Awesome pseudo-3D background. The concept of the tileset is clear, but lacks the execution to back it up. The levels themselves are pretty forgettable. For what it is, it’s a good effort. C+
A prime example of experimentation gone wrong. Birdie started a fire going, in which he did not have the power to control. Ambition and creativity should be applauded, but almost all functionality is lost; these are MP levels we are talking about.
Solid collection of noteworthy tests that provide simple entertainment on a rainy day. A-
Minimalism can be good a thing given the right circumstances, but to what cause for this pack? While there’s nothing rancid, it seems sloppy around the edges. Toni isn’t afraid to show his lazy side – he copies one level and makes another version of it as pure filler. There’s some enjoyment in the pack, but don’t bother digging for gold. B-
A JDC classic. Featuring a simple but effective two levels of height design, this is a versatile level that works in all game sizes. The middle section connects the two levels well and provides plenty of entertainment. However, this level is pretty bland looking by today’s standards, although many will enjoy the miminalist feel of the level. B+
One complaint I have is the background is seriously messed up.
Why would any distant, static object ever move faster than something closer? Not only does this break the laws of perspective, it looks ridiculous enough that it is distracting.
The lava really needs to be more flexible! otherwise k
Somewhat messy. The foreground ec, despite being part of the theme, is extremely obstructive. The layout is far too simple and open, and generally the level looks pretty ugly. Sorry. D
fun for about 30 seconds. D-
Tried using the set. It really is a pain to use, for it is so incredibly lacking in necessary tiles. I’m pretty sure every level made with this set will look exactly the same. It’s a shame, since the set at least looks nice.
I like the theme, especially with the lovely looking water . However, I would’ve like to have seen this aspect expanded on further, and the whole tileset in general could’ve had a lot more content. Still, nice. B
While the concept does get stale quite quickly after a few levels, this pack is a clear example of how thinking outside the box can get you very far. Nice one! B+
This level suffers from one fatal flaw: there’s way too many carrots. Seriously, there’s at least one carrot every 6 or so tiles you move, meaning that it is practically impossible to die here, even on Hard. Aside from that, there’s not really much to say, aside from the bland eyecandy and overly linear level design. E+
How could I miss this, a level with several 9 or close to 9 ratings?
Desert Fight is, as far as I know, Laro’s debut in the JCS scene, and a decent one I may add. However, “decent” is about the epitome about what can be said about this level, for there are no real aspects about it that have a certain plateau of polish and charm to justify giving it such high ratings. This does not necessarily mean I consider the level bad in any shape or form; I just think it does not deserve the tremendous amount of praise it has received so far.
The name “Desert Fight”, while being decidedly generic, is descriptive enough for this level – it’s set in a desert, and you’re going to fight here. Oasis was a good choice for this level, and is used adequately to create the environment one would expect to find in a desert. However, I found the level looking rather unnatural in places:
Yes, that’s right. Straight aka “squared-off” edges are ever present in this level. I don’t generally have a problem with this if the level has a theme which justifies the use of more regular patterns, such as an indoor technology based theme. Here, seeing so many straight edges just makes this level feel “forced”. I mean, tell me how many times you have seen a cave or cliff overhang with a perfect, smooth edge like that? It’s almost as if someone carved the level out of a colossal slab of stone. Speaking of which, an overview in JCS shows that it is highly probable that Laro created a simple box first, and then built the layout inside it. Is that really a good idea though, to confine your thoughts to within a box? He seems to have thought so.
It’s not exactly an easy task to see what Laro was trying to accomplish with the visual design here. From a first glance, it seems as if he was trying to make a barren desert environment, in comparison with other levels with this set which make much more liberal use of aspects such as the buildings and the palm trees. I prefer the subtle approach he takes to the eyecandy in that regard, from what he was trying to create. However, the “artificialness” of the structural design counteracts this ideal, so it ends up being a useless move, only making the level feel somewhat bland. A real desert would look curved and jagged, so why not at least attempt to make the level like that? Fortunately, this is MP so I can somewhat overlook that while I’m playing, but I still consider the general appearance of this level somewhat lazy. Meh.
Seeing as this level was an entry for jjnet’s duel contest, the gameplay here deserves more of a sharp focus. The design is basically somewhat diagonally based, with an emphasis on uphill climbing. This is generally a very risky design choice, because at most any given time, the player with height over another player is usually at an advantageous situation. Surprisingly, the balance here is met quite well. While I think there might be a slight favour towards red due to having more immediate access to both carrots, the blue has the advantage of having a much less exposed base, and a quick escape route via the RF PU and copter. Also, the lack of a Bouncer PU eases the bias somewhat. The two PUs which do exist, RF and Toaster, compliment each other well in this level, and both come in handy in many situations, ie chasing your opponents on the long straight corridors with RF and defending the bases with a flood of fire from Toasters. The middle section of the level, aka the no-mans land, will see heavy usage, for it is the central hub connecting the rest of the level together. It is quite open; not as open as something like Distopia but still could be annoying to navigate if the server lags. Fortunately, the lack of a Seeker PU does remedy this – the number one cause of airs in a server. However, expect Toaster spam there now and again. It isn’t that much of an issue, but just be careful. At least the items are well spread out, meaning just about every area in this level will get some use.
The carrot situation is alright, but not perfect. They’re both placed fairly equidistant from eachother in comparison with the bases. As I’ve said already, the red team can reach either one of them slightly quicker than the blue team, due to having to make nothing but a simple drop, whereas blue has to make a couple of tricky jumps in order to reach them. This can prove quite an advantage for red at moments, as being able to make a fast escape from the base after being hit while you’re RTS while the enemy is being RTS. Blue team does have the copter for quick access to the left carrot; assuming it has spawned that is. Speaking of the left carrot, it suffers from the same problem as the left carrot in BBswing – you cannot check to see if it has spawned without taking the risk and looking yourself, as it is obscured by the foreground. While the hole it is in can be shot with EB to check if it is there (it will fall), I still dislike having to randomly check if it has spawned or not – I should be able to tell for sure by seeing it. In duels, carrot control will be a vital aspect in this level, as it is for the BB duo. So far many of the reviewers have stated that it is impossible to camp them successfully. This is true to an extent, although due to them being placed on almost a straight line, it is possible to run back between them with relative ease, dominating the control over the level. Shooting down the left carrot helps with this.
Would I recommend this? Yes and no. While there is nothing particularly outstanding or innovative about this level, and it does have a couple of annoying flaws, I can imagine many players these days will enjoy the gameplay it provides, which is reminiscent of many popular levels. I did find it somewhat amusing to play in after all.
If you’re into online play at the moment, try it and see what you think.
EDIT: To be fair you did improve this level a bit, so it’s only fair I increase the rating.
The slopes are incredibly annoying – they disrupt the flow and are unnecessary. There’s some odd EC here, and it seems to have been slapped together pretty haphazardly. There’s a central-core design somewhat, but it’s too restrictive – there’s one route between the bases. To conclude, this has one of the worst carrot placements I have seen. C-
The level isn’t particularly bad in any aspect, but it doesn’t have any outstanding factors, either. My biggest gripe is the lighting; making the level get dark just as I’m about to cross a pit is simply unfair. As you’ve said yourself, this level feels rushed and unpolished. This is still an okay level, but just isn’t designed very well. C
This is a cool level. While it may have a somewhat dated design and appearance, it has a certain charm which is not present in levels today. The layout offers quite a fair amount of freedom, and is easy to navigate. There are some campy areas, but not in a way that it’s really a massive problem and in fact safe areas are a nice feature in CTF. B+
believe it or not, this actually inspired me. E-
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.