|Posts by Virus610
I'm not sure if you're interested in hearing a defense, but in case you are, here it is.
I understand your aversion to allow this hack to be hosted here. I figured it was at least worth a shot, though.
The hack was made entirely for the sake of practicing particular levels that SMW speedrunners tend to get snagged on, but with hidden exits inserted into stages, in the event that the player is interested in playing the two custom stages. The blatant rips of particular levels were there so that players could practice those particular segments of those levels. It'd be kind of ineffective to train a player to do something like a Yoshi clip in a stage that isn't found in the original SMW, you know?
The custom stages take all the tricks the hack is meant to train you in, and ramp up the difficulty, while still being entirely doable in a single segment, as shown by the walkthrough video in the readme. (There's also a video linked in the readme that demonstrates how to perform these tricks. I don't simply expect someone to pick up the hack and blindy charge in.)
Personally, I see nothing kaizoish about the hack at all, given the ample reset doors in the custom stages. Nevertheless, I won't complain if - in spite of my explanation - you still deem my hack unworthy.
- As for the unchanged TEST levels, those are unenterable, just given names and numbers for overworld purposes.
- Level 10 in OW: Yes, block duping is required. A skilled speedrunner would be able to dupe a platform to gain a running start in well under a minute. If I may: A link to a demonstration of the start of that room.
- The butts thing is just an easter egg.
I appreciate the time you spent evaluating my hack, and I apologize if you feel that the aforementioned time was wasted.
While sideways duping is a tough trick, it certainly requires no use of savescumming or slowdown. The video I linked to shows me doing it live (At the time of recording), with no slowdown, no savestates. I messed up 10 times, and still pulled the trick off in 58 seconds from the time I entered the room.
Not to mention a side dupe is pretty much essential to save a ton of time running through world 3.
As for people being good enough to think about speedrunning the game, the speedrunning community has players of a very wide range of skill levels. It's honestly quite a bother to juggle savestates, or travel about the overworld collecting powerups for the sake of practicing a single trick, compared to just having everything available in a handful of levels.
I thought, perhaps, my hack being on SMWCentral might spread the idea of speedrunning SMW to those who may have just not given it any thought before. I suppose, though, if you still believe it's unacceptable, then I'll stop bothering you about it.
It's crazy easy to replicate, so it's possible that people already know of this, but in case they don't:
Riding a rope on a line guide into a solid object will push you off and leave you climbing on the air, which basically turns the air into an effective curtain of vines.
I made a brief demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhVzKOU4cXw
Probably something you'd want to avoid allowing to happen in your romhack. Or maybe not. It's pretty neat, anyway.
So, I'm very out of the loop with the goings on at SMWC. I can see that you guys have boosted your standards for romhacks and divided up the previously accepted hacks from the ones that are up to the current standards. That's pretty great!
I'm a bit confused, though. Romhacks in the SMW Hacks section don't seem to have reviews, or the option to leave a review. Why is this? I see that there's a forum for reviewing hacks to determine whether or not they get accepted, but given the lack of a search feature (At least, I certainly am not seeing such a feature) it is difficult to actually get the community's thoughts on a romhack for someone who isn't actively involved in the forum community.
To illustrate my point: I played Yogui's "Something", without knowing anything other than "It meets the standards of SMWC today, because it's in the SMW Hacks section". Having heard that compatibility with multiple emulators is a thing that's being enforced (Eg: I hear that Super Yoshi Land was rejected because of emulator compatibility reasons) I figured that I could comfortably play the hack on the up to date version of SNES9x, only to find that the music explodes in worlds 3 and special, pretty much breaking the game's sound.
Now, maybe functioning music isn't part of the acceptance criteria, and if that's the case, then okay. I can deal with that. I would think, however, to be able to see on the very page where I got the romhack, that maybe someone had audio issues on a certain emulator. In the absence of such a review, I'd like to leave my own to say "Hey, this was a good hack and all, but your audio will screw up on SNES9x1.53"
Is it just not the case that someone can see a review of a romhack now without having to dig around the forums?
In the case of Something, there was a link to a forum thread, but not all hacks do this, and it just seems bothersome to not have immediate access to the feedback of the community as was once available.
