Review by cooba

Posted:
10 Nov 2011, 23:41 (edited 11 Nov 11, 00:19)
For: Xyzzy
Level rating: 8.2
Rating
7.9

I had some trouble with reviewing this one. Though it’s two years old at this point, I’ve never really played any serious games in it (and I certainly don’t remember testing it, unlike the credits field says?), and every time it appeared in a JDC event, I never lasted more than a couple minutes because an RF would usually explode in my face. But seeing how this does get played every now and then (and nobody complains about it ever!), there’s no reason to assume it’s broken, so I decided to just give this a run in LAN mode and say what I like about this and what I don’t.

While obviously SJ put effort into the visuals, as the tileset’s creator I’m biased here. The eyecandy is largely a mix of organized and unorganized, some places have so much detail that they look busy (especially when exposed to the intricate background) while some have big swathes of gradients or black backgrounds. Some things feel repetitive, and some look rather tacky, like the animated lights, or the dust(?) at the sides.

Also, while WTF is pretty much a “do whatever you want” type of tileset, some things bother me because they were never meant to go together: the green [X] tiles don’t look good when combined with the brown stone tiles! It feels like SJ used the tileset as if was a nature set, which gives a rather strange result. The only thing I can compare this to is Atom Heart 243.5, which is another SJ level which I didn’t find too good looking. Maybe SJ should just keep using nature sets? I definitely prefer SJ’s nature levels to SJ’s tech levels.

Xyzzy has a rather impressive size of 200×70, though it uses it space differently than other large levels – the layout is a standard three floor fare, and the corridors are spacious and open. Still, it’s not suited for a 3vs3 or anything of that size (a quick check reveals that this level was played in a whopping zero 3vs3 games in the past three JDC seasons). RFs and Seekers will largely dominate this level, and we all know how that ends :P. And while it’s not as enclosed as Sanguinary Sanctuary, the route from base to base takes longer in this level somehow. The bottom path helps a bit (it puzzles me why wasn’t it there from the beginning) but I’m not sure if the wind events were all that necessary.

To sum it up, this is a good level objectively speaking, but I can’t really enjoy it for a bunch of reasons? To quote the legendary Trafton’s reviews on Atom Heart:

a fundamentally good level tinkered with until it just doesn’t quite “work.” That isn’t to say that it is a bad level.

My rating may seem low, but that’s simply because there’s no way to give a 7.99 rating. Please make more levels like Conflux and Mt. Helens SJ! ;)

RecommendedReview by cooba

Posted:
10 Nov 2011, 23:38 (edited 10 Nov 11, 23:44)
For: Conflux
Level rating: 8.3
Rating
8.2

Funnily enough, until writing this review I haven’t realised that this is SuperJazz’s first Battle upload since a year and a half – apparently I wasn’t the only JCSer to take a small break in 2010. :P While 4th Reich was a good level (even if the name raises an eyebrow or two) I wasn’t really the biggest fan of it, even if it did use my tileset rather well.

Conflux, however, is an improvement from 4th Reich in pretty much every aspect. The theme, which is that of a “freak magical accident” is strong through and through, with multiple “elements” mixing smoothly but never really clashing with eachother. I think SJ could have done some more mixing, though, because as it is, the level is pretty much split into a Castle section, a Diamondus section, a Hocus section, etc. The spectacular background offers a glimpse of what could have been if SJ gave himself more freedom ;) The music fits the level (or should I say, the level fits the music?), but after it loops once or twice, even the biggest HoMM 3 fan will be a little sick of it.

This is a big level. The size is 140×80, but it’s more open and straightforward than E. Prime, which is 140×90 but doesn’t feel as big as Conflux does. For the most part, the gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a well designed battle level – it flows well, it’s fast, plenty of carrots and powerups, etc. There’s a number of twists on the formula though, and one of them is the Bouncer powerup – you need a Sugar Rush to get it (inspired by Rainforest Revelry perhaps?). With the Bouncer PU, you can now shoot the previously buttstomp-only Fire Shield. It’s a cool sidequest, even if not very practical in the long run: the freely available RF powerup will be a better weapon than Bouncers, and the shield isn’t a very big deal, considering the bottom 25% of the level is underwater. Two of the five carrots are located there, by the way, and I don’t like the bottom left carrot – it’s hidden, it’s easily campable, and the area it’s placed in is boring.

