May/June 2012 Voting

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The unreliable judge
Because I have been incredibly lazy (and busy) as of late, I've only written Single Player reviews for this OLDC. Oh well~

Industrial Valley Zone Act 1 – 4

I’m really not a big fan of this map. In fact, when trying to write this review I had a lot of trouble coming up with things to say which reflects on one simple but very important problem. I found this map boring, and most of the things I could say have been repeated many times over by other reviewers by this point anyway.

A problem that I haven’t seen mentioned though is the inconsistency of the purple slime. I’m fine with purple slime being used as a non-harmful liquid when it is introduced properly, as is exactly the case when the player enters the base through the pipes. But you need to pick one or the other for consistency and so the player can understand the rules of your level reliably, you can’t use harmless purple slime on one path than dangerous purple slime on another because it misleads the player.

Also, you desperately need to introduce the rising acid room better. Anything that can instantly kill the player before he has time to get a grasp on the situation is a problem. Placing the player so he is facing the direction of the rising acid as soon as the player triggers the event is a good start, but letting the player see the acid in the room before it rises would have helped greatly as well.

Azure Temple Zone – 8

To start off, the thing I like most about this map is that you have taken a small handful of simple ideas and used them in such a wide and creative range of ways. Gargoyles spitting flame in a way similar to labyrinth zone is such a basic gimmick, but the two of you found so many interesting ways to apply them it worked perfectly. The same praise applies for the blue buzzes as well, I really did shake my fist in the air and curse Mystic’s name when I realized you made me fear grabbing air bubbles for fear of falling in death pits. Using a few simple gimmicks in a wide variety of effective ways also helps combat the idea a lot of level designers seem to have that every room must feature some new original and flashy gimmick to be interesting, this level proves quite nicely that less can in fact be more.

With regards to the edited elemental shield, I appreciate that you tried to make it clear that it’s not a normal elemental shield by colouring it purple, but it’s impossible to tell that you changed the colour of the shield in the colourmap of the water that covers the entire stage! Perhaps if you had the occasional dry area outside of the water, just for starposts or grabbing the purple elemental shield to introduce this item and make it clear to the player that it’s a new shield, this could have been avoided.

Another problem I had with this map was the difficulty curve, I felt that the gargoyle path was too easy for the end of the level and the path on the right at the very start was too hard for the beginning. While fixing this problem wouldn’t be as simple as merely swapping the paths around, because introducing the player to fire spitting gargoyles with complicated puzzles is a terrible idea, it’s certainly one that always bugs me when I play this map.

Something I especially love about this level is the love for Tails and Knuckles exclusive areas. The Knuckles area is simply excellent and takes advantage of his abilities and the unique elements of the stage to their fullest, while the hidden and optional Tails path is comically brutal and hilarious for it.

Also, that nuke puzzle. The two of you are horrible horrible people, but I eventually did it and opened the door.

Oh, and what is a Fluttershy sprite doing in this wad? Not that I’m complaining <3

Sonic's Schoolhouse – 5

This is hilarious. I don’t even need to lecture on why this is hilarious or how it can be improved, just put it in SRB2SBAHJ and call it a day, then release SRB2SBAHJ while you’re at it.

Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2 - 7

You forgot to death pit the final room, silly!

This map doesn’t have much new to offer in comparison to act 1, but the core gimmicks of the zone are still interesting and in the big picture of a part of a full zone, this level is great. It takes the gimmicks the player learned in act 1 and lets the player play around with them some more and in a few areas expands on them. The rising snow is a good example of this.

I did especially like the castle section of the map, which is a big change from your normal work as you don’t normally design interior man made areas and it was a refreshing change of pace. I also particularly liked the hidden underwater path which doubled as a fantastic short cut through the map, rewarding me for exploring in an incredibly enjoyable way.

You could use a new remix of Winter Wrap Up for this level though, just to avoid repeating the same song twice in Lost Worlds.

