RecommendedReview by Derby

Posted:
4 Jan 2009, 10:48 (edited 14 Dec 10, 19:07 by cooba)
For: Lost Luggage Landfill
Level rating: 8.8
Rating
9.3

Although this review was written in January 2009 for a level released in August 2008, I still wanted to address what I liked and disliked about “Lost Luggage Landfill.” I will mainly focus on the gameplay aspect of the race level in this review, though I will make some remarks about the appearance of the level.

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Gameplay (9.5/10, 80% Weight):

On my first lap of this race level, I was a little confused. Upon further inspection, this can be attributed not to the gameplay, but the appearance of the level. After several playthroughs, I concluded that the flow, length, and potential for action in this level are likely the most balanced I have seen in a JJ2 race level.

Flow:

The height of horizontal areas and the width of vertical areas in the level switch from “wide” to “narrow” frequently over long stretches. The effect should be more noticeable with more than two competitors. The short symmetrical branching paths (side-by-side pipes) allow the action to split up so the racing can have some semblance of “defense” that is lacking in other levels.

The springs are properly placed throughout the level, and I was also pleased to see them used well with “dissonance” early in the level, in that holding right constantly on the upper path toward the beginning results in the player being pushed back a little by blue springs, which is adequate punishment for holding “right” brainlessly.

The overall route of the level is confusing at first, though there are arrows indicating where to go. In particular, when the route is reversed, it would be nice to have the arrow pointing at the pole route removed via the same trigger and have a different arrow pointing to the left to show the correct path to take for the confused user who is experiencing this flip in the route for the first time. This is again, an appearance issue, but it impacts the flow of the level the first time through. A difficult goal in making the “perfect race level” is making the primary route perfectly clear the first time around. This and another appearance issue I will note later are the only issues, and they are very minor.

On the ascents of this level, Spaz has a minor movement advantage in that he has a few more options to shave his overall time. In particular, his extra jump allows him to forgo the ice ammo over the spring just after the trigger-based crossover somewhat early in the race. On the other hand, neglecting to pick up any ice causes the player to miss out on some decent ice-based shortcuts that would otherwise make up for that time. Other than this and the boxed spring situation very early in the level where Spaz can access the bouncer ammo without the use of the higher green springs using his extra jump, there are no significant advantages for Spaz.

Jazz has a few combat advantages in this level. The slight horizontal descent after the “holes in the floor” area that follows the steep descent through three pipes can affords Jazz better control over freezing his opponents with ice while flying. Additionally, the fact that he requires a jumping punch to access one of the ice shortcuts punishes players taking the same shortcut or merely passing over. Again, these are about as minor as Spaz’s movement advantages.

Most of the shortcuts in the level involve a risk/reward situation. In some cases, (in particular the RF shortcut and the second iced spring shortcut) the risk scales exponentially with the number of players and players may need to think twice about using them.

There is one major “one-use only” shortcut that is probably best used the first time around because it bypasses destructible scenery the first time around. It is close to the point where the course flips around. Unless in the case of race over TCP destroyed scenery is not destroyed for everyone, players can essentially “do all the work” for someone else. It has to be destroyed when the course flips on the player, however, though by this time the player can just use TNT to destroy the blocks. This probably makes taking the shortcut on the first lap every time and then picking up TNT the optimal strategy in every situation, which is the only remotely significant flaw that I can see in this level’s design. To balance this out, you might be able to do something with triggers to slightly punish players who took the shortcut that are also trying to obtain the TNT on the same lap (or not at all, for that matter). This would actually make using the shortcut on a different lap strategic.

Weapon placement:

While combat is less important in a race level than the flow, it is still important to have good weapon placement in case combat takes place. I have nothing bad to say about the weapon placement. Where paths split, bouncer ammunition is placed at the top, RF ammunition (which goes both up and down) is placed in the middle, and pepper spray (which goes straight) is placed at the bottom. The toaster ammunition is placed in wide open areas where it is more effective than other weapons. I only comment on this to point out that this is a good example to look at if you want to know what good weapon placement looks like in a race level. Weapon placement can only be as good as the design of the level, and since there are several symmetrical splits in the level, there are plenty of opportunities to use these effective principles.
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Functional appearance (9.0/10, 10% Weight):

The tiles of the tileset are properly meshed together in all instances so no confusion will occur because of improper use of tiles. The first time around, the level was only a little confusing because I thought I was going back the way I came when I went right through one of three pipes, fell down a warp, and then went left through what looked at first like the same three pipes. This somehow made me think I was going backwards for a while and caused me to question my route throughout the rest of the level. This was not an issue on subsequent playthroughs, but it does reveal a slight lack of variety in that particular part of the level. Variety may trade off with consistency, however. Improving upon the overall design might require changing the first triple-pipe area that goes left. You maybe could just get away with changing the foreground in that area, though. The open view of space underneath it really should have caught my attention the first time through, but I did not notice it when I was trying to speed through the level. More holes in the background might look better, but the amount of holes should be kept reasonable.

I should mention again that the arrow pointing at the pole route around the point where the course flips around is misleading when the player is instructed to go back down. That arrow should be temporarily removed via trigger and a different arrow should appear that points left. It is okay to point arrows along the primary route of the level. You only need arrows pointing at alternate routes when you want those alternate routes to be obvious and they are not already obvious.
——-

——-
Graphical appearance (8.0/10.0, 10% Weight):

No offense to the tileset creator, of course, but I feel the tileset limits the potential of this race level. The tileset is used very well to create the occasional view of space, and that is easily the best use of the tileset in this level. The “inside” areas contrast with this in that they are comparatively bland, though I could see that much effort was made to optimize the appearance of the level despite this. In short, the level looks good, but it is not eye-catching.
——-

Overall (9.3/10.0, rounded down to 9.2 to fit J2O’s rating system):

I really feel this raises the bar for race levels with regard to flow and weapon placement. The level is still very limited in its choice of landmarks throughout the course. It is still about as scenic as it can get with the chosen tileset, so I would at least like to acknowledge that some effort was made to make the level stand out aesthetically. You can only really make a race level better by keeping it this great over a slightly longer course and adding interesting landmarks that fit properly in the level, much like what was already added in the case of the space views throughout the level.

Any shortcomings in the “eye-catching” department of this race level are trounced by the excellent level design, which provides fun and balanced racing and combat at all skill levels. This is a short race level, but it has so many movement and combat options for racers throughout the level that races can be conceivably very different every time. I recommend this level as a worthy addition to any race pack on a server as well as a great example of how one should design a race level.

Good work on the level.

~ Derby

RecommendedReview by Derby

Posted:
18 Jun 2007, 00:54 (edited 25 Jun 07, 09:24)
For: Nature's Plot of Land
Level rating: 8.6
Rating
7.7

Level appearance:

Tileset usage: 8.0

There is not much to be said about how the tileset was used in this level. Tile incompatibilities were avoided all together because the Mystic Isle tileset, like many other custom tilesets, requires little contemplation in the creation of thick ground platforms. As a result, the appearance of the foreground becomes relatively flat in nearly all parts of the level with the exception of the waterfall area. This is more likely a limitation of the tileset, however.

