Unless you live in an alternate universe where trees grow rectangular or square shaped leaves; I don’t see the big deal with the eyecandy. If anything, the placement of it is ok.
Once again, as has been stated at least twice before, Pyromanus already made a swamps battle1 version.
These levels aren’t as conventional as they might appear due to borrowed concepts from other levels, which can fool you into thinking there are no original ideas. If you look closely, you can see that these levels shine in lots of aspects visually.
Demon Rampart may remind you of “The Temple of Suffering”, but upon closer inspection you notice that every area was added to complement the look of another; if you were to move specific eyecandy elements to other locations, they would look drastically different. Demonic structures are in the level, and they don’t look cartoony due to the surprising amount of detail added to them, in my opinion. I disliked certain ‘patterns’, but that probably can’t be helped with jj2’s limitations, and they sort of add more personality to the level.
As for the gameplay, the level is a completely different story. It’s like a paradox, because the essential items like carrots and bases are so close to each other with a relatively large amount of playing area all around (the top area is almost useless, but with exceptions like having the “higher ground”). In duels, I imagine the level probably favors RFs and Bouncers over Seekers (which is kind of a good thing). The top area is not safe, because there’s 4 ways to get up there, so players that use it will likely be blasted with RFs, and that takes away the use of it being a good spot to lure people there. Players might feel that they should stick to the middle area due to the concentration of carrots, thus making the entire gameplay hanging around there, and they will only go to the bottom left and right sides occasionally for powerups. The top area could be useful for luring people away from the middle area, or to grab a +1 (the area is big enough to allow this), and possibly come back for another to get full, but it’s risky. If you’re playing someone smart/skilled, he/she will wait for you to get impatient and own your (butt) once you get down from the top area (hopping down to the full nrg is likely to be suicide). Players will probably prefer to play a fast paced match by using the middle area a lot (which is roughly 30% of the level), and they will probably avoid getting stuck at the top with an uncertain outcome. If there were no arrows to help guide a person to where the flag carrier is, then I think this concept could work out nicely without such a large risk. Also, the middle area is tedious to defend: it simply wouldn’t be fun to move back and fourth with your opponent, and wait for him/her to make a mistake; I’d rather play DW, because I won’t have to put as much effort to move. If anything, it may encourage the defender to waste seekers, and decrease the risk. All in all, the top area just makes the level tedious to play in, but the level would probably function chaotically without it (or when players decide to just play 30% of the level). In team matches, I don’t see any reason for the flag carrier to move around much, and the top and bottom areas can’t be exploited to a great effect.
Now onto Distorted Research Site:
The thing that struck me the most about this level is the tileset. To accentuate the theme, P4ul used the metal/pipe tiles quite a lot, and although it may look easy, it’s actually a challenge to work with them effectively, so he resorted to using a lot of patterns. Some of the patterns around the right side are a bit clever, in my opinion. P4ul went crazy at the bottom area, and you can tell that he did just randomly place tiles, and hope for the best.
The gameplay… Ok, first of all the layout consists of many relatively small platforms, so… I normally despise layouts of this variety, but the lack of a seeker powerup may save this level from being chaos. You can get a shield for 25 coins, and that’s alright, but considering the layout, I think players will be too focused on offense than defense to even care. There are pits at the bottom, and you have to open them by using tnt on a crate. You could restart the level if some idiot decided to open them (assuming you don’t want them) during a private match, but in public servers, there’s just no say in the matter. The level will probably be hell in jdc events. So yeah…not much to say about the level here.
Death Facility III (i thought there were only two versions of this; where have I been?) is a large improvement over the previous version I played in every aspect:
The last one has some neat eyecandy imo, but this one has eyecandy in epic proportions, and even in the little ways things were done to enhance the level’s appearance (although in my opinion Demon Rampart seemed to have far more mastery).
The level is, in my opinion, more playable than the last version, but it still lacks the aspect of ‘using’ the layout against the opponent. It’s probably boring for duels. In team matches, I hate the base placement for the fact they are easier to defend than even sbv2 bases (that should tell you something).
Overall these levels have neat, brilliant eyecandy (alone almost earned 8.6), but they fall far short of masterpieces due to the fact the layouts have bland, tedious or simply uninteresting gameplay. I guess you could argue that more stimulating gameplay would sacrifice the way these levels look, and is a fault of 2d level design or jj2’s gameplay style in general.
Agony is a must to download. It shows the epitome of what can be made with these sets. The levels should also be fun to play in public servers and possibly events.
