Review by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
5 Jun 2006, 14:37
For: Yax' RainForest
Level rating: 8.7
Rating
N/A

You added the wrong tileset, Yasco :P

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
4 Jan 2006, 21:24
For: Cold Waves
Level rating: 7.5
Rating
7.5

Cold Waves
As I promised DarkSonic, I’d write a review for it’s latest release (also because there are no reviews for this upload yet) so lets test this, alright?

EYECANDY: 1.9 out of 2.5
First thing I noticed when opening this level was that I used an relatively few-used tileset (Nippius) Nippius is a decent set with a reasonable amount of eyecandy opportunities for the courage designers, but it has it’s down sides as well. This becomes clear when watching the caves, those merely look like big fat grey squares. The layer-8-background isn’t too bad, but not impressive either. Overall, the author has done enough to make the level worth looking, especially with the given tileset, but it’s not that impressive. 1.8 out of 2.5 points.

PLACEMENT: 2.0 out of 2.5
DarkSonic often knows what to do with the placement in a level, and this is no exception. Again working with a triple Powerup system, this level has a Bouncer and Toaster PU (one near each of the bases) and the RF as main weapon. The placement of the Full NRG carrot reminds me much of the placement in Security Breach v2 (placed on a small platform in the sky, near the roof) but it’s a good location here. The loose ammo could have been donne better, I suppose. Everything is floating around in the air and with a simple run strategy it’s hard to collect much ammo. Overall, placement is decent, but could have been better on some places.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.6 out of 5.0
The level doesn’t have a clear structure with a meaning, most of the platforms are hanging around in the sky. The places between them and the corridors are board enough, so there’s enough room to navigate without much trouble. The layout is, however, a bit standard without many secrets or originalities. The level name “Cold Waves” probably refers to the water in the lower side, but you can’t get in this water. Gameplay is solid as always, but like the layout a bit standard. Nothing wrong, but nothing innovating either.

RATINGS:
This level is the first made by DarkSonic in a while, and the level veteran appears to not have lost his skills in level design. In my eyes this level isn’t as good as, for example, X-Station or Apple Land, but it’s decent. Next time something more original please, that would increase the ratings a lot. For now, you get a 7.5

Score: 1.9 + 2.0 + 3.6 = 7.5
Download: Yeah, it’s a nice level to watch and play a few times in.
Host: Perhaps a few times.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

Review by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
11 Dec 2005, 19:34
For: Invasion(anti-bugs version)
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

Dude… you just uploaded the same thing 4 times in a row. There’s a reupload button, you know.

Review by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
1 Oct 2005, 15:32
For: Dr33mp33pz
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

Nice track. What software did you use before? Cubase?

Not recommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
17 Apr 2005, 19:12
For: Battle2 Diamondus
Level rating: 5.6
Rating
5.6

Battle2 Diamondus
Alright, because I’m kind of bored at the moment and I don’t really feel like posting screenshots or making logs for JJ2WC2, I’ll just write one of my rare and occasional reviews again. I guess you have to be lucky with that. Or not? You’ll soon find out, at the end of this review… Anyway, I modified it a bit because of the fact that’s

EYECANDY: 1.3 out of 3.0
Oh great, another Battle 2 edit. A lot of bad things come out of my mind right now but I’ll try to suppress them in order to make an objective review. I see you used a version of tis set called “J1: Diamondus” which was not really a good idea, because usage of the much better NOKA conversions of this set would be much better for the level. Ah well, let’s take a look at it as it is now. The background is the first thing you notice, and it disappointed me that it was quite… plain. Layer 8 was used for central background, and 7 for the sun/moon only. I guess the level would have been a LOT better in looks if you added a good and stable background to it. Let’s go on with the other eyecandy: well, it’s pretty minimum. The level looks pretty plain and it doesn’t really feel natural. Some more vegetation, less squared-off eyecandy and more things like moving mushrooms etc. would help to improve the level a lot. For now, it’s pretty minimum and not really attractive to play. One last point: the diamonds in the walls. You really used a crapload of them and the result is that there are many tile bugs, which are probably made because this level is pretty rushy.

FURTHER CONVERSION DETAILS: 4.3 out of 7.0
Well, what can I say about it, it just keeps being a Battle 2 edit – which is the standard battle level that I like the least, unfortunately. However, I’m glad to see that one major issue for me with the original B2 is fixed – the addition of a Seeker Power-up. This makes the level a lot more attractive for me, because this fact makes the game a lot more exciting and shorter. There’s also one minus about this Seeker PU: it’s very well hidden by some destruct sceneries which look like ordinary walls. The same thing goes for the RF and Bouncy PU, which are probably a bit over the top (one PU would be enough) This wall thing would not really be a big deal if all the other destruct sceneries would be just normal, but that’s not the case: all destruct sceneries are made out of walls which take several shots to be destroyed, and this gives a rather confusing feeling. Again, this problem would have been solved if the NOKA Conversion was used, which features ordinary and decent destruct tiles.
Another thing which I saw during my game in this level, was the fact that the level looks really unfinished. For example, take a zoom-out on layer 4 in JCF. About 60% of the layer is used but the playable part is very roughly separated from the non-playable part, and you can see the rough borders when you get near the level border. This is really a ugly and unnatural thing, and I don’t see why you couldn’t just take five minutes to solve this problem. I know it’s also used in the original battle2, but in that level the borders were still mainly invisible. That’s not really the case here.

RATINGS:
I don’t really have to say much about this awkward level. It has it’s good sides and also a lot of bad sides. A good point is the fact that the level finally comes with Powerups (although three would probably be too much) and bad points are the poor eyecandy, tilebugsm ugly backgrounds, weird sceneries and rough borders. This level isn’t good enough for a download recommendation, and if you want to play a similar level I recommend you to just use the casual B2, or – much better – the excellent “Night Fight” version by Pyromanus, which has splendid eyecandy and also a Powerup. This level has a 5.6.

Score: 1.3 + 4.3 = 5.6
Download: No, I don’t think so. Much better battles to download.
Host: Why don’t you host Night Fight or Battle2 instead?

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
12 Apr 2005, 15:58
For: Space Station : Milaria
Level rating: 8.1
Rating
7.8

Space Station: Milaria
DarkSonic frequently asked me to review this level of him (mainly because I reviewed nearly all of his better levels so far) Anyway, it’s one of my rare reviews these days cause I’m too lazy to write any others and I’ve got better things to do with my precious time, but I promised DS to pull another one off for his latest level: Space Station Milaria (I’ll refer to it as Milaria for the rest of this review) Let’s see if I’m still able to review.

