RecommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
5 Jan 2015, 02:32 (edited 5 Jan 15, 02:33)
For: Damn Exit
Level rating: 8.7
Rating
8.0

This level is easily recognizable as made by FireSword: lavish eyecandy, heavy on the conceptual side and with some interesting scripted effects. I found that it played fairly well, with a lot of fighting occuring in the lower corridors. On the one hand this was great, but due to the flatness of the level’s bottom area it was also easy for everyone to just run back and forth shooting with their blaster with no one really getting the chance to grab the dropped gems because everyone was constantly blinking.

There’s plenty of room to move around the rest of the level though, so if the fighting at the bottom gets too intense it’s always possible to roam around looking for potshots and gems people haven’t taken yet. There’s a fair amount of gems in the level and there’s a lot of useful ammo in the upper parts of the level as well which keeps things dynamic. The ammo selection is standard but seekers are relatively sparse but also really useful in the vertical parts of the level which makes them all the more desirable.

The level-ending warp is through a scripted portal in the middle of the level that looks rather spectacular, and puts you in a separate area where not much happens if you don’t have enough gems – in which case you just jump down back into the fight. The portal looks great and somehow even attracts players when they don’t have enough gems. The rest of the level is heavily decorated as well and makes ample use of Castle’s slides, which didn’t look that great, in my opinion; a matter of taste maybe, but I didn’t care much for it. There’s a couple of other areas which looked like tilebugs but might have been meant to look like that, knowing FireSword’s style. I guess I prefer a less experimental style.

Finally, the secret mentioned in the description involves walljumping for a bonus of 100 gems. I think it’s a really bad idea, games where people know of the secret will become “who will get there first” races instead of actual treasure hunts. Secrets are cool, but this one is a bit too big.

It’s things like that – the imbalanced secret, the somewhat-too-avant-garde eyecandy – that don’t really endear me to the level. It’s not bad by any means and will make for good games – and it has that spectacular portal – but there are better levels out there, and in this contest.

RecommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
5 Jan 2015, 02:15 (edited 5 Jan 15, 02:16)
For: Overgrown
Level rating: 9.3
Rating
9.0

Great level, probably my favourite out of all contest entries.

There’s very little to criticize. The level is small and contains a good amount of gems and quite a bit of ammo too, which makes for action-packed games. There’s a clear division between the upper and lower half of the level, with the lower half seeing most of the action when I played it – this of course in part because it’s hard to dodge shots in water, and also because there’s a good amount of gems and ammo to be found.

The top of the level is easy to navigate and contains several pinball paddles which makes it possible to jump huge distances and be very mobile in general. If you’ve got about 6 players (as recommended by the author) games in this level become chaotic, full of action and a lot of fun.

The level looks great, too. Especially the upper half is well-decorated, with the eyecandy never going overboard but still making everything look great. The music fits the tileset and feel of the level really well and is a good choice here. My only criticism on this part would be that the bottom (underwater) area looks comparatively dull. This creates a good contrast between the upper and lower half, but some more decoration would perhaps have been nice.

Overall this is an excellent level that’s among the best Treasure levels out there and I’d certainly recommend hosting it whenever you’re running the game mode on your server.

Not recommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
5 Jan 2015, 02:09 (edited 5 Jan 15, 02:35)
For: Treasure Jail
Level rating: 7.0
Rating
5.5

AngelScript! Woo!

This level is huge, open, and without much of a flow – that is, there’s no obvious paths to take. You kind of just run around and jump from platform to platform (which is hell if you aren’t Spaz, by the way) and hope you bump into gems or other players. Complicating things is the pit at the bottom of the level, which luckily has a big gem-saving script attached to it (I wonder why you didn’t just use warps) so you don’t lose your gems upon dying.

Gems that fall down or towards the level’s side edges because people get shot will still be lost however, which is a major problem as the game goes on and may eventually make the game unwinnable. This is a serious problem that really should’ve been fixed.