There really isn’t much more for me to say though, which is a shame, because I would just be retreading what I said in my review of Act 1. It’s a solid map, but other than a handful of interesting areas, it doesn’t do much that act 1 didn’t already do. But it’s a lot of fun regardless and I don’t think the repetition matters that much in this case.

Chemical Facility Zone Act 2 – 8

I see this map has been fairly polarizing so far, but I had a lot of fun playing it myself and the problems didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the map all that much.

The turrets definitely deserve a mention, I really like the purple slime turret as they currently used. Genuine hazards fitting for a final stage, and for the most part their placement is fair, giving the player a small but present window of reaction time when they fire or forcing the player to avoiding taking the most direct path towards them or be in the line of fire, I like that a lot. However, there were a few areas where they annoyed me more than anything else, like at the top of elevators or the one turret positioned at the end of a jump using the low gravity water. The glue turrets on the other hand are interesting, but I don’t think they were used to their full potential, instead of being used solely to compliment the purple slime turrets, I think they would great when used in conjunction with other hazards. For example, slime sticking the player to a conveyor belt, forcing them into an alternate path or a hazard, or a slime turret firing at the player when trying to navigate a field of moving lasers (or crushers if you are feeling particularly sadistic).

The orange and blue gels are interesting, and I really like what you did with the orange gel in a few rooms, but the blue gel isn’t used to its full potential. You set it up, only to abandon the gimmick and never return to it, which is a damn shame. The speedy gel could be used as a platforming hazard, by making it difficult for the player to gain their footing on a platform, or as a part of a larger gimmick by forcing the player to use the speed to their advantage, whether it be avoiding hazards or making a particularly long jump over a pit.

I raised a complaint about the timed door room during testing and I’m a little disappointed to see it isn’t fixed in any way. I don’t have a problem with punishingly hard difficulty in what is supposed to be the final level of your pack, but the player needs to be almost perfect to make any progress, let alone access the alternate path in the left door. Maybe a room this brutally difficult would have worked when placed at the end of the level, but if this gimmick remains in the middle of the stage, the player should at least have a few more seconds before the doors close.

Oh, and I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated when I pushed a button and part of the factory was destroyed, behind a wall where I couldn’t see it happen.

Lightless Labyrinth - 6

Oh my god this gimmick. Earthworm Jim is one of my favourite games and the nostalgia absolutely overwhelmed me at first, especially with that hilarious music drumming the point home.

The core mechanic worked much better than I expected it would, although I think the map might have worked better if the lights were sector based rather than thing objects. As it would have helped the player perceive depth in the darkness better, which is crucial in platforming areas or the crusher corridors. Although the floating platforms were a clever way to overcome the limitations of polyobjects as well, brilliant stuff there.

You keep throwing new ideas using the core mechanic, that’s great, but some of them aren’t executed well. The crushers and the maze were the biggest offenders for me. The crushers largely because of the triple crushers at the end, they were absolutely insufferable because, as far as I could tell, there was no pattern to them and surviving them was a matter of spindashing and hoping for the best. The maze was a problem because it was uninteresting and fed the player a tremendous amount of rings for doing almost nothing.

The custom enemies were interesting too. The ghosts were simple but effective and fit the theme very well (while also serving as a reference to the original Earthworm Jim stage) and the fire ghosts were neat, but not used very well. If the player didn’t need to lure these enemies around they would be more manageable, either as obstacles the player needs to avoid or always making sure they initially spawn in the same area as a pillar of water.

And finally, oh my goodness the boss was glorious, difficult and incredibly fun all at once. I can’t express enough how much it surprised and impressed me when I first encountered it. The only thing I would ask for in a future version of this boss, if it is ever updated, is for there to be a brief pause before the Cyberdemon attacks, so the player isn’t instantly hit in the face with rockets or a flame thrower.
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Prime 2.0

Gonna submit my voting numbers for singleplayer now before Mystic chews my head off... I'll update with reviews later.