Overall graphical appearance: 8.5

This race level’s greatest strength is the fact that it is very scenic. The background in the beginning of the level can be best described as a sunset where the sun is hidden behind green mountains with pillars lodged into the mountains. As you descend in the level (around the time you see waterfalls in the foreground) the orange colors also get hidden behind the mountains, leaving darker gray colors that make it seem as though the sun has become even more hidden.

Unfortunately, the path of the level continues to go down into a water cave, which does not leave enough time for the player to notice this great change in the level’s appearance. The level would have greatly benefited from being extended a little farther to the right past the waterfall area before descending into the water cave, as the level is fairly short for a level that is so easy to navigate.

While the background of the level has significant depth, the foreground suffers in all areas with the exception of the waterfall area. You should pay close attention to what you did in the waterfall area, as the attention to elements of the foreground, such as the inaccessible platform with the long rock, could be brought over to other portions of the level. You should not put waterfalls all over the place to fix this problem. Instead, in order to compensate for the tileset’s shortcomings in foreground detail, the level can use more of these inaccessible platforms within the walls.

One last aspect that is very good about this level’s appearance is the illusion it creates in the size of the area. Even though all levels are technically enclosed within an area, the fact that you used the wooden bridge tiles in some places at the top of the level makes it seem as though one could walk on top of the level as well, even though this is not possible in the race without being able to fly through walls. The illusory level continuity helps make this level look very good.

Level design:

Level navigation: Easy

Flow: 7.0

Most portions of the level have acceptable flow, although flow can be difficult to gauge in a race level. The only portion of the level that makes it level navigation seem more intermediate than easy is the spring area, as it requires a curved path to successfully navigate and will result in huge time losses if the player hits a spring. This is not a flow issue, however.

The sloppiest execution of flow occurs early in the level. The blue spring leads to a pepper spray powerup and a red spring that pushes a player downward against some upward force. Not only does this upward force cause the resulting buttstomp that is aimed for a low horizontal vine to become very sluggish, the player will not latch onto the vine half the time. This causes the player to fall into the abyss which warps the player back to the beginning of the segment, which is a significant waste of time in a race level.

Even worse, the blue spring can be jumped over easily, as the gap between the spring and the next part of the level is very small. While getting the pepper spray might be seem to be worth such a risk and loss of time (the next portion of the level requires players to shoot at blocks, which causes any player shooting the blocks during the first lap to be wasting roughly the same amount of time), the winding path of the level gives pepper spray very little advantage over the blaster.

The level has no major problems in flow apart from this.

Gameplay: 7.0

This level could have benefited from being slightly longer in length. The level hardly takes advantage of the fact that the level appears to be darker when the orange colors get hidden behind the green mountains as the player descends into the cave. Increasing the length of the circuit horizontally would thus pronounce this effect a lot better while also allowing the race to require a little more skill to finish.

The level itself has decent weapon placement and is open enough for players to use those weapons as long as the battle is not taking place in the short underwater area. Since the underwater area greatly slows down the racing action, it should be pulled far to the right along with the right-hand side of the level containing the springs and the drop into the water cave. This way, you can extend the portion of the level that best pronounces the receding sunlight and you can insert a segment of the level after the water area that emphasizes a high speed finish, as the race is essentially over when players go into the sucker tube event area at the end of the final lap.

One other issue is in the beginning of the water cave area. When you allow the player to either skim over the top of the water or go into the water, the player needs a very good reason to go into the water, as traveling in water takes far more time than traveling in mid-air. In this particular case, there are no weapons in the water to obtain, and there is actually bullet bouncer ammunition in mid-air. As a result, there is an even more compelling reason to avoid going into the water early at all.

With the exception of the water and the early portion of the level involving the pepper spray, there are no alternate paths, and even the alternate paths described earlier are not truly alternate paths. This level is completely linear, which limits more advanced gameplay possibilities in favor of simplicity. You might consider adding alternate paths if you are planning on extending the length of the level.

One thing you did very well is the use of the implicit checkpoint system that used triggers to make sure that players that fall into the abyss are teleported back to a very fair location. Even though the laps are short and the navigation is simple, the racing in this level can be fairly intense.

Overall concept: 7.7

This short and simple race level has excellent scenery and decent flow allowing for fast-paced racing action. While it is difficult to recommend based solely on its gameplay shortcomings and questionable linearity, it is very easy to recommend overall, as players will enjoy this fun and scenic race level if they can overlook its few gameplay flaws.

Good work.

Review correction on June 25, 2007:

After trying harder to master the massive shortcut across the canyon, I was able to successfully span the gap with both Jazz and Spaz, although the RF powerup in the level is not required to access it for either rabbit (though it is much harder without it), and spanning the gap cuts off about five seconds per lap for Spaz, while it cuts off roughly three seconds for Jazz. Additionally, spanning the gap is more difficult for Jazz.

While the shortcut is not perfectly executed, it is an excellent effort at rewarding players for taking such major risks in a racing level. The shortcut, however, is only helpful when players are spread out over the course, which makes it impractical on the second lap (as intended) and still difficult to use on the third lap if players are close together.

When I originally decided to ignore the shortcut due to it being seemingly impossible to span with Jazz, I scored the level a 7.5. Since the shortcut is still difficult with both rabbits even after mastering it and its practicality in many situations is questionable, the score will not be changed significantly. I have increased the review score by 0.2 to 7.7 to account for the existence of the shortcut.

~ Derby

RecommendedReview by Derby

Posted:
17 Jun 2007, 03:03 (edited 17 Jun 07, 03:15)
For: Unknown Garden
Level rating: 8.1
Rating
8.2

Level appearance:

Tileset usage: 7.0

The use of the Carrotus Fix Evening tileset was decent in some ways and a little jarring in others. I feel the tileset was used better than the standard Carrotus tileset was used for the official JJ2 levels simply because there was far better variation in the ground of each platform. On the other hand, there may be a little too much deviation between tiles, as there are certainly several locations in the level where adjacent tiles have questionable compatibility. One thing I liked, however, is the fact that the weeds coming out between the rocks actually helps cover up several of these tile compatibility issues, making the overall result much more pleasing to the eye.

The tile incompatibilities do not pose a significant problem when actually moving quickly through the level, however, as the screen scrolling makes this difficult to see. I suggest looking at older levels like Carrotus Squash to improve your use of Carrotus tilesets. That battle level had few tile clashes in the ground. However, the size of each platform was also smaller on average, making tile compatibility significantly easier for that level.

Overall graphical appearance: 8.0

The background is full of carrots, vines, and waterfalls, while the foreground is used mainly for the smaller vines and brush that hang off the visible side of the platforms. I like the fact that the foreground is not used to cover the player in any area. I also like how non-scrolling mountains were used in the “distant” background off to the right hand side and waterfalls were used on the left hand side somewhere in a similar fashion.

The varying widths of the closer waterfalls also lends the level’s landforms a sense of depth, as it appears that water falls off the side of the landforms far away and much closer. While there is a lot of depth in the background, the foreground appears to be much flatter, with no water flowing out from the front. You might be able to do this in a lower corner of the level so it does not obstruct any other important part of the level while still appearing logical. Overall, I like the fact that the level’s physical symmetry does not carry over into visual symmetry.

