Friday, June 8, 2012

The Thunder Discusses An SMWC Production: World 7 and Extended World 1

World 7 and Extended World 1 

Okay, I'm convinced that this hack did not use that prototype program thingy to change their overworld music depending on the area because when Mario crosses the threshold between World 6 and World 7, the music slightly fades out before changing. Now then, as for World 7 itself... Ugh, geez, I really have to wonder what these hackers were thinking. Seriously. Water levels are probably complicated enough, what with Mario's speed dramatically reduced costing time and making levels a bit tedious, but World 7 of "An SMWC Production" decides to kick it up a notch and make things harder than they already are.

Dark Depths

Let's take this level for example. Who's the wise-ass who tried to pull this stunt by darkening every single palette to create the illusion of darkness? So the level is extremely dark and hard to see pretty much anything. And having a spotlight that shrouds out the foreground around it doesn't help. Not only that, the first Yoshi Coin is next to impossible to get without Cape power. Where's the fun in that?

"Beward of downward facing pipes, they have torpedo launchers inside."

Wait a second... Didn't I complain about this shit earlier? Didn't even Vic Rattlehead despise this?! So, what other level had these torpedo-infested pipes?

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Ah, yes. The Flooded Crater level back in World 2. And now they're back! In the dark!! Good God, this hack is rolling in the dirt with unpleasantness! Things go downhill for the rest of the level just trying to find the normal and secret exits. Pipe exit tiles are disguised as ground, it's mostly too dark to see a damn thing, and there's a whole lot of tight spots where foreground barely has any space apart, not much room to do much of anything. What's up with that? Why do tight spots even need to exist? Well, this complaint's gonna come back for a second helping, I'm sure.

Morel Mountain

I'm actually gonna go ahead and say that this level is technically unfinished. Don't ask, I just know these things. Okay, I'll answer. According to Lunar Magic, there's an exit that takes you to a Feather power-up item. But the exit tiles aren't even there! And in the section with the power-up, there's nothing else! Well, aside from a bunch of coins, that is. But there's no earthly way of getting back and there's no exit leading anywhere! Was this something originally intended for this level? If so, why does it still exist? So for the record, that's the only bad thing with this level. That and having to rely on Para-Buzzy sprites isn't usually a good thing.

Dinosaur Reef

Oh, boy. Where do I begin with this hellhole?

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Check this out! Remember Danger Mines from World 3 and how it started with an improper level entrance? Same thing here! And it's completely absurd! But this isn't even half the weirdness of this level. It's got Piranha Plants popping up everywhere, none of them from pipes! The hackers just think they can pull off abusing classic Piranha Plants by just sticking them in ground tiles when in fact it just looks weird and is nothing more than a big annoyance and a waste of time. And oh my frigging God! More munchers on vines! Good lord! Why?! Why are they even in this hack?! To top these disasters off, the level itself is mostly crudely designed with all these unnecessary holes in the foreground walls. How in the blazes did this hack, much less this damn level, ever pass moderation?! Any other user who would try doing this for a hack level would have the whole darn hack removed from SMW Central! So is this hack some super-mystical project that passes moderation regardless because it's the most talked about collaboration effort? Hmph. I say not worthy.

Tropical Stride

Something seems a bit off about this level. But if it's anything, it's that the Jumpin' Piranha Plants have been placed rather low inside the pipes they spring out of. Call me nitpicking or whatever, but that's not really how they're supposed to work. The original Super Mario World ROM can show you its proper location. It may not screw anything up here, but there's really no point to it either, seeing as the sprites then proceed to jump up from the same location each subsequent time. The key to the secret exit is located in the one blue-colored vacant pipe and the rest is a snap. Oh, and I don't know about having to rely on a Koopa in order to hit a turn block containing a vine to move on with the level. If it was optional, that would be one thing. Because it's always possible to take out every single Koopa along a way and not have Cape power. Then what? You'd be screwed.

Into the Water

"not sure why the time limit is so high."

You're kidding, right? You're kidding! Uh, let's see now, the level has like about five sections, one of them a scrolling screen, and another you have to cope with a terrible level layout! You tell me!

Seriously folks, while the blocks that pull you down are cool, the level itself cannot be taken seriously. In the section with the Cave Story graphics, you're once again faced with tight spots and unfair water physics, having little to no room to do anything, and in the case of the spikes, without getting hit. This, in all aspects completely contradicts one of SMW Central's tips that is supposed to be taken seriously.

Tip: There's a fine line between difficult and unfair. Avoid the latter.

And the worst part is, this isn't the only time. The next section is apparently dark again, but at least you get a chance to have a spotlight. The rest of the level is just bull with its questionable design and layout.

