I was hoping to provide some feedback as a betatester before the release, but it seems I spent too long trying to say something other than ‘it’s too hard’.
There’s a sense of adventure about this episode, brought out by the portals in the three towers. Most of the episode doesn’t actually take place on Nippius, so you never know what lies ahead. In many ways, Devan’s Fortress is Mike’s take on the Central Cave. However, there are two things which detracted from my enjoyment of The Fortress of Ruin:
One is Mike’s chosen style of level design. The other is JJ2’s technical limitations.
While individual levels each have their own theme in terms of obstacles and puzzles (and of course eyecandy), I’d go so far to say that gameplay is unvaried throughout the episode. The balance shifts between fighting enemies and avoiding traps from level to level, but there is usually plenty of both. As a result, there is always something in the way, always something to avoid or watch out for.
How do I deal with ravens? I shoot them from afar, or I get their attention and uppercut them. How do I deal with skeletons, turtles, and other ground enemies? I shoot them from afar or buttstomp them. Fish and crabs? I use seekers if I don’t want to take the time getting the angle right. Of course, it would be too straightforward to shoot at things on level ground, so half the time I’m jumping up and down from the same spot to clear my path, only to repeat the process again and again.
The traps and obstacles are more cerebral. Sometimes things will look very intimidating, but you can get past most without getting hurt, provided that you pay attention. Whether it can be achieved for all of them, I personally don’t know, as I passed some of the more difficult ones by deliberately ‘bouncing’ off spikes. There’s also far too much instant death in the levels, further aggravated by the inability to save in bigger levels. A good knowledge of both rabbits’ abilities is essential.
With so many creative ideas being successfully implemented, why must there be a constant? Why is essentially the same deathtrap over and over again?
It would not be 100% hyperbole to say that every level is Mike’s take on Central Cave. Progress was laborious and repetitive, with too many sections thay could easily have been taken from test levelss. I think arjan’s review is quite perceptive, in that the episode is indeed heavy on arcade gameplay. You meet some static characters in your journeys, who provide useful hints or just small talk, but the actual story is played out in cutscenes. However, ‘fast paced’, is the last phrase I’d use.
I have been thinking that The Fortress of Ruin would be less extreme if the entire lives and saves system was rid of, and replaced by checkpoints and infinite lives. The game would be saved when you reach a checkpoint, and reloaded when you die. The two problems of excessive saving and losing your progress would both be eliminated. This doesn’t change the levels in any way, but I do know many people enjoy the kind of gameplay present in episode 5.
Before you start reading my review, ask yourself why, if it’s positive, and why, if it isn’t, you need a reviewer to tell you whether to download this level pack. For Chrissake, it’s Tomb Rabbit 2! Granted, Tomb Rabbit 2 lite, but that little number alone should have you clicking on the download button more willingly than a brainwashed proselyte giving away his livelihood.
- – -
Of all the twists and turns I’ve seen during my first journeys in Egypt, none was a bigger surprise than seeing green blocks, as if taken straight from some Nintendo game, in a jungle, in a Tomb Rabbit level. From the first to the last, these confounding 1×1 blocks are the major building material of puzzles in the majority of the seven available TR 2 levels. The more I encountered, the more used to them I got, but I have to say that they still conflict with not only the levels’ overall appearance but also the spirit of the original Tomb Rabbit—which had its puzzles seamlessly integrated into the environment—all the while admitting that they remain extremely functional and without which most of the puzzles would not have been possible. It was just very strange to see my route blocked off by big, red blocks that look like nothing else in the jungle.
Normally, I would not mind when levelmakers have to employ questionable tiles when using other people’s tilesets, but Kejero must be excepted because all of TR 2’s tilesets are of his own hands. The blocks are clearly intentionally designed, but what was wrong with the original’s natural and environmentally consistent graphics, which not only looked the part, but also pressed my buttons much more satisfyingly? On the upside, those blocks fitted right in with the other brightly coloured tiles of the training level—a zany mix of vivid oranges, dark blues, and a whole array of other spectral spectacles, with a very spirited atmosphere about it that was starkly different from that of the original—and the warmly coloured island level, also with rich tones and a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky ambience (I don’t even know what that means) that actually uses the same music.