I'm not sure this warning is showing up.
I can be fairly daft at times, and I may very well just be missing it, but I'm not seeing such a thing for Something. Checking something that I know was released before remoderation, SMWCP also doesn't seem to have this warning.
I was going to leave a review post for Something on the thread linked to on the romhack's page, but someone made a remark in the thread about resurrecting old posts, so I didn't want to make a faux pas.
Oh, I misunderstood. Sorry about that.
Yeah, I tend to just use ZSNES if I run into trouble, but it definitely isn't my preferred emulator for a variety of reasons, so I like to give SNES9x a shot first.
As I understand it, if music works in ZSNES but not SNES9x, the inaccuracy is on ZSNES's side.
It's a convenient inaccuracy, but still suggests that the same would happen on the original hardware.
I agree that an icon of sorts that warns of compatibility issues would definitely be a nice thing. Of course, this would likely just beg users to start asking for more icons, and next thing you know, there'll be a large array of icons that may or may not be a little vague.
In the meantime, I think that being able to review romhacks in the new SMW Hacks section would be the best way to point out any potential issues for potential players of a romhack. I look forward to this feature making a comeback.
Played to completion with no tools
Got all 69 exits (Save for one that was kind of bugged, which I'll be finishing up now that it's been fixed in 1.02)
Incredible variation from level to level. It really shows that you put a lot of work into this hack. I was very pleased to see that you so promptly addressed the issues I PM'd you about (Overworld music, midpoint spawn in one of the stages), and it's pleasing to see the overwhelming acceptance from the others. I'm certainly willing to agree that the hack does level design very well, but I do feel the need to address some points of frustration that are beyond the control of the player.
As of this moment, having played through all the stages, I'd say there are three level design things that could stand to be resolved. Some of which were mentioned in an earlier PM, but as they're still current, I feel the need to bring attention to them: (Links are to relevant videos in case my descriptions aren't clear enough)
1. The cannons in Bullet Bird Boom have an annoying tendency to teleport you inside them and kill you.
It really leaves a nasty stain on a good romhack when one of the levels just seemingly randomly kills you without reason. I really hope there's something you can do about this.
2. This point has been fixed.
3. This point has been fixed.
Outside of level design, though, I think your choice of music and graphics was very nice. I am a little confused by all the penises scattered about the world, though. Were they really necessary? And the 'reward' from Yuyuko?
I mean, after Something (With the "u suck" signs, and the farting Yoshi) I wasn't really going into this expecting maturity (And that's just fine, don't get me wrong), but really? I don't know. I mean at least it's no porn palace like in Panic in the Mushroom Kingdom, I guess?
Oh, I feel the need to mention: The cat lord? Adorable.
Originally posted by yogui
1.I was forced to use custom blocks (solid for Mario only block) for the bullet bird otherwise they would explode immediately. Sometimes you can go inside the canon if you enter it from a specific angle but it doesn't happen often. I will try to see how can I can fix it.
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to keep my comments here as review-only stuff, so I apologize if that is the case. Still familiarizing myself with the rules and whatnot.
Anyway: It is a somewhat rare occurrence, yes, but you need to use these cannons as platforms, and teleporting inside of the cannon is only an extreme case of what's wrong with it. Several times, I zipped through a corner that I should have been able to simply stand on, and given the general lack of a floor, this poses a big problem.
This problem is compounded due to the fact that there are several of these cannons that the player is using as a platform. A rare case becomes much less rare when you have to take that chance several times in succession.
I wish I could offer a more precise suggestion on what you could do, but all I can really suggest is that the player doesn't get killed by a rare-but-not-really-that
Happy to hear about the other fixes. I'll be sure to check out the things that were changed after work, and update my review accordingly.
I hope that it's acceptable to continue reviewing a hack long after it's been accepted. After all, I have some words.
There seems to be a very nonstandard definition of difficulty in a romhack. I have tackled some soul-crushingly hard romhacks in the past, I can handle quite a lot of punishment, but for a romhack listed as "normal" difficulty, I think some castles were a little far out there.
Castle 4, for example, fighting Balrog at the end is a good deal of a learning experience, figuring out what you can get away with, what hurts you and how, etc. etc. Yet dying to the boss because you don't innately know how the pattern is going to change when you're expecting a hit to land sends you all the way back to the start of the stage.
