|Tomb Rabbit 2 Readme.doc
|13 Jan 2008
|09 Jan 2008
|12 Jan 2008
|13 Jan 2008
|09 Jan 2008
|12 Jan 2008
|18 Jan 2008
|-- Tomb Rabbit 2 --
|12 Jan 2008
|27 Sep 2001
|22 Jun 2001
|10 Jan 2008
|12 Jan 2008
|10 Jan 2008
|09 Jan 2008
|16 Aug 2002
|09 Oct 2001
|Rabbit on Rails
|14 Aug 2002
|HQ Vent System
|26 Dec 2001
|Download Tomb Rabbit 2
|15 Jan 2008
This project was started somewhere in 2001, and was unfortunately never finished due to time constraints. As it doesn’t look like this will improve any time soon, I’ve decided to release the level pack in its current unfinished state.
Unfortunately, Tomb Rabbit 2 was NOT designed to be played with The Secret Files!
Please read the Readme document for more info.
As the levels haven’t been beta tested it’s possible there are still a few bugs in them. If you happen to come across one, please contact me.
This release contains the 7 levels that have been finished (out of 20). Although the style of the tilesets is quite different from those of TR1, the level design, puzzles, and time spent searching should be a very similar experience. I hope you enjoy it!
Edit: I’ll post some additional notes in the forums, topic http://www.jazz2online.com/jcf/showthread.php?t=17393
Your resolution should be 640x480 while playing this, or things will look strange.
The level design here is spectacular, with gameplay elements that are unique to this level pack. Some of it does get a bit repetitive, but it never gets boring. It’s too bad this pack is unfinished, which is why I’m not giving it a 10. If this had a proper story and a bit more polish to the levels, it would probably be the best jj2 episode ever.
This level is probably only getting a high rating from others because of its eyecandy and its “Brand name”.
The puzzles didn’t fit into the environment, the levels didn’t connect that well, and the storyline was crap.
I mean, come on. Blocks? Any newbie level maker with any sense of triggers can use those. Am I the only one who realizes this?
[Review changed to quick review. – cooba]
I used TR1 and I believe this is good.
Yeah the pack might be unfinished, and most of the levels are pretty standard on their own, but as a whole this pack is fun as hell to play. It’s got this oldskool platformer feeling and the design is executed brilliantly. It’s a shame that only a few levels are finished, as it makes you wonder how awesome the rest of the pack would’ve been.
It is a really good BETA/DEMO, but it does not fully fit for cooperative mode (elevator level crate), and it uses the background layers in a weird way, of which the layer 5 as sprite background layer.
AND many of the tileset elements are imported from Donkey Kong, which gives it a touch of unoriginality.
Good thing it is easy to play.
So this is great. But it’s a shame the rest will probably never be finished. I will write a proper review later, but I will say it does some things the original Tomb Rabbit didn’t do, and the variety of areas you go to is a nice change from just exploring tombs. (Not that I didn’t enjoy the tombs!)
I have gone through several possible introductions to this review, and none seem to properly encompass how much I am blown away by this release. That it was released at ALL is of course unexpected, but that Kejero should have evolved so far beyond his work in Tomb Rabbit 1, although the same style is still at times visible, and that despite all the work visible in this pack being (as I understand it) many years old it blows all modern work completely out of the water… that is nigh-impossible to describe. I have thought through many authors and packs hailed as great examples of the single player genre – Moonblaze’s demon invasions, the ramblings of Spaztic and Agama and Blade, Mike’s sprawling classic narrative, the first venture into a world of tombs (which as you may already know are not present in this pack), the cinematic joy of the Lost World episode, or the antiquated inspiration of Another Story, and while TR2 is not able to beat every one of them in every field, it comes amazingly close.
TR2 is a pack that draws on all the atmosphere of the Lost World – aside from, regrettably, the 3D cutscenes – and then doubles it, throwing you into one new world after another without ever losing consistency. The story is largely absent – there are brief references to the player’s brother, and after apparently finding that brother you gain the ability to morph, which makes perfect sense – but this is because the parts of the pack that would tell the story are themselves absent. Still, it seems standard fare – you travel through a jungle, find a base, the base blows up, you go somewhere else… and then the pack abruptly ends, all too soon, despite the length of each individual level.