EYECANDY: 1.8 out of 2.5
In one of the textstrings around the level, DarkSonic mentioned that he was inspired by Zaitox for this level. Once you start the level you’ll indeed see a large similarity between the two levels: both use the same tileset. The eyecandy itself is different from Zaitox: DarkSonic did use other backgrounds are there are actually some original things, like the yellow bars in the background and such. After a few minutes of playing however, you can get the idea that the eyecandy is a bit boring. Some tiles don’t seem to match, but I guess that’s more a fault of the tileset maker than DarkSonic’s. Overall, I can say the eye candy is pretty good but not really one of the best.

PLACEMENT: 2.1 out of 2.5
Maybe some more original things inside the placement stuff? Who knows. At least there’s some originality in the Power-up placement: Instead of the ordinary Seeker/RF-Bouncie-Toaster Power-up system, DarkSonic used a Blaster powerup as central PU. The usual Full NRG carrot is placed just a few tiles above the central PU, which could make the tiny place a good spot for camping. The other smaller ammo is placed quite nice and in original shapes, mostly in vertical shape (along the walls and the central pillar) I don’t have any major negative comments about the placement, ammo is nicely placed however the carrot near the main PU is a bit nasty and asking for campers.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.4 out of 5.0
On with the major point of this level: structure and gameplay! Well, the level is about 95% symmetrical, and the red and blue half are divided by a large on-tile-thick pillar in the middle. This pillar has two open spots, one with the carrot and main PU (middle of level) and one on the bottom, which can be heavily guarded by two turrets, a nice position for a camping defender. The level is more open than other levels of DarkSonic, and he even managed to make it more original by giving all the platforms in the level “a purpose” (there aren’t floating objects in the sky anymore, but they seem to have a function in the space station. So far the good points. Not everything is good about the structure, and I will start with the very annoying springs in the lower corners of the level, which actually make me want to lower the rating of the level with one full point. The problem is: you approach these springs with high speed and once you hit them, you bump into a wall. You have to break if you want to take them correctly and then quickly move in the other direction. I know this is kinda original but it just kills a lot of the flow. As Ragnarok pointed out earlier, some parts of the level are a bit unneeded and the roof is still a bit Squared-Off. Overall, the flow is decent, but not quite good, and some parts are questionable. I like the music which is used here, but I don’t really think it fits to the level.

RATINGS:
DarkSonic did a brave job by releasing a new level which is slightly different from earlier levels he produced. However, all new designs have a difficult start and so does DarkSonic’s. The level would/could have been a lot better if the nasty spring situation would have been improved, and some other parts too (read review) I think I’ll give this around a…. 7.3. Yeah.

Score: 1.8 + 2.1 + 3.4 = 7.3
Download: Yeah, it’s a quite nice new-style level by DarkSonic.
Host: Maybe a few times.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

EDIT: I see that you re-uploaded the level, which you really didn’t have to do for me alone =P. Anyway, now it’s been improved, I need to recheck it. Some factors in the level could raise the rating a lot, the placement of the springs is one of these things. The situation as it is after the change is really A LOT better, and after re-playing it, it enjoyed me more. There are still some small flaws in the level, but it’s truly a lot better now. Rating has been raised with 0.5 points. Good job.

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
5 Mar 2005, 12:01
For: NOT Security Breach v2
Level rating: 8.1
Rating
7.8

NOT Security Breach v2
Ah well, time to review another level, it’s been a while. This time it’s DarkSonic’s “Not Security Breach v2”, which is made for the JJ2WC CTF Contest. It got a third place, so this will be worth to review.

EYECANDY: 2.1 out of 2.5
The Eyecandy is very good for the given tileset. We all know it’s a JJ1 Tileset, so it has some limited possibilities, but DarkSonic did the best he could. Although there are some levels with better eyecandy with this tileset – I’m thinking of one of Ragnarok’s levels, but I can’t recall the name – this level’s eyecandy is just good and never overdone. The advice of adding Project Hog/Fog to the level was taken very greedy, which results in a large number of light effects in the level. I recommend a modern video card for this, even my GeForce FX5200 128MB wasn’t able to run the level with a constant 70fps (I had some drops to 60-65 sometimes)

PLACEMENT: 1.9 out of 2.5
Not much to say about this. The Powerup-system brings in three Powerups (Seeker, Toaster and Bouncie – classic situation) and one Full NRG carrot. Nothing special about this, it’s not very original but it’s good enough and easy to learn. The placement of the normal ammo is a little bit more original, the different forms of ammo look quite good and are interesting.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.8 out of 5.0
As you can expect from DarkSonic’s levels, this level has a very smooth gameplay and layout. All bases are accessible from multiple directions (above, from sideways and from a sucker tube which pumps you through the flag) and there aren’t much places to camp. All places are quite easy accessible and there’s almost no Spaz biasing. Good job. The music file is not really special, something more powerful would fit better to this speedy level. About the text strings, they are a good attempts but the humour is a bit weak. I can’t say much more about the layout, it’s typical for DarkSonic and so not very original.

RATINGS:
Not Security Breach v2 is one of DarkSonic’s better levels, with decent gameplay, good eyecandy and well placement. If the next levels contain some more originality, it could actually turn out to be a TIPPED download. This isn’t one of those, it’s a 7.8 though.

Score: 2.1 + 1.9 + 3.8 = 7.8
Download: Yes.
Host: Yes.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW of [si] and XLM

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
7 Feb 2005, 23:33
For: Street Pass no. 2
Level rating: 7.4
Rating
7.4

Street Pass No. 2
Waaw, another Street Pass level by DarkSonic. The first one was used as the opening level in DarkSonic’s Packy Pack, and it got a well-deserved 8.2 from me. Let’s see if the second level, obviously called “Street Pass No. 2”, ends up in the same prize category. Behold. By the wya, sorry for the somewhat late review but I’ve been kinda busy lately.

EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
Last time it was War Torn Night, this time it’s Mega Megatropolis 1.23 Night which is used. I can say the eyecandy is really well done in this level, although it could be better. I really like the background a lot, but the green hills give a weird effect since they move faster then the structures behind them . I don’t really have anything more to say, everything just looks good and filled and the double-paths are OK. The raindrops still look a bit weird when going up in the suckertube (I told you to correct this earlier) but I don’t think it’s possible too change it much more.

PLACEMENT: 1.8 out of 2.5
DarkSonic used a rather different form of layout placement then usual. All ammo quantities are placed in different shapes and you can say that almost every part of the level has ammo. This is quite good and original, although the placement isn’t really optimal. Again, there’s a two-powerup system with two majors, which are placed in walls. This is quite nice, but I’d like to see something more original next time.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.5 out of 5.0
On with the final part: structure and gameplay. When zooming out in JCS, you can see that this level has a typical DS-structure, which I can’t really explain in words. You have to see it for yourself, I guess. It’s a quite good structuring system with good flow and gameplay, but it’s getting a bit bored after a while. Same thing goes for this level, I suppose. While playing the level I got the feeling after a while that I saw it all before. Definitely not one of your most original levels.

