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[The End!] mercs crapo level reviews
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - Morton's Empire - [The End!] mercs crapo level reviews
Pages: « 1 2 »
1-1, Castle Escape. I've reviewed this level before, but for the sake of this series I'll be running through it again.

First problem that jumps at me is there's a large amount of enemies in a fairly tight corridor, and you're not given any sort of powerup until afterwards. It's not an issue that makes me clench my buttocks but it's still an issue anyway.

Next issue is this hole.


See how inviting that hole is? It jumps out as you as looking unusual, since it juts out at both ends. Let's jump do-



...ok

Pretty major issue there, deliberately fooling the player into killing themselves. Easy fix, either make it not stand out as much or make it actually look like it will kill you when you jump down.

Other than that, the level's pretty good, the tight corridor didn't feel claustrophobic and it's generally not that bad. The flow between the two sections is a bit awkward though, since they focus on different enemies. Overall beyond a few design hiccups it's not terribly flawed.




1-2, Bowling Calamity.

Aside from the collision bugs from the bowling balls that are all over the place in the level it's pretty good. Not sure if I like it being right there at the beginning of the game, but it's in no way an inherently flawed level. The sprites it uses, maybe, but the design is spot-on.

Why is everything grey though? The ground, the background, the buzzy beetles, the bowling balls, practically everything but the swoopers and lava is grey. It makes it a little visually monotonous.




1-3, Red Hot Swim.

I'm sorry but the second half of the level should just be scrapped and redone. I can barely get past even the first part of it at all, in fact I only did it once. You wait and you die, you jump and you die, you don't jump and you die, you can barely do anything without dying. It's incredibly frustrating and unfair, especially with no midway point in the level at all.

also


nnnnnn




stopping here for now i'll get some more done tomorrow i should really get a better sleep schedule.
Nice to see that you're taking the effort to make this. I hope the authors make the changes that you reccomend.
I'll probably redo that part in 1-3 just by the way.
1-4, Hell-Fire Volcano.

...probably just a problem with the ROM but all the secondary exits in this level are entirely broken. If I die after getting the midway point and go through the pipe...



And if I manage to get all the way past the second section of the level...



Hopefully this gets fixed at some point in the near future. Also a minor complaint but all the coin trails seem to abandon any attempt at following the way Mario jumps and falls, from the very first one you see in the level.






1-5, Boiling Mountain (jeez erik u think thats enough levels).

Because of the way the level is built, and the fact that vertical scrolling tends to greatly exacerbate slowdown, there is a lot of background flickering in this level.

And, you know, slowdown. I'm not really sure what to think of it because of that, it's not really bad but the slowdown really hurts it.




1-6, Magma Grounds.

Not particularly notable. It's just another one of those horizontal levels that go all over the place vertically for some reason.

It's fine.




1-7, Plutonic Chasm.

This one was actually pretty fun. A piranha plant at the beginning kept hitting me because by the time it came onscreen I was already on a falling platform above lava, dunno how you could make it visible sooner but it might be something worth looking into.




1-9, The Bone Zone.

Needs custom music.

Blue bones crashed the game when I touched them. gitgud erik

Shame too, wanted to see if I could fare any better with this level than I did a few months ago.




World 2 will begin in the next post. Stay tuned!
Originally posted by meme
Blue bones crashed the game when I touched them. gitgud erik

Fixed already, just forgot to reinsert the block.
EDIT: <Erik557> >didn't have fastrom applied

i.e half the things i say in this post might not even be there in past or future baseroms OH WELL LOL




2-1, Munchy Desert.

uhm...it's okay. It's not a masterpiece and frankly I'd say it goes over-the-top with the enemies. It's a rather overwhelming level because sometimes you have to go uphill while dealing with enemies while you can't jump back down as there's a cactus down there.

Also, I thought the cacti were decoration at first .-.




2-2, Through the Sandy Valley

Decent level, it at least looks nice. I feel like the background is obscured by the dirt wall too much but it still manages to be visually appealing despite mostly relying on yellows and browns.

The part with the baseball chucks comes out of nowhere though...they're used nowhere else and seem a little bullet-spammy compared to the rest of the level.




2-3, Cobrat Dunes.


this base rom rocks




2-4, Dark Desert Night.