Industrial Valley Zone Act 1 by Zipper - 5

Azure Temple Zone by Mystic & Prime 2.0 - N/A

Sonic's Schoolhouse by Boinciel - 6

Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2 by Blade - 6

Chemical Facility Zone Act 2 by CoatRack - 6

Lightless Labyrinth Zone by ShadowHog - 7


Graphic & Sprite Modder.
I delayed with this long enough... only votes & comments this time.


Map: Industrial Valley Zone Act 1
Author: Zipper
Vote: 4/10
Comment: I don't know what to say about this one although during that one part with the purple slime that you go in via a pipe... getting sniped by turrets on thin ledges is not good.


Map: Azure Temple Zone
Author: Mystic & Prime 2.0
Vote: 9/10
Comment: Eh... not as difficult as I thought it would be giving that I only lost like... if I can remember... like 3 to 4 lives? Also that one crystal puzzle... that was evil.


Map: Sonic's Schoolhouse
Author: Boinciel
Vote: 5/10
Comment: I didn't get to play the actual game of this so I kinda don't get this that much... I did watch a video about it though, would that count? Also... Egg Chomper.


Map: Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2
Author: Blade
Vote: 8/10
Comment: For those that have played Act 1 before then you should know what to expect... I think. Anyway... it was enjoyable.


Map: Chemical Facility Zone Act 2
Author: CoatRack
Vote: 7/10
Comment: I don't get why many are annoying by the Green Slime Turrets here... then again I never got hit by one of them. Also... can you please extend the timer for the doors slightly that open when you press this one switch? Sonic players can barely make it in there in time.


Map: Lightless Labyrinth Zone
Author: ShadowHog
Vote: 6/10
Comment: Being that I played the secret level in Earthworm Jim before I knew what to expect in this level. However... as it's been mentioned already... there should of been more water pillars as luring a fire enemy from far away is what ruined the flow. Also... that boss.
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I changed some scores in the multiplayer section of my votes. I also added comments on the maps that didn't have any.
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>WTB lamp oil
Industrial Valley Zone Act 1 by Zipper
3/10 - Bad

How mediocre. My GOODNESS, is that inconsistency? That's one of the dumbest things I've seen in a level in a long time. Not only was the unharmful goop with a light blue surface terribly ugly, it was also terribly counterintuitive, after the rest of it hurt you. What possessed you to do that in the first place? On a different note, why all the big, flat, empty rooms? If you don't have anything interesting to do, don't do it at all. Some of the rooms were simply useless. The only rooms that were somewhat interesting were the ones towards the end. That being, the drain room, and the acid room. The first of which had terrible texturing though, and it was very hard to see that FOFs. Also, why do you have the red spring that shoots you into the goop? I understand you use it later, when the goop is gone, but it's not very nice in the first place. The current underneath the goop is terribly and stops you from really getting back to safety in any decent fashion. As for the acid room, you introduced the seemingly out of place bouncy floor very abruptly and dangerous fashion, which is not good. Always provide a simple framework for people to learn a new gimmick, without the penalty for misunderstanding it being death.

I must say though, that music was interesting. Sort of ambient industrial, I like it. :)

Azure Temple Zone by Mystic & Prime 2.0
10/10 - Epic

This is the perfect example of immersive platforming and proper gimmick progression. The entire level was probably the most challenging SRB2 level I've ever played. I had heard people talking about how they had died so many times, and hadn't been able to complete it, and I sort of brushed it off. I figured they must just suck, and that I could do it without getting a game over. I was wrong. Very wrong. I think I got about three game overs. But the funny thing is, never once did I feel like it was a cheap death. No unpredictable surprises, and no hidden dangers. EVery time I died, it was solely because I was too hasty, made a dumb mistake, or was simply too slow to make it through complicated firing patterns. On the topic of gimmick progression, you did right with this level what so many others have done wrong with theirs. You used a number of fairly simple concepts, but used them multiple times, in different ways, so that it progressively got harder and stretched your mind and reaction times a little more each time. I adored the puzzle path, only I wish it went on a tad longer. I never even found any of the elemental shields people talked about. Nor did I find the knuckles path, or the tails path. Not sure what I did wrong, because I thought I explored pretty well, but apparentally not. I'll have to go back and take another look at it.