Other than that, everything else in the level really clicks together, and the other small gimmicks (there’s a hidden warp, the Toaster PU which is a bit tricky to sidekick, the hard-to-reach carrot) are amusing and you can tell that this level was polished a lot. My favorite part is how the Castle part closely follows the mannerisms of other battle levels using Castle (namely battle1), but doesn’t rip them straight. I had fun playing this in this year’s bash and in various JDC 20 events. This is SJ’s best battle effort yet and it shows!

RecommendedQuick Review by cooba

Posted:
20 Oct 2011, 13:14
For: Nature's Plot of Land
Level rating: 8.6
Rating
8.0

I agree with Derby but I like this level enough to think it’s underrated!

Review by cooba

Posted:
7 Sep 2011, 21:09
For: Battle1
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

FFS when will you start making modern MCEs instead of that Buttstomp Scenery crap from 2001.

RecommendedQuick Review by cooba

Posted:
1 Sep 2011, 22:54 (edited 1 Sep 11, 22:55)
For: Firestorm Bay
Level rating: 7.7
Rating
7.2

Nice to see how much thought went into making this. Very competently done eyecandy, but the music doesn’t fit, so not very atmospheric. No powerups + 2 slowly spawning carrots is pretty well balanced, could use more ammo or fastfires though. Some small frustrating things like the keep x springs and the flow of the crate area. Overall pretty good!

Review by cooba

Posted:
28 Jun 2011, 14:47 (edited 29 Jun 11, 07:39 by Violet CLM)
For: Devan's clones
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

Back in 2001, when I was brand new to JCS, I made a little precious level. The tileset was Damn 2 and I think the title was “Turtle Nightmare” or something similar. It was a few rooms on a linear path with all sorts of powerups and ammo; no doubt inspired by the final level in Quake. For my third or fourth level ever created, it was pretty good looking, because there were few tilebugs (I hated tilebugs 10 years ago and I still do now), and the path was varied, with some slopes and bridges and even some eyecandy like arrows or the tree stumps thrown here or there. At the end of the path stood a signpost, with a rather curious text string saying: “Did Devan Shell violate the copyright by cloning himself?”. Considering what’s happening in the world right now, with all sorts of crap like DRM and VeVo and region-locking, I think that joke was a bit ahead of its time.

The punchline, however, was dropping down into the final room and seeing it literally fill with Devan bosses to the brim. I always had a kick out of it when I’d stand on a platform above the (roughly 100+) Devans and try to snipe them with Seekers. It was a bit funny to see the missile flail around after its target like mad. You could also jump into the horde and try to knock them out from the map with TNT, and then when you’d run into the opposite side of the room, some would appear back inside! The best thing, however, was when trying to leave the arena and restock, there would be more bosses appearing at where the powerups are. That might have been the ‘nightmare’ part of it but I’m not sure now. All in all, it was a pretty crap level, but it was original, and most certainly winnable without cheats. I’d probably rate it like 1.8 or 2.

This level isn’t as good though.

(I lol’d, but this still doesn’t defend your score in any significant way, as is required for non-quick reviews. Rating clearance. ~Violet)

Review by cooba

Posted:
26 May 2011, 18:50 (edited 27 May 11, 12:18)
For: SEARCHandDESTROY
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

So can I re-upload my program, and no-one will get rid of it?

It’s never been removed…?

EDIT: If you take a look at the file contents and the file size, you’ll notice that I’d (ineptly) merged your both uploads into one, and that the utility is still there. I didn’t realise the mistake until recently, and didn’t fix it myself because I was hoping you’d notice it yourself.

Review by cooba

Posted:
26 Mar 2011, 11:24 (edited 30 Nov 11, 19:50)
For: Medvio
Level rating: 9.3
Rating
N/A

“There’s also special effect used in one level so why can’t you give him 10??”

Because this is a tileset upload, not a level?

TomoAlien: This is a conversion of a Jazz Jackrabbit 1 tileset.