Level design:

Level navigation: Very easy

Flow: 9.0

This level’s greatest strength is its excellent flow. The springs were well placed, and most areas of the level where springs are used have enough distance between the player’s head and the areas’ ceilings, and most items are placed at ground level or in the paths of springs to allow reloading to occur at fast speeds. I question the use of the two warp points in the level. While they do not move the player far enough across the level to become part of the primary method of travel, I think many players might hesitate to use them most of the time because the warp targets are close to the center of the level, which makes the center of the level a very dangerous place for most players. This is actually a good idea because using the most straightforward path in a CTF level should also be very risky. While there is nothing new about the flow of this level, there is also nothing fundamentally wrong with it.

Gameplay: 8.5

At first, I questioned the base placement in this level. Both are in the lower corners of the level, which often leads to players neglecting the upper area of the level, as all the action is concentrated at the bottom. At the very least, however, there is a large difference in the type, power, and quantity of weapons you can get between the bottom and top of the level. At the very top, there are also powerups, which highlights this difference. You can certainly improve this idea even further by removing the seeker ammo from the bottom of the level. Players should have to go out of their way to acquire the ammo that makes the open areas toward the bottom of the level dangerous.

Another aspect I liked about this level was the existence of both highly open areas and relatively narrow areas close to one another as alternate paths to each flag base. This results in the narrow area being much better for those that possess bullet bouncers, while the open area is much better for those that prefer to use RF missiles. Both become dangerous paths when players are able to assess the situation and use the proper weapon. Similarly, there area areas with several branches (specifically toward the bottom) where seekers are very good to use, while RF missiles will instead hit the walls and ceilings and bouncers are generally less effective than seekers, but more effective than RF missiles. These design choices are very good to keep in mind when creating a level that emphasizes simple flow.

Overall Concept: 8.2

Unknown Garden is a solid CTF level with excellent flow and decent design decisions in its graphical presentation and structure. While there are no new concepts to be seen in this level, it is a good example of a CTF level having both bases placed at the bottom of the level while still encouraging players to navigate the rest of the level to acquire more strategic and powerful weapons to roast the flag carrier. The optimal match in this kind of level would probably be a 2 on 2.

Good job.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: CHeMiCaLs LaBoRaToRYs
Level rating: 7.6
Rating
8.0

Introduction to CHeMiCaLs LaBoRaToRYs:

CHeMiCaLs LaBoRaToRYs is a level that uses the laboratory tileset that boasts a new kind of flow.

Content:

The zip file contains one level file and one text file.

Unbiased Review:

This part of the review focuses on the level’s characteristics, which determine how it ultimately plays.

Design/Layout: 1.8/2.5

This level has a flow that is somewhat unique. While some routes are tube-based and others are manually traveled, there is clearly a choice between quick access of areas and reliable access of areas within the level. This level was made to flow, so steering yourself out of the way of obstacles is not as necessary as in some other levels. While the layout is decent, and the general flow is unique, the level’s flow is still a bit awkward at some points, as you either need to take yourself out of dead ends and change your mind on forks (tubes or manual travel). Controlling points also seems a bit strange when creating a strategy or traveling a route does not work too effectively at all. The gameplay also changes for the worse when more than two players are present. Controlling points almost seems out of question, as the routes are often ineffective and backtracking to the climbing portion of the level is necessary. This almost forces all the players to use one specific route, but this is easy to overcome. Overall gameplay should be nice.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 2.1/2.5

The tiles in this level are correctly combined to show fine eyecandy, so there are really no problems with that portion of the tile/tile compatibility. However, there are cases where jutting platforms and other protruding tiles do not look wrong, but simply odd and unfitting. These do not severely hinder gameplay, but they could possibly hurt the impression a player gets when playing or reviewing the level.

Tile/Event Compatibility: 1.6/2.0

The events are not a major flaw in this level. The level itself, however, is mutated so the events can work with the level and its flow. While there was nothing wrong with this, the awkwardness in the level was contributed directly from this problem. One example of such a problem is the lower right hand corner, where the springs are placed so the gameplay may go into a minor loop just above it. Still, this level has events and tiles carefully blended together so the flow remains smooth while the level still looks decent.

Event/event compatibility: 0.7/1.0

Overall, the weapon placement is rather pleasing, and strategies in the battle level could be easily planned out according to this. That is only one portion of the score, however. These strategies cannot be carried out as well as they are planned due to various problems with the placement of other events, such as springs, hooks, and vines. The springs in the lower-right hand corner are one example of a problematic event set, where one of the springs can get you cornered for attack, and there is really no reason to go there. The hooks are placed in such a way that you cannot escape or plan a strategy with fluid motion, and you might just end up falling off of them on purpose. The vines (wires) just seem odd the way they are placed; you may often find yourself falling onto them, thinking they are a part of the background.

Layer use: 1.8/2.0

The way Electric happened to use the laboratory tileset for this level was very complex. This even shows, as he creatively interlaced the word “Jazz” in the background, spelled in pipes. There is not much confusion at all, set aside the transparent pipes in the lower right hand corner (many specific flaws are found in the lower-right hand corner of the level), which are definitely confusing where they happen to be placed (the transparent pipes should be placed carefully). Other than that, this is possibly one of the strongest points of this level.

Game compatibility: -0.0/1.0

There is nothing wrong here, as usual. The only thing that could possibly be a nuisance about this level is its name. The first two and the second to last two sets of letters are capitalized, and every other letter is capitalized. This does not subtract from the overall rating, but make sure the level names are easier to spell.

Overall Unbiased Rating: 8.0/10.0

This level is considered to be “good” by current standards on the ten point rating system. A ten does not denote a perfect score by any means; it just means that the level has exceeded the standard. A score of eight is a good score, and it is only expected to be improved by one point to meet the high-end standard for levels.

Biased Review:

This review may or may not be lenient towards the download; it is based upon my tilt when playing it. In order to prevent discussing previous topics upon the quality of this download, aspects different from the unbiased portion of the review will be discussed. This portion of the review has no effect on the final rating of the download.

Replayability: 3.0/4.0

This level introduces a new kind of flow, but after a while, you get used to it. It will become like any other level, and it will wear out like any other level. There is, however, a sense of interactivity and making bigger decisions in the level with the tubes and normal routes. This almost seems to balance out, but in the end, the replayability is above average.

Maximum estimated sessions: 30 sessions.

My Opinion on This Level: 3.0/4.0

While this level is somewhat impressive with the overall gameplay and uniqueness, various other problems in the environment that were mentioned earlier may make this level hard or inconvenient to play. The laboratory tileset was used very well in this level, but the way it blended in with all of the events and the layout itself makes it look slightly mashed up after a good look. The way it plays after all of that, however, is excellent.

Professional Appearance: 1.5/2.0

Overall, the level has an excellent appearance. I am not sure how long it may have taken to create the level, but a decent amount of time of careful thinking and planning was probably put into this level. Altogether, the gameplay is fine, and the level looks nice.

Overall Biased Rating: 7.5/10.0

I found the level to be slightly “above average”. The actual score may vary .5 either way, and that depends on what the person’s opinion of the level was. This is likely to be the center rating for the level, even if it is not as fair as the main rating.

