing the levels):
Spoiler:

GFZ1:
A nice map that plays well and allows new players to get used to the controls. The map has a set path, but there are other ways and platforms that allow exploring.

GFZ2:
This stage feels more like it has a set path that you need to take, with less exploring. I don't like the spring part at all because if you press a button, you break it and fall down. Springs that lock the movement of the player would be very nice, but other than that it's a nice stage, with music and layout that makes it feel like a speedrun stage. The only thing I don't like about the 2.1 change is that the emerald token is gone, and because of that I don't know many tokens.

GFZ3:
The boss is easy for a first boss. 2.1 made it a bit harder by adding a flamethrower and a spikeball attack but you can hit eggman while he does the attacks, so no problem here.

THZ1:
I like the new purple water physics. It makes this stage a bit easier, which is nice because this is the second zone and not red volcano. The new 2.1 changes make it feel more like a factory based level, which connects it better to the second act. I didn't explore the level that much yet, but did they remove the second path ?

THZ2:
This act got redesigned to show the player the new purple water physics. I like it, but it's a bit sad to have a complete level replaced by a new one. I have one question to the level designers:
Why is this level in a city ? The background looks a bit like chemical plant and there are buildings in the level. The first act had a normal sky, while act 2 is in a city. The only thing I didn't like are the crushers that push you off. They are currently too fast. There is a little glitch, where you can stay on the platforms, but I think that it would be better to slow them a bit down.

THZ3:
This boss was one of the hardest bosses before 2.1 got released. Know why ? Sonic's Thok. If you missed, you fell off the platform, and if you hit eggman, then you got bounced back and fell off of it most of the time. 2.1 closed the boss room, so it's finally a bit more fair now. The gumball projectiles despawn after a time, this makes the boss fight even more easier now, because eggman can't spam the floor full of it. I like the 2.1 changes.

DSZ1:
The water level of sonic games. This is the zone, where the difficulty spike gets up. I don't know what got changed here, but DSZ doesn't feel too hard, the difficulty is ok if you know what you are doing. The emerald token can be hard to get, but at least it isn't insta death if you fall down.

DSZ2:
Same thing like Act1, I like the water slide, but I don't think that the bomb robots are needed in that part(They were added in 2.1, right ?). The maze is nice, and the emerald token is easy to get, once you know where it is.

DSZ3:
This is a new boss. I like the idea of it, but it's too hard to get out of the water after hitting eggman(or at least as sonic, I can reach the spring and get bounced up, but then I get hit.) Other than that, it's a nice boss.

CEZ1:
The difficulty of the game gets harder here. CEZ has some insta death pits and tall grass, which makes it hard to tell where the edge of the platform is. The first act wasn't too hard, but the sonic emblem was way too hard to get. You need to have perfect thoking, if you only hit the wall once, back to start.

CEZ2:
I didn't find CEZ2 to be too difficult. It was a nice level that showed the player how to use the chains to get higher up. The part near the end is probably very annoying as characters that don't have a jump ability, but other than that it was a nice difficulty increase.

CEZ3:
This is a new boss. I like it, but it's hard to see what eggman is doing. Maybe make him play a sound for speeding up the spikeballs or changing direction ?(I was thinking about the eggman voice, when he gets hit in GFZ for speeding up, and the fire sound for changing directions.) The other thing that I'd change is the spike balls on the second form, they should be a bit lower than eggman so it's easier to hit him.

ACZ1
This level is one of the harder difficulty ones, but it's fun to play, because like GFZ 2, this act and the music are fast. The only thing I didn't like was the platforming part near the end of the stage. It's easy as knuckles or tails, but as sonic, it takes some good platforming. Jumping from the moving pulleys can be difficult because sonic likes to keep the speed when jumping off of them.

RVZ1
I never understood why ACZ got only one act, but this feels like the second act of it. I don't know if this level was playable before 2.1 in singleplayer(I know the secret, but was this level part of the main storyline ?). This level puts the difficulty higher, which is nice. The only part I didn't like, was near the end with the lava waves that work a bit like the sand waves in 06. I think there should be more space between the waves so you can time your jumps a bit more.