Review by cooba

Posted:
6 Mar 2011, 12:46
For: Completely Generic Rocket Turtle Chase Level
Level rating: 6.2
Rating
N/A

I really feel like giving you a 1 just for the level name alone.

RecommendedQuick Review by cooba

Posted:
2 Mar 2011, 14:28 (edited 2 Mar 11, 14:28)
For: Scars of Chaos 2: War Torn Existence
Level rating: 9.6
Rating
10.0

They made me write this message.

Quick Review by cooba

Posted:
7 Nov 2010, 20:25 (edited 25 Dec 10, 14:52)
For: Unusual Place with Lava
Level rating: 8.0
Rating
6.7

This reminds me of xlmtriton. Looks good but it’s the standard use of the set. The background should’ve had a color (all the black looks empty). It’s also tiny. One carrot with two PUs in a small level is a bad idea, it’s almost like Instagib. Music doesn’t fit. Overall it’s above average. 5.5 is the average rating so I’ll give a 6.7.

Review by cooba

Posted:
3 Nov 2010, 17:00
For: Town+Other JCS
Level rating: 6.2
Rating
N/A

This is probably the weirdest upload on J2O ever

RecommendedReview by cooba

Posted:
15 Oct 2010, 18:00 (edited 15 Oct 10, 18:54)
For: EvilMike's Not-So-Evil Fortress
Level rating: 8.5
Rating
8.2

This particular level comes from 2006, which was the year of many releases by many prolific JCS people. Even if it wasn’t released until now, it competes against other popular releases (can they be called “classics”, if it’s only been 4 years?) from back then: namely, Helldome, The Chasm, or the IC releases (sorry for being so self indulgent, but come on, those were pretty damn good levels).

This is a mostly vertical battle level, and a unique one at that. The layout isn’t anything revolutionary – it’s basically two towers intersecting at the bottom with surprises at the top – but it utilizes its space well, and it allows for fast action in what may seem like a huge level (100×200). I did wish for a slowly respawning copter, though, for one more fast route from the bottom to the top – useful when you’re chasing your prey. There’s a couple of death pits (one of the first levels utilising them!), they’re nothing to worry about unless you’re really careless. Getting the Blaster powerup (one out of five) may be tricky though.

There’s another powerup that could prove tricky to get. The Seeker powerup requires 100 coins, which may be a little annoying to do with a lot of people in the level, even with the sheer amount of coins in this level. If you get 200 coins, you’ll be awarded with a Water Shield and a whopping 70 seconds of shield time – a definite game changer if there ever was one. With 5 powerups, 4 carrots, and the lingering thought that someone can appear with the shield and dominate everyone, will make playing this level online quite an experience.

While I’m not a huge fan of the Dreamland tileset, I do find this level a very good piece of eyecandy. The background is the highlight: a starry sky behind a series of cascading clouds that feels like taken straight from a Windstorm Fortress level. The upbeat Super Mario RPG music sets the atmosphere – themewise, this level is a 180 turn from the violent and brooding halls of EvilMike’s Evil Fortress, which was a top notch looking (and sounding) level itself. I didn’t get the sequel vibe myself though; if anything, it felt much more like a sequel to the untitled desert level (olcbat03), with its big open spaces and plenty of action (and a coinwarp with a shield :P)

Summing up, this is a very good “forgotten” battle level, and there’s no reason to not download it. It’s big, it’s fast, it looks good, and it’s got the letters MIKE on it. It’s not EM’s best level, or my favorite one, but it deserves a high mark. I give this an 8.2, you should give this a go.

Fun Fact: When EM showed me this level back in 2006, something glitched and all items appeared as double. The image of double seekers in the tunnel at the right was what inspired me to put (deliberately) double ammo in An Uninspired Psych Level. So know you know that it’s not all that uninspired of a level after all.

RecommendedQuick Review by cooba

Posted:
5 Oct 2010, 11:35
For: Episodic Ground Force Pack Episode 1
Level rating: 7.0
Rating
7.0

I’m really not sure why is this not getting attention, because these are pretty solid and original Ground Force levels.

RecommendedReview by cooba

Posted:
26 Sep 2010, 14:51
For: Minisode
Level rating: 8.9
Rating
7.5

I have to say, these are some of the most creative puzzle/skill things I have seen done in Single Player yet. The turtle shell and bird levels are absolutely great, the airboard dodger and Cruxmas (even if I still haven’t managed to finish Cruxmas) are also good, and Amnesia Box is pretty decent.