First Impressions: 7.0/10.0

What really made this score low at first was the awkward, but unique layout and flow. It is not often that you see tubes taking place in central gameplay, and where they really count. Also, as a Jazz user, the uphill movement in the right side of the level took longer to scale, but then came alternate routes, which was out of the first impression. After learning the layout, the level makes a lot more sense, and finally a strategy can be made.

Unbiased and Biased Review Score: 7.75/10.0

This is the average score between the Unbiased and biased reviews, which is an important count.

Full Score: 7.5/10.0

This score combines all three rated portions of the review. This is not very important at all, but it is nice for comparing statistics.

Fully Biased Score: 7.25/10.0

This score combines the biased and first impressions review. This is also not important, but it is also convenient for comparing statistics.

True Score: 8.0/10.0*

This is the most important portion of the review, mainly because it is the unbiased portion of the review, and that is what is best for the rating system.

Summary:

CHeMiCaLs LaBoRaToRYs is a pretty good level that takes time to get used to, and it is good for both having fun and competing, because it has a decent balance of gameplay and the need for skill. In short, it is a fun and compact level that anyone could play.

What Could be Improved Upon:

The lower-right hand corner contains most of the problems. The springs should be relocated so players can smoothly get out of the area and not get cornered for an attack, which could make them avoid that area altogether. The glass tubes that are not used for transport should be moved a little bit so players will not get confused when they are in that area. Also, the hooks need to be raised or added so they are actually useful wherever they are. Text strings are unnecessary in the level (although they do not contribute to degrading the level), as they simply get in the way, but leaving them in is also fine. This level simply needs to be a little looser in these areas so it could get a better score.

Interesting Fact:

If you did not read the entire review or simply did not know about this before, you would know that the word “Jazz” is written in the background in the form of pipes. Try and find where it is, if you have not noticed it before.

Note:

With each review, a new feature is added.

  • Only the unbiased rating counts towards the site’s rating system.

~ Derby[This review has been edited by Derby]

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Hacked *.j2s file.
Level rating: 7.2
Rating
N/A

Hey, you snipped this out of my webspace, didn’t you? Not a problem. It’s public domain. ;-P

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Hotel Tublear V
Level rating: 3.4
Rating
N/A

Personal attack. I’m so heartbroken. ;-P

I don’t believe you can actually be stressing our freedom to review levels posted here. We’re lenient enough not to rate your hotel in the first place (one reason being that you asked us not to, the other being that J2O needs lower ratings than just 1). It’s all or nothing, and there is no in-between; either none of us rate it (there are some requests like that occasionally, and that’s perfectly alright) or all of us rate it (with the exception of the creator(s)), so this is going to be considered overrated in every view possible. Wasting your time reading these reviews is better in every way than wasting your time making hotel levels no one likes; that’s the truth that some might take in with difficulty. As this level has already been rated, other users may do one of two things:

1.) Users may cancel their system ratings and change them to N/A.

or

2.) All users may rate this download.

I don’t believe it is fair for you to get higher ratings than others on this file pack just because you are only allowing positive ratings. You’re defeating the purpose of J2O’s review system, and are probably making many people (less myself, of course, as I haven’t uploaded any levels) somewhat angry.

To put it simply, either noone rates it, or everyone rates it (excluding the creator(s)). That’s all; no more, no less.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Hotel Tublear V
Level rating: 3.4
Rating
N/A

What are we supposed to do with this level, anyway? Forget battle; do we play it in single player mode and try to beat it? Do we try to capture the flag in it? Do we hunt for treasure in it? Or do we race in it? Sure, I can write another huge review/article on this, but it won’t help the fact that hotels can get a rating of one point at its very best.

“Hotels are boring. Don’t make hotels.” Use this piece of advice from J2O’s “Did you Know?” wisely.

Really, if you guys are that interested in hotels, make a separate archive for them. Approximately 74.3%* of the players in the community despise the sight of hotels. Why bring their presence back, then? ;-P

~ Derby

  • An estimate by the FDA (FooD and Drug and Administration).[This review has been edited by Derby]

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Heaven v.1.1
Level rating: 9.6
Rating
N/A

Note: Giving a ten is not overrating or saying that there will be nothing better. You give a ten if the item complies well with today’s standards. That’s not to say that there won’t be anything better; the standards may very well change. Hopefully we won’t be playing as many hotels in the future, though. The rating does not change because a ten is a recognition of the item complying with the time/era’s standards. I just wanted to clear that up, as some of the reviewers are going by the false principle of standards always being the same in every time; this has certainly been proven wrong. Just review with comfort. ;-P

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Heaven v.1.1
Level rating: 9.6
Rating
10.0

Introduction to Heaven:

Heaven is a tileset which seems to take place in what lives up to the imagination of the tileset’s name: Heaven.

Content:

One GIF file, one example level, one tileset, one music file, and one readme file are included in this downloadable package.

Unbiased Review:

Tilesets, in an essence, are a lot easier to review than levels.

Design/Content: 2.5/2.5

Nothing vital was left out of this tileset; all of the tiles could make decent-looking platforms, walls, and event representations. This is a very well constructed tileset in terms of organization; each type of tile is organized into layers and use, or in other words, the correct way of organizing a tileset. Not only is there the required set of tiles that would be necessary to make level aspects, there were quite a few extras, as well.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 2.5/2.5

No words are necessary to convince you that this tileset can be used in a compatible and comfortable way. It’s your choice, this time, to decide whether the tiles would go together or not, since there are a variety of combinations that allow the level to look better, in any way. This tileset shouldn’t be very difficult to use, either.

Tile/Event Compatibility: 2.0/2.0

Not a lot of custom tilesets have an event specialty. For example, Tube Electric’s specialty was the sucker tubes, and Laboratory’s specialty was the use of belts. No custom tileset in the past has actually demonstrated a specialty like this one; and none have demonstrated an original one, not familiar to the original specialties. This tileset uses keys and doors wisely for trigger zones. This already jolts the rating to the maximum this category can get for this standard. However, for a tileset in a league of its own, it would get a two, anyway. Aside from this, there are also other neat things such as the shooting statues, that assure this tileset it’s maximum score in this category.

Event/event compatibility: 1.0/1.0

The event/event compatibility in tilesets isn’t as important as the rest of the tileset. In any case, the potential this tileset has of expressing events is remarkable. This tileset allows enough space for certain extra events to be used well. The example level also showed this, as demons and triggers weren’t any problem at all. This is why you should always include an example level. Not only does it give the reviewers a break, the tileset looks more convincing to use.

Layer use: 1.0/1.0

There isn’t a layer you can’t use with this tileset, as the content is compatible with just about everything it is dealt. This isn’t a great deal for most tilesets to overcome, though. As seen in the example level, the author was able to use every layer wisely. Balanced out, it may be hard for this tileset to give you an eyesore.

Game compatibility: 1.0/1.0

I discovered no problems with this tileset’s compatibility with the game. This tileset is also flexible with a nice amount of animating tiles that you can use, shown by the example level.

Overall rating: 10.0/10.0

This tileset is out of its own league. A rating of 10 is considered “excellent”.

Biased Review:

You won’t find many tilesets more encouraging with this, in my opinion.

Reusability: 5.0/5.0

This tileset could be used a lot (in a good way, of course) and it wouldn’t get as boring as most tilesets. I believe this tileset should be considered for making several levels. There isn’t much more to say about this tileset’s reusability.