This may just be a matter of opinion, but I don't believe that death should ever be mandatory in a romhack, especially not a normal difficulty one. Death is a punishment for failure. Fighting Balrog with all his HP and changing patterns is going to result in dying, unless you already know how to deal with him. If a player is going to be killed like this, the least you could do is give them a midpoint.
The same thing happens in the fortress in world 8, fighting the Blargg boss. That fight is frustrating as hell, requires really precise timing, and a minor failure means you start from the very beginning. In the final castle, too.
I have to say, the romhack was good. The difficulty was mostly reasonable (If a little inconsistent. In world 5, I cleared a stage without breathing to confirm just how short those stages are.) and curved up toward the end. It looked great (Save for some post-goal-sphere segments where the ground just cuts off instantly, and the bee hive stage having a corrupted background in spots). The music sounded pretty good too, though some of the ports were a bit off.
Really, I just take issue with this being listed as a "normal" hack, which I would argue should be in line with SMW in difficulty, considering the game this romhack is built on. Some castles having no midpoints strike me as simply unreasonable, and makes some stages less fun than just tedious.
Overall, I'd say it's an alright romhack, but I think that I wouldn't endorse it entirely because a select few castles are anomalously difficult in comparison to the rest of the hack.
I play a reasonable number of romhacks; Enough to have formed an opinion on the wildly varying difficulties.
I've found that romhacks are hugely inconsistent when it comes to their listed difficulty. An SMW master would argue that a hack is easy, where someone else would say it's really hard. Why not base this on the actual source that all the SMW hacks are based on?
I propose a standard for labeling a romhack's difficulty, with 'Normal' being in line with the original SMW.
: (eg: Super Mario World Beta
This would be simply "Not as hard as the original game." Be it a tutorial hack, a basic demo, maybe just a hack that is designed to ease people into romhacks without demanding much of them.
Comparable to the original SMW. You'd expect someone playing a hack of this difficulty to have played SMW before, know about spinjumping, at least a basic understanding of flying with the cape.
: (eg: Aether: The Paramount Omnibus
This is a bit of a sore spot. There is too much variation between 'hard' and 'kaizo'. There must be more options to clarify to the player what they might be getting into.
Hard is the point where you would start to expect some more expertise from the player. They'd likely have an idea about spinfly, be able to act under a bit of pressure, and you can demand that they apply some advanced control over the game mechanics.
: (eg: The Second Reality Project Reloaded
You aren't pulling many punches now. The only tips you'd be providing to the player would be to explain things that really can't be figured out normally, perhaps if they conflict with pre-existing knowledge of SMW (Say, if a feather hurts you for some reason, or red pipes burn you or such). Less reasonable difficulty would be found, but with some sort of forgiveness factor. Midpoints shouldn't be nonexistent, for example.
: (eg: The Second Reality Project
Citing Bowser's Starship in TSRP for this one, things get pretty damn unforgiving here. Non-pros beware. I feel the need to specify that this category should still be doable without the use of savestates by a skilled player.
This wouldn't be opening the floodgates for excessive randomly generated difficulty, but expecting the player to be really on the ball, incredibly proficient with SMW hacks, and very patient.
: (eg: Kaizo Mario World, of course)
This is where things ought to start getting a bit ridiculous. Unfair traps, invisible coin blocks that knock you into pits, and one ridiculously precise maneuver after another. This is the first difficulty that I would consider acceptable for testing with savestates, while still technically doable by a super-ultra-master of SMW, the likes of dram55 or jeffw356.
TAS only. Frame/pixel perfect tricks abound, arguably impossible to be completed by a human without the use of savestates, slowdown, etc.
Adding something more demanding of the player than your desired difficulty should require giving them a bit of a fighting chance to make it work. Want a harder than normal boss in a normal hack? Give the player a midpoint not long before the fight, maybe even a powerup. Going to have an insanely long level? For the love of god, add a midpoint, and offer overworld shortcuts for when your player is inevitably going to need to go get lives/powerups to have a fighting chance.