Now the cacti are decoration. Consistency might be lacking.

That aside, this level is really good. The challenge doesn't really get super out-of-hand or unfair but it's still definitely there. I would relocate it to near the end of the world, though, since it does seem pretty hard considering the levels before it.




2-5, Cacti Canyon.

One word: slowdown.

I can't bring myself to enjoy this solely because the game is doing its best to rape my eyes, on top of the game slowing down every 10 seconds.




2-6, Football Caverns.

This level would be pretty good if it didn't use the worst sprite in the game.

I have nothing else to say because my hatred of footballs kept me from properly reviewing the level.




2-7, Desert Ambience.

ugh why does every level use Under the Fake

This was a good level to help me relax after Football Caverns, I'll give it that.

Usual breather level. Easy to navigate and doesn't involve anything too complex, just a simple layer 2 level. Nothing to complain about, probably got all my complaints out the first time around




2-8, Sanding Down.

Some of these puzzles are neat in concept but I don't really feel like trudging all the way through it again because I accidentally hit a muncher while trying to hit a noteblock and, as a consequence, got a game over.

Also, why are there so many powerup filters? Some of them feel kind of unnecessary.




2-9, Abandoned Crypt.

It's pretty good, the net setups aren't too bad and nothing is unfair. The slowdown in the second section is pretty noticeable though. At this point I'm starting to think there's really no way to get rid of all this slowdown without resorting to some pretty extreme measures...

music sux tho use this ;))))))))




and that's world 2. world 3 coming eventually.
Originally posted by meme

this base rom rocks

Yeah, what. they work.

Originally posted by meme
ugh why does every level use Under the Fake

Yes, I'm changing some level songs, I just need ideas of what to use.
3-1, Warrior's Thicket.


Easy to get stuck here.


You might want to make it a little more clear that there is only one tile to land on. I thought the coins were a general indication that there was land below.



Singlehandedly the most irritating part of the level because the only ways across are very, very easy to kill on accident. The second one especially since it sometimes gets right under your feet and makes you stomp on it without actually letting you across. Unless you're able to do a ridiculously precise shelljump.

Also, a lot of the hammer brothers are placed in such a way that it's nearly impossible to avoid their hammers, usually by trapping you on a one-tile-wide platform. Overall a bit too much fake difficulty for my tastes.




3-2, Leafy Lakitus.

This one's not bad but a bit hurt by its use of layer 3 to obscure everything the player is doing. In the first section, besides a hole the player can't see at all, it's not terrible, but in the second section it's more iffy because there are a lot of hazards that are obscured and usually you have very little time to react.

It's not that long though, and it doesn't get too unbearable. Room for improvement but it's acceptable as it is.

inb4 erik screams EGO STROKE




3-3, Fuzzy Treepass.

Another one of those "all over the place" levels...it feels like the screen isn't big enough. I keep going up and down, and while I'm still technically going right the screen keeps moving all over the place, thus it's a very overwhelming level with all the enemies and such.

Also, for some reason the background doesn't scroll horizontally in the vertical room.




gotta go so this post ends prematurely. will finish world 3 later
3-4, Grape Juice.

Overall a pretty forgettable level. Unnaturally easy, though I should probably consider that a good thing since I just took a 5 hour break from playing these levels lol.

Compared to a lot of other levels in this hack this is unbelievably easy and forgettable, frankly. It looks and plays like a level from SMW's Forest of Illusion. I wouldn't really consider that a bad thing if this was like, world 1 of a normal hack but this is world 3 of a 4-world ludicrously difficult hack.

I suppose you could make the argument that it's a breather level but it's a pretty steep drop in difficulty compared to a lot of the breather levels in this hack. I dunno what else to say other than that it's pretty forgettable.




3-5, Climbing Treetops.

Game crashed on entry. Nice.

Will go back on (hopefully fixed) levels like this once I'm done reviewing all the others, should really start a list.




3-6, Autumn in Jungles.

All I can really say is that it's another lolyoshi level. It's got okay execution and yeah it's a level.

Neat gimmick but I think the fish could have been reskinned and the music doesn't make sense in this level.




3-7, Into Spiky Branches.

Neat little level. Also kind of easy for its placement in the game but not quite to the same extent.