Estimated maximum reuses: 50

My opinion on this tileset: 5.0/5.0

This tileset rivals the official tilesets, if not surpasses them. The concept is great, and quite original. It’s graphically pleasing and encouraging when it comes to level construction. Since I need to follow the grading standards, the rating
system, and rating scale, this tileset can get no more than a ten.

My overall rating: 10.0/10.0*

Seeing this tileset pleased me. At last, I’ve seen something new that’s actually good.

True rating: 10.0/10.0*

This tileset outweighed the scale, which made the ratings seem pretty obvious.

Summary:

Heaven is a tileset with an original concept at show. Download this tileset now, if you haven’t already. This is the
suit that new tilesets should follow, as I’ve seen many other great tilesets in the past. Also, the music that’s included fits the tileset pretty well.

What could be improved?

You might want to add more keys, locks, and types of doors, as this tileset can have a few more tiles. If you don’t
mind taking extra time, you can change some colors and shading, and add a night version of the tileset, making it
seem as if it were an official tileset set.

Interesting fact:

This tileset adapts to a common imagination of Heaven, and takes its place in the clouds.

  • Only the unbiased rating counts towards the site’s review rating system.

~ Derby[This review has been edited by Derby]

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Race Tournament Pack - Final
Level rating: 7.6
Rating
8.2

Introduction to Race Tournament Pack Final:

This is a race tournament pack that consists of ten race levels.

Content:

Ten race levels, Four custom (Mez) tilesets, four sound files, and one readme text file are packed into the
downloadable zip file.

Unbiased Review:

There aren’t many race packs circulating out there. You’ll see why this pack is rated the way it is.

Design/Content: 2.5/2.5

The design of the Race Tournament Pack race levels are not only semi-open, they’re pretty comfortable to race in.
There aren’t any flaws in the design of the levels, though the real flaws come later. For nine of the ten levels, you
won’t be racing through the same lap over and over again, but a different course each time. The transitions displayed by the design are actually quite pleasing.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 1.7/2.5

Perhaps the most annoying flaw in any level could be the masking which you can’t do much about. The creator of the
Race Tournament Pack could have eliminated the few flaws that caused careless players to get stuck in the walls. I got myself stuck in Rising Air twice in a row, in the same spot. In the fourth lap of the “weird” level, there is also a place where you get “awesome effects” and also get stuck four out of five times. Certain flaws like these could have been corrected easily by better tile arrangement.

Tile/Event Compatibility: 1.5/2.0

Sure, Mez didn’t have poles, but the events didn’t match up with certain tiles, in any case. The one level that had invisible pole movement seemed strange, just because it didn’t have poles. Try to substitute events correctly so things look neat and well done. All that invisible pole swinging seems pretty pointless.

Event/event compatibility: 1.0/1.0

Events were a strong suit in the Race Tournament Pack. In the very first level, variables of movement are boasted
with the requirement of the toaster to melt the spring. Prerequisites in race levels can be very amusing, and you’ll see them occur around the levels.

Layer use: 1.6/2.0

In most of the levels, the use of layers were above average, if not excellent. The creator the Race Tournament Pack used cookie cutting techniques in various areas to make things look much nicer. However, the one level of concern was the “weird” level of the pack. The layers were used poorly in the “weird” level, though they certainly made the level look “weird”. Try to make it so the player doesn’t get blinded while playing, or the player doesn’t have to turn the game off to low detail.

Game compatibility: -0.1/-1.0

The Race Tournament Pack should have no problem working on your copy of Jazz Jackrabbit 2. It might be a problem
by taking up a few extra slots in your home-cooked levels list, though, since some levels weren’t disabled.

Overall rating: 8.2/10.0

An overall rating of 8.2 on an unbiased review calls for a pack download recommendation. This pack can be considered “good”.

Biased Review:

I certainly had a lot to say about the Race Tournament Pack. After all, there aren’t many race levels out there. My
opinion about this pack is probably more optimistic than the unbiased review.

Replayability: 4.7/5.0

The ten levels in this pack are sure to challenge your hands, eyes, and intelligence for a while. Not only does it mildly challenge you for a good amount of time, its pretty fun to race in. The estimated playing time of these levels would be five hours at most. Five hours is fairly decent for replayability, as many levels and packs don’t last very long. However, this is a race pack, and expectations for playing time are a little higher than usual.

My opinion on this pack: 3.8/5.0

I enjoyed testing this level pack. I’m sure I’d enjoy it just as much to play it against others. The level wasn’t without its flaws, and the flaws I experienced in this level were probably the only thing to hold it back. If only players had more control over their character and weren’t guided by tubes as much, I’d like it a little more.

My overall rating: 8.5/10.0*

Making this level pack probably took the creator of it a lot of effort. Good job.

True rating: 8.35/10.0*

A margin of difference of .”35” signifies that I didn’t have much more to say about the pack aside from the unbiased review.

Summary:

The Race Tournament Pack is one of the few submitted race packs circulating online. This is, without a doubt, the
best race pack that has been submitted to Jazz Jackrabbit 2 site. If you enjoy the race mode in Jazz Jackrabbit 2, I
recommend downloading this pack 8:2. If you are not a fan of the race mode in Jazz Jackrabbit 2, I recommend
downloading this pack 7:3.

Improvements:

Take out some of those poles in Bird’s Eye View. Make the background layer in the “weird” level a little neater, so
you don’t blind the critics. Try to give players more control of their player, and have less tubes. I especially found tubes where they weren’t necessary.

Starting Level:

Race Tournament Pack: Starlight Speedway is the starting level of the pack.

Interesting fact:

Not all of the levels were completed in the beta release. One was left half-done, and remained half-done. It ended up being a single lap course.

  • Only the unbiased rating counts towards the site’s review rating system.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Dark Forest Fight
Level rating: 6.7
Rating
7.0

Introduction to Dark Forest Fight:

Dark Forest Fight is a small battle level made in the Diamondus Night tileset.

Content:

One level file and one text file.

Unbiased Review:

The unbiased review points out a little differently from what I think of this level.

Design/Content: 2.0/2.5

The overall level design, if you look at it from far away, seems pretty nice. The actual level is hindered by other problems, which I’ll mention in another part of the review. Certain parts of the level design made the battle focus only in a few areas of the level. This problem is actually with both the level design and the event placement. The level’s size might have made it more difficult to place events well.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 2.5/2.5

Perhaps the strongest part of the creation was the compatibility with the tiles. No tiles were overused, and as you can see, there is variety in how the tiles were used. This made up a strong part of the eyecandy in this level.

Tile/Event Compatibility: 1.0/2.0

If you look at how the tiles and events were used together, you’ll notice that they weren’t used together at all. This battle level is dead, when you consider the variety of uses with tiles and events. One ways were used in the level wisely, and some destructible scenery.

Event/event compatibility: 0.5/1.0

Event placement is more difficult with smaller levels. Weapon placement in this battle level was poor. Carrots are near each other in this small battle level, though the long regeneration time makes up for it.