You start off in a training level, which is a relatively old concept from the days when packs would propose to be games, rather than just series of levels, and thus you would need to be taught how to play. And indeed a lot of what you learn in the training level is basic stuff, special moves, etc. But you also get introduced to some of the innovations of the pack, which I will describe in more detail later, including one feature people may remember from the end of TR1: tile enemies. Here they are done much better, quite amusingly, and had the pack been finished they might even have appeared in more than just this training level. The Island tileset has remnants of what appears to have been a planned Pacman obstacle, though it does not appear ingame. Anyway, the training level guides you through most things you’ll need to know, and is absolutely gorgeous – possibly my favorite of the many tilesets TR2 brings to play, though the elevator set definitely has its charms. The training set is chess-themed, is done in a style much more common in TSF tilesets than 1.23, and works flawlessly, pulling you into the TR2 experience without a backward glance at the rest of JJ2.
After that it would be senseless to try to focus on individual levels or even tilesets, because despite the different art style present in each set (sometimes even among the tiles of a single set), and the different level designs that come with each, TR2 functions as a whole. The only clues to its being unfinished are the choppiness of the level order, missing the story and other things to hold it together, and an occasional tile bug, uninteresting section, or spot where it’s not quite clear where you are supposed to go next (there are, sadly, a fair number of these, which is the only real con of the pack). For the most part, everything is brilliant, presentable, and, again, surpasses all else.
Kejero takes full advantage of the fact that every tileset used in the pack is made FOR the pack, and he may thus do absolutely whatever he wants for the level design. In the first jungle level, slot-machinesque levers trigger the disappearance of giant numbered wooden platforms. In the second and third, colorful staircases switch direction at the flick of one of the delightful multi-state blocks that fill TR2 and work flawlessly, while other blocks point spikes out of them and conceal or display new passages each time they are switched, making for a huge variety of possible environments, seemingly all of which Kejero happily inserts. Your main challenge in the first base level is to traverse a number of giant tubes that connect different sections of the level, and the second answers a question that I actually have asked many times before – how would Kejero design a level where you escape from a base that’s being destroyed? – and answers it incredibly well. The elevator sequences are pretty enough to sit and watch for many long seconds before bothering to figure out how to progress (although the third is a bit boring), and except for the wonky star block segment, everything about the level is beautiful. Finally you return to the trigger-friendly, kiddy-colored design of the training level for a journey through some caves and island huts, also featuring the introduction of the morph mechanism, which adds another enjoyable dimension to gameplay, though it wasn’t used too often or in any great detail.
I’m not sure if Kejero made the music himself – though I suspect he did – but it is all very good and works perfectly with the levels. An unused track for an unmade train level is also included, which only serves to make me wonder how Kejero would have tackled the moving vehicle design, a type of level which has long struggled to be finally “gotten right.” Anyway, the music contributes to the atmosphere, as do the various trigger innovations, and so does the familiar foreground border effect from TR1 or Agent Jackrabbit. This time around there are no pieces of artifact to collect and store in the border, so it serves a purely ornamental purpose, but adds beautifully to the pack, taking you away from everything else you’ve ever played. I definitely recommend playing this in fullscreen, particularly during the second base level, at which point you could easily be in a completely modern FPS were it not a 2D game.
There is really very little to say about TR2 that is not praise. The main problem is, of course, that it is not done, but while the levels fail to be held together plotwise, everything else is cohesive. A boss would have been interesting to see, though none appears. Again, there are no tile enemies after the training level. The classic rock puzzles from TR1 make two reappearances, but both badly need testing, as I was able to bypass them both without ever pushing a single rock. And there are a few moments when the level design is not quite perfect and it’s not clear where you should go – mostly the first base level, really, although the unfamiliarity of the underlying gameplay mechanic probably contributed to that, and a few in the later jungle. There exist minor tile bugs, the checkpoints need some work, and the perspective is at times insane. But most of these are minor ills. More important is the very real delight felt when the walls open up to reveal gorgeous hidden passages in the island level, which is just another reminder of just what’s so special about this pack: it WORKS. There is absolutely no reason not to download it; the only thing to worry about is the sadness felt at the end of level 7 when you realize that you may never in your lifetime see the other 13.
Before you start reading my review, ask yourself why, if it’s positive, and why, if it isn’t, you need a reviewer to tell you whether to download this level pack. For Chrissake, it’s Tomb Rabbit 2! Granted, Tomb Rabbit 2 lite, but that little number alone should have you clicking on the download button more willingly than a brainwashed proselyte giving away his livelihood.
