Disclaimer: What I write are
suggestions. I say this so I don't have to prepend the word to every sentence.
"Caiman here. No problems." (Keep, with perhaps minor edits.)
--I'm going to assume we're moving this to world 2, since it has a mountain theme. In that case, though, I think the difficulty needs to be toned down in some spots.
--Limit panser use to the vertical-throwing types. It's a bit tough to distinguish between four types just by color when the level uses so many other sprites, too.
--Remove the green winged parabeetles. Whenever I try to dodge them, it makes the red ones spawn too far apart, and I can't continue. They could be used elsewhere in the stage, but they're pretty similar to bullet bills.
--In the second set of red parabeetles, the third one is too far out. Move it and the fourth one left a tile or two. Move the upper platform left as well if necessary.
--Where the path splits between high and low, simplify the bullet bill salvos on the top path. Consider removing the bottom path or increasing its difficulty a bit, as it feels like the safer choice. I'd rather just see a single focused path, though.
--Remove the classic lakitu. It makes plenty of jumps awkward and difficult, plus it clashes with the SMW version, which is essentially the same. (Perhaps the cloud left behind is the issue, but I don't think a lakitu is needed anyway.)
--Does this level have a midpoint? If not, add one.
--Why don't we replace Permafrost Caverns with this stage? It doesn't really fit in world 7 anyway, thematically speaking.
--The second area could use a redesign. Ditch the p-switch and branching paths leading to dead ends, and make the layout more straightforward. Maintain the meltable ice block theme from the first section, and focus more on the brick-throwing enemies.
--Global sprites don't really do this level justice. Maybe something like ice pansers or those bouncy penguins from Yoshi's Island would fit better here?
--Choose a more fitting back area color.
--Remove the vine climb, and also the pointless lower alcove later on.
--Shorten the bullet bill long jump a bit.
--Make the passage to the optional 1up two tiles high instead of one.
--Consider moving the key / keyhole earlier in the level.
--Another level that goes nowhere on the overworld. The difficulty fits world 7, but the theme fits world 4. Maybe we could put it on an optional path in world 4 that skips a few levels, or move it to somewhere around Snowflake Cavern's position?
--Redesign the key area. Trying to navigate a boo swarm in narrow passageways in a room with vertical camera scroll enabled is bad enough, but carrying a key through it is just annoying. I've lost count of the number of times a boo spawned at my exact position before I could react and get out of the way in time.
--I think 3 hits is enough for the boss, considering LuluBoo follows you around while moving up and down. Also, let players stand on the platforms holding the throw blocks. Making those nonsolid is pretty counter-intuitive, in my opinion.
--Remove all p-block usage. All those side rooms do is interrupt the level's pacing.
--Either lower the autoscroll speed, remove the bullet generator, or make the layout easier. There's a bit too much going on in that section.
--Remove or replace the really long row of munchers in the autoscroll section, as well as the hammer bro at the end.
--Remove or replace the hammer bro right after the last p-block room. Ground-level hammer bros with no helper platforms are really annoying to deal with.
--Consider removing the full-speed long jump in the first area. Might just be me, but it doesn't really fit.
--Jumping fish behavior is odd in spots because the water isn't continuous. I'd consider making the on-land sections tide levels to address that. As a bonus, that would also discourage swimming under everything because the speed forward would be very slow.
--The cramped, urchin-infested spaces in the first underwater section don't really play well with Yoshi, and the concept of urchins in cramped water levels is already overdone at this point (Flooded Crater, Dark Depths, Dinosaur Reef), so why not just remove that section? Make it a three-part level, with the second underwater section now in the middle. Yoshi works fine in that area, from what I can tell.
--Alternately, at least get rid of the urchin passing under the question blocks at the beginning. Waiting for that is annoying. Also, maybe open things up a bit or replace some urchins with different enemies.
--It might be possible to rebalance the fish generator by designing a couple of bottleneck areas- or even just high platforms- that force you to briefly pass through the flow of the fish. If that fails, I'd just replace it with something else.
--There's a forced mushroom in the second underwater area that will overwrite what you have in the item box. I'd move or remove that.
--(Already provided feedback on the new version. It didn't need much work, anyway.)
Crystals on Fire
--Accessing the last vine before the midpoint is a little tedious and not entirely intuitive. I wonder if it should be redesigned.
--The layer 2 lava section is a little repetitive. Mostly you drop down for one line guide platform, then come back up, wait for the lava to cycle, and repeat. I think this section could be modified somewhat as well.
--Raise the ceiling for that last jump to the goal. It's an annoying jump, and having to repeat half the stage when you miss it is frustrating, because the layer 2 room is so slow-paced.
--Feels a bit too tough and hectic in spots.
--Either lower the ground and platforms, or replace / remove the lakitu. Then again, I guess it's easy to jump on it from the higher platforms.
--Either give players more space to deal with the chain chomps, or replace / remove them. Then again, maybe running under them isn't that bad (though it is a bit counterintuitive).
--Replace the Touhou song. It doesn't fit the stage in my opinion, plus it doesn't even sound like a quality port.
--Slightly short compared to other world 8 levels, but maybe we should just be shortening the longer ones.
--I'd raise some of the ceilings in the first section. Some jumps are very annoying.
--The throw block section is breakable with powerups and tedious without them. I'd replace or remove that section.
--Change the title?
"Do you copy? Emergency Maneuvers!" (Rework, with major edits and/or cuts.)