Layer use: 1.0/2.0**

The reappearing trunks in the foreground can get somewhat annoying when they’re as close as they are in this level. The background in an area can be very confusing, making you think that you’re jumping on a platform. In a certain portion of the level, vines are covered by land in the foreground, plunging you into confusion for the first time in play. In some cases, the use of the layers added to the eyecandy. The excessive leaves flying in the foreground are also a little annoying after a while.

Game compatibility: -0.0/-1.0**

You probably won’t find any problems finding or playing this level. The level is named well, and like most JJ2 creations, it functions.

Overall rating: 7.0/10.0

A rating of 7.0 out of 10.0 signifies that this level is considered halfway between “OK” and “Good.”

Biased Review:

The biased review focuses on other issues that tie in with my opinion, and does not count towards the level’s rating.

Replayability: 2.5/5.0

I really don’t believe this level would actually hold out for long with the gameplay it presents. Several things hold it from
being an acknowledgeable level.

My opinion on this level: 3.5/5.0

The best that could have been brought out from this level’s design was removed from the poor weapon placements and event properties. The eyecandy wasn’t up to par with the standard, but it was the strongest point of the level besides the design itself.

My overall rating: 6.0/10.0*

As with previous reviews, my review is a little harsher than the unbiased portion. The average margin so far is 1.0, which this evens out to.

True rating: 6.5/10.0*

The combination of the two reviews makes this well-cut rating.

Summary:

Basically, when you download this, you’ll get a mediocre battle level that lacks only in the event, life, and layer use departments.

How could this level be improved?

Don’t overuse the foreground layers. If you use the background layers, don’t make them so confusing. This small level
needs less weapons in each place. If you can satisfy those conditions in this level, you’ll satisfy others’ tastes.

Interesting fact:

The only destructible scenery in the level is that of the traditional "shootable signs."

~ Derby

  • Only the unbiased rating counts towards the site’s review rating system.

** An important change in my reviews gives designers a smaller edge by subtracting points for game incompatibilities and an extra point for layer use, being more important.

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Commander Keen: Shadowlands
Level rating: 7.6
Rating
8.2

Introduction to the “Commander Keen: Shadowlands” tileset:

The “Commander Keen: Shadowlands” tileset is a take of the second Commander Keen series’ Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle’s tiles.

Content:

One tileset, one example level, one battle level, and one text file are in the reviewed zip file.

Unbiased Review:

This seems to be the most important section of the tileset review. The tileset is based on a game not related to this.

Design/Content: 1.8/2.5

There are a fair number of tiles in the tileset. The tileset also is able to cover the most frequently used events, which is very important, and many tilesets lack. Though it is possible to flip tiles, they don’t really make up for the left side of a platform very well. The masking of the tileset does hurt the tileset as a whole, but unfortunately, there is no such thing as
a perfect masking.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 2.1/2.5

The tiles fit pretty well together. There is still the occasional excess room for confusion when putting tiles together in a level. However, this was made up by the formation of the tiles within the tileset (a common idea used by ideal tileset developers.) Extra animations were also supplied in the tileset. Perhaps the most amusing animation in the tileset was that of Spaz devouring the dopefish of the second Commander Keen series. This didn’t make up for any confusion in the
tileset make-up, but the other animations did.

Tile/Event Compatibility: 2.0/2.0

The tileset covered most tile-event combinations. As long as the supplied events worked (which they did), the designer of the tileset didn’t have a problem with this portion of the rating.

Tile/Concept compatibility: 0.8/1.0

Besides the day/night transition animation, it was an original concept. This tileset has a strong showing of tiles and their concepts. Though they helped this rating, the extra concepts didn’t really carry out anything useful in any level.

Layer use: 0.5/1.0

Aside from the content downfall, the compatibilities with the tiles and the layers was a sad downfall on the tileset’s part. The only real active layers are the few sprite layers, and maybe the background layer if there is a day/night transition. The eyecandy wasn’t at any current or previous standard (which couldn’t be helped since the original was done in 256 colors.)

JCS compatibility: 1.0/1.0

The tileset is fully compatible with JCS. As far as I know, this is a given for any tileset that works perfectly, and allows enough room for animated tiles to work.

Overall rating: 8.2/10.0

This tileset had limits, which probably could be resolved with a few tweaks that didn’t require much intelligence. The animations, tile make-up, and event compatibility had a well-rounded balance of ratings.

Biased Review:

My thoughts on the tileset aren’t much different from the unbiased review. There are a few different points that could be brought up, though.

Reusability: 3.5/5.0

There aren’t too many reasons to compel you to keep using this tileset for your levels. It isn’t a bad idea to use it for your levels at all, on the other hand. The tileset should be compatible with most of your ideas that apply to the official tilesets.

My opinion on this tileset: 4.5/5.0

The tileset is a fine display of work. I’m sure there was a lot of effort involved in designing this tileset. From the example levels, you can see the author was able to use it pretty well. In any case, this isn’t a tileset that you shouldn’t reconsider taking a look at, in my opinion.

My overall rating: 8.0/10.0*

From what I believed, I thought the tileset was pretty good. That’s all I really have to say about it besides my biased review.

True rating: 8.1/10.0*

Combined, the two reviews are only one tenth of a point apart. The tileset is considered not great, but good. The original rating of 8.2 is fair enough.

Summary:

If you are a fan (or were a fan) of Commander Keen, you should like this. If you are not a fan (or were not a fan) of Commander Keen, you might still like this. In other words, this tileset has my recommendation for a download.

How could this tileset be improved?

The left side of platforms and the eyecandy of the tileset could be tweaked a bit. Confusion with the tileset’s build could also be fixed by re-arranging the tiles in a more suitable manner, though they were done pretty well.

Interesting fact:

The tileset covers the tiles of more than just one level of Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle. The original levels were intended to look like Keen landed in a forest.

  • Only the unbiased rating counts towards the site’s review rating system.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Inner Evil
Level rating: 7.8
Rating
9.0

Introduction to Inner Evil:

Inner Evil’s a great level made by iCeD, and the good concepts of the level cover up the visible flaws of this level.

Content: One level and a music file.

Unbiased Review:

Design/Content: 2.5/2.5

The level has three parts to it, if you look at it from top to bottom. The top of the level is welcoming, but also lets you fall quite easily, while the middle has the CTF bases, and the bottom is just your ordinary lava-filled bottom. The design really has no flaws, but a few things could have been changed.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 2.0/2.5

The tiles fit well together for the platforms, but wall texturing was done very strangely, in some walls. Still, it looked like some effort was made to make things look neat, which isn’t wrong.

Tile/Event Compatibility: 1.7/2.0

The level is half-dead, which doesn’t seem right for this tileset. On the other hand, different weapons were required to get certain weapons, which was good. To make this level have a little more life, the layers substituted.

Event/event compatibility: 1.0/1.0

Events in this level didn’t have to fit together to make this level any better. You could get around normally, and find everything you need. There are also some neat little secret areas you can get into, to make getting to another place take less time.

Layer use: 0.8/1.0

The way the layers were used made navigation around the level confusing in a way it shouldn’t be. Going through walls without wanting to or having a clue isn’t very hard to do, here. There’s also something interesting about this CTF level you should know, which can be really helpful, and isn’t listed in this section.

Game compatibility: 1.0/1.0

The level plays without any errors or access violations. The music selected for this level was half-decent, but that doesn’t count towards this rating at all.

