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|OLCTCS.j2l||Technodus Cargo Station||8.00 kB||14 Dec 2006|
|OLCVSFCastle.j2l||Very Stupid Floating Castle||13.83 kB||30 Nov 2006|
|j1Battleshipsv2.j2t||Jazz 1: Battleships v2||52.97 kB||18 Oct 2005|
|WSF01.j2t||Windstorm Fortress I||127.23 kB||25 Feb 2004|
|Go down.it||Go Down||1995.96 kB||25 Dec 2000|
|Sor-Genesis.it||The Genesis Factor||415.00 kB||30 Jun 2000|
Two random CTF levels. One’s very old, the other’s quite old. They’re both old. This description sucks. Oh well, levels are old. Got it? And also, if you wanna know why the castle is stupid, its because it floats.
VSFC is by far the superior level here, and is the main selling point of the pack in my opinion, despite what the other reviewers have stated. Great event level. TCS has cool aspects to it such as the the freezable celing springs, although suffers from severe Red bias, due to having faster attacking routes than Blue and a more defendable base.
Technodus Cargo Station
The level looks good enough to be nice on the eye when playing. I am too used to the level to be stunned by the eyecandy, since I’ve played this level frequently over the past year – loving it.
On low detail, the level looks, so-so. It doesn’t look really bad, but the fact that the suckertubes look horrible, makes the impression not as good here. On the other hand, you don’t play on low detail for the looks. Seeing the level in low detail really simpliefies learning aswell.
The red teams base is located at the top right corner of the level, being quite a good place for defence. However – staying there with flag is not that easy since it’s pretty much a dead end, if you disregard the suckertube that brings you all the way to the left side of the level if you fall into it… What I’m trying to say is, that the attackers are likely to force you to run away, and then you will have problems getting ready to score again, since the base is such an easy-to-defend spot.
The blue base is, not very surprisingly considering the placement of the red base, situated at the bottom right corner of the level. Or well not really, more like a bit from the right of the middle of the bottom. In any case! It is not at all as easy to defend as the other base, but on the other hand, getting to it isn’t as hard, so you might be able to score without being RTS, also there’s more ammo around it, including a bouncer powerups, which’s room can be handy for variating your defence (or attacking fastly, but I’ll come back to routes later).
There are two, well placed carrots in the level – one FullNRG, and one normal carrot. The normal one is placed at the exit of the aformentioned suckertube from the red base, and can be quite useful, especially for the red team’s flagcarrier. However, taking it isn’t entirely riskfree, as there is a turret facing it, from where you can quickly be killed.
The FullNRG is placed right between the two bases in a truly tactical area, with lots of “trix”. It can be shot down into the place beneath it – it can be shot down pretty much all the way to the blue base. It can be shot down to the ground and left there, while you camp safely underneath it with RFs (a truly annoying move). Also, there are several interesting routes around it, but more about that later.
The level has four powerups – seeker, bouncer, RF and electroblaster. All of them interestingly to moderately interestingly placed.
The seek powerup can be somewhat hard to find, but it’s in the bottom right corner, and is accessed only by electroblaster bullets. The placement is good, because that gives the players atleast one reason to ever go to that area of the level. (Overall all of the level is used a lot when playing – which of course is good level making).
The bouncer power up is placed right under the actual exit of that suckertube I’ve been going on about, and as I said before it’s placed in an interesting place. Because going to it is one of the fastest routes to the blue base – not to mention a cunning way of attack. Also, it’s the only powerup you are able to sidekick (unless the powerup is there, because then you stomp it automatically to obtain more shooters!). When in the small powerup room, having taken the powerup, you can quickly choose to go either down to the blue base, or go left and get shot up pretty much all the way to the one heart carrot. Also, the really cool people, like me can use ice, to shoot the spring that pushed you down and then quickly change to real fast missles and climb up again.
