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|olccha SP.j2l||The Lapidarian Chaparral||7.48 kB||23 Dec 2022|
|jungrocklrk.j2t||JJ1: Jungrock (LRK)||96.91 kB||22 May 2004|
|earthbound.it||Your Name, Please||832.24 kB||17 Sep 2017|
Once upon a time, I made this level in my free time. Took a while. I climbed the highest mountain and crossed the deepest sea to find Blackraptor, the greatest level maker of all time. I showed him this battle level and he felt the layout was a bit narrow at times. With a torn, shattered heart, I trudged back to Pennsylvania and cried myself to sleep, just like I used to when my levels got bad reviews in the early 2000s. Anyway…
This level is a battle level modified into a single player experience (LIKE NONE OTHER) where you warp in and kill as many enemies as you can before you die. You cannot beat this level. There is no exit (don’t even cheat and look for one). Write down your scores, post ‘em, share ‘em, take selfies next to them and upload them to TikTok (you’ll go viral), and get ready to restart often because this doesn’t use JJ2+ technology… And above all, have fun.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! This is my lousy Christmas present to some of my best friends growing up. Sorry the level isn’t actually all that good.
Level “beta tested” by “Blackraptor” in 2019. Music from Earthbound by Nintendo. Tileset conversion and level by “Lark” of OLC, 2018 – 2022.
Well, other than the fact that the approach of this level is not my cup of tea, I think it’s overall a good level. I think the layout and the eyecandy is really cool. The open ended nature of the level actually appeals to me (though this most likely came due to the fact that it was designed as a battle level originally). Music is pretty good, though I don’t know why there’s that noise at the beginning of it that sounds like background chatter in a bar.
Things I didn’t enjoy are basically the fact that the level can’t be ended in a traditional way, since there’s no level end trigger, basically you just run around the map until you find everything. Which brings my second issue, everything respawns. Obviously it’s not a flaw, since it’s an endless loop level anyway, but still, navigating through the level gets a bit frustrating when enemies you’ve already dealt with spawn back on top of you. Also, it’s supposed to be a single player level, but pickups all still have the “battle level” mindset, so you only pick up ammo and health (and a secret water shield).
Rather than making it an endless loop, I think it would have been more fun if there was a coin warp that teleported you to the end, once you collected all the coins after exploring the map.
Still, the level itself is really good, just the overall fundamental design to it isn’t really for me.
Over the years JJ2 has seen an explosion of multiplayer gamemodes. Sch wizards as BlurredD and EvilMike wove together arcane contraptions of sucker tubes and trigger scenery to create levels that, even when played in vanilla JJ2, still followed the scoring rules of Team Battle or Last Rabbit Standing or the like. JJ2+ canonized these, and others with more complicated rulesets, from Pestilence to Headhunters. Mutators expanded the playing field still further. But somewhat lost in all this was the idea of single player gamemodes.
In general there have only ever been two goals in single player levels: either get to the exit (which may involve a boss battle), or collect all items (usually coins). Within collecting levels there are two subtypes, one where collecting everything makes you win immediately and one where you have to go to a specific place afterwards, but they’re largely the same thing.
But there’s a third mode that’s lurked around the edges, only making an appearance every once in a while: horde mode. The level design stays constant, but enemies keep appearing, and either they die or you do. A major example is TDI_07.j2l from Moonblaze’s “The Demon Invasion,” where a regenerating coin and an invisible coin warp serve as a countdown timer. hgfDiamondusColosseum.j2l from happygreenfrog’s “Operation Cleanup: Turtle Terror Revisited” uses scripting to implement an enemy quota, so the level will not end until you’ve killed enough (regenerating) enemies. Both make the assumption there must be some sort of measurable goal that the game itself keeps track of for you, or else why would you bother?
The Lapidarian Chaparral says screw that noise.
The Lapidarian Chaparral decides that you, the player, are in charge of keeping track of how well you’ve done and whether you’ve accomplished whatever goal you might choose to set for yourself. It demands you make up your own emergent gameplay. It puts itself in your hands as clay to be molded into whatever experience you prefer. It is single player by way of sandbox. It is, in a way, a metaphor for JJ2 and JCS as a whole.
Sure, with some work Lark could probably piece together a complicated system of a generating coin, an electro-blaster SCE, and various belts, animated tiles, bridges, and so on, that periodically dropped a coin into a pseudo-random spot in the level, so that you have to keep moving around to find the next coin. It would be pretty cool. But there’s a boldness to giving up on that altogether as irrelevant.
Sure, the concept still has some limitations as implemented. In the current version of JJ2+, regenerating enemies and pickups don’t give points, but pickups spawned from regenerating barrels do, so if score is your goal, you should focus there. Sure, certain areas are purely safe, so if your goal is actually to set a stopwatch and see how long you can last, you’re just gonna hang out next to a carrot and walk away from your computer. But does Lark really want you to do that? More importantly, do you really want to do that? Or do you want to blast turtles?
Anyway. Cool to see Jungrock. Level looks nice. Didn’t notice any bugs.
Gosh. Lark. Long time, kid. Thanks for dropping by. Happy new year.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.