Overall rating: 9.0/10.0

This level isn’t anything to pass up, at all. Its a great level, like any other great level, and has common flaws, like any other great level. You’ll have some fun in this CTF level, whether you like CTF or not.

Biased Review:

Replayability: 4.5/5.0

This level will always play for long, as long as more than one person is playing. This level should last a couple hours of play, at the maximum, but can’t really be trashed at all.

My opinion on this level: 4.8/5.0

I liked the design and the look of this level. I have played this level before, in one of iCeD’s servers, so I know that it does play well, and does suit me, though I’m not the biggest CTF fan.

My overall rating: 9.3/10.0*

I don’t like CTF as much as battle, because I’m not too good at it.

True rating: 9.15/10.0*

If the level is fairly replayable, and fairly good, then I rate it as a good level. Everything’s rated at its own standard; Levels as levels, packs as packs.

Summary:

The file is huge. It includes a music file, but it is still worth trying out for what it is. You should also look to this level’s design as a good example.

Interesting fact:

You can jump under the CTF bases to get the flags in this level, since the platforms are very thin in this level.

  • Only the unbiased rating counts towards the site’s review rating system.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: PayPack
Level rating: 7.8
Rating
9.0

Unbiased Point of View:

Introduction to PayPack:

This level pack includes five battle levels and a readme file. The two different levels (Jungle All the Way and Payback time) also include night levels. Operation K.I.L.L. is the final result of the major design changes Payback made to Payback Time. Jungle All the Way uses the Jungle tileset, while Payback Time and Operation K.I.L.L. use the Castle tileset.

Design/Content: 2.3/2.5

The levels were all linear, but looped, anyway. You can get around the levels easily, and there were enough obstacles in your way to possibly slow you down. You’d also find that there are secret routes that can lead you across obstacles, allowing for more strategies. Another thing I liked about these levels was the fact that different weapons were spread throughout the levels, so you’d have to go across the level to get to the weapon you want.

Tile/event use: 2.0/2.5

Destructable scenery was used, but not in a very good way. Destructable scenery works best when obstructing paths and strategies for climbing higher, and tougher scenery to reach a weapon or powerup. The levels also lacked life – The animals’ eyes in the jungle level did help to bring this up, though. The pack does include night levels, so the effort to make a good transition also brings the rating up a bit.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 1.8/2.0

I can’t say that the tiles didn’t fit well together. In some places, you could see overuse of the same tiles, making walls look very strange, but most of it is fine.

Event/Event Compatibility: 0.9/1.0

The events are well-placed, and there isn’t really any need for adjustments. Still, in some places, there’s an overplacement of the weapons.

Layer use: 1.0/1.0

Payback did a commendable layer job in all of his levels. The eyecandy is without a doubt, a high factor of this pack. He at least used the most useful layers well.

Game compatibility: 1.0/1.0

The level pack plays without any problems. I don’t take any points off if you make anything using TSF – though it would be nice if you made 1.23 compatible levels in 1.23’s Jazz Creation Station.

Overall rating: 9.0/10.0

The levels were almost as good as the official levels, but had a few flaws that kept it back. The levels never did have a real "center" to them. The level is still just as fun as a level without one.

How could this level have been improved?

The official tilesets have life in them – Make use of the possible animating tiles. A level that doesn’t have life makes fun nosedive into boredom. Make more things to shoot at, since the player doesn’t encounter another player all the time.

Biased Point of View:

Replayability: 4.0/5.0

The levels are great – You’ll do more shooting than exploring, which is a good thing when it comes to battle levels. The pack should last an average of three hours, depending on how many people you play against, and how bored you are.

My opinion on this level: 4.5/5.0

These levels, in my opinion, are very good. I enjoy playing this level, but I also look forward to something new, when I do play it. I also like the music that was used for Jungle all the Way. I hope to see this pack being served.

My overall rating: 9.5/10.0*

I liked this level pack, almost as much as I like cheese.

True rating: 9.25/10.0*

Though this level could be considered "very good," I’d say its "great."

Summary:

Download this level pack, if you’d like to have some fun (First, make sure you have 1.24.) This might also be a good example of a good level. Good job, PayBack!

  • Only the unbiased rating is used for the review’s rating system.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: THE LIBRARY
Level rating: 7.9
Rating
8.0

Introduction to The Library:

This level uses The Library Tileset, a 120-tile arrangement of tiles that consist of books that are used as platforms in this game. Considering that the tileset was made in MS Paint, he did a great job with it.

The level:

The level itself has a great design. You’ll find yourself falling from obstacles where the fall isn’t too bad. Certain areas had a wall as a background, which was done quite nicely.

The tileset:

The tileset has average eyecandy, compared to other tilesets. I’d say that the shading could have used some work, but the level that uses it cancels out the look of the tileset. This level would look terrific if it used the "Haunted" tileset in TSF, for TSF.

Design/Content: 2.3/2.5

The level itself was great – It had a nice layout and the style it was made in was close to the official way. The only thing that took down the rating was the tileset itself. At least more tiles could have been used for this tileset, so the level could be more compatible with other concepts – This tileset wouldn’t make too many animating tiles, so it would be a great idea. Ambient lighting was used very well in this level, and it made a good touch.

Tile/event use: 2.0/2.5

Tiles and events should associate a little more, together. Destructable scenery could have been used to make things a little more active. Hurt events could be used more often, too, so some obstacles could be avoided.

Tile/tile compatibility: 1.5/2.0

The tiles really do fit well together, for the first third of the level. The rest was too confusing, as most tiles didn’t fit well together. The level was still attractive, because most of the layers’ tiles did fit well together.

Event/Event compatibility: 1.0/1.0

All the events fit well with each other. Where the tiles and events didn’t associate much, the events did, with each other. There was good use of the events that were on "Hard" only.

Layer use: 0.7/1.0

In the beginning of the level, great use of the layers was demonstrated. However, it began to get really confusing after a while, as the background layers were mixing in incorrectly. This is resolved for the last third of the level, though.

Game compatibility: 0.5/1.0

The fact that you may often get application errors when running it from within the game, and must run it from JCS to avoid these problems, brings down this level’s rating by half a point. I’m not sure what causes this (it doesn’t recognize the tileset being in the same folder) but for the half point back, it should be resolved for any further releases.

Overall rating: 8.0/10.0

The great design and good use of the tiles in the tileset paid off for the flaws of the layer use and the associations with the tiles and events. There’s still room for improvement.

Possible improvements:

This level could be improved, if the layers in the second third of the level were used in a way to make it less confusing. You can make levels confusing, but not too confusing, because this is a single player level. Tiles and events could have been used better together. Destructable scenery in levels can bring this rating up a little, as its a good example of the associations between them. Without associations between the tiles and the events, your levels won’t come close to being as alive as the official levels. Booting the level up itself, is a problem, if the game can’t recognize the tileset, while Jazz Creation Station can.

Summary for The library:

Downloading this level and the tileset is not a bad idea at all. You should at least download this for the tileset, because it can be used pretty well, if you’re good. The layer use is above average, the eyecandy of the tileset is average, and the design of the level is exceptional.

My opinion on The Library:

I enjoyed playing the level, because its design was great, and from what’s placed in the level – Its what I like.