- – -
Of all the twists and turns I’ve seen during my first journeys in Egypt, none was a bigger surprise than seeing green blocks, as if taken straight from some Nintendo game, in a jungle, in a Tomb Rabbit level. From the first to the last, these confounding 1×1 blocks are the major building material of puzzles in the majority of the seven available TR 2 levels. The more I encountered, the more used to them I got, but I have to say that they still conflict with not only the levels’ overall appearance but also the spirit of the original Tomb Rabbit—which had its puzzles seamlessly integrated into the environment—all the while admitting that they remain extremely functional and without which most of the puzzles would not have been possible. It was just very strange to see my route blocked off by big, red blocks that look like nothing else in the jungle.
Normally, I would not mind when levelmakers have to employ questionable tiles when using other people’s tilesets, but Kejero must be excepted because all of TR 2’s tilesets are of his own hands. The blocks are clearly intentionally designed, but what was wrong with the original’s natural and environmentally consistent graphics, which not only looked the part, but also pressed my buttons much more satisfyingly? On the upside, those blocks fitted right in with the other brightly coloured tiles of the training level—a zany mix of vivid oranges, dark blues, and a whole array of other spectral spectacles, with a very spirited atmosphere about it that was starkly different from that of the original—and the warmly coloured island level, also with rich tones and a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky ambience (I don’t even know what that means) that actually uses the same music.
- – -
Different again from the original, Tomb Rabbit 2’s gameplay involves quite a lot more physical exertion: jumping, coptering, using other special moves, and not just running. But surely there was a lot of physical activity in the original too? Yes, but I didn’t mention the coins. Taking another departure from the original, TR 2 has coins in every level, 400 to be precise, and collecting 100 nets you one extra life. They are not always placed at ground level, and you’re obviously encouraged to jump and grab as many as you can. I’ve never been a fan of coin collecting, but given our rabbits’ easy, super-fluid motions, it became quite fun. Ironically, having money in the levels came at a price: the coins make you feel like you’re playing an old school platform game, and removes the intense feelings of isolation and, to a certain extent, (dare I say it?) realism. Again, this is surely intentional, but what was wrong with the original, which was much more about the atmosphere and the experience?
Apart from coins, there are various trigger zones that you can use to control the previously mentioned blocks. The zones are placed on specially made tiles that work in two directions: approach the tile from underneath, and you deactivate the block of the tile’s respective colour; approach it from above, and the opposite happens. The bottom or top of the trigger zone tiles may not always be within reach, so sometimes you can only perform one action, thus impeding or aiding your advance. This system is seen in all but two of the levels, and works wonders for general puzzle solving and level progression, but I wonder if it wouldn’t become over-used for a 20-level episode.
The two-way trigger zone arrangement is also successfully adopted for other means, such as controlling stairs (they don’t disappear; they just get inverted as if turning on some invisible swivel) and, most impressively, countless rows of spikes (you can lower the spikes, which renders them harmless, but they may then block your path; or you can raise them, which clears your path, but they’ll then become dangerous again—pretty cool, and it made me smile too).
Although you can only see it clearly from within JCS, the level structures tend to be very compressed, with a lot of platforms and passageways squeezed into a relatively small area, as opposed to the sprawling, if claustrophobic, corridors of the TR 1 temples that took up a lot of room, but didn’t actually allow much movement. Tomb Rabbit’s trademark foreground window, not just there for eyecandy, remedies this completely: while travelling literally all over the level, you’re usually no more than 30 tiles above, below, or to the side of your previous location a few minutes ago, but the smaller visible portion of the level makes it seem like you’ve gone a long way. This is most true for two of the pack’s most intricately built levels: the three trees forest and the rabbit HQ. The borders of the levels are even a couple of tiles thicker than normal in order to keep the illusion sustained. Unfortunately, the foreground window no longer acts as a sort of inventory like in the original, though it wouldn’t be implausible if it did in a full release.
Deceptively simple methods are used to create extra depth: warps, for example, are used extensively in most levels to transport the player to an indoor area. Given the specially created tilesets, this is an incredibly effective method, and it was a pleasure to zip in and out of towers, temples, huts and caves.
- – -
I recall being disappointed at the lack of a proper Tomb Rabbit atmosphere when I played through the first two levels, due to the marked deviation from ‘standard’ TR 1 fare. The trio of jungle levels even uses official Epic music; hearing jungle.j2b three times in a row is tiresome, to say the least. Despite this, it was a pleasure playing both of the levels, though it was like going to the cinema and finding out that you were seated at the wrong movie.