Pyromanus already made a battle1 conversion with swamps, I think.
After hosting this level multiple times, I really enjoyed it. It has a conventional layout that reminds me of some blur levels. It requires a lot of jumping, and not every area is totally free, yet the flow retains its smooth feel since the more dead end-like areas aren’t important to the overall flow, and they are accessible only by choice. You can periodically take advantage of certain areas, and you also have enough freedom not to be limited to them.
There’s a small pit at the bottom right side of the level, with a mysteriously floating red spring under a carrot; If you’re evil, you can freeze the spring while a player is using it, so the unfortunate soul can fall in the pit below (Insert player’s hilarious reaction here). The location and size of the pit compared to the layout makes it somehow feel interesting.
The eyecandy places you in a dense forest, and you might also get the impression that you’re actually in a park. The only complaints I have are the black bg (Even though the level would probably look completely different with a textured one) and the ‘tube’ tiles supposedly being tall trees, I just have a hard time accepting that with this particular theme.
Everything else is quite standard, and there’s really nothing else to complain about.
Shade wanted me to review this through exchange and it took me a while to get to it, and I’m still the first reviewer? ;o
This is a simple concept of exploring and falling deeper into a chasm…as does the level design quality.
It’s actually not that bad and the design of Dark Passage looked promising, however as with all theese levels they are just too short and easy. A good concept and story but pooly executed, I’m sorry.
The bosses were obviously set up in ways the author intended to make difficult but no apparent thought into doing it creatively, not to mention the difficulty of the boss fights and the usual gameplay are so distant. The second layer (abyss4) had an incredibly annoying foreground concept that just wasn’t fun and I thought to myself “why do I have to play through this if I am not enjoying myself?” and just left.
I really like the theme but the gameplay wasn’t fun and the creativity ended at the overall concept. Don’t feel discouraged though, I am looking forward to the implied sequel and I hope my review didn’t kill the chance of it, but you better put a lot more effort into it, this was just a disappointment.
You probably already know this but if you notice other packs like EvilMike’s ‘The Rebirth of Evil’ you’ll notice how sp levels are supposed to be made and you should take that as an example.
Quickz seems to be getting into a phase of making battle levels lately, with Fields of Gold and this level here. For a relatively small size as 127×68, you might think this is one of those extremely fast paced and chaotic levels, but the layout makes good use of the size, and you aren’t forced into single paths like normal slow paced levels (battle1 as an example), and you are allowed a few choices in some areas. A negative side effect of that is it’s harder to predict players in exchange for more options on defense. Since the layout isn’t built to be fast paced, yet it still retains more ‘choice’, which you might think is a common attribute to fast paced levels, this level, in my opinion, is amazing in that aspect. The game-play seems to have a personality, and the aspect of ambushing seems to shine the most here. Ambushing encourages hit and run, which is a like it or dislike it aspect of game-play.
Another cool thing is the theme of this level seems to fit perfectly with the ambush style game-play, I can imagine running around sand dunes, being sly and jumping out at my opponents. In my opinion, I didn’t think the theme was enough to support the rather bland looking eyecandy though.
I thought it was really cool how the right side of the level had tricky areas that seemed to merely be walls, but they were climbable; A skilled player can climb up the sand to a considerable height, and hide up there to frustrate a rushed opponent in a timed match.
Please download this level, host it often. I hope to have fun here next bash.
Ah, the memories of playing Rayman. I thought the graphics here were so amazing when I played that game, and they still hold up quite well in my opinion, except they are pixelated.
The tile-set is structured differently than a normal jj2 set, because the rock tiles are mostly unmasked and things like the ‘grass’ tiles are masked; which means the space in this level is much more expansive than a standard level around the same size with much thicker masked platforms. I don’t find the unmasked rock tiles distracting at all, since I had years of experience playing Rayman, and I believe other players could get used to that easily. Since the grass tiles are thin, they allow players to see lots of paths in a single screen, which means it’s easy to notice and predict players. The layout is quite complex, but easy to understand thanks to the tile-set.
More tilesets and/or levels should be made with this method as it is easier to make more complex yet easy to understand levels.
I believe this is what battle levels should be like. The level generally flowed where I wanted it to flow, and the dead ends are where I felt they needed be (usually with a carrot or other valuable item). Since the layout is complex, it allows lots of movement, choices, tricks and opportunities for escape. There’s a good feel of exploration.
Definitely host this level, A lot. Balanced strategic and fast paced game-play.