- – -
Different again from the original, Tomb Rabbit 2’s gameplay involves quite a lot more physical exertion: jumping, coptering, using other special moves, and not just running. But surely there was a lot of physical activity in the original too? Yes, but I didn’t mention the coins. Taking another departure from the original, TR 2 has coins in every level, 400 to be precise, and collecting 100 nets you one extra life. They are not always placed at ground level, and you’re obviously encouraged to jump and grab as many as you can. I’ve never been a fan of coin collecting, but given our rabbits’ easy, super-fluid motions, it became quite fun. Ironically, having money in the levels came at a price: the coins make you feel like you’re playing an old school platform game, and removes the intense feelings of isolation and, to a certain extent, (dare I say it?) realism. Again, this is surely intentional, but what was wrong with the original, which was much more about the atmosphere and the experience?
Apart from coins, there are various trigger zones that you can use to control the previously mentioned blocks. The zones are placed on specially made tiles that work in two directions: approach the tile from underneath, and you deactivate the block of the tile’s respective colour; approach it from above, and the opposite happens. The bottom or top of the trigger zone tiles may not always be within reach, so sometimes you can only perform one action, thus impeding or aiding your advance. This system is seen in all but two of the levels, and works wonders for general puzzle solving and level progression, but I wonder if it wouldn’t become over-used for a 20-level episode.
The two-way trigger zone arrangement is also successfully adopted for other means, such as controlling stairs (they don’t disappear; they just get inverted as if turning on some invisible swivel) and, most impressively, countless rows of spikes (you can lower the spikes, which renders them harmless, but they may then block your path; or you can raise them, which clears your path, but they’ll then become dangerous again—pretty cool, and it made me smile too).
Although you can only see it clearly from within JCS, the level structures tend to be very compressed, with a lot of platforms and passageways squeezed into a relatively small area, as opposed to the sprawling, if claustrophobic, corridors of the TR 1 temples that took up a lot of room, but didn’t actually allow much movement. Tomb Rabbit’s trademark foreground window, not just there for eyecandy, remedies this completely: while travelling literally all over the level, you’re usually no more than 30 tiles above, below, or to the side of your previous location a few minutes ago, but the smaller visible portion of the level makes it seem like you’ve gone a long way. This is most true for two of the pack’s most intricately built levels: the three trees forest and the rabbit HQ. The borders of the levels are even a couple of tiles thicker than normal in order to keep the illusion sustained. Unfortunately, the foreground window no longer acts as a sort of inventory like in the original, though it wouldn’t be implausible if it did in a full release.
Deceptively simple methods are used to create extra depth: warps, for example, are used extensively in most levels to transport the player to an indoor area. Given the specially created tilesets, this is an incredibly effective method, and it was a pleasure to zip in and out of towers, temples, huts and caves.
- – -
I recall being disappointed at the lack of a proper Tomb Rabbit atmosphere when I played through the first two levels, due to the marked deviation from ‘standard’ TR 1 fare. The trio of jungle levels even uses official Epic music; hearing jungle.j2b three times in a row is tiresome, to say the least. Despite this, it was a pleasure playing both of the levels, though it was like going to the cinema and finding out that you were seated at the wrong movie.
Saying no to no, however, I played on, and was treated to two excellent waterfall/temple levels that took my mind off those confounded blocks once and for all. The tileset, especially the temple, was beautifully drawn, and the various tiles were put to excellent use, with lush, cascading waterfalls that grew in size from platform to platform, and overgrown stone paths beneath my feet. It’s a pity that there wasn’t a more appropriate music. The relatively advanced stone temple did not fit the tribal sounds of ‘jungle’, with the levels themselves also being devoid of any monkeys.
