RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
21 Jan 2013, 16:32
For: Episodic Ground Force Pack Episode 3
Level rating: 8.1
Rating
9.2

A high quality level pack of GF-levels for many, but not too many players at once. My favourite one being ‘Darkness.’ What’s yours? Go and share the fun with your friends!

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
28 Jul 2012, 13:36
For: Queen of Board
Level rating: 9.5
Rating
9.0

This is a tribute level to the legendary QoB, which is just as frustrating as the original piece, but instead of being a huge maze, it has been made hard with the gameplay difficulty. For example puzzling boss fights, challenging races against the clock, fatal canyons, and much more. Eyecandy is average, but pays tribute to the original level.

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
6 Apr 2012, 13:44
For: Resurrection of Evil Episode 2: Spear of Darkness
Level rating: 8.2
Rating
8.4

Overall a decent episode. The storyline was nicely unconventional and interesting, sequel from the previous episode of course. The episode ended in a bit weird way for me, but it’s alright I guess. Graphical side is top-notch in this one, very professionally done. Hard mode was still too easy for me though. Looking forward for the 3rd part. GJ!

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
4 Apr 2012, 12:53 (edited 4 Apr 12, 12:55)
For: New Ages V
Level rating: 9.6
Rating
9.7

Well what can I say…

This is a pack with everything for everyone, and everything in top quality. There are levels like ‘Firebreather’, and ‘Minimal Duel’ for the duelist people, yet there is also the +16 player-suited map ‘Medium’. My personal favourite is Sodan Valtakunta, what’s yours? Download and enjoy!

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
1 Apr 2012, 23:00
For: Total Annihilation I: Massive Destruction
Level rating: 8.6
Rating
8.7

Download this if you want to play big and high-quality levels. Not especially suited for duels. Bring in your friends!

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
17 Oct 2011, 18:55
For: OLC Jazz1 CTF Pack 2: Electric Boogaloo
Level rating: 8.7
Rating
8.9

Here are a couple of levels that I haven’t seen being played at all since a month of their release, despite their good quality. No wonder though, since they haven’t yet been added to any of the Zeal Servers’ levellists. Another one of the levels, ‘Escape from Precint 83’, is actually familiar to me from a JDC event which was much before the release date though.

‘Big Apple Beatdown’ however, is a brand new level to me, thus I’m looking forward to play games there. A level called ‘WHANTIL’, is probably the most popular level known using this same tileset. Comparing to that level, ‘BAB’ is similarly layered into floors, although more diversely. I can suppose most of the action in games here is drawn to the indoor corridors above the bases, which are on the bottom of the floor, being easy to attack to, and hard to defend. Sounds fun, but is it?

I assure a level of this size can fit no less than a minimum of 8 players at once. A few bad things about the level are the few quite campy spots in the level, such as the full NRG carrot, or the Seeker PowerUp. However in a JDC Main Event for instance, such cons would be minimal, if existant at all. The level flow seems to work well with wise placement of springs and stuff, yet it’s not overdone. I like how advanced players are able to use RF-shortcuts,(or walljump cough) which add to the gameplay-depth of the level even more.

I generally have no complaints about the level’s visuality. Nothing distracts the eye, and yet the level’s atmosphere is appropriate in an original way to the industrial theme. Also the pickups seem to fit in well, although I would have personally made the more powerful powerups harder to reach/hog. The shootable carrots-concept seems cool enough as well.

As I’ve experienced before, ‘Escape from Precint 83’ is for now the only decent airborne-combat level I know, which is entirely based on all players being forced to fly. You could consider levels such as ‘Medieval Skycrapers’ or ‘SILWI’ to be mostly based on air warfare, but still in those levels the flycarrots are to be obtained first invidually by players and the most important combat still happens without the flycarrots. ‘EfP83’ however, is all about your flying-skills, and there truly is space to use them.

Considering the overall level size, and the tactical layout, where bases are well separated from each other, I wouldn’t personally try a game smaller than 6vs6 here. If there happened to be a stop during the game with nomovement on, some players could fall a long way unexpectedly from their original position, which could lead to tactical disadvantages for certain players. However it is only a minor problem anyway, since massive games such as JDC events wouldn’t get stopped for a single players’ connection problems for instance.

The amount of ammo(and food as well) is massive, made to suite the big number of players. There could be more carrots though, alike in ‘BAB.’ The tileset used isn’t exactly my favourite one, but it’s bearable. The background is faded and thus can’t confuse the player, yet it adds to the level atmosphere. Overall the level is creatively designed, with innovative airborne gameplay.