The RF-power up, you access through a warp in the top right corner (in the same place where that turret facing the 1h-carrot is). That warp, after having given you the power up, takes you to the area between blue base and carrot, and is therefore quite a fast way to quickly move around in the level, aside form providing you one of the mightiest weapons around. Especially nice is to immediatly bounce to the right and mutilate people standing at the base with your newly gained missiles^_^.
The electroblaster powerup, useless as it may appear at first sight, is placed in the sucker tube back to the red base from the 1h-carrot. Personally I don’t think it’s a very nice placement, because no one bothers taking it in game – on the other hand the usage is quite limited to getting other powerups, since the walls are mostly to thick for effective gun9-use, and otherwise the areas are too open to make other weapons than seekers, RFs, bouncers and possible pepper spray useful.
Other ammo: “there r many shooters i like that”. There is a suifficent amount of amunition pickups, simply.
Some people have said that this level is biased to the blue team, because moving to their base is so much quicker. However there are quick routes to the blue base, there is no such biasedness. Firstly, there are fast routes to the red base aswell, for example the sucker tubes – and secondly, teams have to move in both directions anyway. What is most awesome about the level is the speed, and the tricks. You can move very quickly in most areas, and once you’ve learned the level there are always so many options – most of them good in certain situations. For example there are no less than three routes away from the carrot, effectively taking you in any direction you want to go. One way not as easy to realize away from there is through the springs above you, using ice (you can see those on the picture above). I can’t be bothered to write more about those, just take a good five minutes and explore the level before playing a serious game, and you’ll do just fun – hopefully having atleast half as fun as I do when playing here.
This level is in essence awesome. I love it. It truly catches the true spirit of jazz2 – speed and a big gun. (The big gun being the plentitude of powerful weaponry). The only thing I can think of that would make it not be a 10, is that it doesn’t look so good on low detail. It might seem a bit unfair to an artist like Rag, but I am not always all too nice – so he only gets a 9.9 for this level. Oh, and the music suits the level too, but who cares?
Very Stupid Floating Castle
The second level of the pack, is one that I am not at all as familiar with. I did however play some really nice games here during the latest months, and found it to be nearly as awesome as TCS.
This level looks a bit better than TCS, in my opinion – but that’s probably just because I’m not as used to the level. In any case, it’s more than enough eye candy to satisfy my needs.
I am glad to say that the level looks just as awesome on low detail :D.
This level is symmetrical, which no doubt makes it balanced. Another out-of-game upside of that fact is that it saves me time when reviewing. The base areas are really nice, because they’re campable, but the camping can be countered. It appears to me that Saba put down some thought when designing them. The bases can be attacked from three directions – up, down and side. All of the ways are no doubt useful. Especially the lowest one, which is quite fast but with some luck allows you to snatch the seek power up on your way. When making the actual assault, however, I do prefer the side way – and just burst in with RFs and bouncers. Each base has close access to a good power up each (RF/bouncer), which of course comes in handy both when Aing and RTSing.
There is only one carrot in the level – and that’s truly a good thing. Because in conjunction with the presence of all the three strongest powerups, this makes the level’s gamplay fast-paced and fun (same as I said before – speed and a big gun). The carrot is naturally placed int he excact middle between the two bases, and can be reached either from the sides or with RF-climbing (might be hard for jazz, but Spaz-bias makes levels more fun anyway:D).
As I mentioned the powerups are bouncer, seeker and RF, and I like this for reasons stated already. Well the seeker is at bottom middle (way down under the carrot) – but I’ve pretty accidentally much emptied this subject already in previous paragraphs, so I’ll just move on.
There are two main routes you can move between, as I see it. A top one, and a middle/bottom one. The bottom one is quite straightforward, but the top/bottom one is divided into three parts or something like that. I’ll just show you with a picture.
Overall, this is a solidly made level. Fun to play, well balanced and quite tactical – however, I don’t think I will keep liking it this much as long as I have with TCS, so it’s not worthy of more than a 9.