Another scripted feature of the level is your blaster, which has only 25 bullets and needs reloading when these are depleted. Reloading requires standing still and waiting while your ammo count slowly increases. This is a nice idea that could work really well in treasure hunt (where you really don’t want to stand still). However 25 bullets is perhaps a bit too few and the short range of the blaster means that it becomes really hard to actually hit other people before you run out of bullets. It’s also impossible to reload while your ammo count is above zero. This often makes it smarter to just jump in the pit and get free bullets rather than waiting for the reload to finish.

Overall an okay-ish level with some innovative ideas, but it really could’ve used some more testing and thinking about the gameplay impact of the scripted features. A shame they weren’t implemented better, or this could’ve been a really interesting level.

RecommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
5 Jan 2015, 02:02
For: Vault of Ceramicus
Level rating: 7.7
Rating
7.7

I played this online today. It’s a nice level, but it’s so big! You’d need a lot of players to make this play well, as we were with about 6 people and I often went for minutes at a time without really interacting with other players.

The level looks really nice, though it’s a bit “bumpy” in its design – you don’t necessarily get stuck, but you’ll be jumping rather than running most of the time. This is of course in part due to the level’s vertical layout. On the one hand the many obstacles and the vertical gameplay make it hard to get away from others, on the other hand they also make it hard to actually shoot someone. The inclusion of TNT is a nice touch that has the opportunity to mitigate this.

As for the gems, I think the amount is just about right for the gem limit of 150 or more we played with. Things tended to get a bit eventless in the later stages of the game as most gems were gone from the level and people were hard to find due to the level’s size, but that might be different with larger numbers of players.

All in all a good level, but it’s kind of stuck in the “big JDC event levels” niche. Taking on a level of this size is commendable, but for casual treasure servers a smaller level would probably work better.

Not recommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
4 Jan 2015, 16:53
For: Labrat Planet
Level rating: 5.5
Rating
5.5

A large pack usually calls for a large review, but there isn’t anything especially interesting to say of this pack unfortunately. It’s not that it’s bad – it isn’t – but it’s jut a bit …generic. All levels are more or less the same: large, sparse eyecandy, LOTS of enemies, little challenge beyond avoiding the enemies.

Which isn’t especially hard either with Spaz’s karate kick, but many enemies respawn quickly and there are some parts where you have to avoid warps or time your jumps well. As such it happens that you’ve just cleared a platform and are then hurt or killed by an army of baddies spawning right on top of you. Not exactly ideal, but on the other hand they’re mostly placed on flat platforms with lots of space above them so in many cases the best solution is to simply jump over them.

As said, there’s nothing wrong with these levels – they’re just not very interesting to play. Some more variety would’ve done wonders – different tilesets, more puzzles, enemies placed in such a way that they’re harder to avoid. And maybe don’t set the “next level” setting of each level to “Data.j2d” ;)

Not recommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
4 Jan 2015, 16:35 (edited 4 Jan 15, 16:36)
For: Diamondus Boss
Level rating: 4.9
Rating
4.0

Well, I’ve seen worse first levels, but this still isn’t all that interesting. The idea of making a boss arena isn’t a bad one, and as part of a larger level pack it would’ve been fine, but standalone this isn’t really worth downloading.

The problem with JJ2’s bosses is that they’re all fairly easy (except for Bilsy perhaps). Their AI isn’t good and easy to fool, especially in large areas where the player (who is way faster) can easily jump around and outrun the fumbling bosses. This level is fairly large, and gives the player several powerups. Coupled with Devan’s tedency to get stuck on slopes this makes it easy to pick his first form off from a distance, and simply jump around his immobile second form killing him with potshots here and there.

There is some added difficulty from a respawning bee in the lower right corner of the level, but it’s easy to avoid and therefore not much of a factor. More bees or a smaller areas would’ve made the boss fight a lot harder (though not necessarily more interesting).

The eyecandy is fairly basic, there are no tile bugs and the textured background works, but there’s not much more to see than this bare minimum. If the level is as small as this one, ceretainly it isn’t too difficult to add some more prettiness to it?

All in all not bad for a first level, but at the same time not worth downloading or playing. Keep it up, though! Such a start does hold some promise for what’s to come.