This level pack=“electronic style”, as KeeS himself would say. After all it’s clear people prefer smaller games recently, thus most big-to-huge levels are only played in JDC Events and such. However both definitely deserve to get added into both Zeal Alpha, and Duels’ levellists asap. Download recommended.

Applause to OLC & friends.

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
21 Jun 2011, 16:09
For: The Pit
Level rating: 8.3
Rating
8.4

Definitely a good concept-level. I actually had something similar in mind, but gj anyway cel!

This level is most convenient with lots of players indeed. Download and try!

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
23 May 2011, 19:22 (edited 23 May 11, 19:32)
For: Atlantis' Cathedral
Level rating: 8.4
Rating
8.4

Here is a good example of how well a weird as hell tileset-edit can inspire quick creation of a decent multiplayer-level. No other decent levels have been made(or at least uploaded) with this tileset so far, so obviously any theme that differs even a little from the tileset’s example level can be considered more or less original. But enough about the tileset.

Atlantis Cathedral doesn’t really show anything utterly exceptional from the original tileset theme. The water element is here as well, yet it’s more rich than for instance in the tileset’s example level. The level has a low water level, but the theme is boosted visually with a background fog. The level generally looks neat and pleasant, and not to forget all the tileset’s “weird” scenery added to the mix which gives surreality. Also, what I really like about this level, is the music-choice. In my opinion, the ancient ‘Cracking Ice’-track fits better here than in any other level done in the past (yes, even better than in Tomb Rabbit.)

Behind the cool graphics lies also a great battlefield. The level isn’t really big in absolute size, which means it could suit duels, but I’d rather recommend it for 2vs2 or 3vs3 TB. This is because the level gameplay isn’t really tactical enough. The layout basically consists of 4 height-levels, and thus only 2 players wouldn’t meet likely enough. I haven’t yet got to test this in practise, so I would like someone else to give it a try and comment back to me (I’d appreciate it.)

There are a few warps and tubes in the level to help maneuvering/retreating/chasing, but they aren’t really decisive when it comes to the duel performance, and not to forget there are 3 minor carrots total spread well enough around the level. As I said, the level layout should work well for team games. However the flow itself isn’t perfect. You may sometimes bump into random particles and some of the slopes have bad masking. Luckily it’s not a massive problem.

Considering Loon’s little JCS experience, he has really outdone himself here. This is indeed Loon’s best work so far. Download this one!

SJ

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
3 Apr 2011, 17:27 (edited 4 Apr 11, 19:13)
For: Pit of Necrosis
Level rating: 8.5
Rating
8.5

While this level isn’t very noob-friendly, it surely gives you a lot of tactical advantage over others once you learn the level properly yourself. What is it about?

It’s about knowing how to maneuver with your character here. The level is fairly big technically, (depends on how you consider medium to be) but it’s also pretty solid, so it might not feel that big while you’re playing. In that sense, learning how to move shouldn’t take very long, but of course there is much variety in the flow, so you need some memorizing. Also considering that there are only 4 springs in a level of this size, it means that you need better control over your character to be able to move well. Some modern levels tend to have springs or float-ups put everywhere around the level, (even unnecessary places) so you don’t need to jump at all, basically, which is a bad thing. Here, however you need to use jump to reach certain spots or areas from a certain point.

The level uses a modified tileset with a Grey’ish palette which creates a deadly atmosphere. The same thing has been done before, but it’s nice to have another one in a new environment every once in a while(for example see The Death Facility by P4ul/Booshi.) But also the level has very surrealistic graphics in an innovative way that makes it look less dull.

There are a few dead ends at the top part of the level. You could get trapped there in case you lack bouncer ammo. At the same time, you may camp against your opponents pretty well in them, but since the gamemode is battle, they aren’t such a big matter.

The level contains 5 power ups and 3 carrots if I counted right, which is fair enough for this level. One of the power ups(the most powerful one – Seeker, of course) is pretty hard to reach and notice in general. It is a nice concept, but I think the power up could be more visible or there should be at least a hint of it’s existence there. For the rest things are placed and executed well.

This is a fun, and high quality level by PurpleJazz, that is definitely worth a download and a lot of games. This level should work well with 1vs1 games, but the more, the merrier. Also props for the hidden messages.

EDIT: Thanks for the update. The power up should be fine now.

SJ

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
12 Dec 2010, 23:15 (edited 12 Dec 10, 23:56)
For: Scars of Chaos 2: War Torn Existence
Level rating: 9.6
Rating
9.3

This pack was surely made with patience as most of the levels in it have been there with us for years already. The oldest ones are from 2004, not sure which one is the oldest one but my bet is the ‘Grass Hill Citadel.’