Of course with a downlioad recummandation
A couple of older but very neat levels by Ragnarok, nice to see them being uploaded finally.
‘Technodus Cargo Station’ has a layout that radically differs from the usual symmethric or semi-symmethric layouts that levels nowadays use, or somehow it just doesn’t feel like them at all. The author had thought widely about what could everything go like in here, yet it’s all as balanced as possible.
And there’s actually a few minor original things put into the level, for example the frozable ceiling springs. The author took a good care about the overall flow along the layout, and it all just clicks. All the tubes(except the one in very right maybe) and warps are as well very, very useful. There is just barely anything left to be improved in this scene.
The level gives a really amazing lookout, that makes the level actually so interesting to be played also. The eyecandy is nearly the best you could reach with this tileset. The background differs from usual a little by having a diagonal layer-speed, which looks nice. The ambient lightning fits quite perfectly, though it could actually highlight the rather unnoticable animated pulse-lights going on the background ‘X’-tiles. In fact the solid wall has some weird randomness too.
As I mentioned earlier about the ceiling-springs, this is a level that for once has some use for the freezers. It was probably a better idea to limit their amount anyway to a certain box, than spread over the level. Except there’s a few hidden loose-freezers to be “shot down.” The other loose-ammo is still mostly fine, but some groups could be improved slightly. For example I don’t like a flock of 2x bouncer and 2x pepperspray. However, the situation and choice of PUs was great. Seeker-PU that is a more powerful one has a more outlying position, to be shot with electroblaster, while Bouncer-PU is above blue base, which you will likely buttstomp because of the entrance. However, most of ammo could have a longer respawn time, which is 10 at the moment. I didn’t actually notice this earlier.
The level might not immediately feel as good as it is(for me didn’t at least), but because the level is easy to be learned also, after for example a few matches it is really enjoyable. It is an underrated one after all, but that could be because it was yet now uploaded in it’s improved form, and used to be semi-public around 2005. It just looks so “professional-made.” Even the music fits, although it could be something different because it has been used several times already. In my opinion ‘Technodus Cargo Station’ is worth around 8.7 even, which is just ultimately high. Note the level is already around two years old(at least the original non-improved version.) Well done Rag.
‘Very Stupid Floating Castle’ is a symmethric level of some larger size, which we don’t have too many so that is just good. Anyway, what makes this not so good compared to ‘Technodus Cargo Station’ for instance, is the linearity that is probably noticed as first things in the level. Bases are at the very edges on middle-level of course, and that doesn’t really help it. However the bottom-level with just simple warps in pits, that take you to the current side’s bottom-edge are a nice add to the level. Pos. 131,51 is a very safe and annoying camp-spot(that I used in a match to hide, same on other side btw), and should be removed, even if the author meant them just for text signs. The level is quite easy to learn, but some players may have problems moving on the bottom-level at the first times maybe.
The level has a little empty/simple background, but it is full-visible only in the bottom-level. The other eyecandy, especially solid wall looks good, while something special could be still added, because this tileset is less limited. Eyecandy in overall is in fact kind of standard to what most people do with this tileset.
It probably fits to have some larger ammo-groups in a level of this size. The respawn-time could be still stretched by 5 at least. Carrot is placed rather unoriginally, to the top-middle, and it can be actually shot down all way to the bottom. What comes to the PowerUps, they are just fine.
As well the level could have some springs removed/replaced, though I’m not meaning exactly overuse of them. This is after all a decent big level that could be useful in a possible future JDC-event, but it could have been uploaded way earlier for previous season events definitely, if it’s old too. ‘Very Stupid Floating Castle’, grabs my attention once more, and I’m deciding to give it an 8 in overall.
I recommend both for hosting at times, and the first one a little more in fact. They aren’t useless at all. I’ve decided 8.5 could fit as a final rating for the pair. Also I would like Rag to create some more as good, or why not even better levels in future. And I hope I didn’t miss anything important while carefully reviewing this. Do download this!
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.