One thing I noticed about the levels so far was that they are much less hazardous. Where were the plethora of spikes, the boulders, and the knives? Where was my bottom? Not on something sharp, that’s for sure. This was addressed in the rabbit headquarters, with laser rays reminiscent of the spike traps of TR 1, and even some Bunsen burners firing up below a very low ceiling. My one complaint is that there’s a nasty bug involving buttstomping inside the tubes that allows the player to bypass the laser rays and Bunsen burners completely which, face it, is just not fair to those who have had their tails roasted, scorched, and fried.
Tomb Rabbit 2’s penultimate level, my favourite, is easily the best looking of the seven; ‘Elevator Perils’ took my breath away on several occasions, and marks a return to TR 1’s cinematic feel. It is a flawless marriage between tileset and level, with the soul of the level resting mainly on the marvellous tileset, a harsh, steel compound, in many places similar to ‘7th Lava Fall’. The action-filled music fits the level perfectly, and is right up there with ‘Helmet Shaker’ and ‘Cracking Ice’ in terms of meshing well with the level. I could even hear the wonderful Tomb Raider theme, and further credits must go to Kejero for compiling the music himself. If you play the level at the correct pace, the main melody will start just as you fall down the first elevator shaft, complete with friction sparks and animated girders. It was an unbelievable sight.
When I mentioned that this is Tomb Rabbit 2 lite, I meant it. An amazingly tight level, the tropical island allows you to backtrack across several areas, explore every part, poke your nose into every nook and cranny, yet there isn’t one wasted tile, not one wasted room. The blocks looked outlandish in the jungle, but here, I wouldn’t have it any other way, for they contribute to the pinnacle of good level design and, despite the easy difficulty, I was never bored.
- – -
The first question I asked myself after playing through the unfinished Tomb Rabbit 2 was ‘Is this worth the wait?’ During my first few seconds of tomb raiding, I came to the realization that Tomb Rabbit 2 looks and feels very much unlike its predecessor. The training level alone couldn’t be more different from one of JJ2 history’s most famous first levels, Central Cave. For a while, with the mass of bright colours, upbeat music, and chess motifs, I felt I wasn’t playing a Tomb Rabbit level at all, and I must confess that I was basically expecting more of the same. With that expectation defenestrated, I found the 7-level episode to be hugely fun, and, yes, a great experience in and of itself. For a sequel, it is not a successful evolution, but rather a triumphant revolution. Toto, we’re not in Egypt anymore.
Is this a bug? Nothing will show up under Zip Contents. Perhaps too many files?
The Crazy Christmasbattle 2007 doesn’t quite live up to its name, but there are many notable features in this level, and among them, the bonus warp, the water, all the V poles, and of course the hour glasses. To sum it up, it’s 180×72, consists of two towns on each side, a few large platforms in the middle, and a cave under the right town.
The level looks very average. There are only a few tilebugs (remember to cover all the spots around the windows, not just the actual window frame, or parts of your rabbit will stick out). For the most part, the surroundings look like a typical HH98 level. I found nothing really original in the eyecandy, and sometimes it was a bit plain, especially in the middle, which is the emptiest part of the level, with only two L-shaped platforms.
Technopauluz has opted to use a third layer of mountains in layer 5, which I suppose is slightly original, but it takes away from the level, as layer 5 is usually the most important background eyecandy layer. A tileset like HH98 lacks a lot of transition tiles, so eyecandy is made MUCH more flexible using layer 5.
Simple things like putting those large, brown trees in the background, changing the colour of the layer 8 sky, and using more of those foreground streetlights would make a real difference. Remember to use all available tiles in a tileset.