I’m late. Almost a year later and I decide to review this level…
I feel a need to as after a certain period of time standards change and levels can been seen through different lights and I’ve decided to try reviewing levels this way from now on.
Now to begin with the review, this is Blackraptors’ best released level by far. To start off, the main appeal of the level is the theme and look. Now here’s where I start stating my personal opinions. It’s obvious Blacky was aiming for a random chaotic look, and the theme seems heavily influenced by death metal, in that aspect, this level still retains its originality. Even after other levels that have copied certain eyecandy aspects still have not captured the same style presented in this level.
Now here’s where I state the problems with the eyecandy, yes, you heard me, there are problems with the eyecandy. Unlike what other people here may have you believe, the eyecandy was a thin line between being butt ugly and brilliant. To support the eyecandy the level had to be totally reliant on the theme, which justified some of the chaotic uses in the level…HOWEVER some uses simply DID NOT WORK; like the purple pillar tiles did not tile and clashed horribly with the black tiles, and they were used quite a lot in certain places and some other uses around the level were borderline ugly. Ambient lighting helps hide this to some extent but keep in mind the level is relatively big and some people need to free up fps to play seriously in jdc events or in servers where a lot of players will abound, and this level was designed for a lot of players, so turning off ambient lighting will be a common thing and will reveal the eyecandy flaws to a large enough extent where it will be distracting. Now there are a lot of levels that have recieved rather low ratings for simple mistakes like tiling problems.
That aside, the eyecandy and theme were awesome, as Blacky used the complex method mixed in with efficient placing (for example the pulsating large purple pillar at the center of the level) which is rarely seen. Whatever unconventional uses that worked were also quite amazing. So in my opinion this level has a great theme but the eyecandy is not perfect.
Now on to the gameplay, and this is where the review starts revealing important, unstated facts about how the chasm really plays. The two reviews above, although well written, do not state much about the layout and gameplay, which I will go into detail here. The basic layout is two chasm-esque parts at the right and left side of the level, separated by rather long and linear paths. The layout is really quite simple and not very strategic. There are some nice tactics, like the tube which can be used to change direction, but since the paths are so close, this tactic will not produce much of a different outcome if it hadn’t been added, but other than that, the level mostly consists of running and shooting. Ofcourse the level does nothing wrong as far as flow is concerned, but as we all know perfect flow in battle levels means little strategy and more weapon spam. Since most of the level is linear wherever you go, this makes the RF powerup the most powerful weapon in the level and this will cause plently of fake health deaths. The lack of areas in the level being safe means a lot of matches will depend wholly on luck, since the best playing style here is hit and run. So there’s really nothing original or unique you can experience in gameplay here. The level is basically fast paced and although some areas I thought should have been easier to reach, the layout is still easy to navigate. So if you’re looking for fast paced and exciting games with blurry outcomes, this level is for you. If you feel like having a tough match based on skill and planning, there are better battle levels designed for that.
This level is best fit for an anniversary bash like event where there is no serious playing.
Despite giving this the lowest rating, it’s a must to download the level for the fact that it shows eyecandy is not all about just decortating a level randomly with tiles, it is all dependant on the theme and the theme totally determines the personality and which light the eyecandy should be seen. The same can also be said for gameplay, as gameplay is not really just following the standards perfectly and making a level flow right, there are plently of ways to make a fun level that breaks standards in exchange for flow.
I hope to see more levels like this one in the future. Until then…
EDIT: I totally forgot to mention anything pertaining to the LRS version. Oh well, I pretty much covered what I wanted anyway.
Thanks for reviewing guys. There are a few things I feel like stating, one of them is the fact I realized beforehand that hunters would use the pits to regain health. As for the flag carriers having a defensive advantage because of that; I wouldn’t worry about it too much, since hunters at full health will take more risks, so it evens out. Also consider that the carrots are easy to defend, and there’s an ice powerup and ammo to freeze players, so you can kill them even at full health thanks to the pits. I like to think of it as an added tactic, not a problem.
As for the carrot in the coin warp.. yeah I feared it would be too easy to defend, but it’s a safe spot, and a safe spot isn’t much if you can’t stay safe for a significant amount of time. The carrot also makes the bonus worth taking. Besides, it’s narrow and cramped. If you played plenty of team games, it’s obvious how neat being safe for even a short period of time can be.
As for the lack of originality pertaining to the eyecandy: I fully agree, but keep in mind my first intention was to create a fully standard, conventional level as a joke, since I figured R3ptile would be receiving relatively unusual levels, this one would be unusual to other entries since it would be conventional. That idea didn’t hold though.