The levels generally have a very high-quality eyecandy, although the oldest ones could also have a little more of it. Still, even if some levels aren’t as perfect visually, the gameplay and design is innovative and unique in each of the 10 levels. Yes, in each.

I can’t really find a level that I would hate inside this pack, although I find ‘Grass Hill Citadel’ the least awesome for my tastes. However, the pack also contains the massive ‘Apocalyptic End’, which is by far my favourite level in this pack, but it is also my favourite all-time battle level.

‘Apocalyptic End’ pretty much describes the level theme. It is a very complex level where you gain your strength progressively with fly-carrots involved. Fun fact is that the “level stats” are also progressive. The fly-carrots aren’t only a fun side-gimmick. Instead they are the main thing about this level, as they determine which areas/passages/pickups you can or can’t reach.

‘Action Attic v2’ is radically different from it’s precursor, basing it’s gameplay partly on pits, and wide roads and rooms.

‘Dethroned’ is the biggest level of the pack, and is influenced by Epic’s Battle3. While being the biggest level, it’s also the most complex one, giving enough room for even 32 players.

We all know ‘E.Prime’ kind of, don’t we? After those dozens of times it was played in JDC Events, the level should be familiar to almost everyone. But wait, it’s not actually the very identical E.Prime we know. A small change has been made. All the seeker ammo seems to have gotten replaced with RF-missile ammo. Also the Power-Up has been replaced with another RF Power-Up with a much slower respawn(there are now 2 of them.) While the opinion on this change is going to vary, I personally don’t mind it, since it surely reduces the amount of airhits in this level.

‘First Strike’ is a castle-level with a much more narrower gameplay compared to the other levels in the pack. Still the gameplay isn’t too platformy, and the level atmosphere is great.

‘Grass Hill Citadel’ is probably the oldest level in the pack, as I already said, and thus it also has the least innovative gameplay. But still, it is worth a try. The level is open, but not gigantic so even a duel could work in it perhaps.

‘Intercity Grudge Match’ has a unique pit-concept with a secret crate. There are many dangerous corridors and several more or less useful tubes.

In ‘Quick Death Valley’ you have to be quick or be dead literally. Someone could call this level “RF spamfest” but for me it’s a fun and action-packed skirmish level. The only ammo type you’ll find from this level is RF, yes. There is lots of space to shoot with your RF-missiles, but there is also a clear and easy-to-learn layout.

‘15 Second Rush’ is based upon a coin-concept. This level is probably a more unknown one to some players as it hasn’t been played much in JDC events and such. I have seen it a little in some public battle servers though. With a total of 50 coins, you can buy yourself a total of 15 seconds of time to rush on your opponents with a “nice godmode.”

The smallest level in the pack is ‘starlight falls II’, with a more simplistic but still interesting design. It used to be a popular duel level, ‘cause it was in a duel tournament mappool. Well, popular for a battle level. But also this level has changed in terms of pickups. The Seeker Power-Up was substituted with a Toaster one.

I know this level pack is worthy enough for an even more detailed review, but I wish not to reveal too much of it all myself. I rather wish you to find it out more by yourself. But I promise even if you haven’t seen even a few of the levels yet, you won’t be disappointed. BlurredD has put all the effort he got during all these years. Finally, the levels are in public. Download this, right now!

P.S. Awesome name for the pack by the way. SC2 now stands for two things to me. This pack, and StarCraft 2. ;)

SJ

Not recommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
24 Oct 2010, 02:38
For: MULCH
Level rating: 7.0
Rating
2.0

I had to review this ages ago, but finally:

This level is complete anti-entertainment for me. Even if the tileset is limited, one isn’t forced to make 90% linear gameplay. Also I don’t see anything original here. The random class-feature has been used before and it just makes the level pure lottery. Download other stuff by Birdie, not this.

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
19 Oct 2010, 15:17 (edited 4 Apr 11, 19:17)
For: ISLAND LEVEL WITH ISLANDS
Level rating: 8.8
Rating
8.4

It has been a while since Evilmike’s previous big, yet brilliant CTF level called Helldome. That level grew in popularity incredibly fast, although it also faded off after time(it mainly remained a popular JDC Event level still.) I could expect this level to grow popular as well, especially in events and such. It isn’t as gimmicky as a level like Helldome, but it has a greater gameplay in overall, however there are a few things that I would have hoped to be executed better or in a different way(my bad I wasn’t in the betatest server often enough.) I figured most of the levels myself when I tried the level in a 3vs3 game. So what is this level about?