The level has mostly good flow, but the water and the poles really slow you down unnecessarily. I see no reason why water was included, and it looked slightly out of place too. Always be careful of where you place poles. In Crazy Christmasbattle, they’re at the exit of every cave, which really makes you think twice about entering it in the first place, especially if you’re being chased. I also didn’t like the time-delayed springs, as people aren’t likely to stick around for long in one place (I’ll get to that later). Watch out for pointless dead-ends. There are two of them in the right town.
The level is quite large, but has no carrots, nor does it have any power-ups apart from a few for the freezer gun. More power-ups are only available by entering the bonus warp. Players really do move around a lot in the level, as there are virtually no places worth camping.
Areas above the bubbles are slightly Spaz biased as Jazz/Lori can only reach one platform of the two, but it’s not a big deal.
Like the eyecandy, everything feels quite average. It’s not bad, but you feel there’s nothing different here. The level has an interesting bonus system though. It really is Christmas, as entering the bonus warp does not directly give you anything, but instead drops a goodie down somewhere else in the level for anyone to take. There is a large range of “drop-downs” available, and none respawn. I feel there should be more coins available, so players can enter the warp more often. It’s a good attempt to keep the gameplay interesting, but it’s quite random, and it’s tediuos to enter the coin warp again and again, with nothing but a few crates dropping down.
The hour glasses are another novelty. As the author said, you can shoot them down to get in the way, but people mostly jump over them. Try to test your level online as much as possible, and note the spots where people congregate, or don’t. If nobody ever goes to a place, then it is simply useless space.
This is a well-built level, though not so well-designed, and I can see a lot of effort has been put into the level. I’m sure it’s possible to have a lot of fun in it with enough people going into the bonus warp, but the rest is nothing we haven’t seen before, so the rating won’t be very good. See this level as a learning experience, and a stepping stone to better levels.
I knew asking people in JJ2 servers to review it would lead to poor efforts on their part. :-(
I won’t actually rate this tileset conversion because I wouldn’t know where to start with the review. I’ve never done it for a conversion before, at least not properly (the last one I wrote was about 5 years back…).
I just want to say you’ve done a good job with the conversion, and the masking is top notch, although it is often not clear which tiles are solid and which are not when you’re playing.
Now, I don’t know Rayman at all, nor have I played it, but I was slightly disappointed when I found out that none of the water/pond tiles were included. It would have been the perfect touch, but since it’s a very large tileset, you probably didn’t have the space.
Last but not least, great work with the foreground tiles of those mushrooms, purple flowers, and red berry trees. Very simple and easy to use. :-)
No rating, but definite download recommendation.
Spaz18, stop trying to end the level with all your lives intact, and you’ll soon figure it out.
A very functional tool, very easy and simple to use, the faster you can type the faster the job is finished, but no ÅÄÖ? I can’t create a Swedish translation now. :-(
The interface is plain and user friendly, although the Help button seems to be broken, not that people need it when they have the Readme. Basically, all of JJ2’s text (in English) is in the window to the right, and your own translation goes in the window to the left. Just copy and paste the English version and replace the English words with your translation. All the buttons are self-explanatory. Couldn’t be more of a breeze.
It’s a good tool for everyone who has ever wanted to translate JJ2 into their own language, but the rating will be slightly reduced because of the missing characters.
You won’t know that Hidden Savanna is a very small level when you first play in it, but you’ll certainly feel cramped the moment you set foot in it. There is virtually not a single place where you can’t see a wall or a ceiling in this 105×80 CTF level.
I’ve played a little 1v1, some 2v1, and a 2v2 game to 4 points here…excluding the 2v1 game, I think it’s easy to camp at the carrot and the seeker PU in duels, since you have no team mate to attack the camper in your place. You’re a bit more at danger if you camp with just one or two hearts, but as long as you’ve got the ammunition (and the gung-ho attitude), you’ll give your opponent a hard time.
The flow is fast and smooth, which is fun, although the symmetry, size, and tileset choice of the level leans too heavily towards gameplay. There hasn’t been much attempt at breaking new ground anywhere, and there’s not much eyecandy either. It’s as simple as the level.