I know that I'm a bit of a nobody here, but my thoughts on the matter seem to be agreed with by a good number of people. I'd love to get more people into making/playing romhacks, but in my efforts to find hacks to suggest to people new to the concept, I find hacks listed as 'normal' with very long stages, a deficit of midpoints, and obstacles that can't possibly be cleared without learn-by-dying nonsense. I find this unreasonable, and it encourages weaker players to give into using tools to complete a hack, because they deem it otherwise unfairly hard.
I understand that it's hard to quantify the difficulty of something, and for this reason, i think the community ought to be allowed to contribute suggestions to the difficulty with which the romhack is listed.
One example: The New Mario World
, I would argue is between "Hard" and "Very hard", save for some stages which are just way out there in difficulty (Say, castle 6. After a really long stage, you get to deal with Wendy's RNG, a cramped room with podoboos and spikes that scroll up and down, almost immediately killing the player in pretty unpredictable situations.) I honestly think that anomalies like this should be taken into consideration when determining a romhack's difficulty, because I think that a player shouldn't be misdirected into believing that a romhack is reasonable, only to get proved wrong 60 exits in.
Another example: The Way of the M
is pretty tough, but for the most part, I'd only rate it between hard and very hard. Until you get to world 7, in which, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a stage that doesn't contain some sort of difficulty generator, tedious autoscrolling segments and
excessive length, culminating at the final castle, with a little bit of everything, and to boot, a stupidly hard Boo fight with limited blue blocks, and way too much going on to be able handle (Nevermind that god-awful flashing). Typically, something of this sort of random, uninspired, generated difficulty would be shut down before even making it onto SMWC. Should it make it, though, it would absolutely have to be reflected in the romhack's listed difficulty.
Thanks for taking the time to read this tremendous wall of text. I'd really like to see romhacks be less of an unfair surprise, and I believe that setting a standard for difficulty names (And increasing the number of options) would make a huge difference in a good way.
To call it pointless seems a bit excessive. If there is not some place to publicly discuss the merits and shortcomings of a romhack for potential players of it, how are people to know what they're getting into?
There are definite concerns that ought to be brought to light, and while I think the author ought to be aware of them, this hack has been accepted, and people who wish to know what they are in for certainly deserve as much.
I understand that SMWCentral is not some big business, and that it's run by real people with real obligations, but it is certainly taking a while for the review feature to return, so where else if not the reviews forum would one discuss something of this nature?
I feel that it would be within reason to determine a romhack's difficulty based on the hardest stage that is required for simply beating the romhack, with a bit of consideration for the optional levels as well, if they're plentiful, and way above average in difficulty level.
It would kind of work like ESRB ratings. If you have an E-rated game about teddy bears all the way through, but part of the main storyline involves a horrifying, gore-filled, profanity-riddled cutscene, this would skyrocket the rating to M, and the developer would be expected to tone down that one thing to lower the overall rating. Why not approach romhacks the same way?
For example, Sicari
. Listed as normal difficulty. I played this last night, and I'd say that for the most part, this difficulty measurement is reasonable.
You have extra HP, so this would serve as a buffer for an increased number of threats in the stages, and walljumping/ground pounding - while non-standard mechanics - aren't complicated things, they're just different.
, near the end, some jumps started getting pretty damn precise. Some levels were unusually long and midpointless, which is unforgiving and unbecoming of a "Normal" difficulty romhack. Four hammer-bro platforms over lava with podoboos makes for at least a "Hard" challenge, but then you consider that the extra HP means you take that crazy knockback, so in reality, a single hit will send you barreling into the lava 9 times out of 10.
For the issues listed above, I'd rate that particular hack at very hard, and in order to bring it down a notch, I'd say to do either reduce the number of platforms one has to jump across, reduce the number of podoboos so that the player isn't constantly being bombarded and flung into lava, or not have the platforms dip into the lava for 50% of their animation, as that demands some pretty precise jumping, which is especially hard to pull off when you're under fire (Pardon the pun) from podoboos.
From there, to bring it down from hard to normal, I'd say adding some midpoints in the longer stages would be sufficient. That said, if the midpoints were added, but that hellish bit with the hammer bro platforms remained, the difficulty ought to still be rated at Very hard, because you cannot clear the romhack without clearing a segment of a stage which is very hard.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a romhack is only as easy as its hardest (mandatory) level.