Glacial Grave

Okay, this seems to be another straightforward level, considering it's only good towards obtaining all 117 exits. Wait... this is another dead end level?! Oh... %@$*!! I hate it when hacks do that! What's the frigging point?! Great, now old overworld issues have returned as well! No wonder the worlds are going from relatively mediocre back to being bad shit. Once again, the screen scrolls into the goal post, which isn't so pleasing, and... WHAT IS WITH THE 3-UP MOON BEYOND THE GOAL?! Why is it there?! These hackers know there's no goddamn way of getting it! Didn't I complain about this in World 6?! Is SMW Central trying to make players lose their sanity?!

Permafrost Glacier
And another issue returns in this level! There are no flipping hints on finding invisible coin blocks needed to continue the level. I swear, I don't know why I ever had any hope for this hack to improve, because it hasn't.

Oh, before I forget, remember all the way back in World 1, back to the first level? I mentioned that the Green Switch could not be accessed until World 7 and here we are. When the secret exit of Tropical Stride is found, the quest for the Green Switch begins! So let's get to it.

Shoreline Woods

"Moonwalking Goombas!"

What on earth is the freaking matter with these hackers?! Because I for one cannot even begin to list off the number of things out of whack in this beast of a level. But I'll try my best.

1. Classic Goomba sprites
Obviously because of the original appearances of Goombas in Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, X-flipping was never taken into account when the sprites were coded. So with the graphics picked out in this hack, the Goombas walk backwards when they move right. Now it would be funny, but it still boggles the human mind how any of these shenanigans were ever accepted.

2. Yoshi Coin #2
Without Cape power, this Yoshi Coin is completely out of reach!

3. Bullet Bills, Bullet Bills everywhere
In the scrolling screen section, there are apparently hoards of Bullet Bills because of a generator and several shooters. Think they got plenty? Hmm, not enough really.

4. Torpedo Teds infesting pipes

Why?! Why do these level designers keep doing this?! It's crap!

5. P-switch blocks look like Switch Blocks
This was where I got stumped for a bit. It turns out, the player has to find a way to bring blue P-switches up the pipe in order to continue the level or get crushed by the scrolling screen. The P-switch blocks do their thing just fine, but because they look like Switch blocks, my guess is that because of the resemblance to the Blue Switch blocks, which you more than likely made visible at this point, your impulse is not to hit them and I thought the blue P-switch was to help get you out the same way you came in. Way to trick me, hackers. Why couldn't you have used different graphics, like putting the letter "P" on these blocks?

6. The puzzles keep coming!
And this wasn't the only puzzle in the level! No, they had to shove in two more!

All in all, players are just gonna be glad to be done with this crap, that's what I think. Okay, moving on.

Waterlogged Woods

Well surprise, surprise, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with this level. The underwater forest is actually kinda cool to be honest. There's a few tight squeezes here and there, but nothing worth complaining over unlike certain previous levels.

Disco Switch

Disco? Why disco? Oh, that's why, because you rely on a flashing Koopa shell for the entire level. There's just one thing that baffles me. Why bother to have a secondary exit located exactly at Mario's starting point in the level? Why not just have the reset doors lead to the same level you're in if the starting point is where you're supposed to end up? So in other words, the level designers wasted a secondary exit that was unnecessary to have. Eh, no biggie, at least not in comparison to all the other wrongdoings I've seen in World 7 so far. Oh, good lord! Another muncher on a vine?! Okay, I take that back! Even this level has problems! So much for that. Oh, and another thing. What was the point of having a pathway beyond the Green Switch, besides to create a shortcut leading to the castle of World 7? Why couldn't it just be a dead end? It would save the hackers a pipe or two and they could have used it for something else.

Well now that the Green Switch is finally done, we can go all the way back to World 1 and get those last two levels done!

Garden Path

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Now, this is actually quite interesting indeed. Look at this, we've got a sort of 3-D appearance here. Wow... How long did it take the level designers to do this one?

Cave of Elements

'Kay, so you start off with getting Yoshi and being forced to dismount him in mid-air to get over a stack of pipes.

What is the point?! Why even bother to have Yoshi at all? I mean, can you say redundant?! If you hackers don't want Yoshi, just take out that question block and remove the stack of pipes! Now I know these guys are deliberately trying to torment us into submission! Now as for the level itself, the first section, that is to say the element of water, is absolutely horrid! You have only 20 seconds on the clock, which only counts down while in the water. This was absolute torture for me to get past and not only that, it's clearly a rip-off from a level in Super Mario World Vip Wall Mix 4. I...*sigh*...I don't even wanna get into this...