One thing worth mentioning about Hidden Savanna is its predictability. This level doesn’t require you to memorise much. It’s got a basic platform layout, and the suckertubes and warps are all easily accessible. The flag arrows really do count here, and you can deduce where your opponent is going just by the direction he’s heading for (honestly, many levels aren’t like this at all!). Tensions can run high when two or more players stalk each other, trying to guess where the other is going and getting there before them.
Long story short: Nice, small CTF level.
Rating: 7.2, and a download recommendation.
Oh, and Unknownfile betatested too (but he won’t mind).
Before and after ICE Man’s successful attempt at extracting JJ2 sprites, we’ve had several questions about the editing of those sprites. If someone asked ‘Can you edit JJ2 sprites?’ just one day ago, the short answer would be: ‘no’. But if that question were asked today, the inquiring person would be pleasantly surprised.
Neobeo once told me that he wasn’t a very good at writing forum posts. Once he simply let someone else do the writing for him and then copied and pasted it into one of his own posts. But this is not the case with Jazz Sprite Dynamite. I’ve seen the thread http://www.jazz2online.com/jcf/showthread.php?t=14900 and it introduces people to the program quite well. (Also, those screenshots looked very, very delicious.) Before I saw the thread I thought the program was not for me but was convinced otherwise 15 seconds later.
The readme was incredibly helpful and I got started in no time. All you do is back up your anims.j2a and load up the program. From here on, you will see a main screen, where the actual sprite and editing tools are, as well as some scroll bars. The top bar is the set ID, where one or more animations are kept. The middle bar enables the browsing through of animations, and the bottom bar enables you to view individual sprites in an animation. Think folders, sub-folders, and files.
After you set the ‘Make file read-only’ option to off, from under the File menu, you can start editing. You only have a limited number of colours; the same number JJ2 has (duh). There are lines, circles, rectangles and various other nifty editing tools for you to speed up work, but most of the time you’ll just have to edit sprites pixel by pixel. Fortunately, JazzSD is quite fast and you can see your results directly on the little screen to the top right. To save, you only need to switch set ID or close the program. What I don’t quite understand is why the Save option exists…I strongly recommend keeping the edits you made in memory and NOT savew whenever you switch set IDs and have the program prompt you for a save/cancellation if you decide to close it without manually saving through.
You won’t, however, be able to run JJ2 without first ‘patching’ it, which JazzSD does for you in ways I don’t understand (having an unpatch function is a nice bonus since it involves one less file to back up ;-)).
It all works seamlessly. I don’t even know how to test for bugs…the program seems too simple for that. I just pick a colour and click on the main screen, save it, and watch it all in JJ2…! Then there are the advanced functions, such as hotspot, coldspot, gunspot, boundaries, which will be needed when editing specific sprites such as missiles/bullets and, I think, sprites of a certain size. The readme is a lifesaver on this one…and it’s not even finished yet.
Did you know that the hot/coldspots for the 10, 20 and 50 coin bonus warps are at 24, 45 and 24, 54 respectively? Only the 100 coin bonus warp has its hot/coldspots at 28, 39 and 28, 54 respectively. (It’s also worth noting that the checkboxes for hot/coldspots work, but the gunspot will not disappear whether the box is checked or not).
Even if all you’re going to do is muck about with weird new sprites like me, you should still give it a try and download. You can export your amazing/abysmal new sprites as .gif/.png files and you can also import .png files.
Oven-warmly recommended and a 9.2. I think we have a strong candidate for this month’s featured upload. Let’s just wait for the updates.
Too bad I played this one before you uploaded it for the second time. I had a laugh when playing ‘Tempel Level’…things just became worse and worse as you progres through the level. All right, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t downloaded the level, but you can expect some rather nice effects like a swarm of Sparks following you through a suckertube barely fast enough to outrun them, with a warp at the very end, or how about reading two of the most useful text strings ever? You also get to shoot for ages and ages, good if you want to (accidentally) destroy your keyboard for insurance money, and you will get hurt randomly…all…the time.