It's still challenging but not to the extent of Warrior's Thicket. All them Bowser statues are placed thoughtfully and not haphazardly so you still need to think fairly quickly and consider your moves before you put them in motion.

Overall, pretty fun. Not bad for its place in the game.

(also lol still doesn't have any music)




3-8, Uplifting Heights.

This level's palette is very chilly. It actually looks more like an ice level, which I think foreshadows the next world very well. It's another one of those up-and-down levels but it's far less overwhelming because there are fewer enemies that move all over the place.

...though, there are an awful lot of easy levels in W3. There might be something to consider regarding the difficulty curve.




World 4 coming soon.
4-1, Frosted Boardwalk.

This level could have been better just by removing the ice physics, honestly. It's a decent level with a lot of action but sliding all over the place and having almost no traction when you're on the ground at all really hurts it.




4-2, Pokey Plateau.

Another one of those up-down-all-around levels that make me think the authors overestimate the size of the screen.



10/10 pokey

That's really all I have to say.




4-3, Snowpoint Forest.

Rather basic, unremarkable level but I like how the patches of snow keep you from sliding around like a greasy neckbeard on a waterslide. There's really nothing to talk about here.

Moving on.




4-4, I got the Chills.

Short level with a few difficulty spikes. Nothing particularly unique about it.

The waiting game for the last Morton Coin is annoying, and actually in general all the morton coins are in rather...unusual spots, besides the one just mentioned the one at the beginning gives no indication that you can walk above the screen.

Transparency effects tho




4-5, Rockdiggin' Chasm.

Pretty fun, a lot of the rocks are really easy to avoid though. Either that or I'm *just 2 good* for them.




4-6, Thats (sic) the Trash Can.

Broken message box which probably isn't even necessary in the first place.

There's also a dry bones at the beginning of the second half that glitches out and turns the obstacle into a forced hit for no apparent reason sometimes. Not always, but only half the time, and there doesn't seem to be any pattern. Look into it.

Overall a creatively-built and well-executed level but the second half tripped me up at the beginning and the end - the first due to a bug and the last due to the way the autoscroll stops so suddenly while I'm right next to a spiked pillar on strangely-scrolling layer 2...

Excellent level but very frustrating at points.




4-8, Peach's Perilous Airship.

The pipe at the end didn't do anything and the screen exit leads to a big boo boss arena without the big boo so I guess it was never finished...?

In any case, this is an example of an autoscroller that tried but didn't quite succeed. Rather than everything relevant being right in the middle of the screen, it was instead off to the lower left, the very bottom of the screen, sometimes the lower right. Overall it could have used a lot more polish in the execution.

Also, high quality sumo bro flames




probably too many breather levels here. might be worth going through and redoing a few, maybe reorganizing the level order to make it more evenly spread, to make it more fitting for the final world. will do the great frozen castle in its own post, at some point.
Originally posted by meme
Also, high quality sumo bro flames

Originally posted by same
10/10 pokey

Fixed.

Originally posted by merc
[...]maybe reorganizing the level order to make it more evenly spread, to make it more fitting for the final world.

What do you suggest?
Originally posted by MercuryPenny
4-1, Frosted Boardwalk.

This level could have been better just by removing the ice physics, honestly. It's a decent level with a lot of action but sliding all over the place and having almost no traction when you're on the ground at all really hurts it.




Hmm... I honestly was considering doing that while making the level. I was never truly happy with FB so that might be the reason why. It's up to you guys if you feel it should be removed though.

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1-4 (again)

Merely an okay level. Doesn't really do anything creative, aesthetically or in level design.

Nothing to really add, I wasn't missing much with the broken version besides the ending sublevel.




1-9, The Bone Zone.

Neat level. Steep difficulty spike but that's really only because it's a bit hard to get used to everything flying at high speeds after the first few blue bones.

I'd say this is one of the best levels in the hack because the gimmick works well and isn't a hassle, heck the fact that it has a gimmick at all really highlights it. Overall a fun level.

still needs music in the first half tho




2-3, Cobrat Dunes.

Overall a pretty good level, great enemy placements and well-made obstacles made this a fun playthrough.

Visually it's a bit boring, I think it could have used a bit more pizazz in that area. Overall a nice level.