--This level has extremely slow pacing and is too long. The first section has a small spotlight, and the rest has an unnecessarily dark palette; the layouts are claustrophobic, labyrinthine, and involve a lot of waiting for urchins and fish to pass by. It's basically an even slower, cramped version of Flooded Crater.
--Remove the convoluted item sidequest and instead access the secret exit from an alternate path in the spotlight room.
--Remove the torpedo teds, especially from the spotlight room. It's just not fun dealing with them in cramped spaces when it's hard to see anything. Alternately, just give players more space to deal with them, and decrease their frequency.
--If only urchins show up outside the spotlight, then consider increasing its radius a bit so it's easier to react to other enemies.
--Decrease the amount of dead ends in the spotlight section. It really drags the level out.
--Remove the vertical area and everything beyond. It's like the first section, but without the standout feature.
--Take the second room (water cave) and expand it into the second half of the stage, ending it there. Consider using the spotlight here as well, and using slow-moving enemies like spike tops. Keep the palette as bright as in the first room.
--Kind of short. The first and second half don't have much to do with each other, and neither concept is explored for very long. I don't think the flying yoshi section is really necessary, and would rather see the first section redesigned and extended.
--The difficulty is both too easy and too hard. Too easy because most of the enemies don't pose much of a threat, and too hard because there are a bunch of narrow passageways whose surfaces will hurt you if you touch them. I would give more space to players in the harder areas, and adjust enemy positioning / usage in the easier areas.
--Consider removing the groundstun effect from the light flickering mechanic in the first section. There are spots where it's dangerous to jump, but also dangerous to be groundstunned, like being on the moving platforms among ball 'n' chains. Those situations are extremely annoying. Even discounting that, it's annoying to have to jump all the time to avoid being groundstunned, though that might just be me.
--Replace the timer water with toxic water that either (a) drains a separate air meter, or (b) kills you like lava. Redesign the second half and relevant parts of the first half as appropriate.
--Redesign the secret exit to involve less key carrying.
Creepy Dark Woods
--The first section gives too many opportunities to avoid most of the obstacles by taking the upper platforms. It also focuses too much on simplistic global sprites (koopas, goombas, fish) for world 8 difficulty, in my opinion.
--The second section's layout needs a full redesign, with less layer-priority tiles obscuring your vision, and less enemies in cramped tunnels. Remove the springboard as well- it's not necessary.
--Time limit is too low.
--Needs layer priority branches for the layer priority trees.
"Too late! Game over, pal!" (Scrap entirely, or rebuild from scratch with the same concept.)
--Overuses torpedo teds and rip van fish in tight spaces, plus it looks like all the powerups are mushrooms.
--Doesn't really stand out from Flooded Crater or Dark Depths. All three are claustrophobic, slow-paced, and revolve around three main sprites: urchins, torpedo teds, and rip van fish. At this point in the game, do we really need another one? Especially considering it's right after Dark Depths.
--Pointless pipe travel in the beginning.
--The tide area is easy to deal with: just take the high road. Most of the enemies are down below, giving you no incentive to take the lower paths.
--Where are all the dinosaurs? I don't see a single yoshi, rex, dino rhino, or dino torch in this stage. Maybe we should reinterpret it as a rain-slick low-tide stage with dinosaur enemies mixed among the hopping fish and such?
--Basically, I think this level needs a different focus, coming right after Dark Depths. I guess another alternative would be to relocate it on the overworld, though.
Into the Water
--Lower the speed of the water currents so that you can swim against them successfully, and redesign the level completely so that you're climbing a waterfall, or something like that. Make it much less cramped, and remove the Cave Story areas. Alternately, just make a new level.
Wild Wet Castle
--Too long and tedious, too many tricky enemy combos and obstacles, too many enemy types, and arguably too many references to / elements from Yoshi's Island. Needs either major cuts or a full redesign, in my opinion.
--Yet another ghost house stage with convoluted item ferrying, cramped spike / muncher passageways, an unnecessary underwater section, and this one even comes with a frustrating fishin' boo. Completely redesign, or just make a new stage.
Rupture in Reality
--Keep the setting and concept, but fully redesign the layout to be shorter and less annoying.
--The layer 2 scroll sections have a bad habit of making you wait full cycles because the path forward is at the edge of the scroll so often.
--The path in the vertical section comes too close to the left and right edges too often, which is where eeries from the generator spawn.
--Don't make powerups fall through the floor in the vertical section.
--The jump past the two bullet bill shooters at the start of the second room is stupidly hard. There are other jumps in that section which could be reworked as well.
--Convoluted terrain formations and split paths, with many annoying jumps and cramped passageways.
--I'm not convinced this level needs to be slippery. Either way, it stops being slippery once you return from the side area.
--Palette needs more contrast so you can see where things are. I know the intent is probably for the lightning to reveal things, but it doesn't happen often enough when you're trying to dodge enemy combos like gold bowser statues and thwomps.
--Secret exit involves too much item carrying (p-switch in this case).
--Time limit is too low, especially if you enter the side room but go for the regular exit.
--The side room is too long and too spammy with the bullet bills.
--I'd either fully redesign this with the same setting, or just make a new stage.
--Way too long, with a lot of unnecessary "kill all the enemies" rooms. aj6666 is already taking care of this one, so I won't go into detail.
Bowser's Castle + The Void
--We can keep the various settings, but most if not all of this level has to be rebuilt and split up into separate level tiles. Not going into detail here.
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