RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
12 Jan 2016, 13:02 (edited 12 Jan 16, 13:06)
For: Snow Castle 2016
Level rating: 7.7
Rating
7.4

While not particularly challenging or innovative, I had fun playing this level. The theme of the level is interesting, vaguely reminding me of Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas with its mix of HH98 and Haunted House. I liked the non-linear nature of the layout and the subtle focus on finding weapons to unlock new areas. Give it a try!

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
29 Dec 2015, 19:57 (edited 29 Dec 15, 19:57)
For: Forsaken Hot Springs
Level rating: 9.0
Rating
8.7

This level is a brilliant example of how you don’t necessarily require the ability to script in order to be innovative. The ammo/shield concept combined with the theme is honestly pure genius. While the level may have somewhat one-dimensional gameplay as a result of the lack of weapon variety, it more than makes up for that due to fun factor.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
29 Dec 2015, 19:52
For: Horizon Approaching
Level rating: 9.0
Rating
9.0

One of the few battle levels that’s genuinely suitable for games of 16 players and up. Despite being very large, thanks to a well designed layout with a variety of distinctive areas and paths, navigation is intuitive. This style of level design and approach to placing pickups should act as a template for all event sized battle levels to come.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
25 Dec 2015, 10:16
For: Jazzopoly
Level rating: 9.0
Rating
9.0

The concept is well executed and results in a level totally unlike anything else you’ll play this year. It can appeal to both casual players and “hardcore” JJ2ers alike. While this virtual version of monopoly doesn’t quite have the same staying power as the original board game, just the fact that it can be played online is enough of a niche. D/L!

Quick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
6 Dec 2015, 22:18 (edited 30 Oct 18, 09:02)
For: Far Out Finished!
Level rating: 7.7
Rating
6.0

While not a terrible effort overall, the level design feels like something straight out of 1998, which is unsurprising considering its origin. It has gameplay that’s reminiscent of the official levels, albeit with less polish.

Quick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
11 Oct 2015, 15:49
For: Psych 3
Level rating: 8.1
Rating
7.0

While this conversion does make a few important mask fixes and adds some useful tiles, the new palettes are incredibly dull. Gone are the funky, psychedelic colors that defined the original set; this conversion replaces them with monochrome shades of blue/grey. They look decent on their own, but greatly detract from the theme of the set.

Quick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
6 Oct 2015, 15:58 (edited 6 Apr 17, 13:28)
For: Improved Medivo
Level rating: 8.0
Rating
5.0

What Sir Ementaler said. Uploading palette edits for official sets doesn’t really serve much purpose now, given how easily custom palettes can be made using AS. Just take any one of these palettes and import it into your level using the IC-IF Medivo tileset.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
26 Sep 2015, 13:22 (edited 6 Apr 17, 13:28)
For: Waterworks
Level rating: 8.2
Rating
8.2

While the level may be a little on the large side when it comes to duels, it’s an excellent level for small TB and AYCR games. For the most part the level is well designed and fun to play. The flow is a bit tricky in places but it can be adjusted to. This level has the kind of impressive visuals that we’re used to seeing from Loon by now.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
25 Sep 2015, 11:08 (edited 25 Sep 15, 11:08)
For: LFGPU-3000
Level rating: 8.6
Rating
8.5

A clever level with a unique take on a “death pit” mechanic. While perhaps the layout directly in front of the gun could have been more purpose-built, the execution of the concept remains solid. The level is a chaotic and somewhat surreal amalgamation of the different set elements, which looks messy but is visually appealing nonetheless.

Not recommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
17 Sep 2015, 11:22 (edited 24 Sep 15, 23:20)
For: SoundZ
Level rating: 5.0
Rating
2.0

Serves no practical purpose whatsoever, and thus is a waste of an upload. Novelty wears off quickly.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
8 Sep 2015, 18:23
For: OLC Jazz1 CTF Pack
Level rating: 8.5
Rating
7.5

While most of the levels are dated and feature questionable design choices (campy Seek PUs galore), the pack nonetheless has an undeniable “cool factor”, and has been an influence on my own CTF levels – Botanica and Stone Ways in particular. The pack may be far from perfect, but there’s definitely some interesting concepts here and there.

