COLLAB - Neidave
- 9 levels (11 exits)
- Download Link => Download Here
- Description: COLLAB is a 1-World Teamhack made by several people of the SMWCentral Community. It is mainly Vanilla-styled but contains little changes to avoid cutoffs. Have fun!
Surrounded by forest, caves, and ghost, the COLLAB hack is a hack designed by several SMWC members. What this hack does best is stay true to the what the hack is -- to provide decent levels, aesthetically pleasing design, and overall some good ideas. Some of the really good levels in the hack include: Holes On The Move, Deadly Cave, and Spooky Walk; all of which either have some interesting things going on in the level and are done well (aesthetically and design wise). The hack makes use of common techniques -- like item babysitting, wait-and-see, and quick reaction situations -- without overdoing it. Too many times in the past, hacks have abused the item babysitting methodology and when overused can become overly repetitive, boring, and treating Mario like a dog. Mario is not a dog and he'd appreciate it much if he wasn't treated like one. At most this hack uses two step item babysitting which is pretty much enough to use the technique but not overdo it (in Mysterious Meadows and Deadly Cave). The levels overall vary in styles and ideas without being repetitive or boring ranging from easy to challenging.
There might be some complaining about the difficulty changes in the hack. Red Beetle Cave does have a problem of being overly simple wedged in between two more challenging levels, which could look out of place. However, having a level that just gives us a breather from all that difficulty can be a good thing as well.
A first version of a hack though is not without problems. The largest problem comes from the Ghost House level's first section. The Ghost Stream is just too low for the most part and you're running through it with ghosts that can appear at any time without any power-ups. This hack suffers a little from tight corners at times. There are places where there's too little room to actually move and too big a margin of getting clobbered by enemies. Though Spooky Walk is a good level, there are a few moments on Screen 5 and 7 that just don't have enough room to escape a roadblock like a spike or the moving hole particularly for Big Mario. If Big Mario has little to no margin of error of clearing a hazard without squatting then there's not quite enough room -- just extending the ceiling by one square up would alleviate that problem. In the Haunted Castle level, Spin Jumping down to the Yoshi Coin (Screen 6), especially for Big or Fire Mario (and even Cape Mario) can be unfair falling into an area crowded with Circling Boos and spikes. Also, I would be cautionary of the Boos and how many are put in a single area specifically for two reasons. The first is in Mysterious Meadows, if there is an item babysitting part that requires Springboards, then because of the nature of the Boo and Mario's ability to spin jump on them, it is possible to use spin jumping to skip over all of the item babysitting on Screens 5-6 -- defeating the purpose of that part. The second is in the Haunted Castle level and boss area, too many Circling Ghosts, Eeries, and Big Boo in the same area can cause Sprite Memory problems and sprites to disappear but still hurt you. Lastly, power-ups in general could be upped a little bit like in Haunted Home (Ghost House) and Living Death Cave.
Should the hack be accepted or rejected? There are reasons to accept it in now or reject it now and accept later when a few of these things are fixed. I fall more in the deny for now but close to accepting because the levels are decent for the most part but there are some areas that need improvements -- particularly the Boo breaking puzzle part in the Meadows level, Yoshi Coin in a bad spot in the Castle level, and too low Boo Stream in the Ghost House level need to be fixed. Maybe 30-60 minutes more of work would bring this hack from the decent level to the great level. But if the users think that this is a good enough hack to make it through, then I'd be fine with accepting it. For a first version of the hack, it is a pretty good start.
Location: United Kingdom
After playing this hack, I have a mixed opinion about it.
Immediately after I opened the ROM for the first time, it gave me quite a good impression of what there is to come especially the dark atmosphere of eeriness and it seemed ghostly. However I became slightly concerned after seeing a bridge in the title screen connected to a non-solid tile. I personally believe this does not make any sense but it is quite minor so I ignored it. Moving on, the overworld gives a great idea of what the levels would be like. It is not the best overworld I have seen but it still looks pretty good.