ERZ1
Egg Rock increases the difficulty once again. It took me some time to learn how to play this level, but now I can do it without loosing a life and getting 1-2 lives. The only problems with it are that you are forced to take one path for the emerald token and the crusher part, because it can glitch up. The appearing blocks should have a fan that takes sonic up at the end, so if you fall you can still get out of it without having to backtrack. Sure, this might be a bit cheating, but almost every character with a special ability can get out of there without problem.

ERZ2
THIS STAGE IS HELL. I'm currently stuck on this stage and it doesn't look like I'll be able to get past it that easy.
ERZ2 is full of insta death. A lot of space parts, this time without that many air blocks or elemental shields. The enemy placement isn't the problem here, but the insta death parts are. The appearing blocks aren't that much of a problem because I'm used to that from megaman, exept for that enemy, which is placed in a very bad spot. I lost so many lives to that one enemy because it kept getting hit and falling off the platforms. The end part of ERZ2 has way too many insta kills. Sure, this is almost the final level but it's a bit too hard for me. I have 3 lives and 3 continues. There aren't any extra lives in ERZ2 that I know, so I need to complete the stages with 3 lives, that is full of instadeath. Continues don't help that much here and I'll try to keep them for the boss.

ERZ3
This is probably the hardest boss of srb2. Metal Sonic is as fast as sonic, breaks spikes and doesn't have to worry about level design or platforming. This boss probably gets easier the more you play it, but you can't try it forever. Don't have a continue ? Too bad, back to ERZ1..... I think that Metal Sonic should clone the character that you are playing as, so he has the movement speed of your character(probably a bit slower because he can break spikes) so that everyone can defeat him.

ERZ4 ?(Final Boss)
This final boss isn't too hard. I've tried it on multiplayer(the level select from multiplayer, but I did the boss solo) and I don't think that it's too hard(Didn't defeat him yet), exept for the rocket attack, which can be a bit cheap. If you hit him, he can start the rocket attack and hit you, without having a chance to avoid it, because you are next to it.

Now for the Nights Stages:
I don't like the rating system that much. Links should give way more points, and having to loop the stage over and over again for A ranks doesn't make it better.
The first 4 Stages are nice and easy and I'll probably get the A ranks there. After that, the difficulty goes up by a lot. The 5th Stage, which is a reskin of the Sonic into Dreams Bonus level, but a bit shorter has only 100 seconds time. I have no idea on how I should get the A rank there. Magma Caves increases the difficulty by a lot. It might look like the stage has a lot of time, but there are way too many fire projectiles to get hit. Again, I have no idea on how to perfect that.
I've never played Egg Satelite, but it's probably the hardest special stage in the game. Again, I have no idea on how to get a A rank on this.
Black Hole is probably even more difficult but it doesn't have the laser spam of Egg Satelite.
I liked the Design of the special stages, they look like the zones of singleplayer.
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Old 03-26-2014   #8
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GFZ1: Good changes, but the wind shield section should be more visible to the player, or at least not placed right before the goal sign. I think this is in a pretty good spot overall.

GFZ2: Too monotone in aesthetics. Needs a different color of texture to open up its palette + better architecture.

GFZ3: Cool recreation. My only problem is that Eggman will still bounce off of floors and do crazy divebomb shit if you position yourself correctly. Would like that to be fixed.

THZ1: Fantastic recreation, probably the best alteration this patch.

THZ2: This gets confusing at the midsection where everything links together in an open-sky room. There should be better indicators here as to lure the player toward the goal.

THZ3: Kind of easy. Pinch phase should probably be playing a little more passive-aggressively; launching at the player doesn't benefit Eggman that much.

DSZ1: The level aesthetics are way too bare bones and need sprucing up. The gameplay itself is fine.

DSZ2: Ehh, the crumbling maze room is still kinda dumb. Otherwise, see above.

DSZ3: Pinch phase is too demanding. Dummies and eggman should stay up for longer, or add a couple platforms toward center to make launching at Eggman less suicidal.

ECZ1: Robo-hoods feel unfinished. The egg knights are stupid. The level and aesthetic design is... alright, but doesn't really spark much interest. It would be cool if you could scale the end-castle walls and if there was stuff actually going on up there besides one collectible.