Recommendation: Recommended

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: JazzEd 0.74 Beta
Level rating: 9.3
Rating
10.0

Introduction to JazzEd:

JazzEd is a program made by Aiko that basically changes your server name, your rabbit’s fur, and your rabbit’s name to funkier colors for any player and either version of Jazz Jackrabbit 2 without having to edit your registry.

Appeal:

This program will appeal to those who do not like to risk editing the registry, people who don’t know about the registry, and those who just want to save time and enjoy the game sooner. This program is handy because it appeals to all users of Jazz Jackrabbit 2.

Ratings:

Operating System/Game compatibility: 5.0/5.0

JazzEd works just as well as Jazz Jackrabbit 2. Of course, all you need is Windows 95 (or higher) itself, because it requires the registry (which Jazz Jackrabbit 2’s values are entered into.)

Usefulness: 2.5/2.5

JazzEd does what it promises, and proves to be quite useful. You can change your rabbit’s fur and name properties, and change the server name, to make it stand out. You can change the letter spacing and leave or remove the colon with just the click of a button.

Easy-to-use: 2.5/2.5

The program is very easy to use, and you do everything step-by-step. All your information is entered into the registry, so all your preferences are saved and you’ll be able to use it the next time. Editing the registry all the time can sometimes be annoying, if you like to change your fur and name a lot. This saves the time and you can play instead of editing.

Overall rating: 10.0/10.0

JazzEd got its rating in the bag. It promises what it does without a problem or a flaw, and works on both versions of Jazz Jackrabbit 2. If this program doesn’t appeal to you, or you think you don’t need it, then don’t download it. But if you want to have a little fun and make your rabbits funky while saving some time, then download this.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Uninhabitable Battle Pack
Level rating: 8.1
Rating
9.5

Introduction to the Uninhabitable Battle Pack:

This level pack has a lot of original ideas… It is really one level, converted into thirteen versions. Aiko must have spent a lot of time with the conversions, because these tilesets are completely different (besides day and night ones.) You’ve gotta love the flating island/pillar/soldier/fire/tree/etc. though! Every once in a while, you’ll see a floating "island" in the foreground. The design is great, the eyecandy was just as good, but the weak point here was the use of the layers.

Ratings:

Design/Content: 2.5/2.5

The design of the level is great for some battle action for any amount of players. You’ll find obstacles where they should be to have the player struggle to get to the other.

Tile/Event use: 2.3/2.5

Aiko was careful about where his events went with the tiles. The tiles fit well with the events, and the levels certainly have some life, unlike some other levels I’ve seen. Still, it was just under the limit because you don’t see it everywhere.

Tile/Tile compatibility: 1.7/2.0

The tiles fit fairly well, with each other. There are only a few places where tiles could be replaced by walls or another decent tile. Other than that, the eyecandy’s terrific.

Event/Event compatibility: 0.8/1.0

The events did go well with each other. You’d find that there is more tiling than events, and it gets unbalanced, here.

Layer use: 0.7/1.0

The only disappointing factor in this level pack is the use of layers. The floating island doesn’t take this down at all, because it was not overused. In fact, the floating island idea only brings up this factor. I enjoyed seeing a pillar, tree, soldier, or something similar, flying across the screen every once in a while – it never did get old. However, branches and platforms were in the sprite foreground layer, in the middle of an area which should have more platforms, where the speed of the layer almost matches the sprite layer. This really made the level’s obstacles confusing, and sometimes, annoying.

Game Compatibility: 1.0/1.0

You won’t have many problems with this level pack. This level pack works with TSF, so make sure you have it. I don’t decrease points for making it only TSF compatible – Make your levels 1.23 or 1.24 – it will only make a difference to users that don’t have one or the other.

Bonus – Level conversions: 0.5/0.5

All the levels in this level pack are actually the same. They just use different tilesets, which brings up the bonus half-point. Aiko would have to spend a lot of time to convert the level to different tilesets – he even converted it to a mez tileset. Each level has a few differences, but are just as fun. For the effort made to convert it to different tilesets (which takes a very long time with the different tilesets and their placements) this level gets a bonus half point (Not available for perfect levels.)

Replayability: 3-4 Hours

You’ll get a couple hours of fun out of this pack. I suggest downloading this pack to do some things: Play the levels, serve the levels, explore the levels, and/or observe the levels. See how they’re alike and how they’re different – how well they were converted. It also makes for a good battle level, which it was meant to be.

Summary for the Uninhabitable Battle Pack:

Download this level pack, and have some fun. It is nothing you’ll regret passing up, but it is also nothing you want to pass up at all. Everyone else’s opinions’ count, too – Its what the community demands.

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Garden of Achenoc
Level rating: 4.7
Rating
N/A

Its disappointing that you’d have to lie about the version to get extra downloads, if it were the author’s intentions… It was especially disappointing to me, because I decided to drop JJ2 during the time TSF was being distributed – and now I can’t get it… I decided to try JJ2 again, to remember how it was, and here I am, again… Just goes to show you how addicting this game can be. =)

The point I’m trying to bring up here – Don’t lie about the version just to get extra downloads. I spent a good two seconds trying to download this, only to get a version conflict error message. =P

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Daydream Diamonds
Level rating: 6.2
Rating
N/A

Oh, yes… Thanks. I forgot about that. Must’ve been thinking about Monolith and weapon 0ing him, at the time. =P

I really only mentioned Dino Station because of its usage of spikes. If the spikes weren’t there, it would be a lot easier…

Still, I don’t think that should change the rating too much, eh? J2O doesn’t allow reviewing on every tenth. Also, that reminds me… Last time I looked at the review edit page (a day or two ago) it only allowed editing reviews for whole numbers. Is that going to be changed (or has it already been changed?)

~ Derby

Review by Derby

Posted:
Posted more than 16 years ago
For: Daydream Diamonds
Level rating: 6.2
Rating
6.5

When making levels, you have large levels, and small levels… When you have large levels, more open area is preferrable and its not as linear. When making small levels, you have more puzzles, and less open area (more linear.) Well, "Daydream Diamonds," being a small level, has more open area, and is less linear. Why could this be a problem? You have to have a lot of people to play to actually have fun.

Certain things look strange in this level – like stumps that don’t even fall, could be replaced by walls, which would make more sense. An average job was done with the layers. However, the goody placement was great. Overall, the design needed some work.

Ratings:

Design/content: 1.0/2.5
Tile/event use: 1.7/2.5
Tile/tile compatibility: 1.3/2.0
Event/event compatibility: 1.0/1.0
Layer use: 0.5/1.0
Game compatibility: 1.0/1.0

Overall Rating: 6.5/10.0

How could this level be improved?

Using the layers and events more effectively could make this level a little more "alive." To improve the design of this level, you might need a little more obstacles in the level. Tiles would look better with each other if they were used correctly; Walls not being composed of one stump or similar ideas. Tiles and events could be used better together; for example, if you wanted to make tall tree stump, you could have it fall down after shooting it. Or, create obstacles that give damage to players – like those spikes, that Wakeman overused in "Dinostation." =P

Eyecandy isn’t a large factor in my reviews – the design is what really counts. A good design is made of thought, effort, tiles, and events. =P

A good job, Laguna. The levels you come out with are improving in quality.

~ Derby