After playing the first few levels, I seemed to be slightly concerned about the tile usage. For example, in one level, there were wooden-blocks which were originally used for ghost houses in the original game and they were solid but in this collaboration, they were used both as tiles and decoration. I am not a fan of this as it can be hard to distinguish between them and it adds some artificial and unfair difficulty in certain areas. On a more positive note, the difficulty was above average for a normal hack but it was very enjoyable from the beginning.
The aesthetics also seem to give me mixed opinions. Like I mentioned before, some tiles were used for different purposes. Consistency in graphics is also important even when vanilla graphics are used. An example of this would be the Ghostly Caverns and Haunted Home. The usage seemed to be different from other levels in which there seemed to be less decoration and more of the standard SMW looking type which isn't bad but it could be better.
One of the biggest problems of this hack which prevented me from fully enjoying this hack are some sprite memory issues. An example: At one point in Spooky Walk, there was an area where I could not pick up the throw-blocks due the usage of sprites in the area. This is quite a severe problem and to some players, it may be a complete turn-off from playing the hack. Other issues include disappearing sprites and also that I can walk Haunted Home and Spooky Walk without beating the secret exit.
To finish on a bright note, the final levels gave me some good enjoyment in which I finished off the hack nicely. The issues however prevented me from enjoying the hack fully and I am stuck between approval and rejection. I would say reject for now and fix the issues since they are quite big in certain areas before resubmitting. This will probably be the only way of making this a great hack.
I agree with cstutor89 on this one, so I'll say it should be rejected. Some of it's really good, like Ghostly Caverns. That was best level in the hack, it has absolute brilliant level design. I like the ways this hack uses spin jumping. Getting that blend of making the player want to use both moves (regular and spin jumping) is something I've always liked and try to achieve in my hacks. Graphics were nice for the most part, except in some areas I felt were overdecorated, or I couldn't tell what was solid or not, what something behaved as, etc. I'll get those in a second.
Now to the bad of the hack, the reason why I think it should be rejected. First two levels were quite poor in my personal opinion. In Holes on the move, I had trouble telling whether those wall kinda tiles were solid or not, so I went right through them, to my surprise. Bonus sublevel in there is quite glitchy. The areas, where there are those three logs stacked together with one hole that is moving, I glitched throught it and died the first time going through it. I'd just like to point that out. The midway point entrance wasn't well placed, I kinda fell right of the ledge immediately. You shouldn't start the player so close to the edge like that.
Mysterious Meadow. I didn't enjoy this level so much. Too many one block jumps were used, which aren't fun nor challenging. I didn't like waiting around all the boo rings. You didn't give the player much to do while waiting for them. I wasn't too fond of that small item babysitting section either. It was short, so I'd usually let this go, but trying to get through it was torturous. I'd suggest you just remove that part. On the subject of item babysitting, I'd like to point out that it also existed in Ghostly Caverns, but I'll forgive this one, it wasn't as not fun to get through.
Haunted Home relies to much on generators imo. I couldn't get past that first room without getting hit.
I found that the second Erie jump in Living Death Mine was too unfair, and pretty much a blind jump. I dunno, I might have been doing something wrong there, but I'd suggest you remove that part. There is major slow down here, too.
I had no idea those weird land formations in Spooky Walk were spikes. Maybe I'm just too tired to have thought they might be spikes, maybe I'm right in thinking that they're harmless, but you should change them, to something that is more obvious.
The hack was actually quite nice up to spooky walk where the music broke and I stopped playing for that reason. That's probably the only really important reason I can see for this to be rejected.
The level design was enjoyable for the most part, except sometimes the player doesn't really get enough space to avoid the enemies imo. Also from time to time I was a little confused by how the levels were structured, which resulted in a few deaths, but it's not a big problem.
Also in Holes on the Move I died because I was somehow crushed into the ground by the P-Switch running out and the blocks down there getting back into a solid state.
Don't know if that can be fixed, but it'd be nice if you could look into it.
Also this podobo somehow died in the lava. Not a big issue but it seems kinda weird. I suggest fixing it or changing it so it doesn't happen.