Not recommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
4 Jan 2015, 16:24
For: Halloween Adventure
Level rating: 2.2
Rating
2.0

To be honest, this looks like a typical “my first level” that shouldn’t really have been uploaded here. Everyone starts out like this – trying out various way to build platforms and buildings with tilesets, maybe adding a few enemies to see how they work, no textured background because you don’t know how that works yet.

My first single player level probably looked similar. I’m glad I never uploaded it to this site, because it really wasn’t good, and maybe that should’ve happened to this one too: let it stay on your hard drive, learn from it, play some other highly-rated single player levels, take inspiration from those, and create your next level that is actually fun to play and looks good. Maybe ask a few friends to play the level and tell you what they think, so you can change it based on their feedback and make it better before putting it out there for others to download and review. I’m sure your next levels will be a lot better if you do it like that!

As it is, this one is really not playworthy, though.

RecommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
4 Jan 2015, 16:19 (edited 16 May 20, 03:17)
For: Stone Abyss
Level rating: 9.6
Rating
9.0

I like this pack a lot. It’s just three levels with the default tilesets, but they’re big, fun to play and challenging.

The first level is fairly standard, much in the style of the official Castle levels. The tileset edit is nice enough, maybe the contrast is slightly too high but it looks good and adds a slight twist to the level. This goes for all three levels: large, with a nice palette edit and fun to play even though they don’t do anything spectacularly innovative.

All levels are full of secrets and diverging paths, which is great but sometimes a bit confusing: through the pack I got lost a few times looking for an exit in a dead-end area that didn’t actually have one. There’s almost always a way out that is fairly obvious once you finally find it, though.

I don’t really know what else to say; there’s nothing specific that stands out in these levels, but they do make for a good time playing them and finishing them feels rewarding due to the size and amount of secrets Bloody_Body put in them. I definitely recommend downloading this to all single player fans out there.

Review by Stijn

Posted:
4 Jan 2015, 15:41
For: Urdung Levels Castle Chapter
Level rating: 7.2
Rating
7.0

Well, that’s a flashback. The first level of this pack (that contains only text in Hungarian, so if there’s any story I’m afraid I didn’t quite get it) is an actual tutorial, much like the original game’s ‘Rabbit in Training’ level and, I’m afraid to say, equally dull. You can assume that anyone downloading levels from this site knows how the game plays, making tutorial levels fairly superficial.

Anyway, on to the actual levels. The first two are perfectly okay and do reach the goal of a making a “remake” of the original episode: they’re very reminiscent of Epic’s style, but a little bit bigger. The difficulty is also slightly higher and the levels are less linear than the original – that is, they are linear, but you’re getting warped all over the place so it’s hard to get an idea of where you are in the level.

The third level starts with a puzzle area that I didn’t care much for. There’s a lot of “okay, where am I supposed to go now?” which isn’t necessarily bad but since there are respawning enemies in the area you can’t easily jump around trying to find the hidden tunnel or trigger zone, but need to be on your toes not to bump in the same enemy all the time, which makes the whole process fairly tedious. There’s also an area later in the level where you get warped to random places by warps you can’t possible see before running into them, giving the whole puzzle a really random feel which gets annoying fast. The boss fight that follows isn’t much different from the original castle boss fight and as such not very interesting.

Overall a decent episode, but with parts that got annoying/tedious due to overzealous use of respawning enemies and warps. Always make the player feel like they’re the one in control!

Download recommended if you’d like a more challenging interpretation of the original Epic style levels.

Review by Stijn

Posted:
4 Jan 2015, 14:57 (edited 4 Jan 15, 14:57)
For: Flappy Rabbit v2
Level rating: 6.5
Rating
6.5

The title of these levels suggests that the gameplay is inspired by the Flappy Bird games. And indeed the first 10 seconds or so involve the player manoeuvring between pipes like in that game, but fortunately the gameplay similarities end there and the rest of this pack is more of a standard Jazz Jackrabbit 2 single player experience, albeit in levels made with tilesets inspired by Flappy Bird’s graphics.