RATINGS:
Streep Pass No. 2 is just again one of DS’s solid CTF levels, which isn’t too original but quite good. If your levels contain more originality, you could easily achieve a higher rating. Here’s a 7.3.

Score: 2.0 + 1.8 + 3.5 = 7.3
Download: Yes.
Host: Perhaps.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
24 Jan 2005, 00:02
For: PIE ROCKS!
Level rating: 7.6
Rating
7.7

PIE ROCKS!
Yay, another XLM level which is waiting to be tested. Seems like the author of the level likes pie a lot, and I can’t disagree with him. By the way, Cooba, why can’t you review other XLM levels? Ah, well, here is a fast review, as I promised.

EYECANDY: 2.3 out of 2.5
Chosen is the tileset “CaKeY” by Toxic Bunny. If I had to pick a tileset for a level I wouldn’t dare to pick this particular tileset (too few eyecandy and not too much tiles to use) but Satan ignored the risks and used it anyway. What follows is a very, VERY nice level with beautiful eyecandy. The backgrounds are a pleasure to look at and almost every layer is used! Congratulations! Don’t have anything more to say, the EC is almost perfect for a level with this set.

PLACEMENT: 1.9 out of 2.5
The placement of the stuff in the level is quite good. There is chosen for a major-minor-PU-system, with RF as major and Bouncie and Toaster as minors. I can’t tell anything bad about the PU balance here because the level is symmetric, which is good enough. One problem with the placement is the number of cakes and pies in the level: they can get confusing with the regular ammo and I really didn’t like that very much. The are three carrots in the level: one Full-NRG and two normals, which could be a bit too much but since the level is quite big it’s not really a problem.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.5 out of 5.0
Structure and Gameplay are always the most needed things of a level, also in this one. The structure is almost fully symmetrical, as said above, which is a good thing for the balance. The flow is generally just good and there aren’t many places you can bump on. Good job. However, there are also a few parts I dislike: I didn’t really enjoy the minor-PU-parts in the upper squares since they have only one entry and exit, and they are pretty much closed. Camping could be easy at those spots. Another thing I dislike very much is the connection between the blue and the red side of the level: those are divided by a large tower of pie in the middle, and the only way through is the top. I expect that place will really get crowded in MP since all traffic has to go through this bottleneck. More pathways would be nice at this place. For the rest, I can see you used different structure forms (like vines and hooks) which is nice to see. The originality of the level is pretty good because of the placement of foods, and the music fits nicely.

RATINGS:
This level is another good job by one of XLM’s better level designers (slime slime) but it could have been better. The eyecandy is generally very good and you don’t have to improve it. The ammo placement could be a bit better and the same thing goes for the structure and gameplay. Nice job, you get a 7.7 for this.

Score: 2.3 + 1.9 + 3.5 = 7.7
Download: Yeah, it’s a quite nice level and you should check it out!
Host: A few times.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW of [si] and XLM

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
6 Jan 2005, 21:18
For: Devans Gone
Level rating: 8.2
Rating
8.4

Devans Gone
Since everyone else seems to be too damn lazy to review this pack and also because I don’t have anything better to do, I’ll review this singleplayer pack. I only played the normal levels, and I’ll review this at once, because I don’t have much time. Behold.

EYECANDY: 2.1 out of 2.5
Well, the eyecandy in this pack is certainly good for the tilesets used. I really like natural tilesets, and this pack contains much of them (Diamondus, Jungle, etc.). The eyecandy actually contained some original things, like the standard background trees from Diamondus used in the sprite foreground. Overall, I can say the eyecandy is very good, but sometimes it’s a little too much. This is especially in the Jungle level, where the path you need to take in the trees is blocked by leaves, as well as the enemies. Could be better.

PLACEMENT: 1.2 out of 1.5
The placement is really one of the best things of this pack. There are just enough carrots to stay alive (and this is really necessary since all the levels are crammed with enemies) and the save-point placement is also OK, other developers could learn from this! Now on with the ammo: much of the ammo is placed randomly in crates, and I like that. There are also a few powerups (including seeker, which is quite necessary to get through the harder levels) Once you open the level is JCS, you’ll see that there are much easy/hard events which is a good point. Nice job.

ENEMIES: 0.8 out of 1.0
It seems like Devan didn’t take his friends with him when he left, since all levels are filled up with enemies. Most of them are turtles, but also salamanders and other forms of unwanted life forms. Luckily there are enough carrots to keep you alive and also enough save points. This level would be very good if you want to shoot all your problems away!

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 4.3 out of 5.0
Let’s get down to business with the most serious factor of this pack: the gameplay and structure. Well, I can say that this has been worked out pretty fine. The structure is very nice overall, closed in some levels (the jungle one) and very open in other levels (the labrat level) The gameplay gets a huge bonus because there are three different levels of difficulty which adds lots of replay value. Overall, this pack doesn’t take long to finish (one big hour should be enough) The structure itself feels good enough and there are much original things to find. The music files fit nice to the levels, by the way.

RATINGS:
Nobody did a good job with this level pack. The originality, overload of enemies and different difficulty levels make this pack the best Singe player Pack in 2005 so far (the only one too, I believe, but it says something) The episode is not really long and the storyline is not very interesting, but I could describe it as “short but shocking” and that is something we need, don’t we?

Score: 2.1 + 1.2 + 0.8 + 4.3 = 8.4
Download: Yeah. See above for reasons.
Host: Perhaps in Co-op, yes.

Greetings,
~ ChippieBW of [si] and XLM

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
4 Jan 2005, 18:41
For: The Unnamed Level
Level rating: 7.9
Rating
7.7

The Unnamed Level
Well, time for me to review this new battle level. I see it’s the second battle level made with the Diamondus Beta Night tileset (the first one was ChristMax by Olsen) and let’s see if this level is good enough. CrashMash forced me to write this review and he reviewed mine, so that would be a fair deal.
By the way, why no music? This will lower the gameplay rating by 0.5, you could have at least included a standard music file.

EYECANDY: 2.1 out of 2.5
Well well… let’s just check the looks of this level. I guess it’s a little bit obvious that I will draw parallels with Garden Brawl, since that level could be a standard for all Diamondus Beta levels that will be released in the near future. The eyecandy in this level is certainly not as good as in Garden Brawl, but it’s not bad either. In fact, I really like the eyecandy, since it’s quite clam and the relaxing. I guess the eyecandy level would be as high as in my Diamondus Beta Night level (Bay Of Diamonds) except this level has additional eyecandy in layers 1 and 2, which are looking good and not annoying. The layer 4 eyecandy is decent, although some platforms could be looking a bit better, and there are some minor tiling bugs (most of them in the walls). The backgrounds layers are almost the same as in Bay Of Diamonds, and I like them. Overall, the eyecandy is pretty good. I like it.