RecommendedReview by PurpleJazz

Posted:
7 Sep 2015, 18:08 (edited 5 Apr 16, 12:52)
For: Sacrosanct
Level rating: 8.4
Rating
8.4

Sancrosanct is a well designed, enjoyable CTF level by veteran level maker and J2O admin cooba – his first contribution to the JCS scene as a member of the prolific levelgroup Mystic Legends.

It’s clear that the level is intended as a tribute to Sanctuary in more than just the levelname. cooba has gone a long way to try and recreate the visual style of the 2004 level that inspired him, with Sacrosanct sharing many of the same visual attributes despite using a different tileset. Sancrosanct uses a palette edit of Violet CLM’s Medvio conversion, which has been given a blue/greyish colour scheme that resembles that of the Pezrock bricks – the set which Cell’s level used. In addition, the tileset use in cooba’s level also evokes the visual style of Sanctuary, through a similar use of the pillars, minimalistic background and even with a few splashes of green here and there to break up the monotony, much like the original. However, the comparisons end there – in spite of his intentions to vaguely resemble the original Sanctuary, cooba has taken his level further and added some scripted flourishes to the visuals, primarily through the use of lanterns, coloured water and all new weather effects; the latter courtesy of JJ2+ version 5.0. While on the surface Sancrosanct may appear to be a doppelgänger of its key influence, it manages to achieve its own feel. Cell’s Sanctuary has a sort of dreamy, spaced out vibe to it, whereas Sancrosanct feels dark and murky. This hallowing feel is realised by a clever combination of elements such as the occasional use of green patches that resemble mossy overgrowths, a shallow pool of marshy-looking water at the bottom of the level and the constant deluge of rain that pours over the dilapidated structure. From a practical viewpoint, the rain might be considered distracting for some players, but fortunately cooba has provided players the ability to remove it by enabling Low Detail. This has the unfortunate side effect of making the water look terrible in 16 bit, but that’s not important and out of his control anyway.

Gameplaywise, Sancrosanct has a rather different design to Sanctuary. Whereas the original level had a slightly more typical layout, this level runs with a semi-symmetrical design where the bases are situated in the approximate centre of the level, seperated only by a thin wall. While this style of layout is nothing revolutionary (even featuring in other old CTF levels by Cell such as Zaitox, Botanica and Stone Ways, and also in Toxin Twister by cooba), this level manages to have its own distinct brand of gameplay. The bases cleverly mimic the skewed nature of the carrot placement in Sanctuary, however it is debatable whether or not this design choice has any positive impact on the gameplay. Overall, the level has a somewhat circular design, whereby players get around either by circumnavigating the main structure, or by cutting through one of the numerous side paths. The layout is pretty vertical, featuring a number of springs, vines and RF climbable passages to help you get up. However, the level features just enough x-axis gameplay in order to keep things from becoming too overly vertical. A bit of side effect as a result of this general layout style is that it makes the gameplay fairly slow paced, since it involves a lot of going back and forth when it comes to hunting down enemy players. It also feels a little on the cramped side in some areas, which may make bullet dodging difficult in some situations. One unique gameplay aspect is the JJ1 inspired “wheel spring” at the bottom of the level, which periodically moves back and forth along the lower ledge. It’s a cool feature, but has one minor issue. At some angles the spring doesn’t bounce you high enough to reach the upper ledges adjacent to the base areas, and so if you don’t time the springs exactly right you can often find yourself unable to get up without the extra height from Spaz’ double jump; this has the potential to become frustrating for the player, especially if they’re playing as Jazz or Lori.

All ammo types sans TNT are present in this level. The weapons are exceptionally well balanced here; each one brings something different to the table with the given layout. The three powerups; Bouncer, Toaster and Gun 8, all receive roughly equal use here. I think Bouncer is perhaps slightly more useful overall due to the amount of climbing involved, although Toaster still comes into play when defending in some of the narrow corridors, and Gun8 serves as a chasing weapon in the upper and lower areas. I like how Ice can be used strategically here to freeze the wheel spring at the bottom in order to temporarily halt your opponent. The level features 3 carrots – one Full NRG and 2 +1s, all of which can be shot down. The use of freeze enemy (egg timer) events is interesting, since they can delay the player’s escape from the carrot area. This is particularly potent if the carrot is shot down into the small cavity below.