This level is designed for big CTF games due to it’s rather big size and open areas, and symmetry of course. A duel here wouldn’t obviously work. The level structure is fairly easy to learn, even if the flow takes a little while to get used to. The level consists of 7 ‘islands’(4 greater and 3 minor) where the action is on all around equally. While the island theme isn’t anything really original as similar themes have been done before, this level still has it’s own way of executing it. The islands are divided by shallow water and empty space, which of course give this level a bit of the so called ‘Distopia-syndrome’ that some level creators like to call it. While some players may find it bad here, I don’t consider it a big matter. I seriously would enjoy the open space here much more than in Distopia(another level by Evilmike), simply because the space adds the battlefield feeling, in good and bad. The space is important considering the level theme. Who would consider this an island level if everything was packed tight under 100×100 width/height for example? Then again, when the players attack, most of them probably can’t bypass the middle tier without dying or getting hit at least in large games. The middle will cause the most airhits for everyone if there happens to be any lag.

So, what do I really like about this level? The tactical side is very welcome to me, although it can get possibly too tactical at some points even. The basements have a design so that the bases are very easy to defend. One could expect a lot of camping in this level and especially the basements. The base can be defended succesfully from the enemy with Powered Up bouncers by 2 players, because there are exactly two narrow base entrances(and the another one even requires Spaz-character and RF-skills.) Yeah, that way an attacking player has no chance to capture without taking hit, which is bad. But the general level design and layout is fascinating indeed, although it’s still nothing amazingly original. There are also a few warps, that take time to get used to. But once you master the warps, you notice that they are more than handy. Another couple of warps take you from the middle level to the bottom, which also give you access to the team’s unique Power Up. The other couple give you an easier access to the Full Carrots at the top level. The Full Carrot-platforms are also the alternate access to basements, but like I said, not everyone can use them. But yes, one side that makes this a tactical level are the tricks that you can perform here with RF(and with TNT as well by the way.) Although you can run from base to base without pressing jump once, there are still spots that require your own movement. The level gives both Jazz/Lori and Spaz their own unique advantages in the level, although it just feels a bit brutal that Jazz/Lori are limited to one base entrance. But in maneuvering the flow is friendly for all characters generally(well Lori is unable to do almost any tricks but is still playable.)

The most important weapon here is RF of course, but Bouncer gives much advantage as well, and because of this I see a slight imbalance between the teams, since it’s the unique PU for the blue team. All the weapons except PepperSpray are useful here for sure, which could have been replaced with ElectroBlasters, which could fit in much better because the level already contains RF and since there are quite a few thin walls. EBs would also be great to prevent some of the base camping, I suppose. The two movable Full Carrots close to the bases seem to fit in. At least I wouldn’t personally prefer lots of minor carrots all around the level.

The level looks just fine to my eyes. Pleasant and calm atmosphere, with a funky JJ1-tune as the background music. However the eyecandy is nothing special nor original. Deja vu, although who could do wonders with this limited tileset except Snooze?

But there are some flaws or things I would have hoped to be done differently like I said at first. I also have to point out a few interesting things, and well:

I. Like I mentioned earlier, the basements have only 2 entrances, yet there is empty space at the level edges, which I consider to be a bit weird. I wish there was a third alternate way to reach the base. For example a copter at the bottom corners so you have one more direction to attack the base from? The more, the better.

II. Is there any real benefit from the trigger doors? I myself tried to rush a score with and without the trigger door, and yet I clocked the same time(12 seconds in JJ2+ timer.) In my opinion would be best if they didn’t exist at all.

III. I would consider a Water Shield to be more appropriate than a Lightning shield, if I look at the level theme. A Water Shield would also be more powerful thanks to the bouncing projectiles. This isn’t a major issue, but what another aspect I found, is that there seemed to be some weird bug(or lag problem possibly?) with a player in that 3vs3 that hasn’t occurred to me earlier. A player who I wish not to name at the moment took the shield, and had it for an exceptionally long time in my and other clients’ screens. We could not damage him, yet in his own screen he wouldn’t have the shield himself, as he said. We even saw him using blaster with the shield, which proves it. I forgot to take a screen of this, but I hope I explained it well. Also interesting is, that a TNT self-explodes on a shield, which makes it easier to hog the shield with TNT-ammo.

IV. The bases and rooftops are ridiculously easy to camp with full ammunition, and if the game size is only 3vs3 or less, a camping player can’t be probably stopped. So because of this an 8vs8 is already better.

V. The bottom corners are sort of redundant the way they are. Dead ends, even if not big ones. Good for hiding in LRS, and surely they contribute to the island-feeling of the level, but I just consider them useless.

Heck, this level could be my personal favourite from Evilmike, if my wishes were fulfilled. I dare to say I like the level design even more than Dawn of Combat for instance, due to how much freedom and choice I have here, except for the bases. I might perhaps change my point of view and the rating later when I get to play this level more, and of course if something gets edited/fixed/improved. So it’s still a good job Evilmike!