AMMO: 1.8 out of 2.5
I wonder if the placement of all the goodies is just as good. This is another level with a 3-PU system, although there aren’t any majors or minors – you could say the Seeker and RF are both major and the Bouncie is minor. You can reach the RF and seeker by one and the same warp, the first time you’ll get warped to the Seeker and the second time to the RF, which prevents camping a bit and it’s original, although I prefer to know where I’ll end up. The smaller amounts of ammo are not really originally placed (almost all of them are placed in squares or vertical lines) and some places are too empty, but since the respawn time is not too long (just 10 seconds) this won’t be a real problem in big events. There are three +1 carrots in this level (no Full NRG) which seems like a nice option to me. They could have been spread better over the level though, since they are all in the upper half.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.8 out of 5.0
Structure and gameplay, finally. As I mentioned before, there is no music file in this level, which kills the gameplay experience a bit. I won’t district many points for this but it will cost you 0.3 points. The flow is good, in any case good enough for a battle level. Some of the springs could be placed a little better, but I didn’t experience many problems. A liked the large, open spaces which were all around, and they fit very nice to this battle level. The warp to the PU’s was an original solution, but I don’t really like it since I never will know where I end up. The level had some double pathways on some platforms in the foreground, but there are also a few objects placed in the background, which confused me a bit.

RATINGS:
CrashMash did a very decent job with the production of this battle level. The eyecandy is not as good as in “the other” level, Garden Brawl, but it surely is worth it. The ammo placement is generally good but there could be a little more of it in some places and more originality would be nice too. The flow is perhaps even better then Garden Brawl in some places. I think this level would do nice on a bash event, although too many Diamondus Beta levels would be a little boring. You’ve got yourself a 7.7, by the way.

Score: 2.1 + 1.8 + 3.8 = 7.7
Download: Yes.
Host: Yes, perhaps even on Bash.

Greetings,
~ ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
2 Jan 2005, 19:21
For: The Packy Pack
Level rating: 7.4
Rating
7.7

The Packy Pack
Since a few months, DarkSonic declared that he was working on a CTF-pack. Now, at the dawn of 2005, he finished his pack and uploaded it J2O. I promised to give him a good and long review, so I will. Here you go.

Street Pass nr. 1
EYECANDY: 1.9 out of 2.5
The levels is made with the famous War Torn Night tileset, and the links with Distopia are automatically established in the beginning. If you look better, you’ll notice this level isn’t very similar too EvilMike’s classic, but I’ll explain later. The eyecandy itself is nicely made, I especially the transparent platforms. It’s not really wonderful, but good enough for the tileset.
AMMO: 2.1 out of 2.5
The first level of the Packy Pack has a three PU system, with Toaster as central Powerup, and a RF and Bouncie as minors. It’s balanced well since the level is symmetrical. The Toaster can be grabbed inside a few sucker tubes, which makes it easily accessible for campers. The others Powerups are in walls and they can be taken by uppercut or Toaster. This seems a little Jazz-biased, but I like it. The carrot is placed in a central spot and the platform prevents it from being shot down, but now it can be camped a bit. The smaller amounts are OK and original, but they could be placed more to the ground.
STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 4.2 out of 5.0
The level has a really good flow, since the platforms are well placed for a good flow. It takes a while before you know the entire level, but it’s really worth it. The system with the opening doors is a nice idea and it brings a lot of extra strategy to the gameplay (base defender can open the doors when the flag carrier comes from the other base etc.) The bases itself are accessible from three different places, which is a good thing. It appears that CelL selected the music files, and the music for this level fits good. Overall, a nice and interesting structure and nice gameplay.
RATINGS:
Street Pass nr.1 is a nice level with some really original things (like the opening doors and toastable Powerups, which I will probably use myself in later levels). This level is a good opening for the pack, let’s see if the rest is just as good.
RATING = 8.2

Overheated and Freaky World
EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
Where would a good pack be these days without a level with one of the Diamondus β sets? I don’t know, so here is one. This time it’s luck for the lava edition, which isn’t used earlier in a CTF level I believe. The eyecandy here is quite good for the set, it has nice back and foregrounds and everything looks good. I told you to put a little more eyecandy on the platforms, and you did, but still not enough. The blocks could look a lot better if you added more eyecandy to them, and so would be the whole level. The eyecandy still gets 2 points, however.
AMMO: 2.0 out of 2.5
This level is slightly smaller then the first one in the pack, and DS has chosen for a different PU-style here: just two Powerups, a Bouncie and a RF, each one near a base. This is a balanced enough, and if you die you have directly access to a Powerup when you respawn. The powerups itself are placed a little bit annoying, because they block the roads. The smaller ammo amounts are placed OK, and so is the Full NRG carrot in the middle.
STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.5 out of 5.0
The level is smaller than Street Pass nr. 1, as said before, and the structure is a lot more narrow. The general flow in the level is OK since the objects are very soft and not too bumpy, but the spring placement could be a lot better. You bump too many and the location near the Toaster can be described as rather irritating. The music fits too the level perfectly, and I like it much.
RATINGS:
In the first place I would say that OaFW would be the level I liked most, but after a while testing I realized it was not as good as I expected. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, in fact, it’s still one of the better levels DS made till now. It could have been more, however.
RATING = 7.5

40 Meters In the Air
EYECANDY: 1.7 out of 2.5
Another level with the best new tileset of 2004 (Windstorm Fortress by BlurredD). The eyecandy this set features is really good, and this level has quite a bunch of it. Some places look really good (especially the part in the upper-left corner which I liked very much) but other parts are rather dull (like many of the stony platforms) I didn’t notice any tiling bugs, so I can say the eyecandy is over decent, but not that good. SuperJazz did a better job with the WSF level he uploaded in his pack a few days ago.
AMMO: 2.0 out of 2.5
The minor PU placement is generally the same as in the second level of the pack (both bases have a Powerup near it – yet again the Toaster and the Bouncer) but this time we’re speaking of a big level, so we have another Powerup: a precious Seeker. This one can be reached by two warps in the upper corners of the level. Sometimes you directly fall down to the Seeker and you can take it, other times you’re stuck in a small block and you have to jump up. The Full NRG carrot is placed on a balanced spot, and the other smaller amounts of ammo are OK.
STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.6 out of 5.0
As the other two levels in the pack, this level has a nice flow and the other forms of gameplay are also fine. The music file used is a little bit too slow for the level in my opinion. The best PU in this level is fixed around the triggers that make you fall down, but I couldn’t figure out how these triggers work. The ones in Street Pass nr. 1 were pretty simple and you knew directly how to use them, but it will take time before I figure these out. This was about the only (big) thing that annoyed me about structure and gameplay, so you still get 3.6 points from me.
RATINGS:
This level was a little less then the two previous ones, I hope the next ones will be better so we have a good ending. If the eyecandy was better and the trigger system would be a little easier to use, this level would get a higher rating. For now, it’s over decent, but not good.
RATING = 7.3