A relatively medium sized battle level, with surprisingly original gameplay concepts. Birdie utilizes coin warps marked by ‘lights’, where players can get trapped in the mid area or denied access to the copter at the far bottom left side of the level because of them. Although this can be countered by going into the special blue lights. In a heated match like a duel, this feature can proove to be quite usefull as it adds tactics and encourages careful and subtle playing styles. However it can also proove to be quite annoying for the casual battle players who are just looking for the usual mindless brawl in standard battle levels. This is definitely a thinking mans level, in that aspect this level is different from the norm.
As with most strategic levels, this one has a big learning curve emphasized by the original layout design and features. Not to mention different design styles like the use of one tile passages to create a maze around the mid section of the level which add variety and create an enigmatic flow to the level. You’d think having totally different designs would destroy the flow but it’s designed in such a way where it’s easy to chose where you want to go and additionally, it’s simply easy to understand the layout, mastering is another story.
I’m glad to see an influx of levels like theese. Although they have learning curves they provide strategy and you cannot win in them by simply moving quickly and spamming weapons.
As an added comment: No I am not against players who like fast paced levels. I’m just stating it’s nice to see rare levels like theese, where there’s more than just blasterwars. It’s a fact, not an opinion.
Thanks to the admins for doing their job but let him say what he wants. There’s no way he can offend me anyway.
I feel no need to write a formal review so I’ll just state my thoughts.
This is the first of one of the great impacts this year has to offer. This is definitely a revolutionary piece of work for this community. I don’t think any other platformer has a story quite like this besides the other two episodes. This episode seems to have more characterization than the last two, which ofcourse adds to the aspect of caring about them. Not to say the storyline is driven by dialouge, and some of it seems unrealisitic in a few situations.
I don’t really care if the ‘eyecandy’ or whatever you may call it is bland. I think it fits well within the storyline and atmosphere and thus a more ‘spectacle’ look would not fit quite as well.
Oh yeah, I personally think the briefing scenes would’ve probably benefitted without music playing as I feel there’s more atmosphere without.
This is one of those levels that’s bad enough to download just for sheer laughs. The two part test is supposedly testing your sidekicking (like that takes any skill) and heli-earing ability which are so easy to beat any animate lifeform could do them. Not to rub it in but I beat the ‘sidekick’ test using jazz’s heli ears too =D
I apologize for the rude comments but this level is seriously amusing.
I just wanted to leave this comment as acknowledgement to Gus for the fine amount of work he put into this. Sure, the graphics may not be anything spectactular and the gameplay is mostly conventional. It seems heavily inspired by Tomb Rabbit however…
Just look at the amount of creativity and work shown by the author. There is even a developed style here. I would watch this guy for future relases, you don’t see many authors around here show this much passion for jcs.
Ok, I’m just going to even things out here and state all the negative things I’ve heard people say about this level (nothing too specific):
1. They say they keep smashing into things and it feels claustrohpobic
2. The eyecandy leaves more to be desired
3. The level feels crowded
Okay now I argue the first one is simply due to the player simply not being used to the layout, as well as the player is too used to levels with large platforms with unrestricted space to hop around randomly in. The layout has to be learned. Yes, there are more spacious levels out there, but this level does not give the ‘tunnel’ feel nor does it have extremely small passages.
The second one is more subject to opinion. Blur set a standard for this set that everyone currently follows, and the level is judged according to that standard. Which could be a mistake as there are some more unique things done to the eyecandy to appriciate (look at blackraptors review above for specific info).
Taken from Traftons review this one was the last comment I’d expect about the level. Since I am used to so many levels that use this set with the ‘complex eyecandy’ approach; It didn’t feel crowded at all to me.
Yeah, so that wasn’t exactly a typical review. Sue me.
[Rating (8.8) clearance. There wasn’t enough support for such a high rating aside from lots of arguing with other players and reviewers. ~Cooba]
We should be seeing a lot more of this level; it’s fun, smooth, even a little strategy is involved. However, there are a few quriks you should consider for it to become popular:
I suggest making a v2. Get rid of the carrot barrel by the bouncer powerup, it’s critical you do this. Take that extra green spreen out at the top left, you know which one, it disrupts the flow. There are some tiles you can get caught on at around the pos 26,31, they are annoying. The +1 and ANOTHER Bouncer powerup at the right side should definitely be taken care of: rid of or move the +1 and replace the bouncer power with some other powerup.