EDIT: I like this level more by now, so I decided it deserved a higher grade from me. +0.3

SJ

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
16 Jan 2010, 16:51 (edited 17 Jan 10, 10:25)
For: Dreamscape
Level rating: 9.2
Rating
9.2

Actually I think I kinda promised to review this once it would be uploaded, after I had just betatested it. So here goes.

As you probably know already, this is a single-player level pack, that can’t be called an episode literally, since it is more like a medley of different levels that aren’t properly in connection between each other. So basically, the pack has got an ending, and doesn’t have any unfinished levels, but the author intended to make this a full-length episode in the first place. It however turned out as a shorter medley of different levels like I said, since the author quite retired. If you have played Jazz Unleashed Demo by BlurredD, you know this is a similar case.

The “episode” here however, is quite the best piece of work in a while after Episode 5: The Fortress of Ruin. This isn’t of course even nearly as hard, as Episode 5, but it’s certain that the difficulty might not be suitable for everyone either. There is no clear storyline on here, since the thing is still unfinished, but apparently there was a bit of an idea about the plot. If I’ve got it right, you play as a character, who goes to ‘City Centre’ to buy some drugs. For the rest of the pack, you’re sort of hallucinating/dreaming and play in that state. This will result in facing a lot of surreal/weird scenery and things through the pack.

There really is a lot of atmosphere put in the levels, which makes this pack really enjoyable and interesting. The graphics-quality is very high, meaning things will more or less look realistic and you can always see some more scenery than in any average single-player episode. That doesn’t mean it would ever be too confusing, although in some levels the graphics are there to add difficulty. There’s also some very atmospherical music, that “drains” you into the level, and keeps you interested in adventuring through it. For example hear void.it used on ‘The Pride’, which creates a perfect creepy and mysterious atmosphere, that fits the theme.

Gameplay is no worse either, although there are no big gimmicks or super original ideas in it. However you are going to face some things that you probably haven’t before. There are overall 5 bigger levels, with a few cutscenes and bonus-levels. Each level does have at least some unique things, smaller or bigger, such as themes/scenery/puzzles/quests/secret areas. Because the levels are mainly as large as they are, you are able to explore and adventure around a lot, which already raises the replay-value of this pack. Just saying, that the gameplay isn’t only about tunnel-running or linear platform-jumping. To reach your goal in the level, you often need to search for something, and that way it may get a bit frustrating at times. There however are hints on your way, so you just need to look around carefully. I won’t be revealing more here, but just reminding you that this pack has no practically impossible levels. If you want true challenge, try playing on Hard mode like I did. It really has much difference compared to Easy/Medium.

Myself I liked this episode a lot. Definitely should get the featured download of the month-award. The fact that the pack was made for TSF, and that it might be unplayable with Lori, are no excuse from preventing it. To be honest, there aren’t a lot of other as high quality TSF works as this. I truly recommend that you at least try this out, since it is worth playing, although it is unfinished. It is also a very inspirational piece of work. Some people say they prefer ‘Phantasmagoria’ as their own favourite level of this pack, and so it might be in overall. However, my personal favourite theming here is ‘The Pride.’ What’s yours? Go download and play!

SJ

Quick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
22 Dec 2009, 19:12
For: Terrorist Night
Level rating: 6.4
Rating
5.0

You might wanna try this, but you might as well not. This is a small CTF-level that is ok for a first level, but it pretty much isn’t more than that. It might be fun for a try, but this level should offer something special to be this small, and also more visuality, although there are no horrible tilebugs or such. Also the warps are confusing.

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
21 Dec 2009, 17:20 (edited 21 Dec 09, 18:43)
For: Voltage Cable Malfunction
Level rating: 8.7
Rating
8.3

I pretty much agree with CelL here. I have to admit that this ctf-level is not only polished well visually, but also the level’s gameplay is much more practically working from FawFuL this time. So well done.

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
6 Dec 2009, 20:27 (edited 11 Dec 09, 16:16)
For: The Canyon
Level rating: 8.6
Rating
8.1

No, these quick reviewers above didn’t overrate this level, not by a lot at least. This level isn’t just any other CTF out there. As new author as Dodges is in the public, one cannot expect this high quality from him. Actually this is Dodges’ 3rd upload so far, and definitely much better(and BIGGER) than his previous works.

The level uses ‘Casualty Mines’ as the tileset, which has a bit similar looks like Gus’ another set ‘Pokljuka Heights,’ that Dodges’ used previously. The tileset is so handy, that a level creator doesn’t need to use transparent black tiles or something else to make the background more distant, so that it doesn’t blend with the sprite layer. The tileset simply offers background tiles with a suitable contrast.