It’s a bit of a shame that there’s a 20×15 restriction going on, because if all this stuff was put in one single level then it would probably rival Neobeo’s Firetruck as the best puzzle level. Some of the levels could cheat the contest’s 20×15 restriction too – if the shell or bird could exit the 20×15 box but Jazz couldn’t, it would drive their levels over the top.

Overall, this is very good work, but I’m afraid I can’t give it more than a measly 7.5, especially when compared to Neobeo’s Firetruck or other levels. Still, I haven’t had this much fun in JJ2 SP since finishing EvilMike’s episode 5, so there you go :)

Not recommendedReview by cooba

Posted:
15 Aug 2010, 15:07
For: Falador Castle
Level rating: 5.7
Rating
5.6

What we have here is BigBobr’s first single player effort, and very likely first JCS effort period(?). As most people’s first levels are, this has a handful of errors, it’s pretty short, it’s very easy (there are only ten enemies overall in this level!), no difficulty level settings are used, only Spaz can finish the level, very little ammo, etc, etc.

Anyone can easily point out the flaws and get away with doing only that, but this level isn’t as bad as ThunderWalker makes it out to be, and for novice JCS users, it’s more helpful, and much more motivating, to point out what they have gotten right, instead of what they’re doing wrong. This level is kind of cool in that aspect that it manages to stuff a bunch of secret areas practically everywhere, which makes it instantly more entertaining than just a straight line with nothing to explore. There are a couple ideas, that don’t necessarily work very well, but they show potential. All in all it’s pretty similar to Castle1 (you can even notice it was built off castle1 as a base, not that it matters), if smaller and easier.

I can’t really recommend to download this, because it’s pretty simple and short and there’s no real replay value, but I can say that as an user’s first level, this is quite good, and shows potential.

Hope to see more from you in the future!

RecommendedReview by cooba

Posted:
2 Aug 2010, 16:38
For: Jazz 1 Layout Editing Suite
Level rating: 8.9
Rating
8.0

A perfect complementation to Newspaz’s whopper of an editor – which crosses the idea of a level editor and becomes more of a game modification tool, allowing the end user to change many of the game’s aspects. In fact, the actual level making part is probably the weakest part of J1E – not to say it’s bad – if you’re very much used to JCS’ super friendly and familiar interface, you might find yourself a bit trapped.

So what does Violet CLM do? He hacks JCS to make it able to edit JJ1 layouts.

This is slick, elegant, and once again showcases the capability of Violet’s brains. Obviously you won’t find it very useful if you don’t do a lot of JJ1 level design – but for the (very few) people who do, this is the best thing to happen since J1E itself.

Now go make a JJ1 level!

Not recommendedQuick Review by cooba

Posted:
29 Jun 2010, 20:27 (edited 29 Jun 10, 20:27)
For: Weird Pipes
Level rating: 6.5
Rating
5.5

Weird Pipes, as the name says, is comprised of multicolored pipes that form solid platforms and non-solid eyecandy. Unfortunately, that’s all that there is, which makes the set boring. You can’t make a good background, you can’t use the pipes in any creative way other than making patterns in the platforms, the palette events suck. Disrecommended.

Not recommendedQuick Review by cooba

Posted:
29 Jun 2010, 16:00
For: BattleShipsBL +
Level rating: 5.9
Rating
5.5

A pretty uninspired edit of Birdie’s BattleshipsBL. Some tiles are a nice addition but some are also pretty useless. It’s a decent effort but it would be cool if it was spent on making something original. And it’s not like BattleshipsBL was all that good, as a palette edit.

Quick Review by cooba

Posted:
21 May 2010, 11:45 (edited 21 May 10, 17:40)
For: Ever Story Episode 1
Level rating: 6.9
Rating
6.0

It’s not very exciting, and takes too many leaves from EM’s book. There’s an original plot going on but it’s pretty cheesy to be honest. The levels start off as pretty linear but become better over time. Apparently CR knows how to make custom tilesets but they need some work to look good. All in all it’s pretty average.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5