ECZ2: Feels very long and linear and offers very little room for player creativity in some of its challenges. A lot of it's just traversing platforms and nothing else. Easily the weakest of the bunch.

ECZ3: Eggman's telegraphs are obscured by the cage. The pinch phase isn't intuitive.

ACZ1: Good.

RVZ1: Needs a little more variety, perhaps slightly more length. An additional enemy would help.

ERZ1: should be a little more forgiving early on. A more accessible 1up in the beginning sections would be nice.

ERZ2: Fine I guess.

ERZ3: Pretty cool. I'd recommend adding some dummy buzzers near the first shortcut so homing attack characters can reach it. No other complaints.

ERCZ: Luring Eggman into a generic vat of lava is hokey in concept and clumsy in practice. I'd like to see a more player-controlled approach to this invincibility-disable concept. The fight itself is a bit easy even though some attacks are kinda bullshit. This should be balanced around no rings and a couple attacks should be toned down to compensate.
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Old 03-26-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiritCrusher View Post
Because the game starts to get difficult around that point. :P

(Also, the Robo-Hood lacks a real firing animation, which can be quite frustrating.)
The Robo-Hood thing is really frustrating as you can't know when he's going to attack at all (even if you said it's half-hearted fixed I still don't get it). Also I still find it odd, but I can die in CEZ but not in ACZ, therefore I find ironic how the difficulty is supposed to get harder going through the zones. Perhaps the lack of the second act and the boss is the issue? Or maybe is because it hasn't changed much?

Last edited by Zuko; 03-26-2014 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 03-26-2014   #10
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He makes a 45° turn just before he shoots. If you're aware of that, he should be fairly easy to dodge, but of course it's absolutely not obvious, which is why I called it half-hearted.
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Old 03-26-2014   #11
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He just needs a telegraphed firing animation and sound effect, simple as that.
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Old 03-26-2014   #12
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I think the turning animation works well enough for a telegraphed animation - just needs proper bow/crossbow sound effects for aiming and firing.
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Old 03-26-2014   #13
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I'm aware that this is lots of nitpicking. I fully enjoy the game, I just want to add things I personally would want to improve.

Spoiler:
GFZ1: It's alright. There should be an Armageddon Shield somewhere in the level. (Already mentioned:) An indicator (a line of rings maybe) to the whirlwind shield would be good. New players don't expect a 180 degree turn I think.
6/10


GFZ2: Looks better, some slight tweaks... It's more enjoyable now, but I feel it should be revamped a bit more, especially the upper path. Speaking of that, (unless I didn't notice an alternative), the upper path at the very beginning is still way too hidden to be a proper alternate path. Also, once you get to the top of that path, there needs to be an indicator on where to go next, as you can't know the direction of the lower path.
6/10


GFZ3: ...should be a little bit easier maybe. Especially the pinch phase should be a bit more simple. Otherwise it's great.
7.5/10


THZ in general has the already mentioned problem with the slime where it sometimes can take you a bit too long to get proper control again.


THZ1: An important and very well done overhaul. The level is fun, diverse and good-looking. The Knuckles path should focus a bit more on Knuckles' abilities though, like his DSZ1 path and generally needs more interesting setpieces, maybe a switch that changes something in the main section of the level after the Knuckles path.
Also, the secret underground path should be a proper alternate path, with the small entrance with the vines used for a new secret within the level.
8/10


THZ2: I'm not that amazed of that one as others. It's certainly a very interesting idea, but I think the act is a little too easy. The level length is an endurance test for new players, but that's completely okay with me. However, due to the length, the level needs a stronger buildup and a wider variety of gimmicks. I think some inspiration could be taken from Eruption Conduit Act 2 from the Tortured planet level pack. I was immediately reminded of that level when I first played the new THZ2. As a suggestion, the level could be a bit more experimental with the slime element. Mostly, there are just slime pools, I feel like the gimmick itself could be used a bit more often without overextending it.
7.5/10


THZ3: The boss is fine, but it could be a bit more difficult and less predictable. After positioning yourself once, you can theoratically beat this boss without moving, just jumping at the right time. Maybe a more interesting pinch phase could solve that problem, along with maybe a little hazard that prevents you from standing still all the time.
6.5/10