The level still manages to not be completely bad…sure, there are surprises, but they only become unpleasant if you are naive enough to think it’s all going to be a walk in the park after being TOLD the level was a bad one. I had a lot of fun walking on spikes with no hurt events while going through a cloud of Cheshire cats that disappear on contact and don’t actually do anything.
‘Tempel Level’ has a spelling mistake in its name and it’s my belief it has absolutely no replayability. But just as you only get one shot at life (unless you’re James Bond), you only need to play this level once to get as much as you can from it. Download at your discretion.
EDTI: Yay, I beat n00b and got the longest review.
Are you two absolutely sure that you followed the instructions in about.txt?
The access violation is necessary and isn’t actually an error, for the reason given in this post by UF: http://www.jazz2online.com/jcf/showpost.php?p=347764&postcount=1
Oh, btw, green gems are worth 5 gems in all modes, but I perhaps you can work out why Violet specifically asked to test it in Treasure Mode.
This doesn’t do justice to anything. :-P
EDIT: Why doesn’t Blacky’s review have a date?
steals Odin’s system
Layout: The whole level is built like a hotel. There’s a big, green lobby in the middle, some rooftop areas, and some rooms at the bottom. The level is small and fairly open, but you can still move around quickly with the help of warps and springs. There’s a Battle 1-like dead end to the right of the blue base, but people will have an opportunity to either go up by the green springs or take the secret warp in the far-right room (except the warp will just warp th player back to the dead end…). Both bases are quite defendable, even with just a blaster, which isn’t that fun in 2v2s. On the other ahnd, the bases can be attacked from the outside with gun 9s, which helps deter some camping (also, campers are kind of stuck if they go into a base because they can’t then safely go out again).
Eyecandy: Not so good. All the basic tiles are there but the tilset usage is poor and the level offers little eyecandy. There are no animations either, despite animation tiles being used (namely the fireplace). I really don’t like the huge mass of TVs in the lobby. ;-P
Gameplay: The level has actually got good flow, but it is very biased towards the blue team. It has got all the good warps, easily defendable warp targets and almost complete control over the big lobby, which takes up 25% of the level.
Events placement: All the weapons can be used to good effect here, including TNT (because this is CTF). Again, the events placement is not entirely fair. The carrot warp, bouncer PU warp AND seeker warp are all extremely close to the blue base, while red team members must venture far away from their own base in order to get power-ups/carrots. The ammo is also sligtly sparse, so there’ll be a reliance on power-ups. Finally, the start position events seem to have been misplaced. Swap them around.
Other: Odin, there IS a carrot here, it is ONLY singleplayer that removes the flag from the player when he enters a warp. That never happens in multiplayer…
Download recommendation: No. This is a typical, average level with nothing new for anyone, but keep trying since it’s not bad for a first try..
This is quite a creative and interesting program, IMO, and I’m testing it right now.
When CashKeep is activated, I recommend warping the player ONCE to 2, 2. Currently, the program warps you to 2, 2 for an indefinite number of times, so if you have not completed the level, you can never get out again until you’ve clicked ‘End Keep’ and jjnowall/jjfly your way out of there. This can also be a big problem if you do not click ‘End Keep’ before the next level loads, since you’ll just warp immeditely to 2, 2 and get stuck there…
Perhaps you could reupload an updated version? ;-)
EDIT: In fact, the program warps you so quickly to 2, 2 that it doesn’t even allow you to fall down into the Exit event. The player must click ‘End Keep’, then quickly ‘Start Keep’, and finally ‘End Keep’ again.
EDIT 2: The program seems fully functional in TSF. The method I had to use was different from the one Cash Keep told me to use, but it still works twice, and I was impressed enough (and kinda forced) to run through all 3 Cash Keep levels twice. Even though this is still v0.1, it works well enough and people can already start making levels with it. I will rate this when a newer version comes out, however.