My thoughts on the current system is that most romhacks are going to be designed to be harder than the original game. Some are slightly harder, some are much harder, some are insanely hard.
Then you get to the kaizo and pit hacks.
To blanket-define hacks as "hard" is akin to telling someone in elementary school who finds algebra "hard" that university-level calculus is also "hard", with no distinction.
There are very few romhacks that are easy in comparison to SMW, and "normal" is entirely up to the opinion of the author, which varies greatly from one hack to the other. Hard romhacks seem to be the majority, and there really needs to be a grading of hardness, because while stale bread is harder than normal bread, it doesn't compare to the hardness of, say, a cinder block (Or perhaps fossilized bread, if you'd like me to stay consistent).
I know the analogy is a little over the top, but really, TSRP and TSRPR are both "hard" romhacks in comparison to the original game. I can't speak for myself, but I know that some experienced players had a hell of a hard time on Bowser's Starship in TSRPR, unlike any difficulty you'd ever find in a hack that should be on the same level as SMW. The community deserves to be able to point this out.
Just because it's not as hard as TSRP doesn't mean it isn't still hard. That said, TSRP and TSRPR are on entirely different levels of difficulty. Calling them both "hard" is hardly sufficient.
Author discretion for difficulty is inconsistent, and "Easy, Normal, Hard, Kaizo" is very vague considering the range of difficulty levels.
Do you not think that maybe standardizing the difficulty will encourage people to try hacks within their skill range, and maybe not rampantly abuse tools to breeze through romhacks? Is toolless not the intended way for a hack to be played?
Personally, I'd be insulted if I put a lot of time into making a reasonably difficult romhack (Say, the incomplete Brutal Mario, which I'd rate as hard or very hard. Been a while since I played it, so I don't really recall most stages.) and someone just disregards the effort, and loads a savestate every time they're even slightly inconvenienced. If someone had successfully cleared a very hard romhack without tools, they could confidently say that anything rated hard or lower should absolutely be within their skill range, and that other very hard rated hacks should at least be comparable.
As it is, The Way of the M (Epsilon) is insanely difficult, the final stage of which is absurdly hard, incredibly long, and that damn boss fight is just unreasonable. It's rated "Hard". Yogui's Something is also rated hard, and is infinitely easier in comparison. These hacks should not be crammed into the same level of difficulty, because they don't even compare.
It really pains me to see romhacks treated like some sort of elite-difficulty thing that "can't be done without savestates unless you're a master", when Kamek's Island, or Super Yoshi Land were delightful experiences, worth experiencing without cheats.
I can certainly agree that SMW is a very easy game, having beaten it more times than I care to count. But I have seen a lot of people legitimately struggle to get through the game.
While, outside of reviewing or testing, I wouldn't find myself playing a romhack easier than SMW, I know that there are some people who would appreciate knowing that "easy" legitimately means "easy", and not just for those who have already beaten the game once or a hundred times.
The idea that making a hack harder than SMW is very easy is exactly why "easy" needs to exist as a category that is easier than the original SMW. There are not many hacks that would honestly fit the difficulty, but wouldn't it be delightful if romhacks in general were more approachable to new people, because they don't call the original SMW easy?
A breakdown of the kaizo difficulty wouldn't be unreasonable, but as it is very hard to quantify difficulty due to the subjective nature of it, they'd certainly need to be tiers with solid definitions.
A little bit more on the "easy" thing: As I speedrun SMW, I find the use of glitches to be second nature. I can dupe on command, clip through corners with Yoshi, force sprite limitation in my favour, etc. These things are all very easy to me, as it all boils down to a basic technique and a bit of practice. Still, we must not forget where we all came from. SMW wasn't easy forever, there was a time - Probably when we were younger (Y'know, maybe almost 20 years ago) - that there was a bit of a learning curve to climb.
Spin jumping on enemies is safe? I can actually gain height in the air by tapping left? These are odd concepts, and hacks that introduce them to a player in a fresh way may seem patronizing to us, but a rather welcome experience to others.
