|SilentEvening.j2l||Silent Evening||12.88 kB||28 Dec 2019|
|HolidaiusE.j2t||JJ1 Holidaius Evening||73.64 kB||28 Dec 2019|
|xmas_card_95.s3m||"x-mas card '95" -Protocol||306.09 kB||28 Dec 2019|
Just a quick wintery level made in a few hours during my holidays. It’s 1.23 vanilla so nothing fancy. Jazz and Spaz have slightly different starting positions. Lori works but is not recommended for some jumps. The level is short but there are multiple pathways to explore. Hard mode adds plenty more enemies and Easy hands out a few more carrots.
Happy holidays, cheerz!
EDIT: Reduced the amount of coins and the amount required for the coin warp to be fully compatible with vanilla.
A vehemently multilinear level from Slaz… the layout is less of a path than a playground, many of the branches too short to be considered branches at all. The universal idea of Head Right To Win keeps things surprisingly understandable, though, as I never had any trouble figuring out how to advance the level after I’d finished harvesting all the items in whatever area I was in. Sometimes it takes a little work to get back to the start of another alternate path, sometimes it’s very quick, depending mostly on how much verticality is involved.
In typical Slaz fashion, the walls are packed with little alcoves covered in layer 3 containing this or that extra pickup. Sometimes, especially toward the start of the map, the pickups advertise their presence by being in bigger and visible areas that you need to find the right tunnel into, but there are also plenty of times you just have to know to check every wall (and sometimes ceiling). In my experience, the openings to the more visible secrets tended to be exactly where I’d expect them to be, so I didn’t have to come at the same area from three different walls before finally getting in. None of this is especially innovative, of course—it’s sort of the most basic possible type of secret—but it’s so plentiful that it’s hard not to have a good time exploring absolutely everywhere.
The level distinguishes itself more by its frequent use of scenery blocks… all the main types are present, even speed blocks, though Slaz wisely (or possibly due to the limitations of the tileset) chooses not to bother with any weapon-specific blocks. Sometimes there are blocks for blocks’ sake, because shooting blocks is simple fun, and other times they play a more significant role in the level’s layout. Here the level stumbles a little bit… a trick used frequently is to put a crate or two on top of some destruct blocks, with the idea being that the player will shoot the blocks in order to open the crates. However, usually (unless maybe if playing as Lori) it’s easy to get to the crate without bothering with the blocks at all, which is particularly odd if the crate contains a green spring. This may be partially a result of the layout seeming a little more open and less claustrophobic than some of Slaz’s previous maps, though I also wonder if the crates may have been originally planned to be the gift boxes from the HH17/HH18 packs, which open only upon falling.
Other elements are pretty ordinary for a JJ2 level. Ammo is plentiful, powerups are easy to get, and enemies are not generally placed to poise any real threat. There’s a bit at the end that looks like a house with a chimney, but otherwise eyecandy is more or less what you’d expect from a basic tileset like this one, with no issues but nothing memorable/innovative. Most praiseworthy are the hand obstacles… the level is unscripted, so they can’t be shot, but the delay in their animations between appearances is so short that they’re nearly impossible to miss, When I did get hit by one, it felt like my own fault, not the inevitable consequence of a nasty design.
A really fun xmas themed level. Level design is extremely open ended, it’s almost designed like a regular multiplayer map would be, obviously bigger. I think the level flows really well. You can go whereever you want, and as far as I’m aware the only point of no return is with the boss fight, this gives you time to explore the entire level and check out every corner you want, since the level design facilitates (or more appropriately recommends) having a look around.
The difficulty is pretty much my cup of tea, where it’s not extremely punishing, but you still need to play attention. Plenty of pickups to look for, as well as secret areas. To be honest, I feel like the single checkpoint you placed in the level is unnecessary though. When I died, I would have preferred a clean start from the beginning of the level, since it’s designed in an open ended fashion anyway.
The music choice is fitting, it’s a calm and nice tune.
My only minor complaints are that the level could have had 1-2 more enemy types in it, and that the boss fight was sort of meh (though that’s mostly thanks to how bosses are pretty 1-note in the game anyway)
Overall I think this is a really well made level, worth having a run-through and exploring it. Definitely recommend everyone to give it a go.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.