Saying no to no, however, I played on, and was treated to two excellent waterfall/temple levels that took my mind off those confounded blocks once and for all. The tileset, especially the temple, was beautifully drawn, and the various tiles were put to excellent use, with lush, cascading waterfalls that grew in size from platform to platform, and overgrown stone paths beneath my feet. It’s a pity that there wasn’t a more appropriate music. The relatively advanced stone temple did not fit the tribal sounds of ‘jungle’, with the levels themselves also being devoid of any monkeys.
One thing I noticed about the levels so far was that they are much less hazardous. Where were the plethora of spikes, the boulders, and the knives? Where was my bottom? Not on something sharp, that’s for sure. This was addressed in the rabbit headquarters, with laser rays reminiscent of the spike traps of TR 1, and even some Bunsen burners firing up below a very low ceiling. My one complaint is that there’s a nasty bug involving buttstomping inside the tubes that allows the player to bypass the laser rays and Bunsen burners completely which, face it, is just not fair to those who have had their tails roasted, scorched, and fried.
Tomb Rabbit 2’s penultimate level, my favourite, is easily the best looking of the seven; ‘Elevator Perils’ took my breath away on several occasions, and marks a return to TR 1’s cinematic feel. It is a flawless marriage between tileset and level, with the soul of the level resting mainly on the marvellous tileset, a harsh, steel compound, in many places similar to ‘7th Lava Fall’. The action-filled music fits the level perfectly, and is right up there with ‘Helmet Shaker’ and ‘Cracking Ice’ in terms of meshing well with the level. I could even hear the wonderful Tomb Raider theme, and further credits must go to Kejero for compiling the music himself. If you play the level at the correct pace, the main melody will start just as you fall down the first elevator shaft, complete with friction sparks and animated girders. It was an unbelievable sight.
When I mentioned that this is Tomb Rabbit 2 lite, I meant it. An amazingly tight level, the tropical island allows you to backtrack across several areas, explore every part, poke your nose into every nook and cranny, yet there isn’t one wasted tile, not one wasted room. The blocks looked outlandish in the jungle, but here, I wouldn’t have it any other way, for they contribute to the pinnacle of good level design and, despite the easy difficulty, I was never bored.
- – -
The first question I asked myself after playing through the unfinished Tomb Rabbit 2 was ‘Is this worth the wait?’ During my first few seconds of tomb raiding, I came to the realization that Tomb Rabbit 2 looks and feels very much unlike its predecessor. The training level alone couldn’t be more different from one of JJ2 history’s most famous first levels, Central Cave. For a while, with the mass of bright colours, upbeat music, and chess motifs, I felt I wasn’t playing a Tomb Rabbit level at all, and I must confess that I was basically expecting more of the same. With that expectation defenestrated, I found the 7-level episode to be hugely fun, and, yes, a great experience in and of itself. For a sequel, it is not a successful evolution, but rather a triumphant revolution. Toto, we’re not in Egypt anymore.
I wanted to pity White Rabbit for his review in #[TF] but as he had abandoned our lovely channel for mysterious and unexplained reasons I have no other choice than doing so in a review of my own…
As the Dutch say, “stilstand is achteruitgang” (stagnation is decline). I thought Tomb Rabbit 1 was nice, but it was way too hard, had a lot of bugs (knives!), and the theme worked only for so many levels. Tomb Rabbit 2, on the other hand, offers diverse environments, interesting puzzles and a difficulty level that is Just Right©.
As Violet said so well, reviewing each level individually is no use because Tomb Rabbit 2 works as a whole. Whether it is the beautifully retro training level, the Deus Ex-like elevator level, the amazing jungle levels, all are equally well-designed and equally fun to play. I must admit that. being the tileset freak that I am, I checked every tileset in JCS before playing, and not being too impressed. I started JJ2 with not too high expectations, only to be completely blown away by the levels, which have some of the best eyecandy till date… you play in a mario-esque world full of bright objects, a jungle with giant hollow snake-infested trees, a tribal temple environment of sorts, and finally in two different 7th-lava-fall-but-way-better-styled buildings. And all look completely wicked.
TR1 boasted a “completely new enemy”, which was nice but not that interesting and only seen in the very last level. TR2 is quite the opposite, with an awesome jumping Bishop that looked like it jumped right out of Alice in Wonderland in the very first level, and literally made me gape at it for a few seconds. There are no “new enemies” to be seen in later levels, though. I assume that was because the episode is unfinished.