DSZ1: It has some interesting ideas, but some sections need an update to feel more like a Sonic game (like the maze some time after the second checkpoint of the upper path). Also, there needs to be a better indication on where to go when the pathways join before the final room. And of course, the visuals need a little update, if it's not possible in large rooms, at least the small rooms could benefit of it.
6.5/10

DSZ2: Yeah, I'm just going to throw that in: I don't if that has already been said multiple times, but I think that the big underwater crusher segment in DSZ2 near the end should be removed and replaced with something else, while the right path needs a lot of new ideas that fit in the existent rooms (cool waterfall gimmick etc.). DSZ2's left path is a very good example on how to make a water level fun, but these segments, regardless of their difficulty, simply are boring and annoying in my opinion, making the otherwise very fluid level a drag to play through at those parts.
Thirdly, there's an issue with the speedshoes early on the left path. With them, it is possible to get to the water slope that propels you into the air too quickly, making the player not gain enough vertical movement, resulting in a death. That gimmick is cool, but the execution needs some work.
6.5/10


DSZ3: Awesome, but the bosses' pinch phase's fakes need to be more clearly distinct from the real Eggman or at least not as punishing (as you often land in the water and get electrocuted way too quickly).
7/10


CEZ1: Okay, I guess, but it's a bit lackluser overall and could benefit from fresh ideas. Waterslides in a forest setting that were designed with CEZ's gimmicks in mind would be a great idea IMO.
6.5/10


CEZ2: Of course I mention it, the library sections, while being mazes, are okay, but the platforming over a death pit via very small platforms while these shield guys and the Robo-Hoods try to hit you are awful. It's Aerial Garden all over again.
Also, one of the star posts there (I sadly don't know the exact one) is facing the wrong direction, which is awful in a level structured like a (simple) maze. I haven't found the secret path yet, but I like that there is one. The other secret Knuckles path should be a proper path where Knuckles is forced on, ending at the other end of the gate (the one that was formerly passable with all seven emeralds).
On a final note, I love the ending. It's cool.
7/10


ACZ1: It's one of my favourite levels, but it needs a better indication on where to go right before the final rope pulley segment. Maybe an arrow of rings pointing down the little cave would be helpful.
9/10


RVZ1: An awesome level, I like the addition of flamethrowers in it. It's obviously not finished though, and I think the final version should have a lava rising section.
8/10




ERZ1: On the Knuckles path, at the end of the lava room, there's a hole in the floor. I'd attach an image, but I apparently can't. I thought there was a secret, but I fell into the lava and had to wait until I didn't have any rings anymore and died. This is stupid. I demand a fix (if there isn't one yet). Apart from that, the paths need to be balanced in length.
8/10


ERZ2: Difficult, sometimes annoying, but due to the removal of the wind tunnel, much more fair. The Megaman section needs to be nerfed immediately now, especially the Snailer needs to be removed.
Spoiler:
Also, a detail I noticed, but you can hear the disco music even before entering the disco room by standing near the wall where the entrance is. Not so much of a secret now...

8/10


ERZ3: Good first attempt, but the stage could use some minor fixes (difficulty, a short intro sequence before racing Metal Sonic etc.). The battle is good, but a little too easy compared to the a little to difficult race.
Also, am I the only one who thinks the battle music and the race music should be swapped?
The current battle music has a slow beginning (like the race) and then gets fast, while the current race music has a consistent speed and would totally fit the battle. Please take this into consideration.

7.5/10


ERCZ: I really like this final boss. It has perfect difficulty, it has variation and it is very fun. The only bad thing is the sniper attack, which needs a better introduction.
9/10.


I haven't played any of the secret stages yet and only briefly tried out the NiGHTS stages, so I won't review them (yet).

Last edited by Tyrannic; 03-27-2014 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 03-27-2014   #14
Metal96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrannic View Post
Spoiler:
Also, a detail I noticed, but you can hear the disco music even before entering the disco room by standing near the wall where the entrance is. Not so much of a secret now...
(note: actually is a spoiler)

This is actually intended, and IIRC 2.0's ERZ2 had the same thing, if less noticeable. It's to lure the player to the right spot and tell them something's there, rather than have it just be an invisible hole in the wall that they have to stumble into completely by chance.
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Old 03-27-2014   #15
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Might as go on and get this started since I am just going to end up coming back and editing anyways. The review should be a lot easier to manage since the game flows better than previous versions with its level progression.