…and I just found out you can’t recommend an upload without rating it. Well, I don’t care! DOWNLOAD RECOMMENDATION!
EDIT 3: Well, the program is now more easier to use, and works just as well in 1.23, but things have taken a turn for the worse, as the program sets singleplayer to co-op, meaning that you can no longer use any cheats, and you will not be taken to the Game Over screen when you run out of lives. Instead, you will have no choice but to start the levels from the very beginning, rather than from the level you died in, which is a problem for big level packs.
First download and review. ;-D
Could you please tell us how to use OpenJazz.exe? Neither Start nor Quit will work with the Enter button, but the Level and World selections are fine.
Is there a jump button? We can hardly explore the levels. ;-)
There appears to be a few colour problems with World 40, Level 0 (the pink colour of Eva’s dress is distorted).
In higher resolutions, Jazz’s slope navigation is seriously messed up. He moves slowly up slopes and can’t keep his feet on them when moving down, which is different from his moves in standard 320×120 resolution.
Haha, just look at that! 4 TSF uploads in a row.
Anyway, this will be my ‘HQ review’, where I can awkwardly quote people and respond to questions and comments.
(Dx, please don’t shout at me. I’m using a TSF-only tileset. ;-P)
First download and first review! Yay!
Well, well…this is certainly an interesting battle level.
First of all, it uses the old J2LC Easter set with completely disdain towards the actual holiday season it is released in. Second of all, the level is big. Very big. It takes up a third of its 255×255 size, but that’s still big. Yes, yes, very big. :-P
Basically, Megabattle has several arenas, each with its own special characteristics. There are airboard arenas, huge pinball arenas, swimming pools (some large, some shallow) and…‘springs-galore-make-player-go-crazy’ areas. The warps in the starter area are at first slightly confusing, but they keep the level unpredictable, because the layout is basically a whole bunch of platforms with or without stuff on them. The idea isn’t that original, but it IS rare (possibly because it doesn’t work…I don’t know), so people who want to try something different (not new) should have a look at Megabattle.Ahem. Megabattle uses one of J2LC’s
I would never duel here. It’s not a duel level. It will all go horribly wrong if you try to duel here. The level is too big, it has no carrots(?) and there is little strategy involved here. I’m sure it would be great for public games, however, especially large ones (note to self: recommend this for a JDC AYCR event). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can see that the author worked quite hard on Megabattle, and he has come up with lots of ideas in order to make every part of the level unique. The level is probably as good as it can ever get, with perhaps a tileset change the only thing it needs. I recommend True Rabbit Hotel, or even Easter 99!
If you’re a regular server hoster or are expecting many people to join your game (necause many people is what you need in order to actually make Megabattle FUN), download this. Otherwise, don’t bother, since there are better, more refined battle levels out there. I’ll try hosting this one day and see what happens… ;-)
Megabattle gets a 5 for duels and a 6.7 for larger public servers. No one is mad enough to duel here, I hope, so I’ll give it a 6.7…
Also, please DO translate the text to English. :-)
I think treasure games can bring out the worst in people. Most of the time, people will just fight each other, steal each other’s gems and they’ll never stop because they want revenge on having their precious gems stolen (of course, it wouldn’t hurt if you took surplus gems from your opponent, as a form of interest). While battle games stimulate the good, old hunter instinct, and CTF games encourage team work, treasure games are all too often about jealousy and greed, which is why I appreciate a level that’s more about gem finding rather than gem fighting.