Another sign of the unfinished state may be the lack of pickups (other than coins), but I hope that was intended, because unlike some other episodes with artificially limited pickups (BlurredD’s comes to mind) here I didn’t mind at all. The coins are fun to collect and the system which gives you one extra live per 100 makes up for JJ2’s non-functioning “1 live per 100 gems” system. One issue was that whenever you die you keep the coins you already collected, so you might end up with literally hundreds of coins, making getting all 400 coins a little easier than intended.
The puzzles were just as awesome as the visuals. I often dislike puzzles in levels because they seem artificial or are just not fun; why would I need to push boxes in the midst of a desert? TR2 however has puzzles that either make complete sense, such as in the elevator level, or somehow just fit into the level, such as most trigger block-puzzles. As White Rabbit pointed out, sometimes the blocks do not fit in the rest of the environment, but I didn’t really mind. It made clear what you were supposed to do (find the matching switch) and added a certain continuity between the otherwise seemingly non-connected levels.
I could go on for a while and pinpoint every individual aspect but in the end they are all equally well-done and as perfect as they probably can be. While playing I got reminded of games ranging from Commander Keen to Deus Ex to Mario, and what all those games have in common is that even though they may have tiny glitches, those do not matter at all because the whole game is just so damn fun to play. Rather than being disappointed because it is not exactly the same as TR1, you should be happy that Kejero chose to innovate, and download this right now ;)
unfortunatly i can’t give a full review on this because i’ve only got TSF :( But what i’ll say for now is don’t give up on your level pack. Continue it, just like everyone else. Unless something else is in the way of it, you don’t need a releasing date for it, because that puts too much pressure and then people end up unable to finish making the set. But whatever you do, never give up until it’s over. You’ve made it this far, there’s no turning back, so see if you can finish off the levels somehow so that everyone gets the full taste of what it means, to play Tomb Rabbit 2.
[I’m only here to tell you that this pack works in the versions 1.23 and up. ~cooba]
EDIT: thanks for the update cooba, im definatly getting this.
Considering that this pack is unfinished, nice work.
As for the levels that are finished, they’ve all been done especially well. Custom tilesets for most of them, no wonder it took so long, efforts like that always do.
By far my favourite tileset in the pack is the elevator tileset. That tileset is capable of going toe-to-toe with the tilesets made by the J2O elite (Agama, BlurredD, Blackraptor, EvilMike), and that’s not an easy thing to pull off. It seems Kejero also went crazy making the level as well, as it’s a 31k monster and doesn’t lack on detail ANYWHERE in it.
This pack is worth no less than a 9.0, as it is of superb quality, mercilessly smashing lesser packs into the ground.
Oh, BTW, there is a way to play this with TSF. Don’t select Lori as the starting/default character, and if you have to transform back into Jazz, stomp the monitors. If you shoot a monitor as Spaz, you’ll turn into Lori, but if you stomp it, you’ll turn into Jazz. Handy or what?
What are time constraints?
This is a phenominal level pack. It really is. Tilesets were all designed by Kejero himself, and yes, one of the tilesets is in concept ripped from DKC3 [I know, I have DKC3 on the SuperNES….oldies, but goldies], but hey! It still looks good.
Music was also exceptional. Each track fits perfectly with its level, and would be difficult [not impossible, just difficult] to use it elsewhere to such quality. Levels are fairly long, and will in fact require much patience. My favorite is the elevator one. I have played and replayed that level, and wow, it is cool! Eyecandy abounds in this pack, good eyecandy, too. The playability of TR2 is exceptional, however challenging it may be.
So, what do we have then? A very good pack, solid gameplay, rocking tiles and music. The one thing I am sad about is the shortness. Oh, well. I guess that’s why it’s unfinished. DL this. It will amaze you.
So good, but it also works on TSF!
Why in the world do you review unfinished levels this high? I mean, seriously, even EvilMikes finished SP levels got rated LESS, and generally only Utilities get rated more. I really agree with Valco here. The levels might be good and such but they’re unfinished mostly. This is why I rate it a 7. Don’t care about the name someones got ;).
Either way, I do enjoy these levels that for sure and also no attack towards Kejero here. It is just I totally disagree with how people are rating this pack 10s without it even being remotely close to being finished. Then just don’t rate it at all.
[Rating (7.0) clearance. Does a pack become worse when it’s released as unfinished? Also, the pack as a whole may be incomplete, but the levels that are available here aren’t. – cooba]
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.