2-5, Cacti Canyon.

Can't really force myself to play through the rest of this, even without the excruciating amount of slowdown it's still a chore to play.

The fact that you can barely see 2 feet below you is probably the primary offender here.




3-5, Climbing Treetops.

For the love of all that is holy either get rid of the paragoomba generator or move half the obstacles in the level down several tiles. Half the time you're right there at the top of the screen and anyone who has had any experience with the paragoomba generator can tell you that is a death sentence determined by RNG.

Please.

Other than that it's pretty decent. Aesthetically the level pulls off the desaturated look really well and the level never looks dull.




(i promise i'll get around to those last few levels eventually)
erik demands i finish those last few levels so here we go




5-1 abysm chasm

it's okay

very very irritating once you get annoyed at some of the obstacles, but okay

the rope obstacle at the beginning of the level got me killed a few times because i was too late when i jumped off the rope, landing directly on the piranha plant

the two tri-platform obstacles in the second half are both rather irritating and i can't figure out a way to consistently get past the first, and i died on the second one because of the munchers

overall it's got a few very annoying obstacles but it's not a bad level

also can we slap some variable 2 scrolling on the layer 3 rocks, the fact that they don't scroll at all is driving me nuts




5-2 stupid deserts

good level but holy nuts under the fake again awinoawragw

there's nothing particularly interesting about this level honestly so i'm just going to move on




5-3 munchy business

good level with neat setups. not long after the midway point there are some blind jumps tho, and often you have a choice of either doing a shelljump with a buzzy beetle or doing a ridiculously precise jump between two munchers not too long after. i still don't know how you're actually supposed to do that part.

got irritated a few times and got several game overs, but it's a pretty decent level anyway

also munchers don't animate sssmmmhhhhhh




5-4 slide and chill

decent level, not much to say.

i accidentally used the wrong rom so when the statues facing the right weren't shooting fireballs...they were shooting themselves. probably not in the actual current rom but it might be worth checking out anyway @erik




and the void doesn't exist yet so that will be left out. will probably do The Great Frozen Castle in another week or so LOL
Originally posted by MercuryPenny


See how inviting that hole is? It jumps out as you as looking unusual, since it juts out at both ends. Let's jump do-



...ok


If you had paid attention to the screen before that, you would know that it's a pit with a 3-up moon for the truly clever weirdos to figure out how to get :P
Considering how you don't plan on reviewing the final castle and thus finished all the levels done for now I guess it's safe to unsticky this..?
HOLY CRAP, MERC IS FINALLY DOING

THE GREAT FROZEN CASTLE

NOTES FOR ERIK:
-can you boost the initial number of lives to, like, 20? it's nearly impossible to beat even one of these without seeing the game over screen 5 or 200 times
-please move the powerups to where you start the level so that you don't go to the lower-right level and realize that there were powerups in the hub all along

TOP-LEFT ROOM:
this is bad

so much of it boils down to luck, impossible foresight and asinine reaction time, it's probably more tolerable if you take some powerups with you but i don't really feel like trying


i hate you

BOTTOM-LEFT ROOM:

ok the cannon guys don't die ever unless you stomp on them a million times, which really threw me off at the beginning when i tried to kill it from below the turn blocks. the blue dudes are also super annoying, like to pin you down and keep you from advancing, and have like 10 hit points which is way too many for a normal enemy. also if they shoot a bullet slightly before or after you jump on them, you die, which doesn't help their case at all


this is super boring, it's not particularly fun to stand still and jump on bullet bills for 15 straight seconds

and i was really only able to tolerate that last screen of this sublevel by despawning the two blue guys you put right by the key and p-switch. i didn't feel like trying with them still there but i'm guessing it's a fair bet that it's even less fun than the rest are to deal with

BOTTOM-RIGHT ROOM:

far more enjoyableand easy, though rather wait-y at points. might be because the powerups are here and only here on the hub, which doesn't make any sense at all to be honest

TOP-RIGHT ROOM:

i just noticed as i finished up the room that the timer was really low for some reason, i finished it with about 11 smw seconds left. that intentional?

this one is definitely a breather, but it's the aesthetic odd-man-out. whereas everything in every other room is just different shades or cyan, here it's pink. is it supposed to be peach's bedroom? why are there cannons, koopas and thwomps all over the place?