Punished In Space
EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
Another Odyssey level, yay! This set features a lot of good eyecandy, but not all of it is used in this level. For the platform eyecandy, this level is almost the opposite of Overheated and Freaky World: the eyecandy on the platforms itself is very good but between the platforms it looks rather empty. The background layers are a bit boring, but decent. Perhaps it would be better if layer 8 was more visible.
AMMO: 1.8 out of 2.5
Let’s go on with the placement. As you enter the level, you end up at the bases, which both have one powerup in the beginning: a Blaster and a Bouncer, which isn’t perfectly balanced but good enough. The most important smaller amounts of ammo (RF and Seeker) are all in the upper part of the level, but to make the action more spread around the whole level, the author added some interesting objects in the lower half (RF PU, Full NRG carrot, Bouncie Ammo) which makes the level more balanced.
STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.2 out of 5.0
The structure of this level is kind of original: the two bases are both placed in the top half of the level (next to each other, but separated by warps) This seems like an interesting idea, especially because the two bases are both no-fire-zones (prevents killing) but I’m not really fond of the idea. The flags are not easily grabbed because you have to buttstomp to get them, and there’s only one entrance to the bases: the bases itself are impossible to camp on, but the warps to it are not. The same thing goes for the base exits, there’s only one exit which is also a good thing for camping. The music file fits to the level, and I like it.
RATINGS:
This level has fairly good eyecandy, and the ammo placement also seems OK. I don’t really like the Base Placement and the entrances and exits to the bases, and I think the lower half of the level isn’t anything special. More base entries/exits would make the level much more interesting.
RATING = 7.0

Plastic Surgery CTF
EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
Time to go for the last level of DarkSonic’s Pack: Plastic Surgery CTF. The name promises much, but once I play the level I end up in an ancient castle so I can’t really find it what the name of the level is about. Anyway, time for the eyecandy ratings. The eyecandy in this level is pretty good, I like all the stuff in the sprite background layers and the platforms, however they are a bit boring, don’t look too bad. The rain effects in the foreground are also nice. The layer 8 background could be better, though.
AMMO: 1.8 out of 2.5
Yet another two-PU-system, with Toaster and Bouncer! This is starting to become a little bit unoriginal after 5 levels, but at least it’s a decent solution. They’re placed in walls again, and this time you have to reach them by Electro Blaster. The Full NRG carrot (also as usual) is placed in the centre of the level again, which makes it balanced for all players. The smaller amounts of ammo are OK too, they’re placed in semi-original forms and at the right places.
STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY: 3.8 out of 5.0
The flow in this level is good as always, and I like it. There are multiple pathways you can choose from, and I guess this is one of the better levels of the pack. There’s not much to say more about the gameplay of this level, it’s just a good as it is. In the beginning I thought the music file sucked but once I listened longer to it, I could validate it more.
RATINGS:
Plastic Surgery is a quite normal, not so special CTF level, but good enough to make it nice to play in. A little more originality would be welcome, however, since the level is a little bit boring. After Street Pass nr. 1 I guess this is the best level in the pack, and a good closing one.

Final comments
After a long period of waiting DarkSonic finally released his Packy Pack and after about 2 hours of reviewing I finished this piece of text. DarkSonic made with his Packy Pack a nice CTF pack which combines the best of DarkSonic in a pack of 5 CTF levels. Not every level is as good as the others, the first one was truly a good CTF level but later the levels became a little more unoriginal and boring. The final level however was pretty good and a nice closing level. Overall, this pack is one of the best packs this year so far (stupid comment) and it’s worth to be played online.
Score: 8.2 + 7.5 + 7.3 + 7.0 + 7.6 / 5 = 7.52 + 0.2 (pack bonus) = 7.7
Download: Yeah, this is a bunch of good CTF levels.
Host: Just a few times.

Greetings,
~ ChippieBW of [si] and XLM.

Not recommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
25 Dec 2004, 17:52
For: Christmas Blast
Level rating: 6.2
Rating
4.9

Since White Rabbit slightly overrated this level in my opinion, i shall post MY view.

Christmas Blast
CraccoBoy has made a new CTF level, from which he says it has three purposes (Christmas server, contest and a CTF to host) so let’s check if the second purpose fulfils it’s destiny: winning this contest. Let’s go.

EYECANDY: 1.1 out of 2.0
For this level, mr. CraccoBoy used his own tileset called “Cracco Christmas” or something. Since I don’t really like this tileset, it gets hard for me to give a good view about the eyecandy. I’ll try, however. I like the coloured flags and names and something, but some places in the level seem a little bit too empty and plain. Not really good. This seems to be more of a tileset problem, but it’s hard to avoid. You should have used the standard chirstmas tileset or something; it would be even illegal to use your own set in the beginning but the rules changed. Whatever.

AMMO: 1.3 out of 2.0
As I wander through this level, I’ve noticed five kinds of ammo (Seeker, Toaster, Electroblaster, Bouncie and RF) and two Powerups (Seeker and Toaster). There is one Full NRG carrot which seems to be enough for a level of this size. I don’t really like the ammo placement, but it’s decent.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 0.8 out of 1.5
On with the structure. There seem to be some problems with this structure and it’s really funny: DarkSonic uploaded a battle level with a CTF structure and CraccoBoy uploaded a CTF level with a Battle Structure! The flow is not really bad, but it would have fit better by a battle level though. Some places are weird, like the part in the right where you have to jump up – it seems like there are some vines to hang on but there aren’t. Hmm.

GAMEPLAY: 1.2 out of 2.5
To compare your level with DarkSonic’s level, I liked the gameplay of DarkSonic’s level more. The navigation in this level is a bit hard, there isn’t really a nice flow and the eyecandy gets bored after a while. The music file used is OK, but nothing special.

ORIGINALITY: 0.5 out of 2.0
Now on with the crucial factor: originality. I wonder what the author’s opinion is about the originality in this level, since I can’t see anything of it. DarkSonic and Satan had at least some original factors in their levels, but here I can see really nothing here, or it has to be one if the first CTF levels with a battle layout. I’ll give you 0.5 points for originality, and I’m generous with that.