FS’ treasure level looked overwhelming at the start, and, to somebody who has never this before, Coral Coves often appears full of life. I’m quite used to the eyecandy and enemies by now, but it is still the most realistic JJ2 coral reef I’ve seen so far. While there aren’t that many animations (and I couldn’t find a SINGLE dopefish either, despite the presence of a dopefish animation), the level is full of bubbles, moving sea creatures (beach-going tube turtles not counted ;-)) and there is always a wide variety of tiles, both in background and foreground layers. The blue tiles are used well, with lots of curves and different shapes, and give the appearance of size. What’s not so realistic is that sometimes the same tiles is used over and over again in one place, like the green starfish round pos 132, 22, but it looks pretty enough. The eyecandy sometimes obscure obstacles and may leave players swimming into a wall for a few seconds (like at pos 21, 73) but it’s something people can easily learn to avoid.
Not all tiles of Violet’s CoralC are actually in the level, but FS has used the tileset very well, and there are almost no tile bugs (the only ones I could spot, and I’m not even sure if I’m right, are the edges of the red algae bush at pos 55, 55). Also, the fish are too nicely camouflaged regardless of the background, and you end up meeting a wide open jaw more often than not, which is very annoying if you’re the host. Still this is a minor problem since there is also a lite version. You simply have to look at Coral Coves for yourself to appreciate its eyecandy.
The gameplay of Coral Coves does not stray much away from those of other water levels. As usual, there are very few platforms and most of the swimming takes place in tunnels. The level is divided into two parts, with the right side basically being just one huge underwater cave with a big, coral-covered rock in the middle, and the left side consists of a narrow mouth, leading to the surface, which divides into 3 other tunnels, which then also divide into 2 tunnels each, and so on, until it reaches the bottom of the coastline, 69 tiles down. This tunnel system is excellent at spreading players apart, provided they are willing to do so. The tunnels to the left can get quite tight (wonderful exploration experience, however :-)), and that makes seekers very powerful. Bouncers are also useful when being chased, but RFs and toasters are only really useful on land; toasters for obvious reasons, and RFs because of the lack of straight tunnels and its shockwaves, which bounce you around. The TNT is also quite hard to get in smaller games, especially when there are experienced people around, who will try to avoid fighting there, in case a hurt opponent goes into the TNT hole, busts open 3 barrels and suddenly becomes 100 gems richer. FS tried to ‘entice’ people to get near the TNT by placing two giant gems, and a lot of red gems near the TNT area, which solves the problem for larger servers, where fighting is bound to take place.
Players in Coral Coves should either avoid other people, or make sure to get the first shot, from my experience. Coral Coves’ flow is decent because you can go anywhere when underwater but the level isn’t very fun to play in if there are less than 6 people in the server, because of the humongous amount gems at the right side (two blue gems, a whole line of red gems, followed by gem rings, two green gems, and more red gems, and that’s only in the middle of the tunnel). Whoever gets to the right side first will almost certainly win. Although the left side has more gems, it takes much longer time to collect them, not to mention the fact that the largest gem deposit, 79, 23, is quite far away from the entrance to the left tunnel system.
The best way, in my opinion, to solve this problem is to set a higher gem limit for smaller servers using Controller. Increasing the limit to just 120 already improves the winning chances of players collecting gems on the left side in the lite version.
There’s not much to say about ammo placement. Perhaps there are too many seekers. That only applies to smaller servers, but the concentration of seekers isn’t done that well, because most of them are near the wrecked ship so those who can’t get there in time must be content with finding much smaller amounts of seekers under the surface. The enemies add greatly to the eyecandy, although you end up ignoring them after a while. They can be quite annoying to the host, especially the fish, which are hard to spot. FS claims that the enemies make you able to get into fights without fear of gettin hurt, but they are more of a method of escape from fights, because you can’t hurt others while blinking.
Coral Coves is overall a unique treasure level and it is lifted up to the higher realms of quality due to its underwater tunnels, the highly polished layout and the presence of marine life (despite this, I do not miss them at all when playing the lite version).
FS’ treasure level puts many creative ideas into action, but still feels like a well-made, conventional underwater level. There really aren’t that many new treasure level these days, which helps make this level stand out. If you like treasure, you’ll love Coral Coves. Heartily recommended.
EDIT: I got the longest review!
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.