rated 10/10 because fluttershy

Sonic's Schoolhouse by Boinciel
1/10 - Hilarious

The funny thing is how people can take this as anything other than a joke. But goodness, this is hilarious! I laughed quite heartily every time I played it. It's a funny insight, on just how strange the original Sonic Schoolhouse was. In all honesty, it's a bit disturbing. Those bouncing numbers with eyes are fit to be nightmare fuel.

Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2 by Blade
8/10 - Great

Yet another beautiful Blade creation. Not much different from act 1, really, but always a simple pleasure to play through. I don't have much unique comments for it though. The one thing I'll say is that on the level start I thought the clouds were snow and I died because of it :P

Chemical Facility Zone Act 2 by CoatRack
4/10 - Mediocre

I expected something great, especially from you, CoatRack, but I was literally annoyed by the time I finished this level. First things first, STOP with the "demo" thing. Sure, you can make changes after the OLDC, if things turn out bad, but why rush parts just to make it in in time? I was thoroughly disappointed when many of the things you said you were going to put in simply weren't there. Not to mention, many of the obvious flaws that testers warned you of weren't fixed. But that aside, I'll just take the level as it is. The worst problem evident becomes your enemy spam. More enemies =/= More fun. Tone them down a bit. The mice were just annoying when there was one on every plain. I understand it's supposed to be hard, as the last level, but 100 crawla commandoes and 100 jetty-syn bombers would also be hard. Does that mean we'll put them in the final level? Also, I must chew you out about the orange gel pits. Being the king of Jell-O, I was very aware of the fact that you often fall into the jello blocks if you bounce on the linedef edge. I imaginine that with any amount of testing, you would have figured this out too, so why didn't you fix this in some way? I got stuck down in one of the orange gel pits after hitting the (incredibly cheap) laser, and couldn't get out. But the worst problem, the gaping bloody hole of this level, is the gimmicks and their TERRIBLE progression. I don't think you use the same gimmick once, excepting the orange gel. That's not a good thing. Whereas Azure Temple started off with one or two gimmicks, and advanced them to fatal levels as the game went on, you throw in tons of nonsensical gimmicks, for a one time dangerous appearance, and then leave them. Like that soapy blue liquid. That seems entirely forced, like you just had to make filler material. You don't use it in any interesting ways, or any way that makes you think. Speaking of water, you also used the water coming out of that one pipe as a way to abuse the SRB2 water physics. Water physics are one of my favorite things in SRB2, indeed, something I was going to take advantage of in our Minecraft Zone we talked about. Sadly, you did nothing interesting to it. In fact, you introduced it in a terrible way, with TWO turrets blasting at you as you're supposed to slowly jump up it and onto the platform. What were you thinking? I repeat, gimmicks are wonderful, but please please PLEASE use them in interesting ways. There was not a gimmick in this level that I enjoyed, except the bouncy floors, and many times even those were boring. Then, the reverse gravity. Not only is it completely unfitting to the theme, but it too is used for no real purpose at all.
Now, why do some of these parts seem almost copy pasted from CFZ1? Especially the part with the raised canals outside. On that note, the orange bouncy gel in the one canal was a terribly cheap maneuver, as the player has no way of knowing what is coming.
I've heard something about explosions in the level, but I have't seen any. I stepped on a few buttons and they simply silently opened passages that I had to then find. Now, don't even get me started on that timed door (which was also an almost direct copy paste from Act 1)!

All in all, this level is like spacewalk zone, but you don't repeat every boring gimmick five times in a row. It had the potential to be great, and it sure was pretty, but you ruined it by making it a complete enemy cluttered mental bore to play through.

Those capsules look awfully empty. :(

Lightless Labyrinth Zone by ShadowHog
8/10 - Great

I want to cast a spell.