RATINGS:
If the original factor didn’t count this level would probably score a decent rating, but now, it’s a little bit under average. Same comment as with DarkSonic: perhaps this should have been a battle level, but I’m not sure. For now, the only thing I can give for this is a lousy 4.9. You got served.
Score: 1.1 + 1.3 + 0.8 + 1.2 + 0.5 = 4.9
Download: No.
Host: No.

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
24 Dec 2004, 00:05
For: Christmax 1.2
Level rating: 7.6
Rating
7.6

Christmax
Another Christmas-based level, yay! This time it’s a special one: The first level to be released in a while by Olsen and also the first one to be released for him inside the Xtreme Level Makers department. I wonder if XLM improved his level creating skills. By the way, this will be the first review in which I combine the factors gameplay and structure to one factor, since I never really had to say much about the gameplay alone. Also, the category AMMO is replaced for PLACEMENT since I now also cover carrots and PU’s with it. Well, here goes.

EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
Ah, another level with the Diamondus β tileset series. This time the night version was used, for the second time in six days (I used it too in Bay Of Diamonds which I uploaded Sunday) I can see you looked to the eyecandy in my level since I recognise certain parts of it, but it’s still different. For example, layer 5 wasn’t used for caves/waterfalls but for trees, which is a decent thing. I couldn’t find any tiling errors in the level (bravo) and overall the eyecandy looked very good. Not as good as FireSworD’s level by far, but I think it’s about the same as my level. Some parts are a little bit empty though, but I can’t directly figure out a way to solve this. The snow effects work nice with this set.

PLACEMENT: 1.7 out of 2.5
Now on with the ammo and other pickup stuff. There are some things to say about the ammo here: first of all, the kinds of ammo that are placed are allright: you have all sorts of weapons (seekers, toaster, bouncie, pepperspray, RF and electroblaster) and there are two Powerups (Seeker and Toaster, which are only reachable with EB) Apparently one +1 carrot seems to be enough for the whole level, some more in other corners would be nice. I also think that some parts of the level are a little bit too empty, you could have add ammo to those places to make them more useful.

STRUCTURE & GAMEPLAY 3.9 out of 5.0
Now on with structure/gameplay, for the first time combined into one. The structure here is typical for a battle level and it has a really good flow to move yourself around. Also, many forms of structure are used (vines, sucker tubes, springs, etc.) which entertains me. I’m a huge fan of useless text strings (like in EvilMike’s levels) and I like them especially when my name is in it, although I didn’t notice it during beta-testing. I like the slope part with the holes in it, this is truly a good thing. The warps however seem a little bit useless in my opinion, since the level is quite small and they aren’t really necessary. The same thing goes for the water (you can’t really swim in this level, but it looks good with the eyecandy however) I liked the music file used a lot.

RATINGS:
XLM seems to have a positive influence on you since this level is better than everything you’ve uploaded to J2O before. The eyecandy is just allright, the ammo placement is fine and the structure and game are both good. I like to see this level hosted during the Christmas server, and probably even more. You’ve got a 7.6 from me for this level, and a download recommendation. Good Job!
Score: 2.0+1.7+3.9 = 7.6
Download: Yeah, it’s a funny level.
Host: Sometimes, at least during the Christmas server.
Greetings,
- ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
21 Dec 2004, 21:12
For: Wonderful waterfalls
Level rating: 8.0
Rating
7.8

(review used from JCF Contest Reviews)

Wonderful Waterfalls
Satan was the only participant in the contest who already uploaded his level to J2O before the level contest was over, and since I don’t want any other participant to see what my opinion about this is I decided to make my review after DarkSonic gave me the green light. It will be on J2O soon, too. Let’s go:

EYECANDY: 1.6 out of 2.0
Let’s start with the eyecandy in the first place. Satan used the JJ1 Jungrock tileset, an excellent conversion made by Labratkid. He used almost all eyecandy available in the set, and the level looks really good. There is a light dim available in all the caves which adds a certain dark atmosphere to the level which I really like. A thing which is perhaps one of my favourite things in the level are the rain effects which pop up randomly, also a good point for the originality, although it could have done a bit more natural. Overall, eyecandy is good, not perfect, but certainly more then decent.

AMMO: 1.6 out of 2.0
Now on with the ammo placement. The level is symmetrical, which already is a good thing for the ammo placement. Satan has yet again chosen for a 3-PU placement strategy, with a Seeker, a Toaster and a Bouncie, which is common but well worked out. The only carrot in the level is a Full-NRG carrot, which could be a little too less perhaps if you want to play bigger matches (like 3vs3’s or something – the level is big enough for it) I don’t have to say anything more about the smaller amounts of ammo, everything is allright. You need 20 coins to open the secret pathways in the level and this is really recommended since it gives you a good advantage – it’s the only way to get a Seeker PU and it gives you a new way to the bases. Overall, placement is allright.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 1.1 out of 1.5
Structure then. The level has many ways to go and especially in matches with less people (for example, duels) it could take a long way before you’ve exterminated your opponent so I recommend this level once again for team play. The openings with the coins are quite original and they are necessary for a good game. Don’t really have much to say more.

GAMEPLAY: 2.0 out of 2.5
The gameplay in this level is allright: there is a decent flow, it takes a while to explore the entire level although it’s symmetrical. The rain effects are funny applied and the music file is allright.

ORIGINALITY: 1.5 out of 2.0
Now finish this with the originality: there are indeed a few things which make this level original: for example the opened pathways as soon as you enter the bonus warp, which certainly adds a new dimension to the gameplay since you have to deal with new techniques once someone opens up new pathways. The rain effects are nice and albeit the fact that the are a little bit squared-off, they look natural enough. 1.5 for originality from me.

RATINGS:
Wonderful Waterfalls is a nice CTF level which is perhaps not good enough for in the next Anniversary Bash but it still deserves a lot of funny games.
Score: Count all up and you’ll see a nice 7.8.
Download: Yes.
Host: Not too many times, now and then.

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
21 Dec 2004, 19:44
For: Jungle
Level rating: 8.4
Rating
8.2

“Jungle”
Hmm. I don’t have really high expectations from this level since the level name is pretty basic (many times you can see the level quality from the levelname – SPACE ISLAND LEVEL not included) but I still give this level a chance. Let’s see it.

EYECANDY: 2.1 out of 2.5
Wheew. Good game. Once I open the level, the eyecandy bashes into my eyes like a battering rm. You said you would try to give this the look of a real jungle level, and I think you succeeded in this over 100%. In fact, I would say that there is too much eyecandy sometimes! Really, sometimes there are so many paths crossing each other that you can’t really see the direction you need to walk to. That, and some minor tiling bugs (which are logical with so much eyecandy) make me lower my rating with 0.4 points. Anyway, good job!