An extremely solid episode containing a few revolutionary concepts involving the aforementioned alternative endings. The deepest most involving story to have ever been told in a jj2 pack and debatably any other two demensional game. The author has spent a great deal of time perfecting this episode, there are very few if any aspects that seem tacked on or reflect the author being lazy at all.
There is nothing more to be said. This pack is for everyone. It doesn’t get any better than this. You won’t be disappointed.
Although I do not care much for names, I’d much rather call this by its file name “Apple Land” I like that name much better. Now on to the review!
For some reason this level’s tileset goes so well with the use of apples, almost to the extent of the lemons with Ceramicus in BR’s Lemon Nightmare; the level has an atmosphere, one that I like, others should as well. To accentuate the theme, the background has a dark red fade. One of the downfalls of the theme is the music choice, although it’s not particularly bad, it does not fit with the theme well in my opinion, there could definitely have been a better choice.
The tileset usage is what you’d expect to be made from this set along with a few other decorations that use tricks from other levels; certain color tiles used with transparency to change the color of tiles for example. So really nothing too original.
The level has a solid symmetrical design, allowing three direct paths to each base which makes defense almost pointless as it’s likely for the capturer to grab the carrot at the top middle unless the defender is extremely skilled. Especially considering there are plently of slopes: there is a bouncer powerup (included in warp for 10 coins) and easily obtainable bouncer ammo near some slopes; killing is not at all difficult for the attackers, or the defenders in some cases.
Camping is an aspect of this level, and needs to be implemented to a huge extent if one is to win. The top middle has the only full nrg with the coin warp (all coins have a 31 regen and are placed sparsely around the level). The bouncer power is the main powerup to be used, it will be used a lot, it’s the main weapon that can be hogged by one team and could decide who wins the match. Close matches aren’t likely in this level. Although there is an RF powerup included, Chasing isn’t easy here, the top area may be good for the use of RFs though. The RF powerup is located underwater which pretty much makes it useless to attack people there with it. The bottom area will be the least touched place.
I like the level mainly for it’s theme. As for the gameplay. Most players will not like such a sparse placement of coins, and the ridiculous regen time on them. Players will resort to playing with the RF powerup most of the time, resulting in many 3hks. If you like levels with a nice theme and like to be evil by hogging things from other players, then this is the level for you.
I’ve decided to review this level without a rating, because whatever is good or not is relative. Why else would one person percieve a level as good, and the other person would not see it as good or better?—Their sophistication? haha please; Standards are set depending on the majority of peoples tastes. The below is strictly my opinion. Wether or not you choose to agree with it and download the level is your choice alone.
Obviously the author took primary focus on the eyecandy. The level looks exceptional. The eyecandy isn’t very repetitive; There’s a lake at the bottom filled with coves and every area on land is densely covered with trees. In one area there is more variation with the “tall” trees (Seeker Woods) at the top right. Just when you thought the Diamondus Beta was used to its max.
The music is well chosen in my opinion. it’s a song by Alexander Brandon, so of course it sounds good. It fits with the theme and shouldn’t annoy most people. Overall, a very good first impression. This level is guaranteed to shock the newbies at first glance.
Normally, an average jj2 player would find the gameplay here quirky: There’s a full nrg, spaz-biasedness (though spaz players dominate jj2) the flow is off in some places, and the level doesn’t feel entirely polished. All of which people can adjust to with time. Although the level plays fast; the full nrg, various powerups, and a shield with the levels small size should make this level appeal to those who like some chaos in their fun. If you’re one of them I suggest you download this.
I can honestly say that I would play this level for a good few minutes of carnage, and then grow bored of it.
I don’t feel like writing a review on the level because there’s nothing about it that’s interesting to thoose who’d download it. The author is indirectly saying that he would not care about the comments this level would recieve from the reviewers. The level has been under construction for about an hour, plus the layout is symmetrical, bit of a turn off huh?
Symmetrical layouts work when done right, but it’s extremely risky if you are not familar with the basics on how to create symmetrical layouts for CTF levels. Next time you make a CTF level, make sure you know what you are doing if you plan to design a layout that’s symmetrical or it will look so incredibly boring! I cannot emphasize any further.
I know, you could care less, but you made this level for some reason. Come on…
Actually, this level seems to have a nice ancient feel to it in my opinion. Just fix some of the gameplay aspects like the number and placement of the carrots and other previously mentioned problems by the reviewers, then reupload the level.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.