When I say “standard” I mean to say that the levels play out much like the official Jazz Jackrabbit 2 levels: lots of easily-killed enemies, coin warps, some jumping and trigger puzzles, useless pickups (what have diamonds ever done for me?) and lots of blocks to destroy. It’s good enough in what it does; things never get challenging and level design could’ve been a bit more creative but the levels are perfectly functional as a short casual diversion. The final boss even changes things up a bit by hiding a Schwarzenguard in a giant Flappy Bird which you then have to kill with electroblasters only. It’s things like that that make a level interesting and I’d have liked to have seen a bit more of that kind of creativity.

Sadly there’s not much else of that and coupled with the rather dull tilesets (Flappy Bird doesn’t have much in the way of graphics to steal of course, but that’s not much of an excuse) this pack is fairly forgettable. Not bad by any means, just not very interesting either. But I think with a bit of added creativity Ande300 could certainly make some interesting things in the future.

All in all this is not brilliant, but not bad either. Download if you want to have a bit of casual single player fun, but there are better levels out there.

Not recommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
10 Sep 2013, 15:09 (edited 16 Jan 18, 13:59)
For: Afrikaans Language File
Level rating: N/A
Rating
0.0

“joystick” is “speelstang” in Afrikaans? This is wonderful…

RecommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
11 Feb 2013, 01:04 (edited 11 Feb 13, 01:07)
For: My first levels with Angel Script
Level rating: 7.0
Rating
7.5

No Way Out is a really nice level, and a nice showcase of some of the new possibilities AngelScript brings to JJ2. I liked the open-ended gameplay and not-too-easy-not-too-hard difficulty, it made for a relaxed experience (also thanks to the excellent music choice and decent eyecandy).

River Secrets is pretty terrible, and has so many glitches it’s practically unplayable (I somehow managed to both die and reach the next episode at the same time, only a few tiles from the start position).

So all in all it’s pretty hard to rate this level pack, since it’s basically one good and one bad level. I’m just going to mostly ignore River Secrets, and give this a 7.5 for No Way Out, which is definitely worth playing.

Review by Stijn

Posted:
27 Dec 2011, 15:48
For: Officials vs. Competitors #20
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

Heh, I played the original Team Battle endlessly back in the days, but never realized it was based on battle1. Nice idea to remake it.

Review by Stijn

Posted:
4 Aug 2010, 11:29
For: JJ2 TileSet Viewer
Level rating: 3.9
Rating
3.5

Well yeah, as StarLORD says it’s certainly the best program put on J2O today so far, but frankly that doesn’t say much since it’s 11:15 AM at the moment and utility uploads are typically rare. I therefore doubt that this achievement alone is enough to warrant a 10.0 rating and suggest you look at the application’s actual qualities instead, which are:

- It does what it says on the tin

That’s pretty much all of it; open a tileset with the program and it shows you the tileset’s image, much like J2O’s file preview feature. Sfaizst’s effort however uses black as a transparent color (black is what’s used internally in the tileset file) instead of the purple-blue that everyone’s used to because it’s what JCS uses. While the one color isn’t inherently better than the other it’s always a wise idea to stick to what people are used to if there is no particular reason not to do so.

I imagine the typical use of this utility would be quickly checking out a tileset from inside Windows Explorer. That can certainly be useful and the utility eliminates the tedious work of opening up JCS, scrolling down the tileset list, looking for the correct set (which can be rather hard when you have a few hundred sets) and loading it.

That’s pretty much where the feature list stops though as once you’ve opened a tileset with the program not much can be done with it. You can’t view the masks, export the tileset image or do stuff with the palette. So while this app does do what it promises to do, it doesn’t do anything else apart from that, limiting its use. Still worth a download if you have a large set of tilesets you’d like to check.

(Honestly, I mostly wrote this review to balance out StarLORD’s ridiculous 10. A shorter version would’ve been “what Violet said”)

Not recommendedQuick Review by Stijn

Posted:
22 May 2010, 12:11
For: Perditus
Level rating: 7.3
Rating
4.0

Don’t use such dark tilesets for multiplayer levels, it totally ruins it (unless it’s part of the concept)

RecommendedQuick Review by Stijn

Posted:
4 Mar 2010, 17:15
For: Pools of Light and Shadow
Level rating: 7.2
Rating
7.5

Sounds like a christmas remix. If someone ever made a Crysilis Xmas version, this would be the perfect soundtrack.