In any case, whatever should happen (If you guys decide to make something of this suggestion), standard definitions and community contribution would be very important things. I believe that assessing the difficulty ought to be part of the review process. (ie: "This hack is listed as normal, but ___levels are excessively long, so I'd rate this hard. Consider midpoints/powerups to bring it down to easy.")
Enforcing the "The hack is only as easy as its hardest level" thing would allow people the freedom to change things to fit a particular category, or simply change the listed difficulty to prevent misleading players.
Of course, having a hack review function again would certainly assist this process.
I don't wish for SMWCentral to pigeonhole authors into designing their hacks in a particular way, but simply to label a hack according to an objective measurement.
Nothing personal, LevelEngine, but I don't honestly think that I would have bothered with Way of the M if I knew about that boo fight, and excessive use of generators/scrollers in world 7. The learn-by-dying nature of the tail end of the hack simply struck me as painful, and unfun. I can accept that I'm not the best player of romhacks, but it takes a good deal of insane difficulty to make me stop playing a hack before finishing it.
I've noticed a good deal of sprites being partially, if not completely, invisible in 1.3. Castle 2 seems to be the biggest offender, in general.
The blue shell kicked by the koopa at the end of room 1 in Castle 2 was completely invisible, which is pretty unreasonable.
I'm agreeing with others that the time limit is very low, especially for a hack listed as "Easy". Given your choice of difficulty, I'd suggest adding 100 game seconds to the stage to give the player ample time to breathe, think, and explore outside of the autoscrolling section.
Futhermore, there's no cutscene after defeating Iggy, and clearing castle 2 tells me that Iggy Koopa has been defeated, but says nothing about Morton. Might want to fix that up a bit.
As you've listed this hack as "Easy", it's my opinion that this should appeal to someone who struggles even with SMW. Big Tree Forest has a bit where you hop on some koopas over a pit, which isn't a terrifying concept, but given it's over a pit, it might be a little unforgiving for an "Easy" hack.
Aside from the castle 2 timer being way too low, and possibly the short koopa-hopping bit near the start of Big Tree Forest, I'd say your choice of labeling the hack "Easy" is acceptable. The levels are pretty basic, and would likely be a reasonable challenge for someone who has trouble with the original SMW. I haven't very much to say on the visual aspect. It looks fine, aside from the occasionally invisible sprites, I don't recall seeing anything that struck me as visually bad.
Nevermind this. Just realized I'm ignorant, and there's a "Demo" field in the hack list.
Also, this isn't a huge issue, but I'd advise a revision of your version name, or adding "Demo" to the title of your hack. 1.0 typically means "Finished project", 1.x implies a finished project with some fixes, changes, etc.
I'd recommend "v0.3", or "Demo v1.3".
Unfortunately, due to the issues written above, I'm going to have to vote to reject
this hack, as they are pretty big issues that demand your attention.
I certainly have no issue with the existence of hard romhacks, I think there ought to be something for everybody, but sometimes an author seems to lose their way.
They add something that is unreasonably difficult without knowing what's coming ahead of time, which they obviously do because they made the levels.
That, and of course the general lack of testing that I suspect is going on. Either some people are way, way better at SMW hacks than I anticipate they are, or they don't test their stages savestateless, from beginning to end.
A per-level difficulty setting would really complicate things, and make reviewing much more of a chore. One must balance the value of a review with the amount of effort it takes to write one. Otherwise you'll only have a couple of people making statements on difficulty, instead of just asking "How would you rate this difficulty based on these guidelines, and based on the hardest mandatory level?"
I'm totally with you on the anomalously difficult stages. I try to find hacks to recommend to people of lower skill levels, and I keep finding stages that just chase people off with a particular obstacle that doesn't fit in.
-No savestates used
-Failed to complete the hack, only managed 64 exits
-Reached final boss, could not defeat
I was hoping this would come up for review while everything was fresh in my memory. I jotted down some things about it, but for the most part, the pain has faded.
Before I go on to the gameplay bit, I feel like you should consider a warning for flashy things. That, or just ease up on them. I've played a couple of your hacks, and it seems like flashing is a thing that you seem to like using.