ENEMIES: 0.8 out of 1.0
The placement of the enemies is also well done. Instead of some other levels, there are many different kinds of enemies and other forms of annoying creatures. Monkeys, turtles, bees, even crabs, all are included and the boss is a Schwartzenguard (don’t know how to spell it right). One bad point about the enemy placement is the fact that the overdoses of eyecandy sometimes makes the enemies invisible, which results in a painful life loss.

PLACEMENT: 1.2 out of 1.5
Now on with the placement of the other stuff, like foods and ammo. On this area you also did a really good job. There are multiple forms of ammo placement all almost al of them fit perfectly to the atmosphere of the level. There are but a few carrot but most of them are especially placed on the moments you need them, good thinking. Unfortunately, the placement has the same problems as the enemy placement: the loads of eyecandy make them invisible sometimes.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 1.6 out of 2.0
Not much critique possible on the level structure, although there are a few problems which need to be pointed out. In the first place, there are some troubles with the eyecandy (again) There are so many paths visible, especially in the beginning, that it’s not always clear which path you need to take to get to the end and sometimes you feel a little bit locked in by several object. Those were the bad sides, now the good sides: the level structure is very diverse, it looks exciting, and there are many different modes of going around the level (spring placement, buttstomp) The saving spots are also placed at correct places, especially the one before the boss. Nothing is worse than getting killed by the boss and having to do the whole level again.

GAMEPLAY: 2.3 out of 3.0
The gameplay in this level, just like the other things, is just good, great even perhaps. There is a good flow and since many effects are used (good eyecandy, mixed light) you really feel like walking around in a real rainforest. The music file is basic, but at least it fits to this level. I can’t really say more about the gameplay. The level is quite original too, since I’ve not often seen a Jungle level with such good eyecandy.

RATINGS:
To be fair, it’s long ago since a level surprised me as much as “Jungle” by IJskonijn. The level is just very good, it offers really good eyecandy (more in the beginning, later the eyecandy slows down to just good) combined with good placement and structure. If you’re a fan of TSF and natural levels, this level is absolutely recommend to play, and if you’re just a single player fan, too. You’ve got an 8.2 from me, and I look forward to later levels.

Score: 2.1+0.8+1.2+1.7+2.4 = 8.2
Download: Yes, for sure. It’s a (very) good singleplayer level.
Host: I think the passages are a little too narrow for coop, but at least it’s worth a try.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

Review by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
19 Dec 2004, 19:38
For: Christmas Eve Hangover
Level rating: 6.7
Rating
6.7

Christmas Eve Hangover
Since anyone else seems to lazy to give this battle level by JSZ Jazz a decent review, I seem to have to do it myself. By the way, why did you password it? This is quite annoying for reviewers. Well, whatever. Hold on for a fast review.

EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
The Holiday Hare 98 Christmas tileset was specially used for this level. JSZ Jazz used this tileset very well for this level: Everyone looks spiffy and I couldn’t notice any major tiling errors. I especially like the well-done backgrounds (featuring the nice Star Wars option) and the paths and houses which also look good. Nothing more to comment.

AMMO: 1.75 out of 2.5
The ammo placement, as given here, is not really good, but not really bad either. Since I couldn’t check out the level with JCS I still have no freaking clue how to get to the darn Seeker Powerup in the right-under corner. Before the other two Powerups get unlocked (Blaster and RF) you first need to collect 20 coins, which could be a big job in a level like this and thus I think that the most used weapon in this level (when many players are around) will be the normal blaster. I’ve noticed two +1 carrots in this level, which is more then enough since you need to do some work before you have hurt someone really bad.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 1.0 out of 2.0
The structure is perhaps the thing I dislike the most: there are many objects in the level which disrupt the flow and since the level is squared you need to jump much. There are also some effects which kill the gameplay for a small time (like the swing poles) which is another point I dislike. There are not only bad sides with the structure however, there are some nice hidden passageways which carry secret coins or ammo. However, the total is a little bit under-average. Could have been better.

GAMEPLAY: 2.0 out of 3.0
Since the structure is not really good (which I pointed out above) the flow in the level is far from flawless, but since the eyecandy remains OK the level is saved. I don’t really like the music file used in this level, weren’t there any better ones?

RATINGS:
As said above, the level could be fine overall and really a nice Christmas present if the structure didn’t kill the good gameplay experience, now the level is only saved by it’s good eyecandy and decent placement, which improve the gameplay. Next time take more care for a nice structure and good flow and your levels will improve slightly. For now, you’ve got yourself a 6.7.
Score: 2.0+1.75+1.0+2.0 = 6.75 = 6.7
Download: Perhaps, it’s not too bad but I give a N/A download recommendation.
Host: It will probably be hosted during the Christmas server, and that seems to be more then enough.
Greetings,
- ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
14 Dec 2004, 15:45
For: An Lighty X-mas
Level rating: 7.5
Rating
7.5

A Lighty X-mas
Thanks for re-editing this level, ÐX, now I will proudly present you this review of A Lighty X-mas (the level title and the notation on J2O don’t match, for your convenience)

EYECANDY: 2.25 out of 2.5
The splashing eyecandy of this level is the first thing you notice as you open the level. Snow is falling down in a beautiful Carrotus world. Respect! In fact, the falling snow and the large amount of other eyecandy even made it impossible for my GeForce FX5200 128MB to run constantly at 70fps! Now, it runs around 65fps, which is still decent. I don’t recommend running this level at low detail and 8bits, since the nice effects are gone and the water becomes ugly. Overall, I like the eyecandy much, but the in my opinion not so good moving background and the water near the blue base extract a few points from my rating.

AMMO: 1.5 out of 2.5
Ammo then. Ðx has chosen for a lot of ammo in this level, and even so a lot of carrots. In fact, there are 4 carrots in this level (three +1 and 1 Full NRG) which is way to much in my opinion and it takes away a lot of speed from the level. There are four Powerups in the level (One Seeker, One Bouncie and Two RF) which is also a bit too much in my opinion. A powerup near the base is a nice idea, but the RF and the Bouncie are not evenly divided in my opinion. I guess the RF near the red base needs to be replaced with a Toaster to make it a lot more evenly. The loose ammo is placed well enough, although the eyecandy hides it sometimes. Overall, the ammo is fine, but not good. Could have used a lot more work.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 1.5 out of 2.0
The structure also has it’s good and bad sides. There is enough space to move around and there are a lot of sucker tubes and one-ways which make the level more easily to navigate in. Otherwise, all of the action is centered in the lower half of the level, where almost all the carrots, all the bases and all the powerups are located. If some PU’s would be moved higher, the whole level would be used more, but Ðx did a well attempt with this level by using sucker tubes and good springs. Overall, the structure is nice, good enough.

