|JoD_Carrastle1.j2l||Ruins at Carrotus||16.58 kB||01 Feb 2021|
|Carrastle.j2t||Carrastle||318.89 kB||09 Apr 2009|
|LIGHT.S3M||"Penetrating Light"||313.02 kB||09 Aug 2002|
Haven’t touched the level editor in years; just made this level as a way to get myself familiar with it. But I think it’s a pretty okay level, that you might get a kick out of.
Pretty solid SP level. There are a few eyecandy issues but the level layout is good.
Tip: Use MLLE instead of JCS, it’s a better level making tool :)
A short, relatively easy level mashing up Carrotus & Castle. Aside from some unusual tile choices it has nothing revolutionary, yet the flow is good enough to never feel dissatisfied either. There are some wall-hugging secrets that are decently hard to find. Download recommended, as long as you’re up for typical vanilla gameplay.
This is a nice romp through familiar territory. The tileset merger is used to generally good effect: not only are there are a variety of graphical details used at different points in the level, the Castle and Carrotus components get to intermingle throughout, instead of being bizarrely segmented and missing the whole point of a mashup. It’s nice to see vines hanging off of bricks, or one kind of wall giving away to another. The combination palette leaves the Carrotus caves visibly blacker than usual, but it’s dramatic and works surprisingly well. Generally there’s a lot of interesting stuff to look at, at least in layers 3 and 4. Where the graphics do fall down a bit are the parallax background layers… there are a couple Carrotus layers against the sky, looking pretty static, but the background is mostly pretty empty, which is more noticeable considering much graphical detail there is moving at the same x/y speeds as layer 4. Tiles that traditionally appear in the far background are here much closer to the camera and it eventually gets noticeable.
As for the gameplay, it’s all reasonable stuff, with appropriate enemies that match their surroundings in both layout and visuals. There could probably stand to be more non-toaster ammo, perhaps replacing some of the many gems. About halfway through the level, finding trigger crates becomes the main focus… in general, the player gets to see the thing the trigger crate will be opening before finding the crate itself, which is a good principle, although the tile use doesn’t always make it clear at first glance what’s going to be trigger scenery. It’s a pity the tileset didn’t include JJ2’s standard lock block, because the alternatives this level employs—1×1 Carrotus blocks, and a Castle door that looks like it should be completely open—aren’t so obvious. As a result, it’s good to know when you hit a trigger crate that you should go back somewhere, but you won’t always know where to go back to.
The main issue I have with the layout is that it’s all kind of consistent and cramped. All passages seem to be about the same size, not very open, often bounded by very straight lines, no matter whether they use the Castle or Carrotus side of the graphics… and some more variety would be appreciated. Look at something like Rux0riffic for how much variety in layout element size it can get out of just a single tileset, not to mention the way it plays with things like springs and spikes. Changing things up from time to time within the level helps keep the player engaged and makes it more likely that one or another area will stand out and be memorable. There’s good stuff here, but it’s too tightly clustered and thus becomes hard to notice in isolation.
Still, I enjoyed playing this. It does have some nice tricks with less common tile usage, and some interesting bits with vines and destruct scenery and such, and the combat is all generally fine. But there’s still some room for it to grow in terms of visual clarity and distinct gameplay sections.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.