Basically, the author succeeded somewhat splendidly on creating the right atmosphere for this level. The tileset is used nearly to the maximum. The author used even some MCE/SCE’s and pickups like Food to also make the level feel more “alive”, although they aren’t really that well visible. The level is after all really inspiring, due to the amount of details it has in the background and especially sprite layer decoration. And of course, the calm music makes the atmosphere feel complete, although it might get a bit boring after listening to it for a longer while.

The level may look absolutely weird in low detail, so I definitely recommend playing it on high detail only, since it was designed only that in mind.

The author didn’t leave the gameplay any less unimportant here. The level is after all quite solid, and doesn’t have that much of small platforms. The level size is large though. I wouldn’t play smaller games than 4vs4 here I guess. The level is bordered with walls in a way, that the layout feels like a horizontal oval with a “canyon.” The level is symmetric and has a lot of height in it indeed. There are secret tunnels and tubes here and there. The amount of tactical movement combinations you may use while playing is just mind-blowing. The flow is excellent, and I haven’t yet found anything that would be overdone in it, eventhough there are so many of those ‘ladders’ that either boost your movement or work as elevators.

A level simply can’t get more balanced than this is. There are four minor carrots, which fits considering the size of the level. Two of them are floating in the center of the level next to each other, which can be considered as the same as full energy with the default health, although it theoretically isn’t. If the middle feels too dangerous, no worry, you may also heal yourself below your own basement. I guess the Bouncer/RF/Pepper Power Ups are the right choices for this level, as are the rest of ammo-types. I still haven’t figured the real purpose of TNT though. But I suppose it can still be useful in games here, when it’s damage is turned on.

IMPORTANT FOR THE AUTHOR: I found that often when I tried to enter the top warps with a certain timing(with the SCE-event animation I think) the game crashed. I suggest that you remove those SCEs and figure some other way to make the warps visible for everyone. I’m not decreasing the rating because of this, but I wouldn’t try to play a competitive game here before it’s fixed. Just do that asap, and I’ll be thankful.

So, ‘The Canyon’ is indeed some special stuff. It is easy to learn, but hard to master as good levels often tend to be, right? Definitely a great level for JDC events and Bash 12. Would be my favourite nominee for Download of the Month, but since Memories 3 was uploaded, I guess not. Nevertheless I suggest to re-download this level as soon as the bug I mentioned above has been fixed, and play it. Although there is no big gimmick or anything very original put into this level, I can’t still deny that it amazes me with the way of being just “really good.” It doesn’t at least directly remind me of any other CTF-level right now, so it must have some of it’s own style. For the effort, an 8.6 should do fine. Well done Dodges!

EDIT: After all, I noticed that I rated on this level biasedly, probably because Dodges is a new creator. 8.6 seemed too high, since I rated some levels/packs lower, that I however liked better generally, and so it just didn’t make sense. However, this is still a very decent level, and it’s going to stay as worthy for me as it was before.

Also, thanks for fixing the warps. The crashing was after all quite rare, but it still happened to me, don’t know why.

SJ

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
16 Nov 2009, 22:08 (edited 16 Nov 09, 22:15)
For: New Ages IV - THE RAIN
Level rating: 9.1
Rating
8.8

New Ages III was uploaded some time ago, last spring if I remember right. The waiting time has been long since from what we know Snooze from, is the small amount of time which he requires to create a level. I have to admit this level pack came a bit out of the bushes, as it first looked like Snooze was creating and uploading single levels until the last month or so. So even this pack came out with a quick progress, and the quality is even better than the previous New Ages-packs.

These levels draw you into themselves with their original and interesting atmospheres and looks. No level does really feel boring to play because the atmosphere and eyecandy, eventhough some levels just might feel a bit emptier because they are such ‘outdoor’ levels. The author took the effort to create you entertaining environments with pretty limited sets, and that is something that has been accomplished here well. As an example take the ‘Hornet Hive’ (naivbtl05) that uses Woodlands set by Blade. Basically I don’t have anything to complain about in the eyecandy, although it might not be superior in every level.

The gameplay in this pack is quite high-quality as well. The pack includes the earlier uploaded singles which are; ‘The Curse’ and ‘Steam Machine + Landscape.’ Most levels have a simple layout and design, and that way the levels aren’t hard to navigate and are easy to learn. The level sizes and spaces are also variable. The levels are that way quite versatile, as they can fit duels, while also some bigger games. No level here is giant though, so I recommend not to play anything bigger than 4vs4 though.