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Next is the element of fire, which has nothing new to it, except that at one point you have to spin jump off a Blargg's head to cross a lava pit. Maybe nothing's up to chance, I dunno. Next up, the element of air, where you deal with a bunch of Lakitus and Spinys. Again, nothing special, not that I want anything now after all this junk. However, you need a P-switch to make a question block appear in order to get into a pipe. At least you get a decent hint. Now comes the element of earth, in which you deal with a moving Layer 2. Dangerous? Oh yes. Unfair? Hmm... I'm not sure to be honest. And at the end, it's important that you take the P-switch with you because you need it to get to the goal. Okay, now World 1 is done for real! Let's get back to World 7.

LuluBoo's Mansion

Is that a fancy way of saying "lullaby"? And what's with the balloons? Is there some kind of party or was Pinky Pie invited? Anyways, we got some pretty bizarre graphics for the Big Boo sprites and some would-be interesting graphics for Boo Buddies, but in the end they really don't work out and those who use Lunar Magic should know why. Oh, and what's this?

"Try not to make the key contact the top of the door, otherwise it might just eat your key and remain locked."

Pfft. Another glitch or error that should have been worked on. And that blue pipe from the first section? You can actually go behind and through it?

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Well, you'll eventually discover that this Lulu Boo is actually a Fishin' Boo. When you fight her later, she seems to be some kind of Fishin' Boo boss sprite, which I wish I could use because it seems pretty decent. It's better than the Big Boo boss, it takes five hits from a throw block to defeat it, and it has an interesting movement pattern in comparison to the original Fishin' Boo. Pretty good boss, actually. But for the record, I've heard better female Southern accents, such as dear Applejack.

Wild Wet Castle

Such a long level, I really don't wanna explain or discuss it much, so I'll use small words here.

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Cool! Lemon Drop sprites! You know, I kinda wonder why the Yoshi's Island sprite collection has their graphics and not the sprite itself. I swear, if SMW Central is gonna be stingy again...

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My God! Golden Thwomps! Not only do the Thwomps once again have their original graphics, but apparently a single custom sprite consists of original Thwomp behavior and power Thwomps that stun Mario upon shaking the ground, with a different color to boot. Okay, maybe I'm getting a little jealous.

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The colored blocks from Yoshi's Island? Wow, I never would have expected that. It seems that only Koopa shells can remove these blocks by tossing them right at them.

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Now we're talking! A custom block that produces limitless shells! Come to think of it, I want one of those.

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Please tell me I'm not the only person who doesn't recognize this. It's obviously a rip-off of a similar section in Hookbill's castle from Yoshi's Island, though not quite a replica. Because this hack has blue-colored 32x16 blocks that take four hits from shells to dissolve. Now it's boss time! But this time, you enter the boss's room via...a red pipe.

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Ta-da! The return of giant over-sized enemies! The Giant Piranha Plant boss is more of a test of endurance than anything. Because you have to wait it out while dodging spitfires of fireball attacks before it starts randomly generating stuff, ranging from simple Mushrooms to Koopas, hell even Monty Moles and Rex! The idea to defeat this boss is to hit its head with Koopa shells. Three hits and it's toast! Of course, it's not exactly easy and there are quite a few bugs and quirks unlike the previous custom bosses so far.

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Looks like there are some things that not even the No Sprite Tile Limits patch can fix. Too bad. Oh, and guess what? After all this trouble, World 7 is still not over!

Bully's Brambles

Another post-boss level! But oh man, these bramble graphics are just sad. Ironically, the first level in World 10 actually has the better-looking brambles from Donkey Kong Country 2, so why couldn't they just use those? I'm sure there would have been plenty of room left for the background. At least that didn't suck. Oh, and get this. You actually have to go through the Yoshi wings bonus section in order to complete this level! From what I hear, most hacks don't even use Yoshi wings and it is said that levels C8 and 1C8 are usually best left unedited, but if this hack can do it, then I suppose it's okay for me to do it, which is my plan for my hack of course.

And with that, World 7 is finally finito! Oh, what a world... No, that's not a good thing! Don't think for one minute that I'm gonna be suckered in to think that this world started to lighten up, because it wasn't good. Okay, I admit that it had its few moments in the castle level with certain custom blocks and sprites, but it doesn't even begin to make up for all the uncouth stuff littering the previous levels. So while World 6 started to go downhill from mediocre, World 7 was worse. This really isn't bolstering my confidence about this hack showing any visible signs of improvement, lest World 8 can pull off a miracle somehow. Yeah, World 8 is next, and man does that have a lot to cover. Two paths leading to the eighth castle, and Bowser's Castle itself! Ugh... I'm really looking forward to that. Well, let's just hope things aren't so rotten. Because for some of us, there could be a surprise waiting in store for us yet.

This means war, SMW Central!

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