The level seems to be most suited to game sizes of 3vs3 and up. Due to the layout style, killing may be quite difficult in a duel or a 2vs2, although it should be fine with more. Overall the level generally facilitates gameplay focused around defense, which may not be to everyone’s tastes but tends to lead to gameplay based upon smart, tactical play as opposed to mindless ammo spamming, which is a good thing of course. The level isn’t perfect, but it’s a very solid and respectable effort, made by a creator that has a clear understanding of good level design principles. If you’re fed up of all of the overplayed CTF levels out there and would like to find an alternative, I recommend you give this level a try, or a download at the very least.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
7 Sep 2015, 11:16 (edited 18 Apr 16, 14:09)
For: Take off and away! V3
Level rating: 8.3
Rating
8.3

The verticality of the layout may not be for everyone, although I like how the level is not overly dependant on springs. I liked the base areas, even if they’re a little on the cramped side. The level may not appeal to everyone initially, but those who dive into it will discover fun, tactical gameplay.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
7 Sep 2015, 11:11 (edited 7 Sep 15, 11:11)
For: Ancient Museum
Level rating: 8.7
Rating
8.7

This level manages to execute the theme well with careful attention to the architectural details of the level. It has the kind of functional and creative layout that CTF levels by FS are generally known for. The base areas are perhaps a little too open for my liking, but others may like them for how being RTS is challenging here.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
7 Sep 2015, 10:55 (edited 7 Sep 15, 11:00)
For: Pinball Arena 2k15
Level rating: 9.2
Rating
9.2

The rich array of animations and other details result in a spectacular looking level that is bursting with energy. The layout is simple but well constructed, with some fun and quirky gameplay elements. An abundance of ammo and powerups makes this enjoyable in large games. The flow is a little awkward in the lower parts, but it’s no big deal.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
24 Jun 2015, 09:03
For: Urban Brawl
Level rating: 8.2
Rating
8.2

A fun little level that provides fun gameplay in both regular and ODT-style duels. The layout is well designed, with two carrots that can be tactically manipulated. The level features a copter that does not despawn until it is taken, which is a nice touch. The EC is somewhat average for the given tileset, but it does the job. Worth your time!

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
27 May 2015, 11:29
For: Robust Ruins
Level rating: 9.0
Rating
8.8

A solid and enjoyable level. While the layer 4 EC is rather minimalistic, it does the job and overall the level feels very professional. The BG sun combined with the heat effect looks amazing however. Works well in duels, as was intended, but the level is also large enough to work in small AYCR and TB games of up to 8 players.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
23 Mar 2015, 14:52
For: Los Pollos Hermanos
Level rating: 8.2
Rating
8.2

A small level with a simple yet solid layout that is pretty fun to play. The float ups, while an interesting concept and work in the context of the tileset choice are annoying at first but can be adapted to. This level can be quite chaotic due to the open layout with few safe areas. However, this is less of an issue in smaller games. Give it a go!

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
26 Feb 2015, 22:59 (edited 2 Mar 15, 22:43)
For: Technological Problems (re-upload for PJ)
Level rating: 7.8
Rating
7.8

While not DS’ best CTF level, it’s still a good effort. The level has a solid layout and is appealing visually, even if slightly on the monochrome side. Not sure if I’m keen on the cramped Full NRG area, but at least there’s two 2 +1s to balance things out. Maybe more could’ve been done with the background too.

RecommendedQuick Review by PurpleJazz

Posted:
2 Feb 2015, 15:56
For: Daybreak
Level rating: 8.5
Rating
9.0

Incredibly fun level with a simple yet well designed layout that encourages tactical play. I especially like the overall utility of both RF and EB here. This is one of the best levels for 2vs2s/3vs3s at the moment, so downloading is thoroughly recommended.

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