GAMEPLAY: 2.25 out of 3.0
On to the final thing: GAMEPLAY. Really an important factor for a good level. The gameplay in “A Lighty X-mas” is good enough, since the flow is good enough at most of the places and you can navigate around easily. I think you need to play this level a lot of times before you finally know it well, which makes it a good level. The music file used is funny, but I still don’t think that Carrotus is a real winter tileset, because the looks fit more to summer in my opinion. Ah well. Overall, Gameplay is good with some minor flaws. Nothing more to say about it.

RATINGS:
If the ammo was placed better and the structure was more centered on the entire level instead of the bottom side, this level could be a really good one. Now, it’s still a good one, but far from perfect: it ends up somewhere near the sub-top. I don’t think this level is worth an 80, more like a 7.5. That’s what I’m giving it.

Score: 2.25+1.5+1.5+2.25 = 7.5
Download: Yes.
Host: Maybe a few times, I like to see it in the Christmas server.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
9 Dec 2004, 09:45
For: Garden Brawl
Level rating: 8.7
Rating
8.5

Garden Brawl
FireSworD, one of the best level makers for JJ2 at the moment, has released a new battle level. A reason for happiness? Read here.

EYECANDY: 2.5 out of 2.5
As soon as the level loads, you know what the big deal is. The creator has put maximal efforts in the eyecandy, and since the Diamondus Beta edition features a LOT of this, you know it’s good. And it is good. Every layer possible is used, so you will see a beautiful yellow-blue panorama in layer 8 while leaves are falling down in layers 1 and 2. As soon as you walk around, you’ll drown into the beauty. Nothing more to say about it.

AMMO: 2.0 out of 2.5
The ammo is placed in a very particular way. In normal levels you will find the Power-ups quite soon, but here it needs a little discovery first. FireSworD has chosen for a classic three powerup-style-system, featuring a Toaster, Bouncie and Seeker, which is good enough for this level. The smaller ammo is placed in groups around the level, especially in areas which are visited not too much. This is a good move, since all the action now can take place in the larger, open areas of the level while players need to search for ammo in closer areas. There is, however, no Full Energy carrot present, but it is replaced by three normal carrots. They are not easily found, especially the one under the wooden bar. You need to do a lot of practice with this level to find the exact warps for this one. Overall, the ammo placement is nicely done, but sometimes it’s a bit too difficult too find in my opinion, so no maximum score.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 1.5 out of 2.0
The level structure has it’s good sides and it’s bad sides. Good sides are that the level features a very natural design, and thanks to the excellent eyecandy and the many different forms of nature it looks like you’re really walking around in a beautiful garden on Diamondus. The bad side of the structure is that the navigation is hard to follow sometimes, and there are a few narrow passages that link the large areas, and they can only be followed in one direction. The warps are a nice addition to the gameplay, but they can be a little bit annoying sometimes. Some areas in the game are hard to access, and this takes away a large part of the flow. Overall the structure is allright and quite original, but it could have been better.

GAMEPLAY: 2.5 out of 3.0
Despite the minor flaws in the structure and the small placement bugs, this level is really fun to play in. Yesterday AvK hosted it in it’s server, and I had a really enjoyable time in it. The music used is neat and fits perfectly to the natural atmosphere that the level is trying to present. The more you play the level, the more used to it you get, and that’s a good thing. I don’t know what I have to say more about the gameplay, so let’s pass over to the ratings.

RATINGS:
Overall, FireSworD made a good deal with this level. I guess the average rating at the moment is a little bit too high for this level, but it’s not really too far off. My rating for this is an 8.5. I hope the makers of AB7 will notice this level, because it definitely deserves a place in the battle pack, since it’s one of the best battle levels of 2004. Good job.
Score: 2.5 + 2.0 + 1.5 + 2.5 = 8.5
Download: Yes!
Host: If you like a good battle, yes!

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

RecommendedReview by Niels aka ChippieBW

Posted:
21 Nov 2004, 14:52
For: X-Station
Level rating: 7.8
Rating
7.7

X-Station
Seems like DarkSonic is really warmed up since he uploaded two new levels in one week. The last level, Crystal Clear, was not bad at all but still a bit disappointing. Let’s see if the creator from Fryslan can fulfil his promises this time.

EYECANDY: 2.0 out of 2.5
DarkSonic has used the JJ1 Battleships v2 tileset for this level, which reminds me immediately of BlurredD’s Security Breach v2. The tileset is very well used in this level: thanks to the dark atmosphere and the shifting stars in the background you really think you’ve landed in a abandoned Space Station moving at high speed through the dark corners of the universe. One point of critique at the eye candy: The ship is moving left at high speed but the engine rockets are moving the hip to the right (like in pos 36,32) for the rest I don’t have any problems with the eye candy. Good job.

AMMO: 2.0 out of 2.5
Unlike earlier levels of DarkSonic, this level uses a 2 Powerup strategy, and it features the two best powerups (in my opinion that is) the Seeker and the RF. The smaller ammo is placed in small groups, and only 4 weapons are present in the level: Toaster, Bouncie, Seeker and RF. This can be a bummer for the more specialised weapon user, but for ordinary Jazzers it’s allright.

LEVEL STRUCTURE: 1.5 out of 2.0
Finally, I can see a definite breakthrough in DarkSonic’s level creating style! Since DarkSonic seriously begun with creating levels, he always used a very squared-off level creation style and almost always symmetrical. This is the first level in which he finally breaks with this style, which results in a very good and interesting level structure. It’s funny to walk around (some places are less good then others, I don’t really like the sucker tubes around the bases and the narrow part below the left base) and nice to play in. Nice work.

GAMEPLAY: 2.25 out of 3.0
Thanks to the dark atmosphere combined with good eyecandy, decent placement with not too many sorts of weapons and a nice innovating level structure (not really original but if you look at who made it it’s really original) and a nice music file playing at the background (G-Dreams “Black Space” which I used earlier for one of my own levels) this level has a high fun factor. It has also a good flow, decent spring placement. There’s not really much to say about the gameplay, it’s just good.

RATINGS:
As you can read in my review, I was a little surprised in positive way when I first say this new level of DarkSonic, about a week ago. It’s a huge difference with earlier CTF levels of DarkSonic and it’s also a lot better. I hope the creator goes on with the same level style as this one, since it works out nice. Good work, for the effort you’ll get a 7.7 from me.
Score: 2.0+2.0+1.5+2.25 = 7.75 = 7.7
Download: Yes.
Host: Yes.

Greetings,
- ChippieBW

EDIT: Fixed HTML tags

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