There are a few exceptions though. While ‘DDRR’ is a nice castle-themed and medium-big sized battle level, the gameplay reminds me about Blade’s old Battle-levels, especially since the tileset used is by Blade himself. The design is just a bit too random, and the level contains too much of holes, easy camp-spots/dead ends. Some levels including this, don’t have that smooth flow either. although I really like when the level requires jumping and isn’t filled with springs, this just feels too much like those Sandstrand ‘O Hazes-levels too. Played a 3vs3 TB here and that proved my thoughts quite right.

‘Neufrlagar’ uses Agama’s Egypt, and while the level looks neat and feels like another decent duel/2vs2 map, it also feels that some areas are just empty and don’t have a real purpose or use. I’m sorry I couldn’t have mentioned this earlier, because I always saw this level as unfinished only and wasn’t sure about the progress. However, this is neither nothing too serious, but it drops the fun-factor a bit.

What I find fun is how the levels also have secret passages and things or tricks you might not find out the first time you play. This is something what the newer level-makers don’t usually do. After all these are like ‘Dream’-levels that can contain anything and be very unrealistic, though sometimes things are just overdone a bit. Personally I also feel that some levels like ‘DDRR’ and ‘The Curse’ don’t have the very perfect music choices, but who am I to tell that alone.

So, 5 battles, 4 CTF’s. A bunch of levels to try and play, huh? Myself I prefer the CTF-levels, since I am for now a bit more familiar with them and they fit the best for duels. This is definitely download of the month so far, and most levels are bash-quality. Well done Snooze! Download!

SJ

RecommendedQuick Review by Superjazz

Posted:
2 Nov 2009, 20:37 (edited 7 Nov 09, 18:17)
For: Planetary
Level rating: 8.5
Rating
8.3

After playing these levels for a longer while, I’ve realized that they need a little time to get used into. I noticed that I underrated this pack a bit, since lots of effort was put into this pack and the eyecandy is far above the average, except for a few levels. Still there are some levels that could have used some better design etc. But GJ Faw!

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
2 Nov 2009, 18:49 (edited 2 Nov 09, 18:54)
For: Double Trouble
Level rating: 8.0
Rating
8.1

Eigus is back it seems, at least in the JCS-side of the game. Seeing how much he has changed in level design, made me glad, even surprised me a little bit. These two battle levels are truly a big improvement considering his past uploads. Let me introduce each level to you a bit.

Deinspirated Mayhem is a small-medium sized electro station level using IC’s Tubelec Night-set. The level design is so different from all the new battle levels people have posted. It is sort of oldschool design in the way that the level isn’t extremely spacious, but solid and does not contain “random platforms.” I remember somebody else fairly new but inactive player/creator to have a similar level design, and Eigus has found the same way sorta. At least the gameplay in Wrath’s Virtues was very similar to this one which was just neat.

However, there are some bad sides in the level as well. Firstly, the flow isn’t very wise everywhere. The author didn’t use layer 3 when he should have, since some spots where the floor height changes by only one-few tiles, there is no slope, but useless springs or nothing. As well, more one way should have been used(especially the ledge above the blue springs.)

The eyecandy, although somewhat decent, leaves more to be desired. The floor doesn’t use the edge-tiles at all, but has just the middle-tiles at the edges always, which looks a bit irritating. Although the sprite layer has a bit of activity as in the form of the animated tubelec-lights, the atmosphere is just too calm and “dead” compared to the music especially. Basically the tileset just offers much more than this. Also the more oldschool design comes with some annoying camp spots. I suggest not to duel here. Rather you should try this in a 3vs3 TB for instance, also due to the amount of carrots (3 minor ones.)

Underworld, although way smaller than the other level, is my preferred one here. I haven’t yet seen Xargon used for this kind of a theme. The level has a vertical gameplay, far better flow, and that way plays much faster and better for duels than the other one. Also the level visuality and audio match better here. The atmosphere is dismal, mystic, and well…Underworld’ish. I have no real complaints about the eyecandy here, it is decent enough. Although the level has much more heighth than width, there are only two springs. You have to rely on your jumping-skills more, or use the warp in the bottom that takes you back to your spawn position (no, there are no pits, as you may have thought. The other level has them.) That shouldn’t be a problem here, since there are no annoying heighth changes and the level is easy to move in generally.

Duels here should be interesting indeed, since there is only one major Power Up. That is TOASTer right in the so-called center of the level. What you basically have to do is to keep it yourself. But don’t worry. In case you lose your health and ammo, you can run away and heal yourself easily if you have a better endurance than your opponent. There are 3 minor carrots, as were in the another level as well. That weakens the effect of the Power Up practically. There is also an Electro Blaster Power Up, but as you know, that weapon does always the same damage, so don’t bother trying to roast your opponent with it in the first place. I’m not very sure, since I haven’t yet tried out myself, but I think a game with 3 other people might work out here just as well as duels would. I definitely don’t suggest to play this level with a big party. It can get quite crowded and chaotic.