Doesn’t sound bad at all, but then again, it’s hard to go wrong with Crysilis’ instantly recognizable theme melody. The drums sound kind of lo-fi, apart from that it’s a pretty decent song.

Review by Stijn

Posted:
24 Jan 2010, 12:10
For: my live
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

Note: This uses the Hotel Dream tileset, but for whatever reason the author renamed it to “HotelD Rhotel.j2t”. You can get the file under that name at http://www.jazz2online.com/downloads/5700/hotel-bypretty-in-pink/

Okay, this level is horrible. It doesn’t have a background, which is only a big problem in single player, but looks bad regardless of game mode. Thanks to the mystifying decision to upload this as “Multiple” I can’t even tell whether this is supposed to be a multi- or singleplayer level. My guess is multiplayer, as it doesn’t have any enemies or an end boss. In fact, it doesn’t really have any events at all, save for a few warps.

You start in a room which loudly shouts WELCOME GEST (I’m assuming “guest” here) at you and then warps you to the rightmost part of the level. There isn’t a whole lot to do there. You can run to the left side of the level, passing what’s supposedly meant to be a swimming pool, to reach the “hose” (house). The house is equally disappointing, with a few basic constructions, a room at the upper level and a warp to the roof. But why would you want to go to the roof? There’s nothing to do there. All in all this is no fun to play. There’s no weapons or other pickups, there’s nothing that allows for tactical duels, and there’s only a few platforms.

Of course the level doesn’t look good either. As said, there’s no background, but there’s no other eyecandy to speak of either. Even levels such as these, which I suppose fall in the broad “hotel” category, should be nice to look at; it improves the experience a lot. There’s no music either; makes it even more boring. There’s plenty of music on Jazz2Online and included with the game itself, so you really have no excuse for forgetting it.

Alex, I’m disabling uploading new levels for you until you show me you’ve improved. Not a single level by you has gotten a positive review, and you’re not doing anything with the feedback people give you. When you have made a level that is not just fun for you to play, but also for others, feel free to contact me and I’ll make it possible for you to put it on the site again. Until then, please try to practice a bit. Look at other levels, see what makes them good, and try to use this knowledge in your own works. Good luck!

RecommendedReview by Stijn

Posted:
23 Jan 2010, 20:25 (edited 23 Jan 10, 20:26)
For: Episode One: The Invasion of Deserto
Level rating: 9.1
Rating
7.5

I wrote a review for this a long time ago, but having played the episode again recently I must say my opinion significantly changed. Therefore, I’m writing a new one.

I should start with this – Episode One is ambitious. From the way the story is interwoven with the gameplay to the size of the levels to the variety of puzzles, it’s obvious that in this episode EvilMike attempted to push the boundaries of JJ2’s singleplayer game mode. And in a lot of ways, he succeeded; I think this is the first time I’ve seen an episode with so much attention for the story that didn’t compromise the gameplay because of it. Another Story, for example, had a very well-presented story but as a result mostly consisted of (sometimes interactive) cutscenes, resulting in disappointing gameplay. Here both get equal attention and the episode really shines in this regard.

Already in the download description, on top of this page, the player is warned that this is a very difficult episode. And indeed it is; I often died and when I did manage to complete a level, I rarely had more than one heart left. Apart from the usual enemies you’ll see a lot of death pits and spike balls in the levels, which certainly keeps you on your toes all the time. Even if you’ve got a blaster powerup and lots of fast-fire you can’t simply go running around holding space, as you’ll inevitably run into some spikes or a bottomless pit sooner or later.

In fact, even when you don’t run around like a madman you’ll get hurt sooner or later. The problem with the episode and its difficulty is that there are far too many obstacles you simply can’t avoid. Or, you can avoid them, but you’d have to know they are there first. Now that wouldn’t be a problem if you had an endless supply of lives and could start over at a save point without punishment, but lives will often be in short supply. You can’t save manually either, as most levels are too big for this and will crash if you attempt to do so.