I also feel like the ghost house sprites are pretty overused as far as I can tell (I'm up to spooky walk). I don't think that's a big issue, but it's just kinda repetitive to see the same enemies over and over again, except for small variations and new enemies being added along the way.
Another thing I noticed regarding enemy choice is that in Deadly Cave, for example, there's an underground section in which castle type enemies are used. However there are a lot of enemies that are only present once down there (Thwomp, Boney Beetle, Bowser Statue,...). I think you should focus on a few enemies and stick to only those instead of trying to fit every possible type of enemy in the level.
Also noticed a few sprites dissappearing from time to time, but it was nothing really severe. I played on snes9x btw.
So at the moment I feel like this version should be rejected, but if the music glitch in spooky walk is fixed and the level design is polished a bit, I feel like it would probably be accepted.
I've played the whole hack. It was fun for most of the time, but then the music crashed on my ZMZ. I switched the sound off and I continued playing. Hovewer, I tried a harder course and I selected Hard Mode. The first levels seemed pretty much fun for me, but from the middle (the ghost house level) it started to turn pretty difficult on hard mode. On hard mode Mario dies on a single hit no matter of the form, he has. The first room in the ghost house had a tricky part, where you had a Koopa on a small platform (sorry for no screens, somehow they didn't seem to appear). You could sometimes jump and fall directly into a Boo. May be a little annoying for some players. Thae room with appearing/disappearing ghosts was better.
Well, next one is Living Death Mine. It's a nice level, some spin jumping on enemies may be tricky, but it's pretty much fine for me. I'd just suggest to watch out for one part. In the part with the moving skull raft and P-switch, you can't see the fart, yes, until you go down on the lower platform, but I guess it may be sometimes too late. Also, the time limit seemed pretty low for me. I ran out of time at this place at my first try. It was actually fine most time, but you must be pretty much in a hurry, because the time limit runs down quickly in hard mode.
Spooky Walk was the level where the music crashed. Also, I found it a tad annoying, because of a few jumps. There was a moment near the beginning, where you were supossed to hit a P-switch with a shell, then there was a Boo on a little ledge under a bigger ledge. Umm, this jump was really difficult, a little annoyint I can say. Maybe I was suspossed to use that P-switch, but eh... it seemed a little annoying. Maybe it's just my mistake. Hovewer, this level seemed a bit too difficult in hard mode.
Red Beetle Cave was okay and it's nice that you informed the player that red beetles act like spinies. Well, there was one part which is pretty much a forced death if you somehow get the Fire Flower to that level. There was a part, where you were supossed to spin jump on those beetles to pass a muncher trap. In hard mode it's a forced death, because the second one gets almost always hit with a fireball and it makes me stuck resulting in forced death. ;/
The castle was okay, the credits were fine too, but after revealing a path to the castle if I'm not wrong - the paths became glitchy. I think this may be caused by a problem with title screen recording ASM. I'd suggest to fix this.
It was a nice hack. I think you should just fix the crashing music, the glitchy paths and a few jumps. If you have questions - ask.
EDIT: And sorry for no screenshots. If you don't know what places I'm talking about, I can give you some screenshots.
I have to say, this hack was fairly fun. It gave a nice atmosphere with the music and palettes. I played the ending half without sound because people were still sleeping and I didn't want to wake them up, so I didn't know there was a sound error.
The label on it says "Normal" difficulty, but I suggest you change that to "Hard", as it took a LOT of save states to beat this. Maybe I'm just bad at SMW
Some nitpicks I have are:
This feels a bit like cutoff. It's not a big deal, but it just looks weird.
I could kill myself by shoving myself in there
If I had a cape here, I could just not care about the koopa shell and sit and wait. You could at least put some coins or something to simulate a bonus area of sorts
I didn't need the springboard to get up this cliff. I don't know if it was intended or not.
Of course I mistimed the screenshot. From what you can see, I just hit this block and the coin popped. The coin has a bad palette, which you can't seem to see from this image.