anyway it's nice

CENTER-RIGHT ROOM:
woah i just went from morton's empire to vldc7

the aesthetics are way more grey and foggy than the rest of the level, making it another aesthetic odd-man-out. i like it, but it's such an odd contrast from the rest of the level.

anyway the level itself is pretty fun, not much to talk about, but i'd suggest moving the key to the end of the room. as it stands you can get about halfway through and die and keep the key, which isn't something you want to encourage

FINAL ROOM
it's really demanding, but once you start learning how to rush through everything it's pretty fun. of course i played it in lmsw but i found it enjoyable once you got past the steep difficulty curve for it.

might do void eventually ;^)
Quote
-can you boost the initial number of lives to, like, 20? it's nearly impossible to beat even one of these without seeing the game over screen 5 or 200 times
-please move the powerups to where you start the level so that you don't go to the lower-right level and realize that there were powerups in the hub all along

- Alright, will make Morton start with 15 lives.
- I'll make Mario become big if he's small when he reaches the hub everytime.

Quote
woah i just went from morton's empire to vldc7

not sure if compliment (based in the comments I've read from it).
Quote
i'd suggest moving the key to the end of the room. as it stands you can get about halfway through and die and keep the key, which isn't something you want to encourage

Done.

Quote
cannon guys

I guess I can lower their HP, but I need confirmation from Noob first.

Quote
i just noticed as i finished up the room that the timer was really low for some reason, i finished it with about 11 smw seconds left. that intentional?

Yes, it's supposed to be a 'rush to the end' section. I guess I can add the tempo hike.
But once you reach the hub it resets to 0 (or 500 I forgot) right

Quote
might be because the powerups are here and only here on the hub, which doesn't make any sense at all to be honest

I will add some powerups to the sublevels then.
Originally posted by Erik557
But once you reach the hub it resets to 0 (or 500 I forgot) right

500 yes

Originally posted by Erik557
I will add some powerups to the sublevels then.

there are plenty of powerups in the levels (except the top-left one) if you take into account the two in the hub.

the problem is they're out of the way unless you go for the bottom-right.
Feel free to lower their health.

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T H E . V O I D

MERC'S SUBLEVEL:
i don't really think i'm super entitled to talk about it, but eh.

this is one of like two levels in the hack with a 'unique' gimmick, whether or not that's a good thing i can't really say. it's extremely challenging, but being the author i can't make heads or tails of whether it's a good thing in this case.


there's also an issue with the smoke sprites only in this sublevel, they seem to be using the wrong graphics. it's extremely noticeable since it's under you for the entire level, look into it

i do like what erik did with the aesthetics here though, thanks for that :D

AHICK'S SUBLEVELS
rather claustrophobic, you have almost no room to move around and it's almost suffocating

besides that, it's a pretty good sublevel. i still don't like that falling platform halfway through but to each their own, i guess

but, if i can make one complaint...


one-tile-wide smw ground, like the stuff mariorton is standing on here, simply doesn't look good. it's also all over the place in this sublevel. not sure what you could do to make it look better, but i'd highly recommend looking for alternatives.

FINAL DOOR: FIRST CORRIDOR:
this isn't bad


ehh...i don't like this part to be honest. having the podoboos jump up at exactly the wrong time as the turn block comes up is an extremely likely possibility, and makes this part a combination of luck and waiting...i don't really know what else to say


might look more pleasant and obvious if you layered two of them on top of each other?

there are also a lot of annoying jumps that have the ceilings just low enough that they're a nuisance. most of these have slanted lava. just move the ceiling up a tile or two.

FINAL CORRIDOR:
this overextends its welcome by a country mile and abandons any attempt at being fun or fair about halfway through

i eventually started abusing savestates because i started getting frustrated in the first sublevel and thus my skill level went way down, but i can obviously tell that if i wasn't it would be literally impossible for someone of my skill level to complete this without savestates


seriously, this part alone must have taken me 20 savestates to get by without getting hit

there's also that part with the two thwomps with the moving stone over a pit that's just below a line guide with a grinder on it

just nuke or redesign half the sublevel (suggesting nuke, since this level is way too long as it is)
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