Take, for example, the following situation (from the “The Castle” level):

Those blocks I’m about to land on are collapsing blocks. So basically, unless I somehow have superhuman reflexes and manage to switch to TNT the microsecond before the bats noticed me, I’m guaranteed to lose a heart here. This isn’t the only occurence of such problems. I’m all for challenging enemies, but this is simply frustrating. And difficulty is good; frustration isn’t.

It’s a pity that levels are spoiled by places like this, where EvilMike tried to push it just a little bit too far with regards to making things challenging. Mostly, enemies are genuinely well-placed and used in such ways that in spite of their very rudimentary AI they are hard to kill. For example, often a bat will be hiding in a small alcove, making it impossible to stay a safe distance away while shooting. In such cases however the player gets the chance to assess the situation beforehand and has a fair chance.

There’s also a few occasions where I simply didn’t know what to do. The final battle against the Rocket Turtle is an example; the previous level was a chase, where the Rocket Turtle flew away while you had to get to the exit. Assuming the next level would be the same, since again the Rocket Turtle quickly flew out of sight, I tried to make it to the end of the level as fast as possible, only to be warped to a death pit. Some more instruction wouldn’t have hurt. I have to applaud using the Rocket Turtle at all though, as its a rarely used and erratic enemy and was used well in this case (when you figured out what you were supposed to do).

Another problem of mine with regards to the difficulty might be a matter of taste; the overabundance of spike balls. EvilMike made a lot of jumping challenges involving spike balls. As a result, those often require very precise timing to cross them without getting hurt or even dying (the recoil of getting hurt often making you fall into a pit full of spikes). In my opinion those were often way too hard though, requiring such perfect timing that I often gave up altogether and resorted to giving myself invisibility with cheats. As said, this might be a matter of taste; I did enjoy the parts involving ordinary enemies, where I just got to shoot stuff.

During the parts where the episode isn’t plagued by frustratingly impossible challenges, however, it’s pretty good. Depending on the tileset, levels look gorgeous. Strangely, while they use the same tileset, the “Deserto City” levels look a lot better than the “Temple” levels. Whereas the City looks like a proper desert settlement the temple gives the impression of boring, repetitive brown blocks without much decoration. It gets better once you go underground, but the “daylight” temple parts simply don’t look that good. Having created the tileset himself, I imagine the Temple tileset was an obvious choice for EvilMike, but it might’ve been a better choice to go for a tileset like Persian Paradise here, or at least an updated version of Temple (which was years old already when this episode was made).

Like the graphics, the music was generally well-chosen. The soundtrack mostly consists of techno tracks, which might seem a bit strange given the fact that this episode mostly plays in the desert, but the music fits well and helps establishing an “alien invasion” theme.

It is hard to rate this episode. It’s got a moderately interesting story that is tightly interwoven with the gameplay in a way that we haven’t seen before. It looks excellent and sounds great too. Yet, at times it’s so frustratingly (and unfairly) difficult that I found it hard to genuinely enjoy playing it. Perhaps you’re a better player, or one that doesn’t particularly mind insane difficulty. Even if you aren’t, this is an episode you should certainly get, if only to appreciate the beautiful levels and well-told story. Expect to smash your keyboard a few times while playing, though.

RecommendedQuick Review by Stijn

Posted:
16 Jan 2010, 02:43
For: Deckstar (Takes It To The Bridge)
Level rating: 8.0
Rating
8.0

fonky

Review by Stijn

Posted:
16 Dec 2009, 11:36 (edited 16 Dec 09, 18:37)
For: Guinness: Freefall
Level rating: N/A
Rating
N/A

This level shows a black-and-white rabbit falling down from high in the sky to earth, which is made believable through clever layer speeds and some texts.

It’s a nice showcase of what you can do with layer speeds, but far from as inspiring or innovative as the other “experiments” Gus uploaded. Also, shouldn’t the ground come closer REALLY fast in the end?

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