Single Player
Spoiler:
GFZ1: Mostly the same with exceptions in mostly the last area and the side areas. It is not too bad, but could still use more improvements as a first stage even if it is suppose to be a really short and basic stage.
-From the bridge area to the entrance of the tunnel still could use some work; it could be updated to the standards of areas in other levels, when you look at the areas that were polished in GFZ2 especially.
-The cave section in the beginning is pretty pointless to visit now since there is not another section to go to for, since there is no shield of any sort any more especially. Maybe a bit more can be done with it like? The cave with the Whirlwind Shield could be moved there instead?
-I do not know what the house area near the beginning will be used for in the future if anything at all, but as it stands now it pretty much is just there. Something more should be done with the area since it no longer carries anything like Sonic's Emblem like in the past version.

I like how that a fence was added to give the stage more visual appeal, more should be added to other sections so that it does not look so out of place or just thrown in there just because.


GFZ2:

I am liking the new changes this stage received, it helps the stage to stand out more.
-The having a more apparent way to upper path makes it feel more like a reasonable addition as opposed to something that is just there, it reminds of how you get to the lower routes in Green Hill Zone Act 1 and 2; although, more could be done with sections in the higher route to make it more appealing much like not only the lower route but the end sections as well.
-The river route that leads you to the waterfall that heads out to the large area before the end could be expanded upon too into something more than just a long stretch.
-The new ending to the stage is much appreciate and I love it since it feels like a proper way to conclude GFZ2.

The double-sized GFZ rocks work surprisingly well with giving more variation to the stage's wall visuals. The visuals definitely have been helped out quite a bit with the double-sized GFZ rocks.

GFZ3:

The boss is much improved and is a fair challenge too. Just needs more polish. First time was a threat and gave some difficulty to beat unscathed, but it fits the role as an interesting first boss because of that. While the initial phase is a huge upgrade the pinch phase could be improved on.
-Giving a better way of telling players that the boss is vulnerable would make it looks less like he is spawning spike balls instantaneously. Once Eggman charges and rams into the wall with the spike balls having him bounce back upon hitting the wall could be something to do as a way to give some more leeway for first time players.
- Maybe even having the spike balls bounce along the ground a little to give the pinch phase a more complete feel too, that way players will still have to look out for something when they are going up to attack Eggman. Chances are people would not be completely thrashing the boss on their first try anyways, if they are not experienced at the game especially.

The new arena looks very nice, much better than the previous one. It seems a lot neater and appealing.

THZ1:

Mostly same basic layout, but the changes to various sections are noticeable and are they ever much improved since previous versions. The stage is a lot more fun with the new Badnik and the new slime mechanic.
-Diving into the slime pools to get items is pretty fun and it adds more to the level too. The only issue I take with how the new slime is implemented is how you will be bobbing and unable to get out of it for a while if you jumped in from a moderate height. Implementing more ways to exit the pool of slime is definitely something I would like to see happen in the future since you are already going to be moving slow in it, which will already slows the player down enough.

Having more of a mechanical influence in this act than previous versions had has given THZ1 more of an identity not only from a gameplay standpoint but from a aesthetic standpoint as well. I like the Mecha Green Hill Zone vibes with the texture combination, it is very fitting. Glad to see Old Castle Eggman Zone's dead grass was put to good use.

THZ2

Fresh layout and fresh aesthetics. This stage is a huge improvement from the previous version. The slime pools got expanded upon in a way that it adds to the flow of the zone overall instead of detracting from it, more hazards like the electric floors are added in, and simple things like crushers and conveyor belts are added in to the mix as well. I am liking how the design of the pipes and how extra textures were used to give this act a more unique feel over the first one. Truly a memorable stage.

THZ3

Eh, this boss is not really much to talk about still. It feels a lot easier than the first boss now that it has been changed up. I do like the backwards maneuver the Egg Slimer does either when you land a hit or get hurt. Something can be changed around with this fight, I will be coming back to this one to elaborate.

DSZ1

Outside of the opening room, and not all for good reasons, this level is pretty forgettable in comparison to the new THZ. I played through the zone a couple times on each of the routes and it feels very lacking.