These levels were a nice surprise from the author. The levels are now closer to high-quality levels than before, and they should work out in serious games even. If the author only had put more focus into details and made the levels slightly bigger, these could be a couple of really great levels. I would probably rate Deinspirated Mayhem a bit below 8, and Underworld an exact 8 separately, but since they are together, I think they deserve a bit more. Download and try! Well done Eigus!

SJ

RecommendedReview by Superjazz

Posted:
31 Oct 2009, 14:13 (edited 5 Nov 09, 17:12)
For: Golem Landscapes
Level rating: 8.3
Rating
8.5

This is practically a very versatile CTF-level in a while from FireSworD and OLC. This goes well for duels, but also a 3vs3 which I played here once, went smoothly. What can you expect? No disappointment at least.

The atmosphere is ambient, calm, and tranquil. What you see here is a fairly bleached mass of soil covered with moss just like a stone golem could be. The edges of the level that aren’t parts of the golem look a bit bland though. This Carrotus/Easter-edit fits really well for a concept like this. If it only had those top/bottom edges of background caves fixed, it would be perfect. This level is one of those few ones that generally look better in 8-bit rather than 16-bit colour, at least for me. 8-bit mode makes things look more transparent in a neat way and gives you a more lighter background.

What I find the most exotic about this level is the base placement. Your base is located on one of the golem’s hands, and you should attack the opposite hand. Golem’s solid body however, is there between the hands, as obvious. So, you should find a way to either go round the body, or cut through it. The warp on your hand is one of the possibilities. It takes you below the golem’s body, so that you are able to cut through it’s feet to the opponent’s side. Another option is to cut through the golem’s shoulders. You will need a copter or ice-ammo for this though to get through the ceiling springs. Generally the layout is limiting, and I like it that way. It is not a level with a dozen of small passages and mazes. Instead, you have lots of space to move around, the layout is simple enough to be learned fast, and yet you can still survive in bigger games if you know how.
The bases are kinda easy to defend, as well, you can hold flag ready for a score for a really long time against weak attackers, since you have a minor healing carrot right above your base, thus you can keep healing yourself all the time, as long as you keep getting only minimal damage. The flipper pads work great on the hands, so that you can quickly jump away if needed. If you suddenly get a critical hit, you can also go for the full energy carrot at the bottom-middle of the level, which can be very unsafe though. This was very well thought out.
There is also a half-secret shield, though getting it is really…hard. The idea is practically that you can be lucky and abuse a warp exit while an opponent player is camping the exit with seeker-ammo. If you are lucky, and your opponent is dumb, you may try to abuse the seekers so that they push you up to the shield-room. Reaching the warps themselves is already really hard though, since you require a copter for that, again. What is even harder,(barely possible) is trying to reach the shield-room straight with the copter. I managed with this once so far, but it really requires perfect timing and handling of the copter, as well a double-jump of Spaz. Now the problem with this is, that if you get in there with the flag, is that you can just never come down again and thus freeze the game. While it would make sense only if it was a time-based game where you are having the lead, it is still sort of lame, as really nothing can make you fall down, and no opponent is likely able to enter there. Good idea otherwise, though.

If this was all I had to say about the level, I would rate it really high. However, there are still some bad things as well that are mattering me. Unfortunately I’m not sure is it wise to try to fix them without a major change in gameplay.

One is that there is basically very few ammo. You must gain your ammunition mainly from PowerUps. If you try to charge into opponent base to kill the enemy flagholder without any ammo, you’ll be most likely dead very quick.
Another thing are the dead ends. Luckily they are small and contain PowerUps, so they aren’t just useless areas.
The level is also fairly Spaz-biased. Although who am I to care about that, since I am a Spaz-player?
The cut through the ceiling-springs isn’t after all as useful as it could be, because the warp-shortcuts are a bit too fast.
I’m not very sure if I find Powered up seekers fitting well for a level of this kind. They can cause much airhits in such and open level.

In overall this is a really decent, interesting and enjoyable level for everyone. It just could have been very awesome if it didn’t have those minor flaws in it. The layout is strategic, and you need it to master the level, but also you require much endurance to be faster to reach things before your enemy. I recommend this download for everyone, and hope to see it played in both Bash12 and JDC18 duels/2on2’s/events. Thank you FireSworD.

Edit: Thanks for the fixes. With them this level deserves a bit more.

SJ

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