Thing is, I stream the romhacks I play, and I happen to have some viewers with photosensitive epilepsy. I'd like to be able to warn them if a particular hack might be unwatchable, and I imagine if anybody playing your hack were particularly susceptible to flashing things, they'd appreciate it to.
That, and sometimes it's just headache inducing. I mean, why was there even any flashing at all in the Boo fight at King Boo's Castle?
There's a level in world 7, "Generator Zone". Remarkably, one of the only levels in world 7 that I reached a midpoint before encountering a generator. It would be a suitable title for the entirety of that world. World 7 is filled to the brim with what seems like randomly generated difficulty. I am a fairly patient man, but when one level after the other, I'm being bombarded by things that I can only partially predict, not to mention dealing with levels that are twice as long as they ought to be, my patience wore out entirely.
So many times, I'd be a good way through a stage, trying to take things slowly, but being at the mercy of some autoscrolling segment, while also under fire from a generator of some sort. I cannot stress the infuriating dumbness of having to take a jump, only to get a randomly generated bullet in the face which is completely impossible to avoid, thus having to redo an entire level/half a level. These deaths are not my fault, unless I am expected to be psychic, there was no failure on my part. When an autoscroller says jump, I jump, and I pray that where ever the next bullet spawns from isn't immediately in my path.
Of the things I jotted down that aren't really in my memory anymore:
- Castle 4 has a room with moving platforms that gives fairly short notice to the player that if they don't get their butt in gear super fast, they'll be left behind and forced to suicide.
--- Perhaps moving the platforms left 1-2 tiles would be reasonable? The player is forced to bounce between taking things slowly and charging forth with reckless abandon, shifting gears at a moment's notice.
-In High Tide, Low Tide, I brought a blue buzzy beetle through the pipe at the end of the translucent area into a sublevel with a different sprite set, and it looked all corrupty-like.
- You have a lot of shells kicked in from offscreen in several stages.
--- If fun is to be any part of your hack, perhaps toning that down a little would be taken into consideration. I don't find having to move forward only a couple tiles at a time to be fun at all, and I feel the same way about getting a shell in the mouth with no notice.
- There seem to be a ton of red herrings. Not sure if it's just me, but I recall running into several things (P switches, etc.) that served no apparent purpose.
- In room 2 (I believe) of Catacombs (7-2), where you need to grab blue blocks to get past a thwimp and progress, I occasionally have sprite limiting issues preventing me from picking up blocks. Not ideal when a thwimp may or may not be trying to jump on you.
- You have some overworld paths that aren't really drawn out, which just kind of looks bad, and bothersom if someone is doing any backtracking.
- At the end of Generator Zone, if you go down to get the powerup before the boss fight, the ground cuts off, revealing the background. May want to fill in that empty space with more ground.
- During the Boo fight in generator zone (Which is following a painfully long stage), I had sprite limiting issues preventing me from picking up the blue blocks needed to hit Boo. I was fortunate not to have an eerie generated in a position that would give me trouble, but occasionally being unable to pick up blocks will throw the player off, confuse some, and generally it's just really really bad.
- I feel like the overworld ought to have a shortcut or 10. You have acknowledged that your hack is insanely hard (Though I would argue that given your choice of generators in cramped scrollers creating luck-based victories for the player would rank this as not even 'challenging', but simply unreasonably difficult), so you surely acknowledge that the player is going to be subject to farming for lives somewhere. Why make the process so tedious?
- Switch palaces sitting on a fluid in the overworld look kind of bad. They're just floating there. The stages clearly have some land, despite having visible water/lava, but the overworld doesn't reflect this at all.
On a positive note:
- You are quite generous with reset pipes in places where they may be necessary. (Though I wonder if, in "The Gauntlet", there's an unenterable reset pipe? Seems like one of the pipes would serve some purpose, but doesn't. If memory serves me correctly, it was inset in stone, shortly after collecting a p balloon.)
This review is, unfortunately, at the mercy of my memory, and the only things that stuck for the most part were particularly outstanding issues. I do need to point out that it started wonderfully. I enjoyed the music, the look of the stages, the level design. It was all very nice, but as many romhack authors are wont to do, you just abandoned good design at some point, and seemed to just checklist all your stages.
Flashing in some way? Check.