When the screen fades, the background looks weird
Sprites started disappearing in this level. Probably because of the green bubble.
Why did you have to change the level here with this pipe and not continue with the rest of this level? At least put a wall or something. I was confused when I went out of the pipe, because the level was the exact same to the right of this red pipe for a screen. Those who played this part will understand. It's not anything terrible, but it's kind of weird.
Overworld garble aaaa
Lots of other 'spike' shaped blocks killed me. This acts like a solid block on all sides, not even a slope or spike.
Big boo is transparent and shows the BG.
I don't think this hack should be rejected. It isn't too bad, honestly. Keep it and then wait for an update to fix some of the errors it has. There is nothing 'broken' about this hack.
Seems like I have a lot more things to fix then I thought, though I did fix a lot of things (and Neidave is convincing me to release it now because he played my version already).
-The hack's unfair difficulty isn't present anymore
-Fixed some sprite memory issues
-Fixed the song from Spooky Walk to be compatible with other emulators (with help from #imamusic)
-Fixed the overworld, and swapped levels to give it an even difficulty curve.
So yes, I've been working on the fix, and I see there are a few other things to fix here. Expect it to be a lot better.
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I think this gets unnecessarily difficult from A Spooky Walk onwards, with a lot of cramped, precise jumps and low ceilings. Haunted Fortress was the third level in a row to use this style, so I just stopped playing at that point. I would have preferred some other way of increasing the difficulty for the later stages.
I also feel like this hack is anti-powerup. I don't recall ever getting flowers or capes, and there are plenty of sections which are significantly tougher to do with Big Mario, such as trying to drop into a two-tile-high opening between two pipes.
It's not obvious how all the blocks act. If you're going to use empty switch palace blocks as invisible coin blocks, or solid blocks as passthrough blocks, at least introduce this to players in nonlethal situations. Otherwise the resulting deaths feel cheap and unfair.
In Haunted Home's first area, it's really difficult to avoid the boo ceiling without getting hit at least once. Also, keep in mind that the sunken ship boos were designed to be used underwater, so that you could safely swim through the middle of the screen. The way it's used in this level is just annoying in my opinion, because you're stuck on the bottom of the screen where all of the boos are appearing.
A title screen demo is supposed to attract players' attention and make them want to play the game. All that Mario does in this one is wait for a boo circle to line up- not exciting at all!
The title screen does its job, no real complaints here. I like the music choice, it's kind of funny. The overworld looks good too, kudos to you on that. I like the different shades of green, they're a nice touch.
While your level design isn't bad and most of the time is thoroughly entertaining, sometimes things get a little awkward. I rarely got a flower or cape, and there were some traps that were plain unfair at times. General issues with this hack include quite a bit of cutoff with the platforms that have black on the edges, moving holes on the platforms (they're black but the rest of the level isn't... in the original SMW level, the level was black), and lava in the bonus room which is priority enabled while the rest isn't (you can see where I'm going with this).
On the first level, please remove the ability to retry the bonus room. This gives the player endless opportunities for power-ups and 1-ups.
Also, install the fade fix patch.
Before this hack is accepted, decrease the difficulty a bit. The normal difficulty is actually really hard, and this isn't really what makes me want to test my skills on hard mode. Remove some of that cutoff, and there are some issues relating to the 'spike' blocks as they aren't very easy to understand at first. I'm leaning towards accepting it, though.
In a German LP Neidave said that he had the hard mode patch in handly so he just added it. However if you play the hard mode, you'll die in the credits like you can see in this video. Hounted Home however, should be a complete new level.
@DDV Can you move the first Eerie one tile higher? If the camera scrolls to high then it will be a blind jump but if it's low enough you can see the Eerie.
Edit: I think we should wait for the updated version of this hack.
That's a good observation MarioFanGamer659 about dying in the Credits. Anyways, after a day or so of 9-10 reviews/comments/screenshots, this hack will be rejected for now, but when an update comes this thread will be reopened for more discussion.