-Even though the water is not as threatening to new players as the previous version, starting out the level like that I feel is not the best introduction to the stage if for the progression alone. Although water (and possibly drowning too depending on the player) is introduced early on, it still does not seem like the best idea to start out a stage with rising water. A rising water section would be much more fitting as a later section so that it would be able to better build up to other possible sections.
-The bottom path is onto a lot more than the upper path is. The upper path completely pales in comparison to the bottom one since not much happens on it, you find yourself at where the paths join up sooner than you would expect since there are not any real obstacles to overcome over than the enemies and the water.

Considering starting players out in a cavern area first with hints of a underwater ruins would help with the level having a better flow visually since Deep Sea Zone in general looks completely dull in comparison to the previous stages. Saving the full-out underwater ruins for the next act would be better.

DSZ2

What I like about this stage over the previous one is that there is more going on, what could be greatly improved upon is setting it apart even more than it does in its current states. The one thing I really do not like very much about this stage, however, is that it does not seem to build upon what gimmicks or ideas that DSZ1 has.

-DSZ2 feels like it does things that DSZ1 should have as far as the design of the cavern areas. I really like the way the paths branch out in the initial section. The design of the area allows for players to skip across the water, giving another option for players to keep in mind.
-The block maze, while it can be easy to get through, is excessive and unnecessary. This section adds absolutely nothing to the level. Even if the level were to integrate bust-able blocks in a similar fashion as the block maze it should not be to the point where the player is obscure every turn they take as they press forward. The design of the area in its current shape is a guessing game where you have to figure out where are the solid columns you have to avoid.
-The crusher section where there you are constantly waiting under water for them is something that can be an interesting challenge, but currently it is not. It is not really enjoyable and not because of challenge, it is just too tedious and just drags on. While I'd expect a zone like Deep Sea Zone to carry on if I were to glance at the name and know its inspirations, how this section is implemented it is a bit jarring when you see that with a stage that has way more parts that can go fairly by fast.

DSZ3

Well, wow, the Sea Egg did get spruced up as well as its arena. I like idea the pinch phase has going on. Going to come back to this after finishing up typing about the previous two stages.

CEZ1

Definitely needs work, just feels dull. While the visuals improved the gameplay has not. It just has feels very barren.
-The swinging chain is really something that can really be used more in this stage after it gets introduced. With how the stage takes place in a forest and you even can find yourself in treetops throughout the stage the swinging chain really could find some more use when it comes to reaching alternative pathways.

This I will be getting back to before finishing up my thoughts on DSZ.

CEZ2
The rest to come whenever I have time.

Last edited by Daywalker; 05-17-2014 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 03-27-2014   #16
Tyrannic
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal96 View Post
(note: actually is a spoiler)
You're right, I fixed that, thanks.
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Old 03-27-2014   #17
VirtualBlitz546
 
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Since I can design maps, I could modify the original stages to put in action these suggestions of yours, but I have no idea what the level designers use to make maps(who knows... maybe I could work with them xD).
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Old 03-27-2014   #18
Jellybones
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My only complaint is that Deep Sea Zone looks aged now, and that's pretty much down to the textures- they're very ugly. They need to be made larger, and at this point they feel generic. Otherwise it plays fine even if it is weird seeing large empty rooms throughout it.

I've only beaten the campaign once and with Knuckles however, so it warrants a much better look through with another character.
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Old 03-29-2014   #19
Aegix
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I don't give number scores. I dislike them greatly. They imply objectivity on a subjective opinion.

That said, here's my subjective opinion on SRB2's levels.

Overall rating: Satisfied
I'm pretty happy with SRB2 at the moment. The new changes are mostly fantastic. The new emblem system is really nice, and the emblem hint system is a LOT of fun to puzzle out. Finally, I love the new special stages. They're amazing and fun. :)

Level by level breakdown:
Spoiler:

Greenflower 1: It's alright.

It's as simple as ever, but considering newbies won't be familiar with the physics and need time to acclimate, that's fine. The new additions are welcome. My only gripe is how no new player will think to press Spin to activate the shield double jump, but then again, you can't exactly telegraph that... Overall, it's a decent first level.

Greenflower 2: Good.
It's fun. New additions are great, and being able to see THROUGH the water is a godsend.

Greenflower boss: Decent.
I like the flame trail. That's basically all I can say here.

Techno hill 1: Sweet!
Dat slime. It's fun. Great job on the rework! Secret area is super hard to find, but that's alright. :P

Techno hill 2: Awesome.
Aside from that huge open room outside not having an obvious exit when playing Knux or Tails (where your instinct is to go up high), I can't think of anything bad to say. I really like this place. Massive improvement, guys!

Techo hill boss: Meh
Never liked this boss. Just stand in one spot, and jump when he orbits close. And now he turns around randomly a lot more often, making the "Stand still" strategy even more boring, and making the "chase him down" strategy even harder. The windows are a welcome change, though.

Deep sea 1: Good.
The first room could really use some prettying up, or some different textures here and there. Aside from that, lots of fun. The new knuckles routes are a lot of fun too. :)

Deep Sea 2: Good.
Overall, still fun to play. The various improvements and new secrets are great. Block maze is still annoying, but aside from that, no complaints at all.

Deep sea boss: Good!
Umm...Some platforms near the center during panic mode might be a bit helpful. Aside from that, great fun. Took me a while to figure out the gimmick, but it wasn't unfair. Also, thank you for not raising the water level in panic mode like before. I hated that.

Castle Eggman 1: ALMOST Good, just decent.
I'm not sure how much has changed here, but one thing I HATE is that last stupid spikeball on the Knuckles path in the tree. I spent ten minutes in there! It just keeps blindsiding me and I have so little indication of where it's going to swing! ;_; I'd really appreciate if you did something about that spikeball.

Aside from that, it's great.

Castle Eggman 2: Great!
LOVE the new areas! And the emblems? Dear GOD some of them were too devious! Overall, great improvement.

Only thing I didn't like is how it's hard to know to hold FORWARD on the spinning chains to gain distance. I got trapped in the bookcase tower the first time with no way out, and I was totally not sure how to get more momentum to go up. It's the rotating barrel of Sonic 3 all over again! :o

Castle eggman boss: can't comment.
I've only beaten him with Knuckles so far, and with him, I can just climb up into the stands, wait for my moment, strike, repeat. Then in panic mode, I just climb up and glide. Easy.

I haven't done it the proper way, so I can't exactly comment. XD

Arid Canyon Zone: great as always
I've always loved this zone for some reason, and the new improvements are nice. Especially the improved ending.

Just put a ring trail leading directly onto the lift to show that it's totally safe to go onto it, even though it's transparent, and I can't think of any more improvement, really.

Red Volcano: Good.
I think I see some improvements! My only complaint is how long it takes before you get to a starpost. Aside from that, I like it.

Egg rock 1: ;_; aaahh...
It's a massive difficulty spike. The level feels almost a third too long. Some of the gimmicks here are fun, but overall, it feels so so long...

EDIT: (:o Ok, just discovered the knuckles route. Holy crap, so much shorter.)

Speaking of whiiiich...

Egg Rock 2: ;_; Can't comment much. So hard.
Marathon of death. ;_; So long, so hard...I made it to the gear crushers on 24 lives and that's as far as I've gotten. I also HATE platforming upside down. :( It's a neat concept but it really irritates me.

Being dropped back at Egg rock 1 with 3 lives after a continue is just too little to carry on. Thereby making it better to just quit, and retry without my continues so I can load my save file with the 24 lives, since that'll just end up saving time and energy.

Egg zone Boss 1: Can't comment?
Didn't have much chance to play it (did a few tries on Co-op mode), and while I really like the idea, that upside down race on floating platforms is just irritating as hell.

Also, it REALLY needs to be its own zone so continues don't dump you back at Egg rock 1. ;_;

Egg Boss 2: Haven't played yet.
I have not gotten to him yet, nor have I tried him in Co-op yet.


So yeah, overall, I like it a lot. It's a fantastic improvement. :)

Last edited by Aegix; 03-29-2014 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 03-29-2014   #20
Steelie
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Oh geez, here we go..

Spoiler:

Greenflower Zone 1: Same, old, silly. You could've at least come up with grass that isn't so ugly and walls that aren't so repetitive. But serves good for being an introduction map. 4/10

Greenflower Zone 2: Now that's a fancy waterfall there! I like the modifications at the the end. The water is also transluncent (finally) and the walls aren't so distorted now that they have a bigger texture. Other than that, it's an alright map. 6/10

Greenflower Zone 3: This guy caught me off guard! I really like the new EggMobile behavior even if the pinch mode is quite drastic. 8/10

Techno Hill Zone 1: Now this is what I've been looking forward to. The new beautiful THZ is nearly indistinguishable from the GFZ clone we had in past versions. The jelly gimmick is also really fun to toy around with. Though the Knuckles path was quite interesting at first, it still was a little too simple than what I expected. 8/10

Techno Hill Zone 2: This one is brilliant! That is all. 10/10

Techno Hill Zone 3: Making the pinch mode activate after 5th hit made the boss easier, yet less annoying. That's an improvement I suppose. Still, making it hurl at you wasn't the greatest idea. The arena itself is quite nice. 5/10

Deep Sea Zone 1: And from great THZ we leave for ugly DSZ. I can only agree with people that this zone feels dated. Some of the changes were good, but new physics outright kill the spring chain near the end. 5/10

Deep Sea Zone 2: This... isn't exactly good. Still the same ugly block maze, still the same ugly slide after the first starpost, but now it stands out even more because it feels like a low-end cutscene. It's not terrible, you improved it at places, but I still think it could've been better. 4/10

Deep Sea Zone 3: Hoo boy, a wild Ballman has appeared! This boss was ridiculous and fun all at once. With new GFZ3 it doesn't feel like EggMobile clone with tubes anymore. The arena is also really nice. 7/10

Castle Eggman Zone 1: I don't understand why people still don't like this. I think that the remake is great. New texturing finally gives a feeling of a forest, and not just an extended garrison. The Knuckles path is horrendous, though, I gotta say. 7/10

Castle Eggman Zone 2: Here comes one of my new favourite levels. You did a real number on this one. The library extension is cool, but I still don't like that cannoball room. Also, the final room. Those Robo-Hoods that are on the walls with spinning chains are some cheap bastards. 7/10

Castle Eggman Zone 3: Oh God, this boss is really fun to play against and experiment with. The arena being similar to Colliseum really sells it too, gives out the castle feeling. But, it's bugging me. You end act 2 in a clocktower or something, why are you suddenly in an arena that doesn't exactly seem high above ground? 8/10

Arid Canyon Zone 1: Nothing much to say, still stands out as one of my favourites not only for the amazing soundtrack. The filled last part is actually quite challenging. And yes, get rid of that ugly polyobject platform on the left path from the first Starpost.. 7/10

Red Volcano Zone 1: Ey, it got enemies! Also, those flamethrowers made me jump. Then there are those cheap springs leading straight into lava, what a clever trap. 7/10

Egg Rock Zone 1: I'm still waiting for this being extended. Still a cool map. 6/10

Egg Rock Zone 2: Snailers are evil. D: 9/10

Egg Rock Zone 3: I'm at a loss of words, completely unexpected event just went on my screen. I expected this to be the final boss, instead, it gave me my favourite boss in the game. Bravo. 10/10

Egg Rock Core Zone: Gimmicky and unexpected. Can't complain, I like this boss. 9/10

Spoiler: Secret levels, shh!
Pipe Towers Zone: This is definitely an improvement, but I gotta quote SC on this one, random shapes don't make sector detail and killed me many times. 7/10

Aerial Garden Zone: Oh wow, despite this being just a test about wether you can stuff entire 4 acts +Emerald stage from a popular mod into the game and see if it kills the engine, you really pimped it out! Good thing that horrendous water part is gone, otherwise, great map. 8/10

Spring Hill Zone: This is just... meh. 4/10

Azure Temple Zone: Congratulations, you offically managed to kill my sanity. Incredible how I just can't complete this level even now. 8/10

SRB1: This may be just an amusing reminder of the early suckish stage of fangaming, but come on! 1/10


Special Stages: Won't rate individually, too lazy for that. Really a cool improvement, I like them all a lot, yet I don't think I'll ever get the NiGHTS mastery emblem.. *sigh*
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