Also aww yeah Scott Joplin is the best music choice ever

Mr. Mystery

Only going to comment on the Match stages. Lost interest midway through playing CTF and I haven't even had time to play anything else besides Mystic's map.

Green Match Zone Act 1 by Root - 1/10
I don't think even typical Doom maps were this barren. Couldn't have been. Hiding a deathpit under nontranslucent water is a real bad idea, as are maps that just a claustrophobic GFZROCK maze.

Marble Zone by CoatRack - 9/10
Wow. This is some good shit right here. As in, "put this in vanilla" good. The layout is already almost fun and polished enough to not be out of place with the current rotation. Work on the texturing though; there's only like 3, maybe 4 outer wall textures, all practically one shade of purple, and it's very distracting. Do all you can to make it look more authentic to the original zone, but the excess of purple outside makes me itch.

Azure Temple is also stellar work, and I highly recommend rigging up a WAD with this track replacing O_MAP99M for maximum atmosphere. I'll be a little disappointed if it doesn't become a hidden map in 2.1 or, at the least, a Mystic Realm unlockable. Only thing about the place that bothers me was the anticlimactic exit area.


>WTB lamp oil
I have Twilight :<

Oh my goodness you're right 10/10

Nah, just kidding. I am curious though, why are there ponies in the entries? In Mystic's entry, of all things? Is there a story behind this? Please tell me the story is that you're making Twilight-Sparkle a playable character~


Sonic Team Junior
Kart Krew™️
Industrial Valley by Zipper: 4/10
Azure Temple by Mystic and Prime 2.0: 9/10
Chemical Facility by KOTE: 6/10
Sonic's Schoolhouse by the most amazing man of this generation: 99/10
Frozen Hillside by Blade: 6/10
Lightless Labyrinth by Shadow Hog: 7/10


Green Match by Root: 1/10
Marble Zone by KOTE: 8/10

Glades of Serenity by Scizor300: 6/10
Fungus Forest by RedEchidna: 6/10
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Probably Responsible

Single Player:
Industrial Valley Zone Act 1 by Zipper - 3
Azure Temple Zone by Mystic & Prime 2.0 - 8
Sonic's Schoolhouse by Boinciel - 5
Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2 by Blade - 4
Chemical Facility Zone Act 2 by CoatRack - 3
Lightless Labyrinth Zone by ShadowHog - 4

Green Match Zone by Root - 1
Marble Zone by CoatRack - 9

Capture the Flag:
Glades of Serenity by Scizor300 - 7
Fungus Forest by RedEnchilada - 6

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The forum timestamp is incorrect, so I'm cutting off voting here. Tallying results now.

Edit: Results!

Single Player:
Industrial Valley Zone Act 1 by Zipper - 4.58
Azure Temple Zone by Mystic & Prime 2.0 - 8.50
Sonic's Schoolhouse by Boinciel - 5.27
Frozen Hillside Zone Act 2 by Blade - 7.06
Chemical Facility Zone Act 2 by CoatRack - 6.78
Lightless Labyrinth Zone by ShadowHog - 6.12

Green Match Zone by Root - 1.31
Marble Zone by CoatRack - 8.27

Capture the Flag:
Glades of Serenity by Scizor300 - 6.55
Fungus Forest by RedEnchilada - 6.55

Yes, that is an exact tie in CTF. Detailed votes:

IVZ 36835543N45544453545255456567454343 = 4.58
ATZ 88X98N998X6X97497988989X9867X8N9X98 = 8.50
SS- 45X45385654436X666535673575255651N5 = 5.27
FHZ 659677777679579N8777985778858768864 = 7.06
CFZ 56877686858646778N66876986X69867463 = 6.78
LLZ 37X1686968668307884828156N839676874 = 6.12

GMZ 2101121132111 = 1.31
MZ- 78878889N9989 = 8.27

GoS 5N65877558867 = 6.55
FF- N656768748766 = 6.55
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