Now let's take this level and the previous one, throw them together to make it twice as long and put a midpoint between them. Check.
I'm unsure of whether or not I am worthy of reviewing King Boo's castle in detail, as I never beat it. I got to the fight with Boo, and had no luck throwing a block through the 1-tile wide gap while dodging bullets, and trying to prevent the bullets from taking my blue blocks. Oh, I forgot to mention that there are more generated eeries, just because. I can't say for sure if I was being subject to sprite limitation while grabbing blue blocks, because there was too much going on to say for sure, but it felt like it was happening.
Honestly, I think that stage was awful. I wanted to like it, but it's so damn long. And to end it with a fight where so much is going on (A lot of which is beyond the player's control) just seems obnoxious. And then there's the fact that the player has limited ammunition. I lose most of my blocks to the bullets that are generated, and then what? Start all over because I don't have the means to defeat the boss anymore.
Because of how artificially difficult world 7 is on its own, I feel compelled to reject this hack, which seems curious, because I'm sure the previously accepted version has many of the same issues. The sprite limiting issues are another major part in my decision, mind you.
(If the artificial difficulty were toned down, and in a perfect world where my proposition regarding standardized difficulty were to be implemented, I'd rank this as Ultra Hard. I'm honestly quite surprised that the rampant use of artificial difficulty let it through in previous versions at all, though.)
I run on SNES9x v1.53 for a variety of reasons, but I'll use ZSNES to get through a hack that is otherwise unplayable, typically due to bad addmusic.
-The biggest reason being that the speedrunning community bans the use of ZSNES due to inaccurate emulation of system lag, which gives an unfair advantage to people using ZSNES. I happen to be keeping an eye out for a romhack that I'd enjoy speedrunning.
-Also, ZSNES cannot be placed on any monitor other than the primary one, which is not ideal for me. Snes9x doesn't have the same silly limitations.
-Also also, SNES9x can take inputs while the window is out of focus.
-ZSNES has an annoying tendency to capture my mouse cursor, and if I alt+tab, I have to mash mouse buttons to eventually gain control of my mouse outside of the emulator. (This point and the one above demonstrate that ZSNES is not great for multitasking, for example: Streaming)
I use no video filters, just 4x zoom with no antialiasing. I like big, crisp pixels.
I play using a Logitech F310 gamepad. Not a fan of wireless stuff, and I prefer a gamepad for platformers over keyboard.
I run with vsync off, because it seems to cause framerate hiccups in exchange for removing the visual tearing that can sometimes occur, and I really don't care for needless framerate hiccups.
I profoundly believe that savestate use is downright cheating. If I spend several hours on a romhack (Say, Luigi's Adventure), and get to the end only to get stonewalled by something dumb, I won't give the hack the time of day to see it through to the end by using cheats. If I can't beat it, I'm either not worthy of beating the hack (As was the case with TSRP and Bowser's Starship. No midpoint, no powerups, no hope for me.), or the hack isn't worthy of my time anymore. Sometimes it's the fault of my limited skill, other times a romhack abuses things like randomly generated enemies, and I'm unwilling to keep trying until I just get lucky enough to progress in the stage.
That said, save states are fantastic for practicing speedrunning tricks, but I do believe that they have absolutely no place in completing a casual playthrough of a romhack, or any other game for that matter.
I agree wholeheartedly with you, KY2010, but I think you already know this.
Far too often, world 1 of a romhack is just a waste of time.
It seems to introduce the concepts of running, jumping, and crossing a goal tape, and then the actual levels come into play where you're expected to be able to do a lot more than just run and jump.
If there aren't any concepts to introduce, the idea of adding a super easy world 1 is just pointless to me.
Though, if there's something new going on, be it a common enemy redrawn as something else, or some custom ASM, world 1 is typically a great place to do it. I can understand a gimmick that's only used once or twice being introduced on the fly, but if something is going to be ubiquitous in a romhack, the first levels are the place to teach the player about it.
Ultimately, it's my opinion that the first levels should at least attempt to introduce the player to what they can expect to encounter a lot. If the hack is going to ramp up the difficulty to ball-bustingly hard levels, it should be demonstrated early on. A difficulty curve is fine, but